Landon Donovan talks World Cup, Klinsmann and more

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup less than two months away, U.S. Men’s National Team star Landon Donovan recently opened up about playing in his fourth World Cup, his evolving role on the USMNT, his relationship with Jurgen Klinsmann, and much more.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Danny Williams will have a chance to show just how healthy and in form he is for Reading, Tim Howard will try to help Everton reclaim the Premiership’s UEFA Champions League qualifiers spot, and more in this upcoming weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

Howard signs Everton extension through 2018

Tim Howard has devoted his future to Everton, signing a two-year contract extension on Thursday that will keep him at the club through the 2017-18 season.

Projecting the USMNT pre-World Cup camp roster

USMNT Training Sao Paulo, Brazil

By IVES GALARCEP

We are just a month away from the U.S. Men’s National Team convening on Northern California for the all-important pre-World Cup training camp and Jurgen Klinsmann is going to have some interesting decisions to make on the group he winds up inviting to the camp.

The current U.S. player pool is the deepest in history, and while you probably already knew that selecting the 23-man roster for the World Cup will be difficult, even selecting a 26-28 squad for the training camp will be tough.

In my latest column for Goal.com I break down my projections for the USMNT pre-World Cup training camp roster, coming up with a 28-player roster, as well as the players who miss the cut.

There are several position battles that are extremely close to call, and some that are easier to predict based on Klinsmann’s established preferences.

Here is your chance to make your own picks for some of those roster spot battles. Give my roster projection piece a read, and then cast your vote on some of the tougher roster battles after the jump:

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Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team | 164 Comments

Report: Vikings increasing efforts to bring MLS to Minneapolis

MinnesotaVikingsNewStadiumSoccerDimensions (MinnesotaVikings)

By DAN KARELL

With Major League Soccer set to announce its latest expansion team in Atlanta Wednesday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings are maneuvering to secure one of the two remaining expansion slots for Minneapolis.

Just as Atlanta’s future MLS team will be operated by an owner from the National Football League, the Vikings are leading the charge to acquire an MLS expansion franchise to play at their new 65,000-seat stadium, expected to be completed in 2016.

Speaking at a local business luncheon, Vikings vice president of public affairs, Lester Bagley, said that the team was “stepping up” it’s efforts to bring an MLS team to the city, and that they weren’t alone in their efforts.

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Expansion | 106 Comments

Report: Chandler making progress, hopes to be back in action for Nurnberg next week

Timmy Chandler Nurnberg 2 (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Some help might soon be on the way for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s problematic right back spot.

According to a report from Bild, Timmy Chandler resumed doing some light ball-work at Nurnberg practice earlier this week, marking the first time he has done so since suffering a knee injury in a match against Bayern Munich on Feb. 8. Some media reports had said Chandler would miss the remainder of the season, but the 24-year-old fullback believes he is healthy enough to partake in normal team training on Wednesday and be available for the match versus Mainz on April 26.

Nurnberg could certainly use a boost right now. The club is currently in the Bundesliga’s relegation zone and realistically three points away from automatic safety with four matches remaining in the season. Nurnberg are one point shy of the relegation playoff spot that is currently held by Hamburg.

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 88 Comments

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

BarcelonaRealMadrid (Getty Images)

By RYAN TOLMICH

For many, Wednesday brings about the midweek blues. However, don’t fear, soccer fans, as there are a variety of games to keep your head on straight right in the middle of your work week.

Headlining Wednesday’s action is the most recent edition of European soccer’s biggest rivalry: El Classico. Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona , who currently sit second and third in La Liga, respectively, collide in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey final in what has a chance to be both clubs’ best chance at ending their 2013-14 campaign with a trophy. Barcelona enter the matchup having been upset in their last league game against midtable Granada. However, Real Madrid will be without Cristiano Ronaldo due to a nagging hamstring injury.

In England, the Premier League schedule features two of the five teams vying for Champions League qualification, as Manchester City takes on relegation-threatened Sunderland, while Everton hosts Crystal Palace. The Citizens, who were knocked off by league leaders Liverpool over the weekend, currently sit seven points back in third place with two games in hand on both Chelsea and the aforementioned Reds. Meanwhile, Everton will look to once again leapfrog Arsenal for the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.

