Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2007

SBI Fantasy Rankings (Week eight)

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Sorry for the delay in getting this up but it got lost in the holiday weekend/Q&A mix.

Congrats to Mike Sansone, who is representing the SBI League well by holding first place overall in the entire Fantasy MLS competition. That is seriously impressive. Props to Hudson FC for moving into second place in the league and seventh overall, helping us state our case for having the toughest league in the entire set-up.

Man United pull a double swoop for Anderson and Nani

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Sir Alex Ferguson didn't waste a lot of time getting ready to defend that EPL title Manchester United just won. Man U has landed Brazilian playmaker Anderson and Portuguese star Nani in a pair of deals that have to make the Red Devils favorites to repeat as EPL champions.

If you haven't seen either of these Portuguese League players player, you have missed out.

U.S. Under-20 game at Giants Stadium announced

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As first reported here on SBI more than a week ago, The US Under-20 national team will play in a doubleheader at Giants Stadium with the US Women's national team on Wednesday, June 23rd. The US Under-20s will face off against Chile, another team participating in June's U-20 World Championships in Canada. US Soccer officially announced the match today.

US Lineup vs. China (what starting XI do you want to see?)

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Looking at Bob Bradley's roster for the China game and its inclusion of so many young players (and some Bradley favorites like Razov and Marsch) I started wondering what starting 11 I would want to see out of that group on Saturday.

Do you want to see the national team veterans or a lineup with one or two of the youngsters, like Nguyen or Davies?

Gold Cup rosters announced

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CONCACAF announced the rosters for next month's Gold Cup. After looking them over I have to say that the region has grown stronger than people realize. There are some pretty good teams in the field, including Costa Rica, Honduras and Canada along with traditional powers Mexico and the US.

The most disappointing absence? How about Honduras' David Suazo?

Davies, Nguyen and Kamani Hill named to US squad vs. China

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I told you folks in this morning's Q & A that Bob Bradley would have some nice surprises in store for the China rosters and he did, calling in Charlie Davies, Lee Nguyen and Kamani Hill for the friendly on Saturday.

Nguyen is the biggest surprise, having just recovered from shoulder surgery. I didn't think he would be back this soon but if he is close to fit then he is a very strong candidate for the Copa America roster.

Chris Leitch training with Red Bulls

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The rash of injuries to Red Bulls defenders has led the club to take another look at former MetroStar Chris Leitch. Some of you may remember that Leitch was set to train with the Red Bulls but suffered a knee injury very early in the trial.

What may not be as well known is that the Red Bulls were all set to sign him before the injury happened.

My feature on Chris Karcz in today's Herald News

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Hello all, I'm back after my recovery from knocking out the biggest Q&A session to date. I really appreciate you all contributing to that.

Here's my feature in Red Bulls trialist and former Clifton High star Chris Karcz in today's Herald News. For those of you who don't know I covered Karcz in high school and at Rutgers and he really is a testament to perseverance.

Your Questions Answered

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Here they are folks, your questions answered (please feel free to comment on the answers below):

EMILIO- With the potential Karcz signing as a developmental player, who would be released.

Also, is Arena comfortable with Graham as a backup or is he seriously interested in another center back, like the argentine who tried out.

Colombia releases preliminary Copa America roster and guess who isn't on it?

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The Colombian national team released a preliminary 34-man roster for Copa America on Monday and Red Bulls striker Juan Pablo Angel is not on the list. Not really a surprise since he hasn't been in the Colombia mix for a while but I was curious to see whether his good start to the MLS campaign would raise any eyebrows in his native country.

Random thoughts

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As I sit here after cranking out a Memorial Day feature on Chris Karcz for the Herald News and recovering from a barbeque (they always seem like a good idea until smoke is stinging your eyes and you're dreading cleaning the grill), I figured it was a good chance to catch you up on some soccer happenings and topics that I may have missed recently:

Eto'o to Liverpool?

SBI MLS Power Rankings

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I know these are a day early but I figured I would reward those of you who are checking out the blog on Memorial Day (and yes, I'm using the term 'reward' very loosely here).


  1. Red Bulls (5-1-2)- With 10 days to recover, the red-hot Red Bulls should be healthy for their trip to KC.

FIFA puts Alexi Lalas in his place regarding Beckham's England recall

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You just knew it was going to happen. A few days after Alexi Lalas planted both feet in his mouth regarding David Beckham's recent call up to the England national, FIFA has stepped in and reminded Lalas what the rules are regarding players being able to play for their national teams.

In short, the Galaxy can't stop Beckham from playing in England friendlies if the matches are on FIFA dates.

Monday Morning Centerback

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Yes, I know, there's only an hour left in the morning, but I wasn't even going to do this week's MMCB until someone asked about it. The idea for MMCB is to give people something to read a they're sitting in their office trying to recover from the weekend. I guess I didn't think about those unlucky few who are actually at work today instead of sitting on a beach somewhere this Memorial Day.

FIFA to outlaw international matches at high altitude

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FIFA is set to outlaw matches held at high altitude, the sport's governing body announced on Sunday.

Sorry US Soccer fans but there isn't cause for celebration. The new guidelines outlaw matches played at more than 2500 meters (about 8200 feet). Unfortunately for US fans, that won't rule out matches at Mexico's Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, which is located at 2200 meters.

Eddie Johnson blasts New England, nets hat trick

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Eddie Johnson has continued the resurrection of his 2005 form on Saturday, netting a hat-trick to lead the Wizards to a 4-3 win against New England.

