Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2011

Domene becomes Chivas USA GM, as interim label is removed

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Chivas USA may be 0-2 in the league, but the owners have decided to remove the interim title for General Manager Jose Domene.Â

The Chivas USA General Manager confirmed to me that his interim title would be removed and he would now act as the full GM for the Rojiblancos.

Ream's composure, passing impresses coaches, teammates in USA loss

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photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com


By FRANCO PANIZO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - When Bob Bradley reflects on the U.S. national team's March camp, one of the major things he'll take away from it is the play of some of his younger players, and that doesn't only refer to Juan Agudelo and Timmy Chandler.

USMNT reactions after Paraguay loss

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In Reserve: Homegrown Players lead FC Dallas, D.C. routs New England

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FC Dallas Homegrown Players Ruben Luna and Bryan Leyva each scored in the second half to lead FCD over Real Salt Lake in the Reserve League opener for both teams on Tuesday.

Luna converted a penalty kick seven minutes into the second half, and Leyva converted a volley from distance 11 minutes later to double FC Dallas' lead.

Eastern Conference Notes: SKC to play Newcastle, Carr nears debut and more

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Photo by Greig Cowie/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Lost in the shuffle amid the announcement of Manchester's United's full U.S. schedule Tuesday, Sporting Kansas City announced a friendly against another English Premier League club with plenty of tradition -- Newcastle United.

Netherlands 5, Hungary 3: The Highlights

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In case the USMNT's matches left you starved for goals:


What's the biggest positive you took from the USMNT's two friendlies?

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Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team has just one more match before the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and these past two friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay were rather important in helping Bob Bradley with his personnel and tactical decisions ahead of this summer's competition.

U.S. U-20s open World Cup qualifying with rout of Suriname

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Photo by Omar Martinez/ISIphotos.com

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By FRANCO PANIZO

While the U.S. men's national team was attempting to find a way to crack Paraguay's defense in Nashville, the Under-20 national team was busy pummeling Suriname's in its World Cup qualifying opener in Guatemala City.

Ghana, Australia earn surprise results in Tuesday's international action

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Any long-time soccer fan knows better than to put a lot of stock into international friendlies but, even so, fans of Ghana and Australia will be happy with their positive results against a couple of traditional European powerhouses.

A last-gasp equalizer from Asamoah Gyan gave the Black Stars a 1-1 draw against an understrengthed England side at Wembley.

Paraguay 1, USA 0: The Highlights

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Two late goals, the difference as Timbers beat Chivas USA in Open Cup qualifying

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BY ADAM SERRANO

It was a rainy night on the campus of the University of Portland with both teams fighting to put some momentum in their season, but in the end, the Portland Timbers pulled out on top.

Jack Jewsbury and Eric Brunner scored as the Timbers defeated Chivas USA, 2-0 to advance in U.

USA improves quality of play, loses to Paraguay, 1-0

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By FRANCO PANIZO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The quality of play from the U.S. men's national team was much improved against Paraguay than it was three days prior versus Argentina, but that didn't translate into a victory for the Americans.

Paraguay defeated the United States, 1-0, through an Oscar Cardozo goal in the first half.

USA vs. Paraguay (Match Night Commentary)

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The U.S. men's national team is in Nashville tonight to take on Paraguay (8pm, Fox Soccer Channel/Telefutura) in its final friendly before the Gold Cup squad is chosen in May and tonight's match could go a long way toward determining which players make that roster.

The Americans are coming off a 1-1 draw vs.

Jones, Pope, Stewart headline National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2011

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Longevity and productivity are two themes that can be used to describe the careers of the players inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame this year.

Cobi Jones, Eddie Pope and Earnie Stewart will be the latest to be enshrined in the hall in a ceremony this summer, U.

Soccer Tuesday: Your Running Commentary

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United States-Paraguay probably has most of your attention, but Tuesday has a packed slate of international soccer leading up to first kick in Nashville.

Three of the high-profile matches to keep an eye on this afternoon are the Germany-Australia, England-Ghana and France-Croatia friendlies.

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Javier Morales

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In a week when there were once again a handful of worthy contenders, Real Salt Lake playmaker Javier Morales emerged as the clear-cut choice to win this week's SBI MLS Player of the Week.

Morales edged out San Jose's Chris Wondolowski and Toronto FC's Javier Martina and New England's Shalrie Joseph for the award after his two-goal performance helped Real Salt Lake dismantle the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-1.

USA vs. Paraguay: The Pre-game Tailgate

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The U.S. men's national team heads into tonight's friendly vs. Paraguay searching for its first win of 2011, but also searching for the right combination of players as the team draws closer and closer to this summer's Gold Cup.

Tonight's friendly (8pm, Fox Soccer Channel) should provide a showcase for some talented youngsters who impressed in Saturday's match against Argentina.

Ochocinco made 'honorary' SKC member

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No Chad Ochocinco didn't earn a Major League Soccer contract, but he wasn't given his walking papers either.

After his trial with Sporting Kansas City came to an end, Ochocinco was granted the opportunity to continue working out with the club's reserve team as long as he'd like until the NFL lockout situation is resolved.

You Write the Caption is back

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It has been quite some time since SBI stopped running the popular 'You Write the Caption" series, but I'm here to announce that we are bringing it back.

For those of you new to the site, YWTC is a regular series where we take a photo with comedic potential and let SBI readers give us their take on what the best caption would be for the photo.

MLS hires Agoos as technical director

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

Jeff Agoos is making his way back to a front office in New York.

Agoos, a former standout in his playing days and one-time sporting director for the New York Red Bulls, has been hired by Major League Soccer to be the league's technical director of competition.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 2

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After its thumping of the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night, it's no surprise that Real Salt Lake maintains its stronghold on the top of the SBI MLS Power Rankings.

Aside from Salt Lake's victory, some other results stood out and had an impact on this week's rankings.

Manchester United finalizes U.S. tour

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The MLS All-Star game is hardly Manchester United's only stop on its summer tour of the United States.

The Red Devils will also be facing three MLS teams in addition to squaring off with FC Barcelona as part of the World Football Challenge this July.

The Premier League leaders' first stop is Gillette Stadium, for a WFC match against the New England Revolution on July 13.

U.S. U-20s open World Cup qualifying

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

The United States Under-20 national team begins its quest to book a summer trip to the U-20 World Cup in Colombia tonight with its opening match of the CONCACAF championships against Suriname (8 p.m, ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes).

Thomas Rongen's charges will face Panama on April 2 in its other group-stage match before potentially advancing to the quarterfinals, where the winners all qualify for the World Cup.

Donovan on the German influence in the UMSNT

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

To say there's a German influence on the current U.S. national team is a bit of an understatement these days.

Along with Bundesliga veterans Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan, the national team has also welcomed German-born players Jermaine Jones, Timmy Chandler and David Yelldell into the fray in recent months.

Top clubs lining up for World Football Challenge

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If you thought your summer soccer plans were going to be limited to MLS and the Gold Cup, think again.

Major League Soccer recently announced the staging of the World Football Challenge from July 14th through August 6th and now sources have revealed the names of some of the clubs being lined up to compete in the competition.

Mid-day Ticker: Downs named NASL commissioner, Boateng injured and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

It's a time transition at the NASL.

The second-tier of American soccer revealed several changes this morning as David Downs was introduced as commissioner, a new logo was unveiled and a redesigned website was launched.

Downs is the former executive director of the unsuccessful USA World Cup bid and will officially take office on April 4th.

England-Ghana leads strong list of international friendlies

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

A couple of high-profile friendlies and a handful of EURO 2012 qualifiers highlight Tuesday's action as the international break continues.

England takes on Ghana in a matchup of two U.S. opponents from the 2010 World Cup. England will look to vet new players like Jack Wilshere and Matthew Jarvis while 30-year-old Scott Parker is making a case for a full-time position in the starting lineup.

