Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2012

Galaxy send Barrett on loan to Valarenga

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The LA Galaxy have known for months that they would have to find a way to get Chad Barrett off their payroll in order to fit all the salaries they had compiled on their roster for 2012, and on Monday it appears they have finally found a way to make that move happen.

The Galaxy have sent Barrett on loan to Valarenga for the remainder of the 2012 MLS season, Galaxy writer Adam Serrano confirmed on Monday night.

SBI MLS Player of the Month: Robbie Keane

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When Robbie Keane returned to MLS from Ireland's failed run at Euro 2012, there was no emotional letdown or fatigue factor whatsoever. Instead, the Irish captain has turned in his most prolific stretch of play since coming to MLS last summer.

On the heels of a couple of strong games to close out June, Keane scored five goals and assisted on four others in a standout month of July to help lead the resurgent Los Angeles Galaxy to a 4-1-1 record and win SBI MLS Player of the Month honors.

Studio 90: USWNT arrives in Manchester

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Andrade suspended for punching Wambach

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When Colombia's Lady Andrade punched U.S. Women's national team forward Abby Wambach during the 39th minute of Saturday's Olympic game, the referee didn't notice. Andrade could have received a red card, but went unpunished and played the entire game, which the USA went on to win.

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Bryan Gaul

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While some of the more well-known rookies continued to impress this past weekend, it was one who many do not know much about that claimed SBI's MLS Rookie of the Week award.

Los Angeles Galaxy left back Bryan Gaul claimed this week's honors after helping the Galaxy blank FC Dallas, 1-0, on Saturday.

Mid-Day Ticker: Ferdinand charged over tweets, Everton close in on Pienaar and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Rio Ferdinand's rough summer just got worse.

Having missed out on Euro 2012 due to manager Roy Hodgson electing John Terry over him, Ferdinand is now being chagred by the English Football Association over remarks he made on Twitter following the conclusion of Terry's recent trial.

Red Bulls deal Ballouchy to San Jose

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With the arrival of Tim Cahill giving the New York Red Bulls a plethora of attacking options, midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy suddenly became expendable, and on Monday the Moroccan was sent packing.

The Red Bulls traded Ballouchy to San Jose for an international roster slot in 2013 and a conditional 2013 draft pick, both teams announced on Monday.

SBI MLS Team of the Week: Montreal Impact

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The New York Red Bulls went to Montreal in first place in the East, and having put together a strong run of defensive results. That didn't stop the Montreal Impact from putting a beating on the Red Bulls and serving notice that they plan on making a playoff run.

The Impact posted a 3-1 victory over the Red Bulls on Saturday that not only drew them closer to a playoff spot, it also earned them SBI MLS Team of the Week honors.

KickTV: Jimmy Conrad hits South Beach

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Red Bulls Rewind: Defensive issues a cause for concern after Montreal loss

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

There is a bittersweet feeling in the air at Red Bull Arena. Though today's press conference to officially announce the signing of Tim Cahill will surely nab headlines, a disappointing loss in Montreal will undoubtedly bubble beneath the surface.

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Jairo Arrieta

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The Columbus Crew offense has struggled to generate goals on a regular basis, a problem the team has had going back to last year, but Robert Warzycha's side may have found the answer to that problem in the form of Costa Rican striker Jairo Arrieta.

The newly-signed forward showed just what he can do this past weekend, scoring a pair of quality goals, including this long-range strike, to help the Crew post a vital 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park.

NASL Week 17: A Look Back

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By FRANCO PANIZO

There's winning in style and then there is what the San Antonio Scorpions just did to the Carolina RailHawks.

The Scorpions recorded the biggest rout of the season on Saturday, humiliating the RailHawks, 8-0, at Heroes Stadium. San Antonio jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes of the game, but it was the six-goal second half that really pleased the 7,186 fans in attendance.

Men's Olympic Rewind: Honduras eliminates Spain, Brazil cruises, and more

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Honduras pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic soccer history on Sunday, riding an early goal from New England Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson on their way to a 1-0 victory against Spain. A defeat that eliminated Spain from the Olympics.

The Hondurans rode tenacious and organized defense, outstanding goalkeeping, and a healthy amount of luck to hold off a Spain side widely regarded as a favorite to reach the gold medal game.

Lenhart's late equalizer caps another Earthquakes stoppage-time comeback

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For more than 90 minutes on Saturday night, Sean Johnson was a wall the San jose Earthquakes simply couldn't get past. The Chicago Fire goalkeeper was enjoying a dream game and looked like he was on his way to another shutout win.

An inordinate amount of stoppage time, and San Jose's penchant for late goals spoiled the night for Johnson and the Fire.

McInerney's late winner gives Union comeback win over Revolution

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By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. -- Even though it's still July, the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution are already scrapping to remain in the playoff race. On Sunday, one team earned the win they needed, while the other was left wondering what could have been.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

DaMarcus Beasley had one of the better performances this weekend, but even he endured a bit of a topsy-turvy outing in a subpar weekend for the Americans Abroad.

Playing a week after suffering an injury, Beasley started and went the distance in Puebla's 3-1 defeat to Toluca on Sunday.

Studio 90 Extra Time: USWNT Post-Game Reaction

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Arrieta double leads Crew past Sporting KC

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Livestrong Sporting Park used to be a fortress where visiting team couldn't realistically think about escaping with a point, let alone three.

That has changed quite a bit in the past month, with Sporting Kansas City suddenly finding victories at home difficult to come by.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Brazil's quest for a first gold medal in men's soccer will take its next step today as the Brazilians take on Belarus in group stage action in the United Kingdom.

The Brazilians opened Olympic play with a 3-2 victory against Egypt, and can secure a place in the quarterfinals with a victory today.

Alonso winner drives Sounders past Rapids

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The Colorado Rapids continued their losing ways on Saturday night, and even a home game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park could stop the bleeding.

The Seattle Sounders pushed Colorado's losing skid to six matches after Osvaldo Alonso scored a second-half winner to lead the Sounders to a 2-1 victory.

Short-handed Galaxy keep on winning, edge FC Dallas in Texas

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By BRYAN ROBISON

FRISCO, TX -- The Los Angeles Galaxy were able to escape both the heat and FC Dallas Stadium with a victory on Saturday night in front of a stadium record 22,565 in attendance. After notching five goals against Portland a week ago, FC Dallas was unable to make a dent on the scoreboard this time around, as they fell to the surging Galaxy, 1-0.

Impact dismantle Red Bulls at Stade Saputo

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The Montreal Impact continue their Jeckyll and Hyde ways, looking terrible on the road but extremely solid at home.

The Impact were at home in Montreal on Saturday night and tore apart a New York Red Bulls defense that came in on a strong run of form. You wouldn't know it on Saturday as the Impact rolled to a 3-1 victory.

Dynamo extend winning streak to four matches with win in Toronto

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The Houston Dynamo have already shown they can dominate at BBVA Compass Stadium, but success outside Houston has been much tougher to come by.

The Dynamo showed on Saturday that their fortunes on the road may be turning, as a pair of goals set up by Brad Davis helped Houston post a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon.

MLS Match Night: Your Running Commentary

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Thierry Henry and Alessandro Nesta have done battle on the international stage many times, but they will meet for the first time in MLS play when Henry's New York Red Bulls take on Nesta's Montreal Impact.

Nesta will make his first MLS start for the Impact tonight, and he will be trying to slow down the dangerous forward tandem of Henry and Kenny Cooper.

Solo blasts Chastain on Twitter

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Less than two hours after the U.S. Women's National team rolled to a 3-0 victory against Colombia in Olympic action, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo took to Twitter for a surprising barrage of critical tweets aimed at former U.S. Women's national team defender and NBC color TV analyst Brandi Chastain.

USWNT clinch quarterfinal berth as Rapinoe leads rout of Colombia

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By BRYAN ROBISON

The U.S. Women's national team punched their ticket to the Olympic quarterfinals after winning their second consecutive preliminary match, with a 3-0 win over Colombia on Saturday.

Unlike like their first preliminary match against France on Wednesday, which saw the United States women have to overcome a slow start, there was no such struggle against Colombia.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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If the Women's Olympic Soccer Tournament is your thing, today is going to be a great day of action.

Along with the U.S. Women's National team taking on underdog Colombia, we will see the best group stage match of the Olympics that doesn't involve the USA when reigning World Cup champion Japan takes on Sweden.

Saborio brace leads RSL past Whitecaps

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Real Salt Lake moved a step closer to first-place San Jose in the Western Conference standings after posting a 2-1 victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday night.

Costa Rican striker Alvaro Saborio headed home a Ned Grabavoy cross in the 58th minute, just six minutes after Whitecaps rookie Darren Mattocks equalized for the Whitecaps.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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The men's and women's Olympic soccer tournaments kicked off this week, and they will take center stage over the weekend with the second games of the group stage taking place.

On the women's side, the U.S. national team has a date with Colombia and can take one step closer to the knockout stage with a win.

Cahill set to debut against Tottenham

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

New York Red Bulls fans may be days away from seeing the team's latest Designated Player, Tim Cahill, in action.

Though he won't be used against the Montreal Impact on Saturday, the former Everton star will likely be debuting much in the same manner like his New York DP predecessor Thierry Henry did just two years ago; in a friendly against Tottenham.

Sounders deal DP Fernandez to Fire

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

With the signing of Designated Player and FC Kaiserslautern midfielder Christian Tiffert, the Seattle Sounders needed to create a DP opening on their roster. With the trade of Alvaro Fernandez to the Chicago Fire, they've done just that.Â

The Sounders sent Fernandez to Chicago in exchange for an undisclosed amount of allocation money Friday, making way for Tiffert and sending a DP to Chicago for the second time in two years.

U.S. women aim for complete showing in Olympic battle with Colombia

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This time, the U.S. women's national team will hope for 90 minutes of domination, not just 76.

After falling behind to France 2-0 in the opening 14 minutes of their Olympic run, the U.S. women straightened things out behind the explosive front line of Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, the flank play of Megan Rapinoe and a rocket of a shot by Carli Lloyd.

MLS Week 21: A Look Ahead

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By THOMAS FLOYD

At the moment, the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake have created some breathing room between them and the Western Conference pack.

But with a win over RSL on Friday night, the Vancouver Whitecaps will put themselves right in the thick of the race as well.

USWNT Spotlight: 'Back Home' with Hope Solo

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Part Two is after the jump:


Terry charged by FA for racial abuse

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If you thought the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand saga was over, think again.

Two weeks after Terry was found not guilty of racially abusing the Queens Park Rangers defender by an English court, the FA has charged Terry with racial abuse just hours before England is set to officially open the Olympic Games with the opening ceremonies in London.

Tiffert signs DP deal with Sounders

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The Seattle Sounders are not sitting silently as the race for postseason berths in the MLS Western Conference intensifies.

The club signed FC Kaiserslautern midfielder Christian Tiffert to a Designated Player deal Friday, according to his representatives. Kaiserslautern's website says that Tiffert's deal with MLS is for three years.

MLS transfer window closes today

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The summer MLS transfer window has been marked by some serious acquisitions, with Designated Players like Houston's Oscar Boniek Garcia, Vancouver's Barry Robson and Kenny Miller, Montreal's Marco Di Vaio, New England's Jerry Bengtson, Chicago's Sherjill MacDonald and New York's Tim Cahill among the new crop of stars joining the league.

Behind the scenes with the MLS All-Stars

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U.S. U-20s settle for fourth, Mexico takes title at Milk Cup

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The U.S. Under-20 men's national team settled for fourth place at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, falling to Chile 4-3 in the third-place game Thursday.

Furman University centerback Walker Zimmerman scored in the first minute, Santos Laguna's Benji Joya scored and assisted on a goal, and Chicago Fire Homegrown Player Victor Pineda scored his second goal of the tournament to spearhead the U.

Friday Kickoff: French FA suspends Nasri, Menez; Hoilett joins QPR and more

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It will be at least three international matches before Samir Nasri represents France again.

The Manchester City star was suspended there games, and French teammate Jeremey Menez was suspended one for their conduct at Euro 2012. Nasri was punished for his comments made after the team's ouster at the hands of Spain, going into a curse-laden tirade at journalists.

Men's Olympics rewind: Spain stunned, Brazil holds on, Mexico settles and more

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Much like Spain's quest for the 2010 World Cup, the opening match resulted in a shocking one-goal defeat.

Japan stunned Spain in their Olympic Group D opener Thursday, making a 34th-minute goal by Borussia Monchengladbach's Yuki Otsu stand up in a 1-0 result at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Fresh off of winning the Belgian Super Cup, Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht have set their sights towards their next mission: defending their Pro League title.

Kljestan and Anderlecht will kick off their quest for a 32nd league title this Saturday when they visit Kortrijk.

Studio 90: USWNT look ahead to Colombia

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Johnson continues recent resurgence with All-Star Game winner

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By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. -- At the start of 2012, many people had written Eddie Johnson off. After all, he had languished for several years in Europe, moving from club to club.

But after returning to MLS with the Seattle Sounders, Johnson has found his form once again, and he proved that Wednesday night when he delivered a stoppage time winner as the MLS All-Stars defeated European champions Chelsea, 3-2, at PPL Park.

Red Bulls make Cahill signing official

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After days of dodging speculation regarding the transfer of Tim Cahill to MLS, the New York Red Bulls made it official: The Australian international and former Everton star attacker is the club's third Designated Player.

The Red Bulls announced the signing of Cahill Thursday after he trained with the club for the first time.

DeMerit solid in unexpected 90 minute performance against Chelsea

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CHESTER, Pa. -- The plan was never for Jay DeMerit to go the distance against Chelsea. No, the plan MLS All-Stars head coach Ben Olsen originally had drawn up included replacing DeMerit at halftime so as to limit his minutes ahead of he and the Vancouver Whitecaps' visit to Real Salt Lake on Friday.

