Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2008

Stammler out for season after knee surgery

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BREAKING NEWS

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Red Bulls midfielder Seth Stammler's season is over.

The versatile midfielder underwent knee surgery on Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Chicago Fire at New England Revolution: Match Night Commentary

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The 2008 MLS playoffs are about to kick off tonight with the most familiar of playoff match-ups as the New England Revolution play host to the Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium (8pm, ESPN2).

The Revs have beaten the Fire in the past three playoffs, but the task will be extremely difficult this time around without Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston, who are both out due to injuries.

MLS announces finalists for 2008 awards

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Major League Soccer announced the finalists for its 2008 awards on Thursday. Columbus Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Chicago goalkeeper Jon Busch and San Jose midfielder Darren Huckerby were among the players up for regular season honors.

As expected, Schelotto and Donovan were among the finalists for leage MVP honors, with Cuauhtemoc Blanco being the third nominee.

MLS loans Beckham to AC Milan

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David Beckham is heading to Italy.

Major League Soccer confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the league has reached an agreement with Italian power AC Milan on a short-term loan deal for Beckham.

According to the MLS statement on the loan, the loan is set to begin on January 1.

Richards ready to run wild on Houston (again)

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It has been two months since the New York Red Bulls trounced the Houston Dynamo, 3-0, at Giants Stadium, but the memories are still fresh in the mind of Dane Richards.

The Jamaican winger enjoyed arguably his best game of the season that day, torching Dynamo left back Wade Barrett repeatedly, recording an assist while also blowing past Barrett for a 26th minute goal en route to the stunning 3-0 victory at Giants Stadium on Aug.

Red Bulls Update: Stammler struggling with knee injury, Jimenez improving

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The New York Red Bulls may be forced to face the defending champion Houston Dynamo without midfielder Seth Stammler, who has been sidelined this week with a right knee injury that could force him to miss the MLS playoff opener at Giants Stadium on Saturday.

Chicago Fire at New England: Match Day

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The 2008 MLS playoffs kick off tonight with the Chicago Fire traveling to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Revolution tonight (7:30pm, ESPN2).

The task is a difficult one for the Revs, who must try to beat Chicago without Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston, the team's two best attacking players.

Who should the Red Bulls start vs. Houston?

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The New York Red Bulls are two days away from game one of their Western Conference playoff series vs. Houston and head coach Juan Carlos Osorio has some tough decisions to make.

David Bentley's dream goal

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There are goals, and then there are GOALS. Wednesday's soccer action in Europe featured plenty of quality scores, but none as jaw-dropping as the 40-yard bomb by David Bentley against his former club, Arsenal, on Wednesday.

You can see the video of the goal here (for now).

The goal was the first of eight scored in a match that ended with Tottenham scoring two goals in the final minutes to salvage a 4-4 tie against their London arch-rivals.

You Write the Caption: The Freddie Ljungberg edition

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Welcome to the latest installment of You Write the Captions. This week's contest features a photo of Major League Soccer's newest millionaire, Seattle Sounders FC signing Freddie Ljungberg, who already has fans in Seattle buzzing about the impact he could make on and off the field.

The photo in question isn't necessarily a funny one, but it does leave plenty of room for creativity on the caption front.

Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind

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It took 10 months, but Frank Simek finally made his way back onto the field for Sheffield Wednesday.

The U.S. national team defender saw his lengthy recovery from torn ankle ligaments reach its conclusion when he played 33 minutes in Sheffield United's 1-0 loss to Plymouth.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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Good afternoon folks. It is the rare Wednesday afternoon of European league action and there is plenty on TV for those of you who A) work the graveyard shift, B) work from home, C) can work your TIVO from the office, D) can get out of work early and E) have a slingbox.

here is a rundown of this afternoon and evening's soccer matches on TV:

3pm- GolTV- VFB Stuttgart at Hamburg 4pm- FSC- West Ham at Manchester United 4pm- SetantaUSA- Portsmouth at Liverpool 5pm- GolTV- Bayern Munich at Eintracht Franfurt 6pm- FSC- Chelsea at Hull 6pm- Setanta USA- Tottenham at Arsenal 7:45pm- Setanta USA-Manchester City at Middlesbrough 8pm- FSC- Marathon at D.

You Write the Caption: Best of the Ronaldo Entries

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New MLS Cup trophy unveiled

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Major League Soccer/Tiffany

Major League Soccer unveiled its new MLS Cup trophy at a ceremony in New York City on Wednesday morning. The Tiffany-designed trophy has been named in honor of Los Angeles Galaxy owner Phil Anschutz and will be presented to the winner of MLS Cup on Nov.

Morning Ticker: Seattle introduces Ljungberg, Ronaldo to play in Brazil and Heinze slams Sir Alex

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Seattle Sounders FC introduced Freddie Ljungberg to the masses on Tuesday, showing off the club's first designated player and the player Seattle is hoping will be its own answer to David Beckham.

Seattle is certainly spending close to Beckham money on Ljungberg. Reports have Ljungberg signing a multi-year contract with a base salary of $2.

First stop on MLS Reserve Division championship tour? San Salvador

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Hey John Spencer, your Houston Dynamo reserves just won the MLS Reserve Division. Where are you going next?

To San Salvador!

That's right, fresh off clinching the most least coveted title in Major League Soccer, the Dynamo reserves won an all-expenses paid trip to San Salvador to play in the CONCACAF Champions League Tuesday night against Luis Angel Firpo.

Maradona set to become Argentina's head coach

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In one of the most intriguing developments to hit the soccer world in years, Argentine legend Diego Maradona is set to become head coach of Argentina's national team.

Yes, wow.

Maradona would take over for Alfio Basile, who stepped down after Argentina's World Cup qualifying loss to Chile on Oct.

Who will win in the MLS Playoff First Round?

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The 2008 MLS Playoffs are set to kick off on Thursday night and it is time to start taking a closer look at the match-ups.

