Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

Tim Howard’s Everton faces Arsenal, and MLS Eastern Conference powers Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United square off this Soccer Saturday.

FC Dallas overcomes red card to top RSL

FC Dallas overcame a first-half red card to Blas Perez, scoring two second-half goals on the way to a 2-1 victory vs. Real Salt Lake on Friday night.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Brad Guzan leads Aston Villa into battle, Tim Howard and Everton face Arsenal, and more in this upcoming weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

USL Pro Week 23: A Look Ahead

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By AARON CRANFORD

Orlando City SC’s position in the standings could be under threat this weekend.

Orlando City has sat on the top of the table for most of the season, but the recently hot Richmond Kickers are looking to take over the mantle. The two clubs meet in a must-watch battle on Saturday evening, with home field advantage in the playoffs on the line.

Meanwhile, the USL Pro playoff race is heating up as two teams needing crucial points play twice this weekend. The OKC Energy FC, who currently lie in ninth place, start the weekend playing the team sitting two positions below them, Arizona United FC, and they will play sixth place Charleston Battery on Sunday.

The Wilmington Hammerheads FC have several games in hand and will look to catch up as they play the Orange County Blues and the LA Galaxy II on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. An LA Galaxy II win would almost assure their qualification for the playoffs.

Here is a look at the upcoming games this weekend:

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Posted in USL Pro | 1 Comment

NASL Week 7: A Look Ahead

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By RYAN TOLMICH

Despite already earning a berth into The Championship as the NASL’s Spring Season winner, Minnesota United are far from content.

The currently undefeated Fall Season leaders will look to continue their run of dominance Saturday at James M. Shuart Stadium against the only team to defeat them in 2014, the New York Cosmos. The Cosmos enter the weekend undefeated against Minnesota United in three previous contests.

Other notable games from Week 7 include a matchup between the San Antonio Scorpions and Atlanta Silverbacks, as well as a clash between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Carolina RailHawks.

Here is what’s on tap for the NASL this week: Continue reading »

Posted in NASL | 6 Comments

Liga MX Round 6: A Look Ahead

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By DAN KARELL

It’s fair to say that Cruz Azul aren’t living up to expectations.

Coming off an impressive Clausura campaign where they finished on top of the table, Cruz Azul have decisively taken a step back in the Liga MX Apertura. The club brought in Mexican national team defender Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez as well as former Montreal Impact midfielder Hernan Bernardello, but the new signings coupled with established starters such as Marco Fabian and Mauro Formica hasn’t translated into success.

La Maquina currently sit outside the playoff places with just five points from five games, but they’ll have a chance to make a statement on Saturday when they face fourth-place Queretaro at the Estadio Azul. Queretaro are unbeaten in four games and have been led by former Vancouver Whitecaps star Camilo, who has three goals so far this season.

Elsewhere in Liga MX, Club America look to remain perfect when they visit Chiapas, Club Tijuana attempt to win their second straight match when they travel to Mexico City to face Pumas UNAM, and Tigres UANL visit struggling Morelia in the first match of the Liga MX weekend.

Here’s a full rundown of this weekend’s schedule in Liga MX, complete with TV listings:

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Posted in Mexican Soccer | 2 Comments

Friday Kickoff: Neymar to miss time with ankle sprain; Balotelli set for medical; and more

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By RYAN TOLMICH

Just days after returning from the back injury that ended his World Cup, Barcelona forward Neymar appears to be headed back to the sidelines.

The club announced Friday that the 22-year-old picked up a left ankle sprain Thursday in training, just three days after making his return to action in a friendly with Club Leon.

“Following the Thursday training session Neymar Jr. complained about some pain in his left ankle, and tests have confirmed that the player has a Grade 1 ankle sprain,” the statement said. “The club’s medical team has indicated that his return to training will depend on how the injury treatment evolves.”

Barcelona’s first game of the 2014-15 La Liga campaign comes Sunday when the club hosts Elche in the Camp Nou.

