Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2012

Santos leads D.C. United to 4-1 win over FC Dallas

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By THOMAS FLOYD

WASHINGTON -- When Maicon Santos was sent to FC Dallas in a trade midway through last season, the Brazilian striker was largely considered the missing link for a championship-caliber squad. But after scoring two goals in 11 games, Santos was benched in the playoffs and let go during the offseason.

D.C. United vs. FC Dallas: Match Night Commentary

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D.C. United is still in search of their first victory of the season and will be at RFK Stadium tonight looking for it against FC Dallas (7:30pm, NBC Sports Network).

D.C. is coming off a tie at Vancouver that saw the defense look good but the offense continue to struggle.

Must-See Commercial: Cristiano Ronaldo and Rafael Nadal

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Reyna discusses Olympic qualifying

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USWNT to face China in Olympic tune-up

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

The U.S. women's national team will play China at PPL Park on May 27 in a tune-up friendly prior to this summer's Olympics.

The last time the two nations met, the United States defeated China 2-0 at the Four Nations Tournament on Chinese soil in January of last year.

MLS Week 4: A Look Ahead

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 Photos by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

All eyes Saturday will be on Sebastien Le Toux.

After his messy offseason departure from Philadelphia, the Vancouver Whitecaps forward will return to the City of Brotherly Love to take on a Union side that appears to be sorely missing his attacking presence.

Mid-Day Ticker: Petrov has leukemia, FIFA orders for Olympic releases & more

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Another player for a major European club is in a battle with a serious illness.

Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukemia, the club announced on Friday. According to an Aston Villa statement, Petrov had developed a fever after last week's match against Arsenal, and the disease was discovered in his ensuing blood tests.

Rodgers denied visa, has contract terminated by Red Bulls

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

After a long and drawn-out process, Luke Rodgers will not be playing for the New York Red Bulls this season.

Rodgers was denied his P-1 visa, and therefore cannot play in MLS. As a result, the club has terminated his contract in an effort to free him to play elsewhere.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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It's getting down to crunch time across Europe, with a number of teams approaching must-win territory to keep their title or UEFA Champions League hopes afloat for another week.

Manchester City falls into that category, with the club entering its crucial match with Sunderland three points behind rival Manchester United while star forward Sergio Aguero is sidelined with a mystery foot injury.

MLS disciplines Moffat, Fernandez

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MLS commissioner Don Garber said before the season that the league's disciplinary committee would take a hard line on excessive challenges and instances of embellishment, and the first instance of that more rigid stance has been put in motion.

The league has suspended and fined Houston Dynamo midfielder Adam Moffat for a harsh challenge and fined Seattle Sounders midfielder Alvaro Fernandez for embellishing contact in their matchup a week ago.

European Look Ahead: Napoli, Juventus square off; race in Spain heats up & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

The already-intense rivalry between Juventus and Napoli takes on added significance this weekend as both teams are in desperate need of a win.

Juventus, while still unbeaten, are four points behind AC Milan in the race for the Scudetto.

Bradley's Egypt wins latest friendly

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Egyptian soccer continues to be in recovery mode after the club season was cancelled in the aftermath of the fatal riots in Port Said, but the beat goes on for Bob Bradley and the Egyptian national team.

Egypt defeated Uganda 2-1 in Sudan on Thursday to remain unbeaten in the four games since the tragedy that took the lives of 74 people last month.

Muamba upright, smiling in first photo since collapse

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Not even two weeks ago, Fabrice Muamba was in a fight for his life, nearly dying after collapsing on the field during an FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham.

The 23-year-old Bolton midfielder continues his recovery from the sudden cardiac arrest in a London hospital, and after a number of reports and accounts of his progress, the first photo of him since the frightening episode is making the rounds.

Liverpool, Spurs to meet in Baltimore

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The summer friendly announcements continue to roll in.

Liverpool and Tottenham, both of whom have already announced plans for a U.S. summer tour, will meet at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on July 28 for a club friendly.

Liverpool announced earlier this week that they would be taking on AS Roma at Fenway Park in Boston on July 25, while Tottenham has friendlies scheduled with the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls on July 24 and 31, respectively.

Friday Kickoff: Mourinho-to-City in works, UEFA disciplines Wenger & more

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Real Madrid is on the verge of a La Liga championship while having one foot in the UEFA Champions League semifinals. Manchester City is just three points behind in the Premier League title race.

Yet a blockbuster move in the coach's box could be taking place for both sides.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

With the list of Americans Abroad continuing to grow with each passing year, it is becoming more common to find duels between Americans.

This weekend provides a handful of them, and there will be at least one intriguing match-up on each day.

MLS West Notes: Donovan uncertain for NE, Parke upset over benching and more

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BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena confirmed that Landon Donovan is an injury doubt for Saturday's match against the New England Revolution. Donovan has been absent for training for the entire week due to what Arena admitted was a quadriceps strain.

Europea League Rewind: AZ top Valencia, Schalke fall and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar's sucessful run in the Europa League continued on Thursday, as they defeated Spanish side Valencia in the first leg of their quarterfinals clash.

AZ played to a 2-1 home win over Valencia on goals from Brett Holman and Maarten Martens.

Union Notes: Nowak not thinking about Le Toux, Califf "good to go", and more

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By JOEY SAMUEL

For two years, Sebastien Le Toux was the leading scorer and face of the franchise for the Philadelphia Union. The first season without him has seen the team's worst start in its short history. But coach Peter Nowak isn't thinking at all about the fact that Le Toux will return to face his former club at PPL Park this Saturday.

Hamid out 1-3 weeks with ankle knock

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photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com

Bill Hamid is expected to miss the next one to three weeks with the ankle injury he picked up while with the U.S. Under-23 men's national team, D.C. United announced on Thursday.

MRI results revealed the 21-year-old goalkeeper suffered a ligament sprain and bone contusions to his left ankle in the first half of the U.

SBI MLS Best XI: Week Three

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The third week of the MLS season saw a handful of teams earn their first victories of the season, and the key figures behind those victories are well-represented in SBI's MLS Best XI.

Thierry Henry was an easy pick after snatching up Player of the Week honors, but teammate Wilman Conde also draws recognition for being outstanding in his Red Bulls debut.

Mid-Day Ticker: Kalou pins benching on contract talks, Pizarro reportedly offered Bayern deal and more

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 Photo by Joe Toth/ISIphotos.com

Salomon Kalou may have been the hero of Chelsea's 1-0 Champions League triumph over Benfica on Tuesday. But if former manager Andre Villas-Boas was still in charge, it's unlikely he would have been on the field.

Kalou recently told The Sun that Villas-Boas minimized his role after he and the club failed to reach an agreement on a new contract that would keep him at Chelsea past this season.

It's SBI Old-School Q&A Time

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Good morning everybody. I haven't been able to get together an SBI Live Q&A lately, and since I'm probably not going to be able to get one together for this week I wanted to give readers a chance to send some questions in for me to answer.

So I'm bringing back the old school Q&A format for this week.

Gomez one of few bright spots for slow-starting Union

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photo by Patricia Giobetti/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

American soccer fans might best know Gabriel Gomez for his performance in Panama's stunning victory over the U.S. men's national team in the group stages of last summer's Gold Cup. Gomez left his stamp on that game, scoring a goal and setting up another to give Panama its first win over the United States.

Thursday Kickoff: Barca files complaint, Guzan contract talk on hold and more

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Barcelona was held scoreless for the first time in 30 UEFA Champions League matches on Wednesday, and while AC Milan's organized defensive effort accounted for much of the club's frustration, the Spanish power was not entirely thrilled with the playing conditions either.

The defending world champions have lodged a complaint about the condition of the playing surface at the San Siro.

TFC tie Santos Laguna in CCL semifinal opener

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Santos Laguna, the highest-scoring team in Mexico was expected to demolish Toronto FC in their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series. If that is going to happen, Santos will have to do the demolishing down in Mexico.

Toronto FC put on an inspiring performance to battle the top team in Mexico to a stalemate, as the sides played to a 1-1 draw in Toronto on Wednesday night.

AC Milan 0, Barcelona 0: Match Highlights

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Toronto FC vs. Santos Laguna: Your Running Commentary

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Toronto FC kicks off their quest to become the second straight MLS team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League finals tonight when the Reds welcome Mexican power Santos Laguna to BMO Field for the first leg of their semifinal tie (8 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel/Telefutura).

TFC reached the semifinals by springing a surprise on the favored Los Angeles Galaxy, and based on the last couple of results without the injured Torsten Frings, it's going to take a top-notch effort from TFC to get by Santos Laguna, which routed the Seattle Sounders in the second leg of their quarterfinal tie and boast an impressive strikeforce that includes in-form American striker Herculez Gomez.

UCL Rewind: Milan holds Barcelona to scoreless tie, Bayern cruises by Marseille

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

It's all square heading back to Camp Nou as Barcelona and AC Milan battled to a scoreless draw at the San Siro in the opening leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie.

AC Milan wasted early chances from Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic but didn't threaten much after the opening half-hour.

The Unstoppable Herculez Gomez

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To say that Herculez Gomez has seized his opportunity would be accurate, but it wouldn't quite tell the whole story.

Gomez has made the most of his chance to start for Santos Laguna after an injury to Darwin Quintero opened up a place in the club's starting lineup. With five league goals and three CONCACAF Champions League goals since Feb.

Rapids sign one-time U.S. forward Hill

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Kamani Hill is coming back to the United States.

The Colorado Rapids signed the one-time U.S. national team forward on Wednesday, adding him to a forward stable that is already set to get Conor Casey back from injury in the coming weeks.

Sources told SBI that the Rapids acquired Hill through a lottery, which would mean that the club is prohibited from taking part in any other player lottery this season, though the club did not specify that in its official announcement.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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Barcelona and AC Milan met twice in the UEFA Champions League group stage, and they'll treat soccer fans to two more matchups starting with their opening leg of their UCL quarterfinals at the San Siro.

Barcelona rolled through the Round of 16 behind the goalscoring exploits of Lionel Messi.

MLS suspends, fines Clark for anti-gay remark

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Photo by Dani Vernon/ISIphotos.com

Major League Soccer has sent a strong message that should make players think twice before using controversial language in any forum, whether it be on the field or through social media.

The league suspended Houston Dynamo winger Colin Clark three games, fined him an undisclosed amount and mandated him to attend diversity and sensitivity training for using an anti-gay slur toward a Seattle Sounders ball boy during the clubs' match Friday night.

SBI MLS Team of the Week: Chivas USA

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Few visiting teams go into Rio Tinto Stadium and walk out victorious. Especially not when that visiting team is off to a struggling start. Especially not when Real Salt Lake is on a roll after a pair of convincing season-opening victories.

But that's exactly what transpired over the weekend, as Chivas USA stunned RSL with a 1-0 result to capture SBI MLS Team of the Week honors.

TFC defense in need of answers to stop Gomez, Santos Laguna in CCL semifinals

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If Toronto FC is to figure out a remedy for their defensive problems, Wednesday night would be an ideal time to do so.

TFC, Major League Soccer's last hope in the CONCACAF Champions League, welcomes red-hot Herculez Gomez and in-form Santos Laguna to BMO Field Wednesday night for the opening match of their CCL semifinal match (8 p.

Must-See Goal: Thamsanqa Sangweni

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SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Casey Townsend

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Saturday night's game against Real Salt Lake is one that Casey Townsend won't soon forget.

With injuries to forwards Juan Pablo Angel and Alejandro Moreno, Townsend stepped up for Chivas USA, starting his second straight game and delievering the game-winning goal in Chivas' surprising 1-0 victory over RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium to earn SBI MLS Rookie of the Week honors.

Liverpool, Roma to meet at Fenway Park

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Boston-based European club owners will have their teams go head-to-head at one of the United States' most storied stadiums this summer.

After plenty of rumors and speculation, Liverpool officially announced that they will play AS Roma in a summer friendly at Fenway Park this July.

Revolution sign Runstrom

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The New England's Revolution's front line is making way for yet another new face.

The Revs signed Swedish striker Bjorn Runstrom on Wednesday, adding another player to a completely revamped attack. Runstrom joins Saer Sene, Jose Moreno, Fernando Cardenas and Blake Brettschneider as new forwards who have joined the club since the offseason.

UEFA Champions League: Barca faces Milan test, Bayern looks to stay hot

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

AC Milan and Barcelona are set to square off for the third time in this season's UEFA Champions League as the Serie A leaders welcome the defending European champions to the San Siro for the first leg of their quarterfinal tie.

