USSoccerPlayers Archives for January 2009

Seitz Joins Union

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Goalkeeper Chris Seitz is now officially a member of the Philadelphia Union. Seitz had been linked with a move to the club during last week's expansion draft, but the move wasn't made official until earlier today. "We are extremely excited about acquiring Chris Seitz who has been in the US Men's National Team goalkeeper pool and with Real Salt Lake the past three seasons," Union manager Peter Nowak said.

Tuesday's TV

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Coppa Italia on GolTV: Sampdoria - Livorno at 2:30pm. All Times Eastern

Monday's Daily: The SPL

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With J Hutcherson -- Another reminder that even if the big games are only available on closed circuit pay-per-view in the United States, this season in the Scottish Premier League could be well worth your time. For all their financial problems and the looming threat of forced changes to the squad, Rangers remain in contention.

Davies Focused On Cup

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In an interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on SportsCenter, United States National Team forward Charlie Davies says he expects to "make a full recovery" from injuries suffered in a single-car accident on October 13th. Davies was a passenger in the vehicle. A fellow passenger was killed. Davies is rehabbing a broken leg along with a broken elbow and facial fractures.

American Abroad Update: EPL Players

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First Star: A strong showing for Hull City against Manchester City, with the teams drawing 1-1. Jozy Altidore got the start and went 73 minutes. Shaun Wright-Phillips had Manchester City up in the 45th-minute, but Hull split the points on a Jimmy Bullard penalty in the 82nd. That prompted a creative goal celebration.

Monday's TV

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Championship on Setanta: Blackpool - Preston North End at 3pm. All Times Eastern

The Wall: Goalkeepers

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In 2004, we talked to Major League Soccer goalkeeper Nick Rimando about what the role of the keeper is in setting up the wall. Last week, Rimando was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 MLS Cup, winning the League's championship with Real Salt Lake. During a free kick situation in a game, one of the first defensive strategies for a team is to put up a wall to make sure the opposing team.

Sunday's TV

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EPL on Setanta: Everton - Liverpool at 8:30am. On Fox Soccer Channel: Arsenal - Chelsea at 11amand Wolves - Birmingham City at 7pm. FA Cup on Setanta: Kettering - Leeds United at 11:15am. On Fox Soccer: Wrexham - Swindon at 5pm. Russian League on Setanta: Kuban - Rubin at 6am. Serie A on Fox Soccer: Inter - Fiorentina at 9am and Catania - Milan at 2:30pm.

Saturday's TV

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EPL on ESPN2: Portsmouth - Manchester United at 10am. On Setanta: Manchester City - Hull at 10am, Fulham - Bolton at 5pm, and Blackburn - Stoke at 8:30pm. On Fox Soccer Channel: West Ham United - Burnley at 10am, Aston Villa - Spurs at 12:30pm, and Wigan - Sunderland at 7pm. FA Cup on Fox Soccer: Staines - Millwall at 9pm.

Friday's Daily

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Europe Legends relive El Clasico memories -- from BBC Sport: Plus they are two of the greatest clubs in world football. Kirkby stadium setback could limit growth of Everton in years to come, says Oliver Kay -- from The Times' Oliver Kay: Everton have punched well above their weight in the Premier League.

Friday's TV

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No games today.

USA '09: What We've Learned

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By Clemente Lisi - NEW YORK, NY (Nov 26, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- The United States played a record number of games this year (24) and put together some memorable performances along the way. They started with a bang (a 3-2 win over Sweden) and ended with a whimper (a 3-1 loss to Denmark). In between, the team reached the Confederations Cup final (only to lose to Brazil) and the Gold Cup title game (a loss.

Thursday's Daily: Happy Thanksgiving Everybody

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Europe Manchester United facing a Real problem after Champions League defeat by Besiktas -- from The Times' James Ducker: Ferguson appeared unfazed. Questions stack up for Smith with little sign of any answers -- from The Herald's Graeme MacPherson: So, where did it all go wrong this time around? Manager David Moyes fumes at 'shocking' Everton display -- from BBC Sport: "We didn't play well enough to win, that sums it up really.

American Abroad: Dempsey Double

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Clint Dempsey went the full-ninety for Fulham, 3-0 winners over Blackburn. Eric Nevland opened the scoring in the 43rd-minute. The second-half belonged to Dempsey, who scored in the 67th and 88th minutes. Mark Schwarzer picked up the shutout on three saves. "The score line shows us easy winners but it was a very, very tough victory and one I'm very proud of," Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said.