Studio 90: Altidore talks Nashville

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Who should the USMNT start vs. Paraguay?

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIPhotos.com

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The U.S. national team's impressive second-half performance in Saturday's 1-1 tie vs. Argentina has the team heading into Tuesday's friendly against Paraguay with confidence as Bob Bradley faces some tough questions about just which players he will turn to for the team's second game in four days.

International Rewind: Brazil victory marred by racism, England wins and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The international fixture date was in full swing this weekend, but one game grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons.

In Brazil's 2-0 victory over Scotland at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, Neymar was on the receiving end of racial abuse.

Manchester United named 2011 MLS All-Star opponent

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

For the second straight year, Manchester United will serve as the international opponent in the Major League All-Star Game, MLS announced on Monday morning.

The 2011 MLS All-Star Game is scheduled for July 27th at Red Bull Arena, with Manchester United serving as the headliner in a game that is guaranteed to be a sellout.

DeMerit makes sharp return to USMNT

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By FRANCO PANIZO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -Â Prior to Saturday, Jay DeMerit had not played at the international level since the World Cup Round of 16 loss to Ghana nine months ago. That could've been easy to forget judging by the solid performance the veteran put forth against Lionel Messi and Argentina.

USA lands in Nashville, turns attention to Paraguay

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Less than a day after earning a 1-1 draw with Argentina, the U.S. men's national team arrived in the Music City to prepare for its second-to-last friendly before the 2011 Gold Cup.

USA 1, Argentina 1: The Highlights

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Behind the Scenes of Ochocinco's trial

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There has been plenty said, and written, about Chad Ochocinco's trial with Sporting Kansas City, but this behind-the-scenes video of his stint in Kansas City offers some pretty good insight into the trial and the NFL star's positive approach and respectful attitude toward the trial.

Count me among those very impressed by his attitude and respect for the game.

Agudelo continues run of form with performance against Argentina

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By FRANCO PANIZO

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ever since Charlie Davies was involved in the notorious car accident that severely injured him, U.S. men's national team head coach Bob Bradley has been in search of a second forward to pair with Jozy Altidore.

Bradley may have found that forward in 18-year-old Juan Agudelo.

Short-handed Red Bulls earn draw in Columbus

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

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The list of missing players was like a Who's-Who of New York Red Bulls standouts. Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo, Rafa Marquez, Tim Ream, Dane Richards and goalkeepers Bouna Coundoul and Greg Sutton were all missing from the Red Bulls' lineup on Saturday, but that didn't stop New York from earning a tough road point against an Eastern Conference rival.

Short-handed Rapids hold off Chivas USA

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By JONATHAN VERA

CARSON, Calif -- Chivas USA's quest for its first win of the 2011 MLS season ran into the defending champion Colorado Rapids, who look like a team intent on repeating.

Playing without star strikers Omar Cummings and Conor Casey, the Rapids still managed to post a 1-0 road victory against Chivas USA on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center.

Real Salt Lake thrashes Galaxy in battle of MLS powers

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Any questions about who the best team in Major League Soccer were put to rest by Real Salt Lake, which didn't seem fazed by missing several of its top players.

RSL put on a clinic on Saturday night, dismantling the Los Angeles Galaxy, 4-1, on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Chandler impresses in USMNT debut

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

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By FRANCO PANIZO

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When head coach Bob Bradley told Timmy Chandler that he'd be entering the U.S. national team's match against Argentina for his international debut, the 20-year-old right back's reaction was not one of a newcomer getting ready to face the best player in the world in Lionel Messi in his first cap.

Tactical formation switch changes USMNT's fortunes against Argentina

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By AVI CREDITOR

Ever since the World Cup, the script for Bob Bradley has been relatively the same.

Experiment with a five-man midfield. Revert to the more customary 4-4-2 formation for the second half.

Wondo's two goals lead Earthquakes over FC Dallas

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

 There was no stopping Chris Wondolowski for two straight games, as FC Dallas saw Saturday night at Pizza Hut Park.

Wondolowski, the 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner with 18 goals, scored the season's first two for the San Jose Earthquakes in their 2-0 win over FC Dallas, a battle of two of last season's playoff teams.

Chivas USA vs. Colorado Rapids: Match Night Commentary

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Chivas USA is looking for their first win of the Robin Fraser era, but will need a victory over the defending MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids to do so.

Both teams are ravaged by International call-ups with Chivas USA missing a number of their top defenders including Zarek Valentin, while the Rapids are without star attacker Omar Cummings and Sanna Nyassi.

Agudelo's equalizer, Howard's saves help USA overcome rough first half in 1-1 draw

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIPhotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ. - There were goals this time, but the final result was the same.

Three years after playing to a scoreless draw with Argentina, the United States men's national team once again tied Lionel Messi and co.

USA vs. Argentina: Matchday Commentary

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The U.S. men's national team will field a full-strength team for the first time since last summer's World Cup when the Americans take on Argentina tonight at New Meadowlands Stadium (7pm, ESPN).

The United States brings back most of its key starters from the 2010 World Cup team, with Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey teaming up for the first time since the lost to Ghana last June.

MLS Week 2: Your Running Commentary

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The second full weekend of MLS action kicks off today in Toronto, where Toronto FC takes on Portland at BMO Field in a battle of week one losers.

Today's U.S. national team match against Argentina is grabbing most of the headlines today but the two top teams in MLS are squaring off tonight, with Real Salt Lake playing host to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Zakuani equalizer salvages draw for Sounders

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For 260 minutes, the Seattle Sounders offense failed to find the net despite creating numerous chances over the course of three games.

Steve Zakuani finally broke Seattle's drought with an 81st minute score to help the Sounders score a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo at Qwest Field on Friday night.

Spain defeats Czech Republic, Uruguay upset as international window opens

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By FRANCO PANIZO

From Euro 2012 qualifiers to friendlies, Friday marked the beginning of the second international fixture date of the year, and there were plenty of interesting results.

Spain continued its winning streak in Group I of Euro 2012 qualifying, defeating Czech Republic, 2-1, with a come-from-behind effort.

Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo: Your Running Commentary

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Two teams searching for their first 2011 victories square off tonight as the Seattle Sounders play host to the Houston Dynamo at Qwest Field (10pm, Fox Soccer Channel).

The Sounders come in having lost their first two matches, both by shutout, as Fredy Montero and the Seattle attack looks to break the scoreless run against a Dynamo squad that opened the season with a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia.

Red Bulls U-18s get rare chance to train with Argentina

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There probably isn't a high school player in the United States who hasn't dreamed about playing against Lionel Messi and the likes of the Argentine national team. This week, members of the Red Bulls U-18 Academy Team had that dream realized when they were invited to train with Argentina, which is in town for Saturday's USA-Argentina friendly.

USMNT stars recollect '08 Argentina draw

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MLS Week 2: A Look Ahead

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By THOMAS FLOYD

Major League Soccer's aspirations to be bigger and better than ever in 2011Â got off to a splendid start last week with goals aplenty and high attendance numbers.

The league will try to carry that momentum forward in week two with a full slate of games.

Mid-day Ticker: Ochocinco to play in reserves, Bayern hire new coach and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Chad Ochocinco's soccer career is going to last just a little bit longer.

Sporting Kansas City confirmed today that the Cincinnati Bengal's receiver will take part in a reserve match against the Kansas City Brass on Monday, extending his trial into next week.

The Latest from Special 1 TV

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Salgado available for Vancouver following FIFA approval

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The Vancouver Whitecaps have announced that 17-year-old striker Omar Salgado is available for immediate selection after his International Transfer Certificate was approved by FIFA.

