While nobody will mistake Tuesday night's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg
between the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake as an instant classic, there were plenty of talking
points to come out of the 0-0 draw at Crew Stadium.
Referee Jair Marrufo issued three red cards, with RSL's Tony Beltran (two yellows) and Nat
Borchers and Columbus' Emilio Renteria all being sent off and becoming ineligible for the return
leg March 1 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Madrid is in the driver's seat but still faces a dicey return leg if it is to advance to
the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in seven years after being held
to a 1-1 draw by host Lyon. Former Lyon striker Karim Benzema gave Madrid the lead and a crucial
away goal before Bafetimbi Gomis equalized late in the second half for the French side.
One of two Major League Soccer teams is guaranteed a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League
semifinals, and the first step to finding out which team that will be takes place tonight in
Columbus when the Crew hosts Real Salt Lake (8 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel/Galavision) in the first
leg of their quarterfinal matchup.
Mario Rodriguez and Marc Pelosi scored goals in extra time to propel the United States Under-17
national team to a wild 3-2 victory over El Salvador in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF U-17
championships. The victory booked a place in the semifinals of the tournament and clinched a berth
in the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico for coach Wilmer Cabrera's squad.
Real Madrid's chance at revenge and redemption has come.
With a knockout stage tie against Lyon standing in the way of a trip to the UEFA Champions
League quarterfinals for the second straight year, Madrid will look to weather the storm in France
on Tuesday against the team that ended its 2010 quest for European glory.
Barcelona midfielder Xavi will be out for the next 7-10 days after test revealed a minor muscle
problem in his left leg.
With that timetable, the central figure in Barca's attack is set to miss league matches against
Mallorca and Valencia, but he should return in time for the club's crucial UEFA Champions League
second leg against Arsenal on March 8.
Real Madrid has been in this position before: Knockout stage, favored, against Lyon.
In 2010, the French side turned in one of the surprises of the UEFA Champions League by
eliminating the Spanish giants in the same stage. In order to exorcise some of the past demons,
Madrid will have to find a way to have success against a team it hasn't beaten in their last six
Make that two Americans in the FA Cup quarterfinals.
West Ham defeated Burnley, 5-1, on Monday to advance to a quarterfinal date with Stoke City.
Jonathan Spector started the match on the bench, came on in the 73rd minute with the match's result
well in hand and assisted on a stoppage-time goal.
Since their meeting in the UEFA Champions League final last season, Inter Milan and Bayern
Munich have been on similar paths. Both clubs started slowly in their respective leagues, both
clubs have been climbing their respective tables in recent weeks and both clubs earned wins this
Saturday ahead of their Round of 16 matchup in this year's Champions League on Wednesday.
AS Roma has accepted the resignation of manager Claudio Ranieri following a string of poor
results, culminating with a 4-3 loss to Genoa over the weekend after the club held a three-goal
lead. It was the fourth-consecutive defeat for the Serie A side, who currently sits in eighth place
after being tipped as a title contender at the beginning of the season.
The silly season may be over, but that doesn't mean speculation about American players' club
futures has ended.
Orebro SK midfielder Alejandro Bedoya will join Birmingham City for a week-long training stint.
Bedoya has been partaking in Orebro's preseason preparations, but will now temporarily prepare
himself for the upcoming Swedish season with Birmingham.
Almost a year to the day that Maurice Edu scored the game-winning goal for Rangers against rival
Celtic to etch his name in Old Firm history, another edition of the storied derby takes place in
Scotland (7:30 a.m., untelevised). With a win, Rangers could move even closer to first place in the
Scottish Premier League, as Edu's side currently trails Celtic by five points with two games in
Andrew Oliver scored his second goal of the CONCACAF Under-17 championships, and Houston Dynamo
Academy keeper Fernando Pina kept the clean sheet as the United States defeated Panama, 1-0, on
Friday to win Group B and get one step closer to qualifying for this summer's FIFA U-17 World Cup
Tim Howard and Everton will give it another go against Chelsea in the FA Cup after the two sides
played two a 1-1 draw in their fourth-round matchup three weeks ago.Â
With a spot in the fifth round against Reading on the line, Howard will need to be at his best
to shut down Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where Didier Drobga is expected to rejoin the starting
lineup after being benched in favor of the cup-tied Fernando Torres against Fulham.
