Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2007

This weekend's soccer on TV

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Good afternoon folks. If you are a fan of Serie A then this is the weekend for you. Three high-caliber match-ups in Italy's first division headline a good weekend of soccer action on TV.

Juventus travels to AC Milan on Saturday before Inter Milan travels to the Viola to face Fiorentina. Sunday's action is capped with red-hot Udinese traveling to Rome to square off with Roma.

If you were MLS commissioner for a day

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Good morning folks. It is a slow news cycle in the soccer world so I started wondering about random issues pertaining to Major League Soccer. A reader asked what I considered a league issue that MLS needs to address and I thought about the reserve division and how it needs to be revamped.

That got me to wondering about what I would do if I could be MLS commissioner for a day and could actually implement some rules or changes that would be adopted by the league permanently.

Ironmen set to make home debut

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If you are a New Jersey resident and have ever wondered what indoor soccer was all about, you will soon have your own team to watch.

The New Jersey Ironmen are set to make their home debut at the Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday night (7:30pm). Brazilian legend Pele will be in attendance and the team is expecting a sellout crowd for the opener.

(Some of) Your Questions Answered

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Good afternoon folks. It's another dreary day on the East Coast and I will be heading offline for a bit today. I was hoping to have last week's Q&A session completed but was unable to get to all of them. Rather than make you wait, I have decided to post some of the answers to some of your questions.

Beasley could miss rest of European season

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DaMarcus Beasley looks to be out for the year with damaged knee ligaments, according to the Glasgow Daily Record. Beasley injured his left knee after colliding with Stuttgart goalkeeper Raphael Schafer during Stuttgart's 3-2 Champions League win against Rangers on Wednesday.

If Beasley has torn knee ligaments, he could be sidelined through the summer, with a fall return likely at best.

NCAA Tournament: No. 1 seed Boston College toppled

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The Men's NCAA Tournament moved to the Sweet 16 after Wednesday's second round matches and No. 1 Boston College won't be coming along for the ride.

The Eagles were knocked off by local rival UMass, 2-1, on Wednesday night, making BC one of six higher seeds to lose second-round match-ups.

Red Bull to begin construction on stadium....AGAIN

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From the 'Haven't I heard this someplace before' department comes news that the Red Bulls are set to begin construction on Red Bull Park. The Star Ledger is reporting that the club is set to begin building Red Bull Park next week. Yes, Red Bull Park is the same stadium that was supposed to be finished by next summer.

Champions League: Matchday Five (Your Running Commentary)

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Good afternoon folks. Apologies for the delay in getting this up. You know the drill. If you're watching Champions League action today then share your thoughts as well as letting us know what you're seeing. I will do a light commentary on Chelsea-Rosenborg.

Let's have some fun.

-------------------------

HALFTIME- Chelsea 3, Rosenborg 0.

Altidore, Freeman chosen for Under-23 training camp

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Red Bulls Jozy Altidore and Hunter Freeman are two of 22 players selected to the first U.S. Under-23 national team camp under U.S. Under-23 national team head coach Peter Nowak. The camp is being held in preparation of a two-match tour in China in December.

The team will train for a week at Home Depot Center beginning on Dec.

The 50 most exciting teenagers in soccer

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If you missed the November issue of World Soccer magazine you missed a cover story on the 50 Most Exciting Teenagers on the Planet. It was a great piece with quality information, especially for those of you who relish knowing about the best up and coming talents in the game.

Some of the players you would expect were on the list, including Sergio Aguero, Alexandre Pato, Micah Richards, Giovani Dos Santos, Bojan Krkic and Anderson, but there were two players who were NOT on the list that left me scratching my head a bit.

Riquelme on his way back to Boca Juniors

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Those of you praying that Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme would somehow make his way to Major League Soccer will have to find a new dream. Riquelme will return to Boca Juniors once the winter transfer period opens in January. The deal will be a full transfer, not a loan deal like the one Riquelme joined Boca Juniors on earlier in the year.

Generation adidas kicks off tour of Spain

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The MLS season ended 11 days ago at MLS Cup but some of the league's best young talents are still busy playing. A 16-player Generation adidas squad is in Madrid, Spain for a two-week training tour that includes matches against some La Liga reserve teams.

Current Red Bull Hunter Freeman, former Red Bulls Marvell Wynne and David Arvizu, and former MetroStar Tim Ward are part of the squad while retired Red Bull Mark Lisi, who now works for adidas, organized the tour.

Beasley "seriously" injured in Rangers UCL loss to Stuttgart

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U.S. national team winger DaMarcus Beasley was taken off the field on a stretcher during Rangers' 3-2 loss to Stuttgart on Wednesday. The details of Beasley's injury are not known yet but Rangers manager Walter Smith is calling the injury serious.

More on this as information becomes available.

Champions League: Matchday Five (Your Running Commentary)

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Good afternoon all. We are less than an hour away from kicking off most of today's Champions League fixtures and it's a good time to set up a running commentary post (As you can see by the picture above, some Champions League action has already begun, with PSV opening the scoring against CSKA Moscow).

You Write the Caption: The Winners (11/7)

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The wait is over. I'm sure some of you were wondering what happened to the last episode of You Write the Caption. Well, it was a busy month and I let it slip by for a few weeks but here's hoping that delay makes these caption entries that much funnier.

In case you forgot the last YWTC photo, it is the one above of Alexi Lalas playing in a recent charity match.