The top pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft was expected to be out until perhaps his 18th birthday in September due to FIFA's restrictions on youth players playing outside their home countries.

Who should the USMNT start vs. Argentina?

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The U.S. men's national team has called in its best players for the first time since last summer's World Cup, and Bob Bradley will have his first chance to see what this summer's Gold Cup starting lineup might look like.

Stuart Holden's loss to injury was a tough blow, but U.

USA to face Spain on June 4th in Foxboro

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The U.S. men's national team will take on Spain on June 4th at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, U.S. Soccer announced on Friday.

The match will be the first meeting between the teams since the United States pulled off the stunning 2-0 upset victory against Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.

Kreis extends RSL contract through 2013

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Photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com

It's been a banner day for Jason Kreis.

After Real Salt Lake announced that it would be retiring his No. 9 jersey this summer, the club extended the contract of its head coach through 2013.

Kreis took over as coach of the club in 2007 and became the youngest head coach to win MLS Cup in league history when the then-36-year-old guided RSL to the title in 2009.

Western Conference Notes: RSL banged up, Beckham to be LA captain and more

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By ADAM SERRANO

The long schedule may already be catching up with Real Salt Lake.

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando is listed as questionable for this weekend with a bone spur in his ankle, which may press back-up Kyle Reynish into the starting lineup for the claret-and-cobalt against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Injured Henry ruled out of Crew game

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

Thierry Henry will miss the New York Red Bulls' game with the Columbus Crew this Saturday after he picked up a hamstring injury in the season opener against Seattle, the Red Bulls confirmed via their Twitter feed.

New York will already be without forward Juan Agudelo due to international duty with the United States.

Eastern Conference Notes: Ochocinco humbled, Lekic on trial with NE and more

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By THOMAS FLOYD

The first day of the Chad Ochocinco era in Kansas City wasn't exactly a smashing success.

The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver acknowledged he was behind the pace Wednesday as he began his trial with Sporting Kansas City, telling reporters, "The only thing I'm probably good at is just being fast as hell.

Ochocinco's first day in Kansas City

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SBI Philadelphia Union Ticket Contest

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Attention Philadelphia Union fans. If you're hoping to go to Saturday's season opener against Vancouver at PPL Park, but don't have tickets, today could be your lucky day.

SBI is giving away two tickets to the match in our first Philadelphia Union MLS Ticket Contest of the season.

SBI Live Q&A: March 24th Edition

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Good afternoon everybody (and good morning on the West Coast). It's time for our latest SBI Live Q&A.

With the MLS season in full swing now, and the U.S. national team set to play a pair of big friendlies, it's the perfect time to catch up and discuss all things soccer.

Submit your questions in the Q&A and I will try to answer as many of them as I can.

SBI Live Q&A Set for 1pm Today

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It's that time again. Time for us to discuss all things soccer (and pop culture) in the latest SBI Live Q&A.

With the MLS season underway, and with the U.S. national team set to return to action, it's the perfect time to talk about those and all other soccer subjects under the sun.

Get your questions ready and join me at 1pm today as I try to answer as many questions as possible over the course of an hour or two.

Fire inks former U.S. U-20 striker Ferrari

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Gabriel Ferrari's test drive with the Chicago Fire was successful.

The Fire signed Ferrari, a former United States U-20 striker, on Thursday after he was on trial with the team throughout the preseason.

Ferrari, 22, was a product of the New York Red Bulls youth system before signing with Sampdoria in Italy's Serie A three years ago.

Fantasy MLS: Week 3

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Photo by Rick Ostentoski/ISIphotos.com


By AVI CREDITOR

The first full week of action is in the books, and some of the heavy hitters have left us a little disappointed.

Last season's fantasy darlings David Ferreira, Chris Wondolowski, Landon Donovan, Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero and Alvaro Saborio have a combined -4 points, with Donovan, Zakuani and Montero each already playing two games.

Howard turning focus to Gold Cup while preparing for familiar friendly foe

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Photo by Rich Schultz/ISIphotos.com

By JOHN BOSCHINI

CARY, N.C. - Over the last few years, Tim Howard has had no shortage of memorable moments in a United States jersey. His performance in the 2-0 upset of Spain in the 2009 Confederation Cup, a kick in the ribs courtesy of Emile Heskey during the World Cup in Rustenburg last June, and, nine days later, the throw that initiated perhaps the most famous moment in American soccer history spring quickly to mind.

The USMNT's 3rd kit

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When the United States men's national team takes to the field against Argentina, it will mark the debut of the squad's third kit.

The red jersey is part of U.S. Soccer's #RedAllOver Twitter campaign, in which the federation asked fans to submit a new inspirational motto. The winning submission will be embroidered on the sleeves of the jerseys that Landon Donovan & Co.

Must-See Video: Charlie Davies Tribute

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Fire, Dynamo swap Carr, Oduro

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Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

The Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo completed a trade on Wednesday, with the Fire sending forward Calen Carr to the Dynamo in exchange for forward Dominic Oduro.

In Oduro, Chicago acquires a forward with tremendous pace but a checkered finishing past.

Rogers' days in Columbus numbered

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When the starting lineup was unveiled for the Columbus Crew season opener against D.C. United one name was conspicuously absent.

That name was Robbie Rogers.

Young midfielder Dilly Duka was given the start in place of Rogers and the development left Rogers visibly frustrated.

Mid-Day Ticker: Mourinho eyes England return, Queiroz ban overturned and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Jose Mourinho hasn't even finished up his first season with Real Madrid, but the journeyman manager is already speculating as to where he'll end up next.

According to the Telegraph, the Portuguese manager said that his next job will be as manager of an English club.

This weekend's top international matches

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The international break always leaves us with some intriguing matches, and this weekend's edition is no different.

Whether they're friendlies, European Championship qualifiers or African Cup of Nations qualifiers, there's plenty of action to make up for the lack of European league matches.

MLS Week 1: A Look Back

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The first week of the MLS season has come and gone and won't soon be forgotten after giving us some unforgettable moments, and thrilling finishes.

Whether it was Charlie Davies' emotional comeback, Juan Agudelo's game-winning goal, or Kevin Hartman's clutch late saves, or Vancouver's thorough dominance of Canadian rival Toronto FC, MLS Week 1 had it all.

Ochocinco set for SKC tryout

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Let the sideshow begin.

NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco begins his tryout with Sporting Kansas City Wednesday morning (11 a.m.), when he'll try to impress coach Peter Vermes and secure a contract with Major League Soccer.

Sporting Kansas City is streaming the tryout live on its Web site, although it is closed to the public in Kansas City.

In Reserve: DP Boskovic scores in win over Columbus, Quakes beat Whitecaps

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Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIphotos.com

The MLS Reserve League kicked off on Sunday, with D.C. United handing the Columbus Crew a 3-2 defeat.

One of the goal scorers for D.C. was not-your-typical reserve. Designated Player Branko Boskovic, who didn't play at all in the regular season match on Saturday, scored off a feed from former D.

SBI MLS Best XI: Week 1

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The first week of the MLS season was loaded with top-flight individual performances, but certain ones stood out above the rest.

Just how many great games were there? Consider that players such as Charlie Davies, Juan Agudelo and Nick Rimando actually didn't make SBI's Best XI for Week One.

Mid-Day Ticker: Blatter set for just 1 more term, Terry takes armband and more

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If Sepp Blatter wins the upcoming FIFA presidential election, the next term will be his last.

Blatter confirmed at the UEFA Congress that he only wants to serve as FIFA president for four more years. As of now, he only has one challenger for his FIFA throne, Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam.

SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 1)

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After a season-opening victory, Real Salt Lake maintained its spot atop the SBI MLS Power Rankings, although change could potentially be in the air after this weekend's matches.

