Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2012

Ching poised for fourth MLS Cup title as career winds to a close

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By FRANCO PANIZO

CARSON, Calif. A lot of the talk surrounding this year's MLS Cup final has been focused on the departure of David Beckham and the possible retirement of Landon Donovan. But they are not the only ones who could be playing in their last MLS game on Saturday.

Report: Galaxy target Kaka as Beckham replacement

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With David Beckham set to play his last game for the LA Galaxy on Saturday, and Landon Donovan contemplating retirement, the Galaxy could soon find themselves with two big holes to fill on a roster used to boasting multiple stars.

The Galaxy have already targeted one potential replacement, with Sports Illustrated reporting that the Galaxy want to sign Brazilian star Kaka as a replacement for Beckham.

Revs cut ties with Feilhaber

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By IVES GALARCEP

The writing was on the wall as the New England Revolution added midfielders after the 2012 season, but it was still bit of a head-turning development to see the Revs part ways with midfielder Benny Feilhaber.

New England declined to pick up the option on Feilhaber's contract, with sources telling SBI that Feilhaber's large contract option make it unlikely that he returns to MLS in 2013.

Report: Houllier reaches out to Brazilian midfielder Juninho Pernambucano

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

It seems Gerard Houllier is looking to do more than simply trim the Red Bulls roster.

"Futnet" out of Brazil reports the Red Bulls Global Director of Soccer traveled out to the Soccerex facility in Rio de Janiero to speak with 37-year-old attacking midfielder Juninho Pernambucano.

USMNT to hold January camp, eyeing friendly

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By IVES GALARCEP

CARSON, Calif. The U.S. Men's National Team will hold a training camp in January ahead of the Feb. 6th World Cup qualifier against Honduras, Jurgen Klinsmann revealed on Friday.

A 23-player camp will convene here from Jan. 14th to Jan. 31st, and U.S.

MLS Cup: A look at the Five Key Match-ups

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By IVES GALARCEP

CARSON, Calif. The 2012 MLS Cup Final. kicks off in two days and while it is a rematch of last year's final, the match will be a much different match-up than the one we see at Home Depot Center last year.

The 2012 Houston Dynamo enter the final a much more dangerous team than the one that lost last year's final.

Wondolowski embraces path from reserve to MVP

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By THOMAS FLOYD

CARSON, Calif. Thursday's revelation that Chris Wondolowski had claimed league MVP honors came with an anticlimactic sense of inevitability, which was ironic, really, considering the striker's rise to the MLS elite was anything but certain.

USMNT Daily Update: Don’t expect Donovan back for the Hex Opener

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By IVES GALARCEP

CARSON, Calif. As the media hordes crammed into a non-descript TV studio to hear David Beckham give his final solo press conference as an LA Galaxy player, one of the few comments that stuck out as sounding different from the rest were Beckham's comments about Landon Donovan.

Beckham addresses Galaxy tenure on cusp of final MLS game

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By FRANCO PANIZO

CARSON, Calif. David Beckham was in the middle of answering a question before a cell phone that was doubling as a recorder for a reporter on the table the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder was sitting at rang.Beckham acknowledged the incoming call to the approximately 100 media members in attendance by making a joke out of the situation and there was laughter in abundance from both parties.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Clint Dempsey had seemingly no problem finding the back of the net at Craven Cottage during his time with Fulham, and Tottenham will be hoping that old habit kicks in again this weekend.

Dempsey is set to face his former club for the first time since transferring from Fulham to Spurs this past August, and the match should be an emotional one for him.

Who do you see winning the 2012 MLS Cup Final?

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The Los Angeles Galaxy meet the Houston Dynamo in the 2012 MLS Cup Final on Saturday, and while the meeting is a re-match of a 2011 final dominated by the Galaxy, this year's installment figures to be considerably more competitive.

The Dynamo feature a stronger offense, and a defense that has been outstanding in the playoffs.

Crew to take part in 2013 World Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando

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The Columbus Crew will be joining the preseason festivities in Orlando next year.

The Crew announced Thursday that they would be the eighth team to partake in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic in 2013, rounding out a field of eight teams that includes hosts Orlando City SC, NASL outfit Tampa Bay Rowdies and five other MLS teams.

Ianni strike voted Goal of the Year, Rimando wins Save of the Year

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In a year that saw Chris Wondolowski score 27 goals and Kenny Cooper net 18, the strike of the season came from a defender.

Seattle Sounders defender Patrick Ianni won the Goal of the Year award for his stunning volley in the 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on June 20, MLS announced on Thursday.

SBI MLS Draft Big Board (Version 2.0)

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By IVES GALARCEP

If you happen to follow one of the 17 teams not taking part in the 2012 MLS Cup you are probably spending more time wondering who your team is going to take in January's MLS Draft than you are wondering about who will win Saturday's MLS Cup Final.

The player pool for the 2013 MLS Draft isn't quite as strong as last year's pool, and it could be made even thinner if MLS follows through with its plan to reduce the size of the Generation adidas draft class.

The latest on the 2013 Generation adidas class

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By IVES GALARCEP

With the NCAA Tournament in full swing, and players boosting and hurting their stock with each passing round, there is plenty to catch up on regarding the 2013 MLS Draft class.

From the growing likelihood that the Generation adidas class will be a small one, to the increasing sentiment that this year's draft will be weak compared to previous year's draft, the onus will be on teams to uncover the diamonds in the rough in a relatively shallow pool.

Hartman unlikely to return to FC Dallas

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After three seasons with FC Dallas, goalkeeper Kevin Hartman looks to be on his way out of Frisco. His agent, Ron Waxman, commented tonight that the club has not offered Hartman a contract, and will not be doing so.

Waxman stated "FC Dallas have decided not to offer star GK Kevin Hartman a new contract.

USWNT rout Ireland behind Morgan hat-trick, Leroux brace

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By FRANCO PANIZO

For the U.S. Women's National Team, Wednesday'smatch against the Republic of Ireland may have provided a glimpse of what is to come in the near future.

Young forwards Alex Morgan and Sidney Leroux combined to account for all of the goals in the United States' 5-0 rout of the Republic of Ireland at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Ore.

Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Andrew Wooten may not yet be a full-time starter for SV Sandhausen, but he certainly made a case for himself with his two-goal performance on Wednesday.

Wooten netted a brace that included the equalizer and winner inthe 2. Bundesliga club's 3-1 victory against Energie Cottbus.

Wondolowski named 2012 MLS MVP

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Chris Wondolowski's dream 2012 season didn't end with an MLS Cup title, but it did end with an honor that seemed destined to be his throughout his record-setting campaign.

The San Jose Earthquakes striker was named MLS Most Valuable Player on Thursday, winning in a landslide. He finished with approximately 86 percent of the combined voting for the award, with Thierry finishing a distant second with about 4.

Alvarez and Mullins headline Herman Award semifinalists

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UConn playmaker Carlos Alvarez and Maryland scoring leader Patrick Mullins were the headliners on a list of 15 semifinalists for the 2012 MAC Hermann Award for best college soccer player.

Akron midfielder Scott Caldwell and Notre Dame teammates Dillon Powers and Ryan Finley were other top players who will be in the running for the honor, which will be announced in January.

MLS Ticker: Sounders to pick up Johnson’s option, Crew make major roster moves and more

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Seattle Sounders intend to pick up forward Eddie Johnson's 2013 contract option, certainly a reward for his 17-goal season (in all competitions) and being named MLS Comeback Player of the Year.

Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer told the Associated Press the news on Tuesday, when Hanauer and coach Sigi Schmid conducted a season wrap-up session with the media at the team's facility in Tukwila, Wash.

Corrales era looks to be over in San Jose

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The San Jose Earthquakes declined to exercise the 2013 contract option of veteran defender-midfielder Ramiro Corrales on Wednesday, meaning his time with the Quakes appears finished.

The Supporters Shield winners parted ways with Corrales, a 14-year MLS veteran who is also the last remaining active MLS originals from 1996.

U.S. women set for friendly with Ireland

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The U.S. women's national team kicks off a five-city exhibition tour in Portland, Ore., on Wednesday night against Ireland, and it's already a media circus with outspoken goalkeeper (and Northwest native) Hope Solo in town.

Solo's off-field personal matters overshadowed the arrival of the Olympic gold medalists on Tuesday.

DC United’s Wolff retires from playing

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Josh Wolff, who served as a player-coach for DC United this past season, is moving to a position as a full-time assistant after annnouncing his retirement from playing via the club on Wednesday.

Wolff, 35, appeared in nine MLS matches this season and started one, his season cut short due to back surgery.

Nielsen, Higuain win MLS awards

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Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen and Columbus Crew forward-midfielder Federico Higuain were announced as winners of the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, respectively, on Wednesday morning.

Nielsen, a 35-year-old native of Denmark, led the league with 15 shutouts and a 0.

USMNT Daily Update: Projecting the Starting XI vs. Honduras

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If you think the 2013 CONCACAF Hexagonal is too far away to start thinking about, consider this. The U.S. Men's National Team's opening qualifier is just 10 weeks away.

Nope, not that much time at all.

When the U.S. takes the field in Honduras in February, the team that faces the 'Catrachos' is likely to look a lot like the same team that tied Russia earlier this month.

Mid-day Ticker: Scolari set to be named Brazil coach, possible UCL expansion and more

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

Brazil's soccer federation has moved quickly toward replacing fired national team coach Mario Menezes, with Luiz Felipe Scolari expected to be hired for the high-profle job, according to reports.

Scolari has coached Brazil before, leading the national team to its most recent World Cup title in 20o2.

Toronto FC to introduce Payne as team president

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By IVES GALARCEP

Just a day after saying goodbye to the club he helped build into an MLS dynasty, Kevin Payne will be introduced by the new club he will try to steer out of mediocrity.

Toronto FC will introduce Payne as the team's new president at a 1:30pm press conference today.

Group aiming to bring back MLS to Tampa

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By IVES GALARCEP

The city of Tampa was one of founding cities of Major League Soccer, but the Tampa Bay Mutiny only lasted until 2001, when contraction forced the shutdown of the club.

More than a decade later, a group is trying to put a plan together to bring MLS back to Tampa, and the centerpiece of the project is a proposed $400 million stadium.

Bill Peterson named new NASL commissioner

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Photo courtesy of NASL

The North American Soccer League is growing in stature and franchises, and such growth will be managed by Bill Peterson, a former NFL Europe executive who takes over as the new NASL commissioner, effective immediately.

Peterson, a former vice president of AEG Sports and managing director of the Home Depot Center, has experience beyond working with Major League Soccer.

USMNT Daily Update: It is only a matter of time before Bradley is USMNT captain

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By IVES GALARCEP

As we head toward the new year, and a new World Cup qualifying cycle approaches, it is becoming more and more apparent that Michael Bradley is looking ready to wear the captain's armband when 2013 gets into full swing.

Tuesday Ticker: Adriano banned one match, Hiddink to retire, and more

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Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano made waves recently when he pounced onto a ball intended as a gesture of fair play and scored against an unsuspecting FC Nordsjaelland. He claimed innocence, insisting he was oblivious to what was going on when he showed the worst example of sportsmanship in recent memory.

