On a snowy night at Upton Park, Jonathan Spector emphatically ended his poor run of form.
Given the chance to start for West Ham for the first time in more than three months, Spector
scored twice in the first half of his club's shocking 4-0 victory over his former team, Manchester
United, in the quarterfinals of the Carling Cup on Tuesday.
With all the retirements of long-time MLS standouts in 2010 there has been some concern over who
would take their places. If the members of SBI's MLS Under-23 Best XI show anything, it is that the
league has plenty of young talent ready to take over.
In one of the odder personnel moves of the season, United States midfielder Jermaine Jones and
two other players have been sent down to the Schalke reserves in Germany's fourth division by coach
They may be almost a decade or more away, but the 2018 and 2022 World Cups have become the most
important topics in the world of soccer this week.
More specifically, the subject of which nations will get to host those tournaments.
FIFA is set to vote on both tournaments, and which nations will get to host them, and while
accusations of corruption and bribes is casting a shadow on the process, the fact remains we will
find out in less than two days just who the lucky countries are.
WASHINGTON - After officially completing his 180-degree turn about his stance on D.C. United's
head coaching situation, team president and chief executive officer Kevin Payne insisted that Ben
Olsen was the man for the job all along.
It's almost that time again. Time for us to discuss all things soccer in the latest SBI Live
Mark your calendar for Wednesday at 1pm, when we will discuss all things soccer (and pop
culture). Want to talk World Cup bids? The MLS off-season? The NCAA Tournament? New TV shows? We'll
be discussing it all during Wednesday's Q&A.
In a year when foreign players took him many of Major League Soccer's top awards, and grabbed
more than half the spots on MLS Best XI, it's easy to forget that several American players enjoyed
From Chris Wondolowski's Golden Boot-winning 18 goals, to Landon Donovan's latest stellar
season, American players led the way for many of the top teams in the league this year, and while
you could argue that foreign players are taking on a more prominent role in the league than ever
thanks to the increased number of Designated Player slots, American players continue to play key
The most anticipated match of the European club season will kick off later today when FC Barcelona
takes on arch-rival Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.
While millions of fans around the world watch, the easy question to ask right now is this. Who
do you think will win? Will it be Lionel Messi and the reigning Spanish champions, or will Jose
Mourinho's revamped Real Madrid side prove that its ready to take control of La Liga?
The game of the weekend, and quite possibly the game of the year, takes place at Camp Nou Monday
afternoon. But contrary to what the hype surrounding Barcelona v. Real Madrid might have you
believe, there were other matches played in Europe this weekend, and some of them were quite
Tottenham is doing well in UEFA Champions League play, but if Spurs are going to move back into
the top four of the English Premier League, they will need to beat Liverpool today to stay close to
Liverpool has a more modest goal, which is to pull even with Tottenham, which the Reds can do
with a win at White Hart Lane.
Despite all the overtimes, penalty kicks and late winners that came out of last Sunday's round
of 32, precious little was found in the way of upsets. 13 of the 16 seeded teams advanced into the
third round, setting up several matchups between national powerhouses and exciting prospects.
The game everyone has been waiting for is finally here, even if it will come a day later than
most would like.
Barcelona and Real Madrid, the two best teams in the world, face off on Monday in the most
highly-anticipated match of the European club season. Both teams have looked unstoppable, and
Monday's match will give one of the team's the edge in the tight race for the La Liga title.
While the rest of Major League Soccer was celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, the Vancouver
Whitecaps and Toronto FC were completing a trade that served as the last remnant of Wednesday's
flurry of trades and the latest step in a very busy week for Vancouver.
The Whitecaps traded midfielder/defender Nathan Sturgis to Toronto FC for the No.
Hello everybody. It is Thanksgiving Day, one of those rare days during the year when soccer goes
on the backburner and there are no major games to watch (Well, unless you count theÂ Mexican League
playoff gamesÂ being played today).
American soccer fans have plenty to be thankful for this year.
A day that began with 10 expansion draft picks for the expansion Portland Timbers and Vancouver
Whitecaps ended with seven of those 20 players traded to already established MLS clubs, Portland's
promise of international signings and a conference call saboteur.