RSL and the Los Angeles Galaxy, who held firm at No. 2, do battle in the marquee matchup of the weekend, even though some of the bigger names (Landon Donovan, Alvaro Saborio) won't be there because of international duty.

Portland, D.C. announce international friendlies with Ajax, Everton

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Should the United States make it to the Gold Cup quarterfinals, it won't be Tim Howard's only visit to RFK Stadium this summer.

D.C. United announced that it will be hosting Howard's club team, Everton, in a friendly on July 23 at 7:30 p.m.

United already scheduled a friendly with Ajax Amsterdam for May 22.

Maturing Juninho boosts L.A. midfield

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By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. - One player has been leading the Los Angeles Galaxy at the start of the season, and it's not one of the team's three Designated Players.

It's diminutive Brazilian midfielder Juninho.Â

In his second season with the club on loan from Sao Paulo, Juninho was the catalyst for the Galaxy's comeback in a 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution at the rain-soaked Home Depot Center Sunday night.

Which MLS team impressed you the most in the opening week of the season?

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While there were plenty of individual performances to write home about during the opening week of the Major League Soccer season, a number of teams stepped up to deliver impressive results.

Whether it was the defending champion looking very much like one, an expansion team putting together a surprising offensive display, an early favorite getting contributions from its newcomers or two of last year's league doormats coming up big, MLS' opening week was full of strong team efforts.

McCarty, Wolff embracing new roles

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Photo by Brad Smith/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

WASHINGTON - Moments after D.C. United's dismal 2010 campaign came to an end with a 3-2 loss to Toronto FC in late October, then-interim coach Ben Olsen suggested that the club needed to inject some new blood into its locker room, a sentiment made all the more pertinent by the departure of captain Jaime Moreno, who played his final game in a D.

German-born Chandler an intriguing USMNT newcomer

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

CARY, North Carolina-- Of all the new faces joining the U.S. National Team camp in North Carolina this week, the most intriguing and least known of the newcomers is German-born midfielder/defender Timothy Chandler.Â

Chandler first drew attention from U.

Vergara hints at potential summer deal between Chivas USA and Guadalajara

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Is help on the way for Chivas USA?

Chivas USA co-owner Jorge Vergara,that a transfer between Chivas USA and its sister club Guadalajara may be a possiblity.

The owner of Chivas de Guadalajara and co-owner of Chivas USA took in the Rojiblancos 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.

MLS Notes: Red Bulls cut Ibrahim, Bravo wins award, and more

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The New York Red Bulls could be very short-handed at forward this weekend against the Columbus Crew with Juan Agudelo on U.S. national team duty and Thierry Henry nursing an injury.

Salou Ibrahim won't be around to offer an alternative after being waived by the Red Bulls on Monday.

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Juninho

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In one of the easier selections we'll have to make, Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Juninho was chosen as SBI's MLS Player of the Week for Week 1 of the MLS season.

Juninho was the easy choice after scoring a pair of goals to help the Galaxy post a season-opening 1-0 win against Seattle and a 1-1 tie against New England.

USMNT Camp Notes: Bradley talks Holden, no more players being called in

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

CARY, North Carolina- Nine months after the United State's exited the 2010 World Cup, Bob Bradley was finally set to coach a full-strength national team. Injuries changed those plans after news that breakout midfielder Stuart Holden's knee injury would keep him out for six months and defender Steve Cherundolo suffered a groin injury.

The impact of Holden's injury on the USMNT

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To call Stuart Holden's knee injury a devastating blow is an understatement. To call it a serious setback for the U.S. national team is definitely appropriate.

Holden was set to join the national team for its upcoming friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay, and given his excellent form for Bolton, Holden figured to be a key starter for the United States.

Revs admit good fortune amid controversial ref calls

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By JONATHAN VERA

CARSON, Calif. – Depending on who you asked, the only thing worse than the weather during the Los Angeles Galaxy's 1-1 tie vs. New England was the officiating.

Referee in charge Hilario Grajeda negated a goal scored by Juninho early in the first after LA's Mike Magee "fouled" keeper Matt Reis.

Garber: MLS Cup at Home Depot Center "not finalized yet"

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 BY ADAM SERRANO

Is the MLS Cup Final to be played at the Home Depot Center? Not so fast says MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

A month after LA Galaxy CEO Tim Leiwike strongly hinted that the Home Depot Center may play host to its third MLS Cup Final, Commissioner Garber stated that a venue for the 2011 MLS Cup Final was "not finalized yet.

European Weekend Rewind: Inter's great week, Man United win late and more

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By IAN HOLLIDAY

It was an excellent week for the defending European Cup champions. Inter Milan's good fortune began on Tuesday with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Bayern Munich to advance to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. Then on Thursday, the quarterfinal draw handed Inter a date with Schalke, easily the weakest club remaining in the competition.

Galaxy settles for rain-soaked draw with Revs

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BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, CALIF -- Playing through an uncharacteristic Southern California rainstorm, the New England Revolution drew the LA Galaxy, 1-1 on a rain-soaked field at the Home Depot Center.

Sharlie Joseph gave the Revolution the lead just three minutes into the match to put the Galaxy on the back foot before Galaxy midfielder Juninho scored his second goal of the season to level the score.

SBI Stoppage Time: Red Bulls 1, Sounders 0

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SBI Stoppage Time: Red Bulls v. Sounders Wrap from Soccer By Ives on Vimeo.


Holden out six months with knee injury

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photo by Chris Brunskill/ISIphotos.com

Stuart Holden's first full season with Bolton Wanderers has been going as well as he probably could have hoped for, but that season has prematurely come to a close.

Holden will be sidelined for about six months with the knee injury picked up in Bolton Wanderers' weekend loss to Manchester United, Bolton announced on its website on Monday.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Clint Dempsey has made history.

Dempsey became the first American to score 10 goals in a Premiership season on Saturday, netting on fellow American Tim Howard in Fulham's 2-1 loss to Everton. The goal, which came off a one-timed left-footed shot, saw Dempsey break Brian McBride's record of goals scored in an EPL campaign.

Revs and Galaxy play to 1-1 draw amid rainstorm at the HDC.

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Amid an uncharacteristic Southern California rainstorm, the New England Revolution drew the LA Galaxy, 1-1 on a soaked pitch at the Home Depot Center.

The Revolution took the lead just three minutes in when a defensive breakdown for the Galaxy lead to a Sharlie Joseph goal. Juninho scored his second goal of the season for the Galaxy off a failed clearance that allowed the Brazilian to fire in a shot from 20 yards out.

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New England Revolution: Match Night Commentary

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The Los Angeles Galaxy kick off their home season opener tonight against the New England Revolution at Home Depot Center in the Revs first match of the season (8pm, Galavision).

The Galaxy comes off an impressive 1-0 victory against the Seattle Sounders in Seattle last Tuesday, and will be short-handed yet again, with goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, striker Juan Pablo Angel and defender Omar Gonzalez all out of the starting lineup for the second straight match.

Holden, Cherundolo, Whitbread pulled from USMNT roster due to injury; Lichaj called in

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Stuart Holden, Steve Cherundolo and Zak Whitbread have been pulled from the U.S. national team roster for the upcoming friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay due to injury.

Holden received 26 stitches near his left knee after suffering an injury in Bolton Wanderers' loss to Manchester United on Saturday.

SBI MLS Spotlight: Juan Agudelo

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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Chelsea and Manchester City both boast two of the most expensive teams in world soccer, but on Sunday they will be playing for third place in the Premier League rather than first place.

With Manchester United looking uncatchable, Chelsea and Man City are trying to lock up one of the automatic Champions League places in the Top Three.

Agudelo's first MLS goal leads Red Bulls past Sounders

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIPhotos.com

For all the hype surrounding Juan Agudelo heading into the 2011 MLS season it was easy to overlook the fact that he had yet to score an MLS goal.