Sporting Kansas City signed its second homegrown player on Friday, adding 19-year-old defender
Kevin Ellis to the team's roster.
Ellis joins United States youth national team goalkeeper Jon Kempin as the homegrown players in
Kansas City. He played at Barton County Community College for the last two seasons, scoring 34
goals in time as both an attacking player and a defender.
In light of the series of player moves that have happened this offseason, most notably this past
week, a number of Major League Soccer teams have improved themselves significantly - at least on
Although not many of the playoff stalwarts did much tinkering heading into 2011, some of the
league's worst teams have appeared to take large steps in closing the talent gap, which should make
for a pretty exciting season, one whose opening game is less than a month away.
The Seattle Sounders made a key move to keep one of their core players around for a while,
signing holding midfielder Osvaldo Alonso to a contract extension that will keep him with Seattle
through the 2014 season.
Alonso, who was already signed through the end of next season, was voted the Sounders' team MVP
last season and enters his third with Seattle.
The Portland Timbers' list of offensive acquisitions got a little bit longer on Wednesday, with
the team acquiring former United States youth national team midfielder Sal Zizzo from Chivas USA in
exchange for allocation money.
The USSF released its structure and schedule for this year's tournament on Thursday. Out of the
40 teams that get by the first phases of qualifying, 11 will be from new sanctioned third division
USL-PRO, nine from USL Premier Development League, eight from MLS, eight from the U.
Almost a year after Lionel Messi's four goals sent Arsenal packing from the UEFA Champions
League, the Gunners got a little bit of revenge.
Late goals from Robin Van Persie and Andrei Arshavin canceled out David Villa's first-half
strike and give Arsenal a 2-1 advantage over Barcelona when the teams meet again at the Camp Nou
next month for the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie.
The UEFA Champions League knockout stage continues Wednesday with the highly anticipated
Arsenal-Barcelona matchup sure to captivate most viewers. AS Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk will also
play the first leg of their knockout tie.
Stuart Holden's Bolton is also in action, taking on Wigan Athletic in a FA Cup fourth-round
replay at DW Stadium, though that match is not being televised in the United States.
Early impressions of the No. 1 overall MLS SuperDraft pick, Omar Salgado: The kid can play.
His height stands out immediately. At 6-foot-4, any defender is going to have a hard time with
him in the box, even the most physical centerback, because he has to not only push Salgado out of
the goal area but keep him as far away from the 18-yard box as possible.
For Harry Redknapp and Tottenham, the club's first-ever knockout match in the Champions League
couldn't have gone any better with Spurs edging AC Milan, 1-0, at the San Siro. Peter Crouch was
the hero for the English side, as the lanky forward scored his third goal in the Champions League
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Photo By ISIPhotos.com
Heath Pearce is on the move.
The U.S. International left back has been sent to Chivas USA for allocation money. Pearce was an
integral part of FCD's run to the MLS Cup Final in 2010, but appeared to have some tension with
head coach Schellas Hyndman.
After years of playing in Europe, veteran left-back Roberto Carlos probably forgot how
intense Copa Libertadores competition can get on the field as well as off of it.
Two weeks ago, his Corinthians side was booted from the tournament by Colombia's Deportes Tolima
in the preliminary stage, prompting death threats against him and his family, forcing him to leave
his homeland once again to reportedly sign with Russia's Anzhi.
The United States national team is in desperate need of a goal in the waning minutes. After a
foul in the area, the referee points to the spot. Penalty! One problem. For whatever reason, Landon
Donovan isn't on the matchday roster. Somebody else has to step up and take the kick.