SBI European Club Top 25

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Good morning folks. The Champions League is set to kick off in a few hours, with some truly exciting match-ups, so what better time to reveal the latest SBI European Club Top 25 than now?

Yes Arsenal fans, there is a change at the top. Manchester United's loss means that Inter Milan is the new No.

Champions League: Matchday Five

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The UEFA Champions League is back and this week's slate of games features some very juicy match-ups for those of you who are craving them after a weekend with few truly marquee match-ups.

Barcelona-Lyon headlines Tuesday's matches (and will be shown on delay on ESPNClassic at 5pm), with Manchester united-Sporting Lisbon being shown on ESPN2 (2:30pm).

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Freddy did it again.

Yes, Freddy Adu scored another goal and Benfica fans are starting to feel the same Adu-mania that enveloped MLS fans just a few years ago.

Adu was the only American to deliver a goal in Europe last week, but there were plenty of other quality performances.

Good morning San Jose

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Here's a question to ponder for the San Jose Earthquakes fans who are just logging on to their computers this morning. With American forward Kamani Hill and Derby manager Billy Davies looking for work, is it that far-fetched to consider a scenario where Hill and Derby winger Eddie Lewis wind up with the Earthquakes?

Trade Analysis: Carroll for Kamara

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The Columbus Crew shipped forward Kei Kamara to San Jose for midfielder Brian Carroll today.

Who wins in this deal? From a talent standpoint, I'll go with Columbus, which lands a solid defensive midfielder whose stock is low but upside is high. The Crew already has Danny O'Rourke in defensive midfield, but pairing them together would give Columbus a pretty tough tandem to provide defensive cover behind midfielders Eddie Gaven and Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

Where are they now: Mamadou Diallo

Soccer By Ives at related • 4 views

So I was going through my TIVO the other day, trying to get through all the shows I've missed in recent weeks, and I stumble on some Futbol Mundial episodes. One of them focuses on the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup when I see a familiar face in one of the clips.

It was none other than former MetroStars striker (and Mike Ammann hacker) Mamadou Diallo.

Monday Morning Center Back (Altidore, Adu, Asia and Another coach fired)

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Good morning all. The World Cup qualifying draw was this past weekend and it gave us plenty to look forward to in the next two years. from England's chance at revenge against Croatia to the USA drawing an easier path to the Hexagonal than Mexico.

We also had increasing talk about Jozy Altidore going to Europe.

2010 World Cup Qualifying Draw: CONCACAF

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The U.S. national team's path to the 2010 World Cup will begin with a match-up against the winner of the Dominica/Barbados play-in qualifier. As you may recall, the US team faced Barbados at this stage in the last World Cup qualifying cycle.

If you are wondering about Mexico, 'El Tri' will face face the winner Belize/St.

2010 World Cup Qualifying Draw: UEFA

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You just knew there would be a rematch, didn't you? Just four days after Croatia ended England's Euro 2008 dreams, the teams have been paired together in the same UEFA World Cup qualifying group.

England-Croatia, Denmark-Sweden, Germany-Russia and Netherlands-Scotlands are just some of the quality match-ups you will see in European World Cup qualifying.

Soccer Saturday

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Good morning folks. Another busy weekend of European soccer action is upon us and you can check in here with your thoughts, observations, complaints and boasts.

Relieved to see Liverpool thrash Newcastle? Surprised at Bolton's performance against Man U? Happy to see Bayern Munich get back in the win column?

This weekend's soccer on TV

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If you're still feeling a bit hungover after all the turkey and international soccer at midweek, it's okay. You're not alone.

If you need a weekend where there aren't too many high-level matches then this is a good weekend to relax and just watch some decent matches (or maybe go to your local museum or movie theatre).

The MLS Dream Designated Player Game

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Good afternoon folks. If you've just gotten back from battling fellow shoppers for that $200 HDTV or $20 digital camera, here's something for you to ponder (If you're an MLS fan that is.)

You are suddenly the president of your favorite MLS team. The January transfer window is upon you and you have a bottomless bag of cash to buy ANY player in the world you want.

Things just keep getting worse for England

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Just when you thought Wednesday's disastrous loss to Croatia was as bad as it could get for England, now comes word that the defeat will cost them dearly when the time comes to draw groups for qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

England has fallen to 12th in the FIFA World rankings, which is only good for 10th in Europe.

Coundoul makes Senegal's African Cup of Nations roster

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(SBI EXCLUSIVE)

The Senegal national team has chosen Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul to be on its roster for the upcoming African Cup of Nations in Ghana starting January 20.

Coundoul was with Senegal for two recent friendlies in Paris, France, and he made his Senegalese national team debut last weekend in a 3-0 win against Mali.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving folks. It is a slow day in the soccer world (thankfully), which will give us all a chance to relax and think about the past week's events in the soccer world.

As you know (or maybe not), Thanksgiving isn't a holiday in England, but this date will go down as The Day After Hell.

Euro 2008: The teams that DID make it

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For those of you who, like me, are waiting for the turkey to be done, here is some food for thought. Here are the 16 teams who DID make it to next summer's European Championships:

  • Austria (host)
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland (host)
  • Turkey

The draw for the Tournament is set for Dec.

Euro 2008: England is OUT

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The unthinkable happened to the English national team. Needing just a tie to advance to next summer's European Championships, England fell behind 2-0, came back to tie Croatia 2-2, only to surrender a late goal to fall, 3-2, at Wembley Stadium, ending their Euro hopes and damning coach Steve McClaren to infamy.