SBI MLS Most Improved Best XI

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By IVES GALARCEP

The 2012 MLS season saw several players emerge from relative obscurity to take on important roles on top teams, and some others serve as rare bright spots for disappointing squads.

While some players made the jump from good to very good, like Chris Pontius and Graham Zusi, it was the players who made the jump from benchwarmer to standout that draw the most acclaim on the 2012 SBI MLS Most Improved Best XI.

Yallop named MLS Coach of the Year, Johnson wins Comeback Player Award

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San Jose Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop helped turn the Earthquakes from pretenders to Supporters Shield winners in one season and he was rewarded for that achievement on Tuesday when he was named MLS Coach of the Year.

Yallop was the runaway winner, beating out the field by a wide margin.

Espinoza set for Wigan medical ahead of free transfer

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By IVES GALARCEP

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza has long been linked to a move to English Premier League side Wigan since turning heads at the Olympics, but now it appears he is ready to seal the deal and head over on a free transfer.

Garber talks Beckham, New York expansion and more in state-of-the-league address

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By FRANCO PANIZO

It is no secret that MLS is continuously growing as a league, but if you needed any reminder, Don Garber likely provided it on Monday.

Five days before the MLS Cup final is to be played,Garber held his state-of-the-league address to discuss a wide variety of matters with reporters.

Hyndman, Rubin headline U.S. U-17 squad for Nike Friendlies

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U.S. Under-17 national team head coach Richie Williams revealed a 20-player roster he will use to take part in the upcoming Nike Friendlies, which kick off on Wednesday in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Fulham FC academy's Emerson Hyndman, the grandson of FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman headlines a talent group of players that also features Portland Timbers academy product Rubio Rubin and recent Borussia Dortmund signing Junior Flores.

Report: Payne leaving D.C. United for another MLS club

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There may be no team official more synonymous with a club in Major League Soccer than Kevin Payne has been with D.C. United, but after 17 seasons with the team, Payne appears to be on the way out.

The Washington Post is reporting that Payne has stepped down as club president and will take a position with another team in MLS.

Sporting KC places 4 players on MLS Best XI

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Sporting Kansas City may not be playing in the 2012 MLS Cup Final, but a reminder of the great regular season they had came on Monday in the form of four players being chosen to the MLS Best XI.

MLS commissioner Don Garber announced the Best XI on Monday afternoon and KC's Graham Zusi, Jimmy Nielsen, Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin were selected on the team.

Lade to spend two weeks training with Sevilla

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New York Red Bulls defender Connor Lade will soon be joining the list of young American players who will spend some time abroad this offseason.

Lade is expected to join Spanish club Sevilla for a training stint that runs from Dec. 13-23, the Red Bulls announced on Monday.

SBI’s 2012 MLS Best XI

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Chris Wondolowski and Osvaldo Alonso are pictures of high-level consistency in Major League Soccer and both players enjoyed outstanding 2012 seasons to add to years of elite-level play. That top-quality form helped both become the only two players to be repeat selections as SBI MLS Best XI selections.

Gibbs retires after 12-year career

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Chicago Fire centerback Cory Gibbs is calling it a career.

The Fire announced Monday that Gibbs is retiring after a 12-year professional career that saw him play in MLS, the German Bundesliga and Eredivisie. The 32-year-old Gibbs also represented the U.

SBI MLS Most Improved Player of the Year: Alan Gordon

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There were several players who enjoyed outstanding 2012 seasons that took them from role player or reserve to key starter, but it is tough to argue that San Jose Earthquakes forward Alan Gordon didn't make the most impressive leap.

Gordon went from bench player and occasional late-game finisher to true impact player and even U.

SBI MLS Most Improved Player of the Year: Alan Gordon

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There were several players who enjoyed outstanding 2012 seasons that took them from role player or reserve to key starter, but it is tough to argue that San Jose Earthquakes forward Alan Gordon didn't make the most impressive leap.

Gordon went from bench player and occasional late-game finisher to true impact player and even U.

Brazil not holding talks with Guardiola over coaching vacancy

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If Pep Guardiola is to return to the sidelines some time in the near future, it apparently will not be with the Brazilian national team.

Guardiola is not in the running to take overas head coach of Brazil after the Selecao fired former manager Mano Menezes last Friday. Guardiola, who has taken a break from soccer since the end of last season, had been strongly linked to coaching the 2014 World Cup hosts but the Brazilian federation said he is not under consideration because he is not Brazilian.

European Weekend Rewind: Milan beats Juve, Real Madrid falls, and more

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By NICK IUELE

Juventus' days as a seemingly unstoppable force in Serie A appear to be over after the reigning champions dropped points for the third time in four matches, losing a 1-0 decision to a struggling AC Milan side.

Brazilian international Robinho converted a penalty kick in the 31st minute that sealed Juve's fate.

Creighton and Indiana score upsets to secure spots in NCAA Elite Eight

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Creighton and Indiana went into their Sunday NCAA Round of 16 matches as considerable underdogs against higher seeds, but both teams delivered upsets that have shaken up the NCAA Tournament.

Creighton eliminated Akron in penalty kicks while Indiana rode an overtime game-winner from Eriq Zavaleta to eliminate No.

Donovan hints at possible retirement after MLS Cup

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With the 2012 MLS Cup Final looming, Landon Donovan has added another major subplot to the list heading into the league's final match.

Donovan insists that the final could be his last game.

Following up on comments he made back in May about being burned out and needing a break from the game, Donovan stated recently that once the current MLS season ends he may not come back.

Monday Kickoff: Club Tijuana reaches Mexican Final, Barca midfielders dominate World XI list, and more

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Club Tijuana booked their place in the Mexican League final on Sunday night by erasing a two-goal first-leg deficit and rolling past Club Leon by a 3-0 scoreline.

Duvier Riasco scored the crucial second goal for Tijuana to take control of the two-leg series, and Richard Ruiz provided an insurance goal for Club Tijuana, which will now take on Toluca in the Mexican League final after Toluca disposed of Club America in the other semifinal.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Clint Dempsey has had a difficult time finding his feet since joining Tottenham, but his performance on Sunday might just be what sparks his first string of strong outings with Spurs.

Dempsey enjoyed a stellar showing against West Ham United, assisting on one goal and taking part in the buildup of another in Tottenham's 3-1 win.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Rafa Benitez is back on the sidelines, and what better way to make his return than to welcome defending Premier League champion Manchester City to Stamford Bridge. Benitez returns to England after two years away, as he takes over for Chelsea after the Blues let Roberto di Matteo go.

After a strong start to the season, Chelsea has taken a step back, having won just one match in their last seven across all competitions.

College Soccer: NCAA Round of 16 Preview

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By IVES GALARCEP

The NCAA Tournament Round of 16 will feature two marquee rematches from the regular season as we draw closer to identifying the four teams that will head to Alabama for the College Cup semifinals.

No. 1 seed Notre Dame faces a very familiar foe in Indiana in one of Sunday's more high-profile match-ups.

Agudelo makes good impression at Celtic

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By IVES GALARCEP

Juan Agudelo's training stint with Scottish champion Celtic is going well, leading to positive comments from the Celtic camp as well as from Agudelo about his time there.

Just what those comments really mean is up for debate, but the comments already have the spin machine working at full force as headlines claiming Celtic is lining up a bid for the U.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Queens Park Rangers sit at the bottom of the English Premier League standings, but they will be counting on new manager Harry Redknapp to lead them out of the basement and their first chance to start that climb takes place at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

With Manchester City facing Chelsea on Sunday, Manchester United could move into first place again with a win on Saturday against a QPR side that has yet to win a match this season.

Berry to train with Atletico Madrid

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Jalil Anibaba will not be the only member of the Chicago Fire training with Atletico Madrid in the coming weeks.

Austin Berry, the recently-named 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, will join Anibaba as Fire players who will practice alongside the likes of red-hot striker Radamel Falcao and centerback Diego Godin at Atletico this offseason.

Torres transfers to Tigres UANL from Pachuca

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Jose Torres will be plying his trade in Mexico in 2013, but it will not for the club that gave him his professional start.

Torres officially transfered from Pachuca to Tigres UANL on Friday, ending a six-year stint with the Tuzos.No details of the transfer were made available, but the U.

Friday Ticker: Brazil fires Menezes, QPR parts ways with Hughes and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

If Mano Menezes is to attend the 2014 World Cup, it will not be as head coach of Brazil.

Approximately 19 months away from hosting the 2014 World Cup, Brazil has decided to make a major change to their national team by firing Menezes. The 50-year-old received much criticism in recent months for the the Selecao's style of play, and the decision to part ways with him came during a meeting with Brazilian confederation president Jose Maria Marin and vice president Marco Polo del Nero.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Jermaine Jones has been quietly piecing together a strong season, and the 31-year-old midfielder will have an opportunity to further build on that when he takes on his former club in a marquee match on Saturday.

Schalke host Eintracht Frankfurt in a battle for sole possession of second place in the Bundesliga standings.

SBI 2013 MLS Draft Big Board (Version 1.0)

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Though the 2012 MLS season isn't even over yet, the 2013 MLS Draft is just two months away and teams are in full scouting mode as they put the finishing touches on scouting reports and breakdowns of the talent available when the draft convenes in Indianapolis in January.

European Weekend Preview: Chelsea face Man City, Juve take on Milan, and more

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BY NICK IUELE

Manchester City have taken over the top spot in the English Premier League, but will have their hold on first place tested by a Chelsea team that will be led by newly-appointed manager Rafa Benitez.

Manchester City and Chelsea face off in the weekend's most high-profile match in Europe as City look to maintain their advantage on the Blues and Manchester United.

SBI talks MLS playoffs and more with Beyond the Pitch

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By IVES GALARCEP

With the 2012 MLS Cup a week away, and with plenty of topics to discuss relating to the final and the MLS playoffs in general, I spoke with the guys at the Beyond the Pitch podcast about those topics and more in their latest episode if Inside MLS.

Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Rapid Vienna has had a disastrous showing in the Europa League, but the same cannot be said for forward Terrence Boyd.

Boyd continued his strong start to his first professional season on Thursday, scoring his third goal in the competition to give Rapid Vienna a 2-1 lead over Mix Diskerud and Rosenborg BK.

Americans Abroad Spotlight: USMNT camp caps milestone-filled year for Gyau

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By FRANCO PANIZO

When Joe Gyau was called up to his first U.S. Men's National Team camp in early November for the U.S. friendly against Russia, the opportunity was a dream come true for the 20-year-old American winger. It was the kind of moment Gyau had spent most of his young life waiting for.

Thanksgiving Ticker: FIFA rejects Drogba move, Clattenberg cleared, Adriano apologizes, and more

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Didier Drogba was hoping to make a return to Stamford Bridge to play for Chelsea on an emergency loan ahead of the African Cup of Nations, but FIFA decided it would not bend its player movement rules to accommodate the star forward.

FIFA rejected Drogba's request to make a loan move to Chelsea outside the regular transfer window, meaning he can't play for the Blues until January 1st.

This Holiday Weekend’s Soccer on TV

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The Rafa Benitez era begins this weekend for Chelsea against the top team in the Premier League at the moment as the Blues take on Manchester City in the weekend's marquee match-up.