In light of Clint Dempsey's penalty against Fulham yesterday, it got us to thinking: Who in the
After more than two months off, UEFA Champions League play resumes on Tuesday with the first
legs of two knockout-stage ties.
The headliner is AC Milan-Tottenham (2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Deportes), where a
shorthanded Spurs side will try to steal a result at the San Siro against an AC Milan team that is
battling injuries of its own.
After a tumultuous offseason rife with doubt over the future of one of American soccer's two
Division 2 leagues, the NASL lived to fight another day as the U.S. Soccer Federation gave the
league provisional sanctioning over the weekend.
Real Salt Lake took yet another step in fortifying it's staunch defensive unit by signing
centerback Nat Borchers to a deal that will keep him at Rio Tinto through the 2014 season, the club
announced on Monday.
Clint Dempsey is in fine form for Fulham, having scored four times in his last six matches.
He'll try to add to that tally Monday afternoon as the Cottagers host Chelsea in a West London
derby (2:55 p.m., ESPN2/ESPN3.com).
The match is notable for other reasons than just Dempsey being involved.
Darlington Nagbe is soft-spoken, one who prefers to allow his actions on the field speak for
him. As the franchise's first draft pick, Nagbe's career will be eternally scrutinized by the Rose
Tottenham's hopes of an upset when it faces AC Milan in this week's UEFA Champions League Round
of 16 first leg took a serious blow with the news that Gareth Bale is still out with a back injury.
Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp had been confident that Bale could recover in time to travel to the
San Siro, but the 21-year-old will have to stay behind.
The soccer world is set to lose one of its most illustrious active members today when Brazilian
legend Ronaldo calls it quits on an 18-year career.
The 34-year-old striker told a Brazilian newspaper that he was unable to maintain his fitness
and that he is retiring. During his club career, Ronaldo played at Cruzeiro, PSV Eindhoven,
Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan before wrapping up at Corinthians in his native
The last eight months or so have not been kind to Wayne Rooney. A lukewarm showing in the World
Cup carried over into an equally tepid start to the Premier League season, and all the while the
striker was making more headlines off the pitch than on it.
The last time Bolton faced Everton, Tim Howard robbed Stuart Holden of what would have been his
first Premier League goal. The in-form Bolton midfielder has a second chance to beat his
international teammate on Sunday.
Bolton-Everton is one of the marquee matches of the day for American soccer fans, but another
one of great importance is happening in Germany, where captain Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96
continue their push for a UEFA Champions League berth with a key game against Werder Bremen.
The optimism surrounding Charlie Davies' trial with D.C. United seems to increase by the
In a development that is sure to please U.S. national team and United supporters alike, Davies
notched two goals and an assist during the Black and Red's 4-0 win over the Trinidad and Tobago
Under-20 national team Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
PHOENIX â€“ The defending MLS champions hadn't been in Arizona more than 24 hours before they
had to play the first of three preseason games of a tightly-scheduled six-day trip to the
It showed. To some degree, anyway.
The Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City played to a scoreless draw after 120 minutes â€“
two 45-minute periods and a 30 â€“ before a decent-sized crowd of onlookers and Omar Bravo fans
Saturday morning at the Reach 11 soccer complex.
Few league matches are anticipated as much as the Manchester derby, and even though the earlier
meeting this season between Manchester City and Manchester United ended in a scoreless deadlock,
there's reason to believe that Saturday's clash at Old Trafford will supply some drama and
The New York Red Bulls have already added many new faces to the team that won the regular season
Eastern Conference crown. New York hopes to add one more piece to that puzzle with new trialist
The current Ajax midfielder arrived in Mexico for Red Bull camp on Thursday night.
After a rather quiet offseason in terms of player moves, the New York Red Bulls are reportedly
close to making a big splash in the transfer market.
According to reports out of the Netherlands, the club has a two-year offer on the table to Ajax
midfielder and Finland international Teemu Tainio (pictured above, left), who has fallen out of
favor at the club and can be had on a free transfer.