New Earthquakes select first 10 players

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The expansion San Jose Earthquakes took their first steps toward fielding a team on Wednesday after selecting 10 players in the MLS expansion draft.

Here are the selections:

Player, former club

  • Ivan Guerrero- Chicago
  • Jason Hernandez - Chivas USA
  • Chris Pozniak-Toronto FC
  • Ned Grabavoy- Columbus
  • Brian Carroll - DC United
  • Clarence Goodson -FC Dallas
  • Ryan Cochrane- Houston
  • Gavin Glinton- Los Angeles
  • Joe Vide- NY Red Bulls
  • James Riley - NE Revolution

Not too many real surprises on this list.

Michael Parkhurst: WIll he stay or will he go? (UPDATED)

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One of the more intriguing rumors to surface at MLS Cup was word that New England defender Michael Parkhurst was set to make a move to Fulham, making him the fifth American on the books at the London club.

So is he leaving or not? None of the Boston papers have reported anything substantial and neither have any of the reputable papers in England.

Dodging the Designated Player Rule

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Amidst all the festivities of MLS Cup weekend, there were a few announcements that did not get the attention they deserved. The first was word from MLS that it was grandfathering the contracts of Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson and Carlos Ruiz so that their teams would not need to make them Designated Players to keep them.

I don't think I'm alone in believing that this decision was an absolute joke.

World Cup Qualifying: Colombia knocks of Argentina

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So much for Argentina rolling through World Cup qualifying unbeaten.

Carlos Tevez saw a first-half red card as Colombia scored a pair of second half goals to upset Argentina, 2-1, on Tuesday night. The victory moves Colombia, still unbeaten in four qualifying matches, to eight points, just a point behind Argentina.

Lionel Messi worked his usual magic with a nice first-half goal, but Colombia was at home and rallied in the second half as the Argentines tired from playing a man down.

Good morning soccer fans

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It is way too early to be awake but here I am after having passed out really early last night. Yes, I'm still feeling the aftereffects of MLS Cup weekend. What can I say? My days of partying hard and being able to recover quickly are over.

Let's start the day off with some articles you may or may not have already seen as well as my appearance on Marcelo Balboa's radio show, From the Pitch

Here is the link to my radio appearance last night.

SBI on the radio tonight

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For those of you interested in hearing my views on Major League Soccer, I will be a guest on Marcelo Balboa's radio show, From the Pitch, tonight at around 8:20pm Eastern.

You can listen to the show on www.mlsnet.com or you can listen to the show here.

We will be discussing MLS Cup, the expansion draft and other league and U.S. soccer issues.

MLS Cup Weekend: A look back

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Okay, I know some of you have asked me what the MLS Cup weekend in DC was like. Well, I have decided to post a diary of my experience at weekend's activities. The diary is LONG so I hope you have some time to kill. That's assuming you don't fall asleep while reading it.

Here it is, my diary of the MLS Cup Weekend:

Thursday- Driving down I-95 has become second nature after so many trips to RFK.

Where will Riquelme go?

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The best benchwarmer in the soccer world is six weeks away from freedom. The question is where will Juan Roman Riquelme go?

Riquelme is set to leave his nightmare situation at Villarreal during the next transfer window in January and top teams throughout Europe are lining up bids. Inter Milan and Juventus are near the front of the line while Atletico Madrid has long been interested in acquiring the Argentine playmaker.

List of players for the MLS Expansion Draft is set

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Good morning folks. For those of you wondering what players the San Jose Earthquakes would have to choose from in Wednesday's expansion draft, wonder no more. Here are the players who will be available (I left out RSL and Toronto because they are the most likely to not have any players taken):

(Potential Earthquake selections in bold)

New York Red Bulls

  • Francis Doe
  • Sal Caccavale
  • Blake Camp
  • Danny Cepero
  • Kevin Goldthwaite
  • Elie Ikangu
  • Chris Karcz
  • Jerrod Laventure
  • Chris Leitch
  • Mike Magee
  • Randi Patterson
  • Santino Quaranta
  • Markus Schopp
  • Sinisa Ubiparipovic
  • Joseph Vide
  • John Wolyniec

Chivas USA

  • David Arvizu
  • Desmond Brooks
  • Bobby Burling
  • Preston Burpo
  • ohn Cunliffe
  • Jorge Flores
  • Amado Guevara
  • Anthony Hamilton
  • Carlos Llamosa
  • Rodrigo Lopez
  • Jason Hernandez
  • Laurent Merlin
  • Justin Myers
  • Ramon Nunez
  • Orlando Perez
  • Eder Robles
  • Erasmo Solorzano
  • Alex Zotinca

Chicago Fire

  • Jon Busch
  • Michael Banner
  • Jeff Curtin
  • Jim Curtin
  • Floyd Franks
  • Ivan Guerrero
  • Diego Gutierrez
  • Bruno Marques
  • Nick Noble
  • Brian Plotkin
  • Jordan Russolillo
  • Osei Telesford
  • John Thorrington
  • Daniel Woolard

Colorado Rapids

  • Jose Cancela
  • Conor Casey
  • John DiRaimondo
  • Dan Gargan
  • Jordan Harvey
  • Nicolas Hernandez
  • Justin Hughes
  • Stephen Keel
  • Jovan Kirovski
  • Nick LaBrocca
  • Mike Petke
  • Brandon Prideaux
  • Tony Sanneh
  • Zach Thornton
  • Clifton Wilmes