Back stateside, the New York Red Bulls look to pick up their first win of the 2014 season when they host the Philadelphia Union, who look to improve upon three draws from their last three outings.

In other action, Bayern Munich will take on second division side Kaiserslautern in the DFB Pokal semifinals, while AS Monaco faces Guingamp in the Coupe de France. Finally, a trio of Copa Libertadores rounds out the day’s action, as Lanus hosts Santos, Leon takes on Bolivar and Cruzeiro matches up with Cerro Porteño.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action. (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump): Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer, Your Running Commentary | 96 Comments

Watch the MLS expansion announcement in Atlanta

DonGarberMLSStateoftheLeague1 (USATodaySports)

By DAN KARELL

Major League Soccer will be making a “major announcement” on Wednesday evening in Atlanta.

All signs point to Atlanta being named the league’s latest expansion franchise and the league’s 22nd club, with the future team being operated by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. The new team is expected to play in the new Falcons stadium, which is expected to be ready by 2017.

Blank will be joined by MLS commissioner Don Garber, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Frank Poe, the executive director of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, at the event in downtown Atlanta.

Watch the live stream of the announcement after the jump:

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Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Expansion | 22 Comments

Wednesday Kickoff: Man City tops salary charts; Chelsea ready to spend; and more

SergioAgueroGoalCelebrationManCity1-Arsenal2013 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Manchester City may not win the English Premier League title this season but they’ve remained No. 1 on the salary charts.

Per a study conducted by ESPN the Magazine and SportingIntelligence called the Global Salary Survey, Man City pay their players the most compared to any sporting franchise across the globe. Man City players are paid on average $8,109,912 per season, according to the study which looked at 2012/2013 salary figures. Man City’s total wage bill topped $200 million, one of only three teams to spend that much on players.

In all, six European soccer teams were included in the top ten highest wage bills including Real Madrid and Barcelona at No. 4 and No. 5 respectively, Bayern Munich at No. 7, Manchester United at No. 8, and Chelsea at No. 10.

The study measured the total wage bills across world soccer, the NHL, the NBA, the NFL, MLB, Australian Rules Football, the Canadian Football League and even the Indian Premier Cricket League.

Here are some more stories to start your Wednesday:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer | 25 Comments

Tuesday Ticker: Arsenal battle back to top West Ham, Ronaldo out for cup final, and more

Arsenal (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Arsenal are back in fourth place in the Premiership and their dreams of playing in next season’s UEFA Champions League are still alive.

At least, for now.

The Gunners battled back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat West Ham United, 3-1, on Tuesday afternoon. The win saw Arsenal leapfrog Tim Howard and Everton for the Premiership’s lone Champions League qualifiers spot, but the Toffees have a game in hand to make up the one point difference.

Arsenal fell behind five minutes before halftime when Matthew Jarvis headed home a loose ball in the penalty area, but Lukas Podolski responded with the first of his two on the day in the 44th minute. Podolski recorded his brace 12 minutes from the final whistle, but not before Olivier Giroud netted the winner in the 55th minute.

Everton will have a chance to reclaim fourth place when they host Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Here are more news items from around the soccer world:

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Posted in CONCACAF, CONCACAF Champions League, European Soccer, Featured | 11 Comments

MLS Disciplinary Committee fines Crew’s Gonzalez for embellishment

MLSMJB041314068

photo by Michael Burns/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Giancarlo Gonzalez’s embellishment late on Sunday has not gone unpunished.

The MLS Disciplinary Committee announced on Tuesday that it has fined Gonzalez an undisclosed amount for trying to dupe match officials into thinking he had been struck by Chris Wondolowski late in the 1-1 draw between the Columbus Crew and San Jose Earthquakes.

Gonzalez initially crashed into Wondolowski in an off-ball incident that went unnoticed and Wondolowski responded by getting in the Crew defender’s face, which then prompted Gonzalez to go down in a heap.

You can view the play in its entirety here:

What do you think of Gonzalez being fined by the Disciplinary Committee? Think he should have been suspended, too? Do you consider this worse than diving?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Columbus Crew | 92 Comments