That changed Saturday night, with the 18-year old delivering his first score in dramatic fashion, finishing off a strong run with a pin-point finish to help the Red Bulls post a 1-0 victory against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night.

D.C. United rolls to win as Davies scores twice in first match in 17 months

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Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIPhotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

WASHINGTON - After 17 months of anticipation, Charlie Davies' return to top-flight action was, in one way, anticlimactic.

Having not played a first-team minute since suffering life-threatening injuries in a horrific October 2009 car accident near Washington, Davies pulled off his warm ups and prepared to enter D.

Must-See Interview: Charlie Davies

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Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIPhotos.com

After waiting 17 months, and overcoming an accident that nearly took his life, Charlie Davies returned to first-team professional soccer tonight in storybook fashion.

Davies scored two goals in a D.C. United 3-1 victory against Columbus, and after the match gave this emotional interview:


Sporting KC vs. Chivas USA: Match Night Commentary

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Sporting KC and Chivas USA are both in the midst of total franchise re-development projects.Â

Sporting comes to the Home Depot Center with former Chivas Guadalajara icon Omar Bravo, who looks to spearhead a three headed Kansas City attack. Chivas USA is in the midst of a major rebuilding process with new head coach Robin Fraser, who has brought a new defensive mindset to the Rojiblancos.

Rapids open MLS Cup defense with 3-1 trouncing of Timbers

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Colorado Rapids first celebrated themselves, then picked up right where they left off last season and scored a resounding 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers in the MLS opener for both clubs and inaugural game for Portland Saturday night at Dick's Sporting Good Park.

D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew: Match Night Commentary

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One team looking to bounce back from a rough 2010 and another looking to prove it still belongs among the league's elite kick off their respective 2011 MLS campaigns at RFK Stadium in the nation's capital.

D.C. United faces optimism and high expectations after a horrid year was followed by an offseason that included the acquisitions of Charlie Davies, Dax McCarty and Perry Kitchen.

New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders: Match Night Commentary

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The New York Red Bulls are ready to kick off the 2011 season tonight by taking on the Seattle Sounders at Red Bull Arena (7:30pm, MSG).

The Red Bulls will be looking to build on  strong 2010 that saw the team rebound from a last-place finish to complete the regular season in first place.

MLS Week 1: Match Day Rundown

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Major League Soccer is back, and it's back with some new friends.

The Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers will make their MLS debuts today as the Expansion class of 2011. The Whitecaps will open their season against Canadian rivals Toronto FC, while Portland will be in Colorado to watch the Rapids make their debut as reigning MLS Cup champions.

Holden injured in Bolton's loss to Manchester United

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Stuart Holden has been enjoying a dream season for Bolton, which made his expected participation in the U.S. national team's upcoming friendlies a highly-anticipated storyline.

That storyline looks like it will have to wait now after Holden was injured in Bolton's 1-0 loss to Manchester United on Saturday.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Today marks the first full day of MLS action since the 2011 season kicked off on Tuesday, but before we get into the day's heavy menu of MLS match-ups, there are plenty of quality games to watch around the world today.

Manchester United takes on Stuart Holden and Bolton in one of the morning's marquee match-ups, while U.

MLS Reserve League kicks off Sunday

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

Major League Soccer's resurrected Reserve League opens for business Sunday morning at 11, with D.C. United and the Columbus Crew squaring off on United's training field.

The league is comprised of three six-team divisions. Teams will play each division foe twice in the 10-game campaign.

LA Galaxy Notebook: Leonardo matures, injury questions loom, and more

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Leonardo may be considered "the other" Brazilian for the Galaxy after fellow countrymen Juninho burst on to the scene last year, but in 2011, the defender seems poised to play a key role for the Galaxy.

The hulking Brazilian was solid over 90 minutes in Tuesday's 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders.

Red Bulls/Sounders Ticket Contest

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Attention New York Red Bulls fans. If you're hoping to go to Saturday's season opener against Seattle at Red Bull Arena but don't have tickets, today could be your lucky day.

SBI is giving away two tickets to the match in our first MLS Ticket Contest of the season. To win, you have to post your Twitter name in the comments section of this post, and THEN post a Tweet including #SoccerByIves, #NewYorkRedBulls and #SBITicketContest.

Davies ready to complete long road back

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Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIphotos.com


By AVI CREDITOR

The bone-chilling details of Charlie Davies' story have been rehashed, dissected and analyzed on television and radio shows, in newspapers and all over the Internet.

Fans fumed when he was left off the United States national team roster for the World Cup, even though it became evident that he wasn't close to the fitness or form necessary to compete on the highest level of international play.

Mid-day Ticker: Blatter to be challenged, Davies' crash driver sentenced and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

For the first time in a decade, Sepp Blatter has a challenger.

Mohammad bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation, ended months of speculation today when he confirmed that he would stand for president of FIFA in this year's election.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV (and SBI's Top Ten Matches to Watch)

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Stuart Holden's dream season at Bolton will next take him to the Theater of Dreams, old Trafford, as the Trotters take on Manchester United in one of the weekend's top matches on TV.

This weekend is marked by several high-profile matches for Americans Abroad, but also because this weekend marks the full return of Major League Soccer.

Report: USA-Spain friendly at Gillette in the works

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A long-rumored potential friendly between Spain and the United States is gaining steam after the Boston Globe reported the friendly is being proposed for early June at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

The match has yet to be finalized, but if a deal is completed, the game would mark the rematch of the U.

Fantasy MLS: Week 2

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By AVI CREDITOR

Call it a glitch, call it a technicality, but it's Week 2 in MFLS circles.

Week 1 (AKA Los Angeles' 1-0 win over Seattle) was pretty fruitless from a fantasy standpoint unless you started Juninho, who scored the only goal, or had the foresight to go with Josh Saunders as your goalkeeper.

Onyewu's Twente to face Rossi's Villarreal in Europa quarters

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The only two American-born players left in European competitions will face off in the Europa League quarterfinals after Oguchi Onyewu's FC Twente was drawn against Giuseppe Rossi's Villarreal in Friday's Europa League draw.

Here is the full draw:

FC Porto vs. Spartak Moscow

Benfica vs.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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photo by Javier Garcia/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

When Clint Dempsey steps onto the field for Fulham on Saturday, he'll be looking to make history by becoming the American with most goals scored in a Premiership campaign. There's only one problem, though.

Chelsea-United headlines Champions League quarterfinals

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Manchester United will face Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, while a potential Real Madrid-Barcelona clash looks set for the semifinals, after Friday's draw was held to determine the quarterfinal match-ups.

Here are the quarterfinal pairings:

Real Madrid vs.

MLS Season Preview: Colorado Rapids

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The Colorado Rapids delivered their fans the club's first championship last fall, winning the 2010 MLS Cup in dramatic fashion. With that first MLS Cup in the trophy case, the Rapids must now try to live up to the champion status they now hold.

If the Rapids are going to repeat, they're going to do so with all of the key players back in 2011.

MLS Season Preview: FC Dallas

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There wasn't much expected from FC Dallas when the 2010 season began, but by the end of that surprising season, Dallas had finished one of the best and most entertaining seasons in team history.

FC Dallas eliminated the top two teams in the 2010 MLS Playoffs and came within overtime of a championship, doing so with a young and deep team that seemed capable of challenging for titles for years to come.

Sources: Philadelphia signs Gabriel Farfan

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Philadelphia is known as the city of Brotherly love so perhaps it is fitting that the Philadelphia Union now has its first pair of brothers on the team.

The Union has completed the signing of midfielder Gabriel Farfan, brother of Union draft pick Michael Farfan, sources told SBI on Thursday.