Columbus Crew

  • Jason Garey
  • Bill Gaudette
  • Ned Grabavoy
  • Leonard Griffin
  • Andy Guenebaum
  • Andy Herron
  • Ben Hunter
  • Ryan Junge
  • Stefani Miglioranzi
  • Adam Moffat
  • Brandon Moss
  • Andrei Pacheco
  • Andrew Peterson
  • Rusty Pierce
  • Jacob Thomas
  • Ricardo Virtuoso

FC Dallas

  • Denilson De Oliveira
  • Juan Botero
  • Andrew Daniels
  • Michael Dello-Russo
  • Chris Gbandi
  • Sandy Gbandi
  • Clarence Goodson
  • Scott Jones
  • Roberto Mina
  • Dominic Oduro
  • Aaron Pitchkolan
  • Bobby Rhine
  • Dario Sala
  • Abe Thompson
  • David Wagenfuhr
  • Chase Wileman
  • Alex Yi

D.

MLS Cup is going back to Cali (Carson to be exact)

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Get your suntan lotion and dressy outfits ready, MLS Cup is going back to California in 2008 as the title game returns to the Home Depot Center after a three year hiatus from the jewel of Carson, California.

Red Bulls Expansion draft list is HERE

Soccer By Ives at related • 8 views

Here you go, some more news hot off the SBI presses.

Here is the Red Bulls expansion list:

Juan Pablo Angel Jozy Altidore Dane Richards Jeff Parke Seth Stammler Jon Conway Hunter Freeman Dema Kovalenko Carlos Mendes Claudio Reyna Dave Van Den Bergh Players who were NOT protected included: John Wolyniec, Joe Vide, Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Francis Doe

Red Bulls trade Clint Mathis to Galaxy

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Soccer By Ives has learned that the Red Bulls have traded Clint Mathis, the club's all-time goal-scoring leader, to the LA Galaxy for the Galaxy's third-round draft pick in the 2008 MLS Draft. I'll post more information as I get it.

The trade sends Mathis back to the Galaxy, the club where his MLS career started in 1998. It also completes his career with the Red Bulls/MetroStars.

Khano Smith's 'headbutt'

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If you watched the MLS Cup Final on Sunday one play that certainly stood out was when Khano Smith appeared to headbutt Houston defender Craig Waibel in the second half. Referee Alex Prus only gave Smith a yellow card though, so what gives?

According to Smith, he hit Waibel with his shoulder and not his head and insisted that Waibel dove to try and get him thrown out.

It's Q&A Time

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Well folks, with all the soccer action last weekend and all the activity at MLS Cup in Washington DC, it feels like a perfect time for another Question & Answer session.

Here is your chance to ask me soccer questions about anything from MLS to international soccer. Try to keep them reasonably-sized and try to limit your questions to one or two.

Jose Angulo close to choosing MLS

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Former high school All-American and St. Benedict's Prep standout Jose Angulo is very close to deciding on signing with Major League Soccer ahead of the 2008 MLS Draft in January.

According to sources close to Angulo, the left-footed striker has received strong interest from a top team in Italy but concerns about his citizenship status in MLS have Angulo leaning toward signing with MLS.

Monday Morning Center Back: The day after

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Good morning folks. It is the day after one busy weekend of soccer action. You had MLS Cup, the US national team playing its last game and European championship and South American World Cup qualifiers going on. It truly was a soccer fan's paradise.

Here is a look back at some of the weekend's highlights:

MLS Cup XII.

MLS Cup XII: New England vs. Houston (Running Commentary)

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Good morning folks. I'm coming to you from RFK Stadium and we are about an hour away from MLS Cup XII.

I'm writing you from the computer of Dallas-based writer and ESPN.com teammate Steve Davis because the wireless connection isn't working for everybody. Hopefully it gets hashed out or else you might be subjected to Soccer By Steve.

I will be doing a running commentary during the match (as soon as my computer gets a connection).

Red Bulls denied permission to interview Juan Carlos Osorio

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The Red Bulls' search for a head coach to replace Bruce Arena has led them to Chicago head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. Sources have told SBI that the Red Bulls asked for permission to speak with Osorio about their vacant head coaching position. Chicago turned down the Red Bulls request but there is still a possibility that the Fire will grant the Red Bulls permission to speak to Osorio.

MLS Cup Notes

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Good afternoon folks. I'm back from watching the USA-South Africa match, which was definitely entertaining (Not the match, but going to Summer's to watch it). It has been a very interesting weekend in DC with last night's Commissioner's Party serving as the high point of the weekend. A veritable who's who of American soccer converged on Park at 14th and the information was flowing.

Red Bulls: Jozy is NOT for sale

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The same day reports emerged from Spain linking Real Madrid to Red Bulls forward Jozy Altidore, Red Bulls officials made it clear that the 18-year-old sensation is not for sale.

"He's not going anywhere," Red Bulls president Marc deGrandpre said on Friday night. "I've talked to Jozy and he knows he's a very important part of our future.

USA vs. South Africa (Your running commentary)

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Good morning folks. Yes, I am awake (barely) and am about to head to Summer's in Arlinton VA. The lineup for today's match is out and the only variation from my proposed lineup is Heath Pearce at left back (with Feilhaber on the right wing and Bradley in central midfield)

I will attempt to do some running commentary from Summer's but if I can't you can at least post your thoughts on the match here.

USA vs. South Africa: Who will Bob Bradley start?