Mid-Day Ticker: Collin suffers facial fracture, Kompany signs new deal & more

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Sporting Kansas City centerback and MLS All-Star starter Aurelien Collin will miss the next 1-to-2 weeks after suffering a facial fracture at PPL Park Wednesday night.

Collin suffered the injury in the first half of the All-Star Game after a clash with Chelsea's Michael Essien in the center circle.

Valdes, Farfan shine in front of home fans at All-Star Game

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By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. -- Carlos Valdes and Michael Farfan are used to playing at PPL Park, but they had never played in a game quite like last night, when each of them made their All-Star debuts in front of their home crowd.

When Aurelien Collin went down with a fractured cheekbone in the 36th minute, All-Star coach Ben Olsen called upon Valdes to fill in and play the rest of the match.

AS Roma 2, Liverpool 1: Match Highlights

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Studio 90 Extra Time: Post-Game with Carli Lloyd

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Red Bulls Notebook: Injury report, Cahill silence and more

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

From the season opener to the present day, the Red Bulls have been steadily fighting (and overcoming) injuries all year long. Saturday's match against the Union continued that trend as comeback player Brandon Barklage fell with a hamstring injury despite New York's victory.

MLS All-Stars 3, Chelsea 2: Match Highlights

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Late Johnson goal gives MLS All-Stars victory over Chelsea

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PHILADELPHIA -- It may have come in part because of a fortuitous deflection, but the MLS All-Stars pulled out a win for the first time in four years.

With penalty kicks looming, the MLS All-Stars grabbed a 3-2 victory over UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea thanks to a stoppage time finish from substitute Eddie Johnson.

MLS All-Star Game: Match Night Commentary

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UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea take on the MLS All-Stars tonight at the 2012 MLS All-Star Game (8:30pm, ESPN2).

The MLS All-Stars will be trotting out a star-studded lineup featuring Thierry Henry, David Beckham and Landon Donovan, while Chelsea's starting lineup for the match will feature standouts such as Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and John Terry.

Cameron agrees to terms with Stoke, will join club in Orlando for preseason tour

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Only one step remains before Geoff Cameron's transfer to Stoke City is done and dusted.

Cameron told the Houston Chronicle that he has agreed to personal terms with the Premier League side and is joining the club in Orlando, where it is continuing its preseason tour of North America with a friendly against Orlando City SC on Saturday.

Union accuse Nowak of hazing, negligence in defense of termination

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The details of the Philadelphia Union's defense against Peter Nowak have emerged in the ongoing lawsuit between the two parties, and the Union's claims shed light on some disturbing behind-the-scenes happenings under his watch.

As part of the Union's list of reasons for dismissal, the details of which were uncovered by Philly.

U.S. women overcome shaky start to open Olympics with win over France

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The U.S. women's national team's Olympic campaign could not have started any worse, but after 14 nightmare minutes, the two-time reigning gold medalists restored order and opened group play with three points.

Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach scored to eliminate an early 2-0 deficit, and early substitute Carli Lloyd scored the game-winner on a long-range rocket to help the U.

Cameron, Chavez, Cooper among inactive MLS All-Stars

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

As Geoff Cameron gets set to depart MLS for Stoke City, he'll do so as an All-Star.Â

Cameron was named as one of 13 inactive MLS All-Stars Wednesday, joining teammate Brad Davis as those earning the player-voted honor. The league's collective bargaining agreement stipulates that at least 32 players earn All-Star distinction, and with the injury substitution of Justin Morrow for Heath Pearce and the late addition of Michael Farfan, the players' selections round out a 33-man squad.

Mid-Day Ticker: Bale faces ban, United still interested in Moura and more

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Gareth Bale raised more than a few eyebrows when the midfielder, who denied a call up to Great Britain's Olympic team due to injury, took the field for Tottenham against the LA Galaxy on Tuesday. Now the authorities are beginning to ask questions.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter added to the controversy this morning when he said Bale could be banned for the duration of the Olympics should the Football Association lodge a formal complaint.

Olympic Soccer: USA vs. France (Your Running Commentary)

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The U.S. Women's National team takes on France today in the opening match of the Women's Olympic Tournament, and arguably the best match of the group stage (Noon, NBC Sports).

The Americans enter the tournament having won the past two Olympic titles, but the lingering disappointment of last year's World Cup Final defeat is serving as motivation for a team considered the favorites to win gold again.

Report: Red Bulls targeted Kaka

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The New York Red Bulls have taken MLS by storm with a recent spree of moves that have landed them Sebastien LeToux and most recently Australian star Tim Cahill, but there is an even bigger star who the club apparently had its sights on.

Reports out of Spain have linked the Red Bulls with a move for Brazilian star Kaka.

USL Pro: A Look Back at Week 16

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photo courtesy of Orlando City

By FRANCO PANIZO

Orlando City were the first team to clinch a spot in the USL Pro playoffs this past weekend, but they needed two dramatic goals to do so.

Orlando reached the postseason for the second consecutive season after posting a 2-1 victory over the Charleston Battery last Thursday.

MLS Friendlies: Galaxy tie Tottenham, Guzan saves Villa in Portland and more

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Robbie Keane's former team and current team battled to a stalemate.

David Junior Lopes cancelled out Gareth Bale's goal to give the Los Angeles Galaxy a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at the Home Depot Center in a meeting that touched on a couple of career stops for Keane, the only one of the Galaxy's three Designated Players to feature in the match.

Behind the Crest: USWNT set for Olympic run

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San Jose fullbacks Beitashour, Morrow stay close while developing into All-Stars

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

PHILADELPHIA -- San Jose Earthquakes fullbacks Steven Beitashour and Justin Morrow are rarely far apart from one another, whether it's during games shutting down opposing wingers, while running laps during training sessions or while on team road trips venturing into new cities.

MLS All-Star Notes: Henry, Donovan address Cahill, Torres not playing & more

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PHILADELPHIA -- Thierry Henry's looming future teammate is one of Landon Donovan's former teammates, and as the two MLS standouts prepare for the MLS All-Star Game against Chelsea, they took the time to address Tim Cahill's pending arrival in the league.

Everton announced Monday that Cahill has been transferred to MLS, where he will play with Henry's New York Red Bulls, and while the club has yet to confirm his capture, Henry is intrigued at the possibility of adding him to the club's attacking arsenal.

Who should start in the MLS All-Star Game?

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The 2012 MLS All-Star Game will kick off on Wednesday night with a strong team of MLS standouts taking on a Chelsea side that will certainly be dangerous despite the fact they are working their way through pre-season.

MLS All-Star coach Ben Olsen has a variety of options to choose from when picking his team, and the quality selections he made will make it that much of a more interesting process for him to settle on his starting lineup.

Fire add Dutch striker MacDonald as DP

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The Chicago Fire have added some punch to their attack, signing a Designated Player from Europe that is joining the club after spending the last three seasons in Belgium.

The Fire announced Tuesday that they signed Dutch forward Sherjill MacDonald from Belgian Pro League side Germinal Beerschot AC.

Cahill’s potential impact on the Red Bulls

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls have long been on the hunt for an attacking midfielder. The last steady offensive distributor for the team left in 2006. His name? Amado Guevara.

Since the Honduran's departure, many have attempted to fill in the role for New York with little success to show for it.

Old friends Kennedy, Pontius reunited as MLS All-Stars amid impressive seasons

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By FRANCO PANIZO

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The MLS All-Star game provides players from all across the league the rare opportunity to spend a few days and enjoy some banter with the others selected who would normally be considered their opposition.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 20

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Don't look now, but here come the MLS Cup finalists.

After spending much of the season in the middle of the SBI MLS Power Rankings pack, the Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy have ridden unbeaten runs to the fifth and sixth positions, respectively, in this week's poll.

Houston, undefeated in six and on a three-game winning streak, now sits third in the Eastern Conference.

Farfan added to MLS All-Star team

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The Philadelphia Union will have more of a presence as the MLS All-Star Game's host team after all.

Midfielder Michael Farfan was added to the MLS roster by Ben Olsen Tuesday, joining Union captain Carlos Valdes as All-Star members from the host team. Farfan is not replacing anybody on the roster, but is instead increasing the number of players on the matchday roster to 19.

Tuesday Kickoff: Nowak takes Union to court, Nesta to debut for Impact & more

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Peter Nowak was supposed to be coaching the MLS All-Stars this week. Instead, he is reportedly taking the Philadelphia Union to court.

According to Philly.com, Nowak is suing the club for wrongful termination and unpaid severance money. Court documents stipulate that Nowak was given an option to sign a separation agreement and general release that would have seen him get paid his salary through the end of the year but not through the end of his contract, which ran until after the 2015 season.

MLS All-Star Notes: De Rosario named captain, Beckham to play and more

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By AVI CREDITOR

PHILADELPHIA -- The last time Dwayne De Rosario took the field against Chelsea, he was an MVP. It's only fitting that the D.C. United star captains the MLS side going up against the Blues in Wednesday night's MLS All-Star Game.

De Rosario was given captain's honors by MLS and D.

Everton's Cahill headed to Red Bulls

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The New York Red Bulls' big summer acquisition appears to be Everton attacker Tim Cahill.

Everton announced the transfer of the Australian international to the MLS club on their website Monday, a move that bolsters the Red Bulls' attack even more after the recent acquisition of Sebastien Le Toux.

U.S. U-20s rebound at Milk Cup

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Photo by Michael Janosz ISIphotos.com

The U.S. Under-20 men's national team's trip to Northern Ireland started off with a stumble, but the Americans recovered nicely Monday to save some face at the Milk Cup.

The U-20s followed up Saturday's 1-0 loss to Denmark with a 1-0 victory over Turkey on Monday in their second match of the tournament.

FC Dallas 3, Vancouver Whitecaps 2: Under-17/18 Academy Finals Highlights

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SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Connor Lade

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When Thierry Henry called rookie Connor Lade one of the New York Red Bulls' players of the season more than a week ago, the high praise seemed a bit generous. Last Saturday, Lade showed just why Henry and his teammates are so high on the St. John's product.

Lade turned in a Man of the Match-caliber effort in providing two assists in the Red Bulls' 2-0 victory against the Philadelphia Union.

Whitbread set to sign with Leicester City

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photo by Nicky Hayes/ISIphotos.com

Zak Whitbread will be staying in England after all. Just not in the Premiership.

The free agent American centerback is reportedly set to sign with Championship club Leicester City, ending weeks of speculation as to where his future lied.

NASL Week 16: A Look Back

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The Atlanta Silverbacks have undergone a resurgence under interim head coach Eric Wynalda, but they suffered a big setback at home this weekend thanks to FC Edmonton.

The Eddies jumped out of the basement and threw the Silverbacks back in with a 2-1 victory at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.

Hackworth shoots down Adu trade rumors

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Philadelphia Union head coach John Hackworth took some time out from helping coach the MLS All-Star Team to address some internet rumors making the rounds that had the Union dealing Freddy Adu.

Adu's absence from Philadelphia's 2-0 loss to New York, and the Union's subsequent refusal to provide details as to why he was absent (saying only that it was an internal matter) helped spark some imaginations and led to the creation of some internet trade rumors, with the most popular being that the Union was going to trade Adu to FC Dallas for Brek Shea, who is out of favor in Dallas after a very public blow-up with head coach Schellas Hyndman.

Mid-Day Ticker: Lampard coy on MLS, Arsenal not bidding for M'Vila and more

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Frank Lampard isn't ruling out a move across the Atlantic.

The Chelsea midfielder refused to deny a potential move to the MLS when asked about the possibility after Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Paris St. Germain on Sunday. Lampard has repeatedly said that he would prefer to end his career at the English club, where he has played since arriving from West Ham in 2001, but that the decision isn't his.

SBI MLS Team of the Week: Houston Dynamo

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The Houston Dynamo have adjusted quite well to their new home, BBVA Compass Stadium, and opposing teams are finding out rather quickly just how tough a place it is to play for visiting teams.

Sporting Kansas City and the Montreal Impact found that out last week, with the Dynamo defeating both Eastern Conference foes in a week that saw them move up to third place in the Eastern Conference.

Studio 90: The USMNT trio from Rangers visit USWNT Olympic camp in Glasgow

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SBI MLS Player of the Week: David Beckham

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The LA Galaxy are on a roll and one of the keys to their recent run of outstanding form has been the play of David Beckham.

The English superstar was at his signature best this past week, helping the Galaxy earn four points from two matches by delivering a goal and three assists.

Whitecaps stun Earthquakes off goals from Richards, Robson

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Heading into their Sunday game, the San Jose Earthquakes were riding a three-game unbeaten streak in which they scored seven goals while only giving up one.

No one told the Vancouver Whitecaps that.

Barry Robson scored a second-half penalty kick and Dane Richards netted in the first half, as the Whitecaps picked up a surprise 2-1 win over the Earthquakes at BC Place on Sunday.

Monday Kickoff: Modric a no-show, Dempsey bidders warned off & more

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American fans hoping to catch Luka Modric during Tottenham's preseason tour are going to miss out.

The Croatian playmaker, who has said he wants to join Real Madrid, failed to report to the team for training Friday and did not join it for its flight Saturday to Los Angeles. The 26-year-old with four years left on his Spurs contract will likely be fined two weeks' pay.

MLS Spotlight: Red Bulls rookie Lade proving size doesn't matter

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By DAN MONTESANO

HARRISON, New Jersey-- Connor Lade is very aware of his size.

He understands that, more often than not, each time he steps onto the field he will be the shortest one out there. It's been this way his entire life, and now that he's midway into his rookie season with the Red Bulls, he knows things aren't about to change.

Chelsea score late to tie PSG at Yankee Stadium

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By FRANCO PANIZO

NEW YORK -- Yankee Stadium looked more like Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but even that could not help lift Chelsea to victory.

The Champions League winners settled for a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in their 2012 World Football Challenge match on Sunday, and they needed a late goal from Lucas Piazon to make that happen.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Herculez Gomez has picked up right where left off last season.

The U.S. men's national team striker started his Apertura season with Santos Laguna by scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Michael Orozco Fiscal and San Luis. Gomez opened his season account after he made a good run in behind the defense, brought the ball down well and rifled home a well-placed, right-footed effort in the second half.

Toronto FC holds Liverpool to draw

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Toronto FC held Liverpool to a draw in their friendly on Saturday, and it was the Canadian club's newest player who helped make that result possible.

Hours after being officially acquired by Toronto FC, Quincy Amarikwa scored the opener in the second half of their 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Rogers Centre.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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If you have been wondering when you would get your first chance to watch Michael Bradley play in a Roma uniform, wonder no more.

American fans can watch Bradley for the first time as a Roma player on American television when Roma takes on Polish side Zaglebie Lubin in a friendly on Fox Soccer Channel this afternoon.

RSL back on track after beating Rapids

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In a match that didn't see much separating the two sides, a pair of bad defensive blunder ultimately paved the way for Real Salt Lake to rebound well from their most embarrassing loss of the season.

Fabian Espindola intercepted a bad back-pass from Marvell Wynne to help set up an Alvaro Saborio tap-in on the way to a 2-0 RSL victory against the Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto on Saturday night.

Dynamo roll into third place in East after beating Impact for third straight victory

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The Houston Dynamo winning at home is not a new development, but scoring goals with regularity sure is.

That is what the Dynamo are doing these days, and the latest example of Houston's new-found attacking prowess came on Saturday, as a pair of Mac Kandji goals propelled the Dynamo to a 3-0 victory over the Montreal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night.

Revs shut down Sporting KC in 0-0 tie

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Sporting Kansas City came back from a three-game road trip to a stadium full of fans, but they couldn't deliver those fans any goals.

New England goalkeeper Matt Reis made six saves to help the Revs earn a valuable road point in a 0-0 draw against Sporting KC at Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday night.

FC Dallas demolish Timbers

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The Portland Timbers and FC Dallas went into their Western Conference clash on Saturday regarded as two of the worst teams in MLS, but after Saturday one team looked primed for a turnaround while another was hitting rock bottom.

FC Dallas rattled off five unanswered goals, to deliver a 5-0 humbling of the Timbers, which surrendered five goals for the second straight match.

Donovan, Keane lead LA Galaxy in dominating win over Chivas USA

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By KAYLA KNAPP

CARSON, Calif.-- Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan stole the show at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night, leading the LA Galaxy in their 3-1 win over Chivas USA in the second Super Clasico of the 2012 season.

The duo was crucial in each of the three goals, and realistically the Galaxy score line could—and probably should—have been much higher.

Birchall winner leads Crew past D.C. United

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The Columbus Crew had been losers of three of their past four matches, but they scored a sorely-needed victory just before the all-star break to boost their chances of catching the playoff pack in the East.

Midfielder Chris Birchall raced onto a Jairo Arrieta pass just after halftime and beat the D.

Boyd scores twice and delivers assist in Rapid Vienna's season-opening win

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If Terrence Boyd was hoping to enjoy a solid performance in his professional debut at the club level, he did just that. And then some.

Boyd delivered a Man of the Match-worthy performance in Rapid Vienna's season-opening 4-0 victory over Wacker Innsbruck on Saturday, scoring twice and setting up another goal in the rout.

Cooper's brace propels Red Bulls past Union

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

Kenny Cooper had gone seven matches without scoring a goal, but he picked a perfect time to end his recent drought.

Cooper headed home crosses from Connor Lade and Thierry Henry to push his season goal total to 13 and help the Red Bulls deliver a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

Red Bulls vs. Union: Match Day Commentary

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The New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union renew their I-95 rivalry today at Red Bull Arena (2:30pm, ESPN2).

The Red Bulls are riding high off a big mid-week victory against the Chicago Fire, and they take on an improving Union side that has won four of five matches under interim head coach John Hackworth.

TFC trade for Amarikwa

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Photo courtesy of Torontofc.ca

A day after making a big blockbuster trade to land French striker Eric Hassli from the Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC added some more depth at forward with the addition of Quincy Amarikwa.

TFC acquired Amarikwa in a trade from the New York Red Bulls, who picked him up off waivers after he was let go by the Colorado Rapids.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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With the Mexican League season getting into full swing this weekend, and a plethora of friendlies taking place, today will offer up plenty of viewing options for fans looking for a soccer fix.

Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna begin their defense of their Mexican League title today with a match against San Luis, while the morning's action is kicked off with some more Mexican soccer as 'El Tri's Olympic team takes on Japan.

Whitecaps deal Hassli to Toronto FC

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Toronto FC were in desperate need of a proven striker and the Vancouver Whitecaps just happened to be looking to get rid of one.

The result was the second straight Friday blockbuster trade for the Whitecaps, who sent French forward Eric Hassli to Toronto FC for a first-round draft pick in 2014 and an international player slot through the 2013 season.

Red Bulls Notes: Marquez out two more weeks; Pearce, Meara still hurt and more

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

New York Red Bulls Designated Player Rafa Marquez will once again be designated to the injured list.

Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said a scan of his calf revealed another injury, forcing the former Mexican captain out of the team's next several games.

SBI Live Q&A (July 20th Edition)

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Good aftenoon everybody. Though late Friday afternoons are not usually when we have SBI Live Q&A sessions, it has been so long since we've had one that this seemed as good a time as any to get back in the swing of things.

If you are powering through your final hour at work on the East Coast, or just preparing for your afternoon on the West Coast, feel free to join me as we talk all things soccer.

U.S. U-20s set for 2012 Milk Cup

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The U.S. Under-23 men's national team may have failed to qualify for the Olympics, but a U.S. youth national team will still get exposure to an international tournament this summer.Â

The 2012 Milk Cup kicks off in Northern Ireland Saturday, with the U.S. Under-20 men's national team opening play against defending champion Denmark.

MLS Week 20: A Look Ahead

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By THOMAS FLOYD

The Los Angeles Galaxy will be out for a dose of SuperClasico revenge this weekend.

Chivas USA grabbed its first win in the Home Depot Center rivalry since 2007 with a 1-0 triumph in May. Come Saturday, the Galaxy will look to even the season series and widen their narrow lead over Chivas for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff slot.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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Two months after Santos Laguna lifted the trophy for winning the Mexican Clausura championship, the club's championship defense begins with the start of the Mexican Apertura season.

A full slate of action is on tap this weekend in Mexico, where U.S. men's national team forward Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna play San Luis to open their campaign.

Mid-Day Ticker: UEFA fines Cassano; Champions, Europa League draws & more

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Euro 2012 is almost three weeks in the rear-view mirror, but punishment is still being handed down for remarks made during the tournament.

Italy forward Antonio Cassano was fined €15,000 by UEFA for his anti-gay remarks. Cassano's comments were made when answering questions of whether he thought he had any gay teammates on the Italian national team.

Shea struggling to meet high expectations

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Brek Shea's season could not be straying any further from how most thought it would unfold.

After a year full of U.S. men's national team appearances and an offseason filled with European transfer speculation and a training stint at Arsenal, Shea has struggled to meet the lofty expectations bestowed upon him and has had his standing as a rising American star and transfer candidate take a step back.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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After scoring a highlight-reel goal in a friendly this week, Terrence Boyd will be looking to do something he has yet to do in his budding career -- make a top-flight, first-team appearance in a game that counts.

Despite already having four caps with the U.S. national team and following a season with Borussia Dortmund's reserves in which he scored 20 goals, the 21-year-old Boyd eyes his pro debut with Rapid Vienna this weekend as the Austrian Bundesliga season gets underway.

Reyna's son, 13, passes away

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Jack Reyna, the son of former U.S. national team great and current U.S. Soccer youth technical director Claudio Reyna, passed away Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 13.

Reyna, his wife Danielle and their family issued a statement through U.S. Soccer on Friday:

"It is with a heavy heart that we confirm that Jack Reyna lost his battle with cancer (Thursday).

Friday Kickoff: Manchester United bids for Van Persie, Lucas rejected & more

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Robin van Persie is a wanted man among Europe's top clubs, but Arsenal is maintaining their ground before deciding to part ways with their star striker.

The Gunners have reportedly turned down a bid from Manchester United that is said to be not close to one in the £20 million range that is being sought after for the 28-year-old Dutch international.

Olsen selects Morrow to replace Pearce on All-Star roster

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photo by Nick Turchiaro

 Justin Morrow will be going to the All-Star game after all.

One of the bigger initial snubs of this year's event, Morrow was added to the MLS All-Star roster by head coach Ben Olsen on Thursday. The San Jose Earthquakes defender replaces New York Red Bulls defender Heath Pearce, who is dealing with a hamstring injury.

D.C. United Notes: Korb set to step in for Russell, Willis gets another shot and more

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Chris Korb's likely reintroduction to D.C. United's starting lineup could not come at a more convenient time for the Ohio native.

With Robbie Russell suffering a foot injury at Houston Sunday and out for "somewhere in the month-plus region," according to D.C. United coach Ben Olsen, Korb will be looked at to fill in at right back starting with Saturday's match at the Columbus Crew.

MLS Spotlight: Johnson repaying Seattle's confidence in him with goals

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By FRANCO PANIZO

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- Eddie Johnson may seem like a confident player for the Seattle Sounders these days, but that's only because of the belief his new team has had in him.

After spending eight months without a club and rejoining MLS this past winter, Johnson has shaken off a rough start to the season by finding the scoring touch that made him one of the most lethal forwards in MLS prior to his departure for Europe four years ago.

Guzan ready to challenge for starting spot at Aston Villa

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By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. -- Brad Guzan has spent four years as a backup goalkeeper at Aston Villa. But this year, as he and his club prepare for a new Premier League season, the starting spot could be within reach.

Earlier this week, Guzan put pen to paper on a new contract that will keep him at Aston Villa for at least the next three years.

Brutally hot homestand taking toll on Red Bulls

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

Oppressive heat, turnover in their roster, a cornucopia of injuries; what haven't the Red Bulls fought through during this three game homestand?

Though New York clearly held the better of possession against Chicago, they struggled to find their rhythm with the conditions being what they were.

Mid-Day Ticker: Bin Hamman wins ban appeal, King retires and more

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Mohamed bin Hammam is back in the game.

The Qatari official Thursday won his appeal of a lifetime ban imposed by FIFA amid allegations he bribed voters while running for president of the international body last year. The Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, did not find him innocent of corruption, instead reversing the ban because of a lack of conclusive evidence.

MLS, Stoke City agree on fee for Cameron

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Geoff Cameron is one step closer to the English Premier League.

According to multiple reports out of England, Stoke City and Major League Soccer have agreed on a $2.5 million transfer fee that would send the Houston defender abroad. Stoke are still negotiating personal terms with the U.

Lukaku strikes twice as Chelsea win shootout over Seattle in summer friendly

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

The new faces of Chelsea were on full display Wednesday night as forward Romelu Lukaku scored twice in a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Sounders to open Chelsea's American tour.

For the Sounders, the loss on the night was overshadowed by the retirement of Roger Levesque, who made his final appearance for Seattle after an impressive career with the Sounders.

Studio 90: 1-on-1 with Heather Mitts

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Earthquakes edge FC Dallas after missed PK

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The San Jose Earthquakes looked well on their way to another home victory on Wednesday night before a late FC Dallas rally threatened to spoil the party at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Dallas couldn't complete the comeback though. Defender Jair Benitez failed to make that happen when he sent a stoppage time penalty kick over the crossbar, dooming FC Dallas to a 2-1 loss.

Must-See Goal: Jose Villarreal

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Villarreal stunner completes Galaxy comeback in draw at Vancouver

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The Vancouver Whitecaps jumped all over the LA Galaxy early on in their Western Conference showdown at BC Place, but a David Beckham-led comeback helped the Galaxy escape Canada with a precious road point.

Beckham notched a goal and assist, including helping set up a dramatic equalizer from rookie Jose Villarreal, in a 2-2 draw on Wednesday night.

Chivas USA extends Portland's woes behind Bolanos' goal

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Two of the more futile attacks in MLS hardly lit up the scoreboard at the Home Depot Center Wednesday afternoon, but one did just enough to secure a massive three points, while the other remains left searching for answers.

Miller Bolanos scored off a rebound in the 16th minute to carry Chivas USA to a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers.

Nyassi volleys Impact past Revolution

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Sanna Nyassi has proven himself to be capable of individual moments of brilliance in past seasons, and Wednesday night he did it again.Â

Nyassi got onto the end of a Justin Mapp cross and unleashed a ferocious first-time volley inside the near post to break a tie in the 67th minute and give the Montreal Impact a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution at Stade Saputo.

Newcomer Wiedeman lifts Toronto FC to third straight win

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The acquisition of Andrew Wiedeman has paid immediate dividends for Toronto FC.Â

Wiedeman, sent to TFC from FC Dallas in exchange for Julian de Guzman last week, came off the bench and scored the game-winning goal Wednesday night at BMO Field, lifting TFC to a 2-1 victory over the floundering Colorado Rapids.

Carr drives Dynamo to win vs. Sporting KC

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Calen Carr had not start for the Houston Dynamo in more than a month, but he made up for lost time on Wednesday night, scoring both goals in another Dynamo victory at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Carr scored two goals, set up by Will Brian and Brad Davis, to topple Sporting Kansas City, 2-1.

Aston Villa post friendly victory vs. Union

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By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. -- The game may mean very little in the long run, but Aston Villa opened their preseason on the right foot at PPL Park on Wednesday night, beating the Philadelphia Union, 1-0.

Nathan Delfouneso was left open on the edge of the penalty area and beat Zac MacMath with a curling shot to give Aston Villa a lead in the 43rd minute.

MLS Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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Two games are already in the books on a busy day around MLS, but a full night of action still awaits. In the headlining matches of the night, the Houston Dynamo host Sporting Kansas City in a rematch of the 2011 Eastern Conference final; the Los Angeles Galaxy head to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps in a meeting between a pair of teams in playoff position out west; and San Jose returns to action after a 5-0 thrashing of Real Salt Lake by taking on FC Dallas.

Red Bulls Notes: Henry ends scoring drought, Lade makes difference and more

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By DAN MONTESANO

HARRISON, N.J. -- Thierry Henry's goal drought had been approaching three months, with a combination of injuries and ineffective finishing accounting for 11 Red Bulls matches without a goal from the star Frenchman.

Henry ended that drought in spectacular fashion on Wednesday, delivering a game-winning goal in the process.

Evening Ticker: Gatt's Molde wins UCL opener; Spain's U-23s top Mexico & more

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Josh Gatt's first foray into the UEFA Champions League was a rousing success.

Gatt's Molde FK topped Latvian side FK Ventspils 3-0 in the first leg of their second qualifying round tie, taking a big advantage heading into next Tuesday's road leg.

Gatt, who scored his fourth league goal of the season over the weekend, started and went the distance for Molde, which coasted courtesy of two goals by Davy Claude Agnan and a penalty kick from Vegard Forren.

Studio 90: USWNT arrives in Glasgow

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Liverpool offers comment on Dempsey

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As Liverpool prepares for a few matches in North America, the club has made a public comment about its pursuit for one of the continent's top players.

Plenty of reports have swirled about Liverpool's interest in Clint Dempsey, and while manager Brendan Rodgers revealed that the club has looked into acquiring him, he stopped short of saying that an official offer had been made.

Henry strike carries Red Bulls past Fire

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Playing in torrid conditions, at an unusual time during a weekday and on short rest, Thierry Henry still found a way to snap his scoring drought.

Henry chested down a cross-field pass from Sebastien Le Toux and volleyed a left-footed blast from a tight angle off the far post and in at the 71st-minute mark for the only goal in the New York Red Bulls' 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena Wednesday afternoon.

Must-See Goal: Thierry Henry

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Red Bulls vs. Fire: Match Day Commentary

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While braving summer temperatures and humidity at Red Bull Arena, the New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire will take to the field on short rest with much at stake.

if the teams do not play to a draw, then the winner will move ahead of D.C. United into second place in the East behind Sporting Kansas City while having played one more game than D.

Bradley excited to push barriers at Roma

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Michael Bradley started hearing whispers about clubs being interested in acquiring him from Chievo Verona while with the U.S. men's national team earlier this summer. There were plenty of options from both inside of Italy and out, but as soon as he learned Italian heavyweights AS Roma were serious about signing him, he needed to hear nothing more.

MLS Wednesday: A Look Ahead

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Every MLS team except the Columbus Crew, D.C. United, Real Salt Lake is in action Wednesday, and between league matches and friendlies, fans are in for a packed day of action around North America.

Matches of great importance in the Eastern Conference take place in New York and Houston, as the Red Bulls welcome the Chicago Fire in a battle of two teams jockeying for playoff positioning, while the Dynamo host Sporting Kansas City in a rematch of the 2011 Eastern Conference finals.

SBI's TV Guide to Summer Friendlies

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A long list of summer friendlies that are being televised in North America kicks off Wednesday night, when the Seattle Sounders take on UEFA Champions League winner Chelsea at CenturyLink Field as part of the World Football Challenge.

In addition to the WFC, Manchester United's summer tour that includes a trip to South Africa and matches against Barcelona and Didier Drogba's Shanghai Shenhua is also being televised for all to see.

Best of MLS 2012: The Highlight Reel

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Wednesday Kickoff: Fulham say Dempsey not for sale, De Jong moves on and more

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Clint Dempsey Watch has taken another unusual turn.

Despite a since-taken-down report on Fenway Sports Group's website Wednesday claiming that Liverpool had signed Dempsey, Fulham have reportedly insisted that not only is Dempsey still a member of the Cottagers, but that they have not received any bids for the U.

Stoke City, MLS closer to Cameron deal

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

The Geoff Cameron negotiations between Stoke City and MLS have not always been smooth, but it appears that a transfer deal for the Houston Dynamo star will be going through after all.

As of Friday, talks between the two sides hit a dead end, because they were far apart on agreeing on the transfer fee, sources told SBI.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 19

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With the league's best record on the line, the San Jose Earthquakes came through Saturday in spectacular fashion.

San Jose, the Supporters' Shield front-runner, rose to the challenge against second-place Real Salt Lake on Saturday, cruising to a 5-0 win that secured a season sweep of RSL and a firm grasp on the top spot in this SBI MLS Power Rankings.

Crew's Renteria suspended one game

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Emilio Renteria's reaction to a hard challenge has cost him a game.

Renteria was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for delivering a headbutt to Sporting Kansas City midfielder Paulo Nagamura in the second half of the Crew's 2-0 loss Saturday night.

MLS Notes: Barrett on trial in Norway, Olsen gets D.C. United honor and more

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There's good reason for why Los Angeles Galaxy striker Chad Barrett did not accompany the club for its current trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Barrett is on trial with Norwegian club Valerenga this week, a club reportedly looking to fill a hole at striker, and he will miss Wednesday's match against the Vancouver Whitecaps and Saturday's battle with rival Chivas USA as he tries to make his case for a move to Europe.

USL Pro: A Look Back at Week 15

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Nothing can stop the Charlotte Eagles right now. Not even Mother Nature.

The Eagles extended their winning streak to five games this past Saturday by beating the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 2-0, on Saturday night amid wet conditions. Devon Grousis scored the winner in the first half for Charlotte, and forward Chris Salvaggione came off the bench and added an insurance goal in stoppage time of a match that extended the Eagles' streak of games without giving up a goal to three.

Must-See Goal: Terrence Boyd

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Yes, it's only preseason, but U.S. national team forward Terrence Boyd's bicycle kick goal off a rebound in Rapid Vienna's friendly against Michael Bradley's AS Roma Tuesday afternoon was a thing of beauty. Not a bad way to make a good impression while hoping to earn a regular place in his new team's starting lineup.

Ibrahimovic signs with PSG

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Paris St-Germain's raid on AC Milan is complete.

Days after adding centerback Thiago Silva, the club has finalized the purchase of mercurial striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the Rossoneri, according to Italian publication Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Current PSG sporting director and former AC Milan player and coach Leonardo told the outlet that the signing, which has been in the works for the last week, is complete.

Mid-Day Ticker: Clark let out of contract, Vela seals full transfer and more

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

Ricardo Clark will be getting a fresh start at the end of this month.

Clark and Eintracht Frankfurt have agreed to terminate his contract, the club announced on Tuesday. Clark has been on loan with last-place Stabaek in Norway, where he has received consistent playing time, but that deal expires at the end of the month, upon which time Clark will be a free agent.

SBI MLS Best XI: Week 19

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The MLS Week 19 fireworks exploded late Saturday night, with some of the league's most recognizable names putting forth the best performances of the week to earn SBI MLS Best XI recognition.

David Beckham marked his top performance of the season with two highlight-reel goals in Portland, and his goal tally was matched by fellow DP teammate Robbie Keane.

Jones sets out to clean up his game

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Jermaine Jones has earned the reputation of a hard-tackling destroyer in central midfield, play that has made him a bit of a card magnet for both club and country.

More than a decade into his professional career and at age 30, Jones is setting out to clean up his act.

According to reports from Germany, Jermaine Jones is making a bet with Schalke general manager Horst Heldt that he won't get more than five yellow cards this upcoming season.

USWNT Spotlight: 'Back Home' with Alex Morgan

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Who was the biggest MLS All-Star snub?

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It happens every year. There are only so many spots to fill on the MLS All-Star team's matchday roster, and as a result, a number of players deserving of participating in the league's mid-summer classic miss out on the opportunity.Â

Players like Columbus Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, New York Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper and San Jose Earthquakes winger Marvin Chavez have all stepped into new roles this season and excelled, for example.

Tuesday Kickoff: Rangers owner confirms exits for Bocanegra, Edu and more

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It was the longest of longshots that Carlos Bocanegra and Maurice Edu were going to stay at Rangers and play in Scotland's fourth tier this upcoming season, but the two U.S. men's national team starters have officially been granted the blessing of the club's new owner to seek new teams.

MLS Notes: Rapids place Mastroeni on DL, Revs acquire Imbongo and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Pablo Mastroeni's season has been plagued by injuries and he has been forced to spectate in all but two of the Colorado Rapids' games this year.

Well, Mastroeni's spell on the sidelines won't be coming to a close anytime soon.

Koevermans to miss remainder of TFC season with torn ACL

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Resurging Toronto FC have been dealt a big blow in their quest to get out of the basement in the Eastern Conference, as striker Danny Koevermans has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Toronto FC announced Monday that Koevermans will miss the rest of the year after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee during the club's 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution on Saturday.

Red Bulls GM Soler discusses new acquisitions, Rodgers and more

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

It didn't take long for Sebastian Le Toux to make an impact for the New York Red Bulls. His game tying strike, and a steady performance from goalkeeper Bill Gaudette guided New York through brutal heat en route to a 2-2 tie against the visiting Seattle Sounders.

Lichaj, Guzan among players on Aston Villa roster for U.S. tour

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Aston Villa have announced their traveling roster for their upcoming U.S. tour, and it includes most of their key players as well as the two U.S. men's national team players.

Eric Lichaj and recently re-signed Brad Guzan are just two of the players on Aston Villa's 25-man roster for their tour of the United States, which starts off with a friendly match against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday and then has matches against the Chicago Fire and Portland Timbers on July 21 and 24, respectively.

NASL Commissioner talks Cosmos, expansion and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The past couple of weeks presented an unprecedented period of media attention for NASL, with high-profile moves such as Eric Wynalda becoming the head coach of the Atlanta Silverbacks and the New York Cosmos joining the league for the 2013 season being announced.

SBI MLS Goal of the Week: David Beckham

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David Beckham had himself quite the performance in the Los Angeles Galaxy's 5-3 win against the Portland Timbers, but his first goal was a thing of beauty worth watching over and over.

Beckham's splending curling strike from distance in the first half not only equalized things for the Galaxy, it inspired them to a victory at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday.

SBI MLS Team of the Week: Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting Kansas City stayed in first place in the Eastern Conference after coming out victorious in league play once again, but that was not the only area in which they enjoyed success this past week.

Along with picking up a 2-0 triumph against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Saturday, Sporting KC advanced to the U.

Whitecaps add Miller as third DP

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Fresh off of moving Davide Chiumiento and Sebastien Le Toux, the Vancouver Whitecaps added a potent attacking weapon to their disposal by signing Scotland national team captain Kenny Miller on Monday.

The Whitecaps signed Miller as their third Designated Player, and the 32-year-old striker will provide another lethal scoring threat up top for head coach Martin Rennie.

Mid-Day Ticker: Stoke still in talks for Cameron, West Ham eyes Carroll, & more

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Geoff Cameron has not hid his desire of playing in Europe, and Stoke City is still in the process of trying to make that dream become a reality.

Stoke are still in negotiations with MLS over possibly acquiring Cameron from the Houston Dynamo during the current transfer window, but recent reports have claimed the two sides were far apart on a transfer fee.

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Chris Wondolowski

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Chris Wondolowski just cannot stop scoring.

Wondolowski upped his season total to 17 goals this past weekend, netting a hat-trick and delivering an assist that inspired the San Jose Earthquakes to a 5-0 dismantling of Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday. Wondolowski's performance helped him surpass his goal-scoring total from a year ago and has him one shy of his career best, and it is the reason he won SBI's MLS Player of the Week award.

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Luis Silva

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Luis Silva scored the first two goals of his professional career during the past week, and for that he has won SBI's MLS Rookie of the Week award.

The Toronto FC rookie netted his first goal last Wednesday in the Reds' 3-2 victory over Canadian rival, the Montreal Impact. And he followed that up by scoring the winner in this past Sunday's 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution, a goal that capped a memorable week for the young forward out of UC Santa Barbara.

NASL Week 15: A Look Back

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photo courtesy of tlphoto.ca

By FRANCO PANIZO

The race for first place in NASL is heating up, and the Tampa Bay Rowdies are right in the thick of things.

The Rowdies inched one step closer to the top spot in the league standings this past Sunday, picking up a 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton that came courtesy of a late goal and despite them being down to 10 men.

Monday Kickoff: Guzan re-signs with Villa, Russia to appoint Capello, & more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

If Brad Guzan is going to permanently claim a starting goalkeeping spot in the near future, he will have to do so at the club where he has struggled to breakthrough thus far.

After flirting with free agency, Guzan re-signed with Aston Villa on Monday, the Premiership club announced on its website.

Dynamo cruise past 10-man D.C. United

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Overcoming an early red card is never easy, and doing so in the sweltering heat of Houston only makes the task that much more impossible.

D.C. United learned this harsh lesson on Sunday night after goalkeeper Bill Hamid was sent off in the 17th minute for a foul in the penalty area.

Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United: Your Running Commentary

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Geoff Cameron has been the subject of transfer rumors to Stoke City, but that's not stopping the Houston Dynamo from deploying their star player.