Western Conference Notes: Portland going after DP, RSL faces injuries & more

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By ADAM SERRANO

The Portland Timbers are after their first ever Designated Player and would like to do so sooner rather than later.Â

In a radio interview with the Talk Timbers radio program on Portland radio station 95.5 The Game on Wednesday, club owner Merritt Paulson stated that the club was interested in adding a central midfielder as a DP and hopes to have that player by the team's home opener against the Chicago Fire.

Toronto FC adds 4 Homegrown Players

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Toronto FC's youth movement is in full effect.

TFC signed four players from its academy on Thursday, inking defender Ashtone Morgan, midfielders Oscar Cordon and Matt Stinson and forward Keith Makubuya to Homegrown Player contracts.

The four of them join Nicholas Lindsay and Doneil Henry to help TFC match FC Dallas with a league-high six Homegrown Players on the first team.

MLS Season Preview: Philadelphia Union

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The 2010 Philadelphia Union was a young team learning on the job, a squad that was fun to watch in part because of the surprising rise of Sebastien LeToux, but also because of the promise of so many youngsters.

A year later, Peter Nowak is ready for his team to grow up. He signed a handful of key veterans to help bolster a team that just might have the pieces to make a serious playoff push.

Lletget, Gyau, Salgado highlight U.S. Under-20 World Cup qualifying roster

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

Thomas Rongen has selected the 20 players for the United States Under-20 World Cup qualifying campaign that gets underway later this month.

Eight MLS players and 16 professionals in total highlight the roster, which includes the likes of Sebastian Lletget, Joseph Gyau, Conor Doyle and Omar Salgado but does not include Bayern Munich youth product Fabian Huerzeler.

UEFA Europa League: Your Running Commentary

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All eight UEFA Europa League quarterfinalists will be determined on Thursday, as all of the Round of 16 second legs are played throughout Europe.

In the ties involving American internationals, Oguchi Onyewu and FC Twente carry a 3-0 edge over Zenit-St. Petersburg into their return leg in Russia, while Maurice Edu and Rangers host PSV Eindhoven after a scoreless first leg in the Netherlands.

Mid-Day Ticker: Monterrey takes first leg, Man United's injury crisis and more

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By AVI CREDITOR

Sergio Santana's goal in the 57th minute was the difference, as Monterrey held serve at home and defeated Cruz Azul, 2-1, in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal Wednesday night.

Monterrey's Neri Cardozo opened the scoring in the ninth minute, but Cruz Azul's Adrian Cortes answered off a free kick just minutes into the second half to give his side a crucial away goal.

MLS Season Preview: Houston Dynamo

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Missing the playoffs for the first time since arriving in Houston, the Houston Dynamo always had the look of a team that could rebound quickly and return to the ranks of the league's best. After one of the better off-seasons in MLS, the Dynamo stands poised to do just that.

Houston has added several quality players in the winter, including a pair of talented rookies in Kofi Sarkodie and Will Bruin.

Hexagonal format for CONCACAF World Cup qualifying likely to remain the same

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

United States-Mexico World Cup qualifiers might not be a thing of the past after all.

CONCACAF officials have submitted a World Cup qualifying plan to the region's executive committee that would keep the current hexagonal format intact.

Donovan, Saborio to miss Galaxy-Real Salt Lake clash on FIFA fixture date

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

With the upcoming FIFA fixture date falling on an MLS Saturday, many players in the league figured to be missing a match while on international duty.

Unfortunately for MLS fans, among those players happens to be one of the league's all-time greats and one of the league's top scorers missing one of the season's most anticipated matches.

Thursday Kickoff: Rapids sign Folan, McCarty named United captain and more

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By AVI CREDITOR

After weeks of speculation, Caleb Folan is finally a member of the Colorado Rapids.

The Irish international and former Hull City striker agreed to a deal with the defending MLS Cup champions to improve the team's depth at forward, which will continue to grow when Mac Kandji returns from his ACL injury.

Real Madrid, Chelsea advance to UCL quarterfinals

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

After six miserable years, Real Madrid is through to the quarterfinals.

A 3-0 win over Lyon gave Real Madrid a 4-1 victory on aggregate and broke the Spanish side's six-year streak of being eliminated from the Champions League in the round of 16.

USMNT roster announced for upcoming friendlies

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Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard lead a veteran group of players called in by U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley for upcoming friendlies against Argentina (March 26th) and Paraguay (March 29th).

A full-strength USMNT squad will be featured for the first time since the United States lost to Ghana in last summer's World Cup.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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The final two places in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals will be determined today as Real Madrid take on Lyon (Fox Soccer Plus, 3:45pm) and Chelsea faces FC Copenhagen (Fox Soccer Channel, 3;45pm).

Real Madrid comes into the day's marquee match-up having tied the first leg, 1-1 in Lyon.

NFL star Ochocinco to trial with Sporting KC

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By FRANCO PANIZO

It appears not even an NFL labor dispute is enough to keep Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco off the field.

Ochocino will join Sporting Kansas City for a four-day trial starting next week, Kansas City announced on Wednesday.

Mid-Day Ticker: Ferguson hit with ban, Japan cancels friendlies and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been handed a five-match ban by the English FA following critical comments of a referee earlier this month.

The Scottish manager blasted match official Martin Atkinson following United's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on March 1.

Timbers' Cooper seeks return to 2008 MLS form

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

Much of Kenny Cooper's soccer career, from the U.S. to Europe, has been defined by potential and promise that was deflated by injury.

But the big striker, still young at 26, had one very memorable season in MLS in 2008. He scored 18 goals and played in all 30 regular-season games for FC Dallas, winning Comeback Player of the Year, Best XI and All-Star honors.

Gold Cup tickets go on sale today

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If you've been anxiously waiting to plan your trips to attend one or more of this summer's Gold Cup matches, today is a day you've likely had circled in your calendar.

Tickets for the CONCACAF Gold Cup went on sale to the general public at 10am this morning. Fans who didn't take part in the week-long pre-sale can purchase tickets through www.

Espindola leads RSL past Deportivo Saprissa

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Real Salt Lake badly needed a convincing victory in its CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg against Deportivo Saprissa on Tuesday, and that's what Jason Kreis' squad delivered as RSL posted a 2-0 victory against Saprissa.

Fabian Espindola was the star of the show, setting up Alvario Saborio's goal before scoring his own to send Real Salt Lake to Costa Rica for the second leg on April 5th with a two-goal cushion.

Galaxy open 2011 with 1-0 win vs. Sounders

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The Los Angeles Galaxy went into Tuesday night's MLS season opener against Seattle missing three key starters, but that didn't stop the defending Supporters Shield holders from getting off to a winning start.

Brazilian midfielder Juninho blasted the lone goal of the night from long distance to give the Galaxy a 1-0 victory against the Seattle Sounders on Tuesday night at Qwest Field.

MLS/CCL Match Night: Live Commentary

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Tonight is a special night for Major League Soccer on a number of levels.

The two matches carry significance, and MLS fans will be doing some serious TV channel juggling to take in what promises to be a great night of action.

SBI will be providing live commentary on both matches tonight, so please feel free to follow along with all the action here.

Inter wins thriller, Chicharito guides United to quarters in Champions League

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Inter Milan left it late, but the reigning European Champion lives to fight another day after a dramatic 3-2 victory against Bayern Munich that puts the Italian side in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Goran Pandev scored in the 88th minute to cap a furious comeback from Inter Milan after Bayern Munich had opened up a 3-1 aggregate lead by halftime.

Sounders release Nkufo

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Blaise Nkufo has been relased by the Seattle Sounders according to a team issued press release just hours befor the start of the season.Â

It has been a turbulent day for the Swiss Designated Player, who has effectively gone from the starting line-up to off the club.