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Good afternoon folks. I'm freezing to death in the RFK Stadium press box and finalized plans for watching the USA-South Africa friendly on Saturday. I will be watching it at Summer's in Arlington VA. Bruce from the Dunord blog is hosting a viewing party and he has given me permission to crash it. That means all SBI Mafia members are encouraged to attend.

MLS Cup Notes

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It is still a little early in the weekend but here are some nuggets to pass along from the MLS Cup festivities:

Fernando Clavijo will be back as Colorado coach in 2008. I must admit to being stunned when I heard this last night.

Bruce Arena is in Virginia this weekend. No word on whether he will be emerging from seclusion this weekend.

Mourinho is in town

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The world's most famous unemployed soccer coach is in Washington D.C. this weekend. No, not Greg Ryan, Jose Mourinho.

The former Chelsea manager is in town as a guest of Major League Soccer. He has been spotted around the nation's capitol and sources say he will attend MLS Cup.

As for whether he's being lined up to coach an MLS team?

MLS Cup XII: New England vs. Houston (Who will win?)

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Good afternoon folks. It's been a crazy day of running around DC, but I have settled in at RFK Stadium and remembered that I needed to ask you all who you liked in this weekend's MLS Cup final.

Will it be Houston in a repeat or will New England break its MLS Cup jinx?

I liked Houston for a while but am now going to go with New England.

Red Bulls complete purchase of AEG's share of Red Bull Park

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The Red Bulls are set to announce the completion of their purchase of AEG's share of the Red Bull Park stadium project. Yes, finally.

This should pave the way for Red Bull to begin construction of Red Bull Park, at least in theory. As you know from reading SBI, the project is facing some issues that should delay the project. One Red Bulls official told me my new timetable for the project was inaccurate.

Real Madrid eyeing Jozy Altidore

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Real Madrid is after Jozy Altidore. That is the word emerging from Spain today as leading sports daily AS is reporting that Real is scouting the Red Bulls striker.

The lead to the article says it all. "Real Madrid is searching the international market for players who are young, talented and inexpensive, all qualities found in forward Jozy Altidore, the grand sensation of MLS.

Greetings from DC (Emilio wins MVP)

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Good evening folks. Apologies for the lengthy blackout but I drove to down to DC today and took in the festivities at the ESPN Zone.

As you know by now, Luciano Emilio won the MVP Award, beating out Juan Pablo Angel. As SBI readers know, I felt Angel should win the award. I still feel that way, and feel like I made a pretty strong and clear argument for Angel, but I won't argue about Emilio winning it.

SBI heads to MLS Cup

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Good morning folks. Today I head to our nation's capitol for the 12th installment of the MLS Cup title game and for those of you who don't know, MLS Cup weekend consists of far more than just the game.

Cup weekend is also when officials from all of the league's teams converge in one place, creating a great atmosphere to gather information and meet people you have written about during the year.

Szetela earns first start for Racing

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Clifton native and U.S. Under-20 national team standout Danny Szetela earned his first official start for Spanish club Racing de Santander on Wednesday. He played 65 minutes in Racing's scoreless tie against Malaga in the fourth round of Copa Del Rey.

The start is a promising development for the former Columbus Crew midfielder, who hadn't made an appearance yet in a first team match since signing with Racing in August.

SBI European Club Top 25

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The two-horse race continues.

Manchester United and Arsenal posted easy victories last weekend to maintain their holds on the top two spots in the SBI European Club Top 25.

The pack chasing the English giants thinned out a bit as Barcelona and Real Madrid endured disappointing weeks. Barca lost to Getafe AGAIN and has fallen to fifth while Inter Milan didn't play due to the fan violence in Italy.

Say hello to Pia Sundhage, new US Women's national team coach

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Apologies for the delay in posting about the hire, but for those of you who missed it or were trying to avoid it, the U.S. Women's national team named Pia Sundhage as its new coach.

What do you think of the hire? Like it? Hate it? Don't care? Wish it had been Tony DiCicco again? Wish Brianna Scurry had retired and taken it so she could torment Hope Solo?

Dane Richards called up to Jamaican National Team

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Red Bulls midfielder and MLS rookie of the year finalist Dane Richards has been called up to the Jamaican national team for friendlies against El Salvador (Nov. 18) and Guatemala (Nov. 21) in Kingston.

Richards is no stranger to the national team, having earned three caps already.

It has been a shaky time for the Jamaican national team, which recently fired Bora Milutinovic as head coach and replaced him, at least temporarily, with long time national team player Theodore Whitmore.

Reader-Inspired Post: The CONCACAF Best XI

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So who are the region's best players?

That was a question posed to me in the latest Q&A session, to name my CONCACAF Best XI.

It is a pretty tricky question because if you're talking about talent and value then you get one team, but if you talk about current form and production you can come up with a completely different team.

U.S. national team to face Mexico in Houston on Feb. 6

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The rivalry is back.

The U.S. national team is set to face Mexico at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Feb. 6th in the first meeting between the teams since the Americans downed the Mexicans in the Gold Cup Final, 2-1, in June.

You know the record. The United States is 8-0-1 against Mexico on American soil since 2000, 9-2-1 in all meetings since 2000.

MLS Expansion Draft Lists (You Decide)

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Apologies for the lack of posts this morning. I started doing the European Club Top 25 as well as a CONCACAF BEST XI and time just flew by. Those will come later.