Who is this guy and what have the Wizards done with the real Eddie Johnson? This is great news, particularly for the US national team as it heads into the Gold Cup with Johnson and Taylor Twellman in great form.

Beckham earns England national team recall

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Real Madrid midfielder and soon-to-be LA Galaxy star David Beckham has earned a call-up to the English national team. In a remarkable turnaround, England manager Steve McLaren has called Beckham back in after famously dropping him after taking over as England manager.

MLS fans hoping to see Beckham during his tour of the league had better start checking England's fall calendar.

Crying about Catalonia

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Hello all. Apologies for the day away from the blog but I needed some time to unplug and chill out with the family. That said, I surely would have blogged if I had a computer with me. Unfortunately I was like Ari Gold without his cell phone on Yom Kippur.

I'm back and have to say that I am pretty sick of hearing the complaining about the U.

It is Q & A Time

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With the long weekend ahead of us and so much soccer news going on, from MLS to US national team, I figured it was a good time for another question and answer session.

Just post your questions below in the comments section and I will post the answers to them on Tuesday morning. Remember, try to keep the questions somewhat brief and try to limit them to one or two.

What a goal by Juan Pablo Angel

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So I'm watching the Red Bulls-Fire game a second time before I write up a blog report on the match for the morning and I had to comment on Juan Pablo Angel's second goal, the fakeout on Chris Armas and Matt Pickens. It is just amazing how much skill and intelligence it took to pull that play off.

Actually, all three goals were impressive, both in construction and quality.

Halftime observations

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The best word I can use to describe the first half for the Red Bulls is Dynamic.

Slotting Jozy Altidore at left wing and Dave Van Den Bergh at left back has helped transform the Red Bulls attack into a free-flowing unit. If you think about it, by playing VDB and Kovalenko at outside backs the Red Bulls basically have eight attack-minded players on the field (Okay, so Stammler isn't really in attack mode but he is playing his part).

Red Bulls lineup (Dunivant injured, Altidore in midfield)

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Todd Dunivant picked up a left thigh injury in Wednesday's practice session, meaning we will see this lineup tonight:







Yes, we have three forwards up top, though Altidore will play more of a withdrawn role, 'in the hole' as they say.

U.S. Gold Cup roster announced

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Here is the US Gold Cup roster:

  • Goalkeepers (3): Tim Howard, Kasey Keller, Brad Guzan
  • Defenders (8): Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Frankie Hejduk, Jonathan Bornstein, Jay DeMerit, Frank Simek, Michael Parkhurst, Jonathan Spector
  • Midfielders (8): Clint Dempsey, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Benni Feilhaber, Pablo Mastroeni, Steve Ralston, Justin Mapp
  • Forwards (4): Landon Donovan, Brian Ching, Eddie Johnson, Taylor Twellman

Injuries kept several players off the roster, including Steve Cherundolo, Jimmy Conrad, Chris Albright and Chris Rolfe.

SBI Fantasy MLS League (Week 7 standings)

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I know many of you were waiting to see this posted and I apologize for the delay but as you probably know I had a story earlier in the week that required more of my time than most stories. Those of you who thought I didn't post this because my team is now officially terrible should be ashamed of yourselves. I have all your names and will seek my revenge.

Bradley to name US Gold Cup roster today

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We are a few hours away (NOON, not 1pm) from hearing the official naming of the U.S. national team's Gold Cup roster and I have to say that there seems to be more intrigue surrounding this group than any previous Gold Cup roster before it. Obviously we are all curious because we want to see what kind of roster Bob Bradley names.

I wouldn't expect many outright surprises.

Champions League Final in Pictures: AC Milan tops Liverpool

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AC Milan gained their revenge, beating Liverpool 2-1 in the Champions League final in a rematch of the 2006 final.

It was a good game and it can be argued that Liverpool played better. I would call it an evenly played game but Milan is a deserving champion.

Here are some images from the game:

Pipo Inzaghi celebrates one of his two goals on the day.

My Champions League final prediction

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Before I give you my Champions League final prediction, here are the Champions League final picks for some of the Red Bulls:

  • Dave Van Den Bergh- AC Milan
  • Seth Stammler- Liverpool
  • Todd Dunivant- AC Milan
  • Dane Richards- AC Milan
  • Bruce Arena- AC Milan
  • Jon Conway- Liverpool
  • Carlos Mendes- AC Milan
  • Clint Mathis- Liverpool
  • Hunter Freeman- Liverpool
  • Jozy Altidore- AC Milan
  • Dema Kovalenko- AC Milan

Now, on to my pick.

Red Bulls Practice report (Wednesday)

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So I made it to Montclair State on Wednesday but I missed a good portion of the short training session. Here is what I did gather from my trip:

Claudio Reyna did take part in some light drills and is a game-time decision. The team is calling it a game-time decision but given the fact that he didn't take part in any heavy training this week I wouldn't bet on him playing tomorrow.

Off to Red Bulls practice

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I'm heading to Montclair State for practice and will try to post from there. I'm taking the laptop so I'll see about getting you some quicker updates on the team. Stay tuned..

Red Bulls fire Director of Youth Soccer

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In what has to be one of the most shocking developments of the new year, the Red Bulls have fired recently-hired director of youth soccer Armen Simoniants on Tuesday for lying on his resume. Simoniants was hired to replace Giovanni Savarese just two weeks ago but was swiftly fired when inconsistencies in his resume came to light.

So what did he lie about?

Champions League Final: Where will you be watching?