Despite discussions and negotiations of a potential move to the Premier League, Cameron is in the starting lineup for the Houston Dynamo as they face D.

LeToux scores in his Red Bulls debut, but RBNY settles for draw vs. Sounders

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Sebastien LeToux wasted no time getting acclimated to his new team, but the New York Red Bulls continued their recent struggle in recording victories.

The Red Bulls dropped points for the sixth time in seven matches on Sunday afternoon, rallying back from an early deficit on their way to a 2-2 draw against the Seattle Sounders at Red Bull Arena.

Sporting KC earn road win in Columbus

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Sporting Kansas City capped a productive and business-like road trip on Saturday night by posting another shutout and another victory.

Just four days after beating the Philadelphia Union to book their place in the U.S. Open Cup Final, Sporting KC went to Columbus and shut down the Crew.

FC Dallas snaps 13-match winless slide with comeback road win in Colorado

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FC Dallas had gone 13 matches without a win. A span of three miserable months that sucked the life out of a season that began with so much promise. There was very little reason to think Dallas would be able to go to Colorado and find that elusive victory in one of the tougher places to play in MLS, but FC Dallas found a way to end their misery, if only for one night.

Olsen, Garber make picks to round out MLS All-Star team

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The 18 players who will go up against Chelsea at PPL Park in the MLS All-Star Game on July 25 are set, and the tops of the Eastern Conference and Western Conference tables are well represented.

D.C. United and MLS All-Star coach Ben Olsen opted to select all 11 players voted into the First XI by the fans while adding his own in-form attacker Chris Pontius; Seattle Sounders Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson; Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman and Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.

Red Bulls vs. Sounders: Your Running Commentary

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The Sebastien Le Toux era for the New York Red Bulls kicks off Sunday, with the new acquisition taking on one of his former teams when the Red Bulls host the Seattle Sounders at Red Bull Arena (4 p.m., ESPN/ESPN3.com).

After being sent to New York from Vancouver on Friday night, Le Toux is in the starting lineup for New York, as is new goalkeeper acquisition Bill Gaudette, who replaces injured rookie Ryan Meara (hip).

Bradley transfers to Roma, signs four-year deal

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For a second straight summer, Michael Bradley is changing clubs. But this time he is staying in Italy and playing for one of the more prolific clubs in the world.

Bradley transferred to AS Roma from Chievo Verona on Sunday, Roma announced on its website. The Italian heavyweight paid Chievo a transfer fee of $4.

Chicago rides Pardo free kick to top Whitecaps

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BRIDGEVIEW, IL-Â Chicago rebounded from last week's shutout at the hands of LA Galaxy to overcome a road-weary Vancouver Whitecaps on Pavel Pardo free kick, as the Fire improved their overall record to 9-6-4, and drew even in the standings with New York Red Bulls with the 1-0 win.

Silva, Kocic lead TFC past Revs

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Luis Silva continued a stellar week by scoring an early goal for Toronto FC on Saturday night, then TFC goalkeeper Milos Kocic made that goal stand up with a virtuoso performance.

Silva scored in the 8th minute for his second goal in as many matches and Kocic recorded four saves to lead Toronto to a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.

Wondolowski hat-trick leads Quakes past 10-man Real Salt Lake to stay atop West

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If there were any lingering doubts about the San Jose Earthquakes and their legitimacy as MLS title contenders, those doubts were erased on Saturday night by a dominating performance against the team closest to them in the standings.

Chris Wondolowski scored a hat-trick, bringing his total to a league-best 17, to lead the Earthquakes to a 5-0 thrashing of Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium in San Jose.

Galaxy DPs drop five goals on Timbers in 5-3 shootout at Jeld-Wen Field

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Saturday night's match didn't start out the way the LA Galaxy would have wanted, but the rest of the night could not have gone much better.

The Galaxy shook off an early Kris Boyd goal by rattling off four unanswered goals in just nine minutes on their way to a 5-3 victory over the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday night.

Must-See Goal: David Beckham

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Late Valdes winner lifts Union over Impact

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By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. -- For more than 80 minutes, the first-ever meeting between the Philadelphia Union and the Montreal Impact left something to be desired. But in the last 15 minutes, that all changed.

Philadelphia took the lead in the 82nd minute when Lionard Pajoy pounced on a loose ball in the box, only for Montreal to answer moments later when the Union fell asleep on a corner kick and conceded an own goal.

MLS Match Night: Your Running Commentary

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The top two teams in MLS square off tonight when the San Jose Earthquakes face Real Salt Lake in the marquee battle of a loaded schedule.

The Earthquakes hold a one-point lead on RSL heading into the match, but the visitors will field a strong team now that Jamison Olave has returned from injury to re-vamp the defense.

FOX Sports Spotlight on Wambach and Morgan

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<A href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=b8b56819-9c20-45f9-9dc7-d4f55cc0a295&src=v5:embed:syndication:&from=shareembed-syndication" _mce_href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=b8b56819-9c20-45f9-9dc7-d4f55cc0a295&amp;src=v5:embed:syndication:&amp;from=shareembed-syndication" target="_new" title="In Focus: Alex Morgan/Abby Wambach">Video: In Focus: Alex Morgan/Abby Wambach</A>


Koroma, Ocegueda among 18 on Ramos' U.S. U-20 Milk Cup roster

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

A blend of professional, academy and collegiate talent accounts for the U.S. Under-20 men's national team Milk Cup roster, a squad aiming to capture the United States' second tournament title in three years and third since 2005.

Coach Tab Ramos will be taking 18 players to Northern Ireland, including 2011 U-17 World Cup participants Alfred Koroma, Mario Rodriguez, Kendall McIntosh and Dillon Serna, Mexican-American left back Juan Pablo Ocegueda and University of North Carolina standouts Mikey Lopez and Boyd Okwuonu.

PSG seal deal for Silva, still waiting on Zlatan

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Paris St. Germain have finalized the first half of their jaw-dropping double swoop of AC Milan stars on Saturday, completing the deal to land Brazilian centerback Thiago Silva.

PSG signed Silva to a five-year contract on Saturday after completing a 42 million-Euro transfer for him.

Lampard, Hazard headline Chelsea squad for USA tour, MLS All-Star Game

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UEFA Champions League title holders Chelsea will be hitting the United States soon, and they'll be bringing their full-strength squad for American fans to see in person.

Chelsea announced the traveling roster for upcoming friendlies against the Seattle Sounders (July 18th in Seattle), Paris St.

Soler "downgrades" DP talk, extends wait for Rodgers

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

Things certainly change quickly in the world of the New York Red Bulls.

Earlier this week, Head Coach Hans Backe told gathered reporters about the team's "ongoing" discussions with a potential Designated Player. By week's end, General Manager Erik Soler was busy putting the brakes on any such talk.

LeToux headed to the Red Bulls in blockbuster

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With all the talk about who the New York Red Bulls might sign as a third designated player, there had been no talk about what the team might do within MLS to help bolster their squad.

On Friday night we found out the Red Bulls were planning a blockbuster.

The Red Bulls acquired French forward Sebastien LeToux from the Vancouver Whitecaps on Friday night in exchange for Jamaican winger Dane Richards and allocation money.

Seattle fan favorite Levesque retiring

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

One of the Emerald City Supporters' favorite players is stepping away from the game.

Roger Levesque will retire after Wednesday's friendly against Chelsea, according to The Seattle Times, ending a nine-year career spent mostly with the Sounders, both in USL and MLS.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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Saturday provides another fresh start for Charlie Davies, one which he hopes is just the beginning of the turning point that launches him back to his form of old.

A week after signing with Randers FC in Denmark, Davies, who has drawn the No. 8 jersey, has been named to the 21-man squad that will travel to Sonderjyske for the club's season-opening game in the Danish Superliga and could very well make his debut.

Red Bulls trade for Galaxy goalkeeper Gaudette

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

The New York Red Bulls added goalkeeping depth Friday, acquiring Los Angeles Galaxy backup Bill Gaudette in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2014 MLS Supplemental Draft.Â

With rookie Ryan Meara as the entrenched starter in New York, Gaudette will fight Jeremy Vuolo for backup duties while providing experienced insurance on the depth chart.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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This weekend's soccer schedule is dominated by MLS, with some intriguing games highlighting the slate including one with major implications atop the Supporters' Shield table.

The top two teams in the Western Conference and the league -- the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake -- square off for the third and final time during the regular season, with the Earthquakes going for the season sweep at Buck Shaw Stadium.

MLS Week 19: A Look Ahead

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By THOMAS FLOYD

Front-runner status in the Supporters' Shield race is at stake this weekend.

The MLS-leading San Jose Earthquakes will host a Real Salt Lake team sitting just one point back in the Western Conference standings. With the top attack in MLS, Chris Wondolowski and the Earthquakes will be eager to test themselves against Jamison Olave and Salt Lake's dependably stingy back line.

Rapids acquire Wahl from Montreal

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The wheeling and dealing north of the border continues.

The Montreal Impact dealt defender Tyson Wahl to the Colorado Rapids Friday, acquiring an international roster spot for the 2014 season. The Impact originally acquired Wahl from the Seattle Sounders for allocation money on the day of the expansion draft.

Cosmos chairman O'Brien promises stability, rise with club's return to field

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

The Paul Kemsley Era New York Cosmos left a sour taste in the mouth of New York-area soccer fans hoping for a second MLS franchise to emerge in the region. Seemingly at every turn, where there was promise, failure followed. A potentially great alliance with standout youth academy program BW Gottchee was formed, only to deteriorate into a legal battle over unpaid wages.

Terry found not guilty of racial abuse

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Following four days of testimonies and arguments, England and Chelsea centerback John Terry was found not guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, putting end to a saga that has been carrying on since the initial incident last October.

Terry was facing a maximum punishment of a £2,500 fine (along with the stigma of being found guilty of racial abuse), but instead walks away a free man after not enough evidence was presented to show that Terry purposefully abused the Queens Park Rangers defender.

TFC shipping DeGuzman to FC Dallas, making way for defensive help

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

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Toronto FC's roster makeover continued late Thursday night, with the club pulling off a major deal that could pave the way for some much-needed defensive help.

Toronto FC is preparing to trade away Canadian midfielder Julian DeGuzman to FC Dallas in a deal that will free up the cap room and Designated Player slot the team needs to land a high-profile central defender, sources told SBI on Thursday evening.

Friday Kickoff: Non-U.S. Gold Cup sites explored, torch not for Beckham & more

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American soccer fans have grown to expect that the CONCACAF Gold Cup will be held on U.S. soil, but that might not be a given going forward.

In an interview with Reuters, new CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb said that the organization is going to explore options outside of the United States to host the regional tournament.

Rangers voted into Scotland's fourth tier

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Rangers' climb back to the top of Scottish soccer will start at an unprecedented low.

After a vote conducted by 30 Scottish Football League clubs, Rangers will be playing in Division Three -- the country's fourth tier -- as it starts its rebirth as a new company following the financial turmoil that forced the club into administration and out of the Premier League.

Garber issues statement on Cosmos

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The New York Cosmos made waves Thursday with the announcement that they will be participating in NASL next season, the first tangible sign that the franchise will actually field a team after being reborn in 2010 following a nearly 30-year hiatus.

Based on the Cosmos' statement from earlier in the day, the club maintains its sights on one day becoming an MLS expansion franchise, and MLS commissioner Don Garber addressed the Cosmos' integration into NASL and future aspirations, issuing the following statement:

"We welcome the Cosmos' entrance to the NASL," Garber said.

FC Dallas signs Acosta, record-tying seventh Homegrown Player

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

FC Dallas' academy has produced yet another first-team player.

FCD signed U.S. Under-18 midfielder Kellyn Acosta as its seventh Homegrown Player, matching Toronto FC for the most in the league since the inception of the rule.Â

Acosta, previously a member of the U.

D.C. United Notes: Club set for Houston heat, off-field issues subside and more

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By AVI CREDITORÂ

The unusually hot D.C. summer has made for superb preparation conditions for D.C. United's second trip to Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.

With temperatures regularly creeping into the triple digits in the nation's capital over the past number of weeks, D.

Studio 90: USWNT begins Olympic preparations in England

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Report: PSG land Ibrahimovic, Silva

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Paris-St. Germain's attempt to become a serious contender on the European soccer scene took a giant step forward on Thursday.

According to Italian publication Gazzetta Dello Sport, AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi confirmed the sales of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and centerback Thiago Silva to PSG for a reported €62 million in a move that nets the French club two of the biggest stars in the world at their respective positions.

Union Notes: Hackworth sees value in Cup loss, Okugo impresses and more

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By JOEY SAMUEL

The Philadelphia Union's first run into the later rounds of the U.S. Open Cup in team history came to an end Wednesday night, but manager John Hackworth thinks the 2-0 semifinal loss to Sporting Kansas City is a great opportunity for his team to grow.

Cosmos returning to NASL in 2013

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After all of the fanfare, VIP backing and posturing, the New York Cosmos will indeed take to the field as a soccer team yet again.

The Cosmos announced Thursday that they will play in NASL starting in the 2013 season, joining the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies as original NASL franchises playing in the modern edition of the league.

Dunfield burns former club with winner to keep TFC rolling in Canada

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On a night when Vancouver Whitecaps rookie Darren Mattocks served notice that he has every intention of being the MLS Rookie of the Year this season, it was a seasoned veteran who stole the show late.

Terry Dunfield punished the team that traded him away a year ago, scoring a stoppage-time winner to give Toronto FC a 3-2 victory over the Whitecaps at BMO Field on Wednesday.

Mid-Day Ticker: Capello in Russia talks, Fletcher's career in jeopardy & more

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Fabio Capello may not be unemployed much longer.