Here are some more news and notes to kick off your Friday morning:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | 13 Comments

Whitecaps acquire Rosales from Chivas USA in exchange for Reo-Coker

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Photo by USA Today Sports Images

By RYAN TOLMICH

With aims of making a playoff push, the Vancouver Whitecaps have made a move to acquire one of the league’s top playmakers.

The Whitecaps, who currently maintain the fifth and final playoff position in the crowded Western Conference, have acquired midfielder Mauro Rosales from Chivas USA in exchange for fellow midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker.

Rosales, who has contributed eight assists in 16 games this season, was in the midst of his first campaign with Chivas USA after spending the previous three seasons with the Seattle Sounders. The 33-year-old midfielder has contributed 42 assists since joining MLS in 2011, which is good for second-best in the league in that timeframe.

“If you look at Mauro’s history, he’s constantly creating goals,”said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson. “He’s experienced, bright, and has a super football brain. His delivery on crosses is fantastic, and I know he’s a good guy. That’s important in this locker room.We’re very pleased to add a player of Mauro’s calibre as we make our push for the playoffs.”

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Chivas USA, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps | 43 Comments

Howard to take year-long break from USMNT

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Photo by USA Today Sports Images

By FRANCO PANIZO

Tim Howard’s time with the U.S. Men’s National Team is not over yet, but he will not be playing alongside his American teammates any time soon.

U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday that Howard will be taking a year-long break from representing the U.S., but is not closing the book on his international career. Howard had extensive conversations with U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann prior to making the decision that will see the veteran goalkeeper miss next summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, but Howard plans to be available afterwards should Klinsmann decide to summon him.

For now, though, Howard intends to take some time away from the U.S. to be with his family and focus on his club responsibilities with Everton.

“Having played overseas for the last 12 years and missing out on spending time with my family, making this commitment to my family is very important at this time,” said Howard, who has 104 caps with the U.S., in a statement. “I am grateful for the willingness of both Jurgen Klinsmann and Everton manager Roberto Martinez to afford me the opportunity to spend time with my kids.

“It’s the right decision at the right time.”

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Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team | 214 Comments

Johnson sets up game-winner in Moenchengladbach debut

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Talk about making a good first impression.

Fabian Johnson wasted no time in introducing himself to Borussia Moenchengladbach fans, assisting on the winner in his debut for the German club on Thursday. Johnson helped give Moenchengladbach a 3-2 victory over FK Sarajevo when he found teammate Branimir Hrgota for the decisive tally in the 73rd minute of the first leg of the two sides’ UEFA Europa League play-off in Sarajevo.

After sitting out the weekend’s DFB Pokal triumph against Homburg, the U.S. Men’s National Team fullback earned a start at right back, went the distance and did his part in breaking a 2-2 deadlock that would have made it anybody’s series going into the return leg in Germany.

Before meeting the Bosnian club again next Thursday, Johnson is likely to take part in the Foals’ Bundesliga opener on Sunday against visiting VfB Stuttgart.

Impressed to see Johnson make such an impact so quick? Do you see him enjoying a solid season with Moenchengladbach? Will he and the club make a strong run in the Europa League?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Americans Abroad | 15 Comments

Torres among 6 foreign-based players called in by Mexico for September friendlies

Erick Torres

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By RYAN TOLMICH

The Mexican Football Federation has released the names of six foreign-based players set to feature in its national team’s upcoming friendlies. Among them: Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres.

The Chivas USA forward has been called up for a Sept. 6 match against Chile and a Sept. 9 match against Bolivia.

The 21-year-old will be joined by midfielders Andres Guardado, Giovani Dos Santos and Hector Herrera, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and forward Javier Aquino as the squad’s foreign based players. The remainder of the squad is set to be announced in the next week.

The pair of friendlies will represent the first senior call-up for Torres, who has scored 14 goals in 23 appearances for Chivas USA this season. Torres has previously appeared for Mexico on the youth level, having been a part of Mexico’s U-20 national team that finished third in the 2011 U-20 World Cup.

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What do you think of Torres’ inclusion? How will he fare in his first appearances with El Tri?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Featured, International Soccer, Mexican Soccer, MLS- Chivas USA | 18 Comments