With 2010 nearing an end, it's about the time of year when U.S. Soccer names its list for
Athlete of the Year nominations.
Five players are nominated in each category, with Landon Donovan aiming to repeat after
receiving the Male Athlete of the Year Award in 2009. He goes up against Carlos Bocanegra, Michael
Bradley, Steve Cherundolo and Clint Dempsey, all members of the U.
Dax McCarty's tenure as a Portland Timber lasted all of a few hours.
Just three hours after selecting McCarty with the first pick in the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft,
Portland shipped McCarty and allocation moneyÂ to D.C. United for Rodney Wallace and a fourth-round
pick in the 2011 MLS Draft.
It's a big day in the UEFA Champions League for two teams featuring U.S. men's national team
players, as Schalke and Rangers fight to keep their knockout-stage dreams alive on Wednesday.
Maurice Edu is slated to miss Rangers' crucial match with Manchester United as he recovers from
his minor knee injury, and the Scottish champions will need to fill that void in order to keep pace
with Valencia, whom they trail by two points for second place in Group C.
Two late red cards are unusual in the late stages of any match, but in Tuesday's Champions
League game, Real Madrid players Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos were both sent off for time wasting,
earning second yellow cards.
Wednesday morning, UEFA announced that they are investigating both dismissals, under the idea
that both Alonso and Ramos intentionally earned the cards.
Just a few days after blowing a 2-0 lead at home and losing to bitter rivals Tottenham, Arsenal
took to the road in hopes of quickly erasing the memories of that loss.
However, Aresnal couldn't break down Sporting Braga, and two late goals from Brazilian forward
Matheus earned the home side an unlikely victory -- handing Arsenal their second straight Champions
League defeat, when they only needed a draw to qualify for the next round.
Trying to predict expansion drafts is never easy, trying to do so for two teams is downright
That doesn't mean we can't try though, and with Vancouver and Portland set to make their
expansion draft selections on Wednesday afternoon, there is plenty of speculation about which
directions each team will go.
Real Madrid could deal the death blow to Ajax Amsterdam on Tuesday, as an Ajax loss coupled with
an AC Milan victory over AJ Auxerre would put Madrid and Milan through to the knockout stage from
the treacherous Group G in the UEFA Champions League.
Arsenal, coming off a bad loss to Tottenham over the weekend, looks to cement its place in the
knockout stage with a victory in Portugal over Sporting Braga, which is playing for its Champions
League life, currently three points behind the Gunners and Shakhtar Donetsk in Group H.
The 2010 MLS Cup Final will be remembered for a hard-fought game, disappearing fans and some
frigid weather conditions, but the weekend itself should be remembered for being entertaining and
Toronto should be remembered for throwing one heck of a weekend for Major League Soccer.
For those of you who weren't able to make the trip, here is a rundown of some of the highlights
for me, as well as some random thoughts from the weekend in Toronto:
One enduring moment I was lucky enough to see came well after MLS Cup Final, at one of the
MLS teams wasted no time making deals after the end of the 2010 season, in part because of the
looming MLS expansion draft.
The Columbus Crew continued its dismantling of its 2008 championship team by dealing midfielder
Brian Carroll to the Phiadelphia Union (NOT D.C. United) for a conditional second round pick and an
TORONTO - Traveling a few thousands miles on short notice can be a bit of a drag. But when it's
to support your respective home team in the MLS Cup final in a city you've never been to, it can
sometimes be a whole new experience.
Both FC Dallas and Colorado supporters, coming from two of the smaller markets of Major League
Soccer, were both well-represented Sunday evening.
Freddy Adu could soon land at a new club, but not for its first team.
According to Danish outlet Sporten, Adu will play for Randers in a reserve tournament game
tonight and could end up with a contract with the club should he impress. He is expected to play in
the last three games of the tournament for Randers, who he has been training with in order to stay
The second round of the NCAA tournament saw plenty of late-game drama as half of the 16 games
were decided in overtime or via penalty kicks and several more were decided with goals in the final
No. 13 Butler's first loss of the season came at the worst possible time as Michigan State upset
the Bulldogs 1-0.
