By DAN KARELL
For the first time since leaving on July 1 to take over as manager of Manchester United, David Moyes will face his former club Everton on Wednesday.
Moyes spent 10 seasons at Goodison Park building Everton into a side capable of beating most teams on any day, but new manager Roberto Martinez has taken the squad a step further with their attractive attacking play and the goal-scoring form of on-loan forward Romelu Lukaku. With both teams on long unbeaten runs, this is a match that you won’t want to miss.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, eight more matches take place midweek as Arsenal host Hull City, Sunderland host Chelsea, and Stoke City face Cardiff City.
Around Europe, Bayern Munich travel to Augsburg in the German Cup, Inter Milan host Trapani in the Coppa Italia, and Paris Saint-Germain visit Evian TG. In the evening, the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final takes place as Brazilian side Ponte Preta host Argentinian club Lanus.
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):
By CAITLIN MURRAY
Donovan Ricketts resumes his reign as top goalkeeper in Major League Soccer.
With the edge in club votes and player votes, respect from his colleagues has earned Ricketts his second MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award, the league announced Wednesday.
The Jamaican international guided a still-developing Portland Timbers back line under first-year coach Caleb Porter with poise, displaying the leadership of a veteran and making big saves along the way.
Posting career highs in shutouts (14) and saves (92), the 2013 season was something of a comeback for Ricketts. He won the top goalkeeper award in 2010 with the Los Angeles Galaxy but was later replaced after injury cost him the starting spot.
Ricketts’ only real competition for the honor came from Nick Rimando, who helped elevate what was expected by many to be a rebuilding year for Real Salt Lake. Arguably Rimando’s veteran leadership, distribution and game-saving blocks just may be the reason Salt Lake City has landed in Saturday’s MLS Cup.
Vote breakdown after the jump:
By MIKE GRAMAJO
Orlando City Soccer Club head coach Adrian Heath is ready to coach anyone, even if that includes a former FIFA World Player of the Year.
While the club has a year to go before entering Major League Soccer in 2015, speculation regarding their first Designated Player rose on Tuesday. Whether it’s AC Milan’s Ricardo Kaka or a European star, Heath said anything is possible.
“The way Kaka is playing at this minute, he’s playing out of his skin. Looks like he’s newly alive back in Milan,” Heath told SBI. “He’ll always be mentioned because his relation with owner Flavio Augusto Da Silva.
“If we could do that deal, I’m sure he would and it would be great for our Brazilian contingency here.”
Kaka’s deal with the Italian giants runs out in the summer of 2015, leaving his future after Milan up on the air. However, his close relationship with Lions majority owner Flavio Augusto Da Silva could potentially trigger a move to MLS’ newest franchise.
“The club always said they will bring a key marquee player, whether that’s Kaka or another big Brazilian name or European name, we will have to wait,” said Heath. “I know it’s proven for him (Kaka) since he’s been incredible in the last few weeks, he’s getting fit again after a bad time of injuries.”
By DAN KARELL
Three of the 12 World Cup stadiums are expected to be delivered well after the Dec. 31 deadline set by FIFA.
Following a deadly work accident last Wednesday in Sao Paulo, construction on the Arena Corinthians is back underway and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valke believes that it could be finished in three months. However, two of the other stadiums in Manaus and Curitiba are way behind schedule.
“Two stadiums will be delivered more in the region of February than in January or December,” Valcke told the AP. “Curitiba is the one where we are facing the most problems. Clearly, Curitiba will not be delivered before the end of February 2014, so that’s a fact.”
FIFA has extended the deadline for the completion on their stadiums a number of times, and only two of the six used for the Confederations Cup last summer were finished by their original deadline. Currently, though FIFA has taken ticket applications for next summer’s World Cup, they still don’t know exactly how many tickets will be available, potentially leaving fans out in the cold.
Valke also confirmed that despite the accident, the World Cup opener will still be played in Sao Paulo.
Here are some more stories to start your Wednesday:
By DAN KARELL
Say hello to the brazuca.
Adidas revealed the design of the 2014 World Cup ball tonight in a ceremony in Rio de Janeiro as the World Cup draw approaches this Friday. The name “brazuca” is reportedly an informal local term to describe the Brazilian way of life.