Lionel Messi arrives in Italy with an astounding 12 goals in this season's Champions League, but Barcelona struggled to impose themselves when the two teams met back in September.

Conde pleased after successful return

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com


By DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls' home opener took on a special meaning for Wilman Conde. The Colombian defender's re-integration to Major League Soccer also marked a return to competition after nearly a year away from the game.

APOEL 0, Real Madrid 3: Match Highlights

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Wednesday Kickoff: CONCACAF qualifying, FA cup semifinals set & more

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Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

At least one group in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying played out as expected.

Honduras captured second place in Group B with a 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago at the Home Depot Center Tuesday night behind goals from Eddie Hernandez and Anthony Lozano.

Benfica 0, Chelsea 1: Match Highlights

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UCL Rewind: Madrid score three against APOEL, Chelsea earn win over Benfica

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It took awhile but Chelsea and Real Madrid both scored late to take leads back home.

Chelsea won away in Europe for the first time in 13 months when Salomon Kalou scored late in the second half to give the Blues a 1-0 win against Benfica. The home side had the majority of possession and registered 25 shots but didn't create many real chances.

Tuesday Ticker: England to hire technical director, Gotze extends and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

After years of seeing its national team underperform despite boasting some of the world's best players and most-expensive coaches, the English Football Association has decided it is time for a change.

The English FA said Tuesday that it will hire a technical director in the near future, marking the first time in 10 years that it will do so.

Soccer Tuesday: Your Running Commentary

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The oldest cup competition in the world and the most prestigious tournament in the modern game are on display as the quarterfinals of both the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League kick off this afternoon.

Chelsea take their circus on the road to Portugal as Roberto Di Matteo's men face Benfica (2:45, Fox Soccer).

UEFA Champions League: Madrid try to halt Cinderella, Benfica take on Chelsea

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To say it's David versus Goliath would be an understatement.

APOEL Nicosia are in the midst of one of the more remarkable Champions League runs in recent memory but the powerhouse that is Real Madrid threaten to put an emphatic end to the feel-good story. Cristiano Ronaldo and his Madrid cohorts will travel to Cyprus, a country with a fourth of the population of city of Madrid, to take on APOEL.

Aston Villa to face Fire, Timbers in summer friendlies

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Aston Villa is coming stateside for a pair of preseason friendlies against MLS clubs this summer.

The Portland Timbers and Chicago Fire announced respective matches against the Villans on Tuesday afternoon. Aston Villa, which currently employs forwards Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor, will first take on the Fire at Toyota Park on July 21 before visiting JELD-WEN Field to take on the Timbers on July 24.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

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 Photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com

Trying to pin down the MLS hierarchy through two weeks was already a difficult task. With an upset-filled Week 3 in the books, matters now are all the more complicated.

In a reminder of the league's parity-driven nature, several bottom-dwellers from last week's SBI MLS Power Rankings picked up their first wins of the season to shake up the table.

Klinsmann discusses USA's Olympic qualifying disappointment

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U.S. Men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann was in Nashville for last night's Olympic Qualifying debacle and had plenty to say about it, about the U.S. team and the future of the players and head coach Caleb Porter.

Here are Klinsmann's comments from last night (and apologies for spelling mistakes, I'm about to fly out of Nashville and wanted to get this out):

"We all feel really sorry for the guys," Klinsmann said.

Porter discusses USA's Olympic qualifying elimination

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USA Under-23s 3, El Salvador 3: Match Highlights

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USA U-23s out of Olympic contention after draw with El Salvador

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The U.S. Under-23 men's national team's Olympic dream is over before it ever really got started.

A late blunder by substitute goalkeeper Sean Johnson in the final minute of stoppage time erased a heroic comeback from the United States, as El Salvador knocked the Americans out of Olympic qualifying with a 3-3 draw at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

Olympic Qualifying: USA U-23s vs. El Salvador (Match Night Commentary)

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Win or stay home.

That's what the U.S. Under-23 national team faces tonight in a must-win match against El Salvador in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in Nashville.

Anything but a win and the Americans will be eliminated from the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, while a win would send the United States through into a likely semifinal match-up against Mexico with an Olympic berth up for grabs.

Behind the Crest: Back to Work

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Chelsea return to USA to play Sounders in July

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Chelsea are making their way back to the United States this summer to take on an opponent it is familiar with.

Chelsea will kick off their preseason summer tour in the United States versus the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on July 18, the Premiership club announced on its website on Monday.

Fox Soccer preview of USA/El Salvador Olympic Qualifier

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Manchester United vs. Fulham: Your Running Commentary

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Fulham have lost their last two league games via shutout, and in order to end that poor run on Monday they will have to do so against a Manchester United team still fighting for first place in the Premiership.

Manchester United hosts the Cottagers (3pm, ESPN2) in a match that will pit Clint Dempsey against the likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs.

Agudelo to undergo surgery, will miss six weeks

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photo by ISIphotos.com

If the New York Red Bulls are going to build on their first win of this season in the coming weeks, they will have to do so without Juan Agudelo.

Agudelo is scheduled to undergo surgery in New York City on Monday to repair a torn medial meniscus in his left knee.

Studio 90: A look ahead to tonight's USA-El Salvador Olympic Qualifier

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SBI MLS Player of the Week: Thierry Henry

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In a weekend of outstanding performances, none was more impressive than the virtuoso display put in by New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry.

He delivered two clutch goals and an assist in the Red Bulls 4-1 thrashing of the Colorado Rapids, and as much as there were several important individual performances from his teammates, Henry was the star of the show.

Mid-Day Ticker: Muamba out of bed, violence in Brazil leads to death and more

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The remarkable recovery of Fabrice Muamba took a significant step forward over the weekend with the news the Bolton midfielder was able to get out of bed.

According to a statement released by the London Chest Hospital, Muamba "continues to make encouraging progress in his recovery. Over the weekend he has been able to sit out of bed for a short time, watch television and has begun to eat.

Who should the U.S. U-23s start vs. El Salvador?

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Tonight is do-or-die time for the U.S. men's Under-23 national team. A win tonight against El Salvador and the Americans stay alive in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. Anything less than a win and the United States will see the dream of an Olympic berth eliminated.

U.S.

Kamara's late winner lifts Sporting KC past FCD

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Kei Kamara looked like he might be the player left facing the blame for Sporting Kansas City not keeping their record perfect as Sunday night's match against FC Dallas wound down to a close, but a brilliant sequence and clutch finished changed all that.

Kamara finished off an outstanding passing sequence to deliver the game-winning goal in Sporting KC's 2-1 victory against FC Dallas at Livestrong Sporting Park on Sunday.

Studio 90: Extra Time with Freddy Adu

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European Rewind: City held by Stoke, Rangers win Old Firm and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Manchester City are back atop the English Premier League but it came in less-than-convincing fashion with a 1-1 draw away to Stoke.

Peter Crouch scored one of the goals of the season to give the home side a second-half lead. A long ball from deep inside Stoke's half was headed by Crouch to Jermaine Pennant who then returned a pass to the 6'7 striker.

Marquez, Conde breathe life back into the Red Bulls

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

Though an impressive brace by both Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper may steal headlines, the Red Bull's dominating 4-1 victory over Colorado was more than just the story of a goal-scoring explosion.

The return of Rafa Marquez and Wilman Conde made all the difference in stabilizing and inspiring New York's striking turnaround and helping deliver their first win of the season on Sunday.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

For two veteran Americans plying their trade in Mexico, this weekend saw them boost their chances of getting called in for the U.S. men's national team's friendlies and World Cup qualifiers this summer.

Olympic qualifying rewind: Mexico clinches semis berth, T&T draws Panama

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BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON,Calif. -- A night after the United States slipped against Canada, Mexico made sure that there would be no letdown from them.

Alan Pulido scored a hat trick as Mexico defeated Honduras, 3-0 at the Home Depot Center.

Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas: Your Running Commentary

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Sporting Kansas City will look to keep its perfect record intact with a win tonight against FC Dallas at Livestrong Sporting Park.

Sporting KC has started the 2012 season with a pair of shutout victories, but will face their toughest test to date, against a Dallas side that is also unbeaten at 1-0-1.

Fire hand Union third straight loss

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BY DAVID GUBALA

BRIDGEVIEW, Il -- The plan for the Chicago Fire this season was to kick off right where they left off in 2011 and it seems that they're doing just that.

A piece of brilliance from Marco Pappa and Dominic Oduro was all it took as the Chicago Fire handled a struggling Philadelphia Union side with a 1-0 victory Saturday night at Toyota Park.

Canada U-23s 2, USA 0: Match Highlights

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Must-See Goal: Peter Crouch

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Red Bulls vs. Rapids: Match Day Commentary

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The New York Red Bulls are looking for the first win of the season and will try to do so in their 2012 home opener as they take on the unbeaten Colorado Rapids (4pm, NBC Sports Network).

The Red Bulls endured a rough pair of road games against Western powers to start the season, but take on a Rapids team today that will be without key midfielders Jeff Larentowicz (suspended) and Pablo Mastroeni).

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Juventus may be the only unbeaten team in European soccer, but a rash of draws coupled with AC Milan's red-hot form has left the Turin club trailing in the race for the Serie A title.

Juve is currently seven points behind Milan, but can close that gap back up to four with a win today against Inter Milan.

USA U-23s suffer shock defeat to Canada in Olympic qualifying

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The U.S. Under-23 men's national team's hopes of reaching the 2012 Olympics have been dealt a serious blow.

Two days after routing Cuba, the Americans suffered a shocking 2-0 defeat to Canada at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday night in their second Group A match. Both goals came in the second half off of corner kicks, with Donell Henry and Lucas Cavallini scoring after defensive mistakes from the United States.

USA U-23s vs. Canada: Match Night Commentary

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The U.S. Men's Under-23 national team returns to action tonight in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying with a showdown against Canada (7pm, Universal Sports Network/mun2).

The Americans opened the tournament with a resounding 6-0 victory against Cuba, while Canada struggled through a scoreless draw with El Salvador.

Earthquakes cruise to win over Toronto

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As far as home openers go, Toronto FC and its fans endured a rough one.

After finding out that goalkeeper Stefan Frei would be out for up to 10 weeks with a broken leg on Saturday, Toronto FC fell to 0-2 on the season with a 3-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Field.

Some shaky Toronto defending allowed for Chris Wondolowski to score twice in the match, and he could have had a third if not for hitting a wide open shot off the near post in the second half.

Olympic qualifying rewind: Mexico mauls T&T, Honduras tops Panama in Group B

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photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The Mexican Under-23 national team is off to a flying start in Olympic qualifying.

Mexico kicked off its quest to reach the Summer Games in London with a 7-1 thrashing of Trinidad and Tobago in a Group B match at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

MLS Week 3: Your Running Commentary

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The third week of the MLS season may already be underway, but there are still plenty of matches worth watching on Saturday afternoon.

The arguably biggest game of the day will take place at Toyota Park, where the winless Philadelphia Union will try and bounce back versus the Chicago Fire in a battle of Eastern Conference team.

Studio 90: U-23 MNT Set for Canada

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Sounders hand Dynamo first loss

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The Houston Dynamo started out Friday night's match against the Seattle Sounders looking every bit like a team capable of winning its third straight road game.

The Sounders had other ideas.

A deflected David Estrada goal and a Brad Evans penalty gave Seattle a first-half lead despite Houston starting the match well.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Chelsea and Tottenham are London rivals heading in opposite directions these days, and Saturday their Derby clash will determine whether that continues and they cross paths in the Premier League standings.

Tottenham is sliding these days, winless in four matches and sitting in fourth place after seeing their once comfortable hold on third place erased by surging Arsenal.

Sounders vs. Dynamo: Your Running Commentary

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The high-powered offense of the Seattle Sounders takes on the stingy defense of the Houston Dynamo in the week's top match-up in MLS (10pm, NBC Sports Network).

The Dynamo come in 2-0, having won a pair of road games via shutout, but Seattle will present the toughest toughest test Houston has seen to date.

Mexico set to begin Olympic qualifying run as Group B kicks off

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

CONCACAF Olympic qualifying continues on Friday evening as Group B kicks off at the Home Depot Center. Â The action begins this evening at the Home Depot Center when Honduras faces Panama (9pm EDT/CONCACAF.com) and ends when Mexico takes on Trinidad and Tobago (11:30pm EDT).

Gatt scores in Molde season opener

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Josh Gatt might not be with the U.S. Under-23 men's national team for Olympic qualifying, but that doesn't mean his week still won't be a memorable one.

Recalled by Molde after initially being part of Caleb Porter's 20-man qualifying roster, Gatt scored in his club's Eliteserien season opener as part of a 2-1 win over Stromsgodset.

Califf to sit out Union's Chicago trip

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Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISIphotos.com

The Danny Califf situation continues to raise a few eyebrows in Philadelphia.

After the Philadelphia Union captain was an unused substitute in last week's home opener against the Colorado Rapids, he and manager Peter Nowak had differing stories on why the veteran centerback did not play.

Perez calls on 35 for U.S. U-18 camp

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Photo by Brad Smith/ISIphotos.com

The immediate future of the U.S. men's national team is consumed with Olympic qualifying, but the wave of players in the pipeline behind them are getting to work as well.

New U.S. Under-18 coach Javier Perez has called in 35 players for his first training camp since taking over at the helm a little more than a month ago, with a heavy Development Academy presence being a theme on the roster.

European Look Ahead: Spurs try to stop slide, Juventus face Inter and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

After a dream start to the season, Tottenham are in danger of ending their 2011-2012 campaign in disaster.

Ever since rumors of Harry Redknapp's possible departure to take over the vacant England job emerged, Spurs have had a major dip in form, winning just one point from their last four games.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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A pair of derbies in the United Kingdom should command the attention of soccer fans around the world this weekend.

Rangers and Celtic renew pleasantries in the latest edition of the Old Firm derby, with Celtic running away from their rivals in the league table and Rangers wallowing in a financial crisis that has taken its toll on the field as well.

Porter, players maintain perspective in reaction to opening rout of Cuba

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Photo by Hunter Dorton/ISIphotos.com

Underneath the surface of the United States Under-23 men's national team's 6-0 victory over Cuba is room for improvement.

That's how coach Caleb Porter sees things.

Despite a convincing victory to open Olympic qualifying, Porter was not entirely happy with the way his team played, challenging the U-23s to improve ahead of Saturday's match against Canada in his post-match remarks.

MLS Week 3: A Look Ahead

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 Photo by Stephen Brashear/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

It's a battle of the unbeatens for NBC Sports Network's first Friday night broadcast.

The Houston Dynamo will look for their third consecutive road win to kick off the 2012 campaign at CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Sounders, who downed Toronto last week in their MLS opener.

Behind the Crest: U.S. U-23s' preparation

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Red Bulls Notes: Wait continues for Rodgers, Conde fit for selection and more

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com


By DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls were awaiting an update on the status of Luke Rodgers' on-going attempts to secure a working visa this past Wednesday. What they received instead was an unwelcome wrinkle to the proceedings that leaves the Englishman's fate as uncertain as it ever was.

Friday Kickoff: UEFA, FIFA reach deal; El Salvador, Canada U-23s draw and more

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European clubs have seemingly gotten their way in the battle with FIFA.

UEFA and FIFA reached an agreement at the UEFA Congress for a six-year deal that works heavily in the clubs' favor.Â

As a result of the new pact, there will be no more one-off friendlies such as the one in August right after most club seasons begin, and instead the calendar over the next two years leading up to the World Cup will consist of nine instances of countries playing two friendlies over a few-day span.

U.S. U-23s 6, Cuba 0: Match Highlights

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Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Rangers' hopes of winning the league for a fourth consecutive season are all but over, but that likely won't stop this weekend's match against first-place Celtic from being as fervent as usual.

Rangers host Celtic on Sunday in a game that should still be intense despite Celtic's 21-point lead in the league.

USA U-23s rout Cuba in Olympic qualifying opener

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The U.S. Under-23 men's national team is one of the favorites to qualify for this summer's Olympics, and it lived up to its reputation by starting Olympic qualifying in emphatic fashion.

Led by three goals from midfielder Joe Corona, the United States cruised to a 6-0 victory in its Group A opener against 10-man Cuba at LP Field in Nasvhille, Tenn.

More Olympic Qualifying Preview Material

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The U.S. Men's Under-23 national team begins the march toward Olympic Qualifying tonight against Cuba, and with the U.S. team's opening match of the group stage less than an hour away, here are a few Fox Soccer videos looking ahead to the tournament:Â

More videos are after the jump:

FREDDY ADU DISCUSSES OLYMPIC QUALIFYING

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Here is a link to a Fox Soccer video where I discuss what to expect from the United States in Olympic Qualifying.

Olympic Qualifying: USA vs. Cuba (Match Night Commentary)

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The U.S. Men's Under-23 national team takes the first step toward qualification for the summer Olympics tonight against Cuba in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in Nashville (9pm, Universal Sports Network/mun2).

The Americans enter the tournament as the favorite to win, and tonight's opening match should give us the first indications of just how strong this U.

MLS West Notes: Perk out for 4-6 weeks, Seattle buys out White and more

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BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Galaxy suffered an injury setback on Wednesday as back-up goalkeeper Brian Perk underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia.

Perk suffered injury while with the U.S. Under-23 side during their camp in January and has dealt with the knock throughout the preseason.

The Far Post: Maradona meets Peter Reid

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With Olympic Qualifying set to kick off, Porter talks coaching style & much more

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U.S. Under-23 national team Caleb Porter is one of the most highly-regarded young coaches in American soccer, and his appointment to lead the United States through Olympic Qualifying didn't come as much of a surprise to those familiar with his success at the University of Akron.

Real Madrid unveils plans for $1 billion resort island in United Arab Emirates

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Real Madrid has been known to push the envelope, whether it be with luring the world's top players, or signing expressive coaches in an effort to remain at the forefront of world soccer. What the club has up its sleeve now certainly ups the ante in that regard.

The Spanish power unveiled plans for a $1 billion island resort in the United Arab Emirates that is due to open in January, 2015.

Meet the U.S. U-23s' group opponents

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The group stage for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying is hours from getting underway, as the U.S. Under-23 men's national team faces Cuba in the opening match at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

While Cuba may not seem like a challenging opponent, keep in mind that in 2008 the United States opened its qualifying campaign against Cuba and was held to a 1-1 draw before beating Panama and Honduras en route to the semifinals.

Union Notes: Williams call-up was surprise; Nowak, Califf make up and more

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By JOEY SAMUEL

Philadelphia Union right back Sheanon Williams is with the United States U-23 team as it prepares to open CONCACAF Olympic qualifying. While the call-up is an honor for Williams, Union coach Peter Nowak his staff aren't exactly thrilled with how the situation played out.

Report: Guido signs with Tijuana

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

Alejandro Guido is the latest American heading to Club Tijuana.

The U.S. Under-20 attacking midfielder will join the contingent of Americans at the top-flight Mexican club after signing his first professional contract on Wednesday. According to Yanks Abroad, the 18-year-old Guido signed a three-year deal with Xolos, where he'll team with Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo and Greg Garza.

Mid-Day Ticker: Friedel puts skid in context, Kompany nears return and more

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 Photo by Marc Atkins/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Tottenham may be slumping, but goalkeeper Brad Friedel doesn't feel the pressure.

The American has put his club's recent tailspin into perspective, saying, "Football is not pressure.

Must-See Goal: Dalibor Veselinovic

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Tottenham to face Galaxy, Red Bulls

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Tottenham is set for a return trip to the United States, and they'll play against Major League Soccer's two biggest spenders while they are here.

Spurs announced that they will play the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on July 24 before heading across the country to Red Bull Arena to play the New York Red Bulls as part of the inaugural New York Invitational Cup on July 31.

U.S. U-23s set to begin Olympic qualifying

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Photo by Rick Yeatts/ISIphotos.com

What started with the appointment of a new coach and an evaluation a deep U.S. Under-23 player pool five months ago is set to culminate in meaningful games on the field starting tonight.

The favored U.S. U-23 national team kicks off its quest for the London Olympics at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

Thursday Kickoff: Real Madrid stumbles, Mancini praises Tevez and more

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Real Madrid's lead in La Liga is not so insurmountable anymore.

Jose Mourinho's side played to a drew for the second straight game, allowing 17th-place Villarreal to take a point in a 1-1 draw Wednesday. As a result, Madrid's one-time, 10-point lead over Barcelona is down to six points with 10 games remaining in the league, including one head-to-head matchup at Camp Nou next month.

Queens Park Rangers 3, Liverpool 2: Match Highlights

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Manchester City 2, Chelsea 1: Match Highlights

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Kljestan scores again for Anderlecht

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Sacha Kljestan's strong 2011-2012 season continues.

The American midfielder tallied his fifth goal of the season Wednesday, opening the scoring in Anderlecht's 2-1 victory over Zulte-Waregem. The win wrapped up the regular season for Anderlecht, which finished atop the Belgium Pro League standings and will take a three-point advantage into the six-team league playoff hexagonal, where the top two finishers qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

Henry flies to London to visit Muamba

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba is receiving all kinds of support from around the soccer community as he continues his recovery from a sudden cardiac arrest, including one touching gesture from an MLS star who happens to be one of his former teammates.

Timbers, Dynamo to host Valencia

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After Valencia wraps up what they hope is a spot in next year's UEFA Champions League, the storied Spanish side will head to the United States for a pair of friendlies against MLS teams.Â

Currently in third place in La Liga behind Real Madrid and Barcelona, Valencia will play the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field on May 23 followed by being the Houston Dynamo's opponent in the Dynamo Charities Cup on May 31 at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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Photo by Joe Toth/ISIphotos.com

As the seasons begin to wind down across the globe, the fights atop league tables either for championships or places in the Champions League and Europa League begin to get more fierce. All of that is at stake when Everton meets Arsenal and Manchester City hosts Chelsea in two of the more important games going on this Wednesday.

Studio 90: Extra Time with Perry Kitchen

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Castrillon adapting well with Rapids

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Jaime Castrillon is just two weeks into his first MLS season, but you might not be able to tell based on how he has performed so far.

Through the first two weeks of the 2012 campaign, Castrillon has turned in a pair of solid outings en route to helping the Colorado Rapids jump out to an impressive 2-0 start.

Mid-Day Ticker: Osorio resigns, Guardiola likens Messi to Jordan & more

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Juan Carlos Osorio is on the move again.Â

According to reports from Mexico, the former Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls coach has resigned from his post as manager of Puebla after just a few months in charge.

Osorio, who took over at Puebla in November, has seen his team struggle during the Mexican Clausura campaign.

Soccer Wednesday: A Look Ahead

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With one slip-up against Swansea City, Manchester City finds itself losing its footing in the race for the Premier League title, but it can get right back in the thick of things with a win on Wednesday. Chelsea, meanwhile, has found itself after Andre Villas-Boas' dismissal and is back in the race for a UEFA Champions League spot.

Sounders' Estrada stays grounded after memorable home opener

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

Two things David Estrada would like fans to know: He didn't come from nowhere to suddenly burst onto the Major League Soccer scene with his hat trick last Saturday, and he won't let three goals in a game go to his head.

"I'm not on top of the world," Estrada said.

Which struggling Eastern Conference team is most likely to turn things around?

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Photo by Brad Smith/ISIphotos.com

Three Eastern Conference teams with serious postseason aspirations. Six games. No wins.Â

That's far from how the New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and D.C. United planned on starting a season filled with promise and hope.

Wednesday Kickoff: Coyle speaks with Muamba, English clubs fined and more

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Fabrice Muamba remains in serious condition and in intensive care as attempts to recover from a cardiac arrest, but each day appears to bear improvement.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle spoke with Muamba briefly for the first time since the incident, telling the BBC that "There is still a long way to go, but that is really positive.

Lionel Messi's 234 goals for Barcelona

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Lionel Messi made more history on Tuesday, breaking Barcelona's team record for career goals, with his hat-trick against Granada helping him surpass Cesar Rodriguez on Barca's all-time list.

Messi's club goal total is now up to 234, an astronomical number for a player who is just 24 years old.

Williams added to official U.S. U-23 Olympic qualifying roster

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photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. Under-23 men's national team tasked with reaching this summer's Olympics is set, and the lone addition to the preliminary squad is Sheanon Williams.

The Philaelphia Union right back was summoned by head coach Caleb Porter on Tuesday to replace defender Josh Gatt, who was recalled by his club this past weekend.

Rosales out for Houston match with knee injury

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photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

If the Seattle Sounders are going to beat the undefeated Houston Dynamo on Friday, they will have to do so without one of their key players.

Midfielder Mauro Rosales has been ruled out of the Sounders' upcoming game against Houston with a sprained right knee.

Vancouver rookie Mattocks sidelined after suffering burns in cooking mishap

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photo by JN Santos/ISIphotos.com

Vancouver Whitecaps rookie forward Darren Mattocks has been sidelined indefinitely after suffering burns while cooking dinner this past weekend.

According to a Whitecaps press release, Mattocks was preparing dinner on Sunday when he suffered burns to his upper right arm and shoulder.

Agent fires shot at Red Bulls over Ballack

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

Michael Ballack has long been rumored to join the New York Red Bulls as their third designated player. That assumption may have just been put to rest. According to an interview with Goal.com, the midfielder's agent, Michael Becker, claims Red Bull General Manager Erik Soler has other plans.

Mid-Day Ticker: Messi eyes Barca record, Kaiserslautern fires manager and more

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Lionel Messi is set to make Barcelona history yet again.

After some recent adjustments to the total goal-scoring tally, the 24-year-old striker is one goal away from tying Cesar Rodriguez for Barcelona's all-time leading scorer. La Vanguardia newspaper in Spain, in collaboration with Barcelona, revised Rodriguez's total tally down to 232 goals.

Studio 90: Extra Time with Ike Opara

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SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 2

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 Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

It may be early in the 2012 season, but the Western Conference is already well on its way to proving its dominance.

Seven of the top nine clubs in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings hail from the West, with Real Salt Lake, the Seattle Sounders and the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first three positions.

SBI MLS Best XI: Week Two

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Led by a trio of outstanding performances by forwards, the SBI MLS Best XI for Week 2 is stacked with plenty of attacking talent.

Player of the Week David Estrada leads the way, and is joined on the squad by teammate and partner in goal-creating crime Alvaro Fernandez. River-dancing striker Kei Kamara garnered recognition as well, and so did LA Galaxy Designated Players Robbie Keane and David Beckham.

Tuesday Kickoff: Teixeira steps down, EPL to review medical policy and more

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Â

Former head of the Brazilian Football Federation Ricardo Teixeira has resigned from the FIFA Executive Committee, CONEMBOL announced late last night.

The move comes a week after Teixeira stepped down as chief of the Brazilian Federation and head of preparation for the 2014 World Cup.

Frings to miss 4-6 weeks with strained hamstring

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Toronto FC made waves when they eliminated the LA Galaxy from the CONCACAF Champions League, but the momentum from that victory took a big hit after word that star defender Torsten Frings will be sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Frings will miss 4-6 weeks with the strained right hamstring suffered during Toronto FC's 3-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, the team announced on Tuesday morning.

MLS Team of the Week: Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting Kansas City's dismantling of the New England Revolution was a study in how to make full use of a man advantage, as their attack punished the 10-man Revs on their way to a 3-0 drubbing at Livestrong Sporting Park.

In a weekend where not every team that enjoyed a man advantage could make the most of it, Sporting KC provided a textbook example of how to stretch a team open and break down a short-handed side.

Red Bulls continue to search for answers

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

Last week's loss to FC Dallas forced New York Red Bull's head coach Hans Backe to tinker with his lineup. Facing a difficult challenge against Real Salt Lake, New York changed their formation, tactic, and personnel in an attempt to steal points on the road.

U.S. Under-23 training camp update

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Muamba showing "slight improvement," still in intensive care

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Two days after nearly dying of a massive heart attack, Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba is showing signs of improvement, according to a statement released from Barts Hospital and Bolton Wanderers.

Muamba will remain anaesthetised for the next 24 hours but doctors have said the 23-year-old's heart is "beating without aid of medication and he is also moving his arms and legs.

Mid-Day Ticker: Suarez open to staying, Kean willing to posptone and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Luis Suarez's future at Liverpool may be up in the air, but he is hoping to end any and all speculation by signing a new deal with the club.

Plagued by controversy since joining Liverpool from Ajax in January 2011, Suarez is keen on extending his time with the Reds.

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Tony Cascio

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The Colorado Rapids are off to an impressive 2-0 start to the 2012 season and one of the players instrumental to that good start is rookie Tony Cascio.

The UConn product has found a starting role on the veteran Rapids side and done well with the opportunity. On Sunday, he played like a veteran in Colorado's 2-1 victory against Philadelphia.

European Rewind: Juve's attack rolls, Torres ends scoring drought, and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Juventus finally saw an offensive outburst after weeks of low-scoring tilts, but the unbeaten club failed to move any closer to AC Milan despite a 5-0 romp over Fiorentina.

Five different players scored goals for Juve, which stayed within striking distance of AC Milan, who kept their four-point lead atop the Serie A standings after a 2-0 win against Parma.

Must-See Goal: Lionel Messi

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SBI MLS Player of the Week: David Estrada

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In three years in MLS, David Estrada had never scored a single goal in MLS play.

On Saturday, he took a major step toward making up for that drought, scoring a hat-trick to help Seattle post a 3-1 victory against Toronto FC. A performance that made Estrada the easy choice for SBI MLS Player of the Week.

Monday Kickoff: Klinsmann rules out Spurs, Muamba stable and more

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By CALEB SONNELAND

Already on a three-game win streak that included a 1-0 victory over Italy, Jurgen Klinsmann endeared himself to US national team fans even further.

The German coach declared himself "extremely proud and privileged to be US national team coach," when asked if he would consider replacing Harry Redknapp at Tottenham Hotspur this summer.

Keane's brace powers Galaxy over DC United

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BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- During the first two weeks of their season, the Los Angeles Galaxy struggled to score goals, but against DC United, the goals finally came--and in bunches.Â

Robbie Keane scored two goals and Marcelo Sarvas added a third as the Galaxy defeated DC United 3-1.

Shea leads USA U-23s to win over Silverbacks

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photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

Brek Shea led the U.S. Under-23 men's national team to victory in their final tuneup before Olympic qualifying, scoring two goals in a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks.

Shea scored his brace against the NASL club in the first half of the closed-door scrimmage played at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

If Clarence Goodson is trying to keep himself in the conversation for a spot on the U.S. men's national team for this summer's World Cup qualifying, he did a good job of that this weekend.

Playing in his third game since Denmark's Superliga's winter break ended, Goodson scored the winner as Brondby IF knocked off FC Nordsjaelland, 2-1.

LA Galaxy vs. D.C. United: Match Night Commentary

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The Los Angeles Galaxy have lost two straight matches at Home Depot Center, but will be heavily favored to stop the surprising skid when they take on D.C. United tonight (7pm, Direct Kick).

The Galaxy will have to shake off the disappointment of being eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League, and will have the benefit of facing a short-handed D.

Ten-man Rapids knock off mis-firing Union

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By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. -- The Philadelphia Union created a good number of chances in the first half of Sunday's match against Colorado, but they ultimately paid the price for not being able to put any of those chances in the net.

Despite losing Jeff Larentowicz to a red card, the Colorado Rapids scored two goals in a six-minute span and held on with only ten men to defeat the Philadelphia Union, 2-1, in the Union's home opener at PPL Park on Sunday.

Gatt recalled by Molde, will miss Olympic qualifying

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photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

U.S. Under-23 men's national team head coach Caleb Porter will need to call in another player for his Olympic qualifying side, as defender Josh Gatt has returned to Molde FK.

Having suffered a string of injuries, the Norweigian club recalled Gatt on Sunday, leaving the United States without one of its more talented and versatile players.

Union vs. Rapids: Match Night Commentary

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The Philadelphia Union play their first home game of the 2012 MLS season today when they take on the Colorado Rapids at PPL Park (4pm, NBC Sports Network).

The Union come in smarting after a rough 3-1 loss at Portland, and will be without midfielder Freddy Adu, who is now with the U.

Nagbe goal gives Timbers draw against FC Dallas

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The Portland Timbers avoided suffering their first defeat of the season, and they can thank Darlington Nagbe for that.

Minutes after entering the game, Nagbe scored the equalizer for the Timbers in their 1-1 draw with FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Saturday night.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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The races across Europe for UEFA Champions League places next season are almost as important as the race for league titles, with teams desperately vying for the valuable income that comes with those precious qualification places.

The race in Serie A is as intense as any other, with four teams within six points of the fourth and final place in the Serie A standings.

Muamba in fight for life after collapsing in FA Cup match

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The soccer world was left in a state of shock on Saturday after Bolton midfielder Patrice Muamba collapsed during an FA Cup match from an apparent heart attack.

Muamba fell to the ground during Bolton's FA Cup quarterfinal against Tottenham, leading to paramedics to work to save his life after a massive heart attack left him unconscious.

DeMerit's first MLS goal gives Whitecaps first road win

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BY JONATHAN VERA

CARSON, Calif. – Last year the Vancouver Whitecaps finished dead last in the league without mustering an away victory all season. However, in this year's campaign the Caps are off to a great 2-0-0 start and recorded their first away win in MLS play, beating Chivas USA, 1-0, at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.

RSL stay unbeaten, topple struggling Red Bulls

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Real Salt Lake continued their dominance of the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night, shutting down the Red Bulls offense yet again on their way to another impressive victory.

Goals from Fabian Espindola and Luis Gil were all RSL needed as the team's tough defense posted a fourth straight shutout against New York, frustrating Thierry Henry and Co.

Estrada hat-trick leads Sounders past TFC

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The Seattle Sounders didn't take much time getting over their CONCACAF Champions League elimination, returning to CenturyLink Field to open the 2012 MLS season in stylish fashion.

Sounders forward David Estrada not only scored his first career MLS goal, he notched a hat-trick in the process, to lead Seattle to a commanding 3-1 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday night.

Impact draw Fire in home opener

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The Montreal Impact had a lot to celebrate about in their MLS home opener, but winning their first game was not one of them.

Playing in front of a record crowd of 58,912 at Olympic Stadium, the Impact scored their first MLS goal and looked poised for victory before the Chicago Fire pulled level to secure a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon.

MLS Week 2: Your Running Commentary

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The second week of the MLS season kicks off this afternoon in Montreal, where the Impact will be making their home debut at Olympic Stadium against the Chicago Fire.

The most high-profile match of the day takes place in Utah, where Real Salt Lake will look to build on their impressive opening-week win by beating the New York Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Tim Howard will look to move a step closer to silverware today when he leads Everton into the FA Cup quarterfinals against Sunderland in one of the days top matches.

The Toffees come in off a disappointing derby day loss to Liverpool during the week, but a win today would ease that disappointment as it would cliinch a semifinal berth and trip to Wembley with a win against the Black Cats.

MLS Week 2: A Look Ahead

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By THOMAS FLOYD

Come Saturday, the city of Montreal will officially introduce itself to Major League Soccer.

After starting the season on the road last weekend, the expansion Impact will play their home opener against the Chicago Fire at Olympic Stadium.

Porter talks final qualifying preparations

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MLS Notes: Salgado rumored to sign, Corradi available for Impact and more

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Add Michel Salgado to the list of big-name European players connected to a move to Major League Soccer.Â

The former longtime Real Madrid standout, UEFA Champions League winner and current Blackburn right back is contemplating a summer move to MLS, according to Spanish outlet Marca.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

The FA Cup has been littered with surprises, and the three biggest remaining clubs will look to avoid that upset bug as the quarterfinals commence this weekend.

Chelsea looks to stay hot under Roberto Di Matteo when it hosts Leicester City, Tottenham faces relegation-threatened Bolton and Liverpool takes on Stoke City in three of the quarterfinal fixtures.

TFC Notes: Silva's happy homecoming, club returns to BMO for semis and more

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By ADAM SERRANO

An attendance of 7,500 was announced as Toronto FC defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals Wednesday night. According to TFC rookie midfielder Luis Silva, 300 of those were his own family and friends.

European Look Ahead: Pressure on in Germany, FA Cup resumes and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

With a thrilling week of UEFA Champions League play over and a few high-profile fixtures looming next week, the slate of games around Europe this weekend lacks the prestige of high-profile clubs taking each other on.

That's not to say races for both league titles and next season's European places will not take significant steps forward.

Report: Galaxy extend sponsorship deal with record pact

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

The results might not have gone the Los Angeles Galaxy's way on the field this week, but off the field, the Galaxy have come up big yet again.

For the second time in the last five months, the Los Angeles Galaxy have reached a long-term, multimillion-dollar deal that reinforces their financial viability.

Pumas win big to complete CCL semis

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The CONCACAF Champions League semifinals are set after another rout capped off the latest round.

Pumas UNAM, which entered Thursday night's second leg against Isidro Metapan in a 2-1 hole, unleashed an 8-0 beating on its Salvadoran counterpart to become the third Mexican team to qualify for the tournament semifinals.

Altidore, Cherundolo and Jones to face Spanish foes in Europa quarters

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U.S. national team starters Jozy Altidore, Steve Cherundolo and Jermaine Jones all saw their teams draw tough Spanish opponents in the Europa League quarterfinals, which were drawn on Friday.