TORONTO -- George John could only sit at his locker and stare into space, trying to forget every
defender's nightmare that he'd just experienced moments earlier.
In a sullen and quiet, almost puzzled FC Dallas locker room, where all players and staff could
do was sit or stand and not move, John tried to find the words to explain what happened in the
107th minute of Sunday night's MLS Cup.
In a weekend of impressive performances and intriguing storylines across Europe, La Liga giants
Barcelona and Real Madrid produced two of Saturday's signature wins. Barca handed Almeria a
worst-in-club-history 8-0 defeat, while Real Madrid clobbered Athletic Bilbao 5-1.
TORONTO - The MLS Cup is staying put in the Rocky Mountain region.
Extra-time substitute Mac Kandji's close-range shot ricocheted off George John for an own goal
in the 108th minute, lifting the Colorado Rapids to a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas and their first
MLS Cup title.
The day has finally arrived. Two teams and just one trophy. Â
By the end of the night, Major League Soccer will have its new champion, the journey that has
been the 2010 season will be complete andÂ either the Colorado Rapids or FC Dallas will earn the
first MLS Cup in team history.
TORONTO - MLS commissioner Don Garber addressed various concerns with MLS fans Sunday morning
during the 2010 Supporters Summit. Several issues were discussed during a roundtable held with fan
representatives from all over the league.
Garber fielded questions from both the crowd of supporters -- every team in the league appeared
to be represented -- and a pair of moderators, Canadian media members Jason DeVos and Nigel
TORONTO - Dax McCarty's development is one of the key reasons why FC Dallas is preparing for MLS
Cup. With an impressive work rate on defense as well as skill going forward, McCarty has matured
into the perfect partner for David Ferreira and Daniel Hernandez in the Dallas midfield.
TORONTO --Â The long and illustrious careers of two of the most prolific scorers in Major League
Soccer history collide Sunday when the Colorado Rapids' Conor Casey and FC Dallas' Jeff Cunningham
battle with their respective clubs for the league championship.
Fulham sits just a goal differential away from the Premier League relegation zone, making
today's match against Manchester City crucial for Clint Dempsey and the Cottagers to avoid slipping
any further in the standings.
Manchester City also needs a win today to move past surprising Bolton into fourth place in the
Premier League, just a point behind third-place Arsenal.
TORONTO - A successful strike partnership is an elusive weapon that few MLS teams have succeed
in creating. The Colorado Rapids have been one of the few teams able to create a dangerous tandem,
with Conor Casey and Omar Cummings emerging as the most effective tandem in league.
TORONTO- Pablo Mastroeni has seen the Colorado Rapids go through hard times. He's had his
chances to seek success elsewhere. Now that the 34-year-old Rapids captain is on the cusp of
capturing his first MLS Cup, his loyalty to the club has surely been validated.
The U.S. women left it late, but in the end got a win and a valuable away goal, defeating Italy
1-0 in Padova. Alex Morgan scored in stoppage time to send the U.S. back to Chicago with the
While the U.S. did well to limit Italy's chances on the offensive end -- the Azzurri registered
no shots on goal for the game -- they were inefficient in creating good scoring opportunities of
their own, save for Morgan's last-gasp winner.
Wednesday saw the near shocking dismissals of ACC powerhouses Virginia and Boston College,
recent upstart Monmouth, and red-hot Princeton. On Sunday, the second round of the NCAA tournament
kicks off and the survivors of an unpredictable first round call the tournament favorites into
action as the field is whittled down to the final 16.
The U.S. Women maintained their No. 1 ranking despite a shocking loss to Mexico two weeks ago
when the latest FIFA Women's World Rankings were released today. The USA saw its lead over
second-place Germany nearly halved but extend its tenure at the top to 32-consecutive months.
TORONTO - Marvell Wynne returns to the stadium he called home until he was shipped out in the
offseason. Drew Moor goes up against his hometown team, a club he'd spent his entire career with
before being dealt awayÂ last summer. For the Colorado Rapids' starting centerback tandem, winning
the MLS Cup on Sunday night would be made even sweeter by that history.