Must-See Commercial: Portland Timbers

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The 2011 MLS Awards: SBI's Predictions

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Photos by ISIPhotos.com

With the 2011 MLS season ready to kick off tonight when the Los Angeles Galaxy takes on the Seattle Sounders, now is a good time to share our picks for this season's individual awards.

The MLS writing staff at SBI has voted on six regular season awards, as well as on the Golden Boot.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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Two more teams will punch their tickets to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday, and one of last year's finalists -- and potentially the champion -- will be sent home early.

Inter Milan faces an uphill battle in its second leg against Bayern Munich (3:45 p.

SBI MLS Power Rankings

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

Major League Soccer's first kick of 2011 is just hours away, and there's no better time to reveal SBI's MLS Power Rankings heading into the new season.

Some of last year's disappointments have made quite the impression during the offseason, as D.

RSL signs first Homegrown Player

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Most of Real Salt Lake's player moves in the past couple of years have been geared toward building a winner right now, but the club added a piece for the future on Monday.

RSL signed 18-year-old Donny Toia as its first Homegrown Player, adding a left-footed attacking commodity who is still a ways away from contributing to the first team, according to statements made by team general manager Garth Lagerway.

Donovan, Angel and the high-powered Galaxy attack seeking fireworks in 2011

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Photo by ISIphotos.com


By ADAM SERRANO

Landon Donovan played all over the pitch last season. Whether at forward, in central midfield or out wide, Donovan played a variety of roles for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the club's Supporters Shield run.

Must-See Video: 1990 USA World Cup Team Song

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Not much I can say other than watch this video if A) you were a fan of the 1990 U.S. World Cup team and/or B) you want a good laugh:


Which game are you looking forward to the most, Seattle-LA or RSL-Saprissa?

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Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com


Major League Soccer's 16th season is set to kick off tonight in Seattle, where the Sounders host the Los Angeles Galaxy in matchup of Western Conference powers (9:30, ESPN/ESPN3.com).

That's not the only match of importance on the schedule, though.

MLS Season Preview: Seattle Sounders

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The Seattle Sounders second year as an MLS team ended much the way its first one ended, with a first-round playoff exit and feeling like a talent-filled club had underachieved.

Such is the high standard the club set in its first year of existence. As the Sounders move into year three, they will once again face the pressure of being considered one of the top teams in MLS.

Smith: No pressure on Rapids to repeat as MLS Cup champs

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

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As the saying goes, if it isn't broken, why fix it?

The words apply to the 2011 Colorado Rapids, the defending MLS Cup champions who will look almost exactly the same on the field as they did on that bitter cold November night in Toronto when they bucked the odds and raised the trophy.

JELD-WEN Field replaces PGE Park

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Goodbye, PGE Park. Hello, JELD-WEN Field.

The Portland Timbers have made a number of renovations to their home stadium, and the latest one is a park re-branding after the club changed the name of its stadium from PGE Park to JELD-WEN Field.

JELD-WEN is a doors and windows company based in Klamath Falls, Ore.

Lichaj's Leeds loan lengthened

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American fullback Eric Lichaj has had his loan to Leeds United extended until May 7, keeping him at Elland Road through the end of the League Championship regular season.

Lichaj joined Leeds on loan from Aston Villa in early February and has started and gone the full 90 minutes in each of the seven matches since that time.

D.C. United to host Ajax in May

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D.C. United's strong offseason hasn't been limited to player acquistions.

In the aftermath of bringing the likes of Charlie Davies, Dax McCarty and Perry Kitchen to the nation's capital, United announced it will host Dutch power Ajax Amsterdam in a friendly on May 22.

Ajax is in the race for the Eredivisie title and boasts Netherlands internationals in goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, defender Gregory Van Der Wiel and midfielder Demy De Zeeuw, among others.

Fantasy MLS: Week 1

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

It seems like just yesterday that we were drafting out 2010 Fantasy MLS teams and saying to ourselves, "Who is Chris Wondolowski?" and "Sebastien Le Toux? He never did much in Seattle..."

Hopefully we're all a year wiser, have our crystal balls shined to perfection and can see all of 2011's surprises coming months ahead of time.

Mid-Day Ticker: Lehmann nears Arsenal return, Barca hit with injuries and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Jens Lehmann could be heading back to the Emirates.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly interested in signing the 41-year-old goalkeeper to a short-term loan deal to help stem Arsenal's goalkeeping crisis. Lehmann left the Gunners in 2008 after five years and nearly 200 appearances.

MLS Season Preview: Los Angeles Galaxy

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Last season was supposed to be the year. After falling in penalties in the 2009 MLS Cup Final, the 2010 Galaxy had the makings of a team that could finish the deal and win the club's first MLS Cup since 2005.Â

The Galaxy fell short, but after a busy off-season that saw leading scorer Edson Buddle leave and Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel replace him, Los Angeles once again heads into a season as a major MLS Cup favorite.

MLS Weekend Recap: D.C. repeats in Carolina, Ching re-injured and more

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Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIphotos.com

D.C. United repeated as champions of the Carolina Challenge Cup, sewing up the tournament with a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday.

Charlie Davies opened the scoring in the 12th minute for D.C. (and followed it up by doing the stanky leg), only to have Dwayne De Rosario and Maicon Santos answer with goals in the 19th and 28th minutes, respectively, for Toronto, which had Adrian Cann return to action for the first time since he walked out of training camp in a contract dispute.

Join the SBI Fantasy MLS League

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With the 2011 MLS season set to kick off tonight, there's still time to set up your fantasy team and be part of SBI's Fantasy MLS League.

We are once again using MFLS.com to be the home of our fantasy MLS League. You can sign up and join the 'Official Soccer By Ives League' today.

Goodson sidelined with broken toe

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

Brondby IF and United States centerback Clarence Goodson has a broken toe that will keep him out of action and almost definitely exclude him from the U.S. roster for the upcoming friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay.

Goodson did not play in Brondby's 2-0 win over Sonderjyske over the weekend, and according to this report from Denmark, Brondby's team doctor said Goodson is expected to miss a few weeks.

Atletico Junior perfect; Jaguares, Caracas surprise at Copa Libertadores

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By NESTOR F. SEBASTIAN

It's only been four weeks of group-stage competition of the Copa Libertadores, but the tournament has already provided some epic matches and surprising results, as Colombia's Atletico Junior remains perfect after three matches in its group, while Mexico's Jaguares and Venezuela's Caracas are the shock leaders in their respective tables.

European Weekend Rewind: Milan, Barca held, Bayern rolls and more

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By IAN HOLLIDAY

It was a tough weekend for league leaders across Europe. In Italy, AC Milan needed an 82nd minute goal from Antonio Cassano to salvage a home draw against last-placed Bari on Sunday. Despite dominating possession and creating numerous chances (including two disallowed goals), the Serie A leaders couldn't seem to find an equalizer for most of the match, a frustration that came to a head in the 73rd minute when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

If Hull City ends up getting promoted to the Premiership at season's end, the club might point to Brad Guzan's performance against Coventry City as one of key points of the season.

Having just joined Hull on loan for a second time this season, Guzan made his way back into the club's starting lineup on Saturday.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Whether you're looking for the passion of a derby, or the pressure of a Cup quarterfinal, or even a chance to see the best team in the world, today's schedule of soccer matches has it all for you.

Roma and Lazio will resume their Rome rivalry this morning, with Lazio trying to solidify its hold on the fourth and final Champions League qualifying place in Serie A.

Messi headlines Argentina roster vs. USA

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Almost three years after being part of the Argentina squad that Tim Howard shut out in a memorable 0-0 tie at Giants Stadium, Lionel Messi will be returning to New Jersey to try again to beat Howard and the U.S. men's national team.

Messi, Real Madrid's Angel DiMaria and Palermo's Javier Pastore are just some of the names on a star-studded squad called up by Argentina to take on the United States (March 26th) and Costa Rica (March 29th).