The former England manager who abruptly resigned in February, just months before he was to lead the nation at Euro 2012, met with the Russian federation Thursday to discuss the national team's coaching opening.

Capello is reportedly the front-runner to replace Dick Advocaat, who already had plans to leave Russia for PSV Eindhoven even before his side failed to advance out of the group stage at Euro.

With the U.S. Open Cup Final set, who do you see winning?

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Tuesday night's U.S. Open Cup semifinals have set up a dream final between the three-time defending Seattle Sounders and a strong Sporting Kansas City side that will be hosting the final on Aug. 8th at Livestrong Sporting Park.

Sporting KC looked great defensively in shutting down the Philadelphia Union, while the Sounders attack looked very effective in routing Chivas USA by a 4-1 margin.

Thursday Kickoff: PSG plots double swoop for Milan stars, Forest fires Cotterill, and more

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French powerhouse Paris St. Germain has already spent big money this summer in landing Argentine star Ezequiel Lavezzi from Napoli with a €26 million transfer, but the big spenders from Paris have their sights set on even bigger targets.

Reports out of Italy have PSG making a combined €65 million transfer bid for AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and defender Thiago Silva.

Sounders trounce Chivas USA to book fourth straight trip to U.S. Open Cup Final

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By JASON MITCHELL

TUKWILA, Wash. - Thanks to a swarming 11-man effort, the brilliance of Osvaldo Alonso, and yet another goal from the suddenly torrid Eddie Johnson, the Seattle Sounders have reached their fourth consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final.

Sporting KC downs Union to advance to U.S. Open Cup final

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By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. -- With a chance to host the US Open Cup final on the line, Sporting Kansas City rose to the occasion and did what they had to do.

Sporting KC posted a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union in their Open Cup semifinal at PPL Park on Wednesday night, earning the right to host the 2012 US Open Cup Final at Livestrong Sporting Park against the winner of Wednesday night's semifinal between the Seattle Sounders and Chivas USA.

Must-See Goal: Darren Mattocks

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U.S. Open Cup/MLS Wednesday: Match Night Commentary

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The U.S. Open Cup semifinal round takes place tonight, with four teams vying for a spot in the finals and a chance to play for the title and a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.

In the opening Open Cup match of the night, Sporting Kansas City aims to avenge a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the Philadelphia Union just a few weeks ago when they take the field at PPL Park.

Whitecaps sell Chiumiento to FC Zurich

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As the Vancouver Whitecaps prepare for an all-Canadian battle with Toronto FC tonight, they'll do so without one of their most inventive and creative players.

The Whitecaps sold Davide Chiumiento to FC Zurich for an undisclosed transfer fee, a move that abruptly ends the playmaker's time in MLS.

Two years after World Cup triumph, Spain's dominance still reigns

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Spain's dominance on the international stage is now four years and running, a period that began with La Furia Roja's triumph at the 2008 European championship and one that was punctuated at the beginning of this month, with their second consecutive continental title.Â

In between that, Spain had its greatest moment -- capturing the 2010 World Cup, an event that happened two years ago today.

MLS Notes: Real Salt Lake acquires Braun, Plata loaned to Quito and more

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Another player who found himself struggling for minutes with the Montreal Impact is on the move.

Forward Justin Braun was traded to his hometown Real Salt Lake in exchange for a conditional 2014 draft pick Wednesday, getting himself out of a situation that had become increasingly dire north of the border.

Who should be hired as Portland's next coach?

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The dust is just settling in the aftermath of John Spencer's dismissal as coach of the Portland Timbers, with the second-year MLS club looking for a new candidate who will carry the team to new heights.

Gavin Wilkinson, the club's general manager and former coach during the team's USL days, has been given the interim reins for the remainder of the season while the club searches for its long-term replacement.

Red Bulls in talks with third DP

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

With a little more than two weeks remaining until the close of the MLS summer transfer window, the New York Red Bulls have a Designated Player in their sights.

According to head coach Hans Backe, the Red Bulls have targeted and are currently in negotiations with a potential third DP to join the likes of Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez.

Mid-Day Ticker: Documents out Teixeira, Havelange for accepting bribes & more

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What has been expected for years was confirmed on Wednesday.

After a Swiss court ordered that FIFA could make the documents detailing business with marketing partner ISL public, the world's governing body of soccer did so, outing some of the biggest names in the organization for taking kickbacks.

Report: D.C. United valued at $50 million

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D.C. United's front-office brass spoke Tuesday about how the club had no financial restrictions following the introduction of new owners Jason Levien and Erick Thohir. The club's latest valuation would seem to corroborate that.

According to a report from Forbes, D.C.'s two new owners bought 60 percent of the club to boost its value to $50 million, with the ownership deal being the most expensive in league history.

U.S. Open Cup semifinals: A Look Ahead

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The U.S. Open Cup will be down to its final two teams by night's end.

Four MLS teams have fought through the tournament's new format to persevere to the semifinals, with the Philadelphia Union, Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Sounders and Chivas USA emerging as the final teams standing after a wild tournament marked by upsets, Cinderella stories and late-game heroics.

U.S. women arrive in England looking to defend Olympic gold

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The U.S. women's national team has touched down in England ready to defend its Olympic gold medal.

The 2008 Olympic tournament champions arrived Wednesday to begin preparations for the upcoming Olympic tournament, which begins later this month. The U.S. women will train in Middlesbrough for six days before venturing to Glasgow, Scotland, to get acclimated for a week before the July 25 Olympic opener against France at Hampden Park.

Wednesday Kickoff: Tottenham eye Lloris signing, Maradona fired and more

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Brad Friedel is aware that his playing days are winding down, and Tottenham is reportedly eyeing a move that could accelerate his decline from his post as the club's No. 1 goalkeeper.

According to reports, Spurs are looking to sign Lyon and French national team goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, a move that does not faze the veteran American goalkeeper, who is entering his second season with Tottenham.

Cal FC trio signs with Wynalda's Silverbacks

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Eric Wynalda's Cal FC influence on the Atlanta Silverbacks is becoming a little more noticeable.

Just a week after taking over as interim manager of the NASL club, Wynalda has brought three of his stalwarts from Cal FC's U.S. Open Cup team along with him to Atlanta. The club announced the signings of Danny Barrera, Pablo Cruz and Mike Randolph Tuesday in hopes of having that Cal FC magic rub off on the last-place team over the course of the final 12 games of the season.

USL Pro: A Look Back at Week 14

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The Charleston Battery's quest to take first place became more difficult this past weekend, as they suffered a pair of surprises losses to the rising Charlotte Eagles.

The Eagles first blanked the Battery, 2-0, on Friday courtesy of two goals in the second half.

Rowe suspended for collision with Meara

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Kelyn Rowe is the latest to get the dreaded call from the MLS Disciplinary Committee.

The New England Revolution rookie was suspended a game and fined an undisclosed amount for running through New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara and kicking him in the head during the final minutes of the Revolution's victory over the Red Bulls on Sunday.

New D.C. United ownership partners stress stadium need upon introduction

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By AVI CREDITOR

WASHINGTON -- Upon their first public remarks after becoming major investors in D.C. United, the club's two newest owners wasted no time in addressing the one thing that the club's supporters have been eagerly and patiently waiting to have resolved: A new stadium.

SBI Mid-Season MLS Best XI

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As we hit the mid-way point of the MLS season, it is time to look at the players who have enjoyed the best seasons in the league.

There are plenty of worthy candidates for the Mid-Season MLS Best XI, including some no-brainer selections like Chris Wondolowski and Dwayne DeRosario. Some positions are very tough to choose from, like defensive midfield, where Kyle Beckerman and Osvaldo Alonso are both worthy selections.

World Football Challenge TV schedule released

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The television schedule for the 2012 World Football Challenge was released Tuesday, and ESPN2 and Fox Soccer Channel will be televising every one of the WFC games this summer in English. All will be broadcasted live except for the D.C. United-Paris St. Germain match, which will be aired on tape delay on FSC.

Mid-Day Ticker: Mourinho ban lifted, Terry pleads innocence and more

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Jose Mourinho and Tito Vilanova will be going head-to-head in the Spanish Supercopa after all.

The Spanish soccer federation lifted the bans for both coaches almost a year after their actions in an altercation during last year's Supercopa between Real Madrid and Barcelona during which Mourinho gouged Vilanova's eye only to have the then-Barcelona assistant retaliate with a slap to Mourinho's face.

SBI MLS Best XI: Week 18

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Week 18 in MLS was marked by some virtuoso attacking performances, and that much is reflected on SBI's Best XI.

Hat-trick hero Alvaro Saborio and two-goal scorer Robbie Keane did the heavy lifting in weekend wins for Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy, respectively, while the Philadelphia Union continue their ascent from the bottom of the Eastern Conference and were carried to a pair of wins by Freddy Adu and Michael Farfan.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 18

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After briefly falling on hard times, Real Salt Lake is back in familiar territory.

Dropped to a season-low position of No. 6 in last week's SBI MLS Power Rankings because of a four-game winless drought, Salt Lake jumped back to third in the new poll thanks to a four-point week highlighted by Alvaro Saborio's hat trick in a 3-0 triumph over the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Andy Rose

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Andy Rose might not have gotten on the score sheet this past week, but his contributions to a four-point week for the Seattle Sounders -- most notably in the club's 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids Saturday night -- did not go unnoticed.

After coming off the bench in a mid-week draw against Real Salt Lake, the rookie out of UCLA helped the Sounders snap a nine-game winless stretch in a 90-minute performance, with his influential play in central midfield disrupting the Rapids and earning him SBI MLS Rookie of the Week honors.

Reports: Stoke City nears Cameron deal

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Geoff Cameron's time in MLS appears to be rapidly coming to a close.

According to reports, Stoke City is nearing completion on a $2.7 million transfer for the Houston Dynamo centerback, a move that could be completed as soon as this week. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the team is in full support of the move, with club president Chris Canetti going as far to say, "The club is in favor of this transfer, and we are in support of it happening.

Tuesday Kickoff: Liverpool makes push for Dempsey, Clasico dates set and more

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Liverpool may not be competing in the UEFA Champions League next season, but that's not stopping the Reds from emerging as a reported suitor for U.S. national team star Clint Dempsey.

Multiple reports from England claim that Liverpool is set for a transfer capture of Dempsey in the £7.

U.S. Soccer issues statement after Solo fails anti-doping test

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A mere days before the U.S. women's national team departs for the Olympics, in comes a bit of bad news for one of the team's best players.

Starting goalkeeper Hope Solo received a public warning from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for a prohibited subtance violation from June, and U.S.

Trailer released for upcoming Bob Bradley in Egypt documentary

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Mid-Day Ticker: Mancini signs new deal, Grella signs with Scunthopre, & more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Roberto Mancini helped give Manchester City the ultimate reward in English soccer this past season by helping them lift the Premier League title.

Now, they are rewarding him.

Mancini signed a five-year deal worth an estimated $38.7 million with the wealthy club on Monday, meaning the Italian's contract runs through the 2016-2017 season.

Bocanegra discusses Rangers, MLS and more with SKC TV

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NASL Week 14: A Look Back

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photo courtesy of Rob Kinnan/Carolina RailHawks/Atlanta Silverbacks

By FRANCO PANIZO

In just his second game in charge, Eric Wynalda helped the Altanta Silverbacks do something they had done just once all season: Win.

The Silverbacks picked up their second victory of the season by pulling off a 2-0 upset win on the road over defending champions Minnesota Stars FC.

Slumping Timbers fire Spencer (updated)

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MLS has claimed its third head-coaching casualty of the year, and it is the Portland Timbers' John Spencer.

Spencer has been shown the exit door in Portland after a disappointing first half of the 2012 season that has the 5-8-4 Timbers in second-to-last place in the Western Conferece.

SBI MLS Team of the Week: Philadelphia Union

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Five goals scored. One against. Two big wins.

The Philadelphia Union continued their resurgence this past week by picking up a pair of victories that has brought them within striking distance of other teams in the Eastern Conference. The Union first grabbed a surprise 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Independence Day before thoroughly beating Toronto FC, 3-0, at PPL Park on Sunday.

Earthquakes transfer Ampaipitakwong, release Moreno

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The San Jose Earthquakes shed some weight from their roster on Monday, transferring one player while terminating the contract of another.

The Earthquakes announced Monday that midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong went to Buriram United of the Thai Premier League on an undisclosed transfer and they released Colombian midfielder Tressor Moreno after he expressed unhappiness with his lack of playing time this season.

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Alvaro Saborio

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Real Salt Lake broke out of their four-game winless streak this past weekend, and Alvaro Saborio was the man largely responsible for that.

Saborio inspired RSL to a 3-0 victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday, scoring a second-half hat-trick that raised his goal total to 10 on the season.

Injuries finally taking a toll on Red Bulls

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

Earlier this season, a decimated New York Red Bulls lineup managed to tie a club record for consecutive victories with five wins in a row despite heavy losses to their starting eleven. Bench players, newcomers and rookies all helped keep the Red Bulls' season afloat, securing three shutouts while outscoring opponents, 8-3.

D.C. United to announce new ownership partners Tuesday

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A new era is about to begin for D.C. United.

As expected, D.C. United officially announced they would introduce new members of the club's ownership on Tuesday afternoon. Current owner Will Chang and club president and CEO Kevin Payne will be on hand with the new members of the expanded group and they will all discuss the future of the club, with the topic of a soccer-specific stadium surely to be addressed.

Monday Kickoff: France hires Deschamps, Terry's racism trial begins, & more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The man who last led France to international glory as a player is now in charge of doing the same as a coach.

Former France captain Didier Deschamps was hired as manager of Les Bleus on Sunday, agreeing to a deal that will see him take charge of one of the more troubled sides in international soccer.