There is a ton of soccer on tap for the coming holiday weekend, but few matches carry more intrigue than Chelsea-Man City, what with Benitez managing his first match since taking over for fired Chelsea boss Roberto DiMatteo.

Happy Thanksgiving from SBI

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Hello everybody. It is Thanksgiving Day, one of those rare days during the year when soccer goes on the backburner and there are no major games to watch.

American soccer fans have plenty to be thankful for, from a thriving Major League Soccer to a continuously growing number of soccer TV viewing options.

U-20 USMNT paired with Costa Rica, Haiti in 2013 CONCACAF Championship group

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The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team have learned the road they will need to take to reach the 2013 World Cup.

CONCACAF announced Wednesday the results of the draw for the region's 2013 Under-20 Championship, and the United States have been paired with Costa Rica and Haiti in Group A. The tournament will be held in Puebla, Mexico from February 18 through March 3 and the four semifinalists will all advance to next year's Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

Must-See Goal: Philippe Mexes

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Chelsea hire Benitez as interim manager

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Just hours after firing Champions League-winning manager Roberto DiMatteo, Chelsea has found his replacement.

Chelsea ha appointed former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez to be the club's new manager. His official title is interim manager, though given the club's track record of firing manager that title seems a bit redundant.

U.S. Soccer announces new eight-team women’s pro soccer league

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

U.S. Soccer, with additional funding from the Canadian Soccer Association and FMF, Mexico's soccer federation, announced the formation of a new women's professional soccer league Wednesday that will began play in March of 2013.

The league will have franchises in eight American cities, with U.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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Real Madrid will look to strengthen their place in the UEFA Champions League's Group of Death while also eliminating Manchester United when they face the English champions in today's marquee match-up in group play.

Madrid trails Borussia Dortmund by a point with two matches remaining, but a win would help bolster their hold on a qualify place as Dortmund faces third-place Ajax in the other group match today.

MLS Ticker: Wenger open to another Henry loan, FC Dallas’ Hernandez retires, and more

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger seems interested in the return of striker Thierry Henry, now with the New York Red Bulls, to the Gunners, according to the British press.

Henry spent eight years with Arsenal (1999-2007), then came back for a month on loan in January of 2012.

USMNT Daily Update: SBI’s 23 for 2014 (November 2012 edition)

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The final U.S. Men's National Team match of 2012 allowed some players to boost their national team stock, and also hurt the standing of some others. In the process, it helped us get a better grasp on the state of the national team pool and which players are helping their chances of being part of the U.

Chelsea fire Di Matteo due to recent struggles

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Roberto Di Matteo has become the latest victim in Chelsea's seemingly never-ending coaching carousel.

A day after Chelsea suffered a 3-0 Champions League loss to Juventus that put them on the brink of elimination in the group stage of the tournament, the Blues fired Di Matteo on Wednesday.

With visa in sight, Rodgers eyes return to RBNY

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

It has been over a year since Luke Rodgers wore a Red Bulls uniform.

He is hoping he won't have to wait much longer to do so again.

After many months of silence, Rodgers opened up to Soccer By Ives in his first public statements since being unceremoniously pulled away from the club last season, and the conversation began exactly where it ended; with his visa situation.

Report: Beckham planning on joining Galaxy ownership

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David Beckham won't be playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2013, but the English star could be coming back to the Galaxy eventually as an owner.

That is what the Los Angeles Times is reporting on the day after Beckham addressed the media to discuss his decision to end his playing stint with the Galaxy.

Beckham discusses decision to leave Galaxy

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Shakhtar’s Luiz Adriano brought new meaning to term poor sportsmanship

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Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano is a talented young striker being sought by several top clubs for his goal-scoring ability, but on Tuesday he did something that could overshadow his past accomplishments in a very negative way.

During Tuesday's UEFA Champions League match between Nordsjaelland and Shakhtar, a stoppage in play due to injury gave Shakhtar the ball back, and when Shakhtar playmaker Willian booted the ball into Nordsjaelland's defensive third it appeared to be a bit of good sportsmanship.

Clarifying the Hertzog situation (how MLS has tweaked its GA program)

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

When Corey Hertzog was placed in the pool for the MLS Waiver Draft on Monday the move turned heads because the move came just two years after Hertzog was drafted by the New York Red Bulls as a Generation adidas player.

Sporting KC’s Besler named MLS Defender of the Year

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Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler was a consistent force for the Sporting Kansas City defense, helping the unit emerge as the stingiest defense in the league. His steady and continuously improving play turned heads in 2012, earning him a look from the U.S. Men's National Team and now the first major award of his career.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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FC Barcelona kicks off proceedings today in UEFA Champions League action as the fifth-round of group stage matches draws us closer to identifying the 16 teams that will head to the knockout round.

The big game of the day features Juventus taking on Chelsea in a key battle to determine which two teams advance from a difficult group that also includes Shakhtar Donetsk, which takes on Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland today.

RSL makes Grossman only player chosen in MLS waiver draft

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Real Salt Lake selected former Columbus Crew midfielder Cole Grossman in the MLS Waiver Draft on Monday, making him the only player chosen among the 42 players made available for the draft.

Grossman, 23, played sparingly during his two seasons with the Crew, making 12 appearances since being drafted by Columbus in 2011.

MLS Cup will be Beckham’s final game with the Galaxy

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David Beckham has spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and now it looks like his sixth season will be his last.

The Galaxy announced on Monday that the 2012 MLS Cup Final will be his final match for the Galaxy.

"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career," Beckham said.

What is next for Beckham?

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

As the news of David Beckham's impending departure from the Los Angeles Galaxy makes waves around the world, the growing number of potential destinations for the English superstar is growing by the day. Name a continent and Beckham has been linked to a rumor of going there.

USMNT Daily Update: Projecting the January camp roster

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By IVES GALARCEP

With just one more game to go in the MLS season, and January fast approaching, it is time for U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to decide what he wants to do with the January national team camp, and whether he wants to hold one. And if he does decide to hold the camp, Klinsmann has to settle on the players he wants to bring in.

Evening Ticker: Indianapolis aims for pro soccer, Roma to train in Orlando in Dec. and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Indianapolis could one day soon have a professional soccer team of its own.

A group of Indianapolis business executives is working hard to try and launch a soccer team in the area in 2014, according to a report. The club's name and colors are not yet known, but the plan is for them to play in second-tier NASL in their inaugural season with an eye towards one day becoming an MLS franchise.

Dempsey named 2012 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

For the third time in his career, Clint Dempsey has been named the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year.

Dempsey was voted the winner of the 2012 award on Monday for his six-goal year that included the lone tally in the U.S. Men's National Team's first victory over Italy in February.

MLS releases 42-player Waiver Draft list

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The MLS season may not be over just yet, but the offseason preparations for next year are already in motion for most teams.

Clubs have already begun waiving players andMonday will be the first big day in the offseason, as the MLS Waiver Draft is set to take place. A total of 42 players have been made available by teams and theNew York Red Bulls led the way with 10, including centerback Stephen Keel, goalkeeper Bill Gaudette and forward Corey Hertzog.

Cosmos hire Savarese as head coach

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The New York Cosmos have hired former New York/New Jersey MetroStars standout Giovanni Savarese as the team's new head coach.

Savarese takes the position after having served asdirector of the Cosmos Academy and manager of the Cosmos U-23 team that played in the USL Premier Development League.

Feilhaber’s future in limbo as Revs keep adding midfielders

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Benny Feilhaber was hardly an every-game starter at the end of the season for the New England Revolution and early offseason signs indicate that his time with the club might soon near its end.

The New England Revolution signed Mali international Kalif Cisse on a free transfer on Monday, acquiring the 28-year-old midfielder on a free transfer from England's Bristol City.

Adu, Okugo, M. Farfan to go on European training stints

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Three more Philadelphia Union players will enter the 2013 MLS season with some fresh European seasoning.

In an effort to further prepare for next year, forward Freddy Adu, midfielder Michael Farfan and defender Amobi Okugo will all travel abroad for offseason training stints. Adu will spend two weeks with Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray, while Okugo and Farfan are set to practice with German club SC Freiburg.

Red Bulls officially decline option of ten players

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

SBI reported last week that the New York Red Bulls would part ways with veterans Teemu Tainio, Jan Gunnar Solli, Bill Gaudette and newcomer Jose Angulo.

You can now add six more names to that list.

Stephen Keel, Corey Hertzog, Jeremy Vuolo, Tyler Ruthven, Jhonny Arteaga and Jonathan Borrajo become the latest casualties in the Red Bulls offseason exodus.

European Weekend Rewind: Shakeups abound in the top leagues

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By NICK IUELE

A wild weekend in Europe had three of the top five leagues see new leaders.

With Manchester United falling to Norwich 1-0 on an Anthony Pilkington goal and West Bromwich Albion upsetting Chelsea 2-1 thanks to a 50th minute goal from Peter Odemwingie, all Manchester City had to do what take all three points to become the new table-toppers.

Chicago’s Berry wins MLS Rookie of the Year

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Chicago Fire centerback Austin Berry enjoyed a standout first season in MLS, stepping into the Fire starting lineup and becoming a pillar in their defense. His performances were enough to make him the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year.

Berry beat out a strong field of candidates that included D.C.

MLS Playoffs: Sounders vs. Galaxy (Match Night Commentary)

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Much like the Houston Dynamo, the LA Galaxy hold an advantage on aggregate goals going into the second leg on the road. And just like Houston, they will be looking to make a return trip to the MLS Cup final in two weeks for the second consecutive season.

They will be doing so, however, with a much different squad than the one they sent out onto Home Depot Center last weekend, as Landon Donovan will be held out of tonight's match.

FDU pulls off another upset, UNC avoids one as both teams reach NCAA Final 16

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Fairleigh Dickinson continued their improbable run in the NCAA Tournament going on Sunday, knocking off Atlantic-10 champion and No. 8 seed Saint Louis, 2-1, to secure one of the shock results of the weekend and book their place in the Round of 16.

Senior Jack McVey headed home the game-winning goal three minutes into overtime to give FDU their second upset in four days after starting the tournament with a surprising 1-0 victory against Big East stalwart St.

Tijuana advance to Liga MX semis after draw with Monterrey

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Photo courtesy of Club Tijuana

Club Tijuana's dreams of being Mexican champions can still become reality.

Tijuana reached the Liga MX semifinals on Sunday afterplaying to a 1-1 draw with Monterrey in the second leg of their quarterfinals series, a result that sent Xolos through on aggregate, 2-1.

Galaxy withstand Sounders rally to clinch MLS Cup berth

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By JASON MITCHELL

SEATTLE, Wash. The Los Angeles Galaxy might have lost the battle, but they won the war that is an aggregate goal series. Dropping 2-1 to the swarming Seattle Sounders on a rainy Sunday night, the Galaxy nonetheless prevailed 4-2 on aggregate in this Western Conference final and advanced to the MLS Cup.

Houston Dynamo advance to 2012 MLS Cup after eliminating DC United

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For the second year in a row, the Houston Dynamo are headed to the MLS Cup.