Brown And McBride Stay With Chicago

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Defender CJ Brown and forward Brian McBride had their options renewed by the Chicago Fire, the club announced on Wednesday. 2010 will be Brown's 13th season with the club. He has been a member of the Fire since they joined Major League Soccer in 1998. "We are pleased to have both Brian and CJ back with the team for 2010," said Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas.

Thursday's TV

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Coppa Italia on GolTV: Napoli - Cittadella at 2:30pm and Palermo - Reggina at 4:30pm. All Times Eastern

Union Pick 10

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The Philadelphia Union selected ten players in the Major League Soccer Expansion Draft on Wednesday. No players were selected from Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Salt Lake, or Toronto. Jordan Harvey (D) - Colorado Rapids Andrew Jacobsen (M) - DC United Brad Knighton (G) - New England Revolution Sebastien Le Toux (F) - Seattle Sounders FC Stefani Miglioranzi (M) - LA Galaxy Alejandro Moreno (F) - Columbus Crew Dave Myrie (D) - Chicago Fire Shea Salinas.

USSF Announces Award Finalists

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The United States Soccer Federation has released the finalists for their 2009 Athlete of the Year Awards: Male Athlete of the Year: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu Female Athlete of the Year: Shannon Boxx, Heather O'Reilly, Christie Rampone, Hope Solo, Abby Wambach Young Male Athlete of the Year: Marlon Duran, Luis Gil, Jared Jeffrey, Brian Perk, Tyler Polak Young Female Athlete of the Year: Tobin Heath, Christine Nairn, Sydney Leroux,.

TMA: The Fouth Official

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By L.E. Eisenmenger -- It often has been said that at any given moment and with his eyes shut, Cuauhtemoc Blanco can describe the positioning of every player on the field as well as the fourth official. Why the fourth official? As one of the league's trickiest players and most frequently fouled, Blanco knows that the fourth official can make critical calls.

Wednesday's Daily: Olsen

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With J Hutcherson -- Sportswriters like to lean on cliches because it makes things easier. Rather than having to explain Ben Olsen pre-and-post ankle injury, you can just call him 'gritty' or 'tenacious.' What that means is more complicated. Olsen had a step on most of his marks at college and then Major League Soccer level.

Rangers 0 - VfB Stuttgart 0

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DaMarcus Beasley was a late sub in Tuesday's Champions League game, coming on in the 86th-minute for Kyle Lafferty. Rangers were already two goals down, with Sebastian Rudy scoring in the 16th-minute and Zdravko Kuzmanovic making it 2-0 in the 59th. Stuttgart keeper Jens Lehmann got the shutout with no saves after Rangers were unable to put any of their three shots on frame.

Wednesday's TV

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Champions League on Fox Soccer Channel: Debreceni - Liverpool at 11am, Milan - Marseille at 2:30pm (5pm on Setanta), Real Madrid - Zurich at 5pm (2:30pm on Fox Sports en Espanol), and Manchester United - Besiktas at 7pm (2:40pm on Setanta). EPL on Setanta Xtra: Fulham - Blackburn at 3pm (6:45pm on Setanta) and Hull - Everton at 8pm on Setanta.

Olsen Announces Retirement

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DC United midfielder Ben Olsen announced his retirement on Tuesday at a press conference at RFK Stadium. Olsen spent his entire MLS career with DC, joining the club from the University of Virginia in 1998 and being named Rookie of the Year. He spent the 2000-01 season on loan to England's Nottingham Forest, where an ankle injury ended a promising run with the club.

Tuesday's Daily: Working The Draft

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By J Hutcherson -- For those of you that need reminding, last year Seattle got Nate Jaqua and Brad Evans in the expansion draft. It wasn't much of a surprise that both became regular contributors. James Riley also ended up playing in most of the games over Seattle's first season, but he's right back on the unprotected list for the third year running.

Aalborg 0 - Aarhus 0

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No goals in the SAS-Ligaen matchup between Marcus Tracy's Aalborg and Benny Feilhaber's AGF Aarhus. Both players went the full-ninety, with Jeremiah White not involved for Aarhus. 16 games into the season, Aalborg are fifth wit 24 points and Aarhus are seventh with 23. Odense leads the SAS-Ligaen with 35 points.

CONCACAF Supports USA Bid

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CONCACAF's executive committee voted on Monday to come out in support of the United States bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. "The United States can count on the full support of CONCACAF, including Chuck Blazer, Rafael Salgueiro and myself," CONCACAF president Jack Warner said. CONCACAF has also decided to stop member clubs from participating in the Copa Sudamericana, the secondary club competition in South America.