Bill Hamid may still be recovering from the shoulder injury that derailed his standout rookie
season with D.C. United in 2010, but that hasn't stopped him from setting lofty goals as he heads
into his second full season as a pro.
The Cody Arnoux saga is hours away from reaching a resolution.
According to MLSSoccer.com (scroll down the link), Arnoux, the former Wake Forest star, Everton
reserve and Vancouver Whitecaps Division 2 forward, has signed a contract with the league and will
be allocated to a team through a weighted lottery Friday at 4:30 p.
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Operators of the still-to-be completed Westside Soccer Complex in this
bedroom community west of Phoenix charged admission to watch the Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew
play a preseason match Thursday afternoon.
Major League Soccer unveiled its full 2011 schedule on Thursday, less than five weeks before the
season is to kick off.
The season begins on March 15th, when the Los Angeles Galaxy visits Qwest Field to take on the
Seattle Sounders. That opening match was revealed weeks ago. Among the more intriguing matches
revealed on Thursday, here are some that stand out:
You can hear it Arturo Alvarez's voice: Coming to Real Salt Lake is a good thing for his soccer
Who can blame the veteran forward-midfielder? He's joined one of the deepest, most talented
rosters in MLSafter being chosen by Portland in last November's expansion draft, then being shipped
to Real Salt Lake in exchange for aÂ 2011 MLS Draft pick.
Midfielder Austin Da Luz converted the match-winning penalty kick to help the New York Red Bulls
edge Atlante in a penalty shootout after a scoreless match in their friendly in Mexico on Wednesday
Goalkeeper Greg Sutton posted the shutout, playing 90 minutes in place of regular starter Bouna
Coundoul, who was on national team duty with Senegal.
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Wednesday completed D.C. United's first week in South Florida, and it
also marked Charlie Davies' seventh day with the club as he looks to land a season-long loan
Davies, along with most of the team's top players, did not play in Wednesday afternoon's 4-0
victory over Florida International University in a 60-minute friendly, but head coach Ben Olsen did
touch on Davies' near-week trial with the club following the game.
International friendlies dominate the mid-week soccer slate, as France-Brazil and Germany-Italy
are just two of a number of intriguing matchups taking place on Wednesday.
Perhaps no match is more intriguing than the Argentina-Portugal one, though. It will feature
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have scored 24 goals apiece in league play for Barcelona
and Real Madrid, respectively, as they take their individual rivalry to the international stage for
the first time.
Charlie Davies will take the field today for D.C. United in a scrimmage against Florida
International University in what will be his final chance to impress D.C. before the club decides
whether to bring him in on a season-long loan from FC Sochaux.
Davies has already impressed, netting a goal and assist and showing glimpses of his trademark
CARSON, CALIF - There will be a number of firsts this year for the Portland Timbers in their
inaugural season and on Tuesday, the club added another. The Timbers played their first match
against MLS competition and continued their unbeaten pre-season with a 1-1 draw against the LA
The training wheels have been taken off, and the Philadelphia Union is ready to ride with the
After an inaugural season that ended well short of a postseason berth, the Union has made a
number of personnel moves to shore up what was a shaky defense in 2010 while providing support for
its budding attackers as well.
That is how close FC Dallas came winning the franchise's first MLS Cup in 2010. Fresh off its
crushing defeat to the Colorado Rapids in the final, FCD is ready to make a return run to the
championship in 2011.
Gale Agbossoumonde's future looks to finally be taking a turn for the better.
According to a Swedish report, Djurgardens IF has been impressed with Agbossoumonde during his
two-week trial and is ready to sign the U.S. U-20 national team defender on a six month loan from
Traffic USA/Miami FC.
Good afternoon folks. While Live Q&As have become the standard on SBI in recent months I am also
aware that not everybody can make it to our Live Q&A sessions so every once in a while I will bring
back the old school SBI Q&A format.
Send in your soccer (and pop culture) questions and I will answer them in the coming weeks in a
series of posts.