You can read my in-depth take on the Eastern Conference playoffs on ESPN.

Hull's Geovanni says 'Chelsea will be next'

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Just when you thought Wednesday's clash between Chelsea and Hull had enough subplots, leave it to Hull playmaker Geovanni to stir things up before the battle of second-place EPL squads.

The Brazilian midfielder spoke out ahead of Wednesday's match, warning Chelsea that the London giants are in trouble.

Twellman out indefinitely with 'concussion-related problems'

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Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the New England Revolution heading into its MLS playoff series vs. the Chicago Fire, the Revs have been hit with more bad news. The Boston Globe is reporting that star striker Taylor Twellman is out indefinitely with 'concussion-related problems'.

U.S. Under-20 national team heading to Spain

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The 2009 Under-20 World Cup is still almost a year away but it isn't too early to start thinking about the U.S. Under-20 team that will look to improve on the 2007 tournament performance that saw Michael Bradley, Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore lead the Americans to the quarterfinals.

Who is on your MLS Best XI?

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With the MLS regular season finally over, it is time to start thinking about the winners of the league's season ending awards. SBI will be naming its award winners as we get closer to the MLS Cup final, but we will be asking you, the readers, for your take on all of the awards.

Morning Ticker: Sir Alex rips Blatter, Adams named Pompey manager and Gilardino's handball suspension

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Just when you thought the Roy Keane-Jack Warner war of words would win the 2008 Verbal Warfare aware, there is a new battle brewing. Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson slammed FIFA president Sepp Blatter, questioning whether Blatter's penchant for controversial remarks is a sign that he might be too old for his job.

How would you fix the LA Galaxy?

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The 2008 MLS playoffs are set to kick off on Thursday and, for the third straight season, the Los Angeles Galaxy won't be involved.

LA had the league's poster boy in David Beckham, Golden Boot winner in Landon Donovan, and the winningest coach in MLS history in Bruce Arena (for the second half of the season at least) and still couldn't avoid its season ending early.

SBI European Club Top 25

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When Xabi Alonso's game-winner for Liverpool on Sunday went in, it didn't just move Liverpool into sole possession of first place in the English Premier League. It also catapulted the Reds into the No. 1 spot in the SBI European Club Top 25.

There is little arguing Liverpool's claim.

EPL Week Nine: A Look Back

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The English Premier League title race was supposed to be a two-horse race, with Chelsea and Manchester United battling all the way to the end. Well, one team has stepped up and beaten both on the way to first place.

Liverpool, that loveable team that hasn't been taken seriously as a title contender for a decade, must now be taken very seriously.

Donovan ready to return to Europe

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With the 2008 MLS season over, and the Golden Boot Award in his grasp after a 20-goal tally, Landon Donovan is ready to head back to Europe.

This isn't exactly news since reports have permeated all year linking Donovan to a likely winter departure overseas.

Ronaldo named World Player of the year, leads Best XI

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Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo has been named FifPro World Footballer of the Year, the first of what should be several such honors for the Portuguese winger.

The FifPro award was voted on by 57,500 players from 42 countries.

Ronaldo scored 42 goals for Manchester United last season, helping the Red Devils to the EPL-Champions League championship double.

MLS playoff field set

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With the New York Red Bulls securing the final MLS playoff spot, the MLS playoff field is now set.

Here are the match-ups:

Eastern Conference

  • (1) Columbus Crew vs. (4) Kansas City Wizards
  • (2) Chicago Fire vs. (3) New England Revolution

Western Conference

  • (1) Houston Dynamo vs.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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One of these days, Roy Hodgson just might get the message.

The Fulham manager has shown an unwillingness to use his bench, specifically Clint Dempsey, who has looked good in the brief playing time he has gotten this season. Dempsey came off the bench on Sunday and showed once again why he should be playing more for the struggling Cottagers, scoring the equalizing goal to give Fulham a 1-1 tie vs.

Red Bulls rejoice: Playoff berth comes after D.C. falls

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D.C. United's 1-0 loss to the Columbus Crew on Sunday evening has helped the New York Red Bulls back into the MLS playoffs, meaning the club is in the post-season for the sixth straight season.

Few could have imagined such luck after the beating the Red Bulls took from Chicago on Thursday, but D.

D.C. United at Columbus Crew: Match Day Commentary

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The final game of the MLS regular season is set to kick off and the match will determine which team is the last one to qualify for the playoffs. D.C. United is at Crew Stadium today to take on the Columbus Crew (5pm) and D.C. needs a win today to clinch the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs as a wild-card.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Good morning all. Today is offering up a loaded schedule of high quality soccer match-ups, led off by the big Liverpoool-Chelsea tilt.

That isn't the only match worth watching today. Here is a rundown of all of today's matches on TV:

  • 9:30am- Setanta USA- Liverpool at Chelsea (LIVE)
  • 10am- FSC- AC Milan at Atalanta (LIVE)
  • 11am- GolTV- Valencia at Recreativo Huelva (LIVE)
  • Noon- FSC- Arsenal at West Ham United (LIVE)
  • 1pm- Setanta USA- Fulham at Portsmouth (LIVE)
  • 1pm- GolTV- Atletico Madrid at Villarreal (LIVE)
  • 1pm- Telemundo- Indios de Ciudad de Juarez at UNAM Pumas (LIVE)
  • 3pm- GolTV- Athletic Bilbao at Real Madrid (LIVE)
  • 3pm- Telefutura- FC Dallas at Los Angeles Galaxy (LIVE)
  • 3:30pm- FSC- Fiorentina at Palermo (LIVE)
  • 4pm- Setanta USA- Paris St.

Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids: Match Night Commentary

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Real Salt Lake is set to take on arch-rival Colorado tonight in a match that will see the winner clinch a playoff berth and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, as well as the first-round playoff meeting with Chivas USA that comes with it.

Real Salt Lake has never made the playoffs while the Rapids missed the post-season last year.