TORONTO - Shortly after David Ferreira accepted the 2010 Major League Soccer Most Valuable
Player award, he stood on the podium with the spotlight shining down upon him. The worst-kept
secret in MLS was confirmed, as the 31-year-old Colombian was honored for a tremendous season.
FC Dallas full back Heath Pearce has been on the sidelines for much of FC Dallas' run to MLS Cup
with a hamstring injury, but Pearce is still aiming to return to the field for Sunday's MLS Cup
Final. After undergoing a number of fitness tests on Friday, Pearce was bullish about being ready
to take the field against the Colorado Rapids.
The four walls of Gavin Wilkinson's office are covered with white boards on which there is much
of the information the Portland Timbers' technical director will need for next week's MLS expansion
But first, Wilkinson and other representatives of the organization will head to Toronto to be
part of the MLS Cup festivities and gatherings this week.
Wayne Rooney is on his way back, and it couldn't happen at a better time for Manchester
With three very favorable matchups in the coming weeks (home against Wigan Athletic and
Blackburn, away to Blackpool), Rooney can transition back to game shape and form just in time for
the Red Devils' Matchweek 17 and 18 tilts with Arsenal and Chelsea, respectively.
Michael Bradley and Borussia Moenchengladbach escaped the Bundesliga's dungeon with their 4-0
rout of FC Cologne last weekend, and now they'll turn their sights towards escaping the relegation
Moenchengladbach hosts Mainz, and despite sitting pretty in third place, the O-Fives are
reeling, having lost their last three games all by way of shutout.
With MLS Cup on the horizon, with it comes the conclusion of the 2010 season and a chance to
look to next year. When planning for next year, a few teams with graduating Generation adidas
players may have to juggle things a little bit.
This week, MLS indicated those players would graduate from the program.
Four months after starting all four games for the U.S. national team in South Africa, the former
Watford defender was introduced at a press conference today as the first MLS signing by the
Vancouver Whitecaps. There was no indication if DeMerit signed as a Designated Player.
One memorable moment of last-minute brilliance from Lionel Messi was enough to give Argentina
the win in an otherwise forgetable match against archrivals Brazil in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday. In
the 91st minute, Messi collected the ball 40 yards from goal and began one of his signature runs
through the Brazil defense before finishing on a low, hard, left-footed strike across his body.
Juan Agudelo's birthday is six days away, but he got his best present a week early, scoring the
game-winning goal to help the U.S. men's national team top South Africa in exhibition action in
Cape Town on Wednesday.
Fellow debutant Mikkel Diskerud worked a give-and-go with Agudelo, who took a touch in the
penalty area before coolly chipping a shot off the bottom of the crossbar for the only goal of the
As 2010 nears an end, and the memories of the World Cup in South Africa grow more distant,
international teams around the world are gathering together for one final run out this year.
Forty-seven friendlies are on the schedule, including the U.
MLS announced it's Best XI on Tuesday and made one slightly surprising move in selecting the
Landon Donovan was listed as a forward on the ballot, but was listed as a midfielder on the Best
XI announced by the league, a change which allowed for him, Edson Buddle and Chris Wondolowski to
all make the team.
Don Garber outlined his visions for MLS in his annual state of the league addressed on Tuesday
In a conference call with the media, commissioner Garber touched on a number of potential
changes MLS today including expansion into New York City and the Southeast, the new Reserve League
and much more.
Selecting the eleven best players in Major League Soccer this season was arguably tougher than
in any season before it. Along with the fact that the league has more teams than ever, teams have
done much better at bringing in true impact players.
We're not just talking about Designated Players, but players who can come to MLS as relative
unknowns and flourish.
Champions were crowned all around the country as conference tournaments drew to a close on
Sunday.Â For some, a conference victory was their only chance to punch a ticket to the Big Dance
while others simply secured a higher seed in tonight's NCAA selection.
