By almost any measure, the 2012 season was one to forget for the Portland Timbers.
From the team's terrible record, to the disappointing form of Kris Boyd, down to finishing next to last in the West while expansion classmate Vancouver reached the playoffs in year two, there was plenty to get down about in the Rose City.
Tab Ramos may get his wish of playing Mexico, after all.
The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team advanced to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship final on Friday evening, defeating a lackluster Cuban side, 2-0, off a pair of quick goals from Mario Rodriguez and Daniel Cuevas that came three minutes apart.
Santos Laguna is off to a winning start in March, and they can thank Herculez Gomez in a big way for that.
Gomez lifted Santos to a 3-1 win over Jaguares de Chiapas on Friday night and he was involved in all three of his club's goals, scoring twice (his second tally included a well-timed nutmeg) and assisting another in a span of eight minutes in the first half.
Real Madrid and Barcelona kick off today soccer action when the two clubs meet for the sixth time this season.
Barcelona have the opportunity to extend their gigantic lead in Spain's Primera DivisiÃ³n, and a win today will avenge their 3-1 loss to Madrid on Tuesday. The match won't possess the usual hype of an El ClÃ¡sico, however, with Madrid set to rest the majority of their starters ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Manchester United.
The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team has already secured a place in the Under-20 World Cup, but there is still hardware to play for down in Mexico as they face Cuba in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship semifinals (6pm, Fox Soccer Channel).
The Americans will be without Luis Gil and Cody Cropper, who both have returned to their club teams, while quarterfinal star Jose Villarreal is on the bench today nursing an ankle injury.
The MLS season is almost here and it's time to start thinking about who the best of the best in MLS are heading into the league's 18th season.
The writing staff at SBI got together and voted on who we see winning the league's major awards in 2013, and while some of the picks aren't all that surprising, some offer interesting insight into who we see shining in MLS this year.
For 45 minutes in the 2012 MLS Cup Final, the Houston Dynamo looked like they could win a championship. The Los Angeles Galaxy may have rallied and ultimately pulled out the trophy-winning victory, but what we saw from the Dynamo was a glimpse of just how good they could be.
Hello and Welcome to the Soccer by Ives Fantasy Corner â€“ now accepting competitors coupons! Every week I dig through statistics, news, and rumors to provide the reader with the kind of fantasy advice that only a statistically unlikely monkey can provide.
I want to take a moment to talk about the MLS Mothership.
The LA Galaxy are looking to become the first "three-peat" winners of the MLS Cup during the 2013 season.
The Galaxy started 2012 in anything but championship form, and the team will be hoping that an offseason free of overseas tours provided adequate time for rest and recovery after a grueling stretch run.
Winter's chill may still linger in many markets, but it matters not. Forget the freezing temperatures and forecasts of snow that dot the country. Three short months after the Los Angeles Galaxy claimed their second straight league title, MLS is back for its earliest start yet.
On the eve of the start of the 2013 Major League Soccer season, Toronto FC have announced that they have signed forward Robert Earnshaw from Championship club Cardiff City. As per team and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Earnshaw most recently played for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, spending five months there on loan, scoring two goals in ten appearances, mostly coming off the bench.
This is shaping up to be one of those kinds of dream weekends that soccer fans circle the calendar for. With top clashes in every top league in Europe headlining the schedule, and Major League Soccer kicking off the 2013 campaign, there will be more than enough soccer action to keep fans satisfied this weekend.
Major League Soccer's Disciplinary Committee has announced that DC United captain Dwayne De Rosario has been suspended for two matches and fined an undisclosed amount, following a red card for violent conduct in a pre-season match.
De Rosario was shown the red card in the 60th minute of a match against the Philadelphia Union on February 23, after a tackle to Philadelphia's Danny Cruz.
David Beckham's stay in Paris may not end when the current season finishes in May.
During a promotional event for Adidas in the French capital, The Englishman hinted that he may want to stay with Paris Saint-Germain into next season. In response to a question about his contract going longer than five months, Beckham said "not yet it doesn't.
If Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo can build on their midweek performance, Atlas is in deep, deep trouble
Having each scored a goal in Club Tijuana's Copa Libertadores rout of Bolivian side San Jose on Tuesday, the Xolos duo will aim to improve on their most recent outing while trying to help Tijuana win their fourth straight game across all competitions.
Every year in MLS a new crop of players enters the league, either via the draft or international player market, and does well to boost the level of talent in MLS.
Something else that happens every year is a crop of returning players emerges to make the jump from back-up to key starter, from rookie to improved second-year player, from late-season curiosity to full-season star.
Barring a stunning change of heart, Robert Lewandowski will no longer be a Borussia Dortmund player after June 30, 2014.
BVB Sporting Director Michael Zorc announced the news on Thursday that the club would not offer the Polish international forward a contract extension, signing the likes of Manchester United and Bayern Munich to begin a bidding war.
The New England Revolution will attempt to push last year's rocky season to the back of their memory, as the second year of their rebuilding phase begins.
Manager Jay Heaps' first season with New England saw few tangible improvements, as the Revs started 2012 promisingly, but finished with only three wins in their last 17 matches to close out the season.
Since joining Chelsea on an interim basis in November, Rafael Benitez has been under fire from a portion of Blues fans. On Wednesday, the former Liverpool and Inter Milan manager told reporters that he has had enough.