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AC Milan and Liverpool will square off on Wednesday afternoon on ESPN2 and I'm sure most of you who can get away from work or don't have day jobs will be watching. My question is where will you be watching?

I'm leaning toward Mulligans in Hoboken again, although I'm sure I can be persuaded to go somewhere else.

Let me know where you folks will be watching.

Red Bulls practice report (Tuesday)

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Another day at Montclair State and I have to say the team looked pretty sharp in training, at least the portion of the session I saw. I tend to time my arrival to get there in time to see the 11 v 11 action and I got to see just that today. Here's what I saw:







Yes, it is the same starting lineup as the one that thrashed Columbus and after watching it train I have to say that it should take the field again vs.

Real Salt Lake dealing Jeff Cunningham to Toronto for Alecko Eskandarian

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A source has just confirmed this deal to me. Steve Goff broke the story of Eskandarian being dealt to RSL by Toronto FC and I just got word that it was for none other than Mr. Cunningham.

I'll pass along more info as it becomes available.

Red Bulls injury update

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What first seemed like somewhat minor ankle injuries suffered by Red Bulls goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus and defender Hunter Freeman have turned out to be far more serious, team trainer Rick Guter revealed on Tuesday.

Both players suffered torn ankle ligaments in the same week. Freeman's injury could keep him sidelined up to a month or longer while Waterreus has made a rapid recover from the injury he suffered during the team's 3-3 tie against Real Salt Lake more than two weeks ago.

And we're back

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Apologies for the day-long disappearance from the blog but I had a full day of attending Red Bulls practice, working on a feature series on the Red Bull Youth Academy as well as other stories.

I will be posting on today's Red Bulls practice later this evening so stay tuned for that. I will be posting an injury update on Ronald Waterreus and Hunter Freeman in about an hour.

SBI MLS Rankings (Week seven)

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Here is this week's MLS rankings. No change at the top but there's one team rising quickly (DC) and one falling fast (Columubs):

  1. New England Revolution (5-1-2)- The Revs D shows it can win games too.
  2. New York Red Bull (4-1-2)- Juan Pablo Angel has officially arrived.
  3. FC Dallas (5-3-1)- Dario Sala is back, and so is the FCD attack.

U.S. U-20s to play at Giants Stadium

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The U.S. Under-20 national team will play at Giants Stadium on June 23rd as part of a doubleheader with the U.S. Women's national team. The match will be one of the team's final preparation matches for this summer's Under-20 World Championships in Canada in late June.

A source has told me that the U-20 team, which features Jozy Altidore, Freddy Adu, Michael Bradley and Gabriel Ferrari, will hold its pre-tournament camp at the Premier Development Academy in New Jersey and will play two friendlies in the area.

Shevchenko eyes eventual MLS move

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For those of you who hadn't seen it, here is a story on Chelsea striker Andriy Schevchenko saying that he wants to finish his career in MLS. Sheva told that he wants to play in MLS before his career is over.

This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in the US. His wife is American and reports have been around for a while that they will eventually settle here.

Monday Morning Centerback

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Who will Bob Bradley choose the for the Gold Cup? We had another weekend of MLS games and the new US coach must have his roster selected by now. Readers offered up some pretty good suggestions on players Bradley should bring in.

Rather than going through trying to pick an entire roster I figured I would ask this: What MLS player has raised his national team stock the most so far this season and what player has seen his stock drop the furthest?

Red Bulls stadium looking at a delayed opening

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The Red Bulls announced on Monday that the projections for when Red Bull Park will open have been changed and now fall of 2008 is more likely than the summer. Land cleanup issues have led to delays. It should also be noted though that a warm, snow-free winter could speed things back up.

What does this mean for the Red Bulls? It means fans will be subject to Giants Stadium just a little bit longer.

Sorry folks

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I was in the process of writing a post on today's Red Bull reserve match before a problem with my wireless connection forced me to scrap it. I will finish it and post it tonight.

A day at the Red Bulls reserve game

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I made my way to Montclair State this morning to take in the Red Bulls' reserve team match against the Columbus Crew. I didn't expect to see great soccer, particularly on the turf at Sprague Field, but the fact that Clifton natives Danny Szetela and Chris Karcz were slated to start made it a trip worth taking.

The Red Bulls won 2-1, on goals from Jerrod Laventure and Sinisa Ubiparipovic in a game that was pretty ugly.

Red Bulls 4, Crew 0 (A second look)

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Funny what happens when you actually finish your chances.

The Red Bulls didn't play amazing soccer on Saturday night but when they put together a good sequence they finished it off with a nice goal. it is what the club couldn't do in the season opener against the Crew and what it didn't do last week against the Rapids.

The Crew probably deserved better than a 4-0 loss but it is clearly lacking a dynamic central midfield presence.

At the half: Red Bulls 1, Crew 0

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Commentary to come. Post your thoughts on the first half below:

Lineups and breakdown for Red Bulls-Crew

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Here's the starting 11 for tonight's match:








As I suggested earlier in the week, Wolyniec is in the starting lineup.

Altidore is at his prom

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If you were wondering where Jozy Altidore was tonight, he is in Florida attending his senior prom.

Altidore follows in the footsteps of Mike Magee, who attended his prom in 2003 on the day of a game. The only difference is Magee scored a goal at Columbus before heading to Chicago for his prom.

Keep your "Jozy should keep his scoring streak intact" jokes to yourself.

Drogba scores, Chelsea lifts the FA Cup

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Chelsea did it. After a season without a single piece of distinguished hardware the former EPL champions salvaged their 2006/2007 campaign by winning the FA Cup, courtesy of a Didier Drogba goal in extra time of a pretty even match (okay, so maybe it wasn't as ugly as I first suggested). Here is hoping Wednesday's Champions League final is more entertaining.