Report: Seattle to announce Ljungberg signing next week

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The long-rumored signing of Freddie Ljungberg by Seattle Sounders FC appears close to reality as the Seattle Times is citing a Swedish report that has revealed that Ljungberg is set to be introduced as Seattle's designated player next week.

Ljungberg is set to join former U.S. national team goalkeeper Kasey Keller, USL star Sebastian LeToux and Gambian starlet Sanna Nyassi as the first four building blocks in the Seattle team set to begin play as Major League Soccer's 15th expansion team in 2009.

This weekend's soccer on TV

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The two top teams in Europe will square off on Sunday as Liverpool travels to Chelsea on the most high-profile match-up of the weekend.

That battle for first place is just one of several high-caliber matches. Not only are there good games in Europe, but there is also a crucial playoff position decider in MLS play as Real Salt Lake and Colorado meet with the winner reaching the playoffs.

Osorio must shoulder blame for Red Bulls loss

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There is plenty of blame to go around for the Red Bulls' embarrassing 5-2 loss to Chicago on Thursday night. It's almost tougher finding those who weren't to blame than those who were.

Any list of blame for Thursday's debacle begins with Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who made the mistake of choosing a lineup that came up as small as you could imagine in such an important game.

My take on the David Beckham loan drama

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The biggest MLS story heading into this weekend isn't the playoff race, which it should be, or even the Red Bulls drug fiasco, which has already become yesterday's news. The David Beckham/AC Milan loan move has become an international story that has turned just a bit messy as the Los Angeles Galaxy is left protesting a potential loan move that has little, if any, value for the club.

Will Subotic choose the U.S. national team?

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One down, two to go.

When German reports last week revealed that Neven Subotic no longer had Germany as a national team option, it appeared that the Borussia Dortmund defender might be ready to select the U.S. national team to play for after having played for the USA on the youth national team level, but Germany's removal from the process still leaves Bosnia and Serbia has possibilities for the highly-rated central defender.

Two teams, one spot: The Showdown in Colorado

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Two teams, one game, one playoff spot.

That is the easiest way to describe Saturday's crucial showdown between Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Real Salt Lake needs a win or draw to secure third place in the Western Conference while the Rapids must win the match in order to secure the same spot.

Greetings from Chicago

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Good morning all. I'm coming to you from Chicago, where the New York Red Bulls are preparing for tonight's crucial regular season finale against the Chicago Fire (9:30pm, ESPN2).

Tonight's match is shaping up to be a good one and the sense I'm getting is that the Fire won't be resting many, if any, key starters.

Cepero adjusting to newfound celebrity

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Looking to find a way to have your Facebook wall blow up? You could hope for some spam or you could just score an 81-yard free kick as a goalkeeper in your professional debut at Giants Stadium.

MLS confirms Beckham/Milan loan talks

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Major League Soccer commisioner Don Garber has confirmed that MLS is in talks with AC Milan about a potential short-term loan move for LA Galaxy star David Beckham, a move that would allow Beckham to spend a large part of the MLS offseason playing with the Italian giants.

"Discussions have taken place between AC Milan and the Los Angeles Galaxy regarding the possibility of a short-term loan agreement that would allow David Beckham to play for AC Milan during the MLS off season,'' Garber said.

MLS ticker: Kamara suspended, Rhine, Moreno retires (from Bolivia)

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Kei Kamara will not be in uniform for the Houston Dynamo's regular-season finale Saturday night against Chivas USA because of an MLS suspension. FC Dallas midfielder Pablo Ricchetti was already banned for his team's meaningless game against the Galaxy Sunday, but he'll also have to sit for Dallas' 2009 opener.

SBI MLS Fantasy Corner: The Final Week

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It is the weekend you've been waiting for since March, the final week of the MLS regular season and the final chance to score the points needed to move up your Fantasy MLS standings.

New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire: Match Preview

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The New York Red Bulls have played 29 games this season, but their season will boil down to the 30th and final match as they face the Chicago Fire needing a win to secure a playoff berth for the sixth straight season.

The Chicago Fire come into the match looking to lock up the No.

New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire: Match Night Commentary

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Good evening folks. The Red Bulls are set to take on the Chicago Fire tonight in a match that will determine their playoff future. A win puts the Red Bulls into the playoffs, while a tie will leave them waiting until the weekend to see if they qualify.

I will be providing a running commentary throughout the match.

Osorio: 'Everybody should be ashamed'

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The Chicago Fire stepped onto the field at Toyota Park Thursday night and did to the rival Red Bulls what Ari Gold did to Adam Davies a few weeks ago.

My take on the David Beckham loan drama

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The biggest MLS story heading into this weekend isn't the playoff race, which it should be, or even the Red Bulls drug fiasco, which has already become yesterday's news. The David Beckham/AC Milan loan move has become an international story that has turned just a bit messy as the Los Angeles Galaxy is left protesting a potential loan move that has little, if any, value for the club.

Osorio: 'Everybody should be ashamed'

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The Chicago Fire stepped onto the field at Toyota Park Thursday night and did to the rival Red Bulls what Ari Gold did to Adam Davies a few weeks ago.

New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire: Match Night Commentary

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Good evening folks. The Red Bulls are set to take on the Chicago Fire tonight in a match that will determine their playoff future. A win puts the Red Bulls into the playoffs, while a tie will leave them waiting until the weekend to see if they qualify.

I will be providing a running commentary throughout the match.

New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire: Match Night

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The New York Red Bulls have played 29 games this season, but their season will boil down to the 30th and final match as they face the Chicago Fire needing a win to secure a playoff berth for the sixth straight season.

The Chicago Fire come into the match looking to lock up the No.

SBI MLS Fantasy Corner: The Final Week

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

It is the weekend you've been waiting for since March, the final week of the MLS regular season and the final chance to score the points needed to move up your Fantasy MLS standings.