This time around, they advanced to the championship after defeating DC United on aggregate goals four to two. This came thanks to a 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Houston came into Sunday's match with a two-goal advantage on aggregate following a 3-1 win last Sunday at home.

MLS Playoffs: D.C. United vs. Dynamo (Match Day Commentary)

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The Houston Dynamo hold a two-goal lead heading into today's Eastern Conference finals second leg-, but D.C. United will have considerable home-field support in a sold-out RFK Stadium today (4pm, NBC Sports).

D.C. United face a stiff challenge, as they try to complete the comeback without team scoring leader Chris Pontius, who is out injured.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Manchester City jumped back into the Premiership's top spot by dismantling Aston Villa, and the thorough pummeling could have been a lot worse had it not been for Brad Guzan.

Guzan had a five-save performance in the Villans' 5-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday, and he was one of the few players on Aston Villa who looked like they belonged on the field.

Sounders ready for a monumental task against injury-hit Galaxy

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BY KAYLA KNAPP

The Los Angeles Galaxy have a monumental advantage heading into the second leg of the Western Conference final against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday night. Up three goals to none, the defending champions only have 90 minutes standing between them and a second consecutive MLS Cup final appearance.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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With Juventus earning a single point on Saturday afternoon, Inter Milan now has the opportunity to pull within two points of the top spot in the Serie A standings. Cagliari stands in their way on Sunday, a group that has won three of their last five matches. After failing to come out on top in their first five matches at home, Inter Milan will be looking for their sixth consecutive home win at San Siro.

Boyd scores 10th of season in Vienna win

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Terrence Boyd's first professional season continues to go as well as he had hoped, as the 21-year-old striker scored his latest goal for Rapid Vienna on Saturday.

Fresh off a substitute appearance in the U.S. Men's National Team's 2-2 draw with Russia on Wednesday, Boyd capped the scoring in Vienna's 3-0 win over SV Mattersburg with a finish in the 37th minute.

Final 32 teams gear up for second round of NCAA Tournament

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Defending champion North Carolina will begin their quest for a repeat as NCAA champions when they take on Cinderella story Maryland-Baltimore County in Sunday's NCAA Tournament second round action.

The Tar Heels are the No. 9 seed in the tournament, but are still among the picks to potentially win it all, and they will need to knock off a UMBC side riding high after their penalty kick shootout victory against Old Dominion in the first round.

Rapids part ways with Casey, seven others

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

The Colorado Rapids have parted ways with forward Conor Casey, the team's all-time leading scorer, making him one of eight players the team has decided not to bring back in 2013.

"Conor has been an incredibly important part of the Rapids since he got here in 2007, and has forever left his mark on the club," said Rapids technical director Paul Bravo.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal square off this morning at White Hart Lane in the latest installment of one of England's biggest rivalries.

Both Spurs and the Gunners have top four aspirations, and will need a win today to stay in that range.

In Italy, Juventus take on Lazio in the top match-up of the weekend in Serie A.

USMNT Youth Notes: Draw for U20 championship set, rosters released and more

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The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team will soon know part of the path they have to take to reach the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

CONCACACAF has announced that the official draw for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship will take place on Nov. 21 in Puebla Mexico. The U.S. are in the draw with defending champion Mexico, Canada, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Curacao, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba in the 12-team competition.

SBI College Spotlight: After passing on the pros, and overcoming injuries, Powers set for NCAA title run

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By IVES GALARCEP

When the NCAA Tournament selection show took place on Monday, there were plenty of nervous faces staring at computer screens across the country. Dillon Powers wasn't one of those. He didn't have to worry, not as the captain of Notre Dame, the newly-crowned Big East champions.

This Weekend’s Soccer on TV

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

From a big European rivalry to the decisive legs of the MLS conference finals, this weekend has a little bit of soccer for everybody.

Arsenal will host Tottenham in the first North London derby of the season on Saturday, and both teams will be aiming for wins so as to try and get closer to breaking into a top four spot in the Premiership.

Dynamo in control, but D.C. United focused on completing comeback in East finals

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The Houston Dynamo are sitting pretty, but D.C. United have some factors playing in their favor as they look to pull off an improbable comeback to reach the MLS Cup final.

United faces a two-goal deficit after becoming the latest team to lose in Houston, but they will be playing at home in front of their loud fans and star attacking player Dwayne De Rosario is expected to be available off the bench.

Rubin Kazan among teams that bid for Altidore last summer

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By IVES GALARCEP

As Jozy Altidore's second impressive season in the Netherlands has scouts taking notice from all across Europe, it is becoming more clear just which teams already tried prying him away from AZ Alkmaar last summer.

Russian powerhouse Rubin Kazan and Portuguese side Sporting CP both made bids for Altidore this past summer, while Serie A side Fiorentina also expressed serious interest, sources told SBI on Friday.

Bocanegra sidelined six weeks with hamstring tear

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

It looks like Carlos Bocanegra will not play another game this year.

Bocanegra is expected to miss the next six weeks with a left hamstring tear, according to his club, Racing Santander. Bocanegra suffered the injury early in the first half of the U.S.

Upsets galore in NCAA Tournament first round

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There were upsets galore in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night, perhaps none bigger than Fairleigh Dickinson's shocking 1-0 victory against St. John's in East Region action in New York.

Senior Antony Moore delivered a 36th minute strike to give the Knights the lead and their defense did the rest, holding off a Red Storm attack that never could find a way to get a shot past FDU goalkeeper Jacob Lissek.

Friday Kickoff: Puyol set to return, Terry sidelined three weeks, and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Barcelona has endured its share of injury problems this season, but the Spanish heavyweights are one step closer to full health after Carles Puyol was cleared to make his return for the club.

Puyol has been given the green light to play in Barcelona's weekend matchagainst Real Zaragoza, and the match may mark the first time this campaign that manager Tito Vilanova will be able to deploy his first-choice back line.

Agudelo set for training stint with Celtic

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Fresh off an impressive substitute's appearance for the U.S. Men's National Team, Chivas USA forward Juan Agudelo is now set for a training stint with Scottish champion Celtic.

Agudelo's agent, Ron Waxman, confirmed the training stint via Twitter on Thursday, stating that Agudelo's training stint would begin on Friday.

Garza scores late to lift Tijuana to playoffs win

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Club Tijuana was on the brink of leaving Monterrey and heading home for the second leg of their Liga MX playoffs series with a favorable 0-0 draw.

Then, Greg Garza came through with the timeliest of goals to make things even better.

Garza lifted Tijuana to a 1-0 road win over Monterrey in the first leg of their quarterfinals series by scoring a clutch goal in the 86th minute of a match that seemed destined to end scoreless.

European Weekend Preview: Arsenal battle Tottenham, Juve meets Lazio, and more

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By NICK IUELE

Arsenal and Tottenham meet at White Hart Lane in a matchup of clubs looking to break into the Europe conversation. The Gunners are coming off a 3-3 draw with Fulham and Tottenham fell to Manchester City in the last round of English Premier League matches. All three points will be quite valuable for either side, but a loss could put them in a deep hole.

Red Bulls cut ties with four players

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

A week to the day of their epic playoff ouster against D.C. United, the Red Bulls have capped off the firing of Hans Backe and the arrival of Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh with the offseason's first four major player cuts.

According to Frank Giase of The Star-Ledger, New York have decided not to renew the contracts of long-time midfielders Jan Gunnar Solli and Teemu Tainio along with newcomers Bill Gaudette and Jose Angulo.

Stewart reveals AZ received bid for Altidore this past summer

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Jozy Altidore has been playing some of the best soccer of his career since joining AZ Alkmaar in the summer of 2011, and at least one club has taken notice.

According to former U.S. Men's National Team midfielder and current AZ Director of Football Earnie Stewart, the Dutch team received a late bid for Altidore during this past summer's transfer window.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Arsenal was one of the clubs reportedly interested in signing Clint Dempsey during this past summer's transfer window, but ultimately they lost out to rivals Tottenham in their bid to sign to him.

Now, Dempsey will have an opportunity to show them how big a mistake that was.

USA 2, Russia 2: SBI’s Player Grades

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

The U.S. Men's National Team overcame a poor start and put together a solid second half to come away from Wednesday's friendly vs. Russia with a 2-2 draw. There were some standout performances, including Man of the Match-caliber efforts from Michael Bradley and Tim Howard, and there were performances that Jurgen Klinsmann would just as soon forget.

USMNT in the Netherlands: Jozy Altidore (Part 2)

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NCAA Tournament kicks off today

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The NCAA Tournament Field will whittle down from 48 teams to 32 teams as the tournament kicks off with first-round action across the country.

A pair of early games today have already begun proceedings, with Virginia facing Lafayette and Michigan State taking on Cleveland State, but the other 14 match-ups in the first round will be taking place tonight.

USA 2, Russia 2: Post-Game Reactions

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USA 2, Russia 2: A Look Back

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

It didn't start out pretty, and for the first 30 minutes of Wednesday's friendly against Russia, the U.S. Men's National Team looked like they might get run off the field in Krasnodar. The Americans eventually shook off that slow and disappointing start, and thanks the heroics of Tim Howard and Michael Bradley, they were able to eventually do enough to get back in the game and eventually leave Russia with a hard-fought draw.

Revolution bring back Dorman

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The New England Revolution have re-signed Welsh midfielder Andy Dorman, re-uniting him with the club five years after he left Major League Soccer to ply his trade in Europe.

Dorman, 30, spent four seasons with the Revs, from 2004 to 2007, and played on three MLS Cup finalists from 2005 to 2007.

Wondolowski leads MVP candidates as MLS announces award finalists

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Major League Soccer announced the finalists for the 2012 league awards on Thursday and there weren't many major surprises.

Chris Wondolowski, Graham Zusi and Thierry Henry were selected as finalists for the MVP award, an honor Wondolowski is expected to run away with after tying the MLS record for goals in a season with 27.

Sources: Vergara’s story claiming Preki passed on Chicharito not true

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When Chivas USA owner revealed on Tuesday that former Chivas USA head coach Preki was once offered Mexican national team star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, only to turn him down for not being good enough, the story made plenty of waves.

Sources tell SBI Vergara took some liberties with the truth when re-telling that story.

Neymar equalizes, misses penalty as Brazil tie Colombia

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By FRANCO PANIZO

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Neymar was first the hero, then the scapegoat.

Neymar wasted a prime opportunity to help Brazil defeat South American foes Colombia in a friendly on Wednesday night, missing a late penalty kick that forced the Selecao to settle for a 1-1 draw with the Colombians in front of a crowd of 38,624 at MetLife Stadium.

MLS Ticker: Refs organization admits blown call; Quakes sign two to new deals

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The general manager of the Professional Referees Organization, the governing body that oversees referees and assistants in North American pro soccer, admitted that referee Ricardo Salazar erred in not issuing a caution on a takedown of D.C. United's Raphael Augusto late in the first half of the first-leg playoff match against the Houston Dynamo last weekend.

USA 2, Russia 2: Match Highlights

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Mid-Day Ticker: Tottenham tied to stadium fraud charge, Glazers lower Man U debt, and more

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West Ham United are poised to take over as the tenantat the vacant and still new Olympic Stadium in east London. The Hammers' bid was challenged by English Premier League rival Tottenham a year ago, and now it appears that the Spurs tried a little too hard to win the bid to make the stadium their new home.