The La Liga race heats up

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Real Madrid and Barcelona are tied atop the La Liga standings and you can watch both play on TV on Sunday thanks to Gol TV.

Real Madrid meets Recreativo Huelva at 1pm then Barcelona faces Atletico Madrid at 3pm. GolTV will air both matches.

Actually, GolTV will also air third-place Sevilla's match against Deportivo La Coruna at 11am so Sevilla, which is fresh off winning a second-straight UEFA Cup title, could move into first place temporily before Real Madrid and Barcelona play.

Mulligan's it is

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After reading some of the responses about where people will be going to watch the FA Cup in the morning I have decided to see the game at Mulligan's in Hoboken (159 1st St.). Having seen last year's Champions League final there and a Chelsea-Barcelona Champions League tilt there this year I can vouch for it being a good place to watch a game.

Now, waking up will be the real trick.

Gold Cup roster: Who should Bradley take?

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Now that the whole ordeal of naming Bob Bradley as US head coach is behind us, we can look at the team Bradley will take to the Gold Cup. Yes, Copa America's roster will be filled with more new faces and surprises, but the Gold CUp roster is going to be announced pretty soon.

Here's my very quick take on what the Gold Cup roster might look like:

  • GK- Tim Howard, Matt Reis, Brad Guzan
  • D- Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Spector, Frank Simek, Jonathan Bornstein, Heath Pearce
  • M- DaMarcus Beasley, Clint Dempsey, Ricardo Clark, Pablo Mastroeni, Sacha Kljestan, Justin Mapp, Benny Feilhaber.

The FA Cup final: Where will you be watching?

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The FA Cup final is all set for Saturday morning, with Chelsea ready to battle Manchester United one more time.

I'm looking for a place to watch the game and wanted to know where you folks will be watching the game. Drop some suggestions for places to see the game. I'm sure I'm not the only one trying to find someplace with a good atmosphere to see the game.

A closer look at the argument against Bradley

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Yesterday's announcement that Bob Bradley would become the permanent U.S. national team head coach was met with plenty of different reactions and opinions and some of them just make me shake my head.

As most of you know by now I am a fan of Bradley as a coach and support the decision, but I have written enough pro-Bradley columns to not have to re-hash my views on the coach.

Red Bull practice observations (Thursday)

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I'm sitting in the Red Bulls training facility and it was another day of practice at MSU. Nothing too shocking to report. Here is what I saw:

The following players did not train due to injury: Reyna, Waterreus, Freeman. Altidore didn't train either but he was just recovering from Tuesday's Under-20 national team match.

Here was the starting formation of the day:








Tough to say how close this lineup is to what we'll see on Saturday.

Off to Red Bulls practice

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Sorry for the lack of posts this morning but it was a pretty long night for me. I'm heading to MSU to catch Red Bulls practice and will be checking in shortly.

Red Bulls Training Report (Wednesday)

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So much for getting a look at the mystery Argentine defender. I went to training today to see Mariano Fernandez train but he was nowhere to be found. He was definitely with the team on Tuesday but did not train on Wednesday. Could he have made an impression in that little amount of time? The word I got on Tuesday's session was that the team didn't really do that much.

Not a great first day at Red Bull training for Angulo

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As you may have read by now in my Jose Angulo story from today's Herald News, Angulo trained with the Red Bulls today. Unfortunately, his training session didn't last very long.

After some warm-up drills and running Angulo walked off the field after about 45 minutes with blisters on both feet. The combination of super-hot temperatures on the turf field at Montclair State coupled with Angulo not having played in months resulted in a painful and quiet exit from practice.

Busy day ahead

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I will apologize in advance for a lack of posts today. I will be running around on a couple of assignments. I am headed to Red Bulls practice now and will be heading straight to Manhattan for the US national team coach press conference. I will try to post from the road so stay tuned...

My story on Angulo turning pro

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For those of you who didn't stay up last night to here the news, St. Benedict's star and high-school All-American Jose Angulo will forgo his chance at a college playing career in order to pursue a professional contract. Here is my Herald News article on Angulo's decision.

Angulo counts Arsenal, Roma, Lazio and Hannover 96 among the first teams to express some interest, a group that should increase once he goes abroad and meets with more clubs.

Jose Angulo turning pro

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All-American St. Benedict's striker Jose Angulo won't be playing soccer in college. He will be taking his deadly left foot and bag of tricks to the pros. Angulo has signed with an agent and is about to pursue a career in Europe.

I know some of you are wondering about Angulo's national team status. He wants to play for the US national team and is in the process of securing his citizenship.

Breaking news on a local star coming soon

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I hate to be a tease but I figured I would give you die-hard SBI readers a heads up. I have a breaking story coming late tonight regarding an area soccer player. I won't say who it is or what it is about but I will say that some of you will have your curiosities fed.

Stay tuned....

A look at the next two months of the Bob Bradley era

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Here it is folks, the very loaded schedule for the U.S. national team for the upcoming two months. There will be plenty of opportunities for Bob Bradley and his team to show their stuff, be it against Argentina in the Copa America group game or a potential meeting against Brazil or Mexico in the Copa America quarterfinals.

Yes, Mexico and the United States could meet in the Gold Cup but the schedule is set up for them to meet in the final if they both get that far.

MLS Best XI for Week Six

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Sorry for the delay in getting this up but other news events kept me busy this morning.