MLS ticker: Kamara suspended, Rhine, Moreno retires (from Bolivia)

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

Kei Kamara will not be in uniform for the Houston Dynamo's regular-season finale Saturday night against Chivas USA because of an MLS suspension. FC Dallas midfielder Pablo Ricchetti was already banned for his team's meaningless game against the Galaxy Sunday, but he'll also have to sit for Dallas' 2009 opener.

Greetings from Chicago

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Good morning all. I'm coming to you from Chicago, where the New York Red Bulls are preparing for tonight's crucial regular season finale against the Chicago Fire (9:30pm, ESPN2).

Tonight's match is shaping up to be a good one and the sense I'm getting is that the Fire won't be resting many, if any, key starters.

Cepero copes with newfound notoriety

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Looking to find a way to have your Facebook wall blow up? You could hope for some spam or you could just score an 81-yard free kick as a goalkeeper in your professional debut at Giants Stadium.

"I still don't know half the people who have been texting me," New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero said.

MLS confirms Beckham/Milan loan talks

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Major League Soccer commisioner Don Garber has confirmed that MLS is in talks with AC Milan about a potential short-term loan move for LA Galaxy star David Beckham, a move that would allow Beckham to spend a large part of the MLS offseason playing with the Italian giants.

"Discussions have taken place between AC Milan and the Los Angeles Galaxy regarding the possibility of a short-term loan agreement that would allow David Beckham to play for AC Milan during the MLS off season,'' Garber said.

Two teams, one spot: The Showdown in Colorado

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Two teams, one game, one playoff spot.

That is the easiest way to describe tonight's crucial showdown between Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Real Salt Lake needs a win or draw to secure third place in the Western Conference while the Rapids must win the match in order to secure the same spot.

SBI European Club Top 25

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Injuries keep stacking up, but nothing seems to slow Chelsea down.

Sure, CFR Cluj held the Blues to a draw in Champions League play two weeks ago, but Chelsea has bounced back in strong fashion and doesn't look likely to give up its hold on first place in the English Premier League any time soon.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Danny Szetela's five-year professional career has included many things. From the dispersal draft that landed him with the Columbus Crew as a 16-year old, to the transfer that saw him go from MLS to Spanish club Racing de Santander, to his first U.

European Goals of the Week

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Do bicycle kicks ever get old? No, not really.

The latest installment of European goals of the week features yet another bicycle kick, a free kick, a beautiful turn and shoot and a long-range blast. Four completely different types of goals, but all four are of the highest quality.

EPL Week Eight: A Look Back

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The Big Four in the English Premier League was supposed to be a Big Five. With all the spending and dealing done by Tottenham last summer, the London club had the look of a potential powerhouse.

So much for the best-laid plans.

Tottenham manager Juande Ramos, a man synonymous with silverware, is feeling the walls close in as his Spurs are sitting at the bottom of the EPL standings, managing just two points from eight games.

UEFA Champions League: Matchday Three

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The UEFA Champions League is back in full swing today, with 16 teams taking the field across Europe in the third round of goup matches.

The spotlight will be in Italy, where Real Madrid will take on Juventus in what should be an intense match. Former Juventus defender Fabio Cannavaro will make his first appearance in Turin since leaving Juve for Real Madrid following Juventus' relegation for match fixing.

Who will the Red Bulls start vs. Chicago?

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

The New York Red Bulls will play their biggest game of the year on Thursday night against the Chicago Fire and Juan Carlos Osorio has some very tough decisions to make.

While the team is shorthanded defensively due to the suspensions of Jon Conway and Jeff Parke, and Carlos Mendes' looming sports hernia surgery (he has traveled to Germany to have the procedure), Osorio does have a wealth of attacking options to work with.

Introducing SBI staff writer Dylan Butler

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Soccer By Ives is proud to announce that it has added veteran soccer writer Dylan Butler to the writing stable as a senior writer. Dylan will be covering all aspects of American soccer, from MLS to the U.S. national team to college soccer.

Dylan joins current SBI contributors James Tyler (European Soccer) and Casey Cannon (MLS fantasy soccer) on a staff I am hoping to see grow in the coming months as SBI prepares to take the next step heading into its second year of existence.

Red Bulls ready for crucial Chicago showdown

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There are seven different permutations that will get the New York Red Bulls into the MLS Cup playoffs. But the Red Bulls players have just one concern heading into their regular-season finale at Chicago Thursday night.

UEFA Champions League: Matchday Three (Wednesday)

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The second half of Champions League Matchday Three takes place today, with two very high-profile match-ups and one under the radar thriller.

Liverpool's trip to Atletico Madrid has grabbed most of the headlines for a variety of reasons, but the absence of Fernando Torres has taken some of the shine off what should be an entertaining display of attacking soccer.

Beckham to join AC Milan on short loan

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David Beckham is set to resume his European club soccer career.

At least temporarily.

AC Milan has confirmed reports that Beckham will join the Italian power on a short loan deal beginning in January.

The deal makes all the sense in the world. Major League Soccer's off-season, from November to late March/early April, is entirely too long and now Beckham will have a chance to play high-level soccer before returning to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the start of the MLS season.

Beckham to join AC Milan on short loan

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David Beckham is set to resume his European club soccer career.

At least temporarily.

AC Milan has confirmed reports that Beckham will join the Italian power on a short loan deal beginning in January.

The deal makes all the sense in the world. Major League Soccer's off-season, from November to late March/early April, is entirely too long and now Beckham will have a chance to play high-level soccer before returning to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the start of the MLS season.

UEFA Champions League: Matchday Three (Wednesday)

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The second half of Champions League Matchday Three takes place today, with two very high-profile match-ups and one under the radar thriller.

Liverpool's trip to Atletico Madrid has grabbed most of the headlines for a variety of reasons, but the absence of Fernando Torres has taken some of the shine off what should be an entertaining display of attacking soccer.