SBI’s NCAA Tournament Preview (Part 2)

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The top two seeds in the NCAA Tournament are Notre Dame and Maryland, but SBI's pick to win the championship is a team that didn't even make the Top Four seeds in the tournament.

The Akron Zips are two years removed from being national champions and Caleb Porter has rebuilt his team with a boatload of top prospects that combine to play some of the most beautiful soccer in the country.

Must-See Goal: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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FC Dallas president arrested in New York, charged with assaulting wife

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Doug Quinn, president of FC Dallas, was arrested on Saturday in New York City and charged with strangulation and assault after allegedly hitting and attempting to choke his wife, Elizabeth, according to various reports including this one from the Dallas Morning News.

Quinn, in Manhattan with his wife for his 50th birthday, was taken into custody after an argument turned violent at the Alex Hotel.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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Wednesday's soccer on broadcast TV got off to a pretty entertaining start with the U.S.-Russia 2-2 draw on ESPN2. But that's just the opener on a Wednesday full of international friendlies on various networks throughout the day.

In Europe, the Czech Republic is facing Slovakia in a battle of bordering nations.

Report: Germany planning USA friendly in May

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When Jurgen Klinsmann was hired as U.S. Men's National Team head coach, it seemed only a matter of time before he would schedule a friendly against the other national team he used to coach, Germany.

That friendly is in the works, and if the German Federation can get full approval from the German Bundesliga, Germany will play the U.

Late Diskerud equalizer helps USA tie Russia

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he wanted to end the year by going into Russia and picking up a result.

It didn't come easily, but thanks to the heroics of Tim Howard and Michael Bradley, and a last-minute equalizer from Mix Diskerud, Klinsmann got his wish.

Must-See Goal: Michael Bradley

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USA vs. Russia: Match Day Commentary

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The U.S. Men's National Team will play their final match of the year this morning in the city of Krasnodar as they take on the Russian National Team (10am, ESPN2).

Jurgen Klinsmann has called in a team that is a good mix of regular starters and new young faces to take on a dangerous Russia side that has enjoyed a strong run of form in World Cup Qualifying.

Chivas USA owner delivers familiar message

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Chivas USA owner Jorge Vergara held a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the future of his Major League Soccer Team and the event had a familiar feel to it, in part because many of the same messages he delivered on Tuesday were ones delivered by the team in years past.

Vergara recently took over sole ownership of Chivas USA, taking sole ownership of the club, and he insists he will be taking a more hands-on approach.

USMNT in the Netherlands: Jozy Altidore

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USMNT Daily Update: On Gatt and Gyau, and the need for speed

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

Ten years ago, a pair of 20-year olds came along and helpedgive the U.S. Men's National Team a sorely-needed infusion of speed and energy that helped recharge the U.S. attack and helpedthe Americans make it all the way to the World Cup finals.

Tough task awaits D.C. United on Sunday

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

When Kofi Sarkodie buried a late insurance goal in the Houston Dynamo's 3-1 victory against D.C. United last Sunday, it not only provided the perfect cap to a strong second-half rally by the Dynamo, it also set the bar very high for D.C. to overcome in the second leg of their Eastern Conference finals series.

SBI’s NCAA Tournament Preview (Part 1)

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The NCAA Tournament kicks off on Thursday with first-round matches across the country, and as 48 teams prepare to try and make their championship dreams come true, SBI will look to provide you with a good primer on all that the NCAAs have to offer.

We will begin with the first two brackets in the 48-team field, the brackets led by tournament top seeds Notre Dame (No.

USMNT Daily Update: Who is your Player of the Year?

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U.S. Soccer announced on Monday evening the five finalists for U.S. Soccer's Male Athlete of the Year award, and the cast of candidates raises an interesting question about just who is most deserving of that honor.

The award is for contributions both to the national team and their club teams, a combination that kept four-time winner Landon Donovan off the ballot after a year that saw him play sparingly for the national team.

Who should the USMNT start vs. Russia?

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The final match of the year for the U.S. Men's National Team should helpoffer us a glimpse at some new young faces, but also give us a good look at a squad that will resemble the team that will take the field in Honduras in February for the start of World Cup qualifying.

Regular starters Clint Dempsey and Steve Cherundolo, and more recent starters Graham Zusi and Eddie Johnson, are not in Russia, but there remains a nucleus of the U.

NCAA Tournament Field is set

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Here is the field for the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament. We'll update with a detailed breakdown shortly.

For now check out the bracket:

Cleveland State (11-5-3) vs. Michigan State (11-9-1), winner vs. Notre Dame (1)

Xavier vs. Kentucky, winner vs. Indiana (16)

UMBC (11-4-5) vs.

Montero’s playoffs struggles continue for Sounders

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Fredy Montero just cannot get it going when things matter most.

Playing in his ninth playoff game for the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, Montero once again was held scoreless in a disappointing performance in a 3-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinals series.

A closer look at the USMNT’s young players

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Take a quick glance at Jurgen Klinsmann's 20-man roster for Wednesday's friendly, and you could not be blamed for thinking it was the roster for a U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team camp.

That is not the case, however.

Studio 90: Klinsmann discusses roster for Russia friendly

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Chandler says he’s committed to USMNT

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When the U.S. Men's National Team takes to the field on Wednesday, Timmy Chandler is very likely to be starting on the right side of the American defense.

That scenario is something that few would have predicted mere months ago, but it is one that could play out after Chandler accepted his first U.

Diskerud, Gatt, Chandler and Gyau headline young USMNT squad for Russia friendly

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Jurgen Klinsmann called in a young squad of players for the U.S. Men's National Team's upcoming friendly vs. Russia on Wednesday,including five players from the U.S. Under-23 national team that fell short in Olympic qualifying last spring.

Joe Gyau, Mix Diskerud, Juan Agudelo and Sean Johnson were all called into the squad, as was Timmy Chandler, who returns to the team after more than a year away.

Monday Kickoff: Lampard in talks with Chinese club, Ronaldo out, and more

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Frank Lampard could soon follow in the footsteps of former teammates Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, as he is flirting with the possibility of joining a Chinese club in the near future.

Chinese club Guizhou Renhe confirmed Monday they were in talks with the England international over a possible deal that could see him join the Chinese Super League in January.

College Soccer Weekend Rewind: Maryland wins ACC, Notre Dame rides golden goal to Big East title, and more

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The Maryland Terrapins rode goals from freshmen Dakota Edwards and Schillo Tshuma to a 2-1 victory in the ACC Final on Sunday in front of a crowd of almost 10,000 fans in Germantown, Md.

The North Carolina Tar Heels fell behind early when Edwards finished off a Dan Metzgar corner kick in the 11th minute.

Dynamo ride second-half rally to first-leg win over injury-hit D.C. United

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D.C. United started Sunday's Eastern Conference finals opener in Houston as well as they could have hoped, scoring an early goal and putting the Dynamo under pressure to step up their play or risk a costly home result.

Little else went right for D.C. on Sunday.

It started with the injuries, which cost D.

MLS Playoffs: Galaxy vs. Sounders (Match Night Commentary)

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Following their first playoff series victory in franchise victory, Seattle now has the daunting task of taking on the defending MLS Cup champions in the LA Galaxy. They travel to Home Depot Center for the first leg on Sunday night (9 PM EST, ESPN), where they have struggled throughout their franchise's history, having only scored one goal in four years.

Galaxy overwhelm Sounders in 3-0 West finals romp

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BY KAYLA KNAPP

CARSON, CALIF.—Robbie Keane just cannot stop scoring.

The LA Galaxy striker picked up another brace in their 3-0 win over the Seattle Sounders on Sunday night. The victory gave the defending MLS Cup champions a bit of breathing room ahead of the second leg of the Western Conference finals in Seattle on Nov 18th.

European Weekend Rewind: Man United fight back, Inter Milan fall, and more

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By NICK IUELE

Manchester United looked primed for an upset when the fell behind by two goals against Aston Villa, but the Red Bulls mounted another trademark comeback to mantain their hold on first place in the English Premier League.

Villa's Andreas Weimann scored two goals in first-half stoppage and 50th minute, respectively.

MLS Playoffs: Houston vs. DC United (Match Day Commentary)

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After upsetting the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Houston Dynamo will look to extend their success in the playoffs over the last two seasons, as they play host to D.C. United today at BBVA Compass Stadium (4 PM EST, NBC Sports).

After making last year's MLS Cup, the Dynamo have their sights set on making a return to the championship game, even after narrowly making the playoffs this season.

American Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

There were a handful of Americans who made an impact this weekend by scoring goals or delivering assist, but that was not the only bit of good news.

Oguchi Onyewu made his first La Liga appearance for Malaga on Saturday, starting and going the distance in the center of their defense.

Sacha Kljestan nets his first goal of season for Anderlecht

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Just days after tallying an assist on the game-winning goal for Anderlecht against Zenit St. Petersburg in Champions League play, Sacha Kljestan knocked in his first goal of the year in Belgian League play, as Anderlecht routed Club Brugge 6-1 on Sunday. The win moves Anderlecht to the top of the standings, as they move past Zulte Waregem for first place.

Altidore scores again to help AZ Alkmaar earn draw

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Jozy Altidore's place with the U.S. national team may be in limbo, but that isn't stopping him from continuing to score goals for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.

Altidore netted his ninth league goal of the season, and 12th in all competitions in AZ's 2-2 draw vs. ADO Den Haag. Altidore delivered a highlight-reel goal in the 64th minute to help AZ earn a point.

MLS Eastern Conference Finals Preview: D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo

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By IVES GALARCEP

One squad has the look of a team with the experience and toughness to win a title. The other looks like a team of destiny as it rolls into the conference finals in a nine-game unbeaten streak that began when they lost the reigning league MVP.

The Eastern Conference Finals between the Houston Dynamo and D.

MLS Western Conference Finals Preview: Galaxy vs. Sounders

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BY KAYLA KNAPP

On Sunday night, the Seattle Sounders will go somewhere the club has never been before: the Western Conference Finals.

After taking down a tough Real Salt Lake side, the Sounders must now face the reigning MLS Cup Champions. But the Los Angeles Galaxy are also fresh off a difficult series with the Supporters' Shield winners San Jose Earthquakes.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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After a torrid start to the Premier League season, Chelsea has slowed down in the past few weeks, which has resulted inthe Blues conceding the top spot in the standings to Manchester United. Now the Blues will now look to right the ship against the Reds at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, Liverpool will be looking for anything positive in hopes of turning their 2012 season around.

Jones delivers game-winning assist in Schalke victory over Werder Bremen

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Jermaine Jones may be known more for his hard tackling and defensive abilities than vision, but it was the latter trait which helped Schalke secure three points on Saturday.

Jones delivered the game-winning assist in Schalke's 2-1 triumph over Werder Bremen, making a run before cutting back and dishing out a square ball that teammate Julian Draxler finished.

Saturday Ticker: Chelsea not planning on losing Cole, Walcott injured, & more

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Despite talks around the league to the contrary, Chelsea officials have stated that they have no plans on losing Ashley Cole in January. The veteran defender, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the year, has had some discussions with his current club about a contract extension.