Altidore will be returning to action in Spain for the first time since leaving Villarreal as AZ Alkmaar takes on Valencia, while Jermaine Jones and Schalke will try to stop the impressive attack of Athletic Bilbao.

AC Milan-Barcelona headlines UCL quarterfinal draw

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Defending champion Barcelona will take on Italian power AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, the toughest match-up in the quarterfinal draw, which took place on Friday.

While Barca earned the toughest draw, Real Madrid was given the easiest quarterfinal draw, taking on Cyprus-based APOEL Nicosia.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Tim Howard is eyeing silverware this season, but he will have to bounce back from a lopsided loss earlier in the week in order to keep that dream alive.

Having suffered a 3-0 loss to rival Liverpool on Tuesday, Howard and Everton will try to rebound when they host Sunderland in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Galaxy Notebook: Keane battling confidence issues, Meyer takes his lumps and more

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Robbie Keane arrived in Los Angeles with a swagger and a clinical scoring touch, but now as he enters his second season with the Los Angeles Galaxy, it appears that he will have to re-discover it all over again.Â

Since returning from an offseason loan to Aston Villa, Keane has been unable to develop a real connection with his new forward partner Edson Buddle while also failing to display the clinical touch that he enjoyed just months ago.

Europa League rewind: Jones scores winner, Manchester clubs ousted & more

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Jermaine Jones was a Schalke hero on Thursday.

The U.S. national team midfielder scored the deciding goal and assisted on an insurance tally in Schalke's 4-1 victory over FC Twente, capping a furious comeback to keep the German side alive in the UEFA Europa League.

Twente led 1-0 on aggregate entering the match and scored a key away goal to put Schalke in a big hole in the 14th minute.

Studio 90: U.S. U-23s arrive in Nashville

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Red Bulls Notes: Henry sounds off on FC Dallas loss, Cooper set to start & more

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

As the final whistle blew on the New York Red Bulls' season-opening loss to FC Dallas, no one was more visibly angered than Thierry Henry - and with good reason. The Red Bulls' lack of rhythm, cohesion and inability to move forward was a throw-back to a time he would have much rather forgotten.

UEFA Europa League: Your Running Commentary

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It's do-or-die for the two Manchester powerhouses.

Manchester United and Manchester City both face deficits heading into the second legs of their respective Europa League Round of 16 ties. Athletic Bilbao managed three goals in a 3-2 win at Old Trafford last week, putting the favored Red Devils in a corner as they head to Spain.

MLS Notes: Sapong gets new deal, Mosquera's ITC approved and more

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Photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com

C.J. Sapong has shown no signs of slowing down after bursting onto the MLS scene as an impact rookie last season, and Sporting Kansas City has already shown its faith in the player by locking him up to a new contract.

Just a game into his second season as a professional, Sapong signed a new deal with SKC on Thursday, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Mid-Day Ticker: Drogba wants to stay at Chelsea, Pele to join WC meeting & more

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 Photo by Marc Atkins/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

It's a bit premature to say Didier Drogba's days at Stamford Bridge are numbered. At least the striker thinks so.

Drogba said Wednesday that he would like to stay with Chelsea for "as long as possible.

What was your MLS Goal of the Week?

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Major League Soccer's opening week is in the books, and while a few team performances are what stood out the most, there were some individual moments that deserve another look.

A few of the First Kick goals boasted quality right of the gates to help kick off MLS' 17th season.

Galaxy 1, Toronto FC 2: Match Highlights

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D.C. United signs lease to stay at RFK Stadium through 2013

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D.C. United is not going anywhere. At least not in the next two years, anyway.

The club agreed to a two-year lease extension with RFK Stadium operator Events D.C. over the weekend and announced the terms on Thursday. The new agreement ensures United of staying in the only home stadium they have known through the 2013 MLS season.

Santos 6, Sounders 1: Match Highlights

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Impact sign Italian striker Corradi

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The Montreal Impact needed help at striker, and help at striker is what they have received.Â

The Impact signed 35-year-old Italian striker Bernardo Corradi, a veteran of Serie A and someone who brings a wealth of European experience and goals to the Impact. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports out of Italy in recent days suggested that Corradi was going to be on a short-term deal that would be revisited in the summer.

Thursday Kickoff: Abidal needs liver transplant, 75 charged in Egypt & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Barcelona will be without Eric Abidal for the rest of the season as the defender needs to undergo liver transplant.

Abidal had liver surgery a year ago to remove a cancerous tumor but was able to recover by the end of the season to make an emotional return.

Santos Laguna advances to CCL semis with rout of Sounders

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The chances that an MLS club wins the CONCACAF Champions League this year got a little slimmer, as the Seattle Sounders crashed out of the tournament in embarrassing fashion.

Led by two goals from red-hot striker Herculez Gomez, Santos Laguna defeated the Sounders, 6-1, in the second leg of the quarterfinals series on Tuesday night to advance to the semifinals on aggregate, 7-3.

Toronto FC eliminate LA Galaxy from CCL

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BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- Toronto FC made Canadian soccer history by knocking off the LA Galaxy, 2-1 to be the first Canadian side to advance to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League. TFC will take on Mexican side Santos Laguna in the CCL semifinals.

CCL Quarterfinals: Match Night Commentary

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The Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and Toronto FC look to move into the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals with victories tonight in second-leg quarterfinal action.

The Galaxy take on TFC at Home Depot Center tonight (10pm, Fox Soccer Channel) needing a win or a low-scoring draw to advance after posting a 2-2 draw in the opening leg in Toronto.

UCL Rewind: Chelsea rally past Napoli, Real Madrid routs CSKA

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Chelsea are through to the quarterfinals of the Champions League following a thrilling comeback victory over Napoli at Stamford Bridge.

Branislov Ivanovic fired home a winner at the end of the first half of stoppage time as Chelsea won 4-1 on the night and 5-4 on aggregate

Napoli carried a 3-1 advantage into the second leg but the two-goal lead was erased by goals from Didier Drogba and John Terry.

Former U.S. forward Souza, 91, dies

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John "Clarkie" Souza, a starting forward for the 1950 U.S. men's national team that defeated England in the World Cup, passed away on Sunday. He was 91.

Souza, a Fall River, Mass., native, member of the successful Ponta Delgada club and a World War II veteran, was a 1976 inductee into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Galaxy look to rebound, Toronto FC in search of upset in CCL quarterfinal

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Photo by Nick Turchiaro/ISIphotos.com


By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- The stakes are clear for the Los Angeles Galaxy and Toronto FC.

Fueled by a crowd of nearly 47,658 at the Rogers Centre, TFC jumped out to a 2-0 lead last Wednesday, but the Galaxy roared back, scoring two goals -- including an 88th-minute equalizer from Landon Donovan -- to bring the aggregate to 2-2 going into Wednesday night's second leg (10 p.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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It could be a bleak day for English soccer, as Chelsea is the country's last remaining hope in the UEFA Champions League and faces a two-goal deficit ahead of their Round of 16 second leg against Napoli.

The two tangle at Stamford Bridge after a 3-1 result that went in favor of the attack-minded Italian side.

Brazil's preliminary Olympic roster

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Brazil is considered by most to be the favorite (if not co-favorite with Spain) to take home the gold medal at this summer's Olympics in London and for good reason -- the potential roster is stacked with talent.

Headlined by Under-23 standouts Neymar, Paulo Henrique Ganso, Lucas, Philippe Coutinho, Leandro Damiao and Alexandre Pato, a 52-man preliminary roster was assembled by manager Mano Menezes, one that may prove difficult to trim down.

Sounders look to finish off Santos in tonight's CCL decider

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The Seattle Sounders have made the trip south to Mexico in search of survival and chance to move a step closer to a CONCACAF Champions League title. It is a trip no MLS team has ever returned from triumphantly, but the Sounders look more than capable of making history.

The Sounders have taken a one-goal lead down to Torreon, Mexico, after posting a 2-1 victory in the first leg.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 1

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

We're only one week into the season, but the SBI MLS Power Rankings have already experienced an unexpected shake-up at the top.

For all the offseason talk about how the Los Angeles Galaxy have only gotten better since their MLS Cup triumph, Real Salt Lake moved to No.

Mid-Day Ticker: Rogers returns to action, MLS owners make SBJ list and more

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A few weeks after an ominous Leeds United debut, Robbie Rogers is back in action.

The American winger played in a club friendly against Carlisle United and scored on Tuesday, marking his return to the field for Leeds after suffering a concussion in his debut on Feb. 18. After coming on as a 79th-minute substitute, Rogers clashed heads with Doncaster Rovers' Tommy Spurr on a 50-50 ball and had to be taken off in stoppage time.

Willis prepared to take D.C. starting role

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By AVI CREDITOR

WASHINGTON -- Joe Willis was well aware of the early-season opportunity that could come knocking at his door, and now that moment has arrived.

With starting goalkeeper Bill Hamid slated to miss D.

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Sebastian Velasquez

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Not many MLS fans were aware of exactly who Real Salt Lake was picking when the club selected Sebastian Velasquez in the second round of this past January's MLS SuperDraft. They have a better idea now.Â

The unheralded Velasquez earned a surprise start and was an integral part of RSL's 3-1 victory over the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy Saturday night, winning the season's first SBI MLS Rookie of the Week honors.

MLS Notes: FC Dallas inks Colombian striker, Impact ticket sales climb & more

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The Colombian influence in MLS continues to grow.

FC Dallas continued to do their part in maintaining the trend by signing 25-year-old Colombian striker Luis Perea, adding a complement up top to Blas Perez and giving FCD more firepower during a time which Brek Shea is off on U.

UEFA Champions League: Chelsea need comeback, Madrid return home & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

If Chelsea are to win their long-sought-after UEFA Champions League title, they must mount a comeback against a high-powered opponent in Wednesday's Round of 16 second leg with Napoli.

Napoli bring a 3-1 advantage into Stamford Bridge to take on a Chelsea side trying to find its way after the firing of Andre Villas-Boas.

Wednesday Kickoff: Monterrey through in CCL, Ranieri safe at Inter and more

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Monterrey's quest to defend its CONCACAF Champions League title is very much alive.

Humberto Suazo scored two more goals as Los Rayados coasted to a 4-1 victory (7-2 on aggregate) over Morelia and sealed a place in the CCL semifinals.

Luis Perez and Walter Ayovi added goals for Monterrey, which was in the control before the second leg even started after turning in three away goals in a 3-1 first-leg victory.

Bayern Munich 7, FC Basel 0: Match Highlights

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Taylor called into USA U-23 camp

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photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. Under-23 men's national team roster for Olympic qualifying appears set, with forward Tony Taylor getting called in as the 20th player on the squad.

Taylor was not originally included on the U.S. team, but an injury to an unnamed player (believed to be Columbus Crew midfielder Dilly Duka) over the weekend forced head coach Caleb Porter to look for an alternative.

Porter cites versatility as a key factor for Olympic qualifying success

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By FRANCO PANIZO

When it comes to tournaments spanning a few weeks, versatility is often discussed as a positive trait for players to have.

The U.S Under-23 men's national team has a lot of those players, and head coach Caleb Porter believes their versatility will be key to the group's advancement to the 2012 Olympics.

UCL Rewind: Bayern run rampant and Marseille score late to advance

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

The clock struck midnight and Cinderella's carriage turned back into a pumpkin as Bayern Munich ran rampant over FC Basel, winning 7-0 on the night and 7-1 on aggregate.

Mario Gomez scored four goals for Bayern to take his goal tally to 34 on the season and record his 11th hat trick since December of 2010.

Soccer Tuesday: Your Running Commentary

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The last time Everton faced off against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby, Liverpool came out victorious despite Tim Howard's valiant effort in goal.

The Toffees will be hoping for more of the same from Howard as they attempt to exact revenge against their rival in their final match-up of the season.

SBI MLS Team of the Week: Real Salt Lake

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photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

Real Salt Lake faces serious competition for the top spot in the Western Conference this season, but they got off to an impressive start in Week 1 by going on the road and defeating the reigning MLS champions.

Trailing the Los Angeles Galaxy after Edson Buddle scored off a header in the 71st minute, Real Salt Lake responded with three goals in 17 minutes.

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Kalif Alhassan

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Photo by Patricia Giobetti/ISIphotos.com

The Portland Timbers kicked off their second season in style, and right winger Kalif Alhassan had as much to do with that as anybody.

Alhassan had a goal and an assist in the Timbers' 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union Monday night to take home the season's first SBI MLS Player of the Week honors.

Impact hoping to break record in home opener

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When the Montreal Impact play their first home game as an MLS team on Saturday, a crowd of over 46,500 is expected to attend.

