Thursday Kickoff: Man United target Cavani; Man City, No European bans from FFP; and more

Manchester United are already preparing their summer transfer signings as they target Edinson Cavani, Luke Shaw, and Cesc Fabregas.

Bradley Wright-Phillips hat trick leads Red Bulls in rout over Dynamo

Bradley Wright-Phillips notched a hat-trick to help lead the New York Red Bulls to a 4-0 romp over the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night.

SBI MLS Best XI (Week 7)

Nick Rimando’s latest masterpiece in goal helped Real Salt Lake remain the only unbeaten team in MLS, and it secured him another spot in the SBI MLS Best XI.

Report: Qatar to reduce World Cup stadiums to eight as costs soar

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Even Qatar isn’t immune to a financial crisis.

The oil-rich country has decided to reduce the amount of stadiums they plan to build from 12 to eight for the 2022 World Cup they were picked to host, according to a report from Doha. Qatar’s bid included plans to build nine new stadiums from scratch with a capacity of 40,000 or more and expand three current stadiums to add more seating and other improvements.

Ghanim Al Kuwari, the Qatar local organizing committee’s senior manager for projects, did not give a reason for cutting the planned stadium amount.

Reports recently stated that Qatar is expected to spend as much as $205 billion on infrastructure projects in the next eight years, including $34 billion on a rail and metro system, $7 billion for a marine port, and $17 billion for a new airport.

And while there was no official reason given, it’s believed that a shrinking in Qatar’s surplus (down by 1.4 percent) is the reason for the cost-cutting.

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Posted in Featured, FIFA World Cup | 110 Comments

NYC FC lays out plan to share Yankee Stadium

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New York City FC officially announced Monday what everyone already knew — the Major League Soccer expansion club will play its inaugural 2015 season at Yankee Stadium. But they filled in the blanks about how the unique arrangement will work.

It will be a labor-intensive endeavor, with it taking three days to convert the Yankees baseball diamond to a soccer pitch and vice versa. The pitcher’s mound will need to be removed for every NYC FC game.

“We can work it in. We’ve analyzed it. We’ve tested it against existing schedules,” said Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost at a press conference in New York City on Monday. “The most difficult part will be awaiting to see the schedule in baseball, which is some time mid to late summer and the final schedule in December. But we will be working with the club and MLS to make certain the games do not get in the way of our regular schedule.”

Trost said there will be about 17 games during the regular baseball season that will overlap with the MLS season.

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- New York City FC | 37 Comments

Orlando City to play inaugural 2015 MLS season at renovated Citrus Bowl



Orlando City SC will have to wait until 2016 to begin playing in their new downtown soccer-specific stadium.

The club announced on Monday morning that they will play the entire 2015 inaugural Major League Soccer season at the renovated Florida Citrus Bowl after claiming delays in the last acquisition of land by City of Orlando officials. Despite the delay, the club did say that the $80 million in funding has been secured from Club, city and surrounding counties

“We remain hard at work alongside our partner the City of Orlando on all aspects of the project,” OCSC President Phil Rawlins said in a team-issued statement. “I am very confident saying that we remain fully on track to open our new stadium prior to the start of the 2016 MLS season and we will be announcing details for our new stadium ground breaking ceremony later this year.”

The new Citrus Bowl, which will seat roughly over 65,000 people and will cost close to $200 million, is expected to be finished by November 2014. The Citrus Bowl is located a half mile from the site of Orlando City’s soccer stadium project.

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Expansion, MLS- Orlando City | 25 Comments

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Matt Hedges

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Matt Hedges helped lead FC Dallas to victory Saturday against a strong Toronto FC side, assisting on the game-winning goal and scoring one of his own to keep FCD as the team to beat.

It was late in the 88th minute that Hedges helped FCD hold onto their No. 1 spot on the Western Conference table. A deep free kick was headed by Hedges before falling to Blas Perez for the game-winning shot.

In the 37th, Hedges got on the end of a near post corner kick from Michel and knocked it into the far netting, grabbing his second goal of the season.

Hedges beat out a group of contenders that includes Sporting KC’s Dom Dwyer, Seattle’s Clint Dempsey and Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando for this week’s honors

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Posted in Featured, SBI MLS Player of the Week | 12 Comments

Reports: Moyes ouster from Man United “imminent”

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David Moyes’ time may soon be up.

Multiple English media outlets are reporting that Moyes may soon be fired as manager of Manchester United, with ESPN also reporting that Moyes’ dismissal is “imminent.”