Holden, Bolton top Birmingham to reach FA Cup semifinal

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Stuart Holden and Bolton moved a step closer to a dream run to the FA Cup Final by beating Birmingham, 3-2, in their quarterfinal match-up on Saturday.

South Korean Lee-Chung Yong scored a 90th-minute winner to send Bolton to its first FA Cup semifinal in 11 years.

Holden played all 90 minutes for the Trotters, which were the first team to reach the semifinals.

MLS Cup returning to Home Depot Center?

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The Los Angeles Galaxy head into the 2011 season as one of the favorites to win MLS Cup, and now it appears the club could have a chance to win a third championship in its home stadium.

Tim Leiweke, head honcho of Galaxy owners AEG, dropped some serious hints on Friday that the 2011 MLS Cup Final could be played at Home Depot Center, which has hosted the MLS Cup Final on three previous occasions (2003,2004 and 2008).

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Manchester United takes on Arsenal today in FA Cup action, a match that is easily the best of a busy day of soccer action.

The Red Devils will be looking to keep Arsenal down after the Gunners' recent Champions League loss to Barcelona, but Arsenal will have a chance to knock off a United side with its own UEFA Champions League issues to deal with.

Chivas USA deals Gordon to TFC for LaBrocca

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Chivas USA continued its roster transformation on Friday, sending forward Alan Gordon to Toronto FC for midfielder Nick LaBrocca.

The acquisition of LaBrocca is the latest addition of a quality MLS veteran to Robin Fraser's Chivas USA side. The Rojiblancos have also added Jimmy Conrad and Heath Pearce, while also drafting Zarek Valentin and bringing in Seth Owusu on loan.

Friday Ticker: Gerrard out up to a month, J.League halts season and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Liverpool's resurgence took a hit with the news the Reds will be without captain Steven Gerrard for up to a month after the English midfielder underwent surgery for a groin injury.

Gerrard sustained the injury in Liverpool's 1-0 victory over Chelsea in early February and did not travel for the team's 1-0 defeat in the Europa League yesterday.

Projecting lineups for the upcoming USMNT friendlies

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The U.S. national team's longer-than-planned hiatus is set to come to an end soon, with match-ups against South American powers Argentina and Paraguay looming. Bob Bradley hasn't really had a chance to field a full-strength team since last summer's World Cup, but will now have a chance to see just where his team stands less than three months before the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

MLS Season Preview: Chicago Fire

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The Chicago Fire enter 2011 coming off one of the worst seasons in club history. For only the second time since its debut season of 1998, the Fire missed the playoffs. That disappointing performance might have led to some other coaches being given the boot, but head coach Carlos De Los Cobos is back to try and improve on a sub-par first season.

Must-See Goal: The Fastest Goal Ever

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This Weekend's Soccer on TV (and SBI's Top Ten Matches to Watch)

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Manchester United and Arsenal are locked in a fierce battle for the English Premier League title, but this weekend the rivals will square off with another piece of silverware on the line.

The Gunners will look to rebound from their loss to Barcelona by knocking off Manchester United in the FA Cup, which takes center stage in England this weekend.

The Latest from Special1 TV: Wenger's Debut

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Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley is expected to announce the roster for the upcoming friendlies next week, and that means players abroad who are on the fringes will have one more chance to earn a call-up.

Ricardo Clark is one of those players.

Rangers draw, big teams struggle in last 16 of Europa League

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

It wasn't the victory Maurice Edu and Rangers were hoping for, but a 0-0 draw away to PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of their last-16 clash puts the Scottish side in a good position to advance.

With 57% of possession and six shots on goal to Rangers' two, PSV Eindhoven had the majority of possession but Rangers had the best chance of the match when on-loan defender Stanislav Manolev's header was touched wide by Andreas Isaksson.

West Notes: Padilla likely out with Chivas, Kreis discusses SKC incident and more

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Jesus Padilla came to Chivas USA as a player with great promise, but it appears that the forward is no longer in the plans for the franchise.

Head coach Robin Fraser cast doubt on a future role for the player by stating, that he was unsure if Padilla would "help the team going forward.

Bravo, Davies among top MLS imports to watch in 2011

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

As Sporting Kansas City ushers in what could be a defining era for soccer in the American heartland this season, the club's overhaul won't stop at its polarizing re-branding or new soccer-specific venue.

Mid-Day Ticker: Fabregas, Arteta hurt; Whitecaps rookie gets call-up and more

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Cesc Fabregas' week is not getting any better.

The Arsenal midfielder re-aggrivated a hamstring injury in the Gunners' loss to FC Barcelona on Tuesday that eliminated them from the UEFA Champions League. As a result, he'll have to miss Arsenal's key FA Cup clash with Manchester United this weekend.

Mid-Day Ticker: RSL-SKC ends in brawl, Crew signs Serbian midfielder and more

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It's only preseason, but there's some bad blood brewing between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City.

According to multiple reports, the two teams had a bench-clearing brawl in their friendly in Casa Grande, Ariz., Tuesday night, and the game had to be abandoned before it was completed.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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AC Milan will try to put an end to Italy's string of poor results in European soccer, but in order to do so, it'll have to come back from a 1-0 deficit at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham-Milan (2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Deportes) is the marquee match of the day, with the winner of the two-legged tie advancing to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

United-Fire matchup highlights second day of Carolina Challenge Cup

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The Chicago Fire and D.C. United each won its first match at the Carolina Challenge Cup, but something will have to give when the two teams meet tonight at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C.

The Eastern Conference foes will meet at 5 p.

Tottenham, Schalke advance to UEFA Champions League quarterfinals

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Tottenham's foray into uncharted territory continues, as the English club advanced to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time. A 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane was enough for Spurs to eliminate AC Milan, 1-0 on aggregate, and keep dreams of hoisting European silverware alive.

Galaxy Notebook: Galaxy defeats UCLA 2-1, Ricketts "day to day" and more

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BY ADAM SERRANO

The LA Galaxy defeated UCLA, 2-1 in their final preseason warm-up before the start of the season.

Landon Donovan and Juninho provided the goals for the Galaxy while Victor Chavez scored for the Bruins. Los Angeles dominated the early part of the match when Juninho cracked the UCLA defense with a goal through a number of UCLA defenders.

Must-See Interview: Davies discusses the accident, his comeback and D.C. United

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MLS Ticker: Sounders take Community Shield, TFC signs Dutch trio and more

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By AVI CREDITOR

Fans of the Seattle Sounders can turn their worries from an anemic preseason offense to injuries to two starters.

Fredy Montero scored two goals and assisted on Jhon Kennedy Hurtado's 60th-minute opening goal, as the Sounders topped the Colorado Rapids, 3-1, in Wednesday night's Community Shield match at Qwest Field.

Saputo Stadium set for expansion

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With the Montreal Impact joining Major League Soccer in 2012, the club is taking the necessary steps to try to make its home, Saputo Stadium, on par with some of the league's top facilities.

The Impact is putting $23 million into a stadium expansion, which will increase the park's capacity from 13,034 to 20,341 ahead of the team's first match in MLS.

Chicago signs Videira, Barouch

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The Chicago Fire's makeover continues.

The team agreed to deals with trialists Michael Videira and Orr Barouch on Thursday, adding two more names to the fold in a season full of acquisitions. The Fire now has 25 players on its senior roster.

UEFA Europa League: Your Running Commentary

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The UEFA Europa League Round of 16 gets underway on Thursday, with all of the remaining teams in the competition in action.

Among the teams still alive are Maurice Edu's Rangers and Oguchi Onyewu's FC Twente. Rangers opens its tie with PSV Eindhoven on the road, while Twente hosts Zenit-St.