Benitez announced that he will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, saying that the Chelsea board made "a massive mistake" in giving him the title of interim manager.
Hans Backe and Mike Petke couldn't be more different if they tried; that is the resounding message from the few Red Bull players who survived last season's roster purge.
"I think they are definitely different coaches," Dax McCarty said. "Mike wants to be involved in every little thing that goes on, from the nutrition from the treatment from the gym sessions all the way down to training.
Real Salt Lake may have come within a singular goal of being able to keep their team together for one more run at another title.
In CONCACAF Champions League group play, RSL needed one goal against Herediano at home to send the club through to the knockout stages, securing extra allocation money to fit the team under the cap in 2013.
Very few things went right for the Philadelphia Union in 2012. Star Sebastien Le Toux was dealt under odd circumstances. Coach Peter Nowak's tenure came to a messy end. Goals were few and far between. And a playoff team plummeted to near the conference cellar.
NEW YORK Thierry Henry is as competitive a player as there is in MLS and New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke loves that.
A former fiery player himself, Petke admires Henry's relentless desire for perfection and the 37-year-old head coach believes it does more harm than good in the locker room despite what some sections of fans and media believe.
Stuart Holden has spent almost two years away from the playing field for Bolton. With the exception of training sessions and couple of recent cup appearances, Holden has spend much of his time rehabbing his surgically-repaired knee and enduring the second lengthy absence of his career.
Ben Olsen hasn't been bothered by D.C. United's fairly quiet offseason. He's happy with the group he has. No need to tinker. And considering the club came within a game of the MLS Cup last year, it's hard to argue the point.
But the coach does know all of the cohesion the group established during a resurgent 2012 campaign won't mean a thing if the principles he's established waver.
When Dylan Carreiro's long-range shot beat Cody Cropper and gave Canada a surprising 1-0 lead on the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team, the goal was either going to lead to the U.S. team's demise, or be a wake-up call for a squad that hadn't really shown their best form yet.
U.S. Men's National Team defender Edgar Castillo and midfielder Joe Corona both scored goals to help Club Tijuana record a 4-0 thrashing of Bolivian side San Jose in Copa Libertadores action on Tuesday night in Mexico.
Edgar Castillo opened the scoring for the Xolos, while Corona added the team's third goal just three minutes into the second half to help Club Tijuana secure first place in their Copa Libertadores group after two matches.
In at least one competition this season, Real Madrid will finish higher than Barcelona.
The Madrid club defeated Barcelona 3-1 on Tuesday night at the Camp Nou, winning 4-2 on aggregate, and moving on to the Copa Del Rey final in April. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo (two) and a header from 19-year-old Raphael Varane pushed Jose Mourinho's side through, and likely saved his job for the time being.
The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team takes on Canada today with a place in the Under-20 World Cup on the line (6pm, Fox Soccer Channel).
The Americans come in having won their group, and having posted a pair of 1-0 shutout victories over Haiti and Costa Rica. They take on a Canada side that lost to Cuba before rallying to trounce Nicaragua and book their place in this all-important CONCACAF Under-20 Tournament quarterfinal in Puebla, Mexico.
San Jose Earthquake all-time leading goalscorer Chris Wondolowski, 30, became Major League Soccer's newest designated player on Monday, when he signed a four year deal, the first three of which are guaranteed, with The Earthquakes.
Wondolowski's time with the club dates all the way back to September 10, 2005, where he made his first appearance as an Earthquake in a 3-0 win against Chivas USA.
USA-Canada might not be regarded as much of a rivalry, but recent results on the soccer field, both in men's and women's soccer, have helped to cultivate a budding rivalry worthy of the proximity of the neighboring nations.
Much of the world will watch together as Barcelona and Real Madrid re-kindle the madness that is El Clasico, when the two meet on Tuesday in the second leg of the Copa Del Rey semifinals at the Camp Nou.
Last time around, the teams tied 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas' opener being cancelled out by the young Frenchman Raphael Varane, helping save Madrid in the tie.
When Clint Dempsey wasn't in uniform for Tottenham in Monday's win against West Ham, the alarm bells started ringing among U.S. Men's National Team fans about what might be wrong with the American star.
As it turns out, Dempsey has a calf strain that Tottenham manager Andres Villas Boas expects to keep Dempsey sidelined for 1-2 weeks.
On the heels of an impressive 15-minute debut for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, David Beckham has been handed a place in the starting XI in advance of his new club's match against Marseille in the Coupe de France.
Beckham's flick pass on Sunday in the 90th minute helped lead to the second goal of PSG's 2-0 Ligue 1 win over Marseille, with the two powerhouses now facing off once more in the cup competition.
There might not be a more in-form player in the world right now than Gareth Bale.
The Tottenham winger scored twice his club's dramatic 3-2 win over West Ham United on Monday, including a 90th minute winner from distance Bale's other goal opened the scoring for Spurs, who moved into third place in the Premier League table with the win.
In the wake of the U.S. Men's National Team's World Cup qualifying loss to Honduras it is easy to come away feeling as though some players who were once considered locks as likely members of a projected 2014 U.S. World Cup are suddenly not such safe bets (let alone the fact that the Hex-opening loss has some folks fearing that the U.
The MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy were crowned less than three months ago, but plenty has changed across the league in the weeks since the 2012 MLS season ended.
Several top players have left some of the league's top teams, while general managers across MLS were busy revamping rosters in hopes of either closing the gap on the champions, or with the goal of reaching the playoffs after missing out in 2012.
The Columbus Crew missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and will look to rebound this coming season behind several new faces.
Federico Higuain was the signing of the 2012 season after arriving from Argentine club Colon in midseason. In only 13 appearances, Higuain managed to create the third most chances per 90 minutes of play in the league.
When you take a look at the Montreal Impact roster, you don't see a ton of changes, or the kind of excessive roster overhaul you can find on the squads of other teams that missed the MLS playoffs last year. In fact, you can argue the Impact have had one of the least active off-seasons in the league from a player personnel standpoint.
The Seattle Sounders are starting to make a habit of beating Real Salt Lake, even without their first-choice starters.
Just days after being RSL in group play in a clash of first-team lineups, the Sounders trotted out a second-team lineup on Saturday night and still managed to beat out a RSL side playing mostly starters.
Manchester City kicks off another wonderful Sunday full of soccer action with a high-profile match against Chelsea. Manchester City trail league-leaders Manchester United by 15 points going into their match against The Blues, and anything other than three points will essentially eliminate them from the title race completely.
Sporting Kansas City took another step forward in 2012 following a massive club breakthrough the previous year, winning the U.S. Open Cup and finished only three points behind San Jose for the Supporters' Shield.
The black eye on Sporting KC's season, however, was an early playoff exit from the Eastern Conference playoffs, and yet another playoff loss to the Houston Dynamo.
Even though the Seattle Sounders took a step forward in 2012 by posting the first playoff series win in the club's MLS history, the Sounders still came away from 2012 without a trophy. A fact that kept the club from calling the season a success by their lofty standards.
Sporting Kansas City forward/midfielder Kei Kamara is off to a dream start during his loan spell with English Premier League side Norwich City, notching a vital equalizer on Saturday for his first EPL goal.
Kamara came off the bench and paid immediate dividends, heading home the tying goal before helping set up a stoppage-time winner as Norwich City posted a 2-1 comeback victory against Everton.
Tab Ramos wanted more possession and better team defending from the U.S. Under-20 National Team heading into Friday's match against Costa Rica and he got both.
It helped that the Costa Ricans seemed to offer little in the way of resistance.
The Americans dominated possession for stretches, but struggled to generate real chances until Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Jose Villarreal skied up to head home a Luis Gil corner kick in the second half to help give the U.
The top teams in three of the top leagues in Europe will look to extend their double-digit leads on Saturday.
Bayern Munich kicks off the day with a home match against Werder Bremen. The runaway Bundesliga leaders host an 11th-place Bremen side that has failed to secure a single point against the league's top four teams this season.
The U.S. Men's Under-20 National Team has already booked its place in the quarterfinal round of the CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament, but today's match against Costa Rica (6:30pm, Fox Soccer Channel) still has plenty on the line.
Just two days after CONCACAF announced that the 2013 Gold Cup would open at the Rose Bowl with the Mexican National Team, sources have confirmed to SBI that the 2013 Gold Cup Final will take place at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Soldier Field hosted the 2007 Gold Cup Final won by the United States (which defeated Mexico thanks to Benny Feilhaber's memorable game-winning goal).
The new MLS season is just a week away and it's time to start thinking about Fantasy MLS.
SBI will be running a league once again and we are inviting all of our readers to join in on the fun. We will be using the official MLS fantasy game this year. The game appears to have undergone some needed upgrades, and no longer requires a Facebook log in so it should be more appealing to those of you who passed on joining the league last year.
Bayern Munich is currently on track to capture the Bundesliga title at the earliest point in the 50-year history of the German league, and will look to make a step closer this weekend when they welcome Werder Bremen to the Allianz Arena.
Bremen are faced with the daunting task of knocking off the German titans, who have been in tremendous form as of late.
Currently in the midst of his worst season in charge since he joined in 1996, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has declared that he has no intention of resigning from his post, despite calls from fans and some in the media that it may be time for him to leave.
Speaking to reporters ahead of his side's match on Saturday against Aston Villa, Wenger refused to comment on his contract, which currently runs through the end of 2014.
If there was something missing from Thursday's UEFA Europa League action, it certainly was not drama.
Sixteen teams advanced to the next round of the competition, including a Zenit St Petersburg side that suffered a big scare against Liverpool. The Russian club nearly allowed Liverpool to come back in the two-legged series, giving up three unanswered goals at Anfield to lose, 3-1, but still advancing on away goals on a 3-3 aggregate courtesy of an early strike at from Hulk.
So he isn't finished with the U.S. Men's National Team after all.
Okay, let's face it, it was probably a stretch to think that Landon Donovan would never play for the United States again because of his decision to not return to soccer until late March, and thereby missing key qualifiers vs.
After a relatively quiet start to the winter, the New York Cosmos have gone on an acquisition spree. Friday morning, the team announced further reinforcements with the signing of former Toronto FC striker/midfielder Peri Marosevic and Guatemalan striker Henry Lopez.