The MLS Cup Final few people outside of Colorado and the Dallas/Ft. Worth area has arrived, and
while we can spend time dwelling on the fact that some teams expected to be there aren't, it's time
to focus on the two teams who did what they needed to do to reach the final.
FC Dallas and Colorado met twice this season, tying both matches.
Chelsea almost never loses at Stamford Bridge, so a 3-0 home defeat to a mid-table team is big
news, particularly since the three goals scored by Sunderland Sunday were the first three the Blues
had allowed at the Bridge all season. Chelsea remains the team to beat in the Premier League, but
with only two points separating them from second-placed Arsenal, the Blues need to work that much
harder to hold on to the title.
No. 3 Maryland again showed why they are a strong favorite to hoist the College Cup as the
Terrapins won their fourth ACC championship with a 1-0 victory over No. 4 North Carolina, who went
down to 10 men after Michael Farfan was shown a straight red card in the first half.
There's only one ticket left to be punched for Toronto and MLS Cup.Â
The Los Angeles Galaxy take on FC Dallas in the Western Conference Final with the right to play
the Colorado Rapids on the line. The Galaxy are looking to make it to back to the Cup Final for the
second year in a row, but once more a team from the Lone Star State stands in their way.
One of the most coveted conference tournament titles in college soccer is up for grabs this
afternoon when No. 3 Maryland clashes with No. 4 North Carolina at WakeMed Stadium in Carey, NC.
North Carolina comes in as the top seed, riding a 12-game unbeaten streak and an undefeated record
against ACC opponents, including a 2-1 victory at home against Maryland on Sept.
An Italian Derby, an MLS conference final and an American star facing a top English club
headline Sunday's soccer action.
Inter Milan takes on AC Milan today in the weekend's marquee match-up, while Tim Howard and
Everton play host to Arsenal. Tonight's final match will be for the right to face the Colorado
Rapids in the MLS Cup Final when Los Angeles takes on FC Dallas.
The Colorado Rapids will look to move a step closer to a first MLS Cup Final victory with a won
tonight at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in the Eastern Conference final against the San Jose
Earthquakes (9pm, Fox Soccer Channel).
A cold and snowy atmosphere awaits the two Western Conference clubs, with the Rapids considered
the favorites at home, but the Earthquakes have already shown an ability to triumph in a hostile
It may not have been pretty, but the ACC got the final everyone wanted when No. 3 Maryland and
No. 4 North Carolina advanced from their respective semifinals on Friday night at WakeMed Soccer
Park in Carey, NC.
Maryland started off the evening by extracting revenge for last year's ACC tournament loss to
Virginia with a 2-0 victory over the Cavaliers.
The Spanish Primera is almost always a two-horse race between Real Madrid and Barcelona, but
this year Villarreal has tried very hard to make it a three-horse race.
The YelloW Submarine can do just that today with a win against FC Barcelona in a clash of top
Spanish clubs. Jozy Altidore is coming off scoring a goal in Copa Del Rey action and will look to
get minutes against the defending Spanish champions.
The semifinals of the ACC tournament are shaping up to be two of the best matchups of the season
as No. 20 Virginia takes on red-hot No. 3 Maryland at 5:30. Following that game will be No. 3 North
Carolina squaring off against No. 21 Boston College.
The 10 CONMEBOL countries and guest countries Mexico and Japan learned their fates for the group
stage of the 2011 Copa America on Thursday, with host Argentina receiving a favorable draw. Here
are the three groups:
GROUP A - Argentina, Japan, Bolivia, Colombia
GROUP B - Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador, Venezuela
GROUP C - Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, Peru
The top two teams in each group and the two best third-place teams advance to the quarterfinals
of the July, 2011, tournament.
U.S. national team midfielder Maurice Edu has had major knee surgery on his left knee before, so
when he went down with an injury to that same knee that required a stretcher ride, there were fears
of a recurrence, and a potentially serious setback.
As of now, Edu appears to be in the clear, though he is still awaiting definitive MRI results to
confirm what Rangers medical staff already believes, that the knee injury suffered against
Hibernian at mid-week was a bruise.