Now, without further ado, here is your MLS Best XI for Week Six:

MLS Best XI for Week 6

GK- Bouna Coundoul, Colorado- Made several outstanding saves to preserve tie vs. Real Salt Lake, then

D- Kevin Goldthwaite, Toronto FC- Scored a goal and played well defensively in TFC's first win.

SBI Week 6 MLS Rankings

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What a week we just saw in MLS. Toronto FC's fans helped the new boys pull off the first win in team history, the Rapids handed the Red Bulls their first loss of the season and Taylor Twellman and the Revs continued to rip apart MLS defenses.

The week also signaled a chance for rest for two powerhouses that had been struggling. Houston and DC finally had a chance to regroup after a disappointing first month of the season and should be ready to make moves toward the top of their respective standings.

Red Bulls attendance column

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Here is my column in today's Herald News on the Red Bulls' current attendance situation. Forgive the headline, I don't write them.

I find it very interesting that there is a group of fans that is actually okay with the 'Wait for the stadium' approach to marketing that the Red Bulls seem to have adopted.

Ultimately, it's a sad sight coming to the stadium and seeing such small crowds for a team that is actually talented and playing quality soccer (Sunday's game notwithstanding).

Bob Bradley is the new U.S. National Team Coach

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Bob Bradley's tenure as interim U.S. national team coach is about to end. The former MetroStars and Chivas USA coach is about to be named the permanent choice to replace Bruce Arena. Sources have confirmed that the press conference set for Wednesday by U.S. Soccer will be to announce Bradley as head coach.

US Soccer president Sunil Gulati's decision to hire Bradley comes 10 months after Gulati removed Bruce Arena from the U.

Red Bulls eyeing Argentine defender?

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As expected, Bruce Arena is continuing his quest to make the Red Bulls roster as strong as possible. According to Washington Post baseball writer Steve Goff (kidding Steve), the Red Bulls have their sights set on Argentine defender Mariano Fernandez.

It is no secret that the club needs more depth in the back and this news might explain why Bruce Arena is out of town for the next two days (though a trip to Europe is also a possibility).

Sunday's crowd at the Red Bulls game was a joke

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Okay folks, we have heard plenty of excuses for why the crowd at Giants Stadium was so small. It was Sunday afternoon, it was Mother's Day. There was a sale at the mall. People were saving money to get ready for the increase in stamp prices. Whatever the excuse, there were plenty of them to go around.

In my opinion all of these are just excuses.

The Tevez controversy isn't going away

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Just when you thought the EPL promotion and relegation situation was resolved last weekend there appears to be growing support for a challenge to West Ham United's successful escape from relegation. The controversy surrounds Carlos Tevez' transfer to West Ham and whether the Argentine star should have been allowed to play for West Ham.

The weekend in pictures

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As you might have noticed lately the blog has had many more pictures. This is due to SBI finally having access to the Associated Press photo archives.

Since photos can create all sorts of emotions I thought it would be good to let you folks see some of the weekend's best images.

Here are some. Enjoy:


Monday Morning Center Back (The agony and ecstacy of the EPL)

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Stand up for the champions. Yes, the English Premier League Season is finally over and Manchester United finally knocked Chelsea off its high-priced perch as league champions. Love them or hate them, the Red Devils played some beautiful soccer and found results on a regular basis. Injuries for Chelsea played a part in the final outcome but Man U did what it had to.

Barcelona held, now in first-place tie with Real Madrid

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Ronaldinho scored a goal but Barcelona were denied a victory on Sunday thanks to a late goal by Real Betis' Rafael Sobis. The 1-1 tie leaves Barcelona in a first-place tie with red-hot Real Madrid with four matches remaining in the La Liga season. This should make for an interesting finish to the season.

Who do you think will wind up lifting the league trophy?

Rapids outhustle lifeless Red Bulls in 1-0 victory

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Colorado hustled, the Red Bulls didn't. The match pretty much boils down to that. Well, that and the Red Bulls complete inability to hit a good cross or strike a clean ball or make a sharp pass. It really was like a flashback to May of a year ago.

I give the Rapids credit for being disciplined and out-hustling the Red Bulls but they did manage just two shots on goal for the whole match so it is safe to say they were going to be happy with a scoreless draw if they got one.

Half-time observations from Red Bulls/Rapids

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Talk about an ugly first half. Juan Pablo Angel is working hard but a lack of service from a shaky midfield has preventd the Colombian from really having an impact. I know the Claudio Reyna haters are loving the fact that he is out with an injury but I don't think anyone can argue the point that the Red Bulls miss him today. The team can't maintain possession for any real length of time and any good pressure by Colorado leads to poor decisions.

Red Bulls vs. Colorado

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The game is under way and here's the formation the Red Bulls are using:







Claudio Reyna is out with a groin strain suffered on Saturday and Jozy Altidore is on the bench.

Real Madrid wins, jumps ahead of Barcelona in La Liga standings

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Real Madrid continued its late-season run at an improbably La Liga championship by coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Espanyol 4-3 on Saturday. French (and Argentine) striker Gonzalo Higuain (shown above) scored in the 89th minute to give Madrid the victory.

The win moves Real Madrid ahead of struggling Barcelona, at least temporarily.

Juventus fans, your team is nearly back up

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Italian star striker and long-time Red Bulls/MetroStars rumored target Alessandro Del Piero scored two goals to help Juventus post a 3-1 victory against Bologna on Saturday to move to the brink of gaining promotion back to Serie A after last year's match-fixing scandal pushed them down to Serie B.