United owners, the Glazer family, and vice president Ed Woodward are reportedly in discussions about whether to continue with Moyes at the helm, having first considered it after United’s FA Cup defeat to Swansea City in January. A 2-0 loss at Moyes’ former club Everton on Sunday may be the final straw.

According to ESPN, meetings to discuss Moyes’ future with the club took place Monday morning, with some players reportedly disillusioned with his leadership.

The Guardian called Moyes’ ouster before the end of the season “likely,” with Ryan Giggs as a possible interim coach.

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Posted in European Soccer | 83 Comments

European Weekend Rewind: Sunderland stun Chelsea; Barcelona rally to defeat Bilbao; and more

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After 77 straight league home matches without a loss, Jose Mourinho has now tasted defeat inside Stamford Bridge — and it could not have come at a worse time for his Chelsea team.

Second-place Chelsea lost 2-1 on Saturday to last-place Sunderland, who won on an 82nd-minute penalty kick from Fabio Borini. The Italian forward helped out the club who loaned him out to Sunderland, league-leading Liverpool, by converting the spot kick after USMNT forward Jozy Altidore came off the bench and drew the late foul.

Samuel Eto’o notched a 12th-minute goal to put the host Blues out in front, but Conor Wickham rebounded home an equalizer six minutes later for the Black Cats. Chelsea finished the match with 31 shots — 15 of them on goal — but they could not find a way past Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone. With just minutes left in the match, Cesar Azpilicueta’s foul on Altidore made all the difference as Borini’s penalty conversion gave Sunderland three crucial points and opened the door for Liverpool to extend their league lead.

While Chelsea lost precious points in their title hunt, Barcelona kept themselves in their race for La Liga’s crown with a 2-1 home win against fourth-place Athletic Bilbao. After a scoreless first half, Aritz Adruiz broke the deadlock with a 50th-minute goal off a mistake from Barcelona defender Marc Bartra. But Barcelona hit back with a one-two punch midway through the second half with Pedro netting an easy equalizer and Lionel Messi scoring a match-winner on a goal kick in the span of three minutes at a quiet Camp Nou.

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

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Posted in European Soccer | 6 Comments

U-20 USMNT fall in Dallas Cup final to River Plate

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After enduring an emotionally and physically draining victory in extra time, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team ran out of gas in Sunday’s Dallas Cup final.

Facing River Plate for the second time in this year’s prestigious youth tournament, the U.S. fell, 2-0 in the final at the Cotton Bowl, settling for second place. Forward Lucas Boye scored both goals for River Plate as they took home the Gordan Jago Super Group crown.

The match on Sunday was delayed twice due to lightning, first just prior to the start of the second half and then again around 20 minutes into the half.

The U.S. U-20s were missing three starters from the team that defeated River in their Dallas Cup opener, 3-2. Paul Arriola had been recalled to Club Tijuana, Erik Palmer-Brown was suspended due to the red card picked up in the semifinals, and Kellyn Acosta made the bench after playing 90 minutes for FC Dallas on Saturday.

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Posted in U.S. Soccer, U.S. Under-20 National Team, U.S. Youth National Teams | 20 Comments

Liga MX Round 16: A Look Back

MoreliaCelebrateGoal1-CruzAzul2014 (Mexsport)


Cruz Azul paid a heavy price for resting their best players in last Friday’s Liga MX encounter against Morelia.

Morelia destroyed an understrength Cruz Azul side, 5-1 thanks to a pair of goals from Hector Mancilla. La Maquina had chosen to rest a number of their key players in advance of Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League final against Toluca, though the league leaders still wouldn’t have expected to be humiliated in such comprehensive fashion.

Morelia started quickly and led 2-0 after just twenty five minutes. Aldo Ramirez grabbed the opener when he crashed a wonderful long range effort in off the crossbar, before Hector Mancilla added the second when replacement goalkeeper Guillermo Allison failed to deal with his tame shot. Cruz Azul pulled one back through Achille Emana, but Mancilla added Morelia’s third on the stroke of halftime from the penalty spot. Duvier Riascos scored his third goal of the season with quarter of an hour remaining and Oscar Fernandez Monroy completed the rout with two minutes to go.

The win sees Morelia jump into the top eight and they could yet face Cruz Azul again in the Liguilla quarter final in two weeks. Cruz Azul stay first and will now turn their attention to beating Toluca and lifting the Champions League trophy for the sixth time in their history.

Here’s a closer look at the best of Liga MX from Clausura Round 16:

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