College Tournament Rewind: Maryland & UNC survive, Notre Dame knocks off UConn, and more

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The University of Maryland and North Carolina have been two of the top teams in the national all season, and a showdown in the ACC Final always seemed inevitable, but Clemson and Virginia tried their best to spoil the party.

Patrick Mullins made sure the Tigers didn't grab Maryland's place in the championship, scoringa late equalizer to force overtime, where a Clemson own goal helpedgive the SBI No.

Chivas USA part ways with Fraser, Vanney

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The Robin Fraser era at Chivas USA is now over.

In a move that had been rumored since before the end of the regular season, the Goats have parted ways with head coach Robin Fraser and assistant coach Greg Vanney, sources told SBI on Friday. The club relieved Fraser and Vanney of their duties after Chivas USA finished the season in last place in the Western Conference.

Red Bulls dump Backe, hire Roxburgh as sporting director

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Hans Backe has coached his last game with the New York Red Bulls.

The Swedish head coach was dumped by the New York Red Bulls on Friday, less than a day after the team was ousted from the MLS playoffs in dramatic fashion. The Red Bulls announced that they would not be renewing Backe's contract after three seasons in charge of the Red Bulls.

Wooten scores in Sandhausen’s big defeat

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At least Andrew Wooten had something small to be happy about.

Wooten opened his account for the second division German club he is on loan with on Friday, netting Sandhausen's lone goal in a 6-1 defeat to Hertha Berlin. The former U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team forward's 75th-minute goal trimmed Hertha Berlin's lead to 3-1 and gave Sandhausen a slight glimmer of hope, but they conceded three more times in the final nine minutes of a match they cannot forget about quick enough.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Arsenal came into the season with aspirations of being a top four team in the English Premier League again, but a struggling start in league play has them on the outside looking in heading into today's showdown against London rival Fulham.

The Cottagers have been a pleasant surprise, and find themselves even on points with Arsenal heading into today's visit to the Emirates.

This Weekend’s Soccer on TV

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A good chunk of American soccer fans will be watching the conference finals in the MLS playoffs this weekend, but those matches are not the only ones worth viewing.

This weekend provides another lengthy list of intriguing games, including the Rome derby between Lazio and Roma on Sunday.

College Tournament Preview (Major conference set to crown champions)

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College soccer's top conference will all crown their champions this weekend in tournaments across the country.

The Big East and the ACC headline the weekend's action starting tonight with the tournament semifinals. SBI No. 4 UConn takes on No. 5 Notre Dame tonight in the Big East semifinals, while No.

According to Nuremberg, Chandler set for USMNT return

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After turning down repeated call-ups over the course of the past two years, Timmy Chandler appears ready to return to the U.S. men's national team.

According to Chandler's club, Nuremberg, Chandler has been called in for the U.S. team's upcoming friendly against Russia on Wednesday.

Chandler told SBI last month that he was open to a return, and U.

Another nightmare ending has Red Bulls facing uncertain future

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By IVES GALARCEP

It was the kind of brutal ending that long-time New York Red Bulls fans have seen too many times before. Another playoff collapse. Another season ending in disappointment. Another chapter to the saddest history of results in MLS playoff history.

Shea sidelined three months after foot surgery

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There will be no offseason training stint abroad for FC Dallas winger Brek Shea this year.Just a lot of rest and recuperation.

Shea underwent successful surgery on Thursday afternoon to remove a sesamoid bone from his right foot. The 22-year-old midfielder is expected to be sidelined for 12-14 weeks, which means he should be healthy enough to partake in some of FC Dallas' preseason preparations next year.

European Weekend Preview: Chelsea take on Liverpool, Milan looks to stay hot, and more

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BY NICK IUELE

English giants Chelsea and Liverpool square off on Sunday in a matchup of two clubs heading in different directions.

Despite conceding first place to Manchester United last weekend, Chelsea are firmly in the top three and will compete for the EPL crown when all is said and done.

Americans Abroad: Thursday Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Helsingborg's regular season may be over and they might be well on their way out of the Europa League, but Alejandro Bedoya made sure to make an impact in what is likely to be one of their last games this year.

Playing against Steve Cherundolo and Hannover in the Europa League group stage on Thursday, Bedoya scored a goal that pulled Helsingborg level after having initially gone down, 2-0.

MLS Playoffs: Match Night Commentary

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The final two spots in the MLS conference finals will be determined tonight in Harrison, New Jersey and Sand, Utah as the New York Red Bulls take on D.C. United at Red Bull Arena and Real Salt Lake faces the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The Red Bulls head into tonight's match (7:30pm, NBC Sports) with the advantage after holding D.

DeLeon winner helps D.C. United beat RBNY

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By IVES GALARCEP

HARRISON, N.J. As Kenny Cooper went flying in the air, almost hanging there in slow motion, you could almost feel the Eastern Conference semifinal series slipping away from D.C. United. Bill Hamid's challenge on Cooper resulted in a red card and penalty kick, a deadly combination that looked destined to hand the New York Red Bulls a playoff victory.

Martinez strike sends Sounders to first playoff series win

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By JASON MITCHELL

Turns out the fourth time is the charm.

Mario Martinez scored the biggest goal in Seattle Sounders' history Thursday night, drilling an 81st-minute half-volley from distance past Nick Rimando into the far side of the net, lifting Seattle to a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

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By FRANCO PANIZO

By the time the weekend is over, Josh Gatt and Molde FK could be celebrating a second Norwegian championship.

Molde hosts Honefoss on Sunday in the clubs' penultimate match of the Eliteserien season and a win combined with another favorable result would give Gatt and his team a second straight league title.

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying: A look at the rest of the hexagonal schedule

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The CONCACAF World Cup qualifying final round, or hexagonal, will be here in February 2013, but it's never too early to look at some key matches in the six-team double round-robin.

Three automatic qualifiers for Brazil 2014 will come from the six participants, plus a fourth team in a two-leg playoff with an Oceania representative for one more potential spot.

Mid-day ticker: Tears for a mighty Celtic victory, Ibrahimovic out two matches, M’Vila suspended until 2014 and more

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The world is still buzzing about Celtic's monumental 2-1 upset of FC Barcelona in UEFA Champions League play Wednesday, and reaction is pouring out of the UK like the tears that flowed from famous singer Rod Stewart's eyes as he watched his beloved Glasgow outfit win in Scotland in the midst of the celebration of Celtic's 125th anniversary of existence.

NBC Sports changes MLS playoff broadcast schedule

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

Due to Wednesday night's postponement of the New York Red Bulls-DC United playoff second leg because of snow, NBC Sports Network has changed its broadcast scheduleof MLS playoff games in the coming days.

New York hosts DCU tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on the network, followed by the second leg of the MLS Western Conference semifinals between Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders at 10:oo p.

Former Red Bulls boss Stover hired to run Cosmos

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By IVES GALARCEP

The New York Cosmos have clear aspirations for a future in Major League Soccer, and have turned to a man with MLS experience to lead the club.

The Cosmos have named former New York Red Bulls managing director Erik Stover as the team's new Chief Operating Officer.

USMNT Daily Update: Projecting the venues for the five home HEX qualifiers

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Now that the U.S. Men's National Team knows the schedule for the Hexagonal Round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in 2013, it is time to start thinking about where the U.S. team's five home qualifiers will be played.

It will be a while before we find out which five lucky venues will be selected, especially since there is only one home qualifier being played before June, but it isn't too early to think about which venues make the most sense to host those five qualifiers.

MLS Playoffs and CONCACAF Qualifying Schedule Draw: Live Commentary

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It is a big night in American soccer, with three decisive MLS playoff games taking place and the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying schedule being drawn, and with so much to keep track of, tonight is as good a night to have one post dedicated to all the action.

In Miami, CONCACAF will be holding the draw for the schedule the Hexagonal Round of World Cup qualifying.

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Schedule Set (USA to face Mexico in March and September qualifiers)

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There will be no winter showdown between the U.S. Men's National Team and Mexico in World Cup qualifying next year, but they will be meeting soon enough.

The U.S. will take on Mexico on March 26thMexico, and on Sept. 10th in the United States in the Hexagonal Round of World Cup qualifying.

Snow storm forces RBNY-D.C. United postponement to Thursday

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The New York Red Bulls-D.C. United Eastern Conference playoff semifinal set for Wednesday night was postponed due to the snow storm that hit the area. The match will now be played on Thursday at 7:30pm (NBC Sports).

Major League Soccer officials made the decision to postpone the match after failed attempts to control the field conditions and keep snow off the field.

MLS official gives detailed explanation for RBNY-D.C. postponement

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By FRANCO PANIZO

HARRISON, N.J. MLS tried time and time again to ensure that the second leg of the New York Red Bulls-D.C. United's Eastern Conference semifinals would be played on Wednesday, but mother nature refused to cooperate.

MLS was forced to postpone the Red Bulls-D.

Keane double helps Galaxy eliminate Earthquakes

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BY KAYLA KNAPP

SAN JOSE, CALIF.—Red-hot striker Robbie Keane scored twice as the Los Angeles Galaxy knocked the San Jose Earthquakes out of the MLS playoffs on Wednesday night.

The Supporters' Shield winners fell flat in their most important match of the year — crashing out of the playoffs far earlier than anyone expected.

Dynamo hold off Sporting KC to book place in East final

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The Houston Dynamo went into Wednesday night's showdown vs. Sporting Kansas City knowing that holding their two-goal cushion wouldn't be easy at LiveStrong Sporting Park, but some stout defending and poor finishing from KC helped the Dynamo do just that.

A Seth Sinovic header goal was the only score Sporting KC could put on the board as a night's worth of domination wasn't enough to erase Houston's two goal lead.

Galaxy aim to hand Earthquakes first loss at Buck Shaw in playoff decider tonight

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BY KAYLA KNAPP

No team who has faced the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium this season has come away with a win. Let that sink in for a minute. The Earthquakes have made the small venue – with a capacity just over 10,000 – a fortress during the 2012 MLS season.

Must-See Goal: Oscar

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After scoreless first leg, RSL look to eliminate Sounders at Rio Tinto

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

For the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake, it has come down to this.

Two of the more evenly-matched teams in the MLS postseason. Two gritty goalkeepers. A number of scoring threats and two scrappy holding/defensive midfielders. It comes down to which team will find some offense against the opponent's strong defense and goalkeeping.

Sporting KC in need of big performance at home to knock off Dynamo

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If 2-0 is the most dangerous lead in soccer, the Houston Dynamo should be on high alert.

The Dynamo lead Eastern Conference favorites Sporting Kansas City, 2-0, on aggregate in their Eastern Conference semifinals series after winning at home over the weekend, and they will try and maintain that advantage inside of Livestrong Sporting Park on Wednesday night.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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Barcelona and Manchester United are set to return to action in the UEFA Champions League, and all they have in mind is booking their spot in the next round of the competition.

Both Manchester United and Barcelona will play their respective fourth group games as visitors, and neither is a shoo-in to head back home with a victory.

USMNT Daily Update: Decision day as CONCACAF prepares for HEX schedule draw tonight

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The final schedule for the Hexagonal Round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying will be set tonight, and will give the U.S. Men's National Team a chance to start plotting out their road to the 2014 Worl Cup.