Three of the country's top conferences will take another step towards crowning a champion when
the ACC, Big 10 and the Big East play their semifinals today. Some teams are playing for their NCAA
tournament lives while the national powerhouses are looking to add silverwear to trophy cases and
secure a prime position in the NCAA tournament.
The only thing worse than fielding a Fantasy Premier League team of players who don't score
goals, is fielding a team of players who don't score goals OR rack up any bonus points. Those extra
one, two or three points can be the great equalizer (especially if earned by your captain) if your
team has an off-week production-wise.
Second-seeded Ohio State was expected to make quick work of 3-12-3 Wisconsin to start its Big 10
title defense. But the Badgers had other ideas, holding the Buckeyes scoreless for 110 minutes and
advancingÂ 5-4 on penalty kicks and providing one of the biggest shocks of the season.
Top-flight clubs from England, Italy and Spain were in action Wednesday, with league matches
being played in the Premier League and Serie A, while La Liga clubs played fourth round matches in
the Copa Del Rey.
Wednesday's most intriguing match was the Manchester derby, with the Citizens hosting United
knowing a win would draw them level on points with the Red Devils.
For the second time in as many legs, Jozy Altidore got on the scoresheet for Villarreal in the
Copa del Rey.
Altidore scored the Yellow Submarine's lone goal in a 1-1 draw with Club Polideportivo Ejido in
the first leg of their fourth-round tie. On Wednesday, Altidore tallied again, scoring an insurance
goal in the 90th minute to ice the second-leg victory.
While time ticks down until Bob Bradley releases his roster for the United States men's national
team's Nov. 17 friendly against South Africa, Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane has already
South Africa's roster for the Nelson Mandela Challenge features many of its World Cup
participants, including Everton midfiedler Steven Pineaar and World Cup standout Siphiwe
Two years ago, a knee injury derailed Bobby Convey's English Premier League career. Even last
season, Convey struggled to find fitness and form in his return to Major League Soccer, leaving
many to think that his best days were behind him.
With the travel to South Africa making a trip there a burden for overloaded starters, and with
several key MLS-based players still taking part in the MLS playoffs, Bob Bradley has a limited
number of options for selecting his roster for the U.
Real Salt Lake striker Alvaro Saborio didn't waste much time establishing himself as the top
striker on a top team, and arguably one of the best finishers in MLS in his first season. His 12
goals in MLS play were enough to impress voters into naming him MLS Newcomer of the Year.
The season came to an uninspiring end Sunday night for the Seattle Sounders.
Given the deficit they faced, 0-1 going into the last leg of the playoff series against the L.A.
Galaxy, the Sounders needed an energetic, aggressive performance, a shutdown defensive effort and
some spark on offense from its scorers to give themselves a chance to win and advance.
While you still likely haven't fully digested Chelsea's loss to Liverpool, Arsenal's loss to
Newcastle, Sir Alex Ferguson's risky, yet undamaging (unless you're Owen Hargreaves) lineup moves
against Wolves and Mario Balotelli's fitting stat line (one day his biography will be released with
the title "Two Goals and a Red Card - The Mario Balotelli Story"), the Premier League slate
continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with Matchweek 12 before Matchweek 13 commences on Saturday.
The last U.S. national team match of the year will take place in the same country where so many
of the year's most memorable matches took place, and chances are the return to South Africa could
feature several new faces that didn't make the trip south last summer.
When the United States takes on South Africa on Nov.
The New York Red Bulls looked destined for an MLS Cup Final appearance, standing 90 minutes from
hosting an Eastern Conference final, but a disappointing loss to San Jose put an abrupt end to an
otherwise amazing season for a club that climbed back up from the horror of 2009.
Fernando Torres seems to have finally found his form, and not a moment too soon for a Liverpool
side fighting to put itself back into European contention. Torres scored both goals in Liverpool's
2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday, a win that pulled the Reds back into the top half of the table, and
shrunk the Blues lead to just two points over Man United.
New York Red Bulls striker Juan Agudelo and West Ham midfielder Sebastian Lletget are among the
players called up for the U.S. Under-20 national team's upcoming participation in the Torneo de las
Americas later this month.