Juve's return to the big-time is one of the big stories of the upcoming summer transfer season.

Toronto FC scores first goal, wins first match

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It took a while but Mo Johnston's team has found the net and the win column. Toronto FC rattled off three goals to beat the Chicago Fire, 3-1, on Saturday. Former Red Bull Edson Buddle notched two assists and newly-signed forward Danny Dichio scored Toronto's first goal before earning a red card.

Am I surprised by the result?

Friday's Red Bulls practice

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Well, there's nothing earth-shattering to report from Red Bulls practice. I did arrive a bit late so I might have missed the juicier stuff. I did arrive in time to see Juan Pablo Angel and Jozy Altidore paired up front in one lineup. It remains unclear how Bruce Arena is going to fit Angel, Altidore, Clint Mathis and Dane Richards on the field together.

Is Bob Bradley the pick? Sources say yes

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The hot word around town regarding the U.S. national team coaching search is that Bob Bradley is going to be named the head coach on a permanent basis. The Washington Post's Steve Goff is reporting that a source has told him that Bradley is Sunil Gulati's choice.

I received an email last week from someone who told me something similar, that Bradley was the choice, but when I contacted some sources to confirm it none of them could give me a concrete answer.

A look back at the World Cup

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Good morning folks. Sorry for the delay in getting something posted but I spent last night and this morning writing an ESPN column and I'm about to head to Red Bulls practice.

I do have a treat for you guys before I go. Last night I was going through my computer and found some photos I took at the World Cup of US Soccer fans. It really got me wondering whether any of the folks in the pics are SBI readers.

Hunter Freeman is OUT vs. Colorado

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Bad news for those fantasy MLS owners who banked on Hunter Freeman recovering from his ankle injury in time to play on Sunday. Freeman will not play on Sunday. Seth Stammler will likely play at right back in his place.

Goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus is listed as questionable for the match and we should learn more tomorrow at practice about his availability.

Kasey Keller: A man without a club

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Kasey Keller is looking for work. For those of you who haven't heard, Keller's current club, Borussia Moechengladbach, has agreed to part ways with the U.S. national team goalkeeper despite Keller's willingess to stay with the relegation-hit German club.

How did Keller get to this point? It likely began when Keller was met with the cold reality that no MLS team was ready to step up and make a bid for him.

Rosters announced for Ecuador-Ireland friendly at Giants Stadium

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The rosters have been released for the Ireland-Ecuador friendly at Giants Stadium on May 23rd. Here they are:


GOALKEEPERS: Nicky Colgan (Barnsley / ENG), Colin Doyle (Birmingham City / ENG), Wayne Henderson (Preston North End / ENG)

DEFENDERS: Alex Bruce (Ipswich Town / ENG), Derek Geary (Sheffield United / ENG), Stephen Kelly (Birmingham City / ENG), Paul McShane (West Bromwich Albion / ENG), Joseph O'Cearuill (Arsenal / ENG), John O'Shea (Manchester United / ENG), Sean St.

Your Questions Answered

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Hello folks, it took a while but I finally hammered out the answers to all your questions. It should be noted that I cut off questions on Sunday but some folks still added questions after that. I didn't answer those this time around but if you were one of the people who asked questions after the cutoff I should have another Q&A soon.

Now, without further ado, here are your questions answered:

EssEff- Can you give us any info you have on Eddie Lewis and what turn his career may take, if any, now that Leeds is dropping further?

Mo Johnston Slams Chicago Fire for turf complaints

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Mo Johnston has never been one to mince so words so we shouldn't be surprised to see him go after Chicago Fire head coach Dave Sarachan and president John Guppy after each made less than glowing comments about the artificial turf at Toronto FC's brand new BMO Field. He blasted Chicago in this Toronto Sun story.

Here is the juciest of Johnston's comments:

"I would think they would be more concerned about playing in front of only 7,000 or 8,000 fans (in Chicago), than our turf in Toronto," Johnston said.

The European transfer rumors are already flying

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It's still only mid-May but European transfer rumors are already flying as some of the game's best players have been linked to potential moves. For those of you who haven't had a chance to keep track of the rumors and news reports, here are some of the better ones:

Manchester United eyeing Samuel Eto'o- The thought of Wayne Rooney and Eto'o is enough to make any Man U fan's mouth water.

A look at Altidore's PK form

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I was going through Associated Press photos from last night's game and saw this one of Jozy Altidore's PK. It's a great shot of his PK form and I couldn't help but think that if Cronin watched this run-up he could tell that Altidore was going to his (Cronin's) left. You see Altidore's hips opened and plant leg facing the right post and this makes it easy to see how Cronin got the good jump he did on the shot.

U.S. Open Cup: The Day After

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The Red Bulls will be making the trip back from Los Angeles today, trying to recover from a thoroughly disappointing West Coast swing that included a shocking 3-3 tie against Real Salt Lake and deflating 3-1 overtime loss to the LA Galaxy in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier.

Will the team be able to recover in time for Sunday? It will certainly be interesting to see how the club responds to its eight game in nine days, particularly since several starters played 120 minutes or almost 120.

Cronin carries Galaxy to 3-1 overtime win vs. the Red Bulls in US Open Cup

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Steve Cronin played the game of his life on Tuesday night, making save after save to keep the Los Angeles Galaxy in a match they were thoroughly dominated in. After a scoreless regulation period which included a missed penalty kick by Jozy Altidore (which Cronin saved), the Galaxy took over in overtime. Landon Donovan converted a penalty kick, Kyle Martino delivered a header goal and Santino Quaranta finished off a breakaway in the match's final minute to give the Galaxy the 3-1 victory in a U.