Red Bulls ready for crucial Chicago showdown

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

There are seven different permutations that will get the New York Red Bulls into the MLS Cup playoffs. But the Red Bulls players have just one concern heading into their regular-season finale at Chicago Thursday night.

Introducing SBI staff writer Dylan Butler

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Soccer By Ives is proud to announce that it has added veteran soccer writer Dylan Butler to the writing stable as a senior writer. Dylan will be covering all aspects of American soccer, from MLS to the U.S. national team to college soccer.

Dylan joins current SBI contributors James Tyler (European Soccer) and Casey Cannon (MLS fantasy soccer) on a staff I am hoping to see grow in the coming months as SBI prepares to take the next step heading into its second year of existence.

Who will the Red Bulls start vs. Chicago?

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

The New York Red Bulls will play their biggest game of the year on Thursday night against the Chicago Fire and Juan Carlos Osorio has some very tough decisions to make.

For the first time all year, Osorio has a wealth of lineup options to work with.

UEFA Champions League: Matchday Three

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The UEFA Champions League is back in full swing today, with 16 teams taking the field across Europe in the third round of goup matches.

The spotlight will be in Italy, where Real Madrid will take on Juventus in what should be an intense match. Former Juventus defender Fabio Cannavaro will make his first appearance in Turin since leaving Juve for Real Madrid following Juventus' relegation for match fixing.

EPL Week Eight: A Look Back

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The Big Four in the English Premier League was supposed to be a Big Five. With all the spending and dealing done by Tottenham last summer, the London club had the look of a potential powerhouse.

So much for the best-laid plans.

Tottenham manager Juande Ramos, a man synonymous with silverware, is feeling the walls close in as his Spurs are sitting at the bottom of the EPL standings, managing just two points from eight games.

European Goals of the Week

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Do bicycle kicks ever get old? No, not really.

The latest installment of European goals of the week features yet another bicycle kick, a free kick, a beautiful turn and shoot and a long-range blast. Four completely different types of goals, but all four are of the highest quality.

SBI European Club Top 25

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Injuries keep stacking up, but nothing seems to slow Chelsea down.

Sure, CFR Cluj held the Blues to a draw in Champions League play two weeks ago, but Chelsea has bounced back in strong fashion and doesn't look likely to give up its hold on first place in the English Premier League any time soon.

Playoff dreams end early for four MLS teams

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Four teams saw their MLS playoff dreams buried last weekend, leaving four groups of fans disgusted and four clubs searching for answers heading into the off-season.

What was this week's best MLS goal (the choice isn't as easy as you think)

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What a week for MLS goals. While Danny Cepero's 80-yard free kick shocker is the goal getting all the attention this weekend, some folks could argue that there are goals more deserving of an MLS goal of the week accolade.

Morning Ticker: Beckham to train with AC Milan, Guatemala coach resigns and Arsenal injuries mount

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His MLS playoffs hopes have already been dashed, but David Beckham isn't wasting any time making plans for the off-season.

According to reports out of Italy, Beckham will spend part of the winter training with AC Milan. The training stint will allow him to stay fit and potentially be available for selection by England national team manager Fabio Capello.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Danny Szetela's five-year professional career has included many things. From the dispersal draft that landed him with the Columbus Crew as a 16-year old, to the transfer that saw him go from MLS to Spanish club Racing de Santander, to his first U.

MLS playoff race goes down to final week

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Five teams and three playoff spots.

That is what it is going to come down to in the final week of the MLS regular season. Five clubs fighting for the three remaining post-season berths, with four teams having the luxury of knowing that a win puts them into the playoffs.

The Kansas City Wizards, New York Red Bulls, D.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Good morning all. Today's slate of games offer up plenty of options for soccer fans of all preferences. Whether it's the EPL, Bundesliga, Serie A or even MLS, there is something for you to watch today.

Here is today's schedule of games on TV:

11am- FSC- Tottenham at Stoke City 11am- GolTV- Schalke 04 at Hamburg 1pm- GolTV- Barcelona at Athletic Bilbao 1pm- Telemundo- Pachuca at Toluca 2:30pm- FSC- Inter Milan at Roma 3pm- GolTV- Sevilla at Almeria 3pm- Telefutura- Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA 3pm- Setanta USA- Marseille at Valenciennes 4:30pm- FSC- Boca Juniors at River Plate 5pm- Galavision- Futsal World Cup Final 5pm- GolTV- Numancia at Valencia 7pm- GolTV- Millonarios at Chico

If you will be watching today's games, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Angel and Cepero help lead Red Bulls to victory

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Juan Pablo Angel scored a pair of goals and Danny Cepero had the best debut a goalkeeper could possibly want, scoring a goal and helping the Red Bulls post a 3-1 victory on Saturday night.

Danny Cepero's amazing goal

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If you haven't seen Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero's amazing 80-yard free kick goal from tonight's 3-1 win against Columbus, fear not. Here is the video, courtesy of MLSNet.com:

WOW.

MLS Match Night: Your Running Commentary

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The Red Bulls-Crew game isn't the only action in MLS tonight. There are three other matches with major playoff implications taking place. Here is the slate of games:

  • San Jose Earthquakes at Kansas City Wizards
  • Los Angeles Galaxy at Houston Dynamo
  • FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake

If you are watching any of the above matches, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Columbus Crew at New York Red Bulls: Match Night

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The New York Red Bulls are in must-win mode tonight as they face the first-place Columbus Crew needing a victory to hold on to the final MLS playoff spot (7:30pm, MSG2).

It isn't going to be easy, and not just because the Crew is playing some of the best soccer in MLS. The Red Bulls are dealing with the distraction and on-field impact of performance enhancing drug suspensions for starting goalkeeper Jon Conway and starting central defender Jeff Parke.