That is not enough for the Impact, as they want to break a record.

Set to play their home opener against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, Montreal has added 2,000 seats to Olympic Stadium in an effort to break the city's attendance record.

Mid-Day Ticker: Corinthians consider bid for Tevez, PSV appoints Cocu and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Carlos Tevez has been in the headlines more often than not in recent months, and he will be in more after Corinthians expressed an interest in possibly bringing back the troubled Argentine striker.

Having parted ways with Brazilian forward Adriano, Corinthians is interested in signing a striker this summer and are contemplating whether to make a bid for Tevez.

Morales & Saborio receive green cards, freeing up international spots for RSL

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photo by Nick Turchiaro/ISIphotos.com

The good news just continues to pile in for Real Salt Lake.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Alvaro Saborio and Javier Morales have received green cards, making them both lawful residents of the United States. That also means that the duo no longer count toward the MLS roster limits, and RSL can used the freed up international roster spots on other players.

USA U-23s to play Silverbacks in closed-door scrimmage

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photo by Rick Yeatts/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. Under-23 men's national team is just over a week away from opening its Olympic qualifying campaign, and it will prepare for that with a game against the Atlanta Silverbacks.

Caleb Porter's side will take on Atlanta in a closed-door scrimmage on March 18 at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.

Toronto signs defender Emory

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Out goes one defender and in comes another for Toronto FC.

Just days after agreeing to part ways with centerback Geovanny Caicedo, Toronto signed defender Logan Emory. The 24-year-old Emory, who last played for the Puerto Rico Islanders, joined Toronto FC on trial during the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando this past offseason.

Tuesday Kickoff: Man Utd eyes Hazard, Everton to face Liverpool and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

When Paul Scholes ultimately decides to hang up his cleats, Manchester United will need to replace their masterful midfielder with someone capable of filling his role.

That someone could be Eden Hazard.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson spent this past Saturday watching Lille suffer a 2-1 loss to Lyon, and he was reportedly scouting the Belgian international ahead of this summer's transfer window.

UEFA Champions League: Basel primed for the upset, Inter looks to rally

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

FC Basel will look to write another chapter to their Cinderella story today when the plucky Swiss champions take a one-goal lead into the Allianz Arena to face Bayern Munich in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

FC Basel is no stranger to playing the underdog.

Timbers 3, Union 1: Match Highlights

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Timbers top Union in season opener

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The Portland Timbers could not have asked for a much better start to the MLS season.

Playing in the final Week 1 match of the new campaign, the Timbers defeated the Philadelphia Union, 3-1, on a rainy night inside a packed Jeld-Wen Field. The hosts fell behind early in the second half, but responded with three unanswered goals from newcomers Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Kris Boyd and Kalif Alhassan.

Portland Timbers vs. Philadelphia Union: Match Night Commentary

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The final match of opening week of the 2012 MLS season takes place in Portland, where the Timbers play host to the Philadelphia Union at Jeld-Wen Field (9pm, ESPN2).

The Timbers start off the season as a popular bet to make the jump from just missing the playoffs to making the playoffs.

Shea, Adu, Agudelo headline U.S. Olympic Qualifying squad

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U.S. men's national team veterans Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo and Freddy Adu headline a strong 19-man roster for the U.S. Men's Olympic Qualifying squad.

U.S. Under-23 head coach Caleb Porter announced the team on Monday and the only real surprise was the omission of Hertha Berlin midfielder/defender Alfredo Morales, whose release was not mandatory for the tournament.

Arsenal vs. Newcastle: Your Running Commentary

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Arsenal looks to keep their hot streak going today against Newcastle in a battle of teams with Champions League aspirations (4pm, ESPN2).

The Gunners will need to get over their UEFA Champions League loss to AC Milan in a hurry as the Magpies look to draw closer to both Arsenal and Chelsea, which both have a five-point lead on 6th-place Newcastle.

Which team impressed the most in MLS Week 1?

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The opening week of 2012 MLS action concludes with tonight's Portland-Philadelphia clash, and we have already had seen several outstanding team performances to start the year.

Whether it was Real Salt Lake's impressive win against LA, to Vancouver's outstanding victory against expansion side Montreal, there were some matches that had to leave fans excited about what lies ahead in 2012.

Must-See Goal: Quincy Amarikwa

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U.S. Olympic qualifying roster set to be named

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U.S. Men's Under-23 national team head coach Caleb Porter is expected to unveil the 20-player roster for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament later today and there aren't likely to be many surprises in the group he selects.

You need only look at the team he put together in a recent training camp in Texas for a glimpse of what the qualifying roster should look like.

Whitecaps 2, Impact 0: Match Highlights

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Frustration abounds in Red Bull's opening day loss

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls had months to address many of the pressing problems surrounding the team, but their opening day loss felt quite familiar. Defensive miscues put young rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara under fire, set piece situation's looked as shaky as ever, and the team could only manage to find an attacking rhythm in spurts.

DC United 0, Sporting KC 1: Match Highlights

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European Rewind: Manchester City upset, Juventus draw again and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Manchester City's march to the Premier League title hit a significant stumbling block over the weekend with the former league leaders losing 1-0 to Swansea in Wales.

Substitute Luke Moore headed home the game-winning goal just seven minutes from time to give the Swans a shocking upset.

Hainault’s late winner leads Dynamo past Chivas USA

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BY JONATHAN VERA

CARSON, Calif. – The Houston Dynamo came into the Home Depot Center in hopes starting the season as strong as they ended last year, but keeper Dan Kennedy and company held them off for 90 minutes before Canadian defender Andre Hainault helped the visiting Dynamo snatch three points late.

LA Galaxy 1, Real Salt Lake 3: Match Highlights

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Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Bolton Wanderers climbed out of the relegation zone this weekend, and it can partially thank Tim Ream for that.

Playing in his fourth game for Bolton since joining the club in January, Ream helped the club beat Queens Park Rangers in a game with relegation implications for both sides.

FC Dallas 2, NY Red Bulls 1: Match Highlights

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Santos Laguna 3, Puebla 1: Match Highlights

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It isn't often you have three goals scored in one match by American players in a foreign league (well, unless Clint Dempsey is doing it), but that's what happened in Mexico on Saturday night as Herculez Gomez scored two goals and DaMarcus Beasley added another in Santos Laguna's 3-1 win over Puebla.

Schedule called into question after Galaxy loss to RSL

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- Before the Los Angeles Galaxy suited up against Real Salt Lake, the looming question was, justwho would start in the home opener three days after a hard-fought CONCACAF Quarterfinals match against Toronto FC?

FC Dallas vs. NY Red Bulls: Match Day Commentary

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The New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas kick off their 2012 MLS campaigns today in Frisco, Texas in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Wild Card Game (3pm, NBC Sports).

The Red Bulls will look to duplicate the success it had at the FC Dallas Stadium, but will face a tougher test against an FC Dallas side that revamped its squad in pre-season.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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The battle for first place in the English Premier League continues to rage on as arch-rivals Manchester City and Manchester United continue to pull away from the pack as they keep pressuring each other.

Manchester City holds the lead at the moment, but face a tricky test on the road against Swansea City.

Second-half rally helps RSL topple Galaxy

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 By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- Three goals in the second half proved the difference as Real Salt Lake spoiled the Los Angeles Galaxy's MLS Cup banner unveiling, handing the Galaxy their first loss at home in more than a year.

Three unanswered  goals from RSL, including tallies from Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola, helped stun the Galaxy, who opened the scoring on an Edson Buddle strike.

Sapong's stoppage-time strike gives Kansas City win over D.C. United

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By THOMAS FLOYD

WASHINGTON -- C.J. Sapong may be a hometown kid, but on this night, he didn't leave the D.C. fans terribly pleased.

The Sporting Kansas City striker and Northern Virginia native nodded home a Graham Zusi corner kick in stoppage time, stunning the RFK Stadium faithful as the visitors recorded a 1-0 win over D.

MLS Week 1: Match Night Commentary

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The seventeenth season of Major League Soccer kicks off today as teams from Vancouver to Washington D.C. begin their new campaigns.

The Montreal Impact will make their debut as the league's 19th team, taking on Canadian rival in Vancouver. Meanwhile in LA, the Galaxy kick off defending their MLS Cup championship by facing fellow Western Conference power Real Salt Lake in the day's best match-up.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Tim Howard celebrated his 33rd birthday earlier this week and will be looking for a belated birthday present in the form of a victory against fellow American Brad Friedel and Tottenham today.

Today's Tottenham clash is the first game in a big week of matches for Everton, with the Toffees taking on Liverpool on Tuesday and playing in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Saturday against Sunderland.

SBI Season Preview: Colorado Rapids

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photo by Stephen Brashear/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Two years removed from winning their first MLS Cup, the Colorado Rapids have undergone some major changes.

After a season in which it was the last Western Conference team to secure advancement to the playoffs, Colorado dismissed head coach Gary Smith and team president Jeff Plush resigned.

MLS Week 1: A Look Ahead

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 Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Major League Soccer is officially back.

In 2012, the league will be bigger and -- if all goes according to plan -- better than ever. Running from Saturday's First Kick to December's MLS Cup, it will be the longest season in league history.

MLS Notes: TFC releases Caicedo, Revolution sign White and more

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One of the offseason signings charged with stabilizing Toronto FC's back line did not even make it to opening day.

TFC released Ecuadorian international centerback Geovanny Caicedo, citing family and trouble adjusting to the league as reasons for ending his brief tenure with the club.

SBI's MLS 2012 predictions

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Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

The 2012 MLS season likely holds a number of twists, turns and surprises, but as we try and project what will happen about nine months from now, we've come to a consensus on one thing: The MLS Cup winner will be emerging from the Western Conference again.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Los Angeles Galaxy

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By ADAM SERRANO

In 2011, the Los Angeles Galaxy won it all. Now in 2012, the Galaxy appear even stronger than the side that took the MLS Cup home in November.Â

During the offseason the Galaxy added forward Edson Buddle to pair with Robbie Keane and returned both David Beckham and Juninho to the club's stacked midfield.

Mexico, Honduras release Olympic qualifying rosters

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The United States Under-23 men's national team's two chief competitors for a berth in this summer's Olympics are Mexico and Honduras, and both have released their rosters for this month's CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

D.C. United winger Andy Najar made the final cut for Honduras after being a part of the 28-man preliminary roster that was announced earlier this week.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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Michael Bradley's recent play has earned him headlines in the United States and in Italy, and he has another chance to earn some more when going up against a traditional Italian power on Friday.

Bradley's Chievo Verona hosts reeling Inter Milan with a chance to pull level with the Serie A giant on Friday as part of a weekend filled with top-notch fixtures both abroad and domestically.

Full plate for Agudelo limits opportunity with Red Bulls

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Photo by Rick Yeatts/ISIphotos.com


By DAVE MARTINEZ

Playing time has been hard to come by for Juan Agudelo in his brief time with the New York Red Bulls, even after his emergence as a striker for the U.S. senior and Under-23 men's national teams.

European Look Ahead: Champions League places up for grabs

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

The race for a coveted spot in next season's Champions League takes center stage in most leagues around Europe this weekend.

In Spain, Malaga and Levante square off in the weekend's early La Liga kickoff. Neither team was particularly heralded coming into the season but Levante currently occupies fourth place while Malaga lurks a single point behind.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Puebla beware. Herculez Gomez is starting to get hot again.

Just as he has done so often in the past couple of years, Gomez is starting to put together a scoring run. He has found the back of the net three times for Santos Laguna in the past week-and-a-half, and will look to add to that this weekend when DaMarcus Beasley and Puebla come into town.

Garber: League progressing in search for New York City stadium site

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Photo by ISIphotos.com


By AVI CREDITOR

MLS commissioner Don Garber's desire for a second New York franchise has not been a secret for some time, but Thursday he shed some light on the progress the league is making on securing a stadium site.

Friday Kickoff: Fulham offers Dempsey new deal, no more cuts at Rangers & more

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Clint Dempsey's record-setting season may have him on the verge of a summer transfer to a bigger club, but if it's up to Fulham, he'll be staying at Craven Cottage for at least a few more years.

Fulham has reportedly begun talks with Dempsey -- who turns 29 today -- over a new three-year deal in an effort to hold onto their marquee attacker.

U.S. Under-23 vs. Mexico: Behind the Scenes

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SBI MLS Season Preview: Seattle Sounders FC

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By JOEY SAMUEL

After three straight seasons of playoff disappointment, the Seatte Sounders are back for 2012, and it could be their most important season in franchise history.

The Sounders' narrow loss in the Western Conference Semfinals of the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs left a bitter, yet familiar, taste in the mouths of its devoted fans.

Visa status still unresolved for Rodgers

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls released a statement this afternoon regarding the ongoing visa issues surrounding striker Luke Rodgers:

"Luke met with the United States Consulate in London earlier today and the outcome was positive, as he took a step forward in his visa approval process to return to the country.

Europa League: Your Running Commentary

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The round of 16 of the Europa League kicked off today, with some enticing match-ups and some good opportunities for Americans to make their mark.

Jozy Altidore will look to keep his recent hot streak going as he leads AZ Alkmaar against Italian side Udinese, while USA teammate Steve Cherundolo captains Hannover 96 against Standard Liege.

SBI Season Preview: Real Salt Lake

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photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Real Salt Lake almost had an unprecedented season in 2011, but the promising year ended sourly after the team fell short on two big occasions.

RSL was unable to finish off dream runs in the MLS playoffs and CONCACAF Champions league, losing to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Western Conference Final and falling to Monterrey in heartbreaking fashion in the Champions League final.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Sporting Kansas City

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 Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

For Sporting Kansas City, 2011 was every bit the breakout the organization had hoped for and more.

Off the field, a comprehensive rebranding saw the franchise adopt a sleek new name, logo and colors.

Mid-Day Ticker: Howard signs new deal, Dawson likely out for EPL season & more

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 Photo by Marc Atkins/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Tim Howard won't be leaving Goodison Park any time soon.

The U.S. national team goalkeeper has signed a new contract that will keep him with Everton until 2016. By the end of the deal, Howard will have spent a full decade between the posts for the Toffees.

Koevermans sounds off on CCL atmosphere and officiating

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BY ADAM SERRANO

TORONTO – The scenes from Toronto FC's CONCACAF Champions League match against the Los Angeles Galaxy were unmistakable and unforgettable.Â

An impressive march to the match down Bremmer Bolverard outside the Rogers Centre, the 47,658 fans clad in red, who shook the dome and all but willed their side to a pair of early goals in the first half, All of which culminated in a thrilling 2-2 draw in the first leg of the quarterfinal match-up.

Join the SBI Fantasy MLS League Now

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Okay folks, after tallying the votes and getting reader feedback on which Fantasy MLS game to go with this year, we at SBI will be running our annual Fantasy MLS League on the new official game on the official league website.

We have heard plenty of good things about the new game, with the only drawback (for some) being the fact you have to sign up for the site through your Facebook account.

Red Bulls Notes: Depth to be tested, Meara set to start, and more

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls have emerged from preseason in relative health heading into Sunday's opener. Even so, nagging injuries and key losses to the starting lineup will test the teams depth against a dangerous FC Dallas side.

Wilman Conde will be out for the match.

Must-See Goal: Neymar (Again)

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Thursday Kickoff: Van Persie interests City, Arsenal agree striker fee and more

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By CALEB SONNELAND

You figure it had to happen sooner or later.

Robin van Persie has reportedly caught the attention of big spenders, Manchester City. Manager Roberto Mancini told the press that he was keen on the Dutchman, who is enjoying the best season of his career at Arsenal with 32 goals in all competitions.

Messi's five-goal masterpiece

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Sounders top Santos Laguna in CONCACAF Champions League quarters

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If the Seattle Sounders were supposed to be the underdog in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Santos Laguna, they sure didn't show it on Wednesday.

The Sounders outplayed the Mexican powerhouse on their way to a vital 2-1 victory at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday night.

Donovan equalizer helps Galaxy earn draw in Toronto

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BY ADAM SERRANO

TORONTO -- Led by a raucous crowd of 47,658 Toronto FC showed the Los Angeles Galaxy that there would be no easy passage to the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals, but a fast start and two early goals for the home team wasn't enough to beat the defending MLS Cup champions.

CONCACAF Champions League: Match Night Commentary

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Three MLS teams will continue their quests to become the first Major League Soccer club to win the CONCACAF Champions League title as the quarterfinals kick off tonight in Toronto and Seattle.

The defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy take on Toronto FC at Rogers Center as almost 50,000 TFC fans gather to cheer on the clear underdogs in the first leg of this all-MLS quarterfinal (8pm, Fox Soccer Channel).

UCL Rewind: Messi scores five to lift Barca, APOEL gets through on penalties

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Lionel Messi keeps finding ways to top himself.

Messi became the first player to score five goals in a UEFA Champions League game as Barcelona ruthlessly routed Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 at Camp Nou to advance to the quarterfinals on a 10-2 aggregate.

CCL: Gomez, Santos Laguna visit Seattle; TFC aims to make statement against LA

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When American forward Herculez Gomez signed with Santos Laguna in December, the possibility of him going up against MLS competition became a real possibility considering the club drew the Seattle Sounders in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

An injury to a starting striker combined with his latest run of form means that another special night for Gomez may be in the cards at CenturyLink Field when his side and the Sounders do battle in the first leg of their CCL quarterfinal tie.

Timbers' Danso fractures foot

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Photo by Patricia Giobetti/ISIphotos.com

Portland Timbers centerback Futty Danso is going to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks after fracturing his foot, the team announced on Wednesday.

Danso suffered the injury in training on Tuesday, fracturing his fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

BBVA Compass Stadium opener sold out

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Photo by Wilf Thorne

The newest soccer-specific stadium in MLS is set to open on May 12, and it will be packed to capacity for its unveiling.

The Houston Dynamo announced that BBVA Compass Stadium is already sold out for the club's home opener against D.C. United, which will mark the opening of 13th soccer-specific venue in the league.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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Two more tickets to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals will be punched Wednesday, with the defending champions looking to maintain their dominance and the tournament underdog hoping that its time is not up.

Barcelona breezed by Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 in Germany in the opening leg of their Round of 16 tie and will look to hold serve at home to keep their hopes of a repeat alive.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Toronto FC

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Photo by Nick Turchiaro/ISIphotos.com

In many ways, the 2012 MLS season will be manager Aron Winter's first to be able to show what he can do to mold Toronto FC into a winner.

Sure, the Dutch coach took over at the helm last season and came under fire for failing to bring TFC close to its first postseason berth in franchise history, but the 2011 campaign was more about evaluating the roster he was dealt when he took over a couple of months before the season started, seeing who fit in and cutting out who did not.

Najar included on Honduras' Olympic qualifying preliminary roster

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Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com

Andy Najar is a step closer to representing his country in its quest for the Olympics.

Najar has been included on Honduras' 28-man preliminary roster for Olympic qualifying, which will be narrowed down to the final cut on Friday, according to reports out of Honduras.

Clavijo named FC Dallas technical director

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Fernando Clavijo is on his way back to MLS, in a different role from the ones he has held in the past.

An assistant coach and head coach in Major League Soccer for the better part of a decade, Clavijo was hired on Tuesday as FC Dallas' new technical director.

Fire sign German centerback Friedrich

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The Chicago Fire have taken what appears to be a major step in improving their back line.

According to reports out of Germany, the Fire have agreed to a one-year deal with Arne Friedrich, a German national team centerback. Friedrich confirmed the signing on his own website.

Administrators look to accelerate Rangers sale after players reject pay cuts

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The downward spiral that has enveloped Rangers FC continues to get more overbearing.

After players rejected pay cuts that would have relieved the club's financial burden, team administrators released a statement saying that they are accelerating the sale of the team. The club is currently in "a perilous financial situation" to the point that it might not be able to afford to play the rest of its games this season, according to the statement.

UEFA Champions League: Barcelona look to close out Leverkusen and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Barcelona are poised to march into the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League for the fifth consecutive year as the defending champions bring a 3-1 lead over Bayer Leverkusen back to Camp Nou.

The Catalan side will be without Carles Puyol, Eric Abidal and Alexis Sanchez but should still possess plenty of firepower.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Philadelphia Union

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By JOEY SAMUEL

In 2011, the Philadelphia Union earned their first playoff berth in what was a breakout season for the club in its second year of existence. In 2012, the Union will look to go even further, but this time with an even younger squad.

Philadelphia let go or traded a number of veteran players with years of experience in Major League Soccer and abroad this offseason.

USA rises in latest FIFA rankings

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Photo by Bernd Feil/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team's victory over Italy allowed for the Americans to make some more headway in the FIFA world rankings.

The 1-0 win in Genoa propelled the U.S. men up four spots to No. 27, marking the highest they've been ranked since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as manager last August.

Wednesday Kickoff: Monterrey takes CCL edge, PSG identifies targets and more

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CONCACAF's defending champion opened the Champions League knockout stage in style.

Monterrey cruised to a 3-1 victory at Morelia Tuesday night behind two goals from Humberto Suazo to take a commanding edge into next week's quarterfinal return leg.

Suazo opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 28th minute and supplied a classy finish on a one-timer in the area just before halftime after a blazing run down the sideline by Cesar Delgado to put Rayados in control.

TFC-LA Notebook: Boyens likely to start, TFC's temporary home turf and more

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Photo courtesy of LA Galaxy


By ADAM SERRANO

TORONTO -- Andrew Boyens and Tommy Meyer have been locked in a battle throughout the Los Angeles Galaxy's preseason to answer the big question: Which centerback will replace Omar Gonzalez in the lineup to start the season?

Arsenal 3, AC Milan 0: Match Highlights

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UCL Rewind: Arsenal come up short, Benfica erase deficit to advance

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Despite the theatrics, the four-goal deficit was just too much for Arsenal to overcome.

The Gunners fell just short of a would-be historic UEFA Champions League effort, defeating AC Milan 3-0 but still finishing a goal shy of the Italians over the course of both legs, as Milan advanced to the quarterfinals on a 4-3 aggregate.

U.S. Soccer, MLS create new referee program

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

The quality of officiating in MLS has consistently come into the limelight over the years, and the league and U.S. Soccer are taking a step to try and rectify that issue.

The two organizations have teamed to create and fund the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), which will begin its operations next month.

D.C. city council passes resolution in effort to keep D.C. United put

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

For D.C. United, the resolution passed Tuesday by the D.C. city council is a small step, but a step in the right direction nonetheless toward keeping the club in the nation's capital for the long haul.

The Council of the District of Columbia passed a resolution, signed by council chairman Kwame Brown and councilmember Tommy Wells, calling on local goverment officials to find a long-term solution to prevent D.

Soccer Tuesday: Your Running Commentary

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The first two places in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals will be booked on Tuesday, with AC Milan looking to finish off Arsenal after an emphatic 4-0 victory in their opening leg at the San Siro.

While a miracle comeback is something to keep an eye out for, there figures to be more drama in the day's less-heralded UCL matchup, where Zenit-St.

Buddle, Keane look to mesh immediately ahead of Galaxy's CCL clash with TFC

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Photos by ISIphotos.com


By ADAM SERRANO

TORONTO -- In Robbie Keane and Edson Buddle, the Los Angeles Galaxy may have the most talented, productive and explosive forward tandem in MLS history.Â

Both experienced forwards bring a goal-scoring pedigree to the Galaxy.

SBI MLS Season Preview: New York Red Bulls

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls entered 2011 a clear contender for the MLS Cup, and it showed.Â

"We started very well," coach Hans Backe said. "Seven games, we were flying; perfect defense, attacking wise – very good.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Houston Dynamo

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 Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

By the end of the 2011 MLS season, Houston Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear was pressing all the right buttons.

After spending the campaign's first six months tinkering with a lineup that could never quite find the right chemistry, Kinnear shifted midfielder Geoff Cameron to centerback after a 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Sept.

Angulo, Arteaga among four trialists signed by Red Bulls

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls put the finishing touches on their roster ahead of this Sunday's season opener against FC Dallas, adding four trialists to the first team.

Jose Angulo, Jhonny Arteaga, Brandon Barklage and Tyler Ruthven were all signed to MLS contracts after impressing the team during pre-season.

Fantasy MLS: Which game should SBI use?

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

With a new MLS season four days away, it's time to start up the SBI Fantasy MLS League yet again.Â

We'll have our league set up by Thursday so you can select your teams and vie for SBI Fantasy MLS superiority ahead of First Kick, but before we do that we want your input on which game we should use.

UEFA Champions League: Arsenal on the brink of early exit, Zenit clings to lead

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Arsenal are in need of a miracle.

The English side heads back to the Emirates needing to overturn a four-goal deficit to AC Milan in the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16. Arsenal has scored four goals four times this season including in matches against Chelsea and Tottenham, so the needed offense isn't out of the realm of possibility for Arsene Wenger's men.

U.S. women settle for third-place game after Algarve Cup loss to Japan

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Japan just has the U.S. women's national team's number at the moment.

In their first meeting since the dramatic World Cup final that Japan won in penalty kicks, Japan topped the U.S. women 1-0 in the final group game of the Algarve Cup on Monday, preventing the Americans from a place in the championship game for the first time in 10 years and dealing them their first shutout in 58 matches.

Tuesday Kickoff: Rangers face player cuts, Sochaux fires manager, and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

It is something of a judgement day for Glasgow Rangers.

As administrators try to slash $1.5 million from the monthly expenses, several players are set to leave the historic Scottish club. A proposal from players to postpone salaries until the summer was rejected by the administrators and now players are set to submit a final wage-restructuring offer that would result in as few cuts as possible.

Brazil and FIFA in war of words over preparations for 2014 World Cup

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The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is little more than two years away, but the action surrounding the event has reached a fever pitch as a war of words between FIFA and the Brazilian government has cast an ominous tone around World Cup preparations.

Last Friday, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was quoted as saying Brazilian preparations for the 2014 World Cup are moving too slowly and that the nation needed to pick things up.

SBI Season Preview: San Jose Earthquakes

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BY ADAM SERRANO

The San Jose Earthquakes are Chris Wondolowski's team and rightfully so.Â

Over the past two seasons, Wondolowski has scored more goals than any player in MLS, earning at least a share of the scoring title both years. But this offseason, the Earthquakes have undergone a significant revamping across the field in hopes of reliving the pressure off one of the league's top forwards.

Tottenham 1, Manchester United 3: Match Highlights

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Union add Hernandez as Homegrown player

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The Philadelphia Union added another piece to their young nucleus on Monday, signing 18-year-old Cristhian Hernandez as the team's third-ever Homegrown player.

Hernandez, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico as a child, debuted for the Union in a friendly last July against Premier League side Everton FC.

Liverpool 1, Arsenal 2: Match Highlights

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SBI MLS Season Preview: Portland Timbers

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By JOEY SAMUEL

The Portland Timbers are back for year two in Major League Soccer, and they are hoping a new star striker, along with another year of experience, can put them over the hump and into the playoffs.

Portland came close to making the playoffs in their debut season last year, finishing just four points shy of the tenth and final spot.

SBI MLS Season Preview: D.C. United

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 Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

For D.C. United fans anxious over the club's four-year playoff absence, this past offseason was an exercise in patience.

While United came back from the worst campaign in club history in 2010 to compete for a postseason berth until last season's final week, a lack of experience in the back, consistency up top and depth all around derailed their chances.

European Rewind: Man United pounds Tottenham, Real Madrid run wild, & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Manchester United showed why they're still a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League title race with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Tottenham on Sunday.

Wayne Rooney opened the scoring in the 45th minute and Ashley Young scored a stunning double to give the defending champions all three points.

MLS Preseason Rewind: Boyd nets debut winner, Galaxy beat Revs and more

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By CALEB SONNELAND

Well, that didn't take long. Seven minutes, to be exact.

The Portland Timbers' big summer investment looks to be a worthwhile one as Kris Boyd, the newly-acquired Designated Player, grabbed the go-ahead goal in the 7th minute of Portland's 1-0 win over Swedish outfit AIK.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Clint Dempsey just cannot stop scoring.

Four days after scoring the lone goal in the U.S. men's national team's first-ever win against Italy, Dempsey buried two chances in Fulham's 5-0 rout of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Dempsey's goal total now stands at 12 (18 across all competitions), making him the seventh-leading scorer in the Premiership this season.

Villas-Boas dumped by Chelsea

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Andres Villas-Boas is out as Chelsea manager.

The under-fire manager was dumped after Chelsea's loss to West Brom on Saturday, a defeat that dropped Chelsea to fifth place in the Premier League, in real danger of missing out on qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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The race at the top of the English Premier League table is getting tougher by the week, and that tightening competition will make today's showdown between Tottenham and Manchester United all the more important.

Arsenal's recent run of form suddenly has the Gunners just four points behind Tottenham for third place in the Premier League, meaning Spurs don't have much room for error.

Altidore scores again for AZ

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Jozy Altidore has his starting job back and he isn't about to give it up.

Just three days after assisting on Clint Dempsey's game-winning goal in the USA's historic 1-0 victory against Italy, Altidore scored for Dutch club AZ yet again. He notched his tenth league goal and 14th goal in all competitions to lead Alkmaar to a a 3-1 victory over Heracles Almemo.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Chivas USA

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIPhotos.com

By JOHN BOSCHINI

A rebuilt Chivas USA isn't happy with being second best.

Less than four months after seeing their cross-town rivals lift the MLS Cup in their home stadium, second-year head coach Robin Fraser is determined to improve on a 2011 marred with inconsistency and a late-season slump.

SBI MLS Season Preview: FC Dallas

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photo by Brad Smith/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

A red-hot start. A faltering finish. Brek Shea's dominating season. David Ferreira's season-long injury.

For FC Dallas, the 2011 season was a year full of high and lows. Led by U.S. men's national team winger Brek Shea, the team looked a serious contender for the MLS Cup before a heavy schedule that included MLS regular season, U.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Two teams coming off a pair of emotional victories square off in a high-profile English Premier League match on Saturday as newly-crowned Carling Cup champion Liverpool faces Arsenal.

The Gunners come in riding high off last week's emphatic 5-2 victory against arch-rival Tottenham, while Liverpool enters off a penalty shootout victory in the Carling Cup Final.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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Liverpool is fresh off obtaining something that Arsenal has craved for years -- a trophy. The Gunners, though, are currently situated in a place where Liverpool would like to be -- a UEFA Champions League spot.Â

The two teams clash at Anfield in one of the high-profile matches of the weekend, with the Reds looking to chip away at a seven-point deficit between them and fourth-place Arsenal while both try to overcome key injury absences to pick up the three points.

Revs add Nguyen in waiver draft

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The Vancouver Whitecaps' decision to cut Lee Nguyen has turned out to be the New England Revolution's gain.

The Revolution picked Nguyen in Friday's MLS waiver draft, adding the one-time U.S. international into the fold. New England was second in the waiver draft order behind Vancouver, which cut Nguyen on Thursday despite winning a weighted lottery for his services less than three months ago.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps

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By ADAM SERRANO

The Vancouver Whitecaps begin their second year in MLS with a new head coach and a new sense of promise.Â

Martin Rennie, who was hired midway through the 2011 season, has quickly sought to revamp a club that finished at the bottom of the Western Conference last season.

U.S. women top Norway in Algarve Cup

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Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

The reward might be a little less fulfilling this time around, but the U.S. women's national team has an important date against Japan on the docket.

Abby Wambach and substitute Sydney Leroux scored, and despite conceding a stoppage-time equalizer, the U.

Klinsmann on the Italy victory

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MLS Notes: Silva stays hot for TFC, Portland comes back to tie Chivas & more

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Photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com

The final at the Disney Soccer Classic will be an all-Canadian affair.

Rookie Luis Silva continued his hot preseason, scoring twice in Toronto FC's 3-0 victory over FC Dallas on Thursday. With the victory, the Reds advance to Saturday night's title game, where they'll face the Vancouver Whitecaps, as the two non-playoff teams from a year ago have shown well as they prepare for the upcoming season.

John returning to FC Dallas

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

George John's loan spell to West Ham will not be turning into a full transfer after all.

FC Dallas announced via its Twitter account that the star centerback will be returning to the club following the conclusion of his loan to the League Championship side.

European Look Ahead: Top English sides clash, Barca play without Messi & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

For Tottenham, life doesn't get any easier after last weekend's humiliation at the Emirates.

A defeat at home when Manchester United come calling on Sunday could deal a fatal blow for Tottenham's title hopes, which took a step back after the 5-2 loss to Arsenal.

Orlando City optimistic about expansion chances after meeting with Garber

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photo by Jon Lorentz/Orlando City SC

By FRANCO PANIZO

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Hundreds of people clad in red and purple were on their feet. Some were banging drums, others were chanting and a another group was cracking jokes at the referee who was officiating the match being played right in front of their eyes.

Brawl mars Union friendly in Costa Rica

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There was nothing friendly about the Philadelphia Union's scrimmage against Costa Rican side A.D. Belen on Thursday.

The match between the two sides had to be called off after a brawl broke out after a Michael Farfan tackle with Belen leading 2-0. Based on video of the fight, Brian Carroll, Keon Daniel and Zac MacMath were at the center of it all before coaches, officials and players separated the two teams.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Chicago Fire

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Photo by Tracy Allen/ISIphotos.com


By DAVID GUBALA

For the Chicago Fire, consistency is the magic word.

After having one of strongest season finishes in club history in 2011, the Chicago Fire have been keen on keeping the same core together heading into the 2012 season.

Friday Kickoff: Rangers players await cuts; Rooney, Bale fit for key bout & more

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It is about to go from bad to worse for a number of players at Rangers FC.

With the outlook of the near future looking bleak after the club was forced to go into administration, Rangers players are meeting with union officials to explore their possibilities in anticipation of numerous cuts.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Michael Bradley was one of the key figures in the U.S. men's national team's upset win over Italy on Wednesday in part because of his ability to contain Andrea Pirlo.

His club, Chievo Verona, will be hoping Bradley can replicate that type of outing this weekend.

Red Bulls Notebook: Conde out 2-to-3 weeks, Rodgers trains with Villa & more

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

Wilman Conde is likely to miss the New York Red Bulls' season opener, according to coach Hans Backe.Â

The Colombian defender, who just made his return to action after nearly an 11-month absence from the game, limped off the field Wednesday night in the midst of New York's 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Desert Diamond Cup.

Whitecaps waive Nguyen

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It's MLS roster compliance day, and there has already been one surprising development ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline.

The Vancouver Whitecaps waived one-time U.S. international Lee Nguyen, a player acquired through the league's weighted lottery process less than three months ago after returning to the United States following career stops in Europe and Vietnam.

A look back at U.S. Soccer's landmark day

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Photo by Bernd Feil/ISIphotos.com

Three wins, eight goals, none conceded and plenty to build off across three levels of U.S. Soccer.

It's safe to say that Feb. 29, 2012, went about as well as it could have if you're a U.S. Soccer player or fan.

The U.S.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Columbus Crew

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 Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Riddled by inconsistency, the Columbus Crew attack just never seemed to quite find the right rhythm in 2011.

Up front, Emilio Renteria's injury concerns and Andres Mendoza's erratic play limited Columbus' front-line cohesion.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Montreal Impact

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Building from the ground up in MLS is no easy task, but if anyone knows something about a successful expansion season, it's Montreal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch.

A member of the D.C. United club that won the first MLS Cup and a member of the Chicago Fire club that won MLS Cup in its expansion season, Marsch embarks on his first head coaching gig with the Impact, who made the leap from NASL to MLS and have created quite a buzz north of the border.

Mid-Day Ticker: Portsmouth may not end season, Fowler on Blackpool trial & more

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 Photo by Kieran McManus/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Less than four years after winning the F.A. Cup, Portsmouth is in danger of not completing this Championship season, administrator Trevor Birch said.

International Rewind: Messi nets hat trick, Colombia blanks Mexico and more

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These days it's rare for Lionel Messi to accomplish something he has yet to already do, but he was able to cross another item off his career bucket list on Wednesday.

The Barcelona catalyst and reigning Ballon d'Or winner scored his first career hat trick for his country, tallying all of Argentina's goals -- including two late ones -- in a 3-1 victory over Switzerland in Bern.

MLS Preseason Recap: Red Bulls top Galaxy; Revs, 'Caps stay unbeaten & more

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By CALEB SONNELAND

Goals from Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry lifted the New York Red Bulls over the Los Angeles Galaxy Wednesday night in a 2-1 win, but it wasn't enough to see the team into the final of the Desert Diamond Cup, as the Galaxy marched to the title game by virtue of goal difference.

U.S. U-23s 2, Mexico 0: Match Highlights

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Thursday Kickoff: Guzan offered new deal, Bahrain under investigation & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Brad Guzan has a decision to make.

The U.S. national team and Aston Villa backup goalkeeper has been offered a contract extension by the English club, but a lack of playing time behind Shay Given could encourage him to move elsewhere. Villa manager Alex McLeish was impressed with Guzan during his seven Premier League starts earlier in the year, when Given was injured.

USA U23s cruise to 2-0 win over Mexico

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By FRANCO PANIZO

With both the U.S. men's national team and U.S. women's national team claimed shutout wins, U.S. Soccer just needed a victory from Caleb Porter's Under-23 side to enjoy a dream leap year day.

Porter's team got that win and it did so in convincing fashion against a formidable foe.

Italy 0, USA 1: Match Highlights

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