One of Wednesday evening's Champions League sub-plots was the return of Didier Drogba to the European stage, 9 months after scoring the final penalty to seal Chelsea's European title.
Though he didn't score in his new side Galatasaray's 1-1 draw with Schalke 04, the German club are considering appealing to UEFA, on the grounds that Drogba may not be approved to be a Galatasaray player, due to an ongoing dispute with the Ivorian's former club in China, Shanghai Shenhua.
U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Jermaine Jones became just the second American to score a goal in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday when he finished off a beautiful sequence with a perfect strike just before halftime of Schalke's 1-1 draw at Galatasaray.
Jones joined DaMarcus Beasley, who scored for PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.
CHARLESTON, S.C. â€” Following an opening round of matches that allowed teams to test out their Starting XI, Wednesday night's contests at the Carolina Challenge Cup were a bit more subdued. Vancouver opted for a younger lineup against substitute-happy Houston, and Chicago playing its starters for a half against the USL PRO's Charleston Battery.
Mexican champion Club Tijuana got their inaugural appearance in Copa Libertadores off to a dream start, posting a 1-0 victory over Colombian champions Millonarios on Tuesday night in Bogota in the group stage opener for both sides.
Richard Ruiz scored the game-winner for Tijuana, heading home a cross from U.
CHARLESTON, S.C. â€” Following his team's 3-2 win over Houston to open the Carolina Challenge Cup on Saturday, Chicago midfielder Jeff Larentowicz offered his assessment of how the Fire's revamped midfield is coming together.
FC Barcelona may be the heavy favorite in today's UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash with AC Milan, but it might be a mistake to count out the Italians.
Yes, Barcelona is riding impressive form, and Milan won't have cup-tied Mario Balotelli in their squad, and could be without injured starStephan El Shaarawy, but the storied club still has enough quality to make things difficult for the Spanish giants.
A day after Bayern Munich sent a loud message that they are indeed a strong title contender, the UEFA Champions League favorites from Barcelona take the field at the San Siro today to take on AC Milan (2:45pm, Fox Soccer Channel).
Barcelona will be fielding a full-strength lineup today against AC Milan, with the attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi pulling the strings against a Milan defense that will have its hands full.
Arsenal's hopes to end their infamous trophy drought, which has lasted since 2005, took a turn for the worst as Bayern Munich comfortably dismantled Arsenal's frail defense, winning 3-1 in front of Arsenal's home crowd.
Toni Kroos put the German side ahead within seven minutes following a sublime hit from the edge of the box.
Bayern Munich will look to continue their dominant form today when they travel to London to take on a vulnerable looking Arsenal side that few are giving much of a chance to survive this UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match-up.
Bayern is running away with the Bundesliga, and playing some of the best soccer on the world.
The best word to describe the U.S. Under-20 National Team's performance against Haiti on Monday is disjointed. The team did win the match, but did so in about as uninspiring a way as possible. There was no flow to their game, no midfield control, no build-ups and none of the technical quality we would have hoped for from this group of players.
It looks every bit like a mismatch that could get ugly, but there is something about the Bayern Munich-Arsenal Champions League Round of 16 match-up that suggest it could wind up being far more competitive than anyone could imagine.
On paper it should be a romp. Bayern Munich enters the series looking unstoppable, having torn through the Bundesliga, and their Champions League group with ease.
The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team got off to a winning start in their quest to qualify for this summer's Under-20 World Cup, but they did so by the skin of their teeth.
Riding a pair of first-half goals from Luis Gil and Daniel Cuevas, the U.S. hung on to claim an ugly 2-1 win over Haiti in the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship opener at Estadio Universitario BUAP in Puebla, Mexico on Monday evening.
Three games. That is what the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team has to worry about to qualify for the Under-20 World Cup. Two group matches and an all-important quarterfinal match are what stand in the way of a young American team snapping the current two-qualifying tournament skid U.
ORLANDO, Fla. On Monday, Orlando City unveiled new owner FlÃ¡vio Augusto da Silva, a Brazilian businessman who is the third largest shareholder of media giant Abril EducaÃ§Ã£o. The announcement comes as the latest in several strategic moves the club hopes will position it to gain admittance to Major League Soccer in 2015.
If the Portland Timbers were hoping to make Ryan Johnson the target striker in their 4-3-3 formation, then Sunday's performance in the Portland Pre-Season Tournament bodes well for the Timbers' plans for the Jamaican striker.
Johnson delivered three goals in Portland's 3-3 draw vs. the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.
UANL Tigres kept their unbeaten record intact this past weekend in Mexican league action, but they needed a comeback against a dangerous Santos Laguna side to do it.
Darwin Quintero's second-minute strike put the Mexican League leaders in an early hole, but Jose Torres' squad stepped up yet again, with a Juninho equalizer helping Tigres salvage a point at Estadio Universitario.
The Major League Soccer season is still two weeks away, but there were some major news stories making waves this week on the MLS landscape, with Landon Donovan and Robbie Rogers serving as the key newspapers in recent days.
In the latest episode of The SBI Podcast, co-host Garrett Cleverly and I discuss Donovan's decision to delay his return to the LA Galaxy until late March, and we talk about the news of Robbie Rogers' decision to come out as a gay man and step away from pro soccer.
Jozy Altidore simply continues to add to the argument that he is the most in-form American right now.
