SBI MLS Player of the Week: Matt Hedges

Matt Hedges SBI’s Player of the Week after he helped lead FC Dallas to victory against a strong Toronto FC side in Week 7, assisting on the game-winning goal and scoring one of his own.

SBI MLS Team of the Week: Real Salt Lake

SBI’s Team of the Week is Real Salt Lake, who came away with a tough victory to preserve their unbeaten streak in Week 7.

Monday Kickoff: Messi to be offered new deal; Roma qualify for UCL; and more

Barcelona are currently in talks with Lionel Messi and his representatives over an improved contract, hoped to be signed by May.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

Kevin De Bruyne of Chelsea and Emanuele Giaccherini of Sunderland

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

Second-place Chelsea will have another chance to pull ahead of Liverpool–at least for a temporary basis–as they host a relegation fighter Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Before their tough set of road matches next week, Chelsea will take on last-place Sunderland, who are desperate to pick up any points in their race to get out of the bottom of the English Premier League. Chelsea are still unbeaten in home league matches under manager Jose Mourinho, and they have also posted six straight shutout wins at the Bridge. Sunderland should have a bit of momentum after their 2-2 draw with Manchester City but have struggled away from the Stadium of Light in recent weeks.

Sixth-place Tottenham Hotspur will also host another team fighting for survival Saturday when Fulham visit White Hart Lane. Tottenham are still battling to keep their Europa League spot, but Fulham are two points from safety heading into their London derby match. In other EPL action, 19th-place Cardiff City host Stoke City in another match that could have a huge impact on the relegation battle.

Elsewhere, Fiorentina face AS Roma in a top Serie A clash in Italy. There is also a first vs. worst battle in the Bundesliga when league champions Bayern Munich visit Eintracht Braunschweig.

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):

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Posted in European Soccer, Mexican Soccer, Your Running Commentary | 199 Comments

Chivas USA rookie McNamara to undergo surgery for torn ACL

TommyMcNamara (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By RYAN TOLMICH

Chivas USA midfielder Thomas McNamara has seen his impressive rookie season cut short after it was revealed he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee during last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers.

The 23-year-old rookie is now set to spend a long period of time on the sidelines as the club announced Friday that McNamara has undergone surgery to repair the injuries.

The No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 MLS draft, McNamara started in all six of Chivas USA’s matches prior to his injury. His most impressive performance came back in March, when the Clemson product scored in his debut against the Chicago Fire, earning him the honor of SBI MLS Rookie of the Week.

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Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Chivas USA | 12 Comments

NWSL Week 2: A Look Ahead

Ashlyn Harris

By KAREEN DROT

The first week of  National Women’s Soccer League action produced a mixed bag of results – the defending champion Portland Thorns FC underwhelmed against expansion side Houston Dash while Seattle Reign FC, a second-to-last place team last season, earned their first ever clean sheet. But Week 2 should shuffle the deck even further.

Seattle has the week off while the rest of the teams have the chance to catch up to The Reign, currently holding the top spot in the league table.

Houston will visit the Boston Breakers at their brand new home at Harvard Stadium. The Breakers lost 3-0 to Seattle and will be looking to use this week’s game against the Dash to erase a rough start. The Chicago Red Stars return to action after taking the first week off and will host the Western New York Flash at Toyota Park in a double-header with Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, a defeated Washington Spirit will try to rebound against FC Kansas City as the Thorns will visit a tough Sky Blue FC.

Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s NWSL matchups:

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European Weekend Preview: Slumping Barca face Bilbao; Everton host Man United; and more

BarcelonaBilbao (Getty Images)

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

When Barcelona visited Athletic Bilbao in December, the first-place club suffered its first La Liga loss under first-year manager Gerardo Martino.

Four months later, Barcelona need a win against their old foes in order to keep their season from going completely off the rails.

After three straight losses—one to Atletico Madrid that knocked them out of the Champions League, one to bottom-half Granada that put them four points behind the La Liga lead and one to rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey Final—third-place Barcelona return to Camp Nou on Sunday desperate for all three points against fourth-place Athletic Bilbao. With the Madrid rivals leading the title charge with a few matches left in the campaign, Martino’s squad probably will not be able to afford a repeat of their 1-0 loss at the San Mames earlier this season.

Barcelona will be without Neymar and Dani Alves for the next few weeks due to injury, and center back Marc Bartra could miss this weekend’s important league match. Even with Neymar, the Barcelona offense has sputtered in the last few days, which could be a real problem against one of La Liga’s toughest defenses. Bilbao do not light up the scoreboard with their offense, but they have allowed more than one goal only once in their last nine league matches and are looking to seal an all-important Champions League spot.