For now, let's focus on MLS. The MLS Expansion Draft for San Jose is a week away, which means it isn't too early to start considering what players the league's 13 teams will protect.

Donovan Out of South Africa friendly

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U.S. national team star Landon Donovan will miss the team's friendly against South Africa with a calf strain suffered during an exhibition match for the Galaxy. The injury reduces the number of players in the U.S. Camp to 17 and should leave Bob Bradley with some interesting decisions.

Chief among them is whether to give Jozy Altidore his first national team start in his first call-up.

U.S. Women to name new head coach Tuesday

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The search for Greg Ryan's replacement has ended.

The U.S. Soccer Federation will announce the new U.S. Women's national team coach on a conference call on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

Who will it be? I have no idea. Tony DiCicco? Pia Sundhage? I can tell you who it won't be. Bruce Arena.

Here is a good article recapping the U.S.

Red Bull Park looking at Fall '09 opening at best

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If you are a Red Bulls fan who was hoping to take in games at the team's new stadium in 2009, you are going to have to wait longer than expected.

According to multiple sources, the proposed Red Bull Park stadium project in Harrison is looking at a completion by the fall of 2009 at best, with 2010 a possibility that is growing stronger by the day.

Your questions answered

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Good afternoon folks. It took a bit longer than I had hoped for but I finally finished off the last round of questions. I was supposed to do these last week but as you know, things got a little crazy around here.

Now, without any further ado, here are the answers to ALL most of your questions:

KAHLVA- It's the old question: What's up with Red Bull Park?

Monday Morning Center Back: Seattle is in, now who's next for MLS Expansion?

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Good morning all. It has been a pretty active past few days in MLS.

After a year that saw an infusion of new talent, a crop of new coaches and even one new team (Toronto), we went through an entire season to wind up with the exact same two teams playing for the MLS Cup as last year, Houston and New England. Admit it, you were hoping for something less predictable.

Lewis out, Spector and Pearce in

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U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley has called up Jonathan Spector and Heath Pearce for the team's upcoming friendly against South Africa. The national team soccer blog reported that Spector and Pearce on their way in while veteran Eddie Lewis will NOT be joining the squad in South Africa.

Things just got interesting. With Jonathan Bornstein alreay in camp, we will now get a good idea how the national team's left back prospects stack up heading into 2008.

Michael Bradley does it again

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Good morning folks. I was going to save this for the Americans in Europe roundup, but decided to give you guys an early-morning treat.

U.S. national team midfielder Michael Bradley continued his goal-scoring exploits this weekend, scoring the game-winning goal to help Heerenveen overcome an early red card and post a 1-0 victory over Vitesse Arnhem on Sunday.

MLS Playoffs: Kansas City at Houston (Your Running Commentary)

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Good evening folks. In a few short hours we will find out who the second MLS Cup participant will be. Will it be defending champion Houston, or underdog Kansas City? We will find out at 8:30pm on Fox Soccer Channel.

WHo do I see winning? I can't see Kansas City knocking off the Dynamo under any circumstances. I mean hey, it's soccer, the best team doesn't always, but in this instance I'll take the battle-tested champions over the club that moonwalked its way into the playoffs.

This weekend's soccer on TV

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No, there are no Manchester United-Arsenal type matches this weekend but if you are looking for entertaining match-ups, this weekend has its share.

Defending MLS champion Houston faces Kansas City with an MLS Cup berth on the line on Saturday night. On the European front, Manchester United plays host to Blackburn and Sevilla faces Villarreal in the best game on TV this weekend.

Rooney out a month, Beckham in for England

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The England national team cannot catch a break.

You can now add Wayne Rooney to the list of injured stars after the Man U striker injured his ankle earlier today. The injury is expected to keep him out for up to a month, which means he will miss England's crucial Euro qualifier against Croatia on Nov. 16.

How bad are things for England?

Gullit and Seau: Separated at birth?

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If seeing pictures of Ruud Gullit has made you feel like you have seen that face somewhere before, it is because you have. The new LA Galaxy coach is a dead ringer for NFL linebacker Junior Seau:

Just a thought.

Oh, and Gullit is the one on the left.

Altidore on U.S. roster for South Africa friendly

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Yes, the time has finally come.

Red Bulls forward Jozy Altidore has been called in for the U.S. national team's upcoming friendly against South Africa on Nov. 17. He and fellow U.S. Under-20 stars Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley will join veteran standouts Clint Dempsey, DaMarcus Beasley, Tim Howard and Landon Donovan on the squad that will travel to Africa to face the 2010 World Cup hosts in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup.

TGIF- Will they ever learn?

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Good morning all. One of the crazier weeks in recent memory is almost over and the news just keeps on coming in the soccer world.

The Los Angeles Galaxy is set to introduce Dutch legend Ruud Gullit as its next head coach today and I can't help but think about the vast array of high-profile foreign coaches who have come to MLS and failed to work the magic most expected of them.

SBI European Club Top 25

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It is a few days late but I finally got around to doing a new SBI European Club Top 25.

Arsenal and Man U met with the No. 1 spot on the line last weekend and while the teams tied in a thrilling affair, Man U did enough in mid-week to merit a move into the No. 1 place. Arsenal's 0-0 tie against Slavia Prague drops them to No. 2.

MLS PLAYOFFS: Chicago Fire at New England Revolution (Running Commentary)

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Good evening folks. We will find out the first qualifier for the MLS Cup final tonight when Chicago faces New England in the Eastern Conference Final. I will be doing a running commentary on the match and you can follow along and add your comments here.