Q & A answers coming Thursday morning

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Hello all. I know I posted that I would do the Q&A for Wednesday morning in an earlier post but my running commentary of the Red Bulls-Galaxy US Open Cup game took more time and energy than I expected. Apologies for the delay but I will definitely knock it out in time for Thursday morning.

U.S. Open Cup: Galaxy vs. Red Bulls (Running Commentary)

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U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Match

New York Red Bulls at LA Galaxy

Click below to follow along with the running match commentary:

10:40pm- The Riot Squad and Galaxians are out in force. At least there's some atmosphere.


10:38pm- Red Bulls in all blue, Galaxy in all white.

Juan Pablo Angel will play tonight

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Good news folks. Juan Pablo Angel is playing tonight. A source tells me he is playing tonight. I don't know if he's starting yet but he is definitely playing. I'll let you all know if he is starting as soon as I hear.

Also, I will be providing a running diary of the game tonight with the help of a source at the game. If you want some analysis of the match that gives you a little more than MLS Match Tracker I suggest you check in tonight.

Q & A coming Wednesday morning

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Yes, I know, I said I would have the Q & A out by Monday but that didn't quite work. What I can say is that I am now working on it and will get it ready for Wednesday morning.

Now, here's something some of you need to realize. I cut off questions as of Sunday afternoon and posted a comment saying so. Any questions asked after that cutoff will not be answered.

Real Madrid legend delivers some harsh criticism and raises some interesting questions

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Real Madrid legend Jorge Valdano pulled no punches in criticizing the style of play preferred by English powers Chelsea and Liverpool in this story. He specifically blames Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez for their team's style of play, a style Valdano is clearly not a fan of.

Here are some of the juicier comments Valdano made:

"Football is made up of subjective feeling, of suggestion - and, in that, Anfield is unbeatable," Valdano wrote in the Spanish newspaper Marca.

Red Bulls name new Youth Director

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The Red Bulls have named Armen Simoniants as the team's new Youth Academy Director, ending a search that began in March when the team fired former director Giovanni Savarese.

Simoniants will begin his second stint with the club, having been the head coach of the MetroStars reserve team from 2000 to 2003. He was most recently the head coach of Moldovan First Division club FC Olimpia Beltsy.

SBI Fantasy MLS League Week 5 results

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I have a confession to make. Last Wednesday I got a call from former Real Salt Lake general manager Steve Pastorino. He told me he didn't have much to do these days and wanted to know if he could pick my MLS Fantasy Team for week five. Since I was about to go on vacation and had a lot to work on I figured I could let him. How bad a team could he pick?

MLS Best XI (Week 5)

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There were some stunning individual performances last week, from Dwayne DeRosario's stunning brace to Clint Mathis' dominating effort against Real Salt Lake, and Steve Ralston's goal and two assists in New England's thrashing of Chicago.

So was it more difficult picking a Best XI this week? Not really. The 11 on this list are some of the league's best and most well-known players, with one obvious exception.

SBI's Weeek 5 MLS Rankings

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Hello all. I'm back from Florida and ready to deliver posts on a wide range of topics today. First up is the weekly MLS rankings. DC United and Houston both registered wins while Chicago and Columbus suffered their first losses.

Here they are, the MLS rankings after week five:

  1. Red Bulls (3-0-2)- Clint Mathis is on fire but Saturday's officiating crew handed RSL a point.

Juan Pablo Angel secures work visa

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Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel has received his work visa, clearing the way for him to play in the Red Bulls' next MLS match, on Sunday against Colorado at Giants Stadium. Angel still might play in the US Open Cup on Tuesday night against the LA Galaxy but that remains uncertain. What is certain is that he will be in uniform on Sunday.

Monday Morning Centerback

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Good morning folks. Sorry for the delay in posting this morning but I'm still on vacation in Florida. This is getaway day so I'll have some time this morning to do the Q & A session as well as get some new posts up for those of you who are at work instead of by a pool today.

So I'm trying to figure out which is in more pain, my back from sunburn or my fantasy MLS team from the shellacking it took this weekend.

Controversy surrounds RSL equalizer

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Sources have just told me that there are some rather suspect circumstances surrounding Real Salt Lake's equalizing goal against the Red Bulls tonight.

Apparently RSL midfielder Carey Talley had been on the sidelines changing his bloodied jersey and was waiting to be waived into the game by the match official, Ricardo Salazar, but fourth official Brian Hall told Talley to get back on the field before Salazar ever acknowledged Talley.

Red Bulls blow two-goal lead in final minutes, tie RSL 3-3

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Well, the unstoppable Red Bulls were stopped tonight, by none other than Real Salt Lake. Goals in the 90th and 92nd minute helped RSL salvage a tie after being down 3-1 courtesy of two goals from Clint Mathis.

I'm on vacation in Florida right now and didn't see the game so I can't tell you if the PK was legit or not but that still wouldn't explain how a supposedly defensively stable squad could surrender an equalizer in second-half stoppage time.

No Juan Pablo vs. Real Salt Lake (and Red Bulls lineup tonight)

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As you may already know, Red Bulls forward Juan Pablo Angel was unable to secure his work permit in time to play in tonight's match against Real Salt Lake.

Here's the lineup the Red Bulls will field vs. RSL







Dema Kovalenko sits for this one, with Stammler replacing him.