The U.S. team will face Colombia on Nov. 26th and Mexico on Nov.
The first ticket to the 2010 NCAA tournament was punched on Saturday when No. 16 Princeton
claimed the Ivy League title.
The Tigers defeated No. 13 Penn 2-1 in front of over 2,000 fans in New Jersey to claim their
first title since 2001. Benjamin Burton got the hosts on the board on the half-hour mark with a
headed goal and Antoine Hoppenot doubled Princeton's lead in the 70th minute.
No team had gone into Rio Tinto Stadium and beaten Real Salt Lake in more than a year, but FC
Dallas didn't need a victory to keep its MLS Cup dreams alive.
All FC Dallas needed was a draw after a first-leg victory, so when Dax McCarty scored a first
half goal to give the visitors a two-goal cushion, all the pressure went on RSL and the defending
MLS Cup champions could not recover.
A place in Major League Soccer's final four, and a chance to host the Eastern Conference Final
are on the line today at Crew Stadium as the Columbus Crew takes on the Colorado Rapids in the
second leg of their first-round MLS playoff series.
The Rapids posted a 1-0 victory against the Crew in the first leg, but Columbus has the home
edge tonight and needs to win by multiple goals to win the series, or a one-goal victory to force
overtime and potentially penalties.
The first automatic ticket to the NCAA tournament could be punched on Saturday when No. 13
Pennsylvania travels to No. 16 Princeton in a matchup of 5-0-0 Ivy League records. Since the Ivy
League does not hold a conference tournament, the regular season champion receives the conference
For FC Dallas, a tie is all that is needed to knock out the defending champions.
Thanks to Eric Avila's dramatic game-winner in the closing minutes of the first leg of the
Western Conference semifinal, FCD carries a slim, 2-1 lead into Saturday night's second leg at Rio
The Colorado Rapids and Columbus Crew each should have mixed emotions heading into Saturday's
Eastern Conference semifinal second leg (4 p.m., Telefutura).
For the Rapids, they were the far better team in the opening leg, creating chances, exploiting
space and getting top-notch play out of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings and stellar midfield
performances on both sides of the ball from Pablo Mastroeni, Brian Mullan and Jeff Larentowicz.
The Manchester United striker, in the midst of long recovery from an ankle injury and earning
criticism for recent actions at the Premier League club, will head to the United States to continue
his rehab from a nagging ankle injury.
Real Salt Lake's amazing defensive record this season figured to earn the club some post-season
accolades and the first of those came on Friday, with Jamison Olave being named MLS Defender of the
Olave anchored an RSL defense that allowed an MLS record-low 20 goals this season and posted 14
The San Jose Earthquakes weren't given much of a chance when they took the field against the New
York Red Bulls on Thursday night, but they knew they could pull the upset if the executed their
game plan. And the New York Red Bulls? They knew they could put away this Eastern Conference
playoff series if they finished the chances they were bound to create.
The New York Red Bulls will look to move a step closer to the Eastern Conference final tonight
with a win or tie against the San Jose Earthquakes in the second leg of their MLS playoff series at
Red Bull Arena (8pm, ESPN2).
The Earthquakes need a win tonight after dropping the first leg, 1-0, at Buck Shaw Stadium.
From Houston Dynamo afterthought to Golden Boot winner, the San Jose Earthquakes' Chris
Wondolowski emerged as the unlikeliest success story this season, scoring a league-best 18 goals en
route to capturing SBI's Most Valuable Player award.
Wondolowski, who has scored San Jose's last 10 goals, earned four of a possible six first-place
votes on SBI ballots (including mine) to outlast FC Dallas' David Ferreira, who received the two
other first-place votes, and Los Angeles' Edson Buddle.
When Filippo Inzaghi took AC Milan from 1-0 down to a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid in just 10
minutes, it looked like the hosts were destined to claim all three points. A 92nd-minute goal from
Pedro Leon changed all that, salvaging a point for Madrid.