Bernier goal lifts Impact to victory over Crew

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The Montreal Impact left it until late, but Patrice Bernier converted an 89th-minute penalty kick that completed a comeback for the expansion team.

Bernier scored from the spot in the final moments of the Impact's match with the Columbus Crew, completing a rally that began with Zarek Valentin's first career goal to take a 2-1 win at Stade Saputo on Sunday.

Keane's double leads Galaxy over Fire

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By JEFFREY KRAUSE

BRIDGEVIEW, IL.- Defending MLS Cup champs LA Galaxy used a brace from Robbie Keane to shut out the Chicago Fire, 2-0, in front of a sold out crowd at Toyota Park on Sunday afternoon.

The much-needed win helped LA avoid a three-game losing skid, after dropping consecutive matches to San Jose and Philadelphia earlier in the week.

Revolution continue strong home form with win against short-handed Red Bulls

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The days of Gillette Stadium being a place teams could come and grab easy road points appear to be over for now. The New England Revolution are seeing to that with some of the best home form in the league.

Riding goals from Lee Nguyen and newly-acquired forward Jerry Bengtson, the Revs dominated a short-handed New York Red Bulls side on their way to a 2-0 victory on Sunday.

Sporting KC trio leads MLS All-Star First XI picks

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Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, defender Aurelien Collin and midfielder Graham Zusi headlined the list of players chosen as part of Major League Soccer's All-Star First XI.

The selections, made by a combination of voting by fans on three different platforms: via the league website, text voting and Twitter.

Union dominates sluggish Toronto in comprehensive 3-0 win

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By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. -- Less than a month into the tenure of interim manager John Hackworth, the Philadelphia Union suddenly look like a whole new team.

Led by some outstanding attacking performances and a rock-solid defense, Philadelphia dominated possession and dictated the tempo for the duration as they defeated last-place Toronto FC, 3-0, in front of a near-sellout crowd at PPL Park on Sunday afternoon.

FC Dallas, Earthquakes settle for scoreless draw after missing chances

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The San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas played to an entertaining draw on Saturday night, but it was a scoreless one due to both sides failing to put away chances.

The Earthquakes and FC Dallas played to a goal-less draw at FC Dallas Stadium, a result that extended Dallas' winless streak to 13 games and gave Western Conference leaders San Jose its first cleansheet since March.

MLS Match Day: Your Running Commentary

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The red-hot Chicago Fire will look to push the LA Galaxy's losing streak to three matches today in the day's most high-profile match-up on the MLS schedule.

Four games fill out the day, beginning with the Fire's clash with an LA side that had enjoyed a nice run before suffering back-to-back defeats.

Hall saves four in Dynamo draw vs. Sporting KC

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On a sweltering night in the midwest, goalkeepers Tally Hall and Jimmy Nielsen combined to keep clean sheets in a defensive stalemate at Livestrong Sporting Park.

Hall made four saves while Nielsen made two saves as the Houston Dynamo earned a valuable road point in a scoreless draw against the Kansas City Wizards.

Zakuani "overwhelmed" in emotional return

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By JASON MITCHELL

SEATTLE, Wash. –Saturday night at CenturyLink Field saw three different players score goals, but none of those players were the true star of a special evening.

The night beloned to Steve Zakuani.

The earliest hint the London-born midfielder might be back in the 18 for the first time since June 20 and just the second time since breaking his leg in April of 2011 came via an early-afternoon tweet from Zakuani: "Wake up on a high, and then I cross my heart and hope to fly," it read.

Whitecaps pick up ninth shutout, Chivas' struggles at home continue

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By KAYLA KNAPP

CARSON, Calif.-- After a solid win at Colorado on Wednesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps were looking continue their road trip success. Chivas USA, back from their two week break in MLS action, came into Saturday night's match at the Home Depot Center trying to pick up their third win at home this season.

Saborio hat-trick leads RSL in rout of Timbers

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Real Salt Lake entered Saturday night looking to halt a four-match winless skid and looking to reassert their place as an MLS Cup favorite and Western Conference title contender.

RSL accomplished all those things with one dominating display at Rio Tinto Stadium. Alvaro Saborio notched a hat trick to help give Real Salt Lake a 3-0 victory against the Portland Timbers.

Zakuani makes emotional return as Sounders top Rapids

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On a night when the Seattle Sounders were looking for their first league win in nine matches, the Sounders not only found a way to beat an opponent in league play. They also welcomed back a player who had been sidelined for far too long.

Goals from Alvaro Fernandez and Eddie Johnson provided the difference in a 2-1 New England victory at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night, but the story of the night was Steve Zakuani.

MLS Match Night: Your Running Commentary

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A quintet of intra-conference match-ups make up today's Major League Soccer action, led by the Seattle Sounders taking on the Colorado Rapids.

The Sounders are winless in eight MLS matches, but return to CenturyLink Field feeling good after a hard-earned point in a scoreless mid-week draw against Real Salt Lake.

MLS Notes: Chivas USA add Burling, Sporting KC sign defender, and more

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Chivas USA added some quality defensive depth on Friday with the acquisition of the rights to veteran MLS centerback Bobby Burling. The Goats landed Burling's rights from Montreal in exchange for an international roster slot in 2013.

Burling returns to Chivas USA, where he played from 2007 to 2009.

Saturday Kickoff: Dutch hire Van Gaal, Park leaving Man United, and more

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The next manager to try and help the Netherlands finally meet expectations is a man who has tried before.

Louis Van Gaal has replaced Bert van Marwijk as manager of the Dutch national team, taking the same job he previously held from 2000 to 2001, when he led the Netherlands in a failed bid to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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With Euro 2012 over, the Olympics several weeks away and foreign clubs' preseason tours still around the corner, this weekend will be all about MLS.

Saturday night's TV slate is headlined by NBC Sports' broadcast of the clash between the Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field.

MLS Week 18: A Look Ahead

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By THOMAS FLOYD

Last November, Sporting Kansas City was exposed on its home field at the most inopportune of times. This weekend, the club will look to right that wrong.

The Houston Dynamo will return to the site of their upset win over Kansas City in the Eastern Conference final, visiting Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday.

SBI Mid-Season MLS Most Valuable Player: Chris Wondolowski

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Chris Wondolowski just won't stop scoring goals.

After leading the league in goals each of the past two seasons with 18 tallies in 2010 and 16 last year, Wondolowski has already found net 14 times in just 16 games for San Jose this season, leading the Earthquakes to a league-best 11-4-3 record.

SBI Mid-Season MLS Most Improved Player: Will Bruin

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After an up-and-down rookie campaign, Will Bruin has found a rhythm in 2012.Â

The Houston Dynamo striker has scored nine goals in 17 appearances, claiming the up-for-grabs starting job alongside Brian Ching with authority and emerging as one of the league's most dangerous forwards.

Red Bulls Notebook: Henry, Marquez likely out, Tainio improves and more

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

"I don't think we ever played a game (this season) with the same team two games in a row," Hans Backe lamented after Friday's training session.

It looks like this week won't be any different.Â

The New York Red Bulls will be missing up to six starters, including Designated Players Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez and teammates Jan Gunnar Solli, Markus Holgersson, Heath Pearce and Teemu Tainio for this weekend's match against the New England Revolution.

Davies signs with Danish side Randers

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American striker Charlie Davies is taking his search for regular playing time to Denmark.

Sources have confirmed to SBI that the 26-year-old has signed with Danish side Randers FC. Davies had been with French club Sochaux since December, when his season-long loan deal with D.

SKC wins bidding to host Open Cup final

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If Kansas City can get past the Philadelphia Union, then the U.S. Open Cup final is coming to Livestrong Sporting Park.

Sporting Kansas City has won the blind bidding to host the final, which means the club will host the match Aug. 7 or 8 if it defeats the Union in Wednesday's semifinal at PPL Park.

SBI Mid-Season MLS Newcomer of the Year: Saer Sene

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Saer Sene was brought to the New England Revolution to do one thing: score goals. Halfway though his first MLS season, it's mission accomplished.

The 25-year-old French striker and former Bayern Munich reserve has bagged eight goals in 15 appearances for the Revolution, providing a physically imposing presence for Jay Heaps' squad up top.

Mid-Day Ticker: Forlan signs in Brazil, FIFA defends rankings & more

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Any hopes of Diego Forlan coming to MLS in the near future have been dashed.

The Golden Ball winner at the 2010 World Cup has signed with Brazilian club Internacional, the team announced. The deal will keep the 33-year-old Uruguay veteran with the club through July 2015.

The striker had played with Inter Milan since transferring from Atletico Madrid in 2011.

SBI Mid-Season MLS Coach of the Year: Frank Yallop

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A year after missing the playoffs, the San Jose Earthquakes boast the top record in Major League Soccer. And veteran coach Frank Yallop, it's safe to say, deserves much of the credit.

Yallop has led the Earthquakes to an 11-4-3 record with a league-leading 36 goals scored. After winning titles with San Jose in 2001 and 2003, the 48-year-old coach has his side in contention for a third MLS Cup.

Report: 76ers minority owners to invest in D.C. United

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D.C. United are on the verge of a new era in ownership.

Philadelphia 76ers minority owners Erick Thohir and Jason Levien have reached an agreement to become co-owners of United, according to sources cited by ESPN NBA writer Marc Stein. As part of the deal, current United owner Will Chang will retain a stake in the club.

Friday Kickoff: Modric to Real Madrid, Silva set to sign new City deal & more

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Real Madrid's newest Galactico appears to be Luka Modric.

The Croatian playmaker is reportedly set to leave Tottenham to sign a four-year deal with Madrid for a transfer fee in the range of $45 million to $55 million.

According to the report, Modric has agreed to personal terms with Madrid on the contract, but Madrid's compensation to Tottenham still needs to be resolved.

Spotlight on Tim Howard

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Tim Howard started his professional career in MLS 14 years ago, and for the first time in years he sounds committed to coming back to the league where his outstanding career began.

In an extensive interview with FOX Soccer, Howard discusses MLS, his future after soccer, returning to MLS, his decision to stay at Everton, and even his thoughts on U.

Nesta signs with Impact

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The Alessandro Nesta-to-MLS rumors have been swirling for weeks and months, and he finally has a club in the league to call home.

The iconic Italian centerback signed with the Montreal Impact on Thursday, the club announced on Thursday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but what was revealed was that Nesta will not be counted as a Designated Player for the expansion Impact.

Beckham fined and suspended one game; Arena, Marsch fined by MLS

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David Beckham's recent misbehaviour did not go unnoticed, and MLS has dropped the hammer on him.

Beckham was fined an undisclosed amount and suspended one game by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for his actions during and after the Los Angeles Galaxy's 4-3 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes on June 30, the league announced on Thursday.

Goal-line technology approved, to be used in upcoming tournaments

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The day so many soccer fans have been waiting for has arrived. Yes, goal-line technology has been approved by FIFA.

The decision was made by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) during a meeting in Zurich on Thursday, with two different systems getting the green light.

NASL: Midweek Rewind

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photo courtesy of Rob Kinnan/Carolina RailHawks/Atlanta Silverbacks

By FRANCO PANIZO

If Eric Wynalda learned one thing in his debut with the Atlanta Silverbacks, it is that he has some work to do.

The Carolina RailHawks spoiled Wynalda's debut game in charge of the Silverbacks, as they picked up a 2-1 victory at WakeMed Park in North Carolina on Tuesday.

SBI Mid-season MLS Defender of the Year: Jamison Olave

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photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

Jamison Olave has been one of the most dominant defenders in MLS since joining Real Salt Lake in 2008, and this year has been no different.

Olave has enjoyed a strong start to the first half of the 2012 campaign, helping Real Salt Lake contend for the top spot in the Western Conference with his physical style, aerial dominance and ability on the ball.

Timbers trade allocation, international slot to acquire Kimura from Rapids

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The Portland Timbers have bolstered their defensive options, acquiring Kosuke Kimura in a trade with the Colorado Rapids on Thursday.

The Timbers gave up allocation money and an international roster spot through the rest of the season in the deal, but in return they got a seasoned MLS defender who can help fill a void at right back.

SBI Mid-season MLS Goalkeeper of the Year: Andy Gruenebaum

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There has been no shortage of standout goalkeepers during the first half of the season in MLS, but the best of the litter to this point has been the Columbus Crew's Andy Gruenebaum.

Filling in for injured incumbent Will Hesmer, Gruenebaum has proven an integral part of Columbus having the stingiest defense in the league (only 15 goals surrendered in 15 games) and that has earned him SBI's Mid-season MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award.

USMNT drops to 36 in FIFA rankings

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photo by Douglas Zimmerman/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team may have lost just once in their five early summer matches, but that did not stop them from falling eight spots in the latest FIFA rankings.

The United States dropped to the 36th spot in the rankings after a few weeks span that included a rout of Scotland, a lopsided defeat to Brazil, a scoreless tie with Canada, a narrow win over Antigua and Barbuda to start World Cup qualifying and a draw on the road with Guatemala.

Mid-Day Ticker: Van Persie says no new deal, Egyptian league to resume and more

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Arsenal have been left shaken by the news that Robin Van Persie does not intend to sign a new deal with the club, and now they have a decision to make.

Van Persie's current deal runs through the end of next season, but Arsenal may want to cash in on him now before he is able to leave on a free transfer next summer.

MLS Notes: Bengtson signed as a DP, Morgan gets new deal, and more

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photo courtesy of New England Revolution

The New England Revolution have officially acquried Jerry Bengtson, but they have done so by making him the second Designated Player in the club's history.

The 25-year-old Bengtson was officially introduced as a member of the Revolution on Thursday morning, having agreed to a deal with New England that will see him play alongside fellow DP Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber and Saer Sene.