CONCACAF is turning the schedule draw into an event, holding it in Miami tonight and airing it on the CONCACAF website.

Guzan named Aston Villa Player of Month

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Aston Villa may not have enjoyed a strong October, but Brad Guzan did andhis stellar performances did not go unnoticed.

Aston Villa named Guzan their Player of the Month for October on Wednesday after the 28-year-old goalkeeper put together a string of strong performances. Guzan and the Villans failed to win any of their three matches last month, but the U.

Chivas reiterates only Mexican players can play for club

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The chances of seeing Herculez Gomez in a Chivas de Guadalajara jersey in the near future appear to have come to an abrupt end.

The Liga MX club reiterated its policy of contracting only Mexican players who wish to play for the Mexican national team on Wednesday, tweeting out their rule on their official twitter.

Red Bulls, United enter second leg looking to break deadlock

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The New York Red Bulls and D.C. United are deadlocked in their Eastern Conference semifinals series after a wild first leg, and only one of the two archrivals will be left standing after what should be en equally crazy second one.

The Red Bulls will host D.C. United at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night and both teams will be fighting to advance to the Eastern Conference finals after playing to a 1-1 draw last Saturday at RFK Stadium.

FC Dallas waive Leyva, make four other roster moves

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FC Dallas have begun their preparations for next season, waiving Bryan Leyva and three other players while also re-signing a Homegrown product.

FC Dallas announced Wednesday they made five roster moves as they attempt to improve their team for the 2013 campaign.

UEFA Champions League: A Look Ahead

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Chelsea enjoyed an outstanding start to the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League campaigns, but a recent slump has suddenly slowed down the Blues and threatens to cost them dearly if they don't win today's Champions League clash vs. Shakhtar Donetsk.

One of the pleasant surprises of the group stage, Shakhtar can book their place in the knockout round with a victory against Chelsea.

Maryland, UNC, Virginia and Clemson reach ACC semis

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Junior Patrick Mullins headed home a 52nd-minute corner kick to help give top-seeded Maryland a 2-1 victory over Virginia Tech in ACC quarterfinal action on Tuesday.

The SBI No. 2 Terrapins secured a place in the semifinals, where the will take on No. 4 seed Clemson, which eliminated No.

Fire sign Friedrich to new deal

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It took no time for the Chicago Fire to decide to bring back their defensive rock in 2013.

Just days after the Fire's season ended at the hands of the Houston Dynamo, the club announced Wednesday it has signed centerback Arne Friedrich to a new deal. Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

UEFA Champions League Rewind: Draws dominate Group D, Malaga clinches spot, and more

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Borussia Dortmund didn't play like an underdog, or like a visitor, in pushing Real Madrid to the brink on Tuesday.

The German champions gave Jouse Mourinho's side all they could handle, and nearly grabbed all three points, but a Mesut Ozil goal in the 89th minute helped Real Madrid salvage a 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu.

USMNT climbs five spots in FIFA world rankings

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The U.S. Men's National Team's World Cup qualifying victories against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala not only booked their place in the Hexagonal Round of qualifying, it also gave them a boost in the latest FIFA World Rankings.

The United States moved up five places to No.

Americans Abroad: Tuesday Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Thanks in part to Sacha Kljestan, Anderlecht's UEFA Champions League hopes are still alive.

Kljestan helped lift the Belgian club to a 1-0 victory over Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday, delivering a first-half assist on a neat give-and-go sequence with teammate Dieumerci Mbokani.

ACC College Tournament Preview

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The University of North Carolina will look to defend their title this week as they kick off the ACC Tournament quarterfinals against arch-rivals Duke (7pm, ESPN3.com).

All four tournament quarterfinals kick off tonight, with North Carolina and Maryland the heavy favorites to meet in a rematch of the 2011 final (won by North Carolina).

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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Schalke, FC Porto, Borussia Dortmund and Malaga will all be looking to secure their place in the UEFA Champions League knockout round with a victory in today's Champions League Match Day Four action.

Borussia Dortmund takes on Real Madrid in a real thriller, having just beaten the Spanish champions in the previous match day.

Big East Championship moving from Red Bull Arena to PPL Park

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The Big East Championship semifinal and final, originally scheduled to be played at Red Bull Arena, have been moved to PPL Park, in Chester, Pa.

Sources have told SBI that the two Big East Tournament semifinals, scheduled for Friday, and the final, scheduled for Sunday, will now be played at PPL Park because of the issues the area around Red Bull Arena still face in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and with the threat of another storm hitting the area on Wednesday night.

SBI MLS All-Newcomer Best XI

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Every year, MLS teams scan the globe in search of talent to help boost their rosters, and in some cases, they come back with real gems.

The 2012 season saw its fair share of standout newcomers, and while we didn't see an influx of high-priced superstars, we did see several top teams add key pieces that have helped them make a push at an MLS Cup title.

USMNT Daily Update: Who should Klinsmann call up to face Russia?

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The final U.S. Men's National Team match of 2012 is just over a week away and it's time to start thinking about which players Jurgen Klinsmann will call on to take the trip to Krasnodar to take on Russia.

We shouldn't expect a ton of new faces for the Russia friendly, but Klinsmann has made it a habit of sprinkling in some new players every chance he gets, so the most interesting aspect of this roster selection will be which newcomers get the call.

SBI College Soccer Top 25 (Nov. 6th Edition)

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As the college soccer regular season winds down, we have a new team at the top of the SBI Men's Top 25.

And it's the same team that started the year at the top of the rankings.

Akron University is riding a 12-match winning streak, 11 of those being shutout victories, to a return to the top spot.

UEFA Champions League: A Look Ahead

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The UEFA Champions League's 'Group of Death' will take a major step toward being decided today as Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Manchester City take the field in crucial matches.

Borussia Dortmund leads Group D, and can clinch a place in the knockout rounds with a victory against Real Madrid.

USWNT to play China three times in December

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The U.S. Women's National Team will try and round out their successful year with three games in a span of eight days in December.

All against the same team.

The United States will finish their 10-match Fan Tribute Tour with three December games against China, starting with a tilt at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec.

D.C. United faces right back dilemma with Najar suspended for second leg

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By FRANCO PANIZO

As Andy Najar zipped up and down the right flank in D.C. United's match with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, there was a growing feeling that he would either set up a goal or score one himself against the troubled Red Bulls defenders.

NASL awards expansion team to Virginia

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The New York Cosmos and Ottawa Fury will not be the only new NASL teams introduced in the next couple of years.

NASL officially announced on Monday evening that it has given Virginia an expansion franchise set to begin playing in 2014. The new franchise will be based in northern Virginia and the team is expected to play its games at future Ballpark located in Ashburn.

Marquez’s status in doubt for East semifinal second leg

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What first appeared to be a fictional story of an injury concocted to cover-up a dust-up between a player and coach is looking more and more like a real injury and real problem for the New York Red Bulls.

Red Bulls defender Rafa Marquez is nursing a calf injury and is questionable forthe Red Bulls' second leg against D.

SBI MLS Newcomer of the Year: Victor Bernardez

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The San Jose Earthquakes are known for their high-octane attack, the highest-scoring squad in the league, but as impressive as their attack is, it has been the play of their back-line that has allowed the team to dedicate numbers into their attack and make their offense that much more dangerous.

Adu expected to return to Union in 2013

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It appears Philadelphia Union head coach John Hackworth and Freddy Adu have had their heart-to-heart talk, and that the playmaker will return to the club in 2013.

In his final press conference of the season, Hackworth said Monday he 'definitely feels' that Adu will be back with the Union next year.

USMNT Daily Update: January camp not a sure thing, but it should be

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To camp, or not to camp? That is the question.

U.S. Men's National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has not yet settled on whether to hold the traditional January national team camp in 2013. With the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying set to begin in February, and with the possibility of that Feb.

Must-See Goal: Liran Cohen

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The SBI MLS Under-23 Best XI

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By IVES GALARCEP

For all the talk about Major League Soccer being a league for older players, the reality is that more and more young players are breaking through and establishing themselves as key figures on top teams throughout the league.

MacMath to train with Everton

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Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath put together a solid second season in Major League Soccer, his first as the team's regular starter, and while his team's season ended early, the young netminder's education continues.

MacMath is in England, where he will begin a three-week training stint with English Premier League side Everton FC, sources told SBI.

Biello to be Impact interim head coach

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While it remains unclear for just how long he will carry the title, it appears Mauro Biello has been tabbed to replace Jesse Marsch as head coach of the Montreal Impact.

Just a day after announcing publicly that the team's head coaching duties would be shared by the Impact's entire coaching staff, the Impact have settled on Biello to lead the team, sources told SBI on Sunday.

MLS Playoffs: Galaxy vs. Earthquakes (Match Night Commentary)

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Round four of the always exciting California Clasico takes place tonight, as the LA Galaxy host the San Jose Earthquakes at the Home Depot Center. The Supporters' Shield winning Earthquakes will look to continue their 2012 success against the defending MLS Cup champions, having won two of the three matchups this season.

Late Bernardez blast helps Earthquakes beat Galaxy in West semifinal opener

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BY KAYLA KNAPP

CARSON, CALIF— Victor Bernardez was the hero for the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night, scoring on a long-range free kick to give the visitors a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy at Home Depot Center on Sunday night.

"It just shows the spirit of the team," Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said after the win.

European Weekend Rewind: Man United top Arsenal, Juventus falls, and more

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By NICK IUELE

It was a week of upsets throughout Europe's top leagues, but Manchester United took care of business against Arsenal.

United took sole possession of first place in the English Premier League with a 2-1 win over the Gunners at Old Trafford. Robin van Persie opened the scoring early with a third minute goal and Patrice Evra added a second goal in the 67th to seal the win.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Last weekend, it was all about goals. This past weekend, it was assists.

Three different Americans set up goals for their respective clubs, including U.S. Men's National Team players Fabian Johnson and Sacha Kljestan. Johnson notched his second assist of the Bundesliga campaign by delivering a low pass from the left flank for the early opener in Hoffenheim's 3-2 win over Schalke, while Kljestan hit a simple but effective pass to a teammate in Anderlecht's 4-1 win against Mechelen.

Dynamo overpower Sporting KC in first leg of Eastern Conference Semi-Finals

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After finishing the regular season without a loss at home during the 2012 regular season, the Houston Dynamo knew that streak would likely need to be extended into the playoffs if they want to advance to the conference finals. Despite taking on Eastern Conference-winning Sporting Kansas City, it was another streak that also gave Houston confidence coming into Saturday, as Houston had not lost to Sporting KC in their past four matchups, including last year's playoff match between the two clubs.

MLS Playoffs: Dynamo vs. Sporting KC (Your Running Commentary)

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After a regular season that saw the Houston Dynamo fail to lose a single game at their new home at BBVA Compass Stadium, Dominick Kinnear and company will look to continue that pattern as they host their first ever playoff game there today, taking on the Eastern Conference-winning Sporting Kansas City.

Video: Cristiano Ronaldo talks in-depth about Messi

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Saturday College Rewind: Marquette secures Big East semi spot, Charlotte wins A-10, and more

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Three places in the Big East Tournament semifinals were booked on Saturday, with Georgetown, Marquette and Notre Dame all securing places in Friday's semis at Red Bull Arena.