Real Salt Lake fielded the stingiest defense in Major League Soccer and the anchor of that
defense was Colombian centerback Jamison Olave. The imposing defender put together the best season
of his three-year MLS career, a season that helped him earn SBI MLS Defender of the Year
Thierry Henry just might be ready to make his MLS playoff debut.
New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe told a team official that Henry isÂ availableÂ for
selection for the second leg of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the Earthquakes. Henry
has missed the first leg in San Jose with a knee injury that also kept him out of the last two
regular season games.
Jurgen Klinsmann is now the man to help reorganize Toronto FC. The former German international
was officially hired as a consultant to help the club through the hiring process of a coach and
There were several worthy candidates for the 2010 MLS Coach of the Year award, but it is hard to
argue with the job Schellas Hyndman did turning FC Dallas into one of the strongest and most
consistent teams in the league.
Dallas went from missing the playoffs in 2009 to posting a 19-match unbeaten streak and posting
the fourth-best record in MLS in 2010, an accomplishment that earned Hyndman SBI's MLS Coach of the
He didn't get on the score sheet this time, but Gareth Bale was once again the best player on
the pitch for Tottenham Hotspur against Inter Milan, assisting on goals from Peter Crouch and Roman
Pavlyuchenko and giving Maicon fits all night.
Rafael Van Der Vaart opened the scoring in the 18th minute and Samuel Eto'o added to his
competition-leading goals total to spoil the shutout as Spurs earned an impressive 3-1 win over
Inter in group A.
In a year when the MLS rookie class was arguably one of the strongest in league history, no
rookie enjoyed as impressive a first professional season as Tim Ream.
The New York Red Bulls central defender didn't just impress enough to earn a starting role from
day one, he established himself as the best defender on a Red Bulls team that wound up finishing
first in the Eastern Conference.
Real Salt Lake boasted the stingiest defense in MLS this year, and while centerbacks Jamison
Olave and Nat Borchers played key roles in RSL allowing the fewest goals in MLS, goalkeeper Nick
Rimando was arguably the most important factor in the defending MLS champions strong defensive
showing in 2010.
Real Salt Lake and the Columbus Crew will face off in the CONCACAF Champions League
quarterfinals, and while that draw might seem unfair to MLS, the rest of the tournament's
quarterfinal draw was actually very promising for the MLS sides.
All four Mexican teams left in the draw were placed on the same side of the bracket, meaning the
winner of the RSL-Columbus quarterfinal will take on the winner of the CD Olimpia-Deportivo
Saprissa quarterfinal in the semis.
English starlet Jack Wilshere has been rewarded for a promising start to the 2010-11 Premier
League season, signing a new long term deal with Arsenal on Monday.
The 18-year-old, who has started eight times in the Premier League this season, has been at the
club since he was nine years old, and has matured into a fixture with the second-place team in the
English Premier League.
Good afternoon folks. I'm back from my European vacation and am ready to get back in the swing
of things withÂ an SBI Live Q&A on Tuesday.
We'll have a live Q&A on Tuesday at Noon so get your soccer-related questions read to send my
way and I will try to answer as many of them as I can before the UEFA Champions League kicks off
later in the day.
In the end, the 2-0 first leg lead proved to be plenty for the Puerto Rico Islanders, the 2010
champions of the USSF Second Division. The Carolina Railhawks didn't have enough to overturn the
deficit, only mustering a 1-1 tie in Cary, NC.
It only took eight minutes for Puerto Rico to pad their lead in Saturday's second leg, as Sandy
Gbandi scored to increase the Islanders lead and essentially clinch the two-legged series.
Eric Avila scored the most important goal of his young career on Saturday, blasting a long-range
winner to lift FC Dallas to a 2-1 victory against Real Salt Lake. The goal broke a dead-lock in a
fiercely-contested battle and gives the Hoops a good chance of knocking off the defending champions
in a series that returns to Rio Tinto Stadium next week.
It was a weekend of new leaders and extended leads in Europe's top five leagues, as new leaders
emerged in Germany and France, England, Italy and Spain saw consolidation of power at the tops of
Real Madrid are still undefeated at the top of La Liga, one point ahead of rivals Barcelona.