Protected Player List For MLS Expansion Draft

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The Philadelphia Union will draft ten current MLS players on Wednesday. The following is the list of protected players by team: Chivas USA Bornstein, Jonathan Braun, Justin Flores, Jorge Padilla, Jesus Galindo, Maykel Lahoud, Michael Kljestan, Sacha Nagamura, Paulo Thornton, Zach Cuesta, Yamith Santos, Maicon Chicago Fire Busch, Jon Conde, Wilman Brown, C.

Holden Nominated For Jefferson Award

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United States National Team player and Houston Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden is one of ten finalists for the Jefferson Award for Public Service. Holden was named one of the members of the "Dream Team For Public Service." Two of those honorees will win the Jefferson Award. The ten members of the "Dream Team For Public Service" are: Nnamdi Asomugha (Lafayette, La.

Tuesday's TV

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Champions League on Fox Soccer Channel: Fiorentina - Lyon at 2:30pm (Setanta at 6:45pm), Debreceni - Liverpool at 5pm (Setanta at 2:40pm), Barcelona - Inter at 7pm, and Arsenal - Standard Liege at 9pm (Setanta at 5pm). All Times Eastern

Monday's Daily: Story Telling

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With J Hutcherson -- If you want to make the story of the 2009 MLS Cup one of exhaustion, that's good enough for the season as a whole. I'm not one to simply nod along with those that confuse general interest in the sport with MLS interest. This season hasn't done anymore than the ones that preceded it to push this League forward as a product.

American Abroad Update: Returning To Work

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First Star: Carlos Bocanegra came on for Abdou Mangane in the 21st-minute with Stade Rennes leading Le Mans 1-0 from Mangane's 10th-minute opener. Le Mans came back, equalizing through Roland Lamah in the 55th. With Rennes controlling the possession, Ismael Bangoura found Asamoah in the 81st-minute for the game winner.

MLS Cup: Salt Lake 1 - Los Angeles 1 (2 - 1 aet)

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Real Salt Lake beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 after penalties in front of 46,011 at Qwest Stadium in Seattle. RSL finished their unlikely playoff run with a championship, working through the Eastern Conference after taking the final wildcard slot in the playoffs. On the way, they beat the regular season Eastern Conference and Western Conference champions.

RSLs Night

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By Graig Carbino - ALBANY, NY (Nov 22, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- As the old cliché goes, it all comes down to this. The Western Conference champion Los Angeles Galaxy do battle tonight with the Eastern Conference, er sort of Eastern, I guess, Conference champion Real Salt Lake with MLS Cup 2009 on the line.

Monday's TV

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No games today.

Youth Soccer: The Benefits For Your Child

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More than one and a half million children participate in soccer, and over 220,000 adolescents are on soccer teams. The game has surged in popularity since the 1970's, and is now the second most popular youth sport in the country behind baseball. Soccer's benefits for your son or daughter can be tremendous.

Sunday's TV

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MLS Cup on ESPN: Real Salt Lake - Los Angeles at 8:30pm. EPL on Setanta: Bolton - Blackburn at 8:30am. On Fox Soccer Channel: Stoke - Portsmouth at 11am and Spurs - Wigan at 5pm. Bundesliga on ESPN Deportes: Bayern Munich - Bayer Leverkusen at 9:30am. On GolTV: Hamburg - VfL Bochum at 11:30am. La Liga on ESPN Deportes: Malaga - Zaragoza at 1pm.

Saturday's TV

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EPL on ESPN2: Liverpool - Manchester City at 7:30am. On Setanta: Chelsea - Wolverhampton at 9:30am, Burnley - Aston Villa at 5pm, and Birmingham City - Fulham at 8:30pm. On Fox Soccer Channel: Sunderland - Arsenal at 10am, Manchester United - Everton at 12:30pm, and Hull - West Ham United at 7pm. Championship on Setanta: Ipswich - Sheffield United at 12:10pm.

Friday's Daily: Sunday Night Lineup

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With J Hutcherson -- And some eyes turn to Seattle. More than you would think if the Western Conference Final rating is an indication. That game was scheduled at an inconvenient time for the East Coast, so maybe prime time on Sunday works out. The major competition is NBC's Football Night In America.

FIFA Rankings: USA 14th

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The United States dropped three places to 14th in the latest FIFA Rankings. FIFA once again extended the rankings period, this time to include the playoffs for the final six World Cup slots. The United States played twice during the rankings period, losing to Slovakia and Denmark. Mexico moved up three places to 16th.

Galaxy Cancel German Tour

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The Los Angeles Galaxy will not be spending Thanksgiving in Kaiserlautern. The club's post-season tour has been canceled, reportedly after an additional game couldn't be arranged.

Donovan Named MVP

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After already winning the Honda MVP award for 2009's best US National Team player, Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan is now Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Player. This is Donovan's first MLS MVP Award, and the second time a member of the LA Galaxy has won. MLS Most Valuable Players 2009: Landon Donovan – LA Galaxy 2008: Guillermo Barros Schelotto – Columbus Crew 2007: Luciano Emilio – D.

Friday's TV

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Ligue 1 on Setanta: Marseille - PSG at 3pm. All Times Eastern

Playing Their Game

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By Graig Carbino - ALBANY, NY (Nov 19, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- As someone watching a soccer game from the perspective of "analyst," it would be nice to always come up with spellbinding ideas of what worked and what didn't. We'd all like to have our own unique take on what just happened, why and why not, and all that.

LA And Real Salt Lake Were Built To Succeed

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By L.E. Eisenmenger - BOSTON, MA (Nov 18, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- The Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake didn't kick into high gear until the end of the season, but it's no real surprise they meet in the MLS Cup final. The combinations of players, coaches, stadiums, and marketing show these clubs built ships to survive bad weather and win races.

Preki Joins Toronto

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After parting ways with Chivas USA, Preki is now the coach of Toronto FC. "We are very excited to make this announcement today," director of soccer Mo Johnston said. "Preki has everything we were looking for, and we feel he will be a perfect fit with our club. His resume with Chivas is impressive – having made it to the playoffs in every season he was there.

Happy Anniversary

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(Summary is not available.)

Thursday's Daily: Judgement Call

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With J Hutcherson -- So about that game in Denmark yesterday.... Look, I'm hardly the type to try to turn a disappointment into a suggestion of something better. The version of the United States on display against Denmark, and to a lesser extend Slovakia, ended up representative of the same old problems.

Cunningham's Goal

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(Summary is not available.)

Uruguay Takes CONMEBOL/CONCACAF Playoff Spot

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Uruguay became the last country from the Americas to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, drawing 1-1 with Costa Rica at home, but winning 2-1 on aggregate. Sebastian Abreu gave Uruguay a two-goal lead at Centenario, scoring in the 69th-minute. Walter Centeno pulled a goal back for Costa Rica four minutes later, but Uruguay held on to qualify.

RSL Adds Co-Owner

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Real Salt Lake investor/operator Dave Checketts has sold a significant stake in the club to local real estate developer Dell Loy Hansen. The deal also includes part of Rio Tinto Stadium and a local radio station. "We are delighted to have Dell Loy and his family joining ours," Checketts said. "Many other MLS franchises have been fortunate to have added significant partners to their ownership groups in recent years, but what makes this standout from.

MLS Expansion Draft Rules

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On Wednesday, Major League Soccer released the rules for the expansion draft that will stock the Philadelphia Union. The draft is scheduled for Wednesday, November 25th. The club will have ten rounds to pick players. Teams will have to submit their list of protected players to the League by Monday at 3pm ET.

Thursday's TV

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Copa Sudamericana semifinals on Fox Sports en Espanol: LDU Quito - River Plate at 7pm. All Times Eastern

Donovan Wins Goal of the Year

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Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan's goal against New England on August 8th was named Major League Soccer's Goal of the Year on Wednesday. This is the first time Donovan has won the award, decided by fans through online voting. Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad became the first Sane of the Year honoree for his stops against Dallas in Week 30.

USA 1 - Denmark 3

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The United States got a first-half goal that stood into halftime, but couldn't hold up over the second 45, losing 3-1 to Denmark on Wednesday in Aarhus. Jeff Cunningham scored from the top of the arc in the 26th-minute for the opener. For Denmark, the story of the game was making three changes to start the second-half, Johan Absalonsen got too much space in the US box and scored a 47th-minute equalizer - 70 seconds.

Five Things From Denmark

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1. Halftime: Again the United States gives up a goal shortly after the half, this time to a team that had just made three substitutions. Keeping shape early in the second-half continues to be an issue, with the US getting caught panic defending. Someone should have been marking Johan Absalonsen, who had way too much time to make his turn in the US box.

Roster For USA - Denmark

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2 - Jonathan Spector 3 - Carlos Bocanegra 4 - Michael Bradley 5 - Benny Feilhaber 7 - Stuart Holden 12 - Jonathan Bornstein 13 - Ricardo Clark 15 - Jimmy Conrad 17 - Jozy Altidore 18 - Brad Guzan 19 - Robbie Rogers 22 - Frankie Hejduk 25 - Clarence Goodson 28 - Dax McCarty 32 - Jeff Cunningham 33 - Edgar Castillo 35 - Marcus Hahnemann 36 - Eddie Johnson

Wednesday's Daily: Rain In Denmark

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With J Hutcherson -- Game day Aarhus, with the United States looking to add weight to two points: one, that they can consistently get results in Europe, and two, that they can integrate players into the squad quickly and effectively. That second one is under the most pressure later this afternoon. The United States enters its second game far from first choice.

Wednesday's TV

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USA - Denmark starts on ESPN Classic at 2:30pm and picking up on ESPN2 when their coverage of Ukraine - Greece (starts at 1pm) ends. ESPN Classic will show the entire game uninterrupted. GolTV has Italy - Sweden at 2:30pm. Setanta has Bosnia - Portugal at 2:40pm and Slovenia - Russia on Xtra at the same time (5pm on Setanta).

Five Things For Denmark

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1. Another Revamp: A lot is being asked of the squad in camp, needing a quick reshuffle and integration of players from Slovakia to Denmark. Clint Dempsey and Steve Cherundolo started against Slovakia but won't be available against Denmark. Cherundolo's absence in particular means reshuffling the defense.

CONCACAF Champions League Knockout Stage

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CONCACAF has released the schedule for the knockout stage of the Champions League. The Columbus Crew got meet Mexico's Toluca in the quarterfinals. All of the quarterfinal pairings have a Mexican club and that club hosts the second-leg. QUARTERFINALS First Leg – March 9-11 Second Leg – March 16-18 QF1: *Comunicaciones vs.

Federation Outlines 2010 World Cup Ticketing

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On Tuesday, the US Soccer Federation released the following information for fans wishing to buy tickets to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. CHICAGO, IL (Nov 17, 2009) USSF -- The U.S. Soccer Federation has announced initial details for U.S. Men's National Team fans to apply for tickets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Scouting Report: Denmark

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By Clemente Lisi - NEW YORK, NY (Nov 17, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- The United States continues the European tour this week, playing Denmark on Wednesday in another test against a mid-tier team headed to next year's World Cup. The US will be looking to reverse Saturday's 1-0 loss to Slovakia. Denmark may actually be an easier opponent than Slovakia, even though they're six places higher in the FIFA Rankings.

Cooper Out For 1860

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1860 Munich striker Kenny Cooper is expected to miss up to three weeks after injuring his right knee. Cooper picked up the injury during practice on Monday. Initial reports speculated that Cooper damaged his anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that normally takes months of recovery. Instead, he has a torn mediate cruciate ligament that will not require surgery.

Tuesday's Daily: Multi-State

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With J Hutcherson -- Let's set aside the grandstanding that goes along with anything advertised as a "State of...." Nobody in that position is going to start riffing on trends and topics. It's a no risk, some reward scenario even when questions are taken. So what did we learn from Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber's State of the League?

Tuesday's TV

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No games today. All Times Eastern

Garber Talks Seattle During State Of The League

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Major League Soccer conducted the annual State of the League on Monday, this time by conference call. Garber defended the current playoff structure. "We felt like we got it right this year," Garber said. Calling the games 'exciting,' Garber pointed to attendance as proof that this year's playoff structure worked.

MLS Releases Best XI

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On Tuesday, Major League Soccer announced the League's Best Eleven players for 2009. Zach Thornton (Chivas USA) Chad Marshall (Columbus) - Wilman Conde (Chicago) - Geoff Cameron (Houston) Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto) - Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) - Stuart Holden (Houston) - Shalrie Joseph (New England) - Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle) Conor Casey (Colorado) - Jeff Cunningham (Dallas)

MLS Growth Challenges Referres

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By L.E. Eisenmenger - BOSTON, MA (Nov 16, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- Angelo Bratsis is a FIFA referee inspector dealing with the challenges Major League Soccer referees face moving into a higher level of play. As MLS grows, so does the pressure on the officiating. Amid much criticism, MLS referees cope with player dissent, designated player issues, and annual MLS and US Soccer directives that sometimes result in public outrage at game-changing decisions.

The Bigger Win

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With J Hutcherson -- What was the takeaway from Major League Soccer's Conference finals? Short of expecting no goals in regulation or propping up parity, it's that it takes more than ninety minutes for two teams to figure each other out. It's hard to avoid questioning the decision to make the finals one game when the opening round plays out over two legs.

Monday's TV

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No games today. All Times Eastern

Bradley Alters Roster

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United States National Team coach Bob Bradley has announced changes to the US roster that will face Denmark on Wednesday. Steve Cherundolo, Clint Dempsey, and Chad Marshall have left camp. Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark, Edgar Castillo, and Jose Francisco Torres have been added to the roster.

Working On Transition

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To defend against the breakaway, teams must be prepared to face an attacking opponent with fewer than optimal numbers. Sometimes, only the goalie is left in the sole line of defense against two or three opponents dashing towards the goal. Your team must practice defending with numbers down to better prepare for coming up against a breakaway.

Video: USA - Slovakia

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(Summary is not available.)

WCQ: Costa Rica 0 Uruguay 1

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The fourth-place CONCACAF team versus the fifth-place CONMEBOL team for the final World Cup Qualifying slot in the region, and Uruguay takes the game-one advantage. Diego Alfredo Lugano scored in the 21st-minute at Saprissa Stadium. Uruguay keeper Nestor Fernando Muslera picked up the shutout on three saves.

MLS Playoffs: Salt Lake 0 - Chicago 0 (5-4 aet)

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Real Salt Lake needed extra time and penalties to see off Chicago and win the Eastern Conference final Saturday night at Toyota Park. With both sides applying offensive pressure throughout the 120 minutes, Chicago keeper Jon Busch and his opposite number Nick Rimando held up and kept it scoreless. In penalties, RSL's Javier Morales missed in the second round and Rimando saved John Thorrington's attempt in the fourth.

Sunday's TV

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Under-17 World Cup final on ESPN2 and Galavision: Switzerland - Nigeria at 1pm. MFL: UNAM Pumas - Indios on Telemundo at 1pm. Santos Laguna - Club America at 5pm on Univision. Colombian League on GolTV: America - Millionarios at 3:30pm. All Times Eastern

USA 0 - Slovakia 1

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The United States had a hard time getting their attack in sync on Saturday in Slovakia, losing 1-0. Though the US dominated possession, they couldn't turn that into goals. Slovakia took full advantage of their best chance of the game, a 26th-minute penalty when Vladimir Weiss was taken down in the box.

Five Things From Slovakia

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1. Making Possession Count: Slovakia had limited opportunities and never really threatened the United States goal from the run of play in the first-half and early in the second. On the other end, too many of the US chances ended up directly at the keeper. Whether it was from distance or on the run with time in the box, the shot selection wasn't causing enough problems for Slovakia keeper Jan Mucha.

MLS Playoffs: Houston 0 - Los Angeles 2

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The Western Conference Final started late for East Coast viewers and ended late for the crowd at the Home Depot Center, with LA advancing to the 2009 MLS Cup 2-0 in overtime. Two lengthy stoppages due to power outages and overtime pushed the game past the venue's regular 11pm curfew. With chances few and far apart, Houston had the best opportunity in regulation, having a goal waived off in the 80th-minute.

Saturday's TV

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USA - Slovakia on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision at 10am. MLS Eastern Conference final on World Cup Qualifying: New Zealand - Bahrain on Fox Soccer at 2am, Russia - Slovenia at 11am on Setanta, Greece - Ukraine at 1pm on Setanta, Portugal - Bosnia at 3:30pm on Setanta (8pm on ESPN Deportes). International friendlies: Brazil - England at 12pm on Fox Soccer, Argentina - Spain on ESPN Deportes at 2:30pm, Italy - Holland on.

Five Things For Slovakia

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1. Guzan In Goal: Brad Guzan is coming off a superb performance in the League Cup for Aston Villa. On October 27th against Sunderland, Guzan stopped a penalty in regulation and then stopped three more in the shootout. Though hopefully he won't need to save any penalties on Saturday, he could use that big moment where he is the difference.

The Coaches

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By Andrew Dixon - MIAMI, FL (Nov 13, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- Hey you might not have heard, but there's an MLS playoff game on tonight. No, Seriously. Houston Dynamo and the LA Galaxy. Yeah, tonight. ESPN2. 11pm Eastern. I hear that guy David Beckham might even play. Yes, I know. RSL is on the verge of something real special.

Scouting Report: Slovakia

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By Clemente Lisi - NEW YORK, NY (Nov 12, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- The United States National Team traveled to Bratislava this week to play World Cup-bound Slovakia on Saturday in a high-profile friendly meant to help Bob Bradley's squad build experience ahead of 2010. The game will also be the first test since the Confederations Cup in June that doesn't involve a CONCACAF opponent, giving Bradley a real taste of what the World Cup in.