David Beckham's return to the United States will be put off for two more weeks after he had his
training stint with Tottenham extended.
Beckham was set to join the Los Angeles Galaxy for pre-season this week, butÂ now with his
Tottenham stint extended, he will have even less time with his MLS teamÂ despite the act the MLS
season is just five weeks away.
An 11th-placed finish in last year's campaign fell wildly short of both fan and ownership
expectations, resulting in the ousting of head coach Preki and director of soccer Mo Johnston.
Under the advisement of former German national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Toronto hired Ajax
assistant Aron Winter head coach and brought Paul Mariner back to the MLS as director of player
development following his unsucessful stint as manager of Plymouth North End.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- Joe Cannon spent the first few days of Vancouver Whitecaps training camp
in Arizona doing some rehabilitation on his left ankle, the one he broke last August while with the
San Jose Earthquakes.
The Colorado Rapids enter the 2011 preseason with an unfamiliar distinction: Defending MLS Cup
Not much has changed in terms of the team's make-up. Captain Pablo Mastroeni is back in the fold
after climbing the champion's mountain for the first time in his career; the lethal strike tandem
of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings is still in tact, which may have been an uncertainty had Cummings
gotten the chance to impress on trial at Aston Villa; and the defensive unit, which had a number of
unknown commodities in 2010, has a successful season under its belt as it enters another campaign
After a reign of only eight months, Steve McClaren's time at WolfsburgÂ is over.
McClaren was let go by Wolfsburg on MondayÂ after the former England manager has struggled at
the helm of the 2009 champion, who is now fighting a relegation battleÂ near the bottom of the
The political unrest and dangerous conditions in Egypt led to the cancellation of Wednesday's
friendly between the United States and the defending African champions, but that doesn't mean we
can't think about what could have been.
We'll never know what lineup Bob Bradley would have gone with against the Egyptians, but we can
Charlie Davies played his first full scrimmage with D.C. United on Monday and contributed a goal
and assist in 74 minutes to help D.C. top the Canadian Under-20 national team, 5-1, in Fort
On a Saturday that saw a single-day record 40 goalsÂ scored in the Premier League, it was the
last two that arguably sent the biggest shock waves around England. Last placed Wolverhampton
Wanderers came back from an early 1-0 deficit against league leaders Manchester United, drawing
level in the 10th minute, and getting the eventual winner five minutes before halftime.
Juan Carlos Osorio was all set to coach the Honduran national team, and looked primed for a
return to the United States this summer in charge of a new team, but Osorio is still in Colombia
and Honduras is still searching for a manager after a dispute over Osorio's arrival date led the
former New York Red Bulls head coach to pass on his first national team job.
Players facing their former teams is nothing new. Facing a former team just days after forcing a
highly-publicized and shocking transfer move is rare and provides the perfect ingredient for an
already important Chelsea-Liverpool clash.
Fernando Torres is set to face Liverpool today at Stamford Bridge in a match sure to be an
emotional and intense battle.
Is it too early to peg Darlington Nagbe as the MLS rookie of the year favorite?
The Portland Timbers midfielder-forward showed a glimpse of the lofty potential that made him
the No. 2 pick in January's SuperDraft, scoring the equalizer duringÂ his side's first exhibition
as an MLS club, aÂ 1-1 draw FridayÂ with the Ventura County Fusion in Ventura, Calif.
PHOENIX -- Sporting Kansas City and the Columbus Crew share the fields at the vast Reach 11
soccer complex, so it only made sense that the two teams scheduled their respective first preseason
training matches against each other.Â
The two clubs played to a 2-2 draw Saturday after three 30-minute periods, the play of the day
made by Sporting KC forward Kei Kamara about five minutes into the second session.
Major League Soccer announced on Friday that the full 2011 schedule will be released on
The schedule will be balanced with each team facing each other twice, both home and away. With
the inclusion of the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps, each team will play 34 matches in
the 2011 season.