In England, the battle for European qualification will continue at Goodison Park, where fifth-place Everton welcome former manager David Moyes and his seventh-place Manchester United squad. Everton’s Champions League dreams took a hit earlier this week with a loss to Crystal Palace, and now they trail fourth-place Arsenal by one point heading into the final four matches of the season. On the other side, Moyes’ Red Devils have scored four goals in back-to-back English Premier League victories and will head to their manager’s old stomping grounds in pursuit of sixth-place Tottenham Hotspur’s Europa League spot.

Here is a closer look at this weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:

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Posted in European Soccer | 3 Comments

USL Pro Week 5: A Look Ahead

USLPRo

By MIKE GRAMAJO 

Sacramento Republic FC’s unbeaten start may have ended last weekend, but it was the way they responded the following day that displayed they’re a team to be reckoned with.

With one more road game left before their home opener, the Republic will travel to the Peoria Sports Complex to face off against expansion side Arizona United SC on Saturday.

Arizona, which made its USL Pro debut last week, suffered a grueling 4-0 defeat to the Oklahoma City Energy FC.

Sacramento is entering this weekend after having played two matches in a span of 24 hours last weekend. Although they encountered their first defeat of the season against the Orange County Blues FC, they posted an emphatic 3-0 victory over the LA Galaxy II the following day.

Here’s a closer look at the rest of Week 5 action in USL Pro:

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Liga MX Round 16: A Look Ahead

RafaelMarquezLugoChivas1-PumasUNAM (Imago7)

By DANIEL PRICE

After last weekend confirmed Atlante’s relegation to the Ascenso MX, the most pressing question in the top division is who will claim the eight Liguilla (playoff) spaces. So far Cruz Azul and Toluca are the only certainties, but with only two games left pressure is rapidly increasing on the other sides.

Round 16’s standout fixture sees two of the current top eight go head-to-head, as Chivas de Guadalajara travel to the Estadio Olimpico Universitario to face Pumas UNAM.

Chivas currently lie eighth, just one point behind their opposition in fifth, with the teams on 21 and 22 points respectively. Neither side is assured of their place in the Liguilla, with only four points separating Pumas from 13th-place Atlante.

After leading the top scorer charts for much of the season, Martin Bravo (9) has now been passed by Pachuca’s Enner Valencia (12). Nonetheless, the Pumas forward remains in second place and will once again be the man that Los Universitarios look to for their goals.

Chivas have been inconsistent in 2014, typified by a 4-0 home defeat to Club America and a 3-1 away victory over Pachuca in successive weeks. The side recently replaced former manager Jose Luis Real with Argentine Ricardo La Volpe and will hope he can provide the impetus to keep the side in the top eight over the last two weeks of the regular season.

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

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Klinsmann discusses pre-World Cup preparations for USMNT

Jurgen Klinsmann

By CAITLIN MURRAY

The World Cup is 54 days away.

The 30 U.S. Men’s National Team players named to coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s preliminary World Cup roster will arrive May 14 at Stanford University to begin a month-long training program, and Klinsmann sat down with U.S. Soccer to discuss preparations.

The closed-door trainings will include more sessions than would normally precede a friendly as the USMNT works on reaching peak fitness, Klinsmann said.

“If it’s tactical, if it’s physical, if it’s a lot technical work, if it’s a lot of team bonding and understanding the defined partnerships all over the field — if you take that in a positive way, those four weeks will fly by,” Klinsmann said.

Though players are likely to find the training intense, Klinsmann said he isn’t worried about them not being ready for the hard work that lies ahead.

“They are hungry for that,” he said. “They are embracing it. They want to do well. They want to show that they deserve to go to a World Cup.”

Watch video of the interview below:

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Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team, World Cup 2014 | 119 Comments

MLS Ticker: PortMiami stadium would cost Beckham’s group $250M; Defoe out again; and more

PortMiami (Getty Images)

By RYAN TOLMICH

If David Beckham is to get his wish of building a Major League Soccer Stadium in PortMiami, his ownership group is going to have to come up with some extra cash.

The publicly owned waterfront location, which has been eyed by Beckham and co. since the announcement of MLS’ Miami expansion, will cost the group an additional $50 million. The bill for the overall construction of the stadium is expected to reach $250 million.

According to the Miami Herald, the stadium would need to be elevated, as the area around the proposed construction site is considered a flood zone.

However, the group isn’t discouraged and still plans to move forward with the PortMiami plan.

“Miami’s greatness is about the interaction of a vibrant culture and the water,” said John Alschuler, an advisor for the group. “We will earn that $50 million back in increased revenue from the stadium.”

Here are some more news items from around MLS: Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- Miami, MLS- New England Revolution, MLS- Toronto FC, Uncategorized | 20 Comments