Altidore scored his latest goal for AZ Alkmaar on Saturday, netting the club's first goal in a 2-2 draw against Roda JC Kerkrade. The goal was Altidore's 16th in the Eredivisie and 21st in all competitions this season and it put him two behind the Eredivisie's leading goal-scorer, Vitesse forward Wilfried Bony.
Arsenal's infamous trophy drought grew closer to the dreaded eight seasons mark on Saturday. One of the Gunners' last and perhaps their best chances to win a championship this season ended with a 1-0 home loss to Blackburn Rovers.
In a FA Cup competition filled with upsets through the first few rounds, this weekend's Fifth Round action had only one shock result.
It's looking more and more likely that Jose Mourinho will be managing a new team next season.
The Real Madrid boss increased speculation of his La Liga exit when he stated that he'd be interested in coaching in Ligue 1, leaving many to believe he could be the next man for the Paris Saint-Germain job, if the Paris club sack Carlo Ancelotti.
U.S. Under-20 national team standout Marc Pelosi was not released by Liverpool for Under-20 World Cup qualifying, and now it looks as though he won't be taking part in the Under-20 World Cup either even if the Americans qualify.
Pelosi suffered a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg on Sunday playing for Liverpool's U-19 team.
Landon Donovan' will rejoin the Los Angeles Galaxy in late March, the Galaxy announced on Sunday.
Donovan and the Galaxy reached an agreement to let Donovan extend his time away from the team, and now he won't return to training until late March.
"After a series of collaborative discussions between Landon, his representative and our key club leaders, we have agreed to allow Landon to remain on an extended leave of absence and return to training with the team during the final week of March," Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena said in a team-issued statement.
Brentford and Leeds United will be looking to catch the FA Cup upset fever ahead of their fifth round matches on Sunday against Premier League powerhouses.
A day after Oldham made Arsenal the latest FA Cup upset victim, Brentford will travel to London to face defending tournament champions Chelsea, while Leeds United heads to the Etihad to take on Manchester City.
The top American official in the world of soccer announced Saturday that he will not be seeking re-election to a fifth term on FIFA's executive committee.
Chuck Blazer, who has served on the committee for the last 16 years, was widely expected to step down after his involvement in the vote-buying scandal over 2011 FIFA presidential candidate Mohammed bin Hammam.
The Seattle Sounders are heading into the 2013 MLS season with an available Designated Player spot, and the rumors are sure to fly as links to big-name players emerge.
Add Javier Saviola to that list. The Argentine striker, who counts Barcelona and Real Madrid among his former club, has been linked to a summer move to the Sounders by multiple Argentine journalists via Twitter on Friday.
The Chicago Fire began their third leg of training camp Wednesday in South Carolina, wherethey will take part in the Carolina Challenge Cup for the third-consecutive season.They will play two MLS clubs, Houston Dynamo on Saturday and VancouverWhitecaps on Saturday, Feb.
Defending German champions Borussia Dortmund will host fourth place Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, in the Bundesliga's notable match-up of the weekend.
While excelling in the Champions League so far this season, Borussia Dortmund haven't defended their domestic title the way they had hoped, trailing league-leaders Bayern Munich by fifteen points with only thirteen matches left to be played.
Robbie Rogers is retiring from the game of soccer at the age of 25. Not because of an injury, but because he is embarking on a new chapter in his life after developing the courage to reveal that he is gay.
The former U.S. National Team player and Columbus Crew midfielder came out in a letter written on his website.
Tottenham Hotspurs kept their hot run of form going on Thursday evening, when they defeated French club Lyon 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
Gareth Bale, as he has so many times this season, played the hero, scoring two tremendous free kick goals, the second coming in the third minute of extra time to win the game for the North London club.
AS Roma fans are champing at the bit after seeing their club go winless in league play since the start of the new year, but Michael Bradley and the rest of the Giallorossi can change all that with a win this weekend.
Roma will try to pick up their first victory since December, a stretch of even matches without a victory, when they host Juventus in one of the weekend's bigger match-ups.
The Houston Dynamo have signed their fifth homegrown player, Eighteen-year-old Bryan Salazar. The first Dynamo Homegrown Player to pass through all levels of the Houston Academy system, Salazar officially joined the team after a press conference held Thursday in Houston.
U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramos rounded out the roster that will attempt to qualify for this summer's 2013 U-20 World Cup on Wednesday, summoning midfielder Dillon Serna as the 20th member of the squad.
Serna will join the U.S. team in Puebla, Mexico ahead of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship after recently signing a homegrown deal with the Colorado Rapids.
The Champions League Round of 16 continued on Wednesday with two thrilling draws, setting up intriguing return legs in a few weeks.
Real Madrid played out a thrilling 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the Bernabeu. The hosts controlled the beginning of the match, but it was United who got on the board first, scoring against the run of play in the 20th minute.
The Portland Timbers have been stockpiling former Akron University players while Chivas USA has spent a chunk of the off-season unloading players without Mexican roots, so it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise when the two teams got together to execute a trade that help both teams continue their trends.
If you are looking for exciting UEFA Champions League match-ups you won't find a better pair of Round of 16 match-ups than the ones on offer today, as Manchester United visits Real Madrid (2:45pm, Fox Soccer Channel) and Borussia Dortmund takes on Shakhtar Donetsk (2:45pm, MSG+/Fox Soccer Plus).
Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson renew acquaintances at the Bernabeu, where Cristiano Ronaldo will be facing off against his former club in what should be an offensive showcase.
The second day of the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic is underway in Orlando, Fla. and all eight teams involved will be looking to further fine-tune things ahead of their respective seasons while also trying to move closer to the tournament final.
Major League Soccer is again providing a live video stream of all four of today's matches, and SBI will be showing them here.
Good morning everybody. I haven't been able to get together an SBI Live Q&A lately, and since I'm probably not going to be able to get one together for this week, I wanted to give readers a chance to send some questions in for me to answer.
The UEFA Champions League swung back into action last night, with goals galore from Tuesday night's matches.
Italian leaders Juventus soundly defeated Scotland giants Celtic 3-0 in front of a raucous crowd at Parkhead, leaving Neil Lennon to proclaim that only a miracle would allow his side to advance to the next round.
Jose Mourinho's days at Real Madrid appear to be numbered if you believe the rumors floating around Spain, and 'The Special One' provided some insight into his next destination if he does, in fact, leave the reigning Spanish champions.
In an interview ahead of Real Madrid's Champions League clash with Manchester United, Mourinho admitted he plans on a return to the English Premier League.
The first two matches of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 kick off in Scotland and Spain, where first-leg action features Juventus traveling to Glasgow Celtic (2:45pm, Fox Soccer Channel), and Paris St. Germain visiting Valencia (2:45pm, MSG+, Fox Soccer Plus).
Both Celtic and Valencia are the underdogs in their pre-quarterfinal series, but both come in confident.
Brek Shea is working his way toward full fitness and a chance to make his English Premier League debut sooner than expected, and he took a big step toward that on Tuesday after scoring a goal and playing a full match for Stoke City's reserves.
Having only recently returned to England over the weekend after sorting out his work permit paperwork, Shea wasted no time showing Stoke coaches what he can bring to the table, heading home a goal in a closed-door friendly against Burnley at the Britannia Stadium.
HARRISON, N.J. It was a natural question to ask Thierry Henry after the New York Red Bulls hired a coach with no head coaching experience. Did the team consult with him bout the decision to hire Mike Petke. Henry confirmed that the team did speak to him about the hiring, but made it clear it was only to let him know who they had chosen to hire.
Stuart Holden's return from surgery continues to inch closer to completion after the American midfielder played a full 90 minutes in the Bolton Development Squad's 1-0 win vs. Bury in a Manchester Senior Cup match on Monday.
Returning to action after a recent harsh tackle threatened to present a setback, Holden returned to action and played well for Bolton in what was his first full match since returning to action after missing a year and a half while recovering from extensive knee surgery.
The lengthy winter search for a club has brought U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Mix Diskerud right back to the same team he most recently played for.
Diskerud has signed a two-year deal with Rosenborg, rejoining the same Norwegian side he spent the second half of 2012 with. A return to Rosenborg has been on the cards for some time, after talks between the young U.
After waiting so long to find out the home venue for the first CONCACAF Hexagonal Round qualifying home match, U.S. fans look like they might not be waiting so long to find out the identities of the remaining venues.
Less than a week after U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati revealed that the remaining four home qualifiers will be played at MLS venues, Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl tweeted out a list of venues he is hearing will be chosen (and no, there are no surprises):
Source: USSF aiming for home WCQ venues June 11 (PAN) Seattle; June 18 (HON) Salt Lake; Sept 10 (MEX) Columbus; Oct 11 (JAM) Kansas City.
Remember the days of the "Empty Bucket"? Those days when the U.S. Men's National Team played a 4-4-2 under Bob Bradley, and neither central midfielder was a pure playmaker? Those days when the complaints about the national team being to defensive-minded rained often, even when the team was producing results?
Club America handed defending champion Club Tijuana their first loss of the Clausura season on Saturday to leapfrog the Xolos and stay within striking distance of unbeaten league leaders UANL Tigres.
An Osvaldo Martinez penalty and Paul Aguilar second-half strike gave Club America a 2-0 lead on the visitors in Mexico City, and while a Pablo Aguilar strike gave Tijuana some hope late in the second half, Las Aguilas held on for the victory.
The New York Red Bulls traded away Kenny Cooper both for the allocation money he could bring in, and the salary cap space his departure would create, and now the team has made the first move since dealing Cooper to FC Dallas.
The Red Bulls have acquired midfielder Eric Alexander from the Portland Timbers in exchange for allocation money, sources confirmed to SBI on Monday.
Nigeria is back on top of the African football landscape, after a gritty 1-0 victory over Cinderella side Burkina Faso in the African Cup of Nations final.
Nigerian midfielder Sunday Mba scored the game's only goal in the 40th minute in stunning fashion, flicking the ball over a defender with his right foot, before finishing into the far post with his left.
The Tom Sermanni era is officially in full swing, and we may have also gotten a glimpse of what could one day be the Christen Press era.
Press became just the third play to score two goals in their U.S. Women's National Team debut (joining Cindy Parlow and Sherrill Kester) to help the U.S. post a 4-1 rout against Scotland in Jacksonville on Saturday.
ORLANDO, Fla. Ryan Nelsen spent his first game on the sidelines for Toronto FC, albeit in a preseason game as the Reds were beaten, 1-0, by the Columbus Crew in the opening match of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
Columbus controlled the game with 56% possession and some tough, aggressive defense which resulted in three yellow cards and 13 fouls.
Manchester City's latest stumble has put Manchester United in prime position to build a virtually insurmountable lead atop the English Premier League, but an opponent with its own big aspirations stands in the way.
Everton can pull within three points of fourth-place Tottenham with a victory on Sunday, but the Toffees will be taking on a Manchester United side that can extend the lead on Man City to 12 points.
Sir Alex Ferguson attacked both the Premier League and the English Football Association on Friday, attacking decisions on match scheduling and fitness information leaks.
The longtime Manchester United boss accused the league of handicapping teams involved in the Champions League after the league decided to keep United's match against Everton on Sunday, reducing his time to prepare the club for its battle with Real Madrid next Wednesday.
There are six weeks between now and the next U.S. Men's National Team World Cup qualifier, a ton of time to think about what went wrong in the loss to Honduras, and plenty of time for players to play themselves into position to break into the USMNT starting lineup.
The huge Serie A double header of Juventus/Fiorentina and Lazio/Napoli headline a jam-packed Saturday in the world of soccer.
Napoli and Lazio sit two and three in the league table, hot on the heels of league-leading Juventus. Fiorentina is only a point down from both Milan clubs, who currently occupy Serie A's Europa League spots.
In one of the stranger scenes in recent memory in Major League Soccer, long-time standout midfielder Shalrie Joseph showed up at Seattle Sounders training. No trade with Chivas USA had been announced, leading to some serious head-scratching.
The Sounders revealed that Joseph is a camp invitee, with sources telling SBI that the Sounders and Chivas USA are in trade talks to send the veteran midfielder to the Pacific Northwest.
This weekend's must-see fixture is the African Nations Cup final when Nigeria and Burkina Faso duke it out in Johannesburg.
Burkina Faso will be taking part in its first ever African Nations Cup final, and they have been handed a big boost following a successful appeal of striker Jonathan Pitroipa's controversial red cardin the semi-final match against Ghana.
It was about as disappointing and lethargic a performance as we have seen the U.S. Men's National Team and while it was one to forget for American fans, the latest episode of The SBI Podcast breaks down Honduras' 2-1 win against the United States.
Manchester City will continue their pursuit of Manchester United in the Premier League table this weekend with the aid of brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure, who have both returned from South Africa after Ivory Coast was knocked out in the quarter-final round.
In addition, Roberto Mancini was given another boost with the news that injured captain Vincent Kompany had trained with the club this week, and could be set for a return after two weeks on the sidelines, though the club will make their decision today on whether Kompany will feature.
With a nine-point lead over second-place Manchester City in the Premier League and a date with Real Madrid in the Champions League next Wednesday, it could be tempting for Manchester United to tone it down in this weekend's league match.
But Sir Alex Ferguson and his men know that any dropped points could be dangerous in a title hunt.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil, Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Jose Villarreal headline the 18-player roster selected to represent the U.S. Under-20 national team in CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying.
Head coach Tab Ramos has selected a team with a good mix of MLS players, international -based players and college players.
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras It was an ugly team effort by the U.S. Men's National Team, and trying to find bright spots is one of the tougher tasks you will undergo in the wake of Wednesday's 2-1 World Cup qualifying loss to Honduras.
Weeks after learning that Martin Rivero would be lost to surgery for an extended time, reports Wednesday confirmed that his fellow Colorado Rapids teammate Jaime Castrillon will join him under the knife.
The Colombian midfielder will undergo left knee surgery to repair an injury suffered late last season.
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras It is the worst possible start for the U.S. Men's National team as they embark on gauntlet that is the Hexagonal Round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, but the good thing about turning in such a flat and uninspired performance in their HEX opener is the fact they have nine more matches to turn things around.
While American soccer fans may be feeling doom and gloom, the situation isn't much better south of the border, following Mexico's goalless draw against Jamaica on Wednesday at the Estadio Azteca.
The Reggae Boys ended Mexico's 18-match winning streak at home in competitive matches, as the visitors frustrated El Tri all evening, and never tired late in the match, despite the altitude of Mexico City.
The performance was underwhelming. The result was even worse.
The U.S. Men's National Team got off on the wrong foot in their first game in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Wednesday afternoon, suffering a 2-1 loss to Honduras at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula.
The U.S. Men's National Team will attempt to move a step closer to Brazil 2014 when they kick off the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in Honduras on Wednesday afternoon, a game that has been highly anticipated for months.
The Americans' visit to Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula will be televised on beIN Sport, a network which is still not offered in all parts of the U.
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras The Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying kicks off on Wednesday, with the U.S. Men's national team opening play against Honduras and The SBI Podcast focuses on the U.S. team heading into this crucial match.
Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I discuss the American squad, the likely starting lineup, and the challenges presented by Honduras.
For the first time in nearly three months, international football returns to most of the world, with European powerhouses highlighting Wednesday's FIFA international schedule.
England, in their Football Association's 150th birthday year, are hosting Neymar and Brazil at Wembley Stadium, with the match being Luiz Felipe Scolari's first since he took charge of Brazil for the second time.