Sounders hold RSL to scoreless draw

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Make that four games without a victory for Real Salt Lake and nine for the Seattle Sounders.

Both Western Conference teams' winless streaks were extended on Wednesday night, as they played to a scoreless draw in front of a soldout crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.

There may have been no goals in the match, but there was some controversy after a second-half finish from Alvaro Saborio was whistled back for offside.

South American Soccer: Riquelme leaving Boca

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

Juan Roman Riquelme always said he would like to retire in a Boca Juniors jersey, but last night's 3-1 aggregate defeat in the Copa Libertadores final against Brazilian side Corinthians was surely not the way he wanted to go.

Shortly after Boca's ouster, the 34-year-old attacking midfielder and former Argentine international informed gathered reporters of his decision to leave the club effective immediately.

Whitecaps punish Rapids for Moor error

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An unlucky mistake by a veteran player proved costly for the Colorado Rapids.

Drew Moor committed a blunder towards the end of the first half, and that allowed for Vancouver Whitecaps rookie Darren Mattocks to fire home the winner in their 1-0 victory over the Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday.

Thursday Kickoff: Special 2016 Copa America being discussed, Corinthians wins Copa Libertadores, & more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The long-discuscced special Copa America is no longer just a rumor.

New CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb revealed on Wednesday that the confederation is in talks with CONMEBOL about a possible 2016 Copa America that would include teams from both regions.

Toronto FC extends unbeaten streak after tie with FC Dallas

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If there was still doubt about Toronto FC being a different team under new head coach Paul Mariner, they erased some of it on Wednesday.

Toronto FC went a fifth consecutive game without suffering defeat, tying FC Dallas 1-1 at a soldout FC Dallas Stadium on Wednesday night courtesy of a goal from Danny Koevermans in the first half.

Sporting KC rally to top Impact

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The Montreal Impact were thinking upset after taking a lead against Sporting Kansas City, but two penalty kicks helped change all that.

Kei Kamara and Graham Zusi converted spot kicks to spark a Sporting KC 3-1 comeback win over the Impact at Stade Saputo on Wednesday night. Jacob Peterson accounted for the other Sporting KC goal in a match that saw the Impact take the initial lead off a finish from Patrice Bernier.

Gonzalez returns but Galaxy fall to Union

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By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez made his return to action, but the Los Angeles Galaxy were unable to get a victory as a stoppage time goal by Michael Farfan gave the Philadelphia Union, a 2-1 victory over the Galaxy.

Making his first apperance for the Galay since tearing his ACL in January, Gonzalez was solid throughout his 45 minutes of action, but ultimately could not stop the Union from stealing a victory.

MLS Match Night: Your Running Commentary

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It is a busy 4th of July night in Major League Soccer, with more than half the league's teams in action in matches across the country.

Struggling Real Salt Lake and Seattle face off in a match of highly-regarded but slumping Western Conference powers. RSL has hit a three-match losing streak, but they will be the favorites against a Seattle side that hasn't won in eight MLS matches.

Happy 4th of July from SBI

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It is the Fourth of July, the day to celebrate our country's independence, as well as to enjoy a holiday.

As many of you enjoy your trips to the beach, the park and the grill, tonight will offer a good slate of MLS matches to help satisfy those of you with soccer cravings.

We here at SBI are enjoying the holiday as well, and will be taking it easy today.

Dynamo and Fire play to scoreless draw

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Two teams playing on short rest and in hot conditions was never going to be a formula for an attractive match, and fans at BBVA Compass Stadium learned that the hard way on Tuesday night.

The Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire played to a scoreless draw on Tuesday in a match that lacked many quality chances and produced little in the way of quality soccer.

Timbers halt Earthquakes for key home victory

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Just three days after what was arguably their worst game of the year, the Portland Timbers responded to that disappointing show against Colorado by putting together the kind of victory has just might spark a full-blown turnaround.

The Timbers scored goals in each half, including Danny Mwanga's first for Portland since joining the team from Philadelphia, to earn a 2-1 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday night.

Gonzalez activated from disabled list

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The next step in Omar Gonzalez's recovery from a torn ACL is complete.

A day after testing his recovered left knee by playing 45 minutes in a scrimmage with the Los Angeles Galaxy's reserve squad, Gonzalez was activated from the disabled list by the club. Gonzalez is now eligible to make his season debut on Wednesday at the Home Depot Center against the Philadelphia Union.

MLS Notes: Pearce sidelined for Revs game, Rowe ruled out, and more

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

Befallen to a myriad of injuries this season, the New York Red Bulls will now have to find out how to deal without Heath Pearce.

Pearce picked up a hamstring knock in the final minutes of the Red Bulls' 1-1 draw with Toronto FC this past weekend, and he has been ruled out of the upcoming game against the New England Revolution after undergoing a scan on Monday.

SBI Mid-season MLS Rookie of the Year: Ryan Meara

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If the MLS season were to end today, few could argue that New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara has been the top rookie of the 2012 class.

Meara has performed consistently well through the first half of his first year as a professional, avoiding the type of blunders that are associated with young goalkeepers while playing every minute for a Red Bulls team fighting for first place in the Eastern Conference.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 17

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The Chicago Fire just keep on rising.

On the strength of a three-game winning streak, capped by a gutsy 1-0 win at Sporting Kansas City on Friday, the Fire have jumped to No. 4 in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings.

Aside from the top-ranked San Jose Earthquakes, the top five teams all hail from the Eastern Conference, perhaps signifying a shift in power in a league that in recent years has been dominated by clubs from the West.

Chile-Ecuador set to square off at Citi Field in August

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New York is getting another big summer game, and this one will have a bit of South American flavor to it.

Conmebol World Cup qualifying leaders Chile and Ecuador are set to square off in an international friendly on August 15 at Citi Field in Flushing, SUM announced on Tuesday. The match falls on a FIFA fixture date, so top players like Chile's Alexis Sanchez and Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia can be called in.

KickTV: Altidore talks maturity, Klinsmann and more

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Mid-Day Ticker: Tottenham hires Villas-Boas, Spain releases Olympic roster, and more

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By JOEY SAMUEL

After searching for three weeks and considering several big names, Tottenham Hotspur have finally found their man.

The Spurs inked former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas to a three-year deal on Tuesday. Villas-Boas replaces Harry Redknapp, who was fired in June after failing to lead Tottenham back to the Champions League for next season.

SBI MLS Team of the Month: San Jose Earthquakes

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The month of June could not have gone much better for the San Jose Earthquakes.

They had three matches against Western Conference rivals on the schedule, including two tough road games, and not only did they manage to win all three, they won all three in dramatic fashion.

USL Pro: A Look Back at Week 13

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photo courtesy of Orlando City SC

By FRANCO PANIZO

Orlando City SC were forced to settle for a pair of somewhat disappointing draws in their two games in two days this weekend, but the way in which they grabbed a result in the second match was testament to the team's character.

Report: Revolution to sign Bengston

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photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

The New England Revolution are in need of bolstering their attacking options, and it appears help is on the way.

According to reports out of Honduras, 25-year-old striker Jerry Bengston is set to sign with the Revolution from Honduran club Motagua.

Tuesday Kickoff: Roma-El Salvador friendly scheduled at Red Bull Arena, more problems for France and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

AS Roma is coming to Red Bull Arena for a summer friendly, but it will not be against a club team.

Roma is set to take on El Salvador's national team in a friendly at Red Bull Arena on July 27, the New York Red Bulls announced on Monday. The match will be Roma's final exhibition in their first preseason trip to the United States, while it will also serve as another tune-up for El Salvador before World Cup qualifying resumes.

Gonzalez making steady progress on comeback trail

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By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- Omar Gonzalez has every reason to be optimistic.

The 2011 MLS Defender of the Year's recovery process has been going well and Gonzalez has trained fully with the club for the past two weeks. On Monday afternoon, Gonzalez bypassed yet another hurdle as he went 45 minutes with a Galaxy reserve squad in a scrimmage against the club's Under-18 side.

SBI MLS Player of the Month: Chris Wondolowski

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The month of June may have been a short one for Major League Soccer, but that didn't stop Chris Wondolowski from turning in a month's worth of heroics.

After spending the first half of June with the U.S. national team, Wondolowski returned to the San Jose Earthquakes and managed to deliver three game-winning goal to help San Jose post a perfect 3-0 month and move into first place in the Western Conference.

MLS Team of the Week: Colorado Rapids

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There were several quality team peformances in MLS this past week, but not many teams could say they enjoyed as dominating a performance as the one put in by the Colorado Rapids.

The Rapids thoroughly dominated the Portland Timbers in every facet of the game on their way to a comprehensive 3-0 victory on Saturday.

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week (and Month): Austin Berry

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The Chicago Fire enjoyed an outstanding month of June and one of the key contributors was one of the team's younger players.

Rookie centerback Austin Berry was a force in central defense for the Fire, establishing himself as a rugged defender and poised presence on a Chicago side that finished June with a 3-1 record, including three straight victories to finish out the month.

Mid-Day Ticker: Iniesta named MVP of Euro 2012, Team GB revealed and more

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It was no secret that the most valuable player of EURO 2012 was going to be Spanish. It just wasn't clear which of Spain's stars it would.

Andres Iniesta was named the player of the tournament by UEFA, leading a group of 10 Spanish players named to the 23-man team of the tournament.

What should Beckham's punishment be?

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David Beckham lost his cool, and now we will find out just how much Major League Soccer is willing to let its biggest star get away with.

In case you missed it, Beckham deliberately kicked not one, but two soccer balls at San Jose's Sam Cronin as Cronin lay on the ground late in Saturday's LA Galaxy-Earthquake match.

NASL Week 13: A Look Back

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photo courtesy of the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers

By FRANCO PANIZO

If the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers are going to move up in the NASL standings and reach the playoffs this season, it appears Mark Anderson will be the player to lead them there.

The Strikers forward netted two more goals on Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium to help Ft.

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Sean Johnson

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It isn't easy for a goalkeeper to stand out as the best player in MLS on any given week, but Sean Johnson provided an example of how its done.

The Chicago Fire netminder made five outstanding saves to preserve a shutout and help the Fire post a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City last Friday at Livestrong Sporting Park.

Union part ways with Gutierrez and Eskandarian

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Less than a month after cutting ties with former head coach Peter Nowak, the Philadelphia Union have parted ways with director of scouting Diego Gutierrez and youth technical director Alecko Eskandarian.

Gutierrez and the Union agreed to part ways on Friday after what sources told SBI were philosophical differences between Gutierrez and interim head coach John Hackworth.

Bradley transfer update

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The summer transfer season is in full swing now and the inevitable stories reporting deals that are done, and not done, are underway. Among the subjects in the rumor mill is U.S. national team midfielder Michael Bradley, who has been linked with multiple Italians clubs, most recently with Roma.

Monday Kickoff: Wynalda lands coaching gig, report links Nesta to Montreal, & more

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Eric Wynalda's quest to break into the professional American soccer coaching ranks has led him to Atlanta, where he has been hired to be the new interim head coach of the NASL's Silverbacks.

Atlanta announced the hiring on Monday morning, with Wynalda taking over for fired head coach Alex Pineda-Chacon.

Spain routs Italy to repeat as Euro champions

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If there was any remaining doubt about which team is the best in the world, least of all Europe, Spain erased those by posting the most convincing victory in European Championship Final history on Sunday.

First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba put the Spaniards in control, and second-half substitutes Fernando Torres and Juan Mata provided late scores against a short-handed Italy side as Spain rolled to a 4-0 victory over Italy in Sunday's Euro final.

Euro 2012 Final: Spain vs. Italy (Your Running Commentary)

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A month's worth of outstanding soccer in Poland and Ukraine will be capped today by the European Championship final between defending champion Spain and rejuvenated Italy (2:45pm, ESPN/ESPN3.com).

The two powers meet in a rematch of a group stage match that finished in a 1-1 draw.

Henry, Backe impressed by Mariner-led Toronto FC

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BY DAVE MARTINEZ

New York Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry warned about overlooking Toronto FC. "I hope people are not expecting us to go out there and kill them because it won't be an easy game, we all know that," he told reporters after practice this week.

Rapids hand Timbers latest road loss

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The Colorado Rapids' two-game losing streak is over, while the Portland Timbers' winless ways on the road continue.

Jaime Castrillon, Conor Casey and Jamie Smith all scored as the Rapids ended their two-match skid with a 3-0 victory over the Timbers at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.

Crew down struggling Real Salt Lake

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If Real Salt Lake were planning to get out of the current funk that they are in versus the Columbus Crew, they failed.

The Crew picked up a comfortable 2-0 win over RSL on Saturday night at Crew Stadium thanks to first-half goals from Tony Tchani and Eddie Gaven.

Tchani knocked in his second in as many games with a low shot to the near post while Gaven hit a left-footed effort from six yards out that smacked off the underside of the crossbar before completely passing the goal line.

Late Ching penalty kick lifts Dynamo past Union

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A hard-fought battle at BBVA Compass Stadium looked destined to end in a draw, but a questionable penalty kick paved the way for Brian Ching to deliver a winner and score his first goal at the Houston Dynamo's new stadium.

A penalty call against Philadelphia's Gabriel Farfan in the 81st minute for a collision with Ching set up a decisive spot kick for Ching, who calmly converted to help give the Dynamo a 2-1 victory on Saturday night.

Wondolowski winner caps wild Earthquake victory in California Clasico

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A week after coming back from a two-goal deficit to post a vital victory against Real Salt Lake, the LA Galaxy found themselves on the wrong end of such a comeback, with the San Jose Earthquakes finding yet another way to pull off a late-game result.

The Galaxy jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first-half of Saturday night's California Clasico, but San Jose responded immediately to forge a comeback.