Juan Pablo Angel is in Salt Lake City

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Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel is in Salt Lake City with the Red Bulls and there is an outside chance that Angel could get his work permit in time to play in tomorrow's game against Real Salt Lake.

If Angel does get his work permit today I will post it as soon as I can. Right now it's still unclear whether he'll get it. Even if he doesn't get it today, Angel could theoretically get the work permit in time for the team's US Open Cup match against the LA Galaxy in Carson, California on Tuesday.

MLS Salaries revealed

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I sure picked a bad time to try and take a vacation (or should I say TRY to take a vacation).

The MLS Players Union has released the salaries for the 2007 season.

Red Bulls fans will find it interesting to see that Claudio Reyna will make a base salary of $1 million (actually $8 more than a million, not sure what that's about), and Juan Pablo Angel is set to make $1.

Adios Amado

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Amado Guevara has played his last game in Major League Soccer.

Sources have confirmed for me that after balking at the chance to join four different MLS teams that were interested in his services, Guevara is heading back to Honduras and Chivas USA and MLS are working on selling him to a Honduran team.

Look out for a slightly more detailed story on this topic on ESPN.

It is Q & A time

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Good morning folks. I'm writing you from Ft. Myers, Florida. I'm down here for a mini-vacation this weekend and you know I couldn't go too long without a post.

With all the news taking place in MLS I figured it was a good time to have another Q&A session. Please post your questions on here and I will provide some answers by Monday. I will be putting a cap on the number of questions this time around because that will allow me to do these more frequently.

Real Salt Lake fires John Ellinger

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John Ellinger has been fired as Real Salt Lake head coach just two days before the club is set to face the Red Bulls.

Ellinger and team GM Steve Pastorino were both fired and the Washington Post's Steve Goff is reporting that Jason Kreis could retire to become the new head coach.

This news doesn't draw a wow from me so much as a, "What took them so long?

New England at DC United tonight, a must-win for DC?

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It's rare when you can consider a match in the first week of May as a must-win situation but what should we make of tonight's ESPN2 match between the Revs and DC United? A loss tonight, at home no less, would drop DC to 0-4 in a very strong Eastern Conference.

So what is wrong with DC exactly? How can a team that looked so good in the Champions Cup be struggling so badly just weeks later?

Chivas USA denies Guevara trade report

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Chivas USA officials are insisting that the stunning Amado Guevara to Toronto FC trade did not happen, according to a report out of LA this morning.

According to the The Orange County Register, the trade reported by LA Soccer News yesterday, which had Chivas USA unloading Guevara to Toronto FC for Paulo Nagamura and a draft pick, was an unfounded rumor.

Chivas USA dumps Guevara, deals him to Toronto FC

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So much for Chivas USA being a perfect fit for Amado Guevara.

According to LA Soccer News, the Goats have traded Guevara to Toronto FC for Paolo Nagamura and an undisclosed draft pick.

My initial reaction isn't so much a "Wow" as a "this is pretty sad." On one hand you can understand Mo Johnston being willing to pay 10 cents on the dollar for a former league MVP but Johnston just added a clubhouse cancer to a team that's already in turmoil.

My Manchester United fandom (or not)

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Some of you seemed to be surprised to read that I am a Manchester United fan. I need to clarify some things as I watch the second leg Champions League semi vs. AC Milan (I won't spoil the score for you).

Am I really a ManU fan? Not really, but I do enjoy watching them play. Whether you love them or hate them you must agree they play good soccer.

Manchester United vs. AC Milan (Champions League semifinal leg 2)

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A day after Liverpool downed Chelsea in penalty kicks to book its place in the Champions League final we have a very promising showdown in Milan today between AC Milan and Manchester United. For those of you who forgot, Man U won the first leg, 3-2, in Manchester. The task is simple for ManU, win or tie. If Milan wins 1-0 then the Italians advance while a 2-1 Milan victory would force extra time followed by penalty kicks.

SBI Fantasy MLS League (Week 4 results)

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Congrats to the Taurine Machine for holding onto first place for a second straight week. I missed my chance to regain first place when I had a brain cramp and made Carlos Ruiz my captain instead of Kevin Hartman or Eddie Johnson. RBNYCT owner Robert Koerner moved into third place.

Some of the more familiar names are starting to lock into high places in the standings, including Metrofanatic general Brad Ostaszewski, whose Potezny Hillsborough is holding steady in the Top 10 at No.

MLS Best XI (Week 4)

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Here goes my take on the MLS Best XI for the past week. Among those who will NOT be on the list: Carlos "more cards than goals" Ruiz, Nick "how much does the USL pay these days" Rimando or Amado "if I push the ref I can leave early" Guevara.

GK- Kevin Hartman, Wizards- Two shutouts in a week not bad at all, even if they came against Toronto FC

D- Hunter Freeman, Red Bulls- His rapid rise continues with first career MLS goal.

My Guevara column today

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For those of you who haven't seen it, here is my column in today's Herald News on Amado Guevara.

I have written my share of columns critical of Guevara through the years, as well as my share of columns praising him, but it gets tougher and tougher to give him the benefit of the doubt when he continues to disappoint.

I know some readers commented yesterday that it is too early to judge the Guevara-for-DP trade but it really isn't.

SBI MLS Rankings

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In my quest to find new features to add to the regular rotation I have decided to start providing MLS Rankings each week (I'm also planning a weekly Best XI so look out for that. It should give you guys and gals something to talk about heading into the new week.

Here are the SBI Rankings for MLS:

  1. Red Bulls (3-0-1)- Record-setting defense and dynamic midfield leading the way.