The ball uses the some of the same technology from the UEFA Champions League match balls as well as from the Euro 2012 and Confederations Cup match balls. However, the brazuca uses what Adidas calls “a new structural innovation with a unique symmetry of six identical panels alongside a different surface structure (that) will provide improved grip, touch, stability and aerodynamics on the pitch.”
What do you think of the design?
Share your thoughts below.
By FRANCO PANIZO
If there was one main thing to take away from MLS commissioner Don Garber’s 2013 State of the League address, it is that the league currently has its expansion eyes fixed on the southeast.
Speaking to reporters and fans inside the Google offices in New York City, Garber once again reaffirmed the notion on Tuesday that MLS is currently hoping to add more teams to the southeast in an effort to enlarge the league’s national footprint. MLS recently announced that it would return to the south with the expansion unveiling of Orlando City SC, but one team is not enough to satisfy the league’s desire and that is why Miami and Atlanta are being looked at as serious contenders to land future clubs.
Garber stated that neither market was close to being officially announced by the league, but that progress was being made.
“We are in discussions with potential ownership groups in Miami and Atlanta, who will give us some great rivalries in the Sun Belt to match those that we have in the northeast, midwest and Pacific northwest,” said Garber, who earlier this year said three of four upcoming expansion teams were spoken for. “As I’ve said before, we hope to have 24 teams by the end of the decade. In order to do that we need to expand strategically and we’ve got a big chunk of the country that is not covered. That’s the southeast. We hope to be able to achieve that with Atlanta, with Orlando, and in Miami but a lot of work to do in Atlanta and Miami.”
Miami has been at the front of of expansion talk in recent weeks and months, with global icon and former player David Beckham touring the South Florida city on multiple occasions to check out potential stadium sites and speak with parties interested in joining his ownership group. Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
FC Nantes were on their way to a third straight shutout loss on Tuesday, but Alejandro Bedoya ensured that did not happen with one of his best outings of the season.
Three days after playing 83 minutes in a 1-0 defeat to Guingamp, Bedoya enjoyed a strong performance that included an equalizer in Nantes’ 2-1 come-from-behind win over relegation-threatened Valenciennes. Bedoya, who played a number of positions in the match, pulled Nantes level seven minutes after they fell behind in the second half with a familiar left-footed strike and later drew a penalty kick that a teammate failed to convert.
Nantes did not allow Bedoya’s strong showing go for naught, as they found the winner a minute before the end of regulation. The victory kept the Canaries within striking distance of fourth-placed Olympique Marseille in Ligue 1.
Bedoya now has three goals this season across all competitions.
Here is Bedoya’s goal:
By DAN KARELL
Speaking to fans and journalists across the nation on Tuesday from the Google offices in New York City, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber touched on a number of topics, including expansion, a change to a winter schedule, and more.
But arguably the most surprising comments came from a question on transparency in MLS. The league took some criticism this season for new rules coming to light only through reports from journalists or press releases from teams after a player signing had occurred. While Garber promised that the league would do more in terms of transparency in the future, he said that at the league’s current stage, it’s better for the league to be flexible rather than rigid.
“What I will say is that as an emerging league, there are times when we are figuring out those rules as we go along,” said Garber. “I don’t know if the Clint Dempsey case is an example of that, but there could be something that comes up where we say, this is something that we need to figure out now, because we will lose this player or we won’t be able to sign this player, or it will prevent us from being competitive in an international competition, whatever it might be. That means, as an emerging league that we’ve got to have the ability to be flexible and evolve.”
Garber said that many of the original rules in place were to keep teams from having a competitive advantage over one another and in the league’s early years, it “wasn’t in their DNA” to be open about all of the rules. But Garber also stressed that there wasn’t any kind of evil plan to keep the rules away from the fans and supporters of the league.
By DAN KARELL
Major League Soccer revealed their Best XI on Tuesday afternoon, and it features a number of familiar faces who put up big numbers during the 2013 season.
Only Graham Zusi, Robbie Keane, and Matt Besler return from the 2012 MLS Best XI as a number of players, including Mike Magee, Tim Cahill, and Diego Valeri, had breakout seasons to propel them into this year’s version. The Best XI features five Designated Players and three starters from the U.S. Men’s National Team.
The Best XI was voted on by MLS players, club officials, and media members.
Here’s a look at the 2013 MLS Best XI: