Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2015

MLS Ticker: Magee set for free agency; RSL re-signs Olave; and more

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Photo by Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports

The ongoing rebuilding of the Chicago Fire took another step on Monday, and several of those on their way out of Toyota Park will be eligible for MLS' new form of free agency.

Now firmly into the 2016 offseason, the Fire made several roster moves on Monday, including the announcement of the departures of Mike Magee, Jon Busch, Jeff Larentowicz and Ty Harden.

MLS Ticker: Red Bulls pick up McCarty option; TFC re-signs Morrow; and more

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Photo by Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

After seeing their season come to a close on Sunday night, the New York Red Bulls' first order of offseason business was to make sure to lock up one of the team's most important pieces.

Red Bulls Sporting Director Ali Curtis announced Monday that the club will be picking up the option on midfielder Dax McCarty, keeping him under contract heading into the 2015 season.

Report: Vela's agent says MLS move may not be in 'immediate' future

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Photo by Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Vela may have been linked to the Colorado Rapids recently, but according to his agent, the Mexican international is not close to leaving Spain.

In an interview with Agenda FOX Sports, Eduardo Hernandez said that his client and current Real Sociedad forward is listening to offers made by the Colorado Rapids and MLS, but that does not mean a deal is currently in the works.

The SBI Show: Episode 244 (Recapping the MLS conference finals, and more)

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The Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers booked their places in the 2015 MLS Cup final and the latest episode of The SBI Show covers just how they got the job done.

Episode 244 of The SBI Show looks back at Sunday's conference finals second legs, including Portland's 2-2 tie against FC Dallas, and the Red Bulls lackluster 1-0 victory against Columbus, which wasn't enough to overcome the Crew's 2-0 first-leg lead.

Everton's Martinez backs Howard in wake of recent criticism

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Tim Howard will not start Everton's upcoming Capital One Cup quarterfinal match, but manager Roberto Martinez insists that the U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper remains a major part of the team's plans.

The Everton goalkeeper has received his share of criticism following this weekend's result: a 3-3 draw that saw AFC Bournemouth net a 98th-minute equalizer.

Soccer Monday: Your Running Commentary

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Monday's clash between Inter Milan and Napoli could go a long way towards deciding this season's top teamin Serie A.

The two Italian giants collide in a meeting of the league's top two teams, with Napoli currently sitting two points behind Inter for the first spot onthe Italian table. Under manager Roberto Mancini, Inter Milan have surrendered just seven goals in 13 games while amassing nine wins to leap to the top of Serie A.

FC Dallas thinks progress was made, looks to improve in 2016

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Photo by Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports

After scoring twice in five minutes during the second half, it looked as if FC Dallas was going tomount a comeback in Frisco, Texas, on Sunday that would have seen them take the Western Conference Finals to extratime.

A stoppage-time strike from Lucas Melano put that possibility to bed, and now the team with the best regular-season record in the Western Conference must watch the MLS Cup from afar instead of playing in it.

Timbers remain focused on MLS Cup glory after claiming Western Conference crown

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Photo by Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers claimed their first-ever MLS trophy on Sunday, and while that should have been a cause for unending celebration, the ultimate prize is still up for grabs.

And they know it.

The Timbers traveled to Frisco, Texas, for the second leg of the Western Conference Finals, and came away victorious.

Carli Lloyd, Jill Ellis in running for FIFA awards

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Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

FIFA announced the shortlists for its annual awards on Monday, and a couple of U.S. Women's National Team members made the cut.

U.S. Women's National Team starlet Carli Lloyd is one of three finalists in the running to claim this year's FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award.

Crew put celebrations on hold as completion of two-year journey approaches with MLS Cup

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Photo by Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Despite what had just been achieved, the visitors' locker room at Red Bull Arena proved to be anything but out of the ordinary.

There was no champagne, no exuberance and certainly no celebratory declarations, save for the ones made by music artist Drake via a small speaker set in the corner of the room.

Monday Kickoff: Ballon d'Or shortlist revealed; Liga MX semis set; and more

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The three finalists for the FIFA Ballon d'Or were announced on Monday, and there were no real surprise inclusions.

FIFA revealed that Real Madrid star and reigning Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will have to defend his award against two Barcelona teammates. Argentine playmaker Lionel Messi and Brazilian winger Neymar round out this year's finalists for the annual award.

Red Bulls have only themselves to blame for latest painful playoff exit

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photo by Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports

HARRISON, N.J.— An inch. Maybe two. That was how close the New York Red Bulls came to pushing the Eastern Conference Finals into extra time.

Itnever really seemed that close, however.

The Red Bulls were left at the doorstep of the MLS Cup Final for the second straight year, only this time they were left to watch their opponent lift a trophy in their home stadium.

Wake Forest, Stanford and surprising Boston College among teams heading to NCAA quarterfinals

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Photo by Boston College Sports Information

A handful of surprise teams reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals on Sunday, and no result was more shocking than No. 3 seed Georgetown falling to unseeded Boston College.

Among those that reached the next stage of the competition were No.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Bobby Wood may have been denied by the woodwork twice, but he still found a way to help create a goal for his club. Even if it came via a fortuitous deflection.

Wood set up the opener in FC Union Berlin's 1-1 draw with Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday when a header crashed off his leg before falling into the path of teammate Benjamin Kessel, who pushed his effort from close range in with ease.

Timbers hold off FC Dallas to book place in MLS Cup Final

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Photo by Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in their brief MLS history, the Portland Timbers will play in the MLS Cup.

Following their 3-1 home win at Providence Park in the Western Conference Finals first leg, the Timbers scored twice and thwarted an FC Dallas comeback en route to a 2-2 tie at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Crew fight off late Red Bulls charge to reach MLS Cup final

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photo by Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports

HARRISON, N.J. The Columbus Crew had established a healthy lead in the first leg, and they did justenough to protect it in the second.

The Crew reached the MLS Cup Final on Sunday despite losingthe second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals, 1-0, on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena.

Keane the only returning selection to MLS Best XI

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Photo by Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports

Featuring 10 first time selections, the 2015 MLS Best XI has a much different look than those of years past.

LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, who was chosen for his fourth Best XI selection, remains the only repeat selection on the league's first-choice team, which was announced Sunday afternoon.

MLS Playoffs: Conference Finals (SBI Live Commentary)

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Photo by Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY Sports

The MLS conference finals will end on Sunday, and an unlikely matchup awaits in the MLS Cup final on Dec. 6 if results stay true.

That matchup currently pits the Columbus Crew against the Portland Timbers, as each of those two teams hold a two-goal advantage over the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas, respectively.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool believing it can make a serious run at the top four in the English Premier League, and today's clash with Swansea City could help the Reds make a big jump in that direct.

Fresh off a win against current league leaders Manchester City, Liverpool returns to Anfield with a chance to jump up to sixth place, three points behind fourth-place Arsenal, with a win against a Swansea City side mired in a three-match winless slide.

Guatemala forward Carlos Ruiz might miss USMNT World Cup qualifiers

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The U.S. Men's National Team won't kick off more World Cup qualifying matches until March, and one opposing star for Guatemala might already be ruled out for those two meetings.

According to Goal.com, the disciplinary body of Guatemala's top league, Liga Nacional de Futbol de Guatemala, announced that Carlos Ruiz will be suspended six months.

Saturday Ticker: Vardy breaks EPL record; Barca pounds Sociedad; and more

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An inconceivable story became that much more incredible on Saturday.

Jamie Vardy has been the main storyline this English Premier League campaign, and even during a 1-1 tie with Manchester United at King Power Stadium, his goal was the focal point.

That's because Vardy's first-half tally broke former Man United star Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of scoring in 10 consecutive matches.

UNC-Creighton, Notre Dame-Maryland headline NCAA Round of 16

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Photo by Creighton Athletics

The NCAA Tournament is down to the final 16, and though we've seen two thirds of the field eliminated, we still don't have a real sense of just which team can be considered the favorite to win it all.

Creighton and North Carolina were among the top-rated teams in the nation for much of the year, but only one of them will survive the weekend as they face off on Saturday night in the first Round of 16 clash.

Fabian Johnson's impressive week continues with brace in wild draw

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What a week for Fabian Johnson. What a month.

After scoring his second UEFA Champions League goal of the season and delivering an assist on Wednesday, Johnson bagged a brace to help Borussia Moenchengladbach pick up a 3-3 draw in a wild match vs. Hoffenheim. Johnson's goals came at the start and end of the road game, with his first serving as a fifth-minute opener and his second as an equalizer three minutes before the final whistle.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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When the current English Premier League season began, Chelsea and Leicester City would have been expected to wind up on opposite ends of the standings. That has become the case, though neither team is where many would have expected them to be.

Chelsea is in 15th place in the EPL, and will be looking to continue its climb toward more familiar territory when it faces arch-rival Tottenham on Sunday.

The 2015 SBI MLS Best XI

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If you are wondering just how representative the MLS conference finals are of the best talent in MLS, consider the fact that seven players taking part in this weekend's playoff proceedings made the 2015 SBI MLS Best XI.

No, playoff performances didn't factor into the selections of the 11 best players in MLS this season, but it shouldn't be a surprise that so many players who were among the league's best during the regular season are now helping their teams make runs at the MLS Cup title.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

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Rangers head coach Mark Warburton said earlier this week that he thought Gedion Zelalem played his best game for the club last weekend, and the youngster will surely be looking to repay that vote of confidence with another strong showing this Saturday.

This time, however, there will be the pressure of playing to reach a tournament final.

Drogba: Playing in MLS "more difficult than playing in the Premier League"

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Photo by Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports

Didier Drogba was one of the biggest signings of the 2015 MLS season, and his ability to make scoring goals in MLS look easy helped Montreal drive into a playoff berth.

As easy as Drogba made things look, the former Chelsea legend made a point recently to make it clear his transition into MLS has been far from easy, going as far as to say in a recent interview with Reuters that playing in MLS is actually tougher than playing in the English Premier League.

UCL Rewind: Manchester clubs stumble, Real Madrid avoids embarrassing collapse, and more

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during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Juventus and Manchester City FC at the Juventus Stadium on November 25, 2015 in Turin, Italy.

English sides struggled again, while Europe's elite took care of business in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League action.

Manchester United could only manage a scoreless draw at home against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday evening in the UCL, meaning Group B is still wide open.

Happy Thanksgiving from SBI Soccer

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Hello everybody. It is Thanksgiving Day, that day of the year you come to SBI looking for a soccer fix and find this familiar waving turkey greeting you.

American soccer fans have plenty to be thankful for this year. From the continued growth of professional soccer, with MLS, NASL and USL all growing and gaining momentum, down to the college soccer scene, where more talent is expected to emerge than in 2014.

Soccer Thursday: Your Running Commentary

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Boasting the best goal differential during Apertura 2015, Pumas UNAM is set to begin its playoff campaign on Thursday.

Securing 35 points in 17 games, Pumas claimed first place in this season's playoff bracket, and will play eighth-placed Veracruz in Thursday's first Liga MX playoff game (8 p.

Fabian Johnson notches goal and assist in Moenchengladbach romp

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Fabian Johnson played a major part as his Borussia Monchengladbach side marched to a 4-2 victory over Sevilla on Wednesday, scoring his second UEFA Champions League goal of the season and assisting on another.

The USMNT winger/defender curled a spectacular right-footed shot past the Sevilla goalkeeper to put his side up 2-0 at home.

SBI College Spotlight: German midfielder Julian Buescher has Syracuse flying high

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Photo courtesy of Syracuse University Athletics

When Julian Buescher stepped foot on the campus of Syracuse University, the German import was ill prepared for the adjustments to American life. Speaking very little English and ill equipped to handle the cold of Syracuse, Buescher found himself wanting to find his way back home.

Miami Beckham United hint at another stadium site change after latest snag

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David Beckham and his group of investors might be changing their desired site for a soccer-specific stadium once again.

Beckham's ownership group, Miami Beckham United, may move away from its desired plans to build a facilityin Little Havanafor its proposed team after running into another roadblock.

Video: Jurgen Klopp interviewed by Liverpool kid

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Jurgen Klopp at Anfield is unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC during a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.


Nguyen, Rowe among players to have Revs contract options picked up

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The New England Revolutionhave exercisedtheirclub options on 14 players for the 2016 season.

The club announced on Wednesday that it is bringing back goalkeeper Brad Knighton; defenders Darrius Barnes, Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, Donnie Smith, Chris Tierney, London Woodberry; midfielders Teal Bunbury, Scott Caldwell, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, and forwards Charlie Davies and Sean Okoli.

Orlando City declines options on starting goalkeeper Hall, seven others

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photo by Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Tally Hall's first season in Orlando is also his last.

Orlando City announced on Wednesday a bevy of offseason roster moves, including declining the contract option of Hall. The 30-year-old goalkeeper had served as the starter for the expansion club after recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him during the initial months of the campaign, but he suffered a torn meniscus in the second-to-last game of the year.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Juventus will all try to secure their positions in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 today.

United play host to PSV Eindhoven in Group B, while Atletico have the more daunting task of hosting Galatasaray in Group C to lock up a spot in the knockout round.

UCL Rewind: Barca drub Roma, Arsenal still in race; and more

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The European giants ran rampant on Tuesday across the UEFA Champions League, with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea all posting huge victories.

The most important result on the day came for Arsenal, though, as the Gunnersdecisively defeated Dinamo Zagreb in a must-win match to advance to the Round of 16.

Wednesday Kickoff: Barca expects Neymar deal; Mourinho denies Costa issues; and more

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Despite all of the issues that have arisen, Barcelona remains confident that the club can secure Neymar's future for years to come.

Barcelonatechnical secretary Robert Fernandez says that Neymar will sign a long-term contract to remain with the club. Fernandez's declaration comes on the heels of several statements from the player's father stating that Neymar could seek a move if his ongoing tax issues aren't resolved.

MLS Tick: Dynamo reportedly set for new majority owner, and more

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photo by Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

It appears that all MLS clubs will soon be controlledby different majority owners.

Houston Dynamo co-owner Gabriel Brener is nearing a deal that would likely give him controlling interest in the club, Fox26Houston.com reported on Tuesday. Brener currently owns 25 percent of the Dynamo, but is teaming up with another pair of investors to buy the 50-percent stake that Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) holds.

The SBI Show: Episode 243 (Talking MLS playoffs, USMNT and more)

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The Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew made big statements with first-leg victories in the MLS conference finals, and are threatening to shake up these MLS playoffs in a way few could have expected.

Episode 243 of The SBI Show looks back at the wins by Portland and Columbus, and break down what went wrong for the Red Bulls and FC Dallas.

Fire confident foreign coach Veljko Paunovic can be rare success story

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The Chicago Fire know that history has not been kind to foreign coaches in MLS, but they are convincedVeljko Paunovic has all the qualities and enough familiarity with the league to be a rare success story.

In fact, the Fire were so impressed with Paunovic during their coaching search that they began to compare other candidates to him.

Meola embraces unexpected opportunity with Armada

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Photo by Logan Bowles/Jacksonville Armada FC

Tony Meola was more than happy with the direction his life was heading in, but the former U.S. Men's National Team star knew he had found an opportunitywith the Jacksonville Armada that he just couldn't pass up.

Working as an analyst on both TV and radio, Meola has spent the past several years establishing himself as a broadcaster while staying involved in the game as a coach at the youth level.

Jesse Marsch named MLS Coach of the Year

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Photo by Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

Leading a MLS team to a Supporters' Shield title is no easy task.

Doing that in your first year as head coach of the team is something else entirely.

On Tuesday, the league recognized Jesse Marsch as 2015 MLS Coach of the Year. Marsch helped the New York Red Bulls secure a franchise-best 18 wins during the regular season en route to winning the Supporters' Shield.

Wambach headlines USWNT roster for final Victory Tour matches

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Photo by Michael Chow/USA TODAY Sports

Abby Wambach's international career will come to a close at the end of 2015, and the U.S. Women's National Team legend will be joined by 27 teammates in celebrating the occasion.

Wabach is among 28 players named to the final USWNT roster for the team's Victory Tour, which concludes with four December matches.

Soccer Tuesday: Your Running Commentary

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Perennial Champions League knockout round teams will be putting it all on the line on Tuesday as the penultimate group stage match day kicks off.

In Group E action, AS Roma will travel to Camp Nou to face off against a red-hot Barcelona team. While Luis Enrique's men have enjoyed a slew of outstanding results as of late, these two sides drew 1-1 in Rome several weeks back.

Fire appoint U-20 World Cup winner Veljko Paunovic head coach

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The Chicago Fire are handing their coaching keys to the man who helped Serbia win the Under-20 World Cup this summer.

The Fire announced on Tuesday that they have appointed Veljko Paunovic as head coach. Paunovic takes over for interim boss Brian Bliss, who led the club during the final weeks of the 2015 season after replacing the fired Frank Yallop.

Michael Bradley intrigued by Serie A loan return in January

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Photo by Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

In 2014, Michael Bradley said goodbye to Serie A in favor of a move to MLS.

Italian soccer may be in his future once again, though, as he is open to joining a club on loan during the upcoming January transfer window.

"I would return for a couple of months if there was the (right) opportunity," Bradley told Gazetta World.

Report: Rapids in talks with Carlos Vela

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Photo by Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Vela has long been rumored to be MLS-bound, and it appears that the Colorado Rapids haveemerged as the most likely destination.

Reports from Bola VIP state that the Mexican international is in talks with the Rapids over a potential deal that could take shape as soon as next month.

Reading extends Dillon Powers' trial another week

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photo by Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

Dillon Powers' future with the Colorado Rapids remains up in the air, as Reading remains interested.

Reading has prolonged Powers' trial from two weeks to three in an effort to better gaugewhether the midfielder is someone worth signing. Powers is an attractive option because he has an Italian passport that does not require him to obtain a work permit to make a move to the English Championship club, but the Royals want to get a closer look before deciding if they should sign him during the upcoming transfer window.

MLS Ticker: Giovinco awarded MLS Newcomer; Vermes linked to EPL; and more

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Photo by John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

After an incredible and almost unimaginable freshman MLS campaign, Sebastian Giovinco was honored by the league on Monday.

Giovinco, who was named SBI MLS MVP on Monday, was also recognized as MLS Newcomer of the Year, beating out the likes of Didier Drogba, David Villa and Kaka.

UCL Preview: Ibrahimovic returns to Malmo; clubs seek to clinch; and more

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic's nomadic career has brought him to many different places, but on Wednesday, he's going back to where it all started.

The Swedish superstar began his professional career with Malmö FF in 1999, and now, some 16 years later, he will return to the city where he was born with Paris Saint-Germain — his sixthteam since leaving there —as the UEFA Champions League resumes with Matchday 5 action.

Tuesday Kickoff: Real Madrid president backs Benitez; Rafinha extends; and more

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In spite of the alleged feud surrounding star player Cristiano Ronaldo and head coach Rafa Benitez, Real Madrid's president firmly supports the latter.

During a press conference on Monday, club president Florentino Perez said that he and the team's board stand behind Benitez while also stating that some media outlets are spreading false information.

NASL Notes: Armada hire Meola; Heinemann to Rowdies; and more

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Photo by Danny Wild/USA Today Sports

The Jacksonville Armada have reportedly made a major splash with their latest head coaching hire.

Sports Illustrated is reportingthat the Armada have hired former U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper Tony Meola as the club's head coach, with an official announcement set for Tuesday.

USMNT to host Guatemala in Columbus for March World Cup qualifier

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The U.S. Men's National Team's fourthgame of World Cup qualifying will be held at a familiar location.

On Monday, U.S. Soccer announced that the USMNT will host Guatemala on March 29 in Columbus, Ohio. The team's World Cup qualifying match, which will be televised on ESPN 2, follows contests against St.

Fast start pushes Crew closer to MLS Cup with win over Red Bulls

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Photo by Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports

Nine seconds was all it took for the Columbus Crew to put two weeks of preparation into flawlessly-executed practice.

Crew winger Justin Meram scored the opening goal within the game's first 10 seconds, leading the way in a 2-0 defeat of the Red Bulls that seized control of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Gedion Zelalem likely to stay with Rangers until end of season

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Gedion Zelalem's timewith Rangers might last longer than originally planned.

Zelalem joined Rangers via a loan from Arsenal this past summer in search of first-team minutes, and his solid form for the second division Scottish side has the two clubs discussing a potential extension that would run until the end of the season.

U.S. U-23s goalkeeper Charlie Horton leaves Leeds for MLS

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U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team goalkeeper Charlie Horton signed a two-year deal with Leeds United this summer, but he will not be seeing it through.

Horton, 21, announced via statements through Leeds United and his personal Twitter account that he was leaving the club to join MLS. The reason cited for the move is due to a private family matter.

Dairon Asprilla steps up and shines for Timbers in West Finals first leg

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Photo by Godofredo Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

There were many positives for head coach Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers to take away from Sunday's crucial win against FC Dallas.

The two-goal advantage puts them in a great position to advance to the MLS Cup Final for the first time in club history.

SBI MLS MVP: Sebastian Giovinco

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Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports

Sebastian Giovinco's first season in MLS turned out to be one of absolute domination.

Acquired by Toronto FC heading into the 2015 season, Giovinco proved to be everything the club hoped for and more. Kickstarting TFC's attack from the get-go, Giovinco finished 2015 with the league lead in both goals and assists, earning the Italian star recognition as SBI MLS Most Valuable Player.

USWNT paired with Mexico in Olympic qualifying group

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Photo by Jennifer Buchanan/USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Women's National Team's road to the Olympics will include facing off against a regional rival.

The CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying groups were announced on Monday, and the USWNT was paired with Mexico as well as Costa Rica and Puerto Rico in Group A.

Red Bulls' lackluster showing leaves them in hole in Eastern Conference Finals

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photo by Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports

The New York Red Bulls were second best in nearly every aspect. The scoreboard more than rightly reflected that.

A goal nine seconds into the match from the Columbus Crew was a sign of things to come forthe New York Red Bulls on a frustrating and disappointing evening at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

Bob Bradley expects Le Havre to rebound following disappointing debut

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Bob Bradley's coaching debut with Le Havre didn't pan out as expected, but he is hoping his side can turn things around quickly as he prepares for his first Ligue 2 battle on Monday.

In Bradley's first game in charge, Le Havre disappointingly bowed out of the Coupe de France to sixth-flight minnow St.

Maryland, Wake Forest, Georgetown among teams to reach NCAA round of 16

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Photo by Maryland Athletics

This year's College Cup will feature four new teams, as reigning national champion Virginia and runner-up UCLA were both eliminated in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

In the round's most anticipated matchup, No. 10 seed Maryland used a goal by freshman Eryk Williamson to eliminate the Cavaliers from the 2015 tournament with a 1-0 result.

Monday Kickoff: Blatter was 'close to death'; Liga MX playoffs set; and more

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Sepp Blatter was released from hospital on Nov. 12 after dealing with a stress-related issue, but it appears as though his condition was more life-threatening than what many imagined.

That is, according to the currently-suspended FIFA president, himself.

Blatter was hospitalized earlier this month and discharged shortly thereafter, but he has now told Swiss TV channel RTS that he was on the verge of dying.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Danny Williams may not have been called into the U.S. Men's National Team's most recent camp, but hehelped his cause for inclusion the next time around on Saturday.

Williams scored a well-placed winner in Reading's 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday with his third goal of the season.

Sunday Ticker: Tottenham pounds West Ham; Ronaldo issues ultimatum; and more

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Tottenham and West Ham started the day fifth and sixth on the English Premier League table, but Sunday's London derby was completely one-sided.

Harry Kane and co. controlled the action from the opening whistle at White Hart Lane. West Ham scored once on the day, but the Hammers' lonegoal fromManuel Lanzini came after Tottenham put four into the back of the net to secure a 4-1 result.

Meram, Finlay lead Crew past Red Bulls in first leg of East Finals

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Photo by Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew couldn't have hoped fora better start to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Spurred on bygoals from Justin Meram and Kei Kamara, the Crew toppled the New York Red Bulls, 2-0, on Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium to earn a massive advantage in the tie's opening leg.

Must-See Goal: Dairon Asprilla

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Photo by Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY Sports


Timbers pick up resounding win over FC Dallas

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Just when it looked like FC Dallas would have a strong case to take charge of the Western Conference Championship heading into the second leg, a last second goal from an unlikely candidate tipped the scales in the Portland Timbers' favor.

A tap in from DP center back Liam Ridgewell was all that separated the two sides going into halftime, but Dairon Asprilla and Nat Borchers scored for the Timbers in the second half.

MLS Playoffs: Conference Finals (SBI Live Commentary)

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The final four teams left in the chase for the MLS Cup square off today as the conference finals begin today with first-leg action in Columbus, Ohio and Portland, Oregon.

The New York Red Bulls are in Columbus today to take on the Crew at MAPFRE Stadium. The top-seeded Red Bulls will look to set themselves up with a comfortable result heading into the return leg at Red Bull Arena, but they face a Crew side with the weapons to give the home team a first-leg series lead.

Saturday Ticker: Barca pummels Real Madrid; Liverpool tops Man City, and more

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There seems to be no stopping Brazilian playmaker Neymar at the moment, and Barcelona is reaping all of the benefits.

Barcelona showed Real Madrid who is top dog in Liga BBVA on Saturday, dismantling its rival, 4-0, at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

Luis Suarez tallied a brace in the 263rd El Clásico, scoring the first and final goals of the game.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Sunday's London derby has more meaning than usual.

In the English Premier League, Tottenham hosts West Ham United at White Hart Lane, and there is more at stake than personal pride. That's because these two sides sit fifth and sixth on the league's table, so a European qualification spot is on the line.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, a match that needs no explanation.

The 263rd El Clásico kicks offs on Saturday at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. While each side boasts plenty of talent and skill, one Argentine star's status is still up in the air.

Lionel Messi has participated in training for Barcelona in the buildup to the contest, but it is still unclear whether he will start, come on as a substitute, or not play.

Paul Dalglish fills Fury FC's coaching vacancy

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photo by Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

Marc Dos Santos may have found a new partner, but so too has Ottawa Fury FC.

On the same day that its firsthead coach, Dos Santos, joined USL side Swope Park Rangers, Fury FC announced on Friday that Paul Dalglish had signed on to be the NASL club'snext manager.

SBI Reader Poll: Who will win the MLS conference finals?

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photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports

They are so close to the MLS Cup final that they can taste it.

FC Dallas, the Portland Timbers, New York Red Bulls, and Columbus Crew are all set to continue their respective quests for the league's ultimate prize this weekend when the conference finals get underway.

Marc Dos Santos leaves Fury FC for Swope Park Rangers

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Photo by Ottawa Fury FC/NASL

For months it was known that Marc Dos Santos was going to leave Ottawa Fury FC at the end of team's campaign.

His destination was made official on Friday.

Sporting Kansas City has announced that Dos Santos will head its USL team, Swope Park Rangers, which is set to kick off its first season next year.

Soccer Friday: Your Running Commentary

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There might only be a fewsoccer games played across the globe today, but that does not make them any less interesting.

Four matches from four different leagues will be aired in the U.S. on Friday, as the weekend festivities officially get under way. Headlining the action is a German Bundesliga tilt between Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg.

Report: Club America in discussions to sign Fabian Castillo

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photo by Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

Fabian Castillo's current run at the MLS Cup might be his last.

Castillo's impressive form with FC Dallas this season has caught the eye of Club America, and the Liga MXclub is in discussions to sign the 23-year-old winger, according to a report by ESPN.

Virginia, UCLA among teams to advance to NCAA round of 32

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Photo by Kelsey Grant/Virginia Cavaliers Athletics

Seven ACC teams qualified for this year's NCAA Tournament, and after Thursday's First Round of action, seven still remain.

Reigning national champion Virginia is on course to defend its title after defeating Rider, 2-0, at home in the opening round.

Friday Kickoff: Rooney, Martial sidelined; UEFA won't charge Man City; and more

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Manchester United will be without two of its first-choice strikers come Saturday against Watford.

Head coach Louis Van Gaal confirmed that both Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial will miss this weekend's clash, as the former is suffering from illness and the latter is recovering from an injury he suffered with the French national team.

Waston signs multi-year extension with Whitecaps

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Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

Kendall Waston has emerged as one of the league's top defenders, prompting the Vancouver Whitecaps to reward the hulking centerback with a new deal.

The Whitecaps announced on Thursday that Waston has signed a multi-year contract extension to remain with the club.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

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Tim Howard and Brad Guzan just took turns in goal for the U.S. Men's National Team. Now, they will be competing against one another in the English Premier League.

Howard and Guzan are set to meet on Saturday, as the focus returns to the club level following the final international window of 2015.

MLS Playoffs: Timbers welcome focused FC Dallas down two key attackers

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photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports

The challenge for the last two Western Conference teams standing is similar while also distinct.

Both FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers enter their series with the goal of advancing to the MLS Cup final, but the former has to move on from an emotionally-draining match while the latter has to play without two of its top players.

Javier Morales re-signs with Real Salt Lake

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Photo by Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake is already thinking about next season, and it made sure one piece of the puzzle was locked down for few more years.

Javier Morales, who will turn 36 in January, officially re-signed with RSL, with the club confirming the multi-year contract on Thursday.

Bedoya expects Ligue 1 to send unified message following Paris attacks

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Last Friday's attacks in Paris sent shockwaves throughout the world, and now, U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Alejandro Bedoya is hoping he and his teammates can be part of a healing process for a country that is very much in need.

Ligue 1 play is set to resume this weekend, as Bedoya and FC Nantes visit Monaco on Saturday in the first round of matches since last weekend's terrorist attacks in Paris.

MLS Ticker: Sporting KC renames stadium; Fire reportedly clear house; and more

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Photo by Peter Aiken/USA Today Sports

Sporting Park will have a new name starting in 2016.

The club announced on Thursday that the stadium, which opened in 2011, is set to be renamed Children's Mercy Park following aa long-term partnership agreement between Sporting KC and Children's Mercy.

Young goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez blossoming as starter for FC Dallas

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photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports

Beaten to the near post on a free kick, committing a foul fora penalty kick, and having been scored on three times, Jesse Gonzalez could have wilted after FC Dallas' 3-1 loss vs. Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 18.It was the type of game that coulddemoralizea goalkeeper, especially one as young and inexperienced as Gonzalez.

SBI MLS Newcomer of the Year: Sebastian Giovinco

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Photo by Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports

It's hard to imagine a player's debut MLS campaign going any better than Sebastian Giovinco's.

Following several start and stop seasons at Juventus, the diminutive Italian international joined Toronto FC, who pegged Giovinco as the type of player to ignite the club's attack.

Luis Robles recognized as MLS Goalkeeper of the Year

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Photo by Danny Wild/USA Today Sports

Ahead Sunday's Eastern Conference final opening leg, Luis Robles has earned himself a bit of hardware.

MLS announced Thursday that the New York Red Bulls goalkeeper has been recognized as 2015 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Robles earned top voting percentages from clubs, media and players, besting Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted and D.

The SBI NCAA Tournament Preview

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Photo by Georgetown Sports Information

Reigning national champions Virgina Cavaliers begin their run at a repeat title, as the NCAA Tournament kicks off today with First Round matches.

There are a handful of teams, including five from the ACC, that have proven to be superb this season, but this competition is known to have a few surprises each and every year.

Wake Forest, Georgetown headline list of contenders for NCAA title

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Photo by Brian Westerholt/Sports on Film

Wake Forest may have been given the No. 1 overall seed this year, but the Demon Deacons are not the nation's hottest team entering the NCAA Tournament.

The ACC boasts seven teams in this edition of the competition, but Big East champion Georgetown is firing on all cylinders at the moment.

Jordan Morris, Joshua Yaro headline list of players to watch in NCAA Tournament

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Photo by Creighton Athletics

For many players who want to turn professional in the U.S., the journey starts in college, and there's no bigger stage to present your resume than the NCAA Tournament.

The annual postseason tournament kicks off today, with 16 First Round games starting later this evening.

MLS Playoffs: Red Bulls, Crew to bring high-tempo styles to East finals

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Photo by Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

Coming into their Eastern Conference final clash, both the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew aren't expecting any real surprises.

In a meetingof two teams with extremely similar mentalities, the top-seeded Red Bulls are set to visit the Crew on Sunday, kickstarting a playoff series that will send one of them to the MLS Cup (5 p.

New York, Seattle and Orlando among markets selected to host Copa America Centenario

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The Copa America Centenario is officially bound for the U.S., and now the cities in which it will be played have been revealed.

CONCACAF announced Thursday that 10 cities across the U.S. will host the upcoming tournament, which is set to be played from June 3-26. Each venue is set to host on multiple days throughout the tournament, while most will host up to three matches.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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It's El Clasico weekend in European soccer and the 263rdmeeting between Real Madrid and Barcelona is not short of storylines leading up to the match.

The biggest of them all, of course, isthe status of Lionel Messi. The Barça talisman suffered an internal collateral ligament injury to his left knee on Sept.

Thursday Kickoff: Most FAs reportedly not transparent; Nasri out months; and more

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According to a new report, only 14 out of the 209 FIFA football associations provide the minimum amount of information to remain transparent.

U.S. Soccer, among many other member nations, is not one of those included.

Transparency International released its findings on Wednesday after searching for information about every association and federation online.

Sounders offer Morris largest Homegrown contract in MLS history

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In pursuit of Jordan Morris, the Seattle Sounders are more than prepared to pay out a record-breaking deal.

Sounders general manager Garth Lagerway announced Wednesday that the Sounders have offered the Stanford starthe richest Homegrown Player contract in MLS history. As things stand, LA Galaxy star and fellow U.

USMNT 0, Trinidad & Tobago 0: The SBI Breakdown

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Picking up a point in World Cup Qualifying in aroad game vs. a tough opponent is nothing to be ashamed of.

Still, the U.S. Men's National Team can play better than it did on Tuesday.

The U.S. and Trinidad & Tobago played to a goal-less draw at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, a respectable result for the Americans against a respectable opponent.

USMNT Notes: Controlling the Nagbe hype; Jones stands out; and more

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Darlington Nagbe has impressed in his first two U.S. Men's National Team appearances, butdon't expect his coaches and teammates to pencil him in as a savior quite yet.

The Portland Timbers midfielder entered in the 68th minute for the USMNT, providing a bit of creativity and composure that the team was sorely lacking in the middle of the field.

CONMEBOL WCQ Rewind: Uruguay humbles Chile, and more

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Both Uruguay and Chile were looking to rebound from a disappointing result heading into their Round 4 tilt, but it was the former that enjoyed a thoroughly-convincing victory while the latter was left boiling in frustration.

Uruguay handed Chile its first defeat of this World Cup Qualifying campaign, handily defeating the reigning Copa America champions, 3-0, at home on Tuesday.

CONCACAF WCQ Rewind: El Tri wins in Honduras, Jamaica and Costa Rica victorious also

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Juan Carlos Osorio needed only one try to end the Honduran spell on Mexico.

Behind second-half goals from substitutes Jesus Corona and Jurgen Damm,El Tripicked up its first victoryin Honduras in 50 years with a 2-0 triumph.

Corona broke the deadlock in the 67th minute with a nifty finish.

Howard's return 'clockwork' for USMNT

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"Clockwork." That was one word used to describe Tim Howard's return to competitive action with the U.S. Men's National Team.

Playing in his first meaningful game since the now-legendary Belgium performance at last summer's World Cup, Howard proved a calming presence in the USMNT's 0-0 draw with Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday night.

USMNT content with road draw against Trinidad & Tobago

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It may not have been ideal and it certainly wasn't pretty, but the U.S. Men's National Team is more than happy with the result of Tuesday's clash with Trinidad & Tobago.

Tasked with traveling to face the tough Soca Warriors, the USMNT emerged fromHasely Crawford Stadium with a point in hand following a scoreless draw.

Wednesday Kickoff: Blatter, Platini appeals rejected; UEFA games to continue following Paris attacks; and more

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The punishments levied against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are set to continue as originally planned.

FIFA announced Wednesday that the duo's appeals against their current suspension had been denied. The two were provisionally suspended for 90 days back in October after Blatter was accused of making a"disloyal payment" to Platini, although both have denied any wrongdoing in the case.

USMNT picks up point in scoreless road draw with Trinidad & Tobago

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photo by USA Today Sports

The performance was far from pretty, but it was still effective enough to help the U.S. Men's National Team grab a result on the road.

The U.S. shared the spoils with Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday night after playing to a scoreless draw in their World Cup qualifier at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Jermaine Jones

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Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports

Facing off with a tricky Trinidad & Tobago team, Jermaine Jones provided a bit of stability to a U.S. Men's National Team that had very little on Tuesday night.

Jones patrolled and controlled the midfield throughout Tuesday's scoreless draw, helping the USMNT pick up its fourth point in two World Cup qualifying games.

USMNT vs. Trinidad and Tobago: SBI Live Commentary

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After cruising past St. Vincent & the Grenadines in its World Cup Qualifyingopener, the U.S. Men's National Team will face a much more difficult test on Tuesday night.

In the team's second qualifier, the USMNT is set to visit Trindad & Tobago (6:36, beIN Sports). The gamecomes on the heels of a 6-1 USMNT victory over St Vincent and the Grenadines, while the Soca Warriors enter on a high as well after knocking off Guatemala on the road.

Midday Ticker: Germany-Netherlands cancelled; Balotelli out three months; and more

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Due to security concerns, another friendly match in Europe has been called off.

Germany was prepared to host Netherlands in Hannover on Tuesday, but a little more than one hour until kickoff, the stadium was evacuated. Many German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, were set to attend the game.

CONCACAF WCQ Preview: Mexico faces road test, Costa Rica deals with injuries, and more

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As the U.S. prepares for its FIFA World Cup qualifying game against Trinidad and Tobago tonight, 10 fellow CONCACAF members will square off against each other looking to leave this international break in a comfortable position before resuming qualifying action again in four months.

Mexico enjoyed a successful debut under new manager Juan Carlos Osorio last Friday, but it will face a tough challenge ahead when it visits Honduras.

The SBI 2015 NASL Best XI

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The 2015 NASL season came to an end on Sunday, as the New York Cosmosbeat Ottawa Fury FC to lift the 2015 Soccer Bowl trophy.

This season proved a thriller as the playoff push went down to the final day of the Fall Season. Players from top-to-bottom in the league proved their worth with consistent exemplary performances.

The SBI Show: Episode 242 (Previewing USA-Trinidad & Tobago, and more)

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ST. LOUIS, MO NOVEMBER 13: Gavin James #13 of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Jermaine Jones #13 of the United States compete for a loose ball during a World Cup qualifying match at Busch Stadium on November 13, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The U.

Soccer Tuesday: Your Running Commentary

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While the U.S. searches for a result against Trinidad and Tobago tonight, a plethora of international action can keep viewers busy ahead ofthat contest.

On the World Cup qualifying front, Colombia and Argentina provideanappealingmatchup in the afternoon along with Honduras-Mexico. Uruguay-Chile and Brazil-Peru, meanwhile, will add a bit more CONMEBOL flavor later in the evening.

USMNT set to face first true World Cup qualifying test in clash with T&T

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The U.S. Men's National Team kicked off World Cup qualifying this past Friday with a commanding victory over St. Vincent &the Grenadines, but the team's first real challenge will come in Tuesday's sophomore effort.

Following a 6-1 dismantling in the opening game over far inferior opposition, the U.

Fabian Johnson explains removing himself from CONCACAF Cup

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Photo by Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

The apparent tension between Fabian Johnson and U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann looks to be just water under the bridge now, as the midfielder explained his exit from last month's CONCACAF Cup in more detail on Monday.

More than a month after Klinsmann had a "severe word" with Johnson regarding his substitution in the 111th minute of the CONCACAF Cup against Mexico, the 27-year-old midfielder explained way he could not go on any longer.

Tuesday Kickoff: Belgium-Spain postponed; Ronaldo, Bale might be sold; and more

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The effects of last Friday's attacks in Paris, France, are still being felt by many around the world, including those involved with international soccer.

Tuesday's friendly match between Belgium and Spain has officially been postponed, according to the Belgian Football Association, due to security concerns.

CONMEBOL WCQ Preview: Colombia aims to sink Argentina further, and more

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James Rodriguez came upwith a timely goalfor Colombia last week despite a very indifferent overall performance.

He will need to do muchmore on Tuesday.

Colombia will look to get back in the win column and move up the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table when it opens up the fourth round of games with a home match vs.

Who should the USMNT start vs. Trinidad & Tobago?

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Photo by Scott Kane/USA Today Sports

The U.S. Men's National Team picked up a convincing victory in its initial 2018 World Cup qualifier, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has vowed not to make many changes to his lineup ahead of the tougher challenge that awaits.

The U.S. routed St Vincent & the Grenadines, 6-1, on Friday night, but the sole focus now is on looking ahead to Tuesday'sroad qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago (6:30 pm, beIN Sports/NBC Universo).

Raul, Senna close out illustrious careers as champions with Cosmos

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Throughout their careers, Spanish legends Raul and Marcos Senna have made their names lifting up their teammates, making them better players and people through their leadership. On Sunday night, for the final time, the duo took the field, and it was on the shoulders of their teammates that they road off into the sunset.

NCAA tournament field set with ACC boasting seven teams

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Photo by Brian Westerholt/Sports On Film

While 24 teams claimed a conference title and an automatic berth into the 2015 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament, 24 at-large teams were added into the mix on Monday.

The tournament is officially set after seeding of all 48 teams took place during the DI Men's Soccer Selection Show.

Despite program-wide slump, Klinsmann calls criticisms 'immature'

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Jurgen Klinsmann has heard the critiques and criticisms, but that doesn't mean the U.S. Men's National Team head coach and U.S. Soccer technical director agrees that the program is in some sort of regression.

Following a difficult summer and fall, the U.S. Soccer program looks to rebound heading into the closing months of 2015.

Set to depart the club, Dos Santos proud to see Fury FC lose as 'champions'

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – As preparations were being made for the title celebration of the New York Cosmos, the players of Ottawa Fury FC lined up together one-by-one to ascend to a stage to receive their runners' up medals. Awaiting them was head coach Marc Dos Santos, who took the chance to hug the members of a team so close to his heart just one more time.

Klinsmann wants USMNT to stay resilient against Trinidad & Tobago

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If one were to just look at the scoreline from last Friday's game against St. Vincent and the Grenadians, one might assume that the U.S. Men's National Team had a cakewalk.

The USMNT did in fact dominate the Caribbean minnow, but for a few moments in the beginning of the game, the Americans found themselves down to the underdog.

College Weekend Rewind: Georgetown, Maryland, Syracuse win conference finals

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Photo by Georgetown Sports Information

Half of the of NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament field is set after a majority of teams from across the nation punched their ticket, including Georgetown, Maryland, Syracuse and more.

The Hoyas are arguably the hottest team in the nation right now after winning the Big East Conference, 2-1, over Creighton on Sunday.

Monday Kickoff: Ronaldo, Madrid reportedly at odds; FIFA bans presidents; and more

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The relationship between Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid is apparently quickly deteriorating.

Following the club's first loss of the season to Sevilla on Nov. 8, the Portuguese star expressed his anger with the team's tactical approach this season. He also said he and head coach Rafa Benitez are not seeing eye to eye.

NASL Notes: Commissioner praises Rayo OKC; International calendar causes issues; and more

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Bill Peterson understands the outside skepticism regarding Rayo OKC, but theNASL commissioner remains fully confident that big things are ahead for the league's latest expansion club.

Peterson and the NASL announced the formation of Rayo OKC on Tuesday, revealing backing fromSpanish club Rayo Vallecano.

Gaston Cellerino hat-trick sees Cosmos crowned NASL champions

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. Raul and Marcos Senna may have been the legends in the spotlight, but Gaston Cellerino was the man of the hour as the New York Cosmos were crowned NASL champions once again.

A hat-trick from Cellerino saw the Cosmos defeat 10-man Ottawa Fury FC, 3-2, in the NASL Championship at James.

U.S. U-23s take a beating against Brazil

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If the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team's previous two friendlies against Brazil are any indication, the Americans' chances of qualifying for next summer's Olympics are slim.

After losing on Thursday, Andi Herzog's men played their second friendly against Brazil atMangueirao Stadium in Belem on Sunday, and the hosts pummeled the Americans, 5-1.

USMNT 6, St Vincent and the Grenadines 1: The SBI Breakdown

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photo by Scott Kane/USA Today Sports

The road to Russia got off to a great start via a lopsided victory that most observers saw coming, and there were some things to take away from the match despite it being so one-sided.

The U.S. Men's National Team began its quest to reach the 2018 World Cup with a 6-1 rout of St Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday.

Fabian Johnson impresses at left midfield in USMNT return

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photo by Scott Kane/USA Today Sports

That is one way to stay out of the dog house.

After being sent home early and publicly criticized in the U.S. Men's National Team's October camp for a perceived lack of commitment, Johnson made a strong impression in his return to the field for the Americans on Friday.

Donovan assists on goal in Beckham's charity match

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Landon Donovan might have the itch to coach, but he showed on Saturday that he can still play.

Donovan set up the Rest of the World'slone goal in David Beckham's Unicef charity match, cutting a pass back to Dwight Yorke in the 67th minute of a 3-1 loss to Great Britain and Ireland. Donovan, 33, entered the star-studded affair at Old Trafford in the 67th minute, and gave his side a glimmer of hope with the ball that trimmed its 2-0 deficit in half.

CONMEBOL WCQ Rewind: Brazil ties struggling Argentina, Peru ousts Paraguay

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Leo Messi cannot return to actionsoon enough forhis country.

Argentina's abysmalstart to 2018 World Cup qualifying continued on Friday, as LaAlbicelestewere held to a 1-1 draw at home by arch-rival Brazil. Ezequiel Lavezzi opened the scoring at Estadio Monumental with a first-half finish, but the Messi-less Argentina surrendered an equalizer to Lucas Lima just before the hour-mark.

Raul, Senna, Cosmos look for storybook ending in NASL final against Fury FC

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NEW YORK – Sunday's NASL finale between the New York Cosmos and Ottawa Fury FC has all the feel of a potential storybook ending.

Pitting the league's top two teams, each of which boasts vastly different styles and budgets, Sunday's championship game appears to be a matchup of the right teams.

USMNT overcomes early deficit to crush St. Vincent & the Grenadines

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The U.S. Men's National Team started the journey to the 2018 World Cup by proving its superiority over St. Vincent & the Grenadines. The Americans just had to overcome an early hiccup to do so.

The U.S. won its initial World Cup qualifier by a lopsided 6-1 mark at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, on Friday night, but only after conceding a goal five minutes in.

SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore

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The U.S. Men's National Team was firing on all cylinders during their CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying debut, and a familiar forward was one of a many in top form.

Despite St. Vincent and the Grenadines sitting so deep in their own half, Jozy Altidore combined well with teammates and bagged a brace in the teams 6-1 win at Busch Stadium in Saint Louis.

USA vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SBI Live Commentary)

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Three, potentially four, CONCACAF members will represent the region in Russia during the 2018 World Cup, and the U.S. Men's National Team kicks off its campaign to reach that tournament tonight.

Jurgen Klinsmann's men do battle with St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the team's opening CONCACAF qualifying match at Busch Stadium in St.

Impact remove interim tag to name Mauro Biello head coach

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photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

Mauro Biello helped the Montreal Impact reach the playoffs with a strong finish to the regular season, and the job he did as interim head coach was enough to ensure that he would return in 2016 in a more prominent role.

The Impact announced on Friday afternoon that they removed the interim tag from Biello and made him the full-time head coach anddirector of player personnel with the first team.

Report: MetLife Stadium selected as host of Copa America Centenario final

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All eyes will be on MetLife Stadium on June 26.

The 2016 Copa America Centenario final on that date will be played at the nearly 83,000-seat venuein East Rutherford, New Jersey, next summer, according to a report from ESPNFC. MetLife Stadium was reportedly chosen over the larger Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, because it has more suites and luxury boxes and is located in the U.

Leiweke outlines Miami Beckham United's proposed stadium plans in open letter

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photo by Robert Mayer/USA Today Sports

The last stadiumbuilt in Miami caused a public uproar that still has locals seething until this day.

Miami Beckham United has no intention ofhaving history repeat itself.

Tim Leiweke, one of David Beckham's partners in trying to bring an MLS franchise to Miami, wrote a detailed open letter in the Miami Herald on Thursday night outlining the plans for Miami Beckham United's proposed stadium in Little Havana.

The SBI Show: Episode 241 (Previewing USA-St. Vincent; special guest Walker Zimmerman)

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The U.S. Men's National Team kicks off World Cup qualifying tonight in St. Louis and the latest episode of The SBI Show breaks down the clash with St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Episode 241 of The SBI Show takes a closer look at Friday's qualifier, including potential lineup options for Jurgen Klinsmann.

College Weekend Preview: Big East, ACC, Big Ten finals headline action

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Photo by Georgetown Sports Information

It's now or never for college teams across the country.

The Division I Men's Soccer Selection Announcement will be broadcast live on NCAA.com on Monday (1 p.m.), but a majority of automatic bids still need to be claimed. Tournaments across the nation will wrap up come Sunday, and there is plenty to play for.

Sigi Schmid to remain Sounders head coach in 2016

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Photo by Jennifer Buchanan/USA TODAY Sports

Despite falling short of the ultimate goal, the Seattle Sounders won't be making any drastic changes on the coaching front.

On Thursday,Sounders general manager Garth Lagerweyannounced that Sigi Schmid will return to the club as head coach.

USMNT offered new beginning with start of World Cup qualifying

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Photo by Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

Entering World Cup qualifying, the struggles of the U.S. Men's National Team have been highly publicized. Friday night presents Jurgen Klinsmann and co. with an opportunity to start putting those struggles behind them.

The USMNT is set to open up World Cup qualifying on Friday in St.

College Midweek Rewind: Georgetown, Creighton advance to Big East final and more

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Photo by Georgetown Sports Information

While many top teams across the country were upset in their respective conference tournaments, everything went as expected in the Big East Conference.

Georgetown and Creighton both advanced to the conference final after defeating Xavier, 1-0, and Providence, 2-1, respectively.

Friday Kickoff: FIFA fines VP; Ronaldo: Messi to win Ballon d'Or; and more

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FIFA's Ethics Committee has had a busy week.

A day after narrowing the field for the current FIFA presidency race to five candidates, FIFA's Ethics Committee fined and warned Spanish soccer chief Angel Maria Villar.

Villar,who is the current vice president of FIFA, as well as vice president of UEFA, was fined $25,000 for his alleged misconduct in the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

CONMEBOL WCQ Rewind: Ecuador edges Uruguay to remain perfect, and more

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The day's biggest match was postponed because of weather, and yet there was still plenty of drama, intensity, and goals on display.

CONMEBOL's third round of World Cup qualifying took place on Thursday, and arguably the biggest story aside from the Superclasico between Argentina and Brazil being pushed back a day because ofheavy rainfall was Ecuador remaining perfect after edging Uruguay.

Landon Donovan getting itch to return to game as coach

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Landon Donovan has no real interest in returning to the game as a player.

Coming back as a head coach is a whole different story.

It has almost been a year since Donovan decided to hang up his cleats, but his love for soccer could see him make his wayback to the field in a coaching capacity.

Thierry Henry weighs in on NYCFC's hire of Patrick Vieira

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Photo by Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

Thierry Henry was quick to take a playful jab at Patrick Vieira following the latter's recent hiring by New York City FC.

Teammates with the French National Team as well as Arsenal's famous "Invincibles", Henry and Vieira developed a strong relationship throughout their respective careers.

Whitecaps sign Laba to contract extension

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Photo by Russ Isabella/USA TODAY Sports

Matias Laba has quickly become regarded as one of the league's top midfielders, and now the Vancouver Whitecaps have taken the step to lock him down for the next several seasons.

The Whitecaps announced Thursday that the club has signed the 23-year-old Argentinian Designated Player to a multi-year extension.

CONMEBOL WCQ Preview: Superclasico takes center stage and more

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Argentina vs. Brazil is always an intense affair. Even more so whenWorld Cup qualifying points are up for grabs. Even more still when both have gotten off to less-than-perfect starts.

The wild and intense ride that is CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying resumes on Thursday with the start of its third round of action, and the match that seemingly everyone is talking about is the Superclasico.

Donovan pinpoints lack of USMNT continuity, criticizes Dempsey absence

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Photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Roughly a year removed from his retirement, Landon Donovan has watched from afar as the U.S. Men's National Team has struggled in recent months.

After limping through this summer's Gold Cup en route to a fourth-place finish, the U.S. squandered a chance to go to the Confederations Cup with a CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico.

International Preview: Africa, Asia World Cup qualifying headlines action

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By the end of the November international window, several teams will be eliminated from FIFA 2018 World Cup contention.

Qualification for the World Cup kicks off once again this international window, and while the third round of CONCACAF action is just getting started, several teams in Africa and Asia will be shown the exit door.

Video: Patrick Vieira discusses recent NYCFC hiring

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Who should the USMNT start vs. St Vincent & the Grenadines?

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photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

There ismore at stake, butthat still is unlikely to stop Jurgen Klinsmann from trying out some new and inexperienced players.

The U.S. Men's National Team officially embarks on its journey to the 2018 World Cup in Russia on Friday when it hosts St Vincent & the Grenadines (6:30 pm, ESPN2) in the Americans' first qualifier of this cycle.

MLS announces offseason schedule

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While the 2015 MLS season has yet to reach its conclusion, the league has revealed the details surrounding the offseason that will precede the 2016 campaign.

MLS announced the 2016 offseason schedule on Thursday, revealing the key dates surrounding the build up to next season. The offseason will be the first to feature a form of free agency, which will seeplayers28 years of age and older with eight years of MLS service who are out of contract have the freedom to negotiate a new contract with any club.

MLS Ticker: Atlanta United announces training facility; Johnson ready for Canada; more

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After announcing last week that they would be scrapping plans for a training structure in DeKalb County, Atlanta United has revealed a new plan for team facilities to be built in Marietta.

The MLS expansion franchise, due to debut in 2017, made public on Wednesdayan agreement with Marietta to build their headquarters and training facility in the Franklin Road Corridor.

Soccer Thursday: Your Running Commentary

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A clash of rivals headlines CONMEBOL action as World Cup qualifying is set to continue in South America on Thursday.

Winless through two qualifying games, Argentina looks to return to form on Thursday in a clash with rivals Brazil in Buenos Aires. Facing a Brazil side with one win to this point, Argentina will look to secure victory while majorly shorthanded, due to the absences of star forwards Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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Photo byBrad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

The Juan Carlos Osorio era officially begins for Mexico this weekend asEl Tri competes in its first match under the new head coach whenit hosts El Salvador at Estadio Azteca to begin its World Cup qualifying process.

That contest will be one of the six CONCACAFfixtures on Friday night, with the U.

Bob Bradley looking forward to Le Havre project

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Bob Bradley is just two days away from beginning his new coaching project with Le Havre in France.

Bradley completed his first training session with his new club on Thursday, and all eyes will be on him and the club this weekend. The former U.S. Men's National Team head coach will lead his new club out against Saint-Omer on Saturday in the Coupe de France.

Thursday Kickoff: FIFA presidency race tightens; Blatter leaves hospital; and more

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The FIFA presidential election was narrowed to five candidates on Thursday.

The investigatory chamber of FIFA's Ethics Committee carried out integrity checks on all candidates, and it was announced on Nov. 9 that Liberian football association chief Musa Bility was not eligible to run for the position.

U.S. U-23s look flat in friendly loss to Brazil

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The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team was stuck in a deep hole with seemingly no way out, but a second-half penalty kick gave the Americans a sorely-needed lifeline.

They still weren't able to climb all the way out.

A 10-man Brazil sideheld on to defeat the U.S., 2-1, atIlha do Retiro Stadium in Recife.

SBI U.S. U-23 MNT Man of the Match: John Brooks

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John Brooks getting called into the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team might be viewed as a demotion by some observers, but he looked every bit capable of helping the senior side on Wednesday.

Under siege for the first hour of a 2-1 road loss to Brazil, the U.S. avoided being routed in the friendly thanks in large part to the steady play of Brooks.

U.S. Under-23s vs. Brazil: SBI Live Commentary

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Only four months separate the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team from its Olympic playoff date with Colombia, and the Americans arebeginning preparations for that with a pair of tough friendlies in South America.

The U.S. U-23s will play their first game since finishing third in October's CONCACAF Olympic qualifying campaign by visiting Brazil's Under-23 side on Wednesday night (6 pm, Fox Sports 1).

SBI MLS Coach of the Year: Jesse Marsch

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Photo by Geoff Burke/ USA Today Sports

Before Jesse Marsch was even given the chance to lead his team onto the field, he was booed, ridiculed and demonized. Now, 11 months later, he has led theNew York Red Bulls to a Supporters' Shield, and as them looking like a real threat to win the club's first MLS Cup title.

Klinsmann prepared to count on young USMNT forwards in upcoming qualifiers

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photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Juggling the need to win now with the responsibility of building for the future has been Jurgen Klinsmann's challenge since the end of the 2014 World Cup. Klinsmann has taken turns counting on his seasonedveterans to lead the U.S. Men's National Teamin some stretches,and pushed them aside in others to gauge the young and inexperienced.

SBI MLS Most Improved Player: Matt Miazga

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Photo by Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

The plaudits keep rolling in for New York Red Bulls star Matt Miazga.

The 20-year-old centerbackemerged as one of the league's best defenders in 2015, becoming the heart and soul of a Supporters' Shield-winning defense.Miazga's meteoric rise earnedhima recent U.

Cameron backs Klinsmann ahead of World Cup qualifiers

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Geoff Cameron thinks the U.S. Men's National Team may have hit rock bottom a month ago, but that has not discouraged him from the hopes ofturning things around ahead of the squad's upcoming World Cup qualifying games.

"It was definitely disappointing," Cameron told NBC Sportsof theCONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico in October.

Ciman named MLS Defender of the Year

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Photo by Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports

Laurent Ciman's first season in MLS turned out to be an aware-winning one.

MLS announced Wednesday that the Montreal Impact centerback has been recognized as the 2015 MLS Defender of the Year.

Ciman led the way with 34.55 percent of club votes and 21.

USMNT Notes: Responding to criticism; Ibarra talks positives of call-ups; and more

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Photo by Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports

The U.S. Men's National Team is fully aware of the criticism and frustration that surround the team entering World Cup qualifying.

After an unacceptable exit from this summer's Gold Cup and a frustrating defeat in October's CONCACAF Cup, the U.

Who should the U.S. U-23s start against Brazil?

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Photo by Chris Humphreys/USA Today Sports

With a playoff date with Colombia set for March, the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team is set to start the preparation periodWednesday in a friendly clash with Brazil.

Head coach Andi Herzog has called in 19 players for a pair of friendlies, which are set to serve as tune-ups ahead of March's playoff.

Wednesday Kickoff: Blatter hospitalized; ex-Mexico coach bashes current team; and more

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Stress has been the cause of a recent trip to the hospital for Sepp Blatter.

The outgoing FIFA president has reportedly been hospitalized due to stress. Blatter reportedly suffered "a small breakdown", according to the BBC, and is expected to make a full recovery in the coming days.

Blatter had originally visited a hospital for what his representatives called a "medical evaluation" for stress-related reasons.

Klinsmann buries hatchet with Johnson after recent USMNT incident

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It is all water under the bridge.

The Jurgen Klinsmann-Fabian Johnson incident that dominated headlines in the aftermath of the U.S. Men's National Team's CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexicoin October appears to be over. Klinsmann has putthe episode in therearview mirror,as evidenced by his call-up of Johnson for the U.

NASL Notes: De Guzman to miss NASL final; Puerto Rico FC hires team president; and more

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Ottawa Fury FC have been dealt a blow ahead of the NASL final due to the international break.

Julian de Guzman will miss Sunday's championship matchagainst the New York Cosmos following a call-up to the Canadian national team. De Guzman and Canada face a pair of World Cup qualifiers, takingonHonduras on Friday beforegoing up againstEl Salvador on Nov.

NASL announces expansion franchise Rayo OKC

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The NASL's expansion process has finally made its long-awaited mark in Oklahoma City with the backing of a European partner.

Backed by Spanish club Rayo Vallecano, Rayo OKC is set tobecome the league's 14th franchise, the league announced Tuesday. With their introduction, the club joins Puerto Rico FC and Miami FC as the NASL's newest expansion franchise.

MLS Ticker: 52 players called up for international duty; MLS awards; and more

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MLS Playoffs gets put on temporary hold this week as the league heads into another international break to accommodatethe upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying games, the Euro 2016 qualifying playoffs and a few friendlies.

The conference finals will resume on Nov. 22 but until then, clubs — including those still in title contention — will have to temporarily part ways with their stars and here is a list of those who have been called up to represent their respective countries, as of Nov.

Cyle Larin named MLS Rookie of the Year

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Photo by Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports

Cyle Larin certainly exceeded the hype that came with his first overall selection at the 2015 MLS Draft.

The Orlando City forward was recognized for his record-breaking season on Tuesday, as Larin was named MLS Rookie of the Year. With the victory, Larin becomes just the second-ever player to win as a member of an expansion side, following Maurice Edu's 2007 recognition.

SBI (Old School) Q&A: Your Questions Answered

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Last week, SBI readers submitted soccer questions for me to answer, and though it took a while, (some of) your questions have been answered.

The latest SBI Old School Q&A covers topics ranging from Matt Miazga's future to Michael Bradley's form, to the future of the NASL and Perry Kitchen's prospects of a move abroad.

The SBI Show: Episode 240 (Recapping MLS playoffs, talking USMNT, & more)

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The MLS playoff conference semifinals ended in mostly dramatic fashion on Sunday, as the quadruple-header delivered some truly exciting theatre.

Episode 240 of The SBI Show takes a look back at all the crazy matches on Sunday, including FC Dallas' penalty shootout victory over the Seattle Sounders and the Columbus Crew's dramatic extra-time victory against the Montreal Impact.

Bob Bradley officially appointed head coach of Le Havre

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For weeks, Bob Bradley has been rumored to be leaving Stabaek and joining Le Havre.

On Tuesday, the French club made it all official.

Ligue 2 side Le Havre has announced that Bradley has signed on as its head coach, effective as of Nov. 11. Bradley, 57, joins Le Havreon a two-year deal after finding success during his two seasons with Stabaek in Norway.

Red Bulls see overlooked Crew defense providing stiff test

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photo by Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

Ask about the Columbus Crew's successes in 2015, and most people will point to the attacking duo of Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay. Some might even throw Federico Higuain into the equation.

It has not just been the Crew's offensive-minded playersthat have gotten the club this far into the playoffs, though.

SBI MLS Defender of the Year: Kendall Waston

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Photo by Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

During his brief opening season in MLS, Kendall Waston looked to have all of the makings of an elite defender. In his first full MLS run, he proved to be the best of the bunch.

Waston led the way for a stout Vancouver Whitecaps defense, helping to guide the team to their best-everfinish.

SBI MLS Goalkeeper of the Year: Luis Robles

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Photo by Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a year that saw the New York Red Bulls score an Eastern Conference-high 55 goals, many expected the offense to carry the torch this campaign as well. The defense, particularity the goalkeeper, proved to be the true difference-maker in 2015, though.

U.S. Soccer unveils policy to remove heading from youth teams

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Heading is set to be a thing of the past in U.S. youth teams across the country.

U.S. Soccer introduced safety initiatives to address head injury concerns on Monday, and one policy will see strict limits set on youth players heading the ball during games and practice, according to The New York Times.

Tuesday Kickoff: DFB president resigns; Barca president says Messi on track for 'El Clasico'; and more

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Approximately one week after German police raided the country's football federation (DFB), an important decision was made.

DFB is currently under investigation after a report in October claimed the 2006 World Cup was bribed to take place in Germany. While the DFB president claimed he did nothing wrong, Wolfgang Niersbach stepped down from his position as president a post he has held since 2012.

SBI MLS Rookie of the Year: Cyle Larin

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When Cyle Larin was chosen withthe top overall pick in January's MLS Draft, the general consensus was that he would need some time to adapt before making an impact. Few could have predicted justhow much the Canadian international would impress in his first professional season.

Larin established a new rookie scoring record in 2015, netting 17 goals in 27 appearances for Orlando City.

Brooks, Green, Zelalem headline U.S. U-23 roster for Brazil friendlies

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Photo by Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

Andi Herzog has called in some of the biggest names in the pool for the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team's pair of upcoming friendlies.

John Brooks, Julian Green and Gedion Zelalem are among 19 players called in by Herzog for the U-23's upcoming friendlies against Brazil.

College Midweek Preview: Hoyas rounding into form before Big East tourney debut

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Photo by Georgetown Sports Information

Chosen as the SBI College Soccer Preseason No. 1 team back in August, Georgetown failed to live up to the billing early on but blazed through the Big East Conference and is now right back on track.

The SBI No. 4 Hoyas now have a conference semifinals meeting with Xavier on the schedule for Thursday, while No.

Dillon Powers joins Reading for a two-week trial

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Photo by Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

Danny Williams will not be the only U.S. midfielder at Reading FC these next couple of weeks, as Dillon Powers started a trial at the English Championship side.

The Colorado Rapids announced that the 24-year-old midfielder has joined Reading for a two-week trial, which started on Sunday.

NASL still undecided on future of Silverbacks

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When it comes to the future of the Atlanta Silverbacks, the NASL is looking to keep options open.

Commissioner Bill Peterson told SBI that the league is still undecided on the future of the team, which has been under league ownership since last December. Ahead of Sunday's season finale, Peterson says that there are still a variety of options on the table, including the potential choice of running the team under league ownership for an additional season.

Bradley Wright-Phillips not joining Jamaica for upcoming World Cup qualifiers

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Photo by Danny Wild/ USA Today Sports

HARRISON, N.J. Bradley Wright-Phillips still has not made up his mind, but he will not be joining Jamaica for its upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Wright-Phillips is staying with the New York Red Bulls during this upcoming international break instead of joining Jamaicabecause he has not yet made up his mind as to whether he wants to represent the Reggae Boyz.

Patrick Vieira named NYCFC head coach

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Just one week after parting ways with Jason Kreis, New York City FC hasbrought in an international legend as the club's newest head coach.

NYCFC announced on Monday that the club has hired Patrick Vieira as the club's new head coach. Vieira will join NYCFC on Jan. 1 and has signed a three-year deal with the club.

College Weekend Rewind: Syracuse upsets UNC in ACC tournament and more

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Photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati/UNC Athletics Communications

Tournament soccer is only just starting across the country, but one upset has already stolen the show.

Syracuse grabbed the most impressive upset win over the weekend, as the Orange went to Chapel Hill and toppled ACC powerhouse North Carolina, 4-3, in penalty kicks after tying 1-1 through regular time and two 10-minute extra time periods.

Red Bulls defense stifles D.C. United during semifinal series

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Photo by Danny Wild/USA TODAY Sports

HARRISON, N.J. Overcome a major injury? Check. Avoid yellow card accumulation? Check. Post a second straight shutout? Check.

The New York Red Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday with a 1-0 win over D.C. United that gave them a 2-0 aggregate victory.

Dempsey remains confident in his USMNT future

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Photo by Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports

Clint Dempsey will not take part in the U.S. Men's National Team's upcoming World Cup qualifiers, but the 32-year-old forward isn't set to write off his international future quite yet.

Speaking onKESN 103.3 FM in Dallas, Dempsey revealed that he is fully understanding of Klinsmann's decisions, while stating that the choice to leave him off the recent roster isn't some sort of indictment on his USMNT future.

D.C. United rues attacking struggles yet again in loss to Red Bulls

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Photo by Danny Wild/USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United's Achilles' heel reared its ugly head yet again Sunday night, leading to the end of the team's 2015 season.

Much like it did throughout the regular season, D.C. United's inability to score led to their demise in a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.

Monday Kickoff: Ramos re-injures shoulder; Nigeria wins U-17 World Cup; and more

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Sergio Ramos' left shoulder is causing a problem once again.

Ramos, 29, will miss more time during the 2015-16 campaign after suffering a shoulder injury over the weekend. The Real Madrid centerback scored a remarkable bicycle kick during the club's 3-2 loss to Sevilla on Sunday, but Ramos hit the ground hard.

Heinemann fires Fury FC past Minnesota United into NASL final

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Ottawa Fury FC extended their stellar sophomoreNASL season on Sunday, defeating Minnesota United in extra time to secure a spot against the New York Cosmosin the 2015 Soccer Bowl.

It was Fury forward Tom Heinemann who made the difference for the home side,scoring both goals in the 2-1 come-from-behind victory in Ottawa.

Kamara's extra-time winner lifts Crew to East final

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When Kei Kamara inexplicably called off Federico Higuain from taking a series-tying penalty kick on Sunday, the Columbus Crew striker looked like he would wind up being the goat when his poorly-taken penalty was saved.

Kamara's Crew teammate, Ethan Finlay, gave Kamara a chance for redemption by scoring a vital series-tying goal just 10 minutes later, which set up Kamara for his own special moment in stoppage time of a 120-minute thriller at MAPFRE Stadium.

FC Dallas knocks off Sounders to advance to Western Conference finals

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Photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

For a little more than 80 minutes at Toyota Stadium, the storyline was simple. The Seattle Sounders were set to advance to the Western Conference finals after holding FC Dallas to a scoreless tie.

The plot thickened, though, and FC Dallas eventually walked away the victors after a 4-2 penalty kick shootout win in Frisco, Texas.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Brad Guzan and Aston Villa still have not won since their season opener, but they picked up a respectable result this weekend which could providea bigboost inconfidence.

English Premier Leaguecellar dweller Aston Villa grabbed a point at home on Sunday by playing current league leader Manchester City to a 0-0 tie.

Timbers cruise past Whitecaps to reach West finals

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Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in as many postseason appearances, the Portland Timbers are bound for the Conference Finals.

Led by a Fanendo Adi finish in the first half, the Timbers knocked off the second-seeded Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0, at BC Place.

Red Bulls take second straight 1-0 win to reach Eastern Conference Finals

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photo by Danny Wild/USA Today Sports

HARRISON, N.J. The New York Red Bulls did not need a victory on Sunday to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, but they picked one up anyway.

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a goal at the death, and the Red Bulls used a second consecutive 1-0 win over D.

MLS Playoffs: SBI Live Commentary

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The 2015 MLS Playoffs will see four teams eliminated and four surviving teams continue in in the quest to lift the MLS Cup. All four conference semifinals will be decided in today's second legs, as a quartet of games will fill out a packed day of action.

The New York Red Bulls kick off proceedings at Red Bull Arena against D.

Raul, Senna turn back the clock to lead Cosmos to NASL final

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BROOKLYN – Facing the prospect of ending their illustrious careers on the field of MCU Park, Raul and Marcos Senna turned back the clock to send the New York Cosmos to the NASL's final game.

Raul netted the game-winning goal while Senna set-up the game's equalizer, leading the Cosmos to 2-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Saturday at Brooklyn's MCU Park.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Arsenal has English Premier League title aspirations, and arch-rival Tottenham would love nothing more than to put a dent on those championship dreams.

The Gunners and Spurs square off in the latest installment of their North London Derby, with Arsenal having a chance to jump into sole possession of first place with a victory after Manchester City's early-morning draw against Aston Villa.

Bobby Wood scores one, assists on another in six-goal draw

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FC Union Berlin may have settled for a disappointing draw at home on Saturday, but Bobby Wood did his part to try and earnthe club all three points.

Wood scored his fifth goal of the 2. Bundesliga season and delivered an assist in an exciting 3-3 draw vs. FC Nurnberg. The 22-year-old forward pulled his side level at 1-1 in the 21st minute before hitting the pass that set upthe spectacular go-ahead goalfrom Steven Skrzybski nine minutes into the second half.

Raul winner pushes Cosmos to NASL final

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Faced with what could have been his last game ever, New York Cosmos star Raul ensured that his playing career extended one more week.

Raul provided the game-winning goal in the 61st minute to lead the Cosmos to a 2-1 victory over the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in Saturday's NASL semifinals match at MCU Park.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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xxxx during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge on October 3, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.

Chelsea has endured a forgettable season, but a midweek victory in UEFA Champions League has the Blues thinking about a turnaround, and if Jose Mourinho's side is really going to put a halt to its run of bad results, a win against Stoke City today is a must.

Matt Miazga ready to continue meteoric rise with USMNT call-up

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HANOVER, N.J. Matt Miazga entered 2015 as a reserve player for the New York Red Bulls and a talented but still raw prospect on a U.S. youth national team that was expected to compete at the Under-20 World Cup.

He has evolved into much more than that, with Friday's call-up to the senior U.

Klinsmann eager to integrate promising youngsters into USMNT ahead of first World Cup qualifiers

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Photo by Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

While the decision to bring in a few fresh faces to the U.S. Men's National Team roster came as a surprise to some, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been keeping a close eye on all U.S. players, including the young ones.

Klinsmann named his 23-man roster on Friday for the USMNT's upcoming World Cup qualifying matches against St.

The SBI Show: Episode 239 (Talking MLS playoffs, USMNT, and more)

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The MLS playoffs will whittle down to the final four teams this weekend, and the latest episode of The SBI Show breaks down all of Sunday's matchups.

Episode 239 of The SBI Show takes a closer look at the four conference semifinals second legs, including D.C. United's visit to Red Bull Arena and the Portland Timbers' trip north to Vancouver.

SBI College Top 25: Nov. 6 Edition

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Photo by Wake Forest Athletics

The ACC appears to be the king of college soccer this week, as the top three teams all hail from the East Coast conference.

With Stanford suffering a 2-1 defeat on the road to Washington, the Cardinal lost their No. 1 spot this week. Wake Forest is this week's top team, and fellow ACC contenders in Clemson and North Carolina take the second and third seed, respectively.

Miazga, Nagbe, Johnson headline USMNT WCQ roster

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Photo by Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

As the U.S. Men's National Team kicks off itslatest World Cup qualifying run, Jurgen Klinsmann has taken the opportunity to introduce several unfamiliar faces.

Newcomers Darlington Nagbe and Matt Miazga headline the USMNT roster for the upcoming qualifiers.

College Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Big East and more conference tournaments kick off

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Photo by Indiana University Athletics

Tournament action in college soccer is here.

While a handful of leagues end regular season play over the weekend, many of the best sides from across the nation kick off or continue their conference tournament runs.

The ACC Tournament is packed with action, as all four quarterfinal games feature one, if not two, top teams.

MLS Playoffs: FC Dallas, Sounders out for victory in decisive second leg

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photo by Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports

The onus on Sunday is on FC Dallas. Not only will the club be at home, but it needs a victory. Anything less will result in anotherearly playoff elimination.The Seattle Sounders, conversely, are in the driver's seat. A win or draw would see them through, and so would any one-goal loss but a 2-1 scoreline.

MLS Playoffs: Crew look to be aggressors against more defensive-minded Impact

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photo by Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports

With Didier Drogba, Ignacio Piatti and a welcome postseason surprise in Patrice Bernier all playing well, the Montreal Impact could not be blamed for thinking about going on the offensive on the road vs. the Columbus Crew.

That apparently is not the game plan, however.

Christian Ramirez out to prove critics wrong ahead of NASL playoffs

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Christian Ramirez's 20-goal tallyin 2014 served as the forward's breakout performance, but in his head, Ramirez still sees himself as the kid out to prove the world wrong.

After sputtering through the Spring campaign with just one goal, Ramirez's 2014 was all but deemed a fluke. A player without an ideal pedigree, Ramirez looked like he may have become a one-year wonder at just 24 years old.

College Midweek Rewind: Hoyas top Creighton; Washington upsets Stanford; and more

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Photo by Georgetown Sports Information

For most of the 2015 season, SBI No. 3 Creighton looked likely to go undefeated and claim the Big East Conference regular season title, but Georgetown made sure that didn't happen.

The SBI No. 9 Hoyas extended their unbeaten streak to 14 games while posting a 2-1 victory at Shaw Field to claim their fifth regular season title in program history on Thursday.

NASL Playoffs: Strikers embracing underdog status against Cosmos

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The Fort LauderdaleStrikers are fully aware that few expect them to advance past the NASL's semifinals round, but the status of underdogs is one that the team is more than willing to accept and embrace.

After qualifying for the postseason on the last day with a result against the Jacksonville Armada, the Strikers are set to face off with the top-seeded New York Cosmos on Saturday at Brooklyn's MCU Park.

Friday Kickoff: Mourinho to serve ban; Nigeria, Mali in U-17 World Cup final; and more

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Jose Mourinho needs to help Chelsea turn its season around, but he will be unable to do anything from the sideline against Stoke City at Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

The English Football Association announced that the Chelsea head coach is suspended for one game and must pay a $75,600 (£50,000) fine for comments he made following his team's 3-1 loss to Southampton on Oct.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

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Alejandro Bedoya stepped back on the training field this week, and could at long last make his return to the field on Saturday.

After dealing with an unspecified illness thatsidelined himseveral weeks, Bedoya is hoping to get back into Ligue 1 action this weekend. Nantes visits struggling Montpellier in search of a win, as three more points would likely move the club closer to landing a place in Europe.

MLS Playoffs: Whitecaps, Timbers hope to break through tough defenses

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Photo by Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

If the Portland Timbers want to reach the Western Conference finals for the second time in three seasons, they may have to do something they have been unable to accomplish all season a win against Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Whitecaps, who have never reached the conference finals in their short MLS history, will host the Timbers during the second leg of the conference semifinals in the MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday (10 p.

Report: Morris undecided on professional future despite Sounders offer

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U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team forward Jordan Morrishas long been expected to turn pro after his junior season at Stanford University, but a new report suggests he hasn't made up his mind yet.

Goal.com is reportingthat Morrishas yet to commit to the idea of turning professional after this season, even though the Seattle Sounders remain waiting with the highest homegrown offer in MLS history.

Report: Ramos emerges as frontrunner for Fire head coaching position

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Heading into the MLS offseason, the Chicago Fire had coaching job has been a major talking point, and it appears that a frontrunner has emerged from the pack of candidates.

Goal USA is reportingthat U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramoshas emerged as the leading candidate for the Chicago Fire head coaching position.

MLS Miami stadium deal in danger of being 'blown up'

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Tim Leiweke is heading MLS Miami stadium negotations, and the former Toronto FC executive says that process isn't looking too promising.

Leiweke told the Miami Heraldthat David Beckham's MLS Miami group continues to make progress with the city with regards to acquiring land near Marlins Park.

MLS Playoffs: Whitecaps, Timbers hope to break down each other's sturdy defense

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Photo by Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

If the Portland Timbers want to reach the Western Conference finals for the second time in three seasons, they may have to do something they have been unable to accomplish all season a win against Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Whitecaps, who have never reached the conference finals in their short MLS history, will host the Timbers during the second leg of the conference semifinals in the MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday (10 p.

MLS Playoffs: Red Bulls, D.C. ready to resume series after 'halftime' break

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Photo by Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

Heading into Sunday's pivotal second leg, both the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United are viewing the current situation as a metaphorical halftime, for better or for worse.

For the New York Red Bulls, that means that the current 1-0 aggregate lead sees them only halfway to the conference finals, with a rugged D.

Fury, Minnesota United boast unique strengths heading into semifinal

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Photo by Ottawa Fury FC/NASL

Heading into this weekend'sNASL semifinal matchup, Minnesota United and the Ottawa Fury each have unique strengths that incorporate their teams as a whole.

The sides are set to go head-to-head for the fourth time this season in Ottawa this Sunday (3 p.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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Arsenal may have put up a couple of subpar performances in the Capital One Cup and the UEFA Champions League as of late, but a string of five consecutive victories within English Premier League competition has the Gunners tied atop the table with Manchester City heading into this weekend.

If Arsene Wenger's club wants to keep pace with the top, however, it has to get past a tough task in fifth-place Tottenham on Sunday at home.

Soccer Thursday: Your Running Commentary

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The 2015-16 UEFA Europa League resumes today with Matchday 4 action, and several clubs are hoping to right their ships as they head into the second half of the group stage.

Ajax and Fenerbahçe are two clubs who will try to improve their positions in Group A at each other's expense after Molde's surprising run so far positioned the Norwegian club atopthe group.

MLS Ticker: Ronaldinho mulling MLS move; NYCFC won't loan Pirlo; and more

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Ronaldinho has been flirting with a move to the MLS for years now, and speculation regarding his transfer to the U.S. has swirled up once again.

The 35-year-old Brazilian legend is considering options to play in MLS and Dubai, per an ESPN Deportes report. Ronaldinho apparently meet with people in Miami to discuss potential offers.

New USSF policy to keep MLS-owned USL teams out of U.S. Open Cup

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Bill Streicher-USA Today Sports

U.S. Soccer has made a significant change to the participation list ahead of the 2016 U.S. Open Cup.

A policy change has been made by U.S. Soccer that will prevent all MLS-owned USL teams from participating in next year's tournament. The ban is set to keep eight teams, including expansion clubs,Orlando City B, Bethlehem Steel and Swope Park Rangers, out of the country's biggest cup tournament.

Thursday Kickoff: Benzema charged with blackmail; Agent says Mourinho will stay at Chelsea; and more

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After spending a night in custody, Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema received more bad news on Thursday.

According to the Associated Press, Benzema was charged with conspiracy to blackmail and participating in a criminal group, which was attempting to blackmail French teammate Mathieu Valbuena with an alleged sex tape.

USMNT falls four places in FIFA rankings

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Photo by Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Men's National Team's recent struggles have led to a dipin the team's FIFA ranking.

FIFA's most recent rankings came out Thursday, with the USMNT slipping four spots to 33rd in the world. The declinecomes on the heels of the CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico, as well as a friendly defeat against Costa Rica.

UCL Rewind: Bayern stomps Arsenal; Chelsea moves into second with win; and more

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If Arsenal was lookingto replicate its performance from the last time it took on Bayern Munich, it failed miserably at doing so.

Unlike the last time they played, Arsenal had little success in containing Bayern Munich's high-powered attack in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League clash andwas thrashed, 5-1, by Bayern at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.

Deal reached for Toyota Field with hopes of bringing MLS franchise to San Antonio

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San Antonio might not be in the immediate plans when it comes to MLS expansion, but that is not stopping the city from preparing for a move to the leagueanyway.

The city of San Antonio, Bexar County and Spurs, Sports & Entertainment (SS&E) have reached an agreement to buy Toyota Field, home of NASL's San Antonio Scorpions, for a total of $21 million.

Tim Howard reflects on Everton career after reaching 400 appearance milestone

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Tim Howard has come a long way since the first time he put on an Everton jersey in 2006. Now, nearly 10 years later, the U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper has reached a milestone that only 16 players in history hadachieved before him.

The36-year-old goalkeeper made his 400th appearance for the club in Saturday's6-2 Premier League victory against Sunderland, becoming just the fourthgoalkeeper in Evertonhistory to reach the 400 appearance mark.

NASL set to unveil European-backed expansion team

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The NASL is closing in on an announcement of the league's 14th team.

NASL commissioner Bill Peterson revealed Wednesday that the league is expected to announce another expansion franchise within the next week. The new team is set to be backed by "a top-tier European club", a league spokesmanconfirmed toSBI, will join Miami FC and Puerto Rico FC as the league's latest clubs.

The (Old School) SBI Q & A (Nov. 4 Edition)

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The MLS playoffs are in full swing and World Cup qualifying is set to kick off, so what better time than now to have an Old School SBI Q&A?

It has been a good while since we opened the floor for questions from our readers, but now is a good time to do just that. For those who don't remember the format, it's simple.

Klopp rules out Gerrard loan to Liverpool

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Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Steven Gerrard is certainly invited to train with Liverpool throughout the MLS offseason, but the LA Galaxy midfielder's participation will be limited to just that.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp made it clear onWednesday that Gerrard would be welcome to train with the club in the coming weeks, but any other role in a playing or coaching capacity would remain out of the question.

Report: Former USMNT forward David Wagner set to manage Huddersfield

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Former U.S. Men's National Team midfielder David Wagner is set for a managerial position in England's Championship.

Wagner is reportedly set to become manager at Huddersfield Town, spurning interest from former colleague Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool. Wagner, whopreviously worked with Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, announced his departure from the German club on Monday.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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The 2015-16 UEFA Champions League wraps up its Matchday 4 action today with fixtures featuring clubs from Groups E through H. Mexico, meanwhile, will crown a new CopaMX Apertura winner in a nightcap.

Five clubs in Champions League action today could potentially punch their tickets to the knockout phases with wins, joining the likes of Zenit St.

UCL Rewind: Real Madrid edges PSG, Man City advances to last 16; and more

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Real Madrid secured a place among the final 16 on Tuesday with a victory, but it had to survive a relentless attacking effort from Paris Saint-Germain to pull out the 1-0 win at home.

After coming on as a substitute for an injured Marcelo in just the 33rd minute, Nacho Fernandez put Real Madrid uptwo minutes later as he volleyed a cross from just inside the left edge of the box that happened to curve into goal.

Nation's top teams vie for title as ACC tournament kicks off

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Photo by Aaron Cranford

While a handful of coaches from top teams in the ACC say the NCAA title is the most-coveted postseason prize, they all also agree that the ACC tournament is extremely difficult, possibly even tougher to navigate.

The start of the single-elimination ACC tournament kicks off on Wednesday with a pair of first-round matchups.

Wednesday Kickoff: Benzema arrested; PSG owner denies Ronaldo talks; and more

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Karim Benzema finds himself in some major trouble over an alleged blackmail incident.

The Real Madrid and France striker was arrested on Wednesday as part of an investigation into a blackmail case regarding a sex tape involving fellow French star Mathieu Valbuena. Former Liverpool forward Djibril Cisse was questioned last month with regards to the case, which regards an attempt to extort roughly $163,000 from Valbuena.

Impact deny reports of Didier Drogba loan to Bologna

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Photo by Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports

TheMontreal Impact might be in the midst of a postseason tussle, but they still felt the need to clear the air regarding the future of one of their top players.

The Impact made an announcement on Tuesday to deny recent reports linking striker Didier Drogba to Italian club Bologna, which, like the MLS outfit, is owned by Joey Saputo.

Fabian Johnson becomes first USMNT player to score in UCL in two years

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Fabian Johnsonjoined exclusive company on Tuesday, and broke a two-year drought forU.S. Men's National Team playersin the process.

Johnson became the firstAmerican to score in the UEFA Champions League since Sacha Kljestan did so in 2013, finishing well with a right-footed effort in the 18th minute of Borussia Moenchengladbach's 1-1 draw with Juventus.

Miazga, Zubar ready to step up for Red Bulls after Perrinelle injury

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"Devastated."

That was the word New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch used to describe the recently revealedinjury to centerback Damien Perrinelle.

The Red Bulls announced Tuesday that Perrinelle will miss the rest of the postseason after suffering a knee injury in Sunday's victory over D.

Toronto FC president Bill Manning sets out early goals for 2016 campaign

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photo by Tom Szczerbowski/USA Today Sports

A season that yielded a highly-coveted first playoffberth ended in embarrassing fashion for Toronto FC, but there is no time to dwell on that. Pressure is already mounting ahead ofthe 2016 campaign.

Toronto FC saw its season come to a disappointing end last weekwith a humbling 3-0 loss to the rival Montreal Impact in the first round of the MLS playoffs, but goals and objectives are already being laid out for next year.

Feilhaber, Giovinco, Kamara up for MVP to headline MLS award finalists

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Photo by Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

As the MLS Playoffscontinue to roll on, the league has revealed the lists of players, officials, coaches and teams that are up for regular season honors.

MLS revealed the nominees for the league's awards Tuesday, headlined by the nominations of Benny Feilhaber, Sebastian Giovinco and Kei Kamara for the league'sLandon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award.

Report: Dynamo shopping Erick 'Cubo' Torres

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Erick 'Cubo' Torres failed to impress in his short stint with the Houston Dynamo this season, and now it appears that the Mexico star may be set for a change in scenery.

Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that the Dynamo are exploring the possibility of trading the 22-year-old striker.

Soccer Tuesday: Your Running Commentary

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Followingseveral weeks off, the UEFA Champions League is back as the highlightTuesday's action.

A clash of titans headlines Tuesday's busy schedule, as Real Madrid collides with Paris Saint-Germain in Group A action. Both sides look likely for advancing after playing their opening three games, with both clubs earning seven out of a possible nine points.

SBI MLS Team of the Week: Seattle Sounders

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Photo by Jennifer Buchanan/USA TODAY Sports

Three teams may have won during the first leg of the conference semifinals in the MLS Cup Playoffs, but only one side toppled Western Conference regular season winner FC Dallas.

Thanks to a spectacular free kick from U.S. international Clint Dempsey, the Sounders took a 2-1 advantage over FC Dallas in the conference semifinals of the MLS Playoffs.

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Patrice Bernier

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Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

Montreal Impact captain Patrice Bernier was not consistently starting games in the final run of the MLS regular season, but the Canadian national team midfielder has seen an outstanding resurgence in form during the MLS Cup Playoffs.

In two postseason games over the span of four days, Bernier has recorded two goals and an assist to put the Impact in great position to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Red Bulls lose Damien Perrinelle to knee injury for rest of playoffs

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photo by Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

New York Red Bulls fans feared the worst when they saw Damien Perrinelle land awkwardly on his leg, writhe in pain for a few minutes, and get taken off the field on a stretcher.

Well, the injury is as costly as could have been imagined.

The Red Bulls announced on Tuesday that Perrinelle will miss the remainder of the MLS Playoffs with the left knee injury he sustained in Sunday's match vs.

SBI Question of the Day: Was NYCFC wrong to fire Kreis?

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Photo by Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

After just one season in charge of New York City FC, Jason Kreis finds himself out of a job.

Kreis was dismissed by the club Monday, ending his tenure as the club's first ever head coach after just 34 games in charge. The firing comes in the wake of a season that saw just 10 wins from 34 games, with NYCFC finishing 12 points out of a playoff position.

Klinsmann monitoring form, injuries before naming WCQ roster

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World Cup qualifying is less than two weeks away, and Jurgen Klinsmann saysthat there will be several factors determining who will be a part of the U.S. Men's National Team roster.

The USMNT is set to take onSt. Vincent and the Grenadines on Nov. 13 in St. Louis before traveling to Trinidad & Tobago for a game to be held four days later.

UCL Preview: Real Madrid, PSG look for separation; Bayern seeks revenge; and more

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The UEFA Champions League rolls into the second half of its group stage this week and every fixture will be a return game fromMatchday 3 action.

After the highly anticipated contest between the two sidesended in a 0-0 draw at Parc des Princes, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain will square off again on Tuesdayat Santiago Bernabéu, with both sides looking to create some separation between each other in Group A.

Tuesday Kickoff: Herrera joins Club Tijuana; German police raid federation; and more

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Months after leading Mexico to a Gold Cup final victory, Miguel Herrera has finally found a new team to lead.

Herrera, 47, signed a two-year contract with Liga MX side Club Tijuana and will take charge of the Xolos ahead of the 2016 Clausura tournament.

"First of all, I want to thank the team President Jorgealberto Hank Inzuza for offering me the job," Herrera told the club's website.

NYCFC parts ways with Jason Kreis after inaugural season

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Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

After just one season at the helm of expansion franchise New York City FC, Jason Kries is out as head coach.

NYCFC officially parted ways with Kreis on Monday, stating that he did not meet the team's main goal of achieving an MLS Playoffs spot during his first season in charge.

Klinsmann sees "unbelievable opportunity" for USMNT in Copa America Centenario

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Photo by Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports

The dream of playing in the Confederations Cup is officially over, but Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. Men's National Team still have a major international tournament to look forward to this World Cup cycle.

Itwas announced on Oct. 23 that the highly-anticipated Copa America Centenario would officially be held in the U.

Who should the USMNT call up for November qualifiers?

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photo by Kirby Lee-USA Today Sports

Most of the focus in the American soccer world right now ison the MLS Playoffs, butJurgen Klinsmann surely has some of his attention elsewhere.

That's because the U.S. Men's National Team's first two World Cup qualifiers are around the corner, and Klinsmann needs to figure out what kind of roster he wants to take into those important matches.

Orlando Pride add Harris to roster via expansion draft

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photo by Russ Isabella/USA Today Sports

The Orlando Pride's roster is beginning to take shape.

Orlando added nine players to its squad on Monday via the NWSL Expansion Draft. The Pride used the first and second picks on U.S. Men's National Team players Meghan Klingenberg and Ashlyn Harris, respectively, but will be sending Klingenberg to the Portland Thorns as part of the trade for star forward Alex Morgan that was agreed upon last week.

Soccer Monday: Your Running Commentary

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As things stand, Tottenham sit sixth in the Premier League, but could vault right back into the race for the top four with a win Monday afternoon.

Tottenham is set to take on Brad Guzan and Aston Villa, who are fresh off appointingRemi Garde as manager following the dismissal of Tim Sherwood.

College Midweek Preview: Creighton-Georgetown headlines marquee matches

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Photo by Creighton Athletics

The regular season comes to a close this week for many top teams in college soccer, but tasty matchups are still on the schedule.

SBI. 3 Creighton does battle with No. 9 Georgetown Thursday in this week's marquee game, while No. 1 Stanford also has a tough contest against Pacific 12 side Washington.

U.S. U-23s to play two November games against Brazil

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Photo by Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team will use a pair of November friendlies as a bit of a tune-up for the upcoming Olympic playoff.

U.S. Soccer announced that the U-23s will take on Brazil in two November friendlies. Brazil, who are set to host the 2016 Olympics, will take on the U.

SBI MLS Team of the Month: Portland Timbers

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photo by Jaime Valdez-USA Today Sports

The Portland Timbers were fighting for their playoff lives throughout all of October, and they pushed pastall the pressure to put forth a remarkable string of results.

The Timbers enjoyed quite an October, overcoming an early setback vs. Sporting Kansas City to win three straight games at the end of the regular season.

SBI MLS Player of the Month: Didier Drogba

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Photo by Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports

No one could have predicted the impact Didier Drogba would have in MLS when he started playing mid-season, but his play, and most importantly his goal-scoring ability, has been second to none.

Drogba scored four goals in five games for the Montreal Impact during October, helping the Canadian club secure a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs and earning him honors as SBI MLS Player of the Month for the second consecutive month.

The SBI Show: Episode 238 (Talking MLS playoffs, Americans Abroad, and more)

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The 2015 MLS playoffs are in full swing and it's time to catch up on all the action in the latest episode of The SBI Show.

Episode 238 looks back at Sunday's conference semifinal action, including Seattle's comeback victory and the New York Red Bulls' impressive road win against D.C. United.

Broadcast schedule set for conference semifinals second legs

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Photo by Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

The first legs of the MLS conference semifinals have concluded, and now the league has revealed specifics regarding the next chapter of the postseason.

MLS announced the broadcast schedule for the upcoming second legs, which are set for Nov. 8.

College Weekend Rewind: UCLA upsets Akron; Morris scores again; and more

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Photo by Scott Chandler/UCLA Athletics Communications

Many predicted UCLA to do well this season, and while those projections didn't pan out, per se, the Bruins pulled out an impressive victory against one of the nation's best teams Sunday.

The Bruins went into FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field and upset SBI No.

NASL postseason field set as Strikers claim final spot

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It came down to the final day, but the field is finally set for the NASL postseason.

With Sunday's 1-0 defeat of the Jacksonville Armada, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers claimed the fourth and final spot in the NASL playoffs. The victory eliminated the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who settled for a 2-0 loss to the New York Cosmos in their final game of the regular season.

Monday Kickoff: Messi to miss Clasico; Chelsea players behind Mourinho; and more

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In spite of optimism from Barcelona, Lionel Messi will reportedly miss El Clasico on Nov. 21.

The Argentine star has reportedly not progressed as well as many had hoped in his recovery process, and thus, he is expected to miss the important La Liga meeting with Real Madrid later in the month, according to Sport.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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It took just two minutes for Club Leon to find itself in a hole, but Miguel Ibarra made sure his club did not stay in there for long.

Ibarra scored his first Liga MX goal on Saturday to help Leon erase an early deficit and pick up a 2-1 comeback win at home vs. Atlas. Ibarra found the back of the net in the eighth minute, beautifully curling a low shot into the far right corner to negate Daniel Alvarez's free kick and open the door for a winner 10 minutes later.

Dempsey free kick caps Sounders rally over FC Dallas

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Jennifer Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE Maybe, just maybe, this is the year.

The Seattle Sounders have played two matches this postseason and have brought two ignominious, franchise-haunting streaks to abrupt ends. Just days after finally dispatching the LA Galaxy from the playoffs for the first time in four tries, the Sounders turned around on scant rest and won the first leg of a playoff series for the first time in club history.

Sunday Ticker: Mourinho on verge of firing; Milan tops Lazio; and more

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Jose Mourinho reportedly only has two games to keep his job.

According to ESPN FC, the Chelsea boss must turn results around in the team's next two games in order to maintain his role as head coach of the club.

Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti is also reportedly interested in temporarily taking over the position should Mourinho be relieved of his duties before the November international break.

Venegas winner gives Impact first-leg win vs. Crew

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Photo by Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports

Entering Sunday, Johan Venegas had scored just once as a member of the Montreal Impact. The 26-year-old midfielder doubled his tally Sunday at Stade Saputo with a game-winning finish.

The Impact winger netted a second-half winner, leading the Impact to a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew in Sunday'sopening leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Timbers, Whitecaps settle for draw at Providence Park

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Photo by Godofredo Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers sure didn't look like the team on limited rest at Providence Park in their Western Conference semifinal first leg clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

However, the Timbers failed to score in the 0-0 draw despite creating a good amount of dangerous chances at home on Sunday.

Red Bulls seize road win against D.C. United in first leg

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Photo by Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON — If the first round of the 2015 MLS Playoffs was all about early goals and open play, Bill Hamid was keen on establishing the conference semifinals as the round of the goalie.

However, Dax McCarty and the New York Red Bulls were keen to prevent the first goalless game of the postseason.

MLS Playoffs: SBI Live Commentary

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Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

Following a midweek slate of first round games, the MLS Playoffs continue Sunday with the start of the conference semifinal round.

After advancing past the New England Revolution,D.C. United's playoff run continues with a rivalry clash against the Supporters' Shield-winning the New York Red Bulls (3 p.

Eddie Johnson announces retirement

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Photo by David Richard/USA TODAY Sports

Despite being sidelined for the 2015 season due to heart ailment, Eddie Johnson officially ended his soccer career Sunday.

D.C. United announced Johnson's retirement from the game hours before kickoff against the New York Red Bulls, and the club intends to recognize his extensive playing career at halftime during the pair's Eastern Conference semifinal meeting at RFK Stadium (3 p.

Saturday Ticker: Chelsea falls to Liverpool, Juventus wins late, and more

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It just keeps getting worse and worse for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea.

Liverpool added to Chelsea's woes on Saturday by erasing an early deficit andscoring three unanswered goals in a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge. Ramires put the struggling Blues ahead after just four minutes, but a Philippe Coutinho brace and Christian Benteke strike flipped the script and gave the Reds three road points.

Aron Johannsson doubtful for 2015 return after hip surgery

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Aron Johannsson looks set for a longer spell on the sidelines than originally believed.

Werder BremenCEO Thomas Eichin revealed Friday that the U.S. Men's National Team forward is unlikely to return to action in 2015 after undergoing hip surgery on Wednesday. The club previously stated that Johannsson would be out for "the coming weeks.

Impact's improved defense continuing to find success

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photo by Jean-Yves Ahern-USA Today Sports

Didier Drogba has gotten much of the credit for helping the Montreal Impact during this recent run of good form, and rightfully so.

It has not been all Drogba, however. The Impact's defense deserves some credit, too.

The Impact advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday by overwhelming rival Toronto FC, 3-0, at Stade Saputo in the first round of the MLS Playoffs.

Bobby Boswell suspended for first leg vs. Red Bulls

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Photo by Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports

Despite no one from D.C. United seeing a red card during the 90 minutes of play Wednesday, the club will bewithout one of its starters on Sunday because of suspension.

The Washington Posthas reported that centerbackBobby Boswell will missthe opening leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals match against the New York Red Bulls because the MLS Disciplinary Committee has handed him a one-game ban.

MLS East Semifinal Preview: D.C. United faces Red Bulls; Crew meet Impact

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Photo by Noah K. Murray/ USA Today Sports

After progressing through from the first round of the postseason, D.C. United and the Montreal Impact face tougher tests ahead as the MLS Cup Playoffs continue.

The Eastern Conference semifinals are set to kick off Sunday, as D.C. United plays host to the rival New York Red Bulls, while Columbus Crew visit Didier Drogba and the Impact.

MLS West Semifinal Preview: FC Dallas battle Sounders, Whitecaps meet Timbers

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photo by Jennifer Buchanan-USA Today Sports

The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers survived the intensity and drama of the first round of the MLS Playoffs.

Now, teams with explosive firepower and a week's worth of rest await.

The Western Conference Semifinals begin on Sunday with the first matches in a pair of two-legged series.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Two Serie A sides meet at a crossroads in Rome Sunday, and if either club wants a chance to win the league title, a win is a must.

Lazio hosts AC Milan at Stadio Olimpico in what will be one of the more intriguing battles of the day. Currently in sixth on the Italian table, Lazio is looking to continuing its home dominance this year.