Friday's Daily: Playing Ricketts

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With J Hutcherson -- Late show for those of us on the East Coast tonight, with LA hosting Houston (11pm - ESPN2) in the latest edition of best in the West. Surprising no one, the Western conference ended up taking three of the four slots in the Conference finals. That's courtesy of Real Salt Lake's wild card slot in the Eastern bracket, and all the indication you need for which Conference is stronger in '09.

Chivas USA Latest To Part With Coach

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Preki is no longer the coach at Chivas USA. The US National Team alum and National Soccer Hall of Famer left the club by mutual consent on Thursday. His contract would have expired at the end of the year. "It has been an honor to be a part of the Chivas USA family for the last four years," said Preki.

Friday's TV

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Western Conference Final game one on ESPN2: Houston - Los Angeles at 11pm. All Times Eastern

Gonzalez Wins ROY

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Los Angeles Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez won Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year Award. Gonzalez started every game in his rookie season, scoring a goal and registering an assist. He joined the club from the University of Maryland as the Galaxy's third overall pick in the 2009 SuperDraft. Gatorade Rookie of the Year Winners 2009: Omar Gonzalez - Los Angeles Galaxy 2008: Sean Franklin - Los Angeles Galaxy 2007: Maurice Edu - Toronto FC.

MLS Playoffs: Eastern Conference Preview

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By Graig Carbino - ALBANY, NY (Nov 12, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- Everyone has that one friend. He's the guy that has the messiest apartment. He shows up late for everything. He forgets to pick you up at the airport and never pays his tab at the bar. You never expect too much out of him because, hey, he's "that guy.

Thursday's Daily: Strength Of Schedule

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With J Hutcherson -- For the United States National Team, proving it in Europe no longer has the same impact it did in the Arena era. Results will do that, and the United States has shown they can get them against mid-tier European teams. Even against the elite, the US hasn't simply rolled over. Sure, there was a lot of criticism a year ago when the US lost to England at Wembley and Spain at.

Thursday's TV

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Copa del Rey on GolTV: Almeria - Hercules at 3pm. Copa Sudamericana on Fox SPorts en Espanol: River Plate - LDU Quito at 8:30pm. All Times Eastern

Arena Wins Coach of the Year

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Former United States National Team coach Bruce Arena's revival effort with the Los Angeles Galaxy won him MLS Coach of the Year honors on Wednesday. Arena took over the club last August as coach and general manager, and has turned around the Galaxy winning the Western Conference. The Galaxy are preparing for the Western Conference final against Houston.

Tuesday's Daily: Triple Digits

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With J Hutcherson -- For those of you who believe in the direct connect between Major League Soccer performance and National Team opportunity, the Jeff Cunningham call-up isn't even a conversation. 17 goals in 28 games, one of the finalists for Most Valuable Player, and he belongs back in the picture.

Vermes Drops Interim Title In KC

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US National Team alumnus and Kansas City Wizards technical director Peter Vermes is now officially the coach of the club. Vermes took the team over on an interim basis with former US National Team assistant Curt Onalfo was fired on August 3rd. "I have a strong understanding of where we are currently and where we need to go, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead the team on the field next season,".

Wednesday's TV

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Copa del Rey on GolTV: Athletico Bilbao - Vallecano at 3pm. Copa Sudamericana on Fox Sports en Espanol: Cerro Porteno - Fluminense at 8:30pm. Friendly on Azteca: Santos Laguna - Santos at 10:30pm. All Times Eastern

McCarty Gets New Deal With Dallas

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FC Dallas and US National Team midfielder Dax McCarthy has agreed to a new deal with FC Dallas. "Dax was a key member of the team this season and a vital part of the successful late-season run we had," said Hyndman. "Ensuring Dax would be in a FC Dallas uniform next season was a top priority for us."

Davies Leaves Hospital

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The Washington Hospital Center issued a press statement on Tuesday announcing that United States National Team forward Charlie Davies has been released from the hospital. Davies has been recuperating at the National Rehabilitation Hospital. "I would like to take the time to thank everyone who has dealt with me in the Hospital Center and NRH for really putting in the time to help me get better as a person and as an athlete," Davies said.

Hannover Keeper Dies

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Hannover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke died on Wednesday after being hit by a train. The 32-yer-old Enke had eight caps for the German National Team and played with Benfica and Barcelona. He was a teammate of United States internationals Steve Cherundolo and Sal Zizzo. He was in goal for Hannover's 2-2 draw with Hamburg on Sunday.