SBI No. 7 Notre Dame rallied from a halftime deficit on the road to secure a 4-2 quarterfinal victory against Syracuse.

Must-See Goal: Luis Suarez

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Robles shines as Red Bulls escape RFK with first-leg draw

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D.C. United had the crowd in their favor, and plenty of possession on the night, but what they couldn't do is find a way to get a shot past Luis Robles.

The Red Bulls goalkeeper, who only took over the starting job late in the season, made every play he had to. He stoned a dangerous early shot from Chris Korb, and made a clutch save on a Chris Pontius penalty, to help the Red Bulls earn a 1-1 draw vs.

D.C. United 1, Red Bulls 1: A look back

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The Red Bulls escaped RFK Stadium with a draw, and head to Red Bull Arena in prime position to advance to the Eastern Conference final. That's assuming they can play well at home, which they have done for the most part all season.

For D.C. United, Saturday will feel like a wasted opportunity to grab the series by the neck.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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A season that started off poorly has continued for Liverpool, who sit fourteen points behind first-place Manchester United nine games into the season. First year head coach Brendan Rodgers certainly did not see his tenure starting off this way, as The Reds will play host to Newcastle United, which currently sits in 10th place with thirteen points.

MLS Playoffs: D.C. United vs. Red Bulls (Match Night Commentary)

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The New York Red Bulls have made the trip down I-95 to take on D.C. United in the Eastern Conference playoff semifinals, which kick off tonight in first-leg action at RFK Stadium (8pm, NBC Sports).

D.C. United enters tonight's match on a seven-match unbeaten streak, riding a strong defense and the attacking efforts of Chris Pontius, Branko Boskovic and Nick DeLeon to a strong finish despite losing reigning MLS MVP Dwayne DeRosario for the rest of the regular season with an injury.

Marsch steps down as Montreal Impact head coach

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After guiding the Montreal Impact through a solid expansion season, Jesse Marsch has stepped down as Impact head coach.

Marsch and the Impact came to a mutual agreement on Marsch's departure.The announcement came on Saturday morning, a week after the Impact ended a season that saw them set a new MLS record for wins in a season by a Canadian team.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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When the Spanish Primera season began, a team from Madrid was expected to challenge Barcelona for the league title, but that team was Real Madrid, not Atletico Madrid.

Radamel Falcao has done something about that, driving Atletico Madrid to an unbeaten season to date. They are currently tied with Barcelona atop La Liga, eight points clear of Real Madrid.

MLS Playoff Preview: Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders

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By FRANCO PANIZO

If the Seattle Sounders are to finally get over the playoff hump in 2012, they will have to do so against a stacked team that not only went undefeated against them this season, but also eliminated them from the postseason last year.

After being trounced from the Western Conference semifinals at the hands of Real Salt Lake in 2011, the Sounders are once again set to take on Jason Kreis' men in the same stage of the postseason.

MLS Playoffs: Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake (Match Night Commentary)

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The Seattle Sounders take on Real Salt Lake tonight in the opening match of their Western Conference playoff semifinal series (10pm, NBC Sports).

The Sounders host the first leg tonight, with the second leg set for Thursday. Seattle will be without Eddie Johnson for tonight's important match, but RSL will also be missing a key player, with Jamison Olave injured.

RSL rides Rimando to draw in Seattle

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By JASON MITCHELL

SEATTLE, Wash. Bruised. Battered. Bloodied.

Indomitable.

Take a pick. They all fit Nick Rimando like one of his own blood-smeared gloves after the stunning performance he delivered for Real Salt Lake in its 0-0 tie with the Seattle Sounders Friday night.

College Soccer Weekend Preview

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The Big East conference, the strongest conference in the nation, will take a major step toward crowning a champion as they kick off the quarterfinals of their conference tournament this weekend.

Defending champion St. John's faces a stiff test against Georgetown, while tournament favorites UConn will play host to Villanova.

MLS Playoff Preview: Earthquakes vs. Galaxy

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BY KAYLA KNAPP

With a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Galaxy secured their place in the Western Conference semifinal against the San Jose Earthquakes. This matchup is sure to bring an excess of drama and thrills, because not only does it pit the reigning MLS Cup champions against the current Supporters' Shield winners, but these two California clubs have also reignited their rivalry over the past season.

MLS Playoff Preview: D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls

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When D.C. United embarrassed the New York Red Bulls earlier this season at RFK Stadium, it seemed like it might be a trend throughout the season, but it wound up being the only time in three meetings D.C. got the better of the Red Bulls.

New York managed a far better result than that 4-1 loss in April the next time they visited RFK Stadium, posting a 1-1 draw in August.

MLS Playoff Preview: Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo

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By THOMAS FLOYD

If Sporting Kansas City is going to exorcise the demons of an MLS Cup run cut short a year ago, it seems natural, really, that the club must best the Houston Dynamo along the way.

It was the Dynamo, after all, who upset top-seeded Kansas City with a 1-0 win at Livestrong Sporting Park in last season's conference final.

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

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The MLS playoffs and a pair of juicy tilts in the English Premier League and Serie A headline the weekend's soccer action on TV.

Juventus will put their unbeaten record on the line against Inter Milan in a match-up of the top two teams in Serie A. Juve has opened up a four-point lead in the league, but Inter can close that gap to one by becoming the first team since the 2010/2011 season to beat the Italian champions.

Thursday College Soccer Rewind: Wake Forest stuns Maryland, UCLA edges Stanford, and more

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The last remaining unbeaten college team in the nation finally fell.

SBI No. 23 Wake Forest dropped No. 1 Maryland from the ranks of the unbeaten on Thursday night, posting a 4-2 victory over the Terrapinsin Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The Demon Deacons rode a three-goal second-half rally to overwhelm Maryland, as Ross Tommaselli, Luca Gimenez and Danny Wenzel rattled off three unanswered goals to erase a 2-1 deficit.

European Weekend Preview: Van Persie and Man United face Arsenal, Juve meets Inter, and more

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By NICK IUELE

Robin Van Persie will face former club Arsenal for the first time since leaving the London club to join Manchester United when the English Premier League powers collide in the weekend's most high-profile match.

The Gunners are in need of points in order to break into the top four, but they face a Man United side that is just a point behind Premier League leaders Chelsea at the top of the table.

Five more MLS teams join list of clubs heading to Arizona for 2013 pre-season

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By GARRETT CLEVERLY

Arizona soccer fans may not have a MLS franchise to call their own, but for the first two months of 2013, fans in the Grand Canyon State will have a buffet style of teams to cheer for.

In addition to the four MLS teams that are going to participate in the 2013 Desert Diamond Cup, FC Tucson announced Thursday that they have invited five more MLS clubs to train and play preseason friendlies in Tucson.

MLS Playoffs: Galaxy vs. Whitecaps (Your Running Commentary)

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The Los Angeles Galaxy begin their quest to repeat as MLS Cup champions tonight when they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Knockout Round match at Home Depot Center (10:30pm, NBC Sports).

The Galaxy overcame a terrible start to the season to reach the playoffs, and hit an outstanding second half that has them looking every bit like a title contender despite having to play in the wild card round.

Donovan and Magee lead Galaxy rally to Knockout Round win

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By KAYLA KNAPP

CARSON, CALIF. – When Landon Donovan stepped up to the penalty spot in the 73rd minute on Thursday night, the tension was thick. The Los Angeles Galaxy captain has been under scrutiny lately – in recent interviews, he made comments about taking a break from soccer.

Mario Balotelli speaks

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Klinsmann discusses Donovan, Altidore, January camp and more

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U.S. Men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke to the media on a Thursday afternoon conference call and touched in a wide range of subjects, from Landon Donovan to Jozy Altidore, Tim Chandler and the national team's centerback options.

Here is a rundown of the highlights:

When asked about Landon Donovan's recent comments about his mental state, and status with the national team, Klinsmann praised Donovan for being courageous enough to talk so openly, and made it clear the door is still very much open for Donovan on the national team.

MLS Playoff Preview: Galaxy vs. Whitecaps

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The Los Angeles Galaxy will begin their question for a second straight MLS Cup title tonight at Home Depot Center when they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Western Conference Knockout Round match.

The Whitecaps enter as a considerable underdog, having gone winless in three matches vs.

SBI MLS Spotlight: Nine months after ACL surgery, Gonzalez has sights set on another MLS Cup and a USMNT spot

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By IVES GALARCEP

CARSON, Calif. The small scar on Omar Gonzalez's left knee might be easy to miss on his imposing 6-foot-5 frame, but it offers the Los Angeles Galaxy defender a constant reminder of just how much has changed for him and the Galaxy in the past year.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

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By FRANCO PANIZO

When Jozy Altidore steps onto the field for AZ Alkmaar this weekend, he will be looking to do more than just help the club grab its second win in its last five games.

He will also be aiming to score for the first time in more than a month.

Though he has delivered a pair of game-winning assists during the same time frame, Altidore has not found the back of the net in a league game since Sept.

Report: Torres heading to Tigres

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U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Jose Torres has spent nine years with Mexican side Pachuca since moving to Mexico from the United States as a teenager, but it seems like his time with 'Los Tuzos' is ready to come to an end.

Reports in Mexico have linked Torres to a move to Mexican side Tigres.

Donovan gives eye-opening TV interview discussing his state of mind and future

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Landon Donovan has been opening up quite a bit lately discussing his current state of mind and his future in the sport. ESPN aired an interview on Wednesday night that showed a somber-looking Donovan talking about the uncertainty that surrounds his future in the game.

SBI MLS Goalkeeper of the Year: Jimmy Nielsen

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While other goalkeepers may have faced more shots, and none played behind as steady a defense as Sporting Kansas City's, Jimmy Nielsen's season was a special one because the Danish goalkeeper always seemed to make the important save when his team needed it the most.

MLS Playoffs: Fire vs. Dynamo (Your Running Commentary)

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The 2012 MLS Playoffs kick off tonight with the Chicago Fire playing host to the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Park (9pm, ESPN2).

The Dynamo are the road team, but enter the match with a wealth of experience. An MLS Cup finalist in 2011, the Dynamo struggled to find consistency late in the season.

Bruin’s brace leads Dynamo to East semifinals

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The Houston Dynamo may have entered Wednesday night's Eastern Conference wild card round playoff game against the as the lower seed, but they never quite had the feeling of an underdog.

The Dynamo never looked like the underdog on Wednesday, outplaying the Fire on their home field for much of Wednesday night.

College Spotlight: Coastal Carolina’s Ribeiro has degree and pro career in sight

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

Pedro Ribeiro's path to college soccer stardom started in futsal five-a-side indoor soccer in his native Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and took him north to, of all places, Coastal Carolina University near Myrtle Beach, S.

SBI MLS Coach of the Year: Frank Yallop

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Some years it can be really difficult to settle on one head coach to consider the clear-cut choice for MLS Coach of the Year, but 2012 was not one of those years.

After guiding the San Jose Earthquakes to one of the most impressive and surprising seasons in MLS history, Frank Yallop stood head and shoulders above his peers.