With Chelsea taking on Liverpool this weekend, just days after Fernando Torres left behind the
Reds to join the Blues (for a lot of green), there is a big buzz over whether Torres should or
shouldn't celebrate if he scores a goal against his former club.
To some, choosing not to celebrate against a former club is seen as a classy gesture, but with
Torres being vilified by Liverpool fans, it's tough to imagine that it will matter much to them
whether the Spanish striker goes crazy or stays calm if he finds the net this weekend.
As if Chelsea-Liverpool needed any more drama to make it a must-see encounter, having Fernando
Torres make his Chelsea debut against the very Liverpool side he just left days ago makes this one
a can't-miss match and the headliner in a loaded weekend of soccer action.
The uncomfortable reunion also happens to be a seriously important match for both sides, with
Chelsea trying to stay in the title race and Liverpool trying to climb back into the picture.
PHOENIX -- Closer to the big city, a couple of Major League Soccer teams are getting work done
on a complex of soccer fields in frigid Arizona.
Yes, it's been record cold these days in the Valley of the Sun, but that isn't stopping Sporting
Kansas City and the Columbus Crew from training at Reach 11 West, about 25 to 30 minutes due north
of downtown Phoenix.
After clearing the final hurdles to get the project approved, the Houston Dynamo will officially
break ground in its new stadium on Saturday, between 2pm and 4pm local time in Houston.
The $95 million stadium, which will be built on Houston's East End and is projected to be
completed in 2012, should provide a major boost for a soccer market with a strong fan base, but a
fan base that has endured watching the Dynamo play in a tattered Robertson Stadium.
Good morning folks. It's that time again. Time for us to discuss all things soccer in the latest
SBI Live Q&A.
If you want to talk about the crazy winter transfer market, or the U.S. national team, Major
League Soccer, or the upcoming UEFA Champions League, join us at 1pm today with your questions and
I will try cover as many of them as I can.
Barcelona and Real Madrid took care of business in the first legs of their respective Copa del
Rey semifinal ties, both coming away with victories. If they can do the same on Wednesday, the
soccer world will be guaranteed at least a third Clasico this season.
Barcelona is in the driver's seat after securing a 5-0 first-leg win over Almeria.
Having just had all the necessary paperwork completed to seal his move to England League
Championship side Nottingham Forest, Robbie Findley figured to get his first taste of European
soccer as soon as this week. It looks as if he'll have to put those plans on hold.
With the European transfer window shut for the winter, a number of Americans are settling in to
their new clubs, having just been loaned or transferred elsewhere. For a few others, though, their
club situation is anything but secure.
Take Eric Lichaj, for example, who enjoyed his first taste of first-team action with Aston Villa
early in the season only to find himself in manager Gerard Houllier's notorious doghouse.
The United States stayed put at No. 18 in the monthy FIFA world rankings, maintaining its
position as the highest-ranked team in CONCACAF. Mexico (27), Honduras (39) and Costa Rica (48) are
the other CONCACAF teams among the Top 50.
It's long been a nearly foregone conclusion that if New York is to receive a second MLS
franchise, it would be under the banner of the once-defunct New York Cosmos. But MLS Commissioner
Don Garber said that the MLS isn't totally sold just yet on making the Cosmos a future
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- Real Salt Lake began training camp for 2011 last week, and along with
starting the new year, the start of camp also signaled the beginning of a coaching career for one
of Major League Soccer's longest-serving players.
United States national team centerback Oguchi Onyewu is finally in position to resume getting
regular minutes in important matches, and while the opportunity isn't happening at AC Milan, that
doesn't mean it can't be beneficial for him and his future.
Red Bull Arena will play host to the 2011 MLS All-Star Game on July 27th, Major League Soccer
announced on Tuesday.
No opponent has been identified for the match yet. MLS has used a format featuring a team of
all-stars against international club teams in recent years. FC Barcelona will be on tour in the
United States during the summer and could wind up being the international opponent.