Montero Wins Newcomer, Thornton Wins Comeback

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Seattle Sounders forward Fredy Montero won the Newcomer of the Year award and Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton won the Comeback Player of the Year Major League Soccer announced on Monday. Thornton also won the Goalkeeper of the Year award. MLS Newcomer of the Year Winners 2009: Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC 2008: Darren Huckerby – San Jose Earthquakes 2007: Luciano Emilio – DC United MLS Comeback Player of the Year Winners 2009: Zach.

MLS Playoffs: Western Conference Preview

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By Graig Carbino - ALBANY, NY (Nov 10, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- I need to be honest with you all for a second. I hate making predictions. No really, I despise the practice. For some reason, it's taken for granted that part of a preview is making a pick. I don't get that. My preview article for the first round of the Major League Soccer playoffs was posted about a week and a half ago.

Hackworth Joins Philadelphia

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United States National Team assistant and director of the National Team's youth setup John Hackorth has left the program to join fellow former National Team assistant Peter Nowak's staff at Philadelphia Union. Nowak left the National Team at the end of May to become the expansion team's head coach. "The reason I made the move here and now is simple.

Tuesday's Daily: Moving To MLS

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With J Hutcherson -- Yesterday's announcement that John Hackworth is moving from National Team assistant to Philadelphia Union assistant creates an interesting situation for the Major League Soccer expansion club. Both head coach Peter Nowak and his chief assistant will be attempting to reverse a trend.

Tuesday's TV

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Copa Del Rey on GolTV: Real Madrid - Alcorcon at 2pm. All Times Eastern

Soccer Hall Player Ballot Announced

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The National Soccer Hall of Fame released the Player Ballot for the Class of 2010. Chris Henderson, Eduardo Hurtado, and John O'Brien appear on the ballot for the first time. A player needs 66.7% of votes casts to be elected on the first ballot. If no player meets that threshold, the five highest vote getters will be put on a second ballot.

Monday's Daily: Playoff Exits

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With J Hutcherson -- One of the great things about this edition of playoff soccer is we have four ousted teams that all genuinely believe they were hard done by. Over the weekend, New England, Seattle, and Chivas USA joined Columbus in the over and out club. Three of those quarterfinal series were decided by a single goal.

US Roster For Slovakia And Denmark

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United States National Team coach Bob Bradley announced the roster for this week's friendlies against Slovakia and Denmark. The late announcement was due to the availability of players from Major League Soccer, with four teams exiting the playoffs over the weekend. "These matches present a terrific opportunity to continue building on the nucleus of our team, and at the same time evaluate more of the player pool against very good opponents," Bradley said.

American Abroad Update: Dempsey Scores Again

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First Star: Another week, and another goal for Fulham's Clint Dempsey. This time it was from the penalty spot, with Dempsey coverting in the 39th-minute to split the points with Wigan. Emmerson Boyce had Wigan's opener in the 13th. "The team's come a long way over the past two years and we've got a long way to go," Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said.

MLS Playoffs: Galaxy Win Playoff Classico

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The Los Angeles Galaxy advanced to face Houston in the Western Conference final with a 1-0 win over Chivas USA on Sunday. Landon Donovan scored the game's only goal, converting from the penalty spot in the 73rd-minute to take the series 3-2 on aggregate.

MLS Playoffs: Houston Knocks Out Sounders

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The Houston Dynamo advanced to the Western Conference finals on Sunday, but Seattle didn't make it easy. With the two teams level after game one, game two went into overtime. Brian Ching scored the winner and the only goal of the series five minutes into overtime. Pat Onstad picked up the shutout with three saves.

Monday's TV

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EPL on ESPN2: Liverpool - Birmingham at 3pm. Championship on Setanta: Barnsley - Sheffield United at 2:40pm.

Keepers: The Throw

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People think that punting the ball is the best option when a goalkeeper distributes the ball, but that's just not so.Punting is a great way to get the ball out of your end, but it does not compare with throwing for accuracy. Remember that punting the ball 40 yards into the air means anyone can be on the other end of it.

MLS Playoffs: Fire Shutout Revs, Win Series

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After losing the first-leg 2-1, the Chicago Fire will be playing for the Eastern Conference title. Chicago beat New England 2-0 at Toyota Park on Saturday night, taking the series 3-2 on total goals. The Fire will now face Real Salt Lake for a spot in the 2009 MLS Cup. Chicago got a 35th-minute goal from John Thorrington to even the series.

Sunday's TV

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MLS playoffs on TeleFutura: Seattle - Houston at 3pm. ESPN2 has Chivas USA - Los Angeles at 7:30pm. EPL on Setanta: Hull - Stