Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2008

How do you prefer to crown your league champion?

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                                                         Photo by ISIphotos.com

What makes a team a league champion? Is it the team that  played the best throughout the regular season, or the team that reached the playoffs and defeated all comers to lift the trophy?

Cooper, Marshall and Franklin among 25 called in to US national team camp

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U.S. Olympic team standouts Sacha Kljestan, Marvell Wynne and Stuart Holden headline a very young group chosen for the first U.S. national team training camp of the new year.

Here is the 25-man roster for the January training camp:

GOALKEEPERS- Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Troy Perkins (Valerenga IF), Matt Pickens (out of contract)

DEFENDERS-Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland), Sean Franklin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Cory Gibbs (Colorado Rapids), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

MIDFIELDERS - Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Kansas City Wizards), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire)

FORWARDS- Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire)

Kenny Cooper, Chad Marshall, Sean Franklin, Robbie Rogers and Will Hesmer are just some of the fresh faces included in this MLS-heavy roster.

Your Questions Answered (Part 5 of 5)

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Good afternoon all and welcome to the latest installment of Your Questions Answered. This is the fifth and final chapter of the most recent Q&A session (and yes, by recent I mean six weeks ago). It took a while (a long while) but it's finally done.

There are a lot of expansion questions in this batch, as well as questions about promotion/relegation (yes, unfortunately) as well as an Eddie Johnson question (and yes, that's him against Manchester United last year.

Your Questions Answered (Part 5 of 5)

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Good afternoon all and welcome to the latest installment of Your Questions Answered. This is the fifth and final chapter of the most recent Q&A session (and yes, by recent I mean six weeks ago). It took a while (a long while) but it's finally done.

There are a lot of expansion questions in this batch, as well as questions about promotion/relegation (yes, unfortunately) as well as an Eddie Johnson question (and yes, that's him against Manchester United last year.

Cooper, Marshall and Franklin among 25 called in to US national team camp

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U.S. Olympic team standouts Sacha Kljestan, Marvell Wynne and Stuart Holden headline a very young group chosen for the first U.S. national team training camp of the new year.

Here is the 25-man roster for the January training camp:

GOALKEEPERS- Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Troy Perkins (Valerenga IF), Matt Pickens (out of contract)

DEFENDERS-Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland), Sean Franklin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Cory Gibbs (Colorado Rapids), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

MIDFIELDERS - Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Kansas City Wizards), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire)

FORWARDS- Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire)

Kenny Cooper, Chad Marshall, Sean Franklin, Robbie Rogers and Will Hesmer are just some of the fresh faces included in this MLS-heavy roster.

How do you prefer to crown your league champion?

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                                                         Photo by ISIphotos.com

What makes a team a league champion? Is it the team that  played the best throughout the regular season, or the team that reached the playoffs and defeated all comers to lift the trophy?

Revs sign Videira

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When the New England Revolution drafted former Duke standout Mike Videira last year, it was seen as a hopeful pick on a first-round talent who was determined to play in Europe. That second-round pick isn't looking like such a waste now.

The Revs announced the signing of Videira on Monday, almost a full year after drafting him with the 18th overall pick in the 2008 MLS Draft.

Revs sign Videira

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When the New England Revolution drafted former Duke standout Mike Videira last year, it was seen as a hopeful pick on a first-round talent who was determined to play in Europe. That second-round pick isn't looking like such a waste now.

The Revs announced the signing of Videira on Monday, almost a full year after drafting him with the 18th overall pick in the 2008 MLS Draft.

Your Questions Answered (Part 4 of 5)

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                                                                              Photo by ISIphotos.com

Good afternoon folks. As you can tell, it's been a bit of a slow news period. That doesn't mean we won't be able to provide you with some good reading material and updates on both MLS and European soccer as they become available.

SBI MLS Mock Draft (Version 2.0)

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                                                                  Photo by ISIphotos.com

One week down and three to go as we slowly move toward the 2009 MLS Draft in St. Louis and every passing week produces more information, more names and more scenarios we could see come draft day on Jan.

CONCACAF Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

With the German Bundesliga off for the winter break, it was quite the surprise to see four CONCACAF Abroad players score in the penultimate week of the 2008 year.
 
Trinidadians Kenwyne Jones and Jason Scotland enjoyed excellent weekends as they both scored for the second consecutive week.

Beasley eyes MLS as Rangers departure looms

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DaMarcus Beasley could be looking for work soon, and the potential search for employment has him eyeing a return to Major League Soccer.

Rangers is ready to part ways with the U.S. national team winger in January and sources tell SBI that Beasley is looking for a return to MLS, but his asking price might prevent the reunion from happening.

Marshall re-signs with Columbus Crew

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The Columbus Crew took a major step toward repeating as MLS Cup champions on Monday when they re-signed MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall to a new contract. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.

Marshall went into the winter a free agent after playing out his MLS contract, but after a trial at German club Mainz 05, Marshall has decided to return to MLS, where he is widely-regarded as the most dominant defender in the league.

What to do when there are no games to watch

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Admit it, you're struggling right now.

With none of Europe's major leagues in action today, you are suffering from withdrawal, and trying to figure out what to do with yourself when there are no soccer games to watch. The English Premier League returns on Sunday, but today is a day soccer fans will struggle.

Moving to Mexico a trend for European-based Mexicans?

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

There's no place like home.

Mexican midfielder Pavel Pardo is the latest poster boy for that notion. The 32-year-old recently inked a deal with Mexican club America, where he played from 1999-2006, from German Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart.

Dempsey scores two vs. Chelsea on good day for Americans in England

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If there was any doubt before, Clint Dempsey provided the clearest evidence to date that he is truly back to his best.

The U.S. national team star scored two goals, including an 89th minute equalizer to help Fulham register a 2-2 tie vs. Chelsea on Sunday.

Dempsey's brace was the highlight of a pretty good day for Americans in England.

Sources: Opara staying in school

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                                                                 Photo by ISIphotos.com

Ike Opara was widely-regarded as the best defender, and one of the best players available in the 2009 MLS Draft, but only if he actually entered the draft.

Gerrard arrested after bar brawl

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For Steven Gerrard, apparently beating up on Newcastle wasn't enough.

Gerrard was arrested late on Sunday night and charged with assault after alledgedly being involved in a bar fight. He was one of six men arrested after what police called an "early-morning dsturbance."

There aren't that many details on incident, but it looks as though neither Joey Barton and Joe Kinnear were involved in the fracas (Yes, that was a joke).

Your Questions Answered (Part 4 of 5)

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                                                                              Photo by ISIphotos.com

Good afternoon folks. As you can tell, it's been a bit of a slow news period. That doesn't mean we won't be able to provide you with some good reading material and updates on both MLS and European soccer as they become available.

Gerrard arrested after bar brawl

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For Steven Gerrard, apparently beating up on Newcastle wasn't enough.

Gerrard was arrested late on Sunday night and charged with assault after alledgedly being involved in a bar fight. He was one of six men arrested after what police called an "early-morning dsturbance."

There aren't that many details on incident, but it looks as though neither Joey Barton and Joe Kinnear were involved in the fracas (Yes, that was a joke).

Sources: Opara staying in school

Soccer By Ives at related • 35 views

 

                                                                 Photo by ISIphotos.com

Ike Opara was widely-regarded as the best defender, and one of the best players available in the 2009 MLS Draft, but only if he actually entered the draft.

Dempsey's scores two vs. Chelsea on good day for Americans in England

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If there was any doubt before, Clint Dempsey provided the clearest evidence to date that he is truly back to his best.

The U.S. national team star scored two goals, including an 89th minute equalizer to help Fulham register a 2-2 tie vs. Chelsea on Sunday.

Dempsey's brace was the highlight of a pretty good day for Americans in England.

Moving to Mexico a trend for European-based Mexicans?

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

There's no place like home.

Mexican midfielder Pavel Pardo is the latest poster boy for that notion. The 32-year-old recently inked a deal with Mexican club America, where he played from 1999-2006, from German Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart.

What to do when there are no games to watch

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Admit it, you're struggling right now.

With none of Europe's major leagues in action today, you are suffering from withdrawal, and trying to figure out what to do with yourself when there are no soccer games to watch. The English Premier League returns on Sunday, but today is a day soccer fans will struggle.

Marshall re-signs with Columbus Crew

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The Columbus Crew took a major step toward repeating as MLS Cup champions on Monday when they re-signed MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall to a new contract. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.

Marshall went into the winter a free agent after playing out his MLS contract, but after a trial at German club Mainz 05, Marshall has decided to return to MLS, where he is widely-regarded as the most dominant defender in the league.

Beasley eyes MLS as Rangers departure looms

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DaMarcus Beasley could be looking for work soon, and the potential search for employment has him eyeing a return to Major League Soccer.

Rangers is ready to part ways with the U.S. national team winger in January and sources tell SBI that Beasley is looking for a return to MLS, but his asking price might prevent the reunion from happening.

CONCACAF Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

With the German Bundesliga off for the winter break, it was quite the surprise to see four CONCACAF Abroad players score in the penultimate week of the 2008 year.
 
Trinidadians Kenwyne Jones and Jason Scotland enjoyed excellent weekends as they both scored for the second consecutive week.

SBI MLS Mock Draft (Version 2.0)

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                                                                  Photo by ISIphotos.com

One week down and three to go as we slowly move toward the 2009 MLS Draft in St. Louis and every passing week produces more information, more names and more scenarios we could see come draft day on Jan.

Merry Christmas from SBI

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Hello all. I want to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you SBI readers out there. Hope you enjoy some time off, quality family time and a few peeks at SBI in between your unwrapping of presents and celebrating.

I will have some Christmas presents in the form of posts for those of you who need your soccer fix even on the holiday.

Say hello to Mr. USA

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                                                             Photo by ISIphotos.com

With Christmas just a few hours away, and way too much negativity simmering following Neven Subotic's decision to play for Serbia, I felt it was time to remind everybody about a player who did choose the U.

U.S. Soccer: Subotic will play for Serbia

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                                                                                    Photo by ISIphotos.com

At this time of year, you can usually expect your share of Christmas and other holiday cards in your mailbox.

Christmas Eve Ticker: A Jozy sighting, Galaxy lands a keeper and Arsenal eye Alonso

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Good afternoon folks. Hope you are all enjoying some time off around the holidays, and if you're one of the people who have faced the horror of flight delays and bad weather, good luck on your travels.

This won't be your standard Ticker, moreso just a chance to catch you all up on the latest.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By GIANFRANCO PANIZO

Clint Dempsey did his best impersonation of Santa Claus this past weekend as he gave American fans an early Christmas present with a goal for Fulham. Dempsey hit the third and final goal for the Cottagers during their scintillating 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough on Sunday.

What would you get your MLS team for Christmas?

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With Christmas just two days away it might be a little late to do much Christmas shopping, but that doesn't mean you can't think about what you would give friends and family as presents if you could give them anything you want.

You could also think about what gift you would give your favorite MLS team if you had Santa's ear.

Morning Ticker: Fabregas out 3-4 months, Almeria hires Hugo and Spain/Portugal in for 2018

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Arsenal's worst fears became reality on Tuesday when word emerged that playmaker Cesc Fabregas will be sidelined for between three to four months with a knee injury suffered in the Gunners' 1-1 tie vs. Liverpool on Sunday.

Fabregas suffered the injury on a hard, but relatively tame, challenge from Spain teammate Xabi Alonso just before halftime of the match.

Columbus names Warzycha new head coach

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Some men bleed their team's colors and some men are just meant to be synonymous with a club. As far as the Columbus Crew go, Robert Warzycha is such a man, which made his appointment as head coach of the Crew on Monday such a perfect move.

Warzycha replaces Sigi Schmid after Schmid led the Crew to its first MLS Cup title.

Your Questions Answered (Part 3 of 5)

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                                                                                          Photo by ISIphotos.com

Good afternoon all and welcome to the latest installment of Your Questions Answered.

Dynamo still in hunt for Landin

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                                                                                                 Photo by ISIphotos.com 

The Houston Dynamo has made signing a forward one of its biggest off-season priorities and the former MLS Cup champions are still in play for what would be a truly impressive signing.

Monday Morning Centerback: Adu needs another fresh start

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Nobody ever said things would be easy for Freddy Adu, but things are starting to get really tough for the young American playmaker.

Struggling badly for playing time for AS Monaco all season, Adu took the field late in a match Monaco was leading 3-2 against Bordeaux. A pair of Adu mistakes later, Monaco was dealt a painful 4-3 loss by Bordeaux and viewers in America watching on Setanta Sports were left wondering if, and when, things would start to turn around for Adu.

Morning Ticker: Totti and Fabregas injured, Vidic facing ban and America de Cali wins title

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Just when Roma was enjoying a red-hot run, the early-season strugglers have been hit with some more adversity.

As if losing to Catania on Sunday wasn't bad enough, now Roma is facing the prospect of losing Francesco Totti for up to two month with a thigh injury. The injury could put a major crimp in the Romans' attempts to climb up the Serie A standings after starting the year off terribly.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Good morning folks. Today is offering up a dreamy slate of high-quality match-ups for the most discerning of soccer fans. Whether you prefer England, Italy or Spain, there are good games for you to watch.

Leading the way is the Arsenal-Liverpool tilt, followed by the juicy Barcelona-Villarreal clash.

The Special One: The Champions League Draw and Rooney live in Japan

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Admit it, when you saw the draw for the Champions League round of 16, and you saw the Manchester United-Inter Milan pairing, one of the first things you thought of was I'm On Setanta Sports and what the comedy geniuses from Setanta would come up with.

Well, IOSS certainly did not disappoint.

Report: Gonzalez to sign with MLS

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                                                                               Photo by ISIphotos.com

Major League Soccer has taken its first step toward setting up what could be one of the deepest drafts in recent memory by landing one of the college game's most coveted prospects.

UEFA Champions League: What to look forward to in the Round of 16

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You just knew it was going to happen.

When so many high-powered teams failed to win their UEFA Champions League group stages, it set up the very real possibility of a handful of high-profile match-ups in the Round 16 that you might normally expect to see in the quarterfinals or semifinals.

This weekend's soccer on TV

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No matter how many people step forward and say the have no chance, Arsenal still isn't giving up on its dreams of an EPL championship.

It doesn't matter that Arsenal is currently eight points behind Liverpool in the standings, or that there are currently four teams ahead of the Gunners in the standings.

Gulati: Latest Subotic report is not true either

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In what is starting to become a bit of a trend, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati has followed up a report out of Serbia claiming that Neven Subotic was going to play for Serbia with his own statement denying the claim.

Gulati spoke out yet again, this time on statements made by Serbia manager Radomir Antic that Subotic was set to play for Serbia.

The MLS Grapevine: Notes on Van Den Bergh, White and Wallace

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Good evening folks. If you are like me (and are digging out of an East Coast snow storm) you might be sitting at home after some snow shoveling wishing there was some MLS news to read. While it is a slow time of year, with plenty of team officials (and journalists) going in vacation, there is always news to be found and nuggets of info to pass along.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Good morning all. A very entertaining weekend of soccer action kicks off today with some can't-miss match-ups and a full slate of EPL matches.

The headliner today is Boca Juniors-San Lorenzo in their Argentine Apertura playoff decider. San Lorenzo can clinch the league title with a win while Boca could set itself up for the league title with a win of its own.

Ljungberg has hip surgery, could miss up to three months

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When Freddie Ljungberg signed with the Seattle Sounders the biggest knock against his acquisition was Ljungberg reputation as an injury-plagued player.

Well, the fears have already been proven to be justified.

Ljungberg is set to miss between two to three months, and may miss the team's inaugural match on March 19 vs.

Beckham introduced in Milan

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David Beckham's Italian holiday began on Saturday as the LA Galaxy midfielder was introduced by AC Milan, kicking off his short loan spell with the Italian club.

Beckham is set to be available for Milan for its January 11th match against Roma in Rome.

According to Beckham's PR folks, the English star will be available for 10 Serie A matches and two UEFA Cup matches before returning to MLS in time for the Galaxy's season-opener on March 22.

Boca Juniors beats San Lorenzo, setting up dramatic final match vs. Tigre

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Argentine maestro Juan Riquelme worked his magic yet again, setting up a pair of goals to help Boca Juniors top San Lorenzo, 3-1, in their playoff tournament match on Saturday in Buenos Aires.

Lucas Viatri, Rodrigo Palacio and Cristian Chavez all scored goals for Boca, which took a major step toward the championship.

The Special One: The Champions League Draw and Rooney live in Japan

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Admit it, when you saw the draw for the Champions League round of 16, and you saw the Manchester United-Inter Milan pairing, one of the first things you thought of was I'm On Setanta Sports and what the comedy geniuses from Setanta would come up with.

Well, IOSS certainly did not disappoint.

Boca Juniors beats San Lorenzo, setting up a winner-take-all final match vs. Tigre

Soccer By Ives at related • 2 views

 

Argentine maestro Juan Riquelme worked his magic yet again, setting up a pair of goals to help Boca Juniors top San Lorenzo, 3-1, in their playoff tournament match on Saturday in Buenos Aires.

Lucas Viatri, Rodrigo Palacio and Cristian Chavez all scored goals for Boca, which took a major step toward the championship.

Beckham introduced in Milan

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David Beckham's Italian holiday began on Saturday as the LA Galaxy midfielder was introduced by AC Milan, kicking off his short loan spell with the Italian club.

Beckham is set to be available for Milan for its January 11th match against Roma in Rome.

According to Beckham's PR folks, the English star will be available for 10 Serie A matches and two UEFA Cup matches before returning to MLS in time for the Galaxy's season-opener on March 22.

Ljungberg has hip surgery, could miss up to three months

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When Freddie Ljungberg signed with the Seattle Sounders the biggest knock against his acquisition was Ljungberg reputation as an injury-plagued player.

Well, the fears have already been realized.

Ljungberg is set to miss between two to three months, and may miss the team's inaugural match on March 19 vs.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

Soccer By Ives at related • 0 views

 

Good morning all. A very entertaining weekend of soccer action kicks off today with some can't-miss match-ups and a full slate of EPL matches.

The headliner today is Boca Juniors-San Lorenzo in their Argentine Apertura playoff decider. San Lorenzo can clinch the league title with a win while Boca could set itself up for the league title with a win of its own.

The MLS Grapevine: Notes on Van Den Bergh, White and Wallace

Soccer By Ives at related • 10 views

 

Good evening folks. If you are like me (and are digging out of an East Coast snow storm) you might be sitting at home after some snow shoveling wishing there was some MLS news to read. While it is a slow time of year, with plenty of team officials (and journalists) going in vacation, there is always news to be found and nuggets of info to pass along.

Gulati: Latest Subotic report is not true either

Soccer By Ives at related • 2 views

In what is starting to become a bit of a trend, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati has followed up a report out of Serbia claiming that Neven Subotic was going to play for Serbia with his own statement denying the claim.

Gulati spoke out yet again, this time on statements made by Serbia manager Radomir Antic that Subotic was set to play for Serbia.

This weekend's soccer on TV

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No matter how many people step forward and say the have no chance, Arsenal still isn't giving up on its dreams of an EPL championship.

It doesn't matter that Arsenal is currently eight points behind Liverpool in the standings, or that there are currently four teams ahead of the Gunners in the standings.

UEFA Champions League: What to look forward to in the Round of 16

Soccer By Ives at related • 1 view

You just knew it was going to happen.

When so many high-powered teams failed to win their UEFA Champions League group stages, it set up the very real possibility of a handful of high-profile match-ups in the Round 16 that you might normally expect to see in the quarterfinals or semifinals.

Howard and Lloyd named U.S. Soccer athletes of the year

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It was hard to argue against Tim Howard having been the U.S. national team's best player in 2008 and voters agreed, naming him the 2008 U.S. Soccer male athlete of the year on Thursday.

Howard was one of four players honored by U.S. Soccer on Thursday. Sacha Kljestan earned Young Male Athlete of the Year honors, Olympic final hero Carli Lloyd won Female Athlete of the Year honors and Under-17 standout Kristie Mewis earned Young Female Athlete of the Year.

Report: Gonzalez to sign with MLS

Soccer By Ives at related • 38 views

 

                                                                               Photo by ISIphotos.com

Major League Soccer has taken its first step toward setting up what could be one of the deepest drafts in recent memory by landing one of the college game's most coveted prospects.

Man Utd to face Inter Milan as Champions League draw is revealed

Soccer By Ives at related • 4 views

 

The draw for the Champions League round of 16 was held on Friday and it was hardly kind to English Premier League teams as all four drew difficult opponents.

Defending champions Manchester United will take on Inter Milan in what is easily the best match-up of the pre-quarterfinal round.

Serbia coach: Subotic will play for us

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Serbian national team coach Radomir Antic has claimed victory in the chase to land Neven Subotic, stating that the defender has chosen to play for Serbia rather than the United States.

There has still been no public declaration from Subotic on the matter but Antic's public announcement sounds more legitimate than the previous reports that surfaced last month saying Subotic would play for Serbia.

SBI MLS Mock Draft: Version 1.0

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While it may just feel like yesterday when the Columbus Crew were lifting the MLS Cup trophy, it is already time to think about the 2009. The 2009 MLS Draft is just a month away, meaning it isn't too early to start thinking about how the draft may turn out once the league's 15 teams are done with what is being considered a deep and talented draft class.

MLS to scrap Supplemental Draft

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College soccer players and pro prospects hoping to be drafted by MLS teams this winter will have a lot fewer opportunities for that to happen.

MLS has decided to scrap the MLS Supplemental Draft, multiple sources confirmed to SBI on Thursday. The four-round draft was an annual event which usually followed a week after the MLS Draft.

Morning Ticker: Man Utd downs Gamba, San Lorenzo tops Tigre and UEFA Cup recap

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If Manchester United was jet-lagged, it certainly didn't show as the European champions scored in bunches to reach the Club World Cup final.

Wayne Rooney came off the bench to score two goals as Man Utd raced past Gamba Osaka, 5-3, in their Club World Cup semifinal on Thursday.

MLS Hot Stove: The Kassel situation

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Matt Kassel could not have asked for a much better freshman season in college than the one he just finished. The New Jersey native just helped Maryland to an NCAA title in what could wind up being his only season of college soccer.

According to multiple sources, Kassel is leaning heavily toward turning pro and is presently exploring his options, which include seriously considering signing with MLS.

MLS Hot Stove: The Kassel situation

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Matt Kassel could not have asked for a much better freshman season in college than the one he just finished. The New Jersey native just helped Maryland to an NCAA title in what could wind up being his only season of college soccer.

According to multiple sources, Kassel is leaning heavily toward turning pro and is presently exploring his options, which include seriously considering signing with MLS.

Wednesday Ticker: Pachuca falls to Liga de Quito, Madrid lands Diarra, Blackburn appoints Allardyce

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

Pachuca ran out of miracles in Japan.

Just days after pulling off a memorable comeback victory against African club champions Al Ahly, the Mexican powerhouse could not muster any more magic against South American champion Liga de Quito, which topped  Pachuca, 2-0 in rainy conditions in Tokyo to advance to the Club World Cup Final.

CONCACAF Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By GIANFRANCO PANIZO

What a week for Trinidad & Tobago's Kenwyne Jones. The Sunderland forward scored twice in a span of two minutes to lead his club to a 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

His Trinidadian teammates had mixed weekends.

Wednesday Ticker: Pachuca falls to Liga de Quito, Madrid lands Diarra, Blackburn appoints Allardyce

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

Pachuca ran out of miracles in Japan.

Just days after pulling off a memorable comeback victory against African club champions Al Ahly, the Mexican powerhouse could not muster any more magic against South American champion Liga de Quito, which topped  Pachuca, 2-0 in rainy conditions in Tokyo to advance to the Club World Cup Final.

CONCACAF Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Soccer By Ives at related • 2 views

What a week for Trinidad & Tobago's Kenwyne Jones. The Sunderland forward scored twice in a span of two minutes to lead his club to a 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

His Trinidadian teammates had mixed weekends. Carlos Edwards participated in Sunderland's impressive demolition as a second half sub while Dwight Yorke did not get an opportunity to showcase his skills.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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In the on-going battle for playing time, some of the U.S. national team's top young players enjoyed good weeks.

From Michael Bradley, who earned a start in Borussia Moenchengladbach's loss to Borussia Dortmund, to Jozy Altidore, who played significant minutes in a crucial match against Sevilla for Villarreal, there was definitely some progress to be made on at least a few Americans Abroad fronts.

Monday Morning Centerback: Enough about what the College Cup wasn't and what college soccer isn't

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Maybe it was all the hype coming into the Final Four about Wake Forest and its loaded quad. Perhaps it was the talk about how deep the upcoming MLS Draft is and how well represented this Final Four would be in that draft next month. Whatever the reason, this year's NCAA College Cup had more buzz than past years and the event essentially failed to live up to the hype.

Monday Ticker: Toluca wins Apertura title, Jamaica captures Digicel Cup and surgery for Gattuso

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

After 13 consecutive made penalty kicks, Cruz Azul's Alejandro Vela stepped to the spot hoping to find the magic he found when he scored in regulation.

Toluca goalkeeper Hernan Cristante had other ideas.

Cristante saved Vela's penalty kick to help Toluca narrowly defeat Cruz Azul, 7-6 on penalty kicks, en route to its ninth Mexican championship.

Seattle Sounders to make major announcement: I wonder what that will be?

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The MLS Expansion Seattle Sounders have revealed that they will be making a special announcement on Tuesday. I will give you three guesses as to what that might be.

Actually, here are some possibilities:

  1. Drew Carey named head coach, Sigi Schmid to be new Price is Right host.

U.S. Soccer announces first set of "Best Of" Award Winners

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The first set of winners of the 2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards was announced on Monday and SBI had the good fortune of being one of the award rcepients.

Winners for Best Soccer Bar, Best Specialty Store, Best Fan Photo and Best Blog were announced, with Globe Pub, Angelo's Soccer Corner, Jeff York and Soccer By Ives taking the honors.

Morning Ticker: Blackburn fires Ince, Argentina playoff schedule set and Rooney avoids ban

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Six straight losses and a firm hold on a relegation place was too much to ignore as Blackburn fired manager Paul Ince just 17 matches into his tenure with the club.

A 3-0 loss to Wigan proved to be the last straw as the former Manchester United star got the boot with Blackburn managing just three wins during his tenure in charge.

Your Questions Answered (Part 2 of 5)

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                                                            Photo by ISIphotos.com

Hello all. It's time for the latest installment of Your Questions Answered. There are still a bunch of questions to be answered from the November Q&A, but I'm hoping to knock them out all this week.

French clubs set to battle for Onyewu

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The race to land Oguchi Onyewu in the winter transfer period is heating up and a pair of French clubs are battling for his services.

Multiple reports out of France have Olympique Marseille and Paris St. Germain lining up bids for the U.S. national team defender, which could make for a tense few weeks.

EPL Week 17: A Look Back

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On a weekend when the top three teams in the Premier League all settled for draws, it is only fitting that we stop and give some respect to one of the surprise teams of the season. Hull City got off to a flying start early in the season, but many skeptics expected Hull to come crashing back down the standings.

Columbus to host USA-Mexico qualifier

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                                                                            Photo by ISIphotos.com

After a week of rumors that it would not be the venue, Columbus has emerged yet again as the choice to host the U.

Columbus to host USA vs. Mexico qualifier

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After a week of rumors that it would not be the venue, Columbus has emerged yet again as the choice to host the U.S. men's national team's biggest rivalry.

The opening match of the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying between the United States and Mexico will be played at Crew Stadium on Feb.

EPL Week 17: A Look Back

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On a weekend when the top three teams in the Premier League all settled for draws, it is only fitting that we stop and give some respect to one of the surprise teams of the season. Hull City got off to a flying start early in the season, but many skeptics expected Hull to come crashing back down the standings.

French clubs set to battle for Onyewu

Soccer By Ives at related • 7 views

 

The race to land Oguchi Onyewu in the winter transfer period is heating up and a pair of French clubs are battling for his services.

Multiple reports out of France have Olympique Marseille and Paris St. Germain lining up bids for the U.S. national team defender, which could make for a tense few weeks.

Your Questions Answered (Part 2 of 5)

Soccer By Ives at related • 7 views

 

                                                            Photo by ISIphotos.com

Hello all. It's time for the latest installment of Your Questions Answered. There are still a bunch of questions to be answered from the November Q&A, but I'm hoping to knock them out all this week.

Morning Ticker: Blackburn fires Ince, Argentina playoff schedule set and Rooney avoids ban

Soccer By Ives at related • 0 views

 

Six straight losses and a firm hold on a relegation place was too much to ignore as Blackburn fired manager Paul Ince just 17 matches into his tenure with the club.

A 3-0 loss to Wigan proved to be the last straw as the former Manchester United star got the boot with Blackburn managing just three wins during his tenure in charge.

U.S. Soccer announces first set of "Best Of" Award Winners

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The first set of winners of the 2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards was announced on Monday and SBI had the good fortune of being one of the award rcepients.

Winners for Best Soccer Bar, Best Specialty Store, Best Fan Photo and Best Blog were announced, with Globe Pub, Angelo's Soccer Corner, Jeff York and Soccer By Ives taking the honors.

Seattle Sounders to make major announcement: I wonder what that will be?

Soccer By Ives at related • 4 views

 

The MLS Expansion Seattle Sounders have revealed that they will be making a special announcement on Tuesday. I will give you three guesses as to what that might be.

Actually, here are some possibilities:

  1. Drew Carey named head coach, Sigi Schmid to be new Price is Right host.

Monday Ticker: Toluca wins Apertura title, Jamaica captures Digicel Cup and surgery for Gattuso

Soccer By Ives at related • 1 view

 

by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

After 13 consecutive made penalty kicks, Cruz Azul's Alejandro Vela stepped to the spot hoping to find the magic he found when he scored in regulation.

Toluca goalkeeper Hernan Cristante had other ideas.

Cristante saved Vela's penalty kick to help Toluca narrowly defeat Cruz Azul, 7-6 on penalty kicks, en route to its ninth Mexican championship.

Monday Morning Centerback: Enough about what the College Cup wasn't and what college soccer isn't

Soccer By Ives at related • 2 views

 

Maybe it was all the hype coming into the Final Four about Wake Forest and its loaded quad. Perhaps it was the talk about how deep the upcoming MLS Draft is and how well represented this Final Four would be in that draft next month. Whatever the reason, this year's NCAA College Cup had more buzz than past years and the event essentially failed to live up to the hype.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Soccer By Ives at related • 15 views

 

In the on-going battle for playing time, some of the U.S. national team's top young players enjoyed good weeks.

From Michael Bradley, who earned a start in Borussia Moenchengladbach's loss to Borussia Dortmund, to Jozy Altidore, who played significant minutes in a crucial match against Sevilla for Villarreal, there was definitely some progress to be made on at least a few Americans Abroad fronts.

The Special One: On Rafa and 'The Game'

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The funny folks from I'm On Setanta Sports were going to have a hard time topping last week's episode, and while this week's installment of IOSS wasn't as funny, it still provides plenty of laughes.

Enjoy:

Top Lines of the Clip:

  • Yours sincerely, Danny Shittu

  • Rafa Benitez has just asked Spurs if they can take back Robbie Keane

  • He's here, he's der, he's swearing everywhere, Joe Kin-near, Joe Kin-near

  • I threw the game against Porto?

Argentina Apertura Anarchy: Three-way tie forces round-robin title playoff

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Argentine soccer has reached uncharted territory after victories by Boca Juniors, San Lorenzo and Tigres on the last weekend of the regular season set-up an improbable three-way tie atop the Apertura Standings.

Boca Juniors cruised to a 3-2 victory against Colon, San Lorenzo squeezed out a 1-0 win against Argentinos Junior and Tigre held on for a 1-0 victory against Banfield.

Maryland wins NCAA Title

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Graham Zusi had enough magic for two game-winners in the NCAA Final Four.

After his stunning free-kick winner on Friday to beat St. John's, Zusi stepped up yet again on Sunday, pouncing on a loose ball in the 67th minute for his second goal in three days to help Maryland beat North Carolina, 1-0, in the NCAA final.

NCAA College Cup Final: Your Running Commentary

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The North Carolina Tar Heels take on the Maryland Terrapins today in the NCAA Men's College Cup Final at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas (1pm, ESPN2).

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

New Jersey Ironmen kick off XLS season today

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The New Jersey Ironmen begin their second year of existence and first in the newly formed Xtreme Soccer League when they take on the Chicago Storm at the Prudential Center in Newark at 4pm today.

The four-team XSL began its first season of existence on Saturday, with the Milwaukee Wave beating the Detroit Ignition, 11-4, on Saturday night.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Hello folks. Apologies for the late posting but most of today's soccer action is still to come, including the NCAA College Cup Final and the AC Milan-Juventus and Lyon-Marseille showdowns.

Here is what is left of today's matches on TV:

  • 11am- FSC- West Ham at Chelsea

  • 11am- GolTV- Schalke 04 at TSG Hoffenheim

  • 1pm- GolTV- Villarreal at Sevilla

  • 1pm- ESPN2- NCAA College Cup Final

  • 2pm- Fox Sports Espanol- Colon at Boca Juniors

  • 2:30pm- FSC- AC Milan at Juventus

  • 2:55pm- Setanta USA- Marseille at Lyon

  • 3pm- GolTV- Real Betis at Atletico Madrid

  • 5:30pm- GolTV- Deportivo Pereira at America

  • 6pm- FSC- Digicel Caribbean Cup Championship (Jamaica vs.

Barcelona downs Real Madrid in thriller

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It wasn't a blowout, but any victory against an arch-rival is sweet enough.

Barcelona overcame a missed penalty kick with two late goals to topple Real Madrid on its way to a 2-0 victory in the 'Super Clasico', widening its gap ahead of the reigning La Liga champions to 12 points in the standings.

UNC and Maryland set for NCAA Final after memorable semifinal victories

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

The NCAA Final will be won by an ACC team, but not by the ACC team most thought would lift the NCAA College Cup trophy this year.

With defending champion Wake Forest eliminated after a stunning semifinal upset, Maryland and North Carolina have a date with destiny after posting 1-0 victories yesterday to advance to Sunday's NCAA Final at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas (1pm, ESPN2).

Saturday Ticker: Pachuca advance, Peru compromises and Van Der Sar re-signs

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

Pachuca, the CONCACAF representative at the FIFA Club World Cup, represented the region well by rallying back from a 2-0 deficit with four unanswered goal to post a 4-2 overtime victory against Al-Ahly in Club World Cup quarterfinal action.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Good morning all. We have a loaded schedule of soccer matches on TV today, with selections for all appetites.

Leading the way today are the Real Madrid-Barcelona 'Clasico' and the Manchester United-Tottenham clash.

Here is a rundown of today's matches:

  • 10am- FSC- Everton at Manchester City

  • 10am- Setanta USA- Hull City at Liverpool

  • 11:30am- GolTV- Bayern Munich at VFB  Stuttgart

  • 12:15pm- Setanta USA- Birmingham at Preston North End

  • 12:30pm- FSC- Manchester United at Tottenham

  • 2pm- GolTV- Espanyol at Valencia

  • 2:30pm- FSC- Lecce at Napoli

  • 2:55pm- Setanta USA- Nantes at Rennes

  • 4pm- GolTV- Real Madrid at Barcelona

  • 4:30pm- FSC- Torino at Bologna

  • 5pm- Setanta USA- Bolton at Aston Villa

  • 6:45pm-Setanta USA- Fulham at Stoke City

  • 8:30pm- FSC- Blackburn at Wigan

  • 8:30pm- Setanta USA- Hull City at Liverpool

  • 1am- FSC- Sydney FC at Central Coast Mariners

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

Sounders and Crew reach agreement, freeing Seattle to hire Schmid

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                                                      Photo by ISIphotos.com

Sigi Schmid is free at last.

Here is the announcement from MLS regarding an agreement reached between Columbus and Seattle over Schmid:

"Major League Soccer announced today that the Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders FC resolved a potential contractual issue regarding former Crew coach Sigi Schmid.

NCAA Final Four: (Your Running Commentary)

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The NCAA Final Four is set for tonight at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, with the first game between Wake Forest and North Carolina already under way (on ESPN2). St. John's and Maryland face off tonight (8:30pm, ESPNU) in the second match.

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

DeRo is heading home to TFC in blockbuster deal

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                                           By ISIphotos.com

Toronto's prodigal son is heading home.

Pulling off the biggest trade in its young history, Toronto FC has landed Canadian national team star and three-time MLS Cup champion Dwayne DeRosario in a trade from the Houston Dynamo.

NCAA Final Four: Can UNC stop mighty Wake Forest?

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When you look at the roster of the Wake Forest men's soccer team you don't just see a talented squad, you see a pro scouts dream, a who's-who of the best players in college soccer.

Best defender in college soccer? Check. Best striker? Check. Best midfield? Check.

The embarrassment of riches is one thing, but the soccer the Deamon Deacons play with that assortment of talent makes them overwhelming favorites to repeat as NCAA champions.

This weekend's soccer on TV

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The last time Real Madrid and Barcelona faced off in Spain's biggest rivalry, Real Madrid came into the match as newly-minted champions while Barcelona was a team in shambles, a club on the verge of a major shake-up.

What a difference seven months can make.

The roles have reversed for the Spanish powers, with Barcelona running away with the league and looking unbeatable while Real Madrid is the one coming off a recent coaching change and dealing with a tidal wave of injuries.

Morning Ticker: City targets Buffon, Toluca win Final first leg and Blanco's missing caps

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Having been rebuffed by Real Madrid star Iker Casillas, cash-heavy Manchester City has turned its attention toward the next best goalkeeper in the world and while Gianluigi Buffon might be more likely to be available, he certainly won't be coming cheap.

According to this report out of England, Buffon is seeking a salary of £13 million a year (about $19.

Tampering charge holding up Schmid move to Seattle

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                                                                             Photo by ISIphotos.com

If you are wondering what exactly the hold up is with regard to Sigi Schmid and his expected move to the Seattle Sounders, especially now that he has parted ways with the Columbus Crew, sources have revealed a tangled mess involving Columbus, Seattle, a tampering charge and a league that has to take care of the mess.

CONCACAF Champions League: A look ahead to the quarterfinals

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

With the UEFA Champions League taking up much of the attention this week as fans starting looking ahead to the knockout rounds, it was easy to forget that the CONCACAF version of the same tournament is still underway, and just two months from returning.

Evening Ticker: Ronaldo to Corinthians, Diego banned and no Ajax loan for Babel

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO


Three-time world player of the year Ronaldo is heading back to his native land. The 32-year-old striker is close to finalizing a one-year deal with newly promoted Corinthians.

Ronaldo suffered a severe tendon injury to his left knee back in February while playing for Italian giants AC Milan.

Crew officially says goodbye to Sigi Schmid, next stop Seattle

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The Sigi Schmid era in Columbus is now officially over.

The man who helped the Columbus Crew win its first MLS Cup title has passed on a new contract with the Crew, paving the way for Schmid's inevitable move to MLS expansion club Seattle Sounders FC.

Crew president Mark McCullers released the following statement late on Tuesday night:

"Sigi Schmid has formally declined our last contract offer and will not be returning as head coach of the Columbus Crew.

Who should be invited to the January U.S. National Team Camp?

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                                                                            Photo by ISIphotos.com

With 2008 winding to a close, and 2009 just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about the January U.

MLS releases list of Draft Combine invitees

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                                                              Photo by ISIphotos.com

Major League Soccer released the list of 65 players it has invited to the 2009 MLS Player Combine, set for January 9-13 at Lockhart Stadium in Ft.

The Generation adidas targets

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                                                                              Photo by ISIphotos.com

While the list of MLS Combine invitees has been released, you cannot get a real sense of how the 2009 MLS Draft might shake out until you see the Generation adidas players that will be in the mix.

UEFA Champions League: The Sweet 16 is set

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Wayne Rooney scored a second-half equalizer to help Manchester United salvage a 2-2 against Danish side AaB, a result that helped the Red Devils secure first place in its group ahead of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

With the top spots in the remaining groups all but decided heading into Wednesday, the biggest issue to be resolved was which teams would finish first and which would finish second in the groups, positions that would determine just how tough the path through the knockout round will be.

Morning Ticker: Club World Cup kicks off, Alex wants Chelsea exit and Zenga gets extension

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You probably missed it because it took place in the middle of the night in American time but the FIFA Club World Cup kicked off in Japan over night and Australian champions Adelaide United got off to a flying start by beating New Zealand side Waitekere United, 2-1, on Thursday.

Adelaide United will now face Gamba Osaka in a rematch of the Asian Champions League final won by Gamba Osaka, 5-0, last month.

Rojas and Pietravallo have guaranteed deals in '09

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                                       Photo by ISIphotos.com

When Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio revealed last week that Venezuelan midfielder Jorge Rojas and Argentine midfielder Juan Pietravallo would return in 2009 after enduring largely disappointing 2008 seasons, most Red Bulls fans were left scratching their heads at the decision.

USA-Mexico qualifier heading West?

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                                                                                   Photo by ISIphotos.com

Just when you thought the tradition of the USA home World Cup qualifier against Mexico being played in Columbus, Ohio would be upheld this year, now comes word from ESPN Deportes' John Sutcliffe that the Feb.

Fear the Flip Throw

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In life, there are certain things you don't want to get in the way of, such as a speeding train, an angry bull or me at an open bar.

You can add flip-throws to that list, as this poor kid found out the hard way:


Here is my question. What did the kid think was going to happen?

USA-Mexico qualifier heading West?

Soccer By Ives at related • 12 views

 

                                                                                   Photo by ISIphotos.com

Just when you thought the tradition of the USA home World Cup qualifier against Mexico being played in Columbus, Ohio would be upheld this year, now comes word from ESPN Deportes' John Sutcliffe that the Feb.

Fear the Flip Throw

Soccer By Ives at related • 4 views

In life, there are certain things you don't want to get in the way of, such as a speeding train, an angry bull or me at an open bar.

You can add flip-throws to that list, as this poor kid found out the hard way:


Rojas and Pietravallo have guaranteed deals in '09

Soccer By Ives at related • 0 views

 

                                       Photo by ISIphotos.com

When Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio revealed last week that Venezuelan midfielder Jorge Rojas and Argentine midfielder Juan Pietravallo would return in 2009 after enduring largely disappointing 2008 seasons, most Red Bulls fans were left scratching their heads at the decision.

Morning Ticker: Club World Cup kicks off, Alex wants Chelsea exit and Zenga gets extension

Soccer By Ives at related • 2 views

 

You probably missed it because it took place in the middle of the night in American time but the FIFA Club World Cup kicked off in Japan over night and Australian champions Adelaide United got off to a flying start by beating New Zealand side Waitekere United, 2-1, on Thursday.

Adelaide United will now face Gamba Osaka in a rematch of the Asian Champions League final won by Gamba Osaka, 5-0, last month.

UEFA Champions League: The Sweet 16 is set

Soccer By Ives at related • 1 view

 

Wayne Rooney scored a second-half equalizer to help Manchester United salvage a 2-2 against Danish side AaB, a result that helped the Red Devils secure first place in its group ahead of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

With the top spots in the remaining groups all but decided heading into Wednesday, the biggest issue to be resolved was which teams would finish first and which would finish second in the groups, positions that would determine just how tough the path through the knockout round will be.

The Generation adidas targets

Soccer By Ives at related • 38 views

 

                                                                              Photo by ISIphotos.com

While the list of MLS Combine invitees has been released, you cannot get a real sense of how the 2009 MLS Draft might shake out until you see the Generation adidas players that will be in the mix.

MLS releases list of Draft Combine invitees

Soccer By Ives at related • 22 views

   

                                                              Photo by ISIphotos.com

Major League Soccer released the list of 65 players it has invited to the 2009 MLS Player Combine, set for January 9-13 at Lockhart Stadium in Ft.

Who should be invited to the January U.S. National Team Camp?

Soccer By Ives at related • 9 views

 

                                                                            Photo by ISIphotos.com

With 2008 winding to a close, and 2009 just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about the January U.

Crew officially says goodbye to Sigi Schmid, next stop Seattle

Soccer By Ives at related • 4 views

 

The Sigi Schmid era in Columbus is now officially over.

The man who helped the Columbus Crew win its first MLS Cup title has passed on a new contract with the Crew, paving the way for Schmid's inevitable move to MLS expansion club Seattle Sounders FC.

Crew president Mark McCullers released the following statement late on Tuesday night:

"Sigi Schmid has formally declined our last contract offer and will not be returning as head coach of the Columbus Crew.

Evening ticker: Ronaldo to Corinthians, Diego banned and no Ajax loan for Babel

Soccer By Ives at related • 1 view

by GIANFRANCO PANIZO


Three-time world player of the year Ronaldo is heading back to his native land. The 32-year-old striker is close to finalizing a one-year deal with newly promoted Corinthians.

Ronaldo suffered a severe tendon injury to his left knee back in February while playing for Italian giants AC Milan.

CONCACAF Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By GIANFRANCO PANIZO

Is David Suazo the best CONCACAF player plying his trade in Europe? It is certainly possible. But those who support that statement were fed more ammunition after the Honduran striker scored twice in Benfica's 6-0 route over Maritimo.

Suazo's national comrades Wilson Palacios and Maynor Figueroa were not as lucky.

Champions League: Matchday Six (Your Running Commentary)

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The UEFA Champions League returns for the final matchday of the group stage as three spots in Round of 16 are still up for grabs, along with UEFA Cup places.

Today's matches on TV include:

  • 2:45pm- ESPN2- CFR Cluj Napoca at Chelsea (LIVE)

  • 2:45pm- Setanta USA- Liverpool at PSV Eindhoven  (LIVE)

  • 5pm- ESPN Classic- Inter Milan at Werder Bremen

  • 5:45pm- Setanta USA- Anorthosis Famagusta at Panathanaikos

  • 7:30pm- Setanta USA- Sporting Lisbo at FC Basel

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

SBI European Club Top 25

Soccer By Ives at related • 2 views

Admit it, you are tired of Barcelona. Tired of watching them beat up on teams that are supposed to be some of the best in Europe. Sevilla? Battered. Valencia? Smoked. You name them and Barca has probably smacked them around recently (save for Getafe, which is giving everybody trouble lately).

Agoos addresses Red Bulls second DP slot, Van Den Bergh and a Bradley allocation (among other things)

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New York Red Bulls sporting director Jeff Agoos held a telephone conference call call today to take some questions from the media, and since he does have a habit of dancing around questions, the call sounded a bit like this:

In all seriousness, Agoos did share some interesting tidbits, including the following:

The Red Bulls will keep the Chivas USA designated player slot as long as MLS maintains the Designated Player rule, which means that if MLS votes to keep the DP slot mechanism next year (which is expected), the Red Bulls will still have Chivas USA's slot (unless it trades the slot).

Morning Ticker: Parkhurst heads to Denmark, Real Madrid dumps Schuster for Ramos and Man City targets Villa

Soccer By Ives at related • 3 views

 

                                                    Photo by ISIphotos.com

By GIANFRANCO PANIZO

You can add another name to the growing list of players to leave the New England Revolution for Europe.

The Special One: The Roy Keane Exclusive

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The always hilarious I'm on Setanta Sports comes through with the first "exclusive" interview with Roy Keane since his departure from Sunderland. Enjoy:

Top Lines of the clip:

"It's the Gene Hackman."

"He's big, he's red, he's jolly, and he's usually gone by Christmas.

Ten MLS players who are European transfer targets

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                                                       Photo by ISIphotos.com

For those of you who missed it, here is a piece I wrote for ESPN.com this morning on ten top MLS transfer targets this winter. It is a group of ten MLS players who European clubs could and very likely will make moves for when the January transfer window opens up.

Your last chance to vote for the U.S. Soccer "Best of" Awards series

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(Summary is not available.)

Marshall on trial with Mainz 05

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2008 MLS Defender of the Year and newly-minted MLS Cup champion Chad Marshall is out of contract, and is taking full advantage of being a free agent.

The imposing center back has turned up on trial at Bundesliga 2 side Mainz 05, the same club that Neven Subotic played for last year, and the same club Colorado Rapids striker Conor Casey once played for.

Angel discusses his future, reaching MLS Cup and the second DP slot

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                                                                                 Photo by ISIphotos.com

As the steady flow of fans walked up to Juan Pablo Angel at an autograph signing session at Premier Soccer Shop in Hoboken, you could see a player enjoying the off-season.

Morning Ticker: Still no deal for Podolski, Diarra out for season, Three-way tie in Argentina

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The long and drawn-out Lukas Podolski transfer saga rages on, with no sale in sight and still no official word on what it will mean to Landon Donovan's potential move to Bayern Munich.

The German champions rejected an undisclosed offer for Podolski from Cologne, Podolski's old club.

Monday Morning Center Back: Can an MLS team suceed with two DP slots?

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(Good morning all. It has been a long time coming, but the weekly SBI series Monday Morning Center Back is and I will be looking to keep it as permanent weekly fixture in the post rotation. The MMCB will be a weekly piece on pressing topics of the day as I give my take on issues relating to MLS, the U.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Jozy Altidore didn't score a goal, nor was he one of the standouts for Villarreal against Getafe on Saturday, but the fact is the young American striker played 90 minutes in a crucial La Liga match and didn't look out of place.

Altidore didn't score in his second straight league start, but he did have a header that forced a save and eventually led to Villarreal's first goal as the 'Yellow Submarine' rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to salvage a 3-3 tie.

U.S. Women win Under-20 World Cup

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                                                                               Photo by ISIphotos.com

North Korea showed plenty of determination and ability, but the U.S. Under-20 women's national team finished its chances and played well enough defensively to make their two goals stand up as tournament stars Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan scored first-half goals to lead the United States to a 2-1 win in the Under-20 women's World Cup final on Sunday in Chile.

North Carolina women win 19th NCAA title

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North Carolina forward Casey Nogueira scored two second-half goals to help the UNC women's soccer team post a 2-1 victory over Notre Dame in the NCAA final on Sunday in Cary, North Carolina.

Notre Dame got off to a fast start, scoring just 16 minutes into the match, but the Tar Heels fought their way back into the match and took control in the second half, led by Nogueira, who ultimately helped hand Notre Dame its first loss of the season.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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The battle for the title of Best American Goalkeeper will be up for grabs on Sunday when Tim Howard and Brad Friedel do battle in the Everton-Aston Villa match.

Though Hull City is currently holding on to fifth place in the EPL (which brings a UEFA Cup berth with it), Everton and Aston Villa look like the teams most likely to battle for the spot through the year, making Sunday's match that much more important.

Becerra boots Red Storm into College Cup, capping remarkable comeback

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                                                        Photo by St. John's Athletic Communications

By DYLAN BUTLER

Cradling the ball in his arms, Nelson Becerra had many thoughts swirling around his head.

NCAA Men's Final Four field set

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All four favorites won their Elite Eight match-ups in today's NCAA Men's Tournament action, setting up a loaded Final Four. Three ACC teams and Big East power St. John's will make up the field that will battle for the NCAA title next weekend in Frisco, Texas.

Defending champions Wake Forest thrashed South Florida, 5-0, as five different goal-scorers provided the difference.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Hey Valencia, you're up next in the "Can anybody beat Barcelona?" contest.

The Spanish powerhouse thrashed Sevilla last week and will look to add Valencia to the long list of teams that have tried and failed to slow down the most dangerous attack in Europe.

Barcelona-Valencia is just one of several quality matches on Saturday.

Afternoon Ticker: Casillas denies City, Crespo looking elsewhere and Trezeguet ponders France return

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by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

It appears that Iker Casillas is not a firm believer of the old cliche "money can buy happiness".

Casillas, 27, publicly came out and squashed reports linking him to Manchester City. The talks sprinkled out earlier this week and claimed that The Blues were prepared to dish out 150 million euros to Real Madrid for his services.

U.S. Under-20 Women's World Cup Final Live on ESPN2

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The U.S. Under-20 women's national team's game against North Korea in the Under-20 Women's World Cup final on Sunday will be aired live on ESPN2 and Galavision at 4pm.

The Americans reached the final thanks to a 1-0 victory against Germany while North Korea booked its place courtesy of a 2-1, overtime victory against France.

Bayern Munich vs. TSG Hoffenheim: Your Running Commentary

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Good afternoon folks. Whether you happen to be home right now, have access to GolTV at work, or are lucky enough to have a Sling Box, now is the time to turn your TV to GolTV for the highly-anticipated clash between defending Bundesliga champion (and second place) Bayern Munich and first-place TSG Hoffenheim.

NCAA Tournament Preview: St. John's wary of Indiana

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By DYLAN BUTLER

The road to the College Cup goes through Belson Stadium for St. John's and Indiana, which meet in an NCAA quarterfinal match on Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Red Storm is a perfect 11-0 at home this year and 16-4-1 all-time in NCAA tournament games in Queens, N.

The MLS Hot Stove: Scouting in the Caribbean

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As we move into December you might think that MLS coaches and technical staffs would be preparing to take vacations. Well, some of them have made their way to a Caribbean island, but it isn't for a vacation.

Scouts from several MLS clubs are in Jamaica this week and weekend for the Digicel Caribbean Cup Championships and it's no secret what many of them are looking for: affordable attacking players.

Guevara staying with Toronto FC in 2009

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Contrary to reports out of Central America, Toronto FC playmaker and Honduran national team captain Amado Guevera is not leaving Toronto FC after just one season.

Reports out of Honduras are claiming that Guevara has agreed to a deal to return to Honduras and play for CD Motagua.

Your chance to meet Juan Pablo Angel (and SBI)

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                                                          Photo by ISIphotos.com

If you are a New York Red Bulls fan, or just a Juan Pablo Angel fan, and you will be anywhere near Hoboken, New Jersey on Saturday afternoon, there is an event you won't want to miss.

Morning Ticker: Ronaldo nearly a Gunner Allardyce favored for Sunderland job and Eduardo nears return

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If you think Emmanuel Adebayor and Cristiano Ronaldo look mighty friendly in this picture, just imagine if they were teammates.

They nearly were. Ronaldo revealed on Friday that he was set to join Arsenal when Manchester United came in with an offer three times larger, an offer Sporting Lisbon pounced on back in the summer of 2003.

USA Under-20 women reach World Cup final

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Tournament scoring leader Sydney Leroux notcher her fifth goal of the tournament to help give the U.S. Under-20 women's national a 1-0 victory against Germany in the Under-20 World Cup semifinals in Chile on Thursday.

Leroux finished off a Nikki Washington cross from close range for the only score of the match.

Villa stumbles but advances in UEFA Cup

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Brad Guzan got the start for Aston Villa in UEFA Cup action Thursday but he couldn't duplicate the success of fellow U.S. national teamer Oguchi Onyewu, who enjoyed a victory.

Villa and Guzan fell to MSK Zilina, 2-1, in UEFA Cup action on Thusday, but the Villans still progressed to the tournament's round of 32.

Ibisevic: "I probably would have played for the United States"

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When TSG Hoffenheim, the first place team in the German Bundesliga, takes on second-place Bayern Munich on Friday, it will be led by the current goal-scoring leader in Germany. A player who just admitted that if certain things had gone differently, he might have been playing for the U.

Your Questions Answered (Part 1 of 5)

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Hello all and welcome to the newest installment of Your Questions Answered, where I provide answers to your soccer-related questions.

We had another record-setting number of questions, but I think I will be able to respond to them all more quickly than the past few Q&A sessions so stay tuned for all the installments.

Morning Ticker: Keane quits Sunderland, Sudamericana champ crowned and Torres out a month

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In the end, Roy Keane just couldn't handle the job.

The former Manchester United star's first managerial job has ended as Keane stepped down from his post as Sunderland's manager after 100 games in charge.

Somewhere, Jack Warner is laughing.

No word yet on a replacement, but whoever takes over will inherit a team struggling in the EPL relegation zone after a 4-1 loss to Bolton last weekend.

Onyewu scores in UEFA Cup romp

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U.S. national team defender added some extra momentum to his already soaring stock with a goal today in Standard Liege's 3-0 UEFA Cup stroll past Italian side Sampdoria. Onyewu's header helped the Belgian club qualify for the UEFA Cup's round of 32.

That sound you hear is European clubs getting funds together to bid on the big American center back, who is in the midst of another stellar club season.

MLS Hot Stove: Suggesting a blockbuster

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What is a Designated Player slot worth?

Two years ago, when the New York Red Bulls acquired Chivas USA's DP slot, it cost a former MLS MVP in Amado Guevara. Last year, when D.C. United acquired Colorado's DP slot, the cost was as former MVP (Christian Gomez) and a first-round pick.

Hall of Fame vote not an easy one

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                                                     Photo by ISIphotos.com

Today was the last day to vote for the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame class of 2009 and when I sat down to fill out my electronic ballot I fully expected it to be an easy process.

Morning Ticker: Tottenham eyes Hahnemann, Real Madrid lands Huntelaar and San Lorenzo rolls

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After dealing with the frustration that comes with the inconsistent form of Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp looks set to turn to an American goalkeeper to provide a more stable answer in net.

Tottenham is considering a winter move for Marcus Hahnemann, who is reportedly set to consider a move away from Reading after failing to reach an agreement on a long-term deal with the League Championship club.

Schelotto returning to Crew in 2009

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Facing a boatload of question marks over just who will and won't be back in 2009, the Columbus Crew took a major step toward trying to repeat as MLS Cup champions by re-signing MLS and MLS Cup MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto to a new contract, making him the first Designated Player in team history.

MLS unveils 2009 opening schedule (and home openers for all teams)

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Major League Soccer revealed its opening 2009 schedule on Tuesday, with New York visiting Seattle in the first match of the season, on March 19th.

Here are the schedule for week one, and the subsequent home openers:

WEEK 1

Thursday, March 19

New York Red Bulls at Seattle Sounders (ESPN2)

Saturday, March 21

Columbus Crew at Houston Dynamo (FSC)

Chicago Fire at FC Dallas

Toronto FC at Kansas City Wizards

Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA (FSC)

New England Revolution at San Jose Earthquakes

Here are the rest of the home openers:

WEEK 2

Saturday, 28

Toronto FC at Columbus Crew

San Jose Earthquakes at D.

Osorio discusses his future, wanting just one DP and the return of Rojas and Pietravallo

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Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio spoke to the local Red Bulls media on Tuesday and removed any doubt about his intention to return in 2009. He also made some revealing comments about his plans for the 2009 Red Bulls.

I will post quotes shortly but for now, here were the main talking points from Osorio:

Osorio plans on returning in 2009.

A closer look at FIFA's ban on Peru

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Peruvian soccer is in a world of hurt.

That wasn't exactly a secret, but things hit rock bottom last week after FIFA's decision to ban Peru over government interference. While the news was awful on many levels, it just might be the smack in the face Peruvian soccer needs to straighten itself out after more than two decades of misery.

Morning Ticker: Ronaldo wins Ballon d'Or, Real targets Huntelaar and Everton eyeing Larsson

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Manchester United midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo added another honor to his impressive trophy haul on Monday when he was named winner of the prestigious Ballon d'Or, awarded to the best player in Europe.

Ronaldo (446 points in the voting) easily out-distanced second place finisher Lionel Messi (281 points) and third-place Fernando Torres (179 points).

Osorio: "I will be back next year"

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                                                                                       Photo by ISIphotos.com

Being the first coach to guide the New York Red Bulls to the MLS Cup final has brought plenty of attention to head coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

Philadelphia MLS expansion team breaks ground on $115M stadium

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The Philadelphia MLS expansion team broke ground on their new $115 million stadium project in Chester, PA on Monday, moving a step closer to building a new home for soccer in the Northeast.

MLS commissioner Don Garber was on hand (below, second from left), complete with hard hat and shovel.

CONCACAF Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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(Hello all. It has been a few months since CONCACAF Abroad: Weekend Rewind left the regular SBI rotation. It has made its way back. New correspondent GianFranco Panizo, a journalism student from Florida Atlantic University makes his SBI debut by giving us the latest on how CONCACAF's top players did in Europe this past weekend.

ESPN Press Pass discusses Donovan's potential Bayern move

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For those of you who have missed it, ESPN Classic has begun airing ESPN Soccernett Press Pass every Monday and Friday at 7pm. Hosted by Adrian Healey and including New England head coach Steve Nicol, Tommy Smyth and Janusz Mchallik, the show is one of the best you will see discussing American soccer.

Morning Ticker: Injuries mount for Real Madrid, Everton lose Yakubu and Riquelme shines

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Could things get any worse for Real Madrid?

Perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson succeeded in putting a hex on Ramon Calderon's squad as the reigning La Liga champions are enduring a hell of run of bad luck. First they sell Robinho and score no real replacement, then they lose Ruud van Nistelrooy for the season to a knee injury.

The MLS Hot Stove: Exodus of top defenders looming

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If you were to take a poll asking people who the best defenders in MLS are, the list would include each of the following names:

  • Chad Marshall

  • Michael Parkhurst

  • Bakary Soumare

  • Bobby Boswell

At least three of those names enjoyed career-type seasons while the fourth, Parkhurst, still played at a very high level.

Altidore staying put at Villarreal

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If you were hoping to see Jozy Villarreal loaned out to a smaller European team with the hope of getting more playing time in the second half of the European season, it isn't going to happen.

Villarreal manager Manuel Pellegrini stated after his team's recent win against Recreativo Huelva that none of Villarreal's players will be leaving on loan this winter, and that all, including Altidore, will remain until the end of the season.