Let's have some fun. Fire away.

PRE-GAME- The Revs starting lineup is the same it has been.

SBI Siesta

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Good morning folks. I'm coming to you live from the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City and I'm enjoying a little break from the blog. I will be back later this afternoon. Feel free to use this post to discuss any of the issues that have propped up while I have been away from the blog, including:

  • Champions League
  • Ruud Gullit as LA Galaxy coach
  • Preki as coach of the year
  • More Red Bulls banter
  • Tonight's MLS Eastern Conference final

I will be doing a running commentary on the match tonight so check back in for that.

MLS Rookie of the Year: Maurice Edu

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Toronto FC midfielder Maurice Edu was named MLS Rookie of the Year today. Edu beat out Red Bulls midfielder Dane Richards and New England forward Adam Cristman (as well as RSL's Robbie Findley, who should have made the final three).

Edu was a rock for Toronto FC all season, showing vision, strength, athleticism and courage in central midfield.

You Write the Caption

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Yes, it has been entirely too long.

You Write the Caption is back and I had to resurrect it after finding a great photo of everyone's favorite MLS team president, Alexi Lalas. The man who has ruined as many MLS teams as Andy Williams has played for made his return as a player recently in a charity soccer match.

Enjoy the photo and provide your own caption:

"Alexi Lalas prepares for his signature move, the foot in mouth.

MLS Eastern Conference Final: Chicago at New England (Who will win?)

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Okay folks, enough Red Bulls talk. The Eastern Conference final is set for Thursday night and it is time to start focusing on that match.

For those of you needing a primer on this match-up, here is my preview for ESPN.com. To sum it up, Chicago is riding a wave of confidence and playing quality soccer. The Revs, eh, not so much.

Don't look for Angel to leave just yet

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Good morning folks. I know some of you Red Bulls fans out there are concerned about Juan Pablo Angel following Bruce Arena out the door. I wouldn't go that far just yet.

Angel had some very good things to say about his time with the Red Bulls and it actually sounds as if the Colombian striker is interested in signing an extension.

Some quality reading

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I just read through the newest edition of 4-4-2 Magazine and it is a must-have, particularly if you are a Kaka fan.

This got me to thinking about the best soccer magazines out there. As you know, there seems to be a new batch of soccer magazines every time I hit the bookstore. Unfortunately, the list of top three magazines hasn't changed in years.

Red Bulls player reactions

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If you were waiting to hear some negative comments from Red Bulls players about former coach Bruce Arena. Not only did just four players speak to the media on Tuesday, not had a single bad thing to say about Arena.

Juan Pablo Angel, Dave Van Den Bergh, Jon Conway and Clint Mathis were all interviewed and none of them took any shots at Arena.

The aftermath

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Good afternoon folks. It has been a crazy two days in the wake of Bruce Arena's departure from the Red Bulls so apologies for the lack of non-Red Bulls posts.

Today was similarly busy as I wrote another Arena column for ESPN before making my way to the Red Bulls practice facility. Players were made available to talk but not everybody did.

My Arena column

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Good morning folks. For those of you who haven't seen it, here is my column in today's Herald News on Bruce Arena's departure from the Red Bulls. It pretty much says it all.

Give it a read and share your thoughts on the column below.

Who will replace Bruce Arena?

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The body of Bruce Arena's Red Bulls' coaching career isn't cold yet but it is never too soon to start talking about replacements.

Before I delve into the possibilities I want to hear from you. Name the coach you would like to see be the next to step up and take the most cursed coaching position in all of professional soccer.

Let's hear some suggestions.

Agoos' job to be eliminated

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It is the kind of news that deserves its own press release and conference call but lost in the Red Bulls conference call to discuss Bruce Arena's 'resignation' was word that Jeff Agoos' position as technical director was being eliminated.

Agoos will become a candidate for the position of sporting director, a title Arena held along with head coach.

What Arena's departure means for Reyna

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One popular notion stemming from Arena's resignation is that it will mean the definite departure of Red Bulls captain Claudio Reyna.

Don't be so sure.

Reyna may not be back in 2008, but his decision will have nothing to do with Arena. In fact, the two had a falling out earlier in the season and were barely on speaking terms by the end of the year.

Arena out as Red Bulls coach

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Bruce Arena's tenure as head coach of the Red Bulls is over.

Soccer By Ives has learned that Arena has been fired as head coach and sporting director, ending his tenure with the team after his first full season with the club. Sources close to the team confirmed that the Red Bulls will announce Arena's departure on Tuesday.

The decision comes just two days after the Red Bulls' season ended with a playoff loss to New England.

Americans in Europe: Weekend Rewind

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It was a good weekend for American soccer players in Europe. No, they didn't score goals in bunches (though Clint Dempsey did find the net again) but more of them are getting playing time as some return from injury and others from the depths of the bench.

You already know about how Freddy Adu has established himself in recent weeks as a regular contributor to Benfica, but now Jonathan Spector and Heath Pearce have managed to escape from the 'Did not Dress" category to play for their respective teams.

Monday Morning Center Back: The top seeds fall

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Good morning all. It was a crazy weekend in Major League Soccer as the two best teams during the regular season, DC United and Chivas USA, both lost their first-round playoff series. The shakeup means Chicago and Kansas City, which both needed late-season wins just to make the MLS playoffs, are one win away from an MLS Cup final berth.

Yallop leaves LA, will coach San Jose

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The inevitable has happened. Frank Yallop's tumultuous tenure with the Los Angeles Galaxy has ended. He reached an agreement on a buyout with the Galaxy and is set to coach the San Jose Earthquakes, which are set to return to MLS as an expansion team in 2008.

Yallop was always the front-runner to coach the Earthquakes after leading San Jose to a pair of MLS Cup titles during the club's first incarnation.

Get the TIVO ready

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Hello folks.

I had to take the day off from the blog today but had to pass this along. If you missed Villarreal's thrilling 4-3 win against Atletico Madrid this weekend you can catch the replay on GolTV tonight at midnight. If you can't stay up for it then you should at least set the TIVO. You won't be disappointed.

The Red Bulls season is over

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So it's another year and another painful disappointment for the Red Bulls and I know you Red Bulls fans out there are ready to vent your frustrations. It was a roller coaster season, with glimpses of brilliance and moments of painful sheer pain.

Here is your chance to vent. Feel free to talk about this year and what you hated and loved about it.

Coundoul called up to Senegalese National Team

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Call MLS the league of the goalkeeper. You already know about former MLS goalkeepers Brad Friedel, Tim Howard and Marcus Hahnemann plying their trades in the English Premier league, and now you've heard about Brad Guzan being scouted by Arsenal. Now, Colorado goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul is starting to gain international attention.

Soccer By Ives has learned that Coundoul has been called up to the Senegalese national team for upcoming friendlies against Mali ion Nov.

Red Bulls at New England Revolution (Red Bulls Lineup)

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I just got the Red Bulls lineup and it is going to look familiar to those of you who read the blog earlier in the week:

---------Altidore-----------Angel---------------

---------------------Reyna-----------------Richards

--------Kovalenko-----------Vide----------------

Van Den Bergh-------------------------Freeman

---------Stammler--------Parke-----------------

------------------Conway-------------------------

Waterreus and Doe are on the bench.

MLS PLAYOFFS: Red Bulls at New England (The Pregame)

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Good afternoon folks. I'm at Gillette Stadium and it is MISERABLE here. The combination of rain, cold and wind should make for an ugly game tonight (at least it isn't snowing like game two in 2005). On the bright side the football lines have been erased for the game.

Here are some updates for tonight's game:

Francis Doe is nursing an abdominal strain and is questionable for tonight's match.

MLS PLAYOFFS- Who wins in the West?

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If you are still in some shock after seeing the No. 1 seed in the East go down on Thursday night, get ready. You may be in for another surprise.

The Kansas City Wizards are on the verge of knocking off West No. 1 seed Chivas USA in their playoff series. Chivas USA, which came into the playoffs without Ante Razov, will now face life without Maykel Galindo, who is expected to miss game two with a groin injury.

This weekend's soccer on TV

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Admit it. When you heard Manchester United-Arsenal wasn't going to be on basic cable you almost cried? Now you will have to head over to an overcrowded soccer bar in the AM to see the can't-miss clash.

Want a consolation prize? How about Juve-Inter? Or Atletico Madrid-Villarreal? Is Real Madrid-Sevilla more your liking?

The point is there will be plenty of high-level clashes on TV this weekend for those of you who won't pay the pay-per-view cost or hit a soccer bar for Arsenal-Man U.

It's Q&A Time

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Good morning folks. It is the day after Chicago's thrilling series victory against DC United and we are left with a bit of a soccer hangover as we wait for the weekend's action to get here tomorrow.

I will be heading up to New England today but before I do I figured it was time for another Question and Answer session. Send me your soccer-related questions and I will do my best to answer them or give my take on them.

Chicago Fire at DC United (Running Commentary)

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Okay folks, I wasn't going to do a running commentary on tonight's match but I'm watching and I know many of you are also so it can't hurt.

Share your thoughts on tonight's match below.

Let's have some fun.

--------------------------

HALFTIME- Well, we always knew a team could be playing at home for MLS Cup.

My column on Tom Soehn and Juan Carlos Osorio

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We are a little more than three hours from kickoff of tonight's Chicago-DC United playoff decider on ESPN2 and I'm sure those of you who support these teams (and many who don't) can't wait for the match to start.

While you wait for kickoff you should check out this article I wrote today on DC coach Tom Soehn and Chicago coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

Red Bulls practice Report (Thursday)

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It was an interesting day at Red Bulls practice. No, Bruce Arena didn't put Jozy Altidore in goal, but there were some interesting nuggets relating to Clint Mathis, Dave Van Den Bergh and the goalkeeping situation.

Here is the rundown:

  • The most interesting thing Arena said regarding the team on Wednesday was that the goalkeeper situation is still not decided.

What lineup should the Red Bulls use vs. New England?

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Hello folks. I'm about to head to Red Bulls practice and it's time to ask that familiar question. What lineup should Bruce Arena use in game two of the Red Bulls playoff series vs. New England?

Assuming everyone is healthy (which is still unclear with Dave Van Den Bergh's status in doubt), tell me the starting lineup and formation you would use if you coached the Red Bulls.

Some Eastern conference playoff coverage

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Good morning folks. The Eastern Conference playoffs resume tonight with Chicago traveling to DC. Here are some stories to get you thinking about the East playoffs.

Here is my column on ESPN.com about the East playoffs, including some strong comments from DC coach Tom Soehn.

And for those of you who missed it earlier in the week, here is my Tuesday column from the Herald News.