Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Joe Corona enjoyed a strong performance, Sacha Kljestan played just seven minutes and more in this past weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

Valeri’s late winner propels Timbers past Impact

Diego Valeri’s late winner helped the Portland Timbers pull out a 3-2 road victory against the Montreal Impact

Amid retirement talk, Petke, Wenger say Henry still has it

With retirement talk looming, Thierry Henry earned the praises of Mike Petke and Arsene Wenger after the Red Bull 1-0 defeat of Arsenal Saturday.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Sacha Kljestan Anderlecht (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Summer vacation is over for Sacha Kljestan.

Kljestan and Anderlecht are set to kick off their Pro League campaign on Sunday, when they host promoted side Royal Mouscron-Perewelz. The veteran midfielder will be looking for a start in the match after being an unused substitute for much of last season, and he will have the knowledge that a solid performance could help him carve out a more permanent place in the lineup.

One team looking to bounce back from a surprising season-opening defeat is Club Tijuana. The Xolos suffered a 1-0 defeat to Puebla last weekend, and are keen on rebounding on Saturday when they visit the famed Estadio Azteca to square off with Club America in a match that could see Joe Corona move into Tijuana’s starting lineup to add some offensive punch.

After helping hand the Xolos the bitter loss last week, Michael Orozco and Puebla will return to action on a jampacked Saturday in Liga MX. Puebla will have their home opener against Veracruz, who the Camoteros will try and sink so as to move to a solid 2-0 in the Apertura campaign.

Here is who the Americans Abroad take on this weekend:

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 6 Comments

U-17 USMNT coach Williams confident ahead of international tournaments

Head Coach: Richie Williams and Coaching Staff

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

The Under-17 U.S. Men’s National Team embarked on their third cross-Atlantic trip of 2014 on Thursday, carrying a level of confidence not often seen from a U.S. youth team.

In their last two European trips, the U.S. U-17s returned home champions, winning both the Aegean Cup in Turkey and the Josip Katalinski Tournament in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The wins against European powers including Turkey, France, and a pair of victories over Croatia in international friendly matches, only boosted the confidence that this squad is playing with since defeating Brazil to win the 2013 Nike Friendlies.

U.S. head coach Richie Williams and an 18-man squad are heading to play in the 2014 Nordic Tournament, where they will face Denmark, Norway, and the Faroe Islands in the group stage on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, before Williams heads off to Mexico to coach an 18-man squad in the Copa Mexico de Naciones beginning Aug. 2.

Though player development and evaluation is incredibly important, Williams’ and the team’s goal remains the same: to win.

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Posted in Featured, U.S. Soccer, U.S. Youth National Teams | 22 Comments

Adu signs contract with Serbian side Jagodina

Freddy Adu Bahia (Getty Images)

By DAN KARELL

Freddy Adu has finally landed with a new club.

After arriving in Serbia on Thursday and attending FK Jagodina’s UEFA Europa League qualifying match, a 1-0 defeat to CFR Cluj, Adu signed his contract on Friday and officially became a member of Jagodina’s squad. Adu confirmed the reports of his signing with a picture posted to his Instagram account.

The deal ends Adu’s seven-month spell without a club after he was released by EC Bahia last December. Adu went through unsuccessful trials at Blackpool in January, Stabaek in June, and AZ Alkmaar in July. It’s also Adu’s first time playing in Europe since 2011.

According to reports, Adu chose to sign with Jagodina over clubs in Sweden, India, and AEL Limmasol in Cyprus.

With the Europa League defeat, Jagodina will have to wait until Aug. 9 until their first match, when they kick off the Serbian Super Liga season.

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What do you think of this news? Glad to see Adu latch on to a new club in Europe?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 58 Comments

MLS Ticker: Bengtson loaned to Belgrano; Dynamo finalizing Garrido deal; and more

Jerry Bengtson

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Jerry Bengtson’s star crossed time in Boston is over.

The New England Revolution announced on Friday morning that they’ve sent the Honduras international forward on loan to Argentine club Belgrano through June 30, 2015. Belgrano are gearing up for the brand-new Torneo de Transicion after finishing in a disappointing 15th-place out of 20 teams in the Torneo Final.

The news ends Bengtson’s two-year run with the Revolution, where he came to Gillette Stadium with high expectations that never truly materialized. In his time with the Revolution, the Designated Player signing managed just four goals in 37 league matches, often finding himself either lower on the depth chart or away from the club on international duty.

Bengtson, despite his club struggles, was a regular for Honduras in the past two years, taking full part in World Cup qualifying, the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the World Cup this summer.

Here are some more notes from around MLS:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- New England Revolution, MLS- Real Salt Lake, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps | 12 Comments

Friday Kickoff: La Liga schedule released; Pinto resigns from Los Ticos; and more

GarethBaleRealMadrid1-BarcelonaCopaDelReyFinal2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Fans of La Liga only have to wait one more month until the start of the 2014/2015 season.

The Spanish league announced their schedule on Thursday, with the first weekend of games set to take place 30 days from today. The Big Three of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona start off the season against Cordoba, Rayo, and Elche, respectively.

The first big match of the season comes in the third weekend, Sept. 14, when Real Madrid and new signings Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez host their city rivals and defending champion Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona made waves this summer when they completed the signing of controversial forward Luis Suarez, and adding juice to the fire is that Suarez could make his Barcelona debut in the first El Clasico of the season, on October 25/26. Suarez was banned by FIFA for four months due to biting Italy’s Georgio Chiellini, but the ban is completed on Oct. 25. If the match is scheduled on Oct. 26, Suarez could theoretically make his debut, though he’ll surely be far from match fit.

Here are some more stories to start off your Friday:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | 38 Comments

Garcia nabs a brace in RSL victory over Impact

OlmesGarciaRSLCelebratesGoal1-MontrealImpact2014 (USATodaySports)

By TYLER GRAY

SANDY, Utah. - It had been one year and 11 days since Olmes Garcia last scored a goal. Just to prove a point, he scored two.

Real Salt Lake scored once from Luke Mulholland and a brace from Olmes Garcia to negate Hassoun Camara’s first-half strike for the 10-man Montreal Impact. The visiting squad couldn’t muster enough to threaten the home side after a red card to midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran in the 65th minute, and RSL secured the 3-1 victory on Thursday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Garcia was all smiles after the game, at one point lifting RSL defender Abdoulie Mansally off the ground in the locker room. The exuberant 21-year old had scored the game-winning goal and then iced the match with a second in stoppage-time.

“He was fantastic – threatening and quality,” head coach Jeff Cassar said. “The two goals were world-class. The final ball to him was fantastic. It’s what we want from him. He gave a fantastic performance, and he also worked very hard on the defensive end. Just a great night from him.”

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Montreal Impact, MLS- Real Salt Lake | 1 Comment

DeMerit announces retirement in open letter to Whitecaps fans

Jay DeMerit

Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

One of U.S. Soccer’s most perseverant players has played his last game.

Jay DeMerit has announced his retirement in an open letter to Vancouver Whitecaps fans. DeMerit’s decision comes after two injury-plagued seasons in Vancouver in which the centerback suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the season opener in 2013 and another torn tendon in his left ankle in June.

DeMerit, 34, leaves the game after an admirable career that saw him work his way up the divisions in England before making the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2010 World Cup roster. He started all four of the Americans’ games that summer in South Africa, and made 25 appearances for the U.S. in total.

He was the first player signed by the Whitecaps in November 2010 in preparation for the club’s entry into MLS. In his three-and-a-half seasons in Vancouver, DeMerit made 69 league starts in 71 appearances and had a goal and an assist.

Before arriving in MLS and becoming an MLS All-Star in 2012, DeMerit spent the bulk of his career at Watford. He helped the club reach the Premiership and served for some time as the Hornets’ captain.

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What do you think of DeMerit’s decision to retire? What is your favorite memory?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Featured, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps | 29 Comments

New York City FC add Lampard as Designated Player

Frank Lampard of Chelsea

Photo by Ben Queenborough/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

New York City FC have signed their second Designated Player, and he is well-known player still capable of making an impact.

NYC FC announced on Thursday at a formal press conference in Brooklyn that they have signed free agent midfielder Frank Lampard. The 36-year-old Englishman is on a two-year deal that starts on Aug. 1.

Lampard is now the fourth player on the expansion club’s roster, joining fellow DP David Villa, defender Jeb Brovsky and goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

“I am really excited about joining New York City FC and helping to play a real part in building something special in one of the sporting capitals of the world,” said Lampard in a statement released by the club. “The passion of the nation’s fans at the World Cup was second to none and I am looking forward to meeting New Yorkers and tapping into their love of the game. It is a privilege to be able to help make history here in New York City – I just can’t wait to get started and be part of it.

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Posted in Featured, MLS- New York City FC | 96 Comments