Chicago Fire at Toronto FC: Your Running Commentary

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The task for Toronto FC is simple, though difficult. TFC must win today to avoid becoming the first Eastern Conference officially eliminated from the playoffs. Win its last two games and hope that other things fall into place and Toronto could overcome an awful second half of the season to reach the playoffs.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Good morning all. If you're looking for some good soccer matches to watch, today will not disappoint you.

In cased you missed it, here is my preview on the top matches of the weekend. Also, here are the soccer matches you can watch on TV today:

  • 10am- FSC- Everton at Arsenal
  • 10am- Setanta USA- Wigan at Liverpool
  • 11:30am- GolTV- Borussia Dortmund at Werder Bremen
  • 12:15pm- Setanta USA- Barnsley at Crystal Palace
  • 12:30pm- FSC- West Brom at Manchester United
  • 2pm- GolTV- Real Madrid at Atletico Madrid
  • 2:30pm- FSC- Juventus at Napoli
  • 3pm- Setanta USA- Lille at Lyon
  • 4pm- GolTV- Villarreal at Espanyol
  • 4:30pm- FSC- Reggina at Fiorentina
  • 5pm- Setanta USA- Portsmouth at Aston Villa
  • 6pm- Telemundo- Tigres at Monterrey
  • 6:30pm- FSC- Sunderland at Fulham
  • 7:30pm- MSG2- Columbus Crew at New York Red Bulls
  • 8pm- GolTV- Deportivo Cali at Once Caldas
  • 8pm- Telemundo- Atlante at Chivas de Guadalajara
  • 8:30pm- HDNet- Los Angeles Galaxy at Houston Dynamo
  • 9pm- FSC- FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake
  • 10pm- GolTV- Bayern Munich at Karlsruhe
  • 10pm- Telefutura- Atlas at Necaxa
  • 10:15pm- Setanta USA- Blackburn at Bolton
  • 2am- FSC- Sydney FC at Perth Glory

If you will be watching the action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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What's the best way to shake off a 6-1 defeat? If you're Atletico Madrid, you start with taking a week-long break for the international window. Then you come back and square off against the defending league champions, and your arch-rival, Real Madrid.

Okay, so maybe that's not the best way, but it's going to have to be the way for Atletico, which is in the midst of a brutal part of its schedule.

My take on the MLS Expansion Seven

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Good evening folks. Apologies for the heavy coverage of the Red Bulls perfomance-enhancing drug suspension, but sometimes a story can take over a day.

For those of you a bit tired of that story, you can read my ESPN.com story on the seven teams preparing to battle for the two MLS expansion slots.

Identifying the banned substance: The chemical that led to the Red Bulls suspensions

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Wondering what the image above is? It is the chemical make-up of androstatriendione, the substance that led to the suspensions of Red Bulls goalkeeper Jon Conway and Jeff Parke. If you haven't heard of it, it's because it is an obscure chemical compound that isn't even tested for by most professional leagues in the United States.

Red Bulls address drug suspensions

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Just a day after Jon Conway and Jeff Parke were suspended for 10 matches for violation Major League Soccer's substance abuse violation, the Red Bulls addressed questions about the situation.

Was Thursday the worst day in Red Bulls/MetroStars history?

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As far as nightmares go, Thursday has to be about as scary a day as any Red Bulls fan could have imagined.

With the Red Bulls struggling for their playoff lives, the team's starting goalkeeper and best defender are suspended for the rest of the season (and part of next season).

D.C. United downs Revs, boosts playoff hopes

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Trailing by a goal with fewer than 30 minutes left in the match, D.C. United looked like it might wind up seeing its playoff hopes dashed on the RFK Stadium turf. That was before Francis Doe saved the day.

New England Revolution at D.C. United: Your Running Commentary

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D.C. United will make what could be its last stand for a playoff berth tonight as it plays host to the New England Revolution in a match it cannot afford to lose.

Can D.C. muster an attack without Marcelo Gallardo and Fred, and with a rusty Luciano Emilio? Will New England be able to finish D.

Conway and Parke hit with 10-game suspensions for substance abuse violations

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New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Jon Conway and defender Jeff Parke have been suspended 10 matches each and fined 10 percent of their annual salaries after testing positive for a banned perfomance enhancing drug, MLS announced on Thursday.

Which MLS expansion city would you pick?

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With the seven candidates for MLS expansion by 2011 now set, we should find out plenty about all seven bids as the weeks and months go by and we move closer to an announcement on the 17th and 18th MLS franchises.

As you may know, I ran a poll on what expansion cities SBI readers preferred.

Trinidad & Tobago 2, USA 1: A Look Back

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Consider it a valuable lesson in international soccer.

The U.S. men's national team fielded a young squad with several top prospects and the team got a first-hand look at how tough World Cup qualifying can be.

World Cup Qualifying: Midweek Rewind

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You can call Wednesday the day of the qualifying upset.

The loaded schedule of World Cup qualifiers didn't figure to have too many surprising results, but by the end of the night, there were countless results to leave fans scratching their heads.

Such as? Try these results on for size:

  • Chile 1, Argentina 0
  • Brazil 0, Colombia 0
  • Cuba 2, Guatemala 1
  • Portugal 0, Albania 0
  • Slovakia 2, Poland 1
  • Estonia 0, Turkey 0
  • Canada 2, Mexico 2
  • Trinidad & Tobago 2, USA 1
  • Japan 1, Uzbekistan 1

Like I said.

USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago: Match Night

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Good evening folks. Tonight is the night that several top young American talents will face the first tough test of their national team careers. The U.S. national team is on the road tonight, taking on Trinidad & Tobago in a match T&T desperately needs in order to try and pull clear of Guatemala for the second qualifying place in their group.

MLS Expansion candidates revealed

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Seven cities that have applied for Major League Soccer expansion teams were revealed on Monday afternoon. Here they are:

  • Atlanta
  • Miami
  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Portland
  • St. Louis
  • Vancouver

That's the same seven cities identified this morning by a variety of reports.

Carroll and Rolfe replace Rogers and Mastroeni on USA roster vs. T&T

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The U.S. men's national team has called in Chicago Fire striker Chris Rolfe and Columbus Crew midfielder Brian Carroll for Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago.They have replaced Robbie Rogers and Pablo Mastroeni, who both suffered injuries with their club teams on Sunday.

Morning Ticker: Simek working his way back, a Cuban defector speaks and Atletico Madrid punished

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Good morning all. It is a relatively slow day in the soccer world, what with World Cup qualifying set for Wednesday. I will look to put up stories on Carlos Bocanegra and Michael Bradley later today.

Bradley ready for the German challenge

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Michael Bradley knew it wouldn't be easy.

He was fully aware that being a 21-year-old newcomer to a struggling German Bundesliga club already a few weeks into its season would not make for the easiest transition, but he is far from being discouraged by the fact that he did not play in Borussia Moenchengladbach's most recent two matches, a pair of losses that led to the firing of the club's manager, Jos Luhukay.

Seattle Sounders FC targets Ljungberg

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GoalSeattle, the Seattle-based soccer blog, has revealed a rumor that Seattle Sounders FC has targeted Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg as a potential Designated Player. A West Coast source has confirmed that Seattle has, in fact, been in contact with Ljungberg and are trying to lure the former Arsenal star to the Pacific Northwest.

FC Barcelona to make bid for MLS expansion team in Miami

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The long-rumored marriage between Spanish power FC Barcelona and the city of Miami is set to move one step closer to becoming reality.

The Miami Herald is reporting that Barcelona will formally apply for an MLS expansion team in Miami. The news comes the day before the MLS deadline for prospective ownership groups to apply for one of the two expansion slots to be filled by 2011.

Wednesday World Cup Qualifying on TV

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Good evening folks. If you plan on watching World Cup qualifying matches, be it live or via TIVO, here is a schedule of World Cup qualifiers on TV on Wednesday:

  • 5:30am- FSC- Qatar at Australia
  • 11am- FSC- United Arab Emirates at South Korea
  • 1pm- FSC- Netherlands at Norway
  • 2:25pm- Setanta USA- Switzerland at Greece
  • 2:45pm- GolTV- Wales at Germany
  • 3pm- FSC- Slovenia at Czech Republic
  • 4:25pm- Setanta USA- Spain at Belgium
  • 4:45pm- GolTV- Montenegro at Italy
  • 6:15pm- Setanta USA- Albania at Portugal
  • 8pm- ESPN- USA at Trinidad & Tobago
  • 9pm- Telemundo- Mexico at Canada
  • 11pm- Setanta USA- Turkey at Estonia

What games will you be watching?

Application deadline day for MLS expansion hopefuls

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Today is the deal Major League Soccer announces the list of candidates to be among the two cities to receive MLS expansion teams by 2011 and Tuesday say several of the candidates revealed.

Here are cities whose bids have been revealed or reported as having been submitted already:

  • Montreal
  • Vancouver
  • Ottawa
  • Miami
  • Atlanta
  • Portland
  • St.

Your Questions Answered (Part 2 of 4)

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Hello all. It is time for your latest installment of Your Questions Answered. This is the second of four parts of the most recent Q&A session.

There are plenty of topics covered, from the U.S. World Cup 2010 team to MLS expansion to the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls.

Let's get started.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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World Cup qualifying resumes today throughout the world, with several quality match-ups filling out the schedule.

If you missed the schedule yesterday, here is a listing of today's qualifiers on TV:

1pm- FSC- Netherlands at Norway 2:25pm- Setanta USA- Switzerland at Greece 2:45pm- GolTV- Wales at Germany 3pm- FSC- Slovenia at Czech Republic 4:25pm- Setanta USA- Spain at Belgium 4:45pm- GolTV- Montenegro at Italy 6:15pm- Setanta USA- Albania at Portugal 8pm- ESPN- USA at Trinidad & Tobago 9pm- Telemundo- Mexico at Canada 11pm- Setanta USA- Turkey at Estonia

If you will be taking in any of today's World Cup qualifying action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, live feed sources and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago (A look ahead)

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The U.S. men's national team's ticket to the final round of World Cup qualifying is already punched, but that doesn't mean tonight's qualifier at Trinidad & Tobago is meaningless.

Wednesday World Cup Qualifying on TV

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Good evening folks. If you plan on watching World Cup qualifying matches, be it live or via TIVO, here is a schedule of World Cup qualifiers on TV on Wednesday:

  • 5:30am- FSC- Qatar at Australia
  • 11am- FSC- United Arab Emirates at South Korea
  • 1pm- FSC- Netherlands at Norway
  • 2:25pm- Setanta USA- Switzerland at Greece
  • 2:45pm- GolTV- Wales at Germany
  • 3pm- FSC- Slovenia at Czech Republic
  • 4:25pm- Setanta USA- Spain at Belgium
  • 4:45pm- GolTV- Montenegro at Italy
  • 6:15pm- Setanta USA- Albania at Portugal
  • 8pm- ESPN- USA at Trinidad & Tobago
  • 9pm- Telemundo- Mexico at Canada
  • 11pm- Setanta USA- Turkey at Estonia

What games will you be watching?

Seattle Sounders FC targets Ljungberg

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GoalSeattle, the Seattle-based soccer blog, has revealed a rumor that Seattle Sounders FC has targeted Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg as a potential Designated Player. A West Coast source has confirmed that Seattle has, in fact, been in contact with Ljungberg and are trying to lure the former Arsenal star to the Pacific Northwest.

Bradley ready for the German challenge

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Michael Bradley knew it wouldn't be easy.

He was fully aware that being a 21-year-old newcomer to a struggling German Bundesliga club already a few weeks into their season would not make for the easiest transition, but he is far from being discouraged by the fact that he did not play in Borussia Moenchengladbach's most recent two matches, a pair of losses that led to the firing of the club's manager, Jos Luhukay.

Morning Ticker: Simek working his way back, a Cuban defector speaks and Atletico Madrid punished

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Good morning all. It is a relatively slow day in the soccer world, what with World Cup qualifying set for Wednesday. I will look to put up stories on Carlos Bocanegra and Michael Bradley later today.

Carroll and Rolfe replace Rogers and Mastroeni on USA roster vs. T&T

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The U.S. men's national team has called in Chicago Fire striker Chris Rolfe and Columbus Crew midfielder Brian Carroll for Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago.They have replaced Robbie Rogers and Pablo Mastroeni, who both suffered injuries with their club teams on Sunday.

Altidore on the USMNT, Villarreal, Rossi and the Red Bulls

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With a budding career in Europe and increasing role with the U.S. national team taking up his thoughts, you wouldn't blame Jozy Altidore if he didn't have time to think about the club where it all began.

Morning Ticker: Ralston out for the season, Vancouver wins USL title and Jamaica upsets Mexico

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New England's quest for an elusive MLS Cup title took a major hit on Saturday after the Revs lost Steve Ralston for the season with a broken right leg.

The broken right fibula suffered by Ralston came after a clumsy challenge from Herculez Gomez during New England's 1-0 loss to Kansas City on Saturday.

What USA lineup do you want to see vs. T&T?

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You wanted to see the youngsters and now you will see the youngsters.

U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley has called in a very young squad for Wednesday night's world Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago and we should see a very interesting lineup taking the field.

World Cup Qualifying: USA vs. Cuba (Match Night)

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Good evening folks. Tonight is the night the U.S. men's national team can clinch its place in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying by beating Cuba at RFK Stadium tonigh (7pm, ESPN Classic/Galavision).

The Cubans have yet to win a match and come into this match missing two players who have disappeared and have defected.

Osorio responds to Kovalenko's remarks

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With a crisp and chilly breeze blowing at his back, Juan Carlos Osorio rubbed his hands together and revealed a big grin as he declared just how excited he is for tonight's match against Real Salt Lake.

What next for dismissed U.S. Under-17 star Martinez?

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It was about 10 months ago when most U.S. national team fans first saw or heard about Carlos Martinez.

The young Under-17 national team player wowed spectators with his two game-winning goals in last winter's Nike Friendlies and eager and overzealous fans began penciling him in as one of the potential stars of the national team program even though he was just 15 at the time.

Ching deserves more respect from USA fans

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When the U.S. men's national team takes on Cuba on Saturday there is a very good chance that Brian Ching will be starting up top for the Americans.

That doesn't sit to well with U.

Morning Ticker: DeRosario lifts Dynamo, USA climbs in FIFA rankings and financial trouble looms at West Ham

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Major League Soccer's winless streak in CONCACAF Champions League is finally over after Dwayne DeRosario played the role of hero for the Houston Dynamo yet again.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 28

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Look what team has shown up and crashed the party for title contenders. None other than Chivas USA.

Last year's Western Conference regular season champions struggled through most of this year with injuries and the departure of Brad Guzan, but suddenly things have started to come together for the Goats.

Who should Bob Bradley start against Cuba?

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The U.S. men's national team is in Washington D.C. this week preparing for Saturday's CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Cuba and while there are several young standouts in the 23-man camp, you still get the feeling that Bob Bradley will stick with the veterans at least one more time.

Morning Ticker: USL Final set, Gladbach coach fired and Poland reaches FIFA deal

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Somebody finally stopped the Montreal Impact and it figures that it would be another Canadian team to do it.

The Vancouver White Caps ended Montreal's dream USL season with a 2-0 victory that helped give Vancouver a 2-1 series aggregate victory in the USL playoff semifinals on Sunday.

First-half goals from Jeff Clark and Eduardo Sebrango provided the margin of victory for Vancouver, which received a shutout from goalkeeper Tyler Baldock, who made his first start of the season in place of suspended goalkeeper Jay Nolly.

Mexico fails in bid to flip Torres

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If you think that Jose Francisco Torres' decision to play for the U.S. national team instead of Mexico didn't have an impact south of the border, think again.

Not only did the Mexican national team actively recruit Torres at the same time as the United States, Mexico also attempted to convince Torres to change his mind even after Torres was named to the U.

A closer look at the MLS player development program

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Those of you who interested in the progress, or lack of progress, being made by Major League Soccer's player development initiatives should give a read to my most recent ESPN.com piece, which focuses on the program.

If you haven't been keeping track, this year was the first year MLS teams have been eligible to start signing players straight from their academies.

Toja gets Colombia call-up (and what it means for MLS)

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When Colombian midfielder Juan Toja left FC Dallas for Steaua Bucharest via transfer this summer, the transaction went relatively ignored, overshadowed by the reports and rumors surrounding Kenny Cooper's potential departure, as well as other MLS transfers in the works.

SBI MLS Fantasy Corner

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If you missed out on having any fantasy players in the Colorado-New York Red Bulls goal-fest last week, don't fret. More goals should be on the way.

With four weeks remaining in the MLS regular season, there are still opportunities for you to rack up on the fantasy points.

Crew president eases fears over potential Vegas move

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It was a bit of a harrowing day for Columbus Crew fans on Tuesday amid reports that an ownership group that has been trying to land an expansion team in Las Vegas was buying a piece of the Crew. The speculation started to bubble and fear began creeping in about the idea of the Crew eventually leaving Columbus and moving to Las Vegas.

Morning Ticker: Houston ties Pumas in shootout, injury woes for Man Utd and

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The Houston Dynamo scored two goals in the first 15 minutes of its match against UNAM Pumas on Wednesday, but still wound up needing a second-half equalizer to salvage a point in a wild 4-4 tie in CONCACAF Champions League action on Tuesday night in Mexico.

Kei Kamara and Craig Waibel scored two goals apiece for the Dynamo, which dropped to 0-0-2 in Champions League play.