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras It is a process that has spanned two years and two different U.S. Men's National Team coaches. Timmy Chandler's path to being cap-tied to the United States has gone on longer than most would have expected, and longer than some U.S. players would have liked, but it appears the wait will finally come to an end here on Wednesday when he is expected to play for the United States in the Hexagonal World Cup qualifying opener against Honduras.
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras You would think that having posted victories here in their past two trips would have the U.S. Men's National Team feeling bullshit about leaving the murder capital of the world with a precious three points, but the team is all too aware that the intensity of the Hexagonal Round of World Cup qualifying will make every game of the cycle extremely difficult.
MIAMI As the sun sizzled and the sweat formed on the brows of American soccer's best players on Monday afternoon, you could see most of the familiar faces present at U.S. Men's National Team practice. From Tim Howard to Michael Bradley, the nation's best went through the paces of preparing for a crucial WorldCup qualifier, and with the exception of a few key players that were en route from Sunday matches abroad, the group felt complete despite one obvious absence.
Pep Guardiola has been rumored to have his eyes on a number of forwards to bring in for Bayern Munich next year, but according to Sky Sports Italia, a move for Borussia Dortmund target man Robert Lewandowski to Bayern Munich is as good as done.
The 24-year-old Polish international has been rumored for a move to English giants Manchester United, though nothing has ever materialized in him leaving German soil.
MIAMI It was not always easy for the U.S. Men's National Team to crack open defenses and find the back of the net during the last round of World Cup qualifying, but to many fans and pundits the side's weakness does not lie up front.
The New York Red Bulls have spent much of the off-season trying to trade Kenny Cooper, but finding a team with both the salary cap space to fit Cooper's significant 2013 salary, and the allocation money to give the Red Bulls.
FC Dallas became just such a team after their sale of Brek Shea, and on Monday the team that had Cooper before will have him once again after securing a trade for the big striker.
MIAMI Now that we know who has been called into U.S. Men's National Team camp, it is time to start thinking about which 11 players Jurgen Klinsmann will call on to take the field in San Pedro Sula to face Honduras on Wednesday.
The Hexagonal World Cup Qualifying opener will be a stiff test, and Klinsmann is sure to turn to his veterans to try and grab a result in Central America.
MIAMI As players begin to make their way here ahead of the U.S. Men's National team stopover on their way to Honduras for Wednesday's crucial World Cup qualifier, we are slowly getting a sense of just what this team will look like when Jurgen Klinsmann unveils the roster for the upcoming USMNT camp.
AC Milan had high hopes for Mario Balotelli when they signed the troubled Italian striker away from Manchester City, but even the 'Rossoneri' couldn't have expected him to make such an immediate impact.
Balotelli enjoyed a dream debut for his new club, scoring both goals in AC's 2-1 win over Udinese on Sunday.
At a press conference in The Hague, in the Netherlands, the European Police announced that after investigating more than 700 football matches across Europe, they found 380 of them to have been fixed, including Champions League, World Cup qualifiers, and European Cup qualifying matches.
Veterans Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley headline the U.S. Men's National Team roster chosen to travel to San Pedro Sula ahead of Wednesday's vital World Cup qualifying clash against Honduras, a roster heavy on European-based players.
Graham Zusi, Eddie Johnson and Matt Besler headline a contingent of seven MLS-based players.
Saturday's match between Granada CF and Real Madrid began just like many Real matches during the past three seasons. With a Cristiano Ronaldo goal.
This time, it was into the wrong net.
The 27-year-old Portuguese international got a flick off an opposing corner kick in the 22nd minute, that went over new goalkeeper Diego Lopez's head and into the back of the net, giving Granada the 1-0 lead.
FC Dallas isn't wasting any time spending the big chunk of allocation money gained from Brek Shea's $4 million transfer to Stoke City, with the club revealing on Friday that talks were underway with Toronto FC for the services of French striker Eric Hassli.
The U.S. Men's National Team will gather in Miami on Sunday to start preparations for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Honduras, and after a three-week January camp for MLS and Scandinavian-based players, we will finally see a full-strength U.S. team on display.
After more than a month on the sidelines, Jermaine Jones is set to make his return to Schalke.
Jones has finished serving his three-game suspension for the red card he received in a loss to Stuttgart on Dec. 8, and he should be back in Schalke's lineup on Saturday as they take onSpVgg Greuther Furth.
It was a bittersweet January transfer window for followers of Major League Soccer, with more talent leaving the league than in any previous January, and more players departing to top leagues than ever before.
The multi-million dollar transfers of Brek Shea and Andy Najar headlined what wound up being a far busier January than anyone could have imagined.
The exodus of MLS players to England included a player who already came to MLS from across the point, with Simon Dawkins returning to his native country on a loan move to English Premier League side Aston Villa.
The Tottenham player had spent the past two seasons on loan with the San Jose Earthquakes, and enjoyed an outstanding 2012 along with the rest of his teammates.
After more than a month on the sidelines, Jermaine Jones is set to make his return to Schalke.
Jones has finished serving his three-game suspension for the red card he received in a loss to Stuttgart on Dec. 8, and he should be back in Schalke's lineup on Saturday as they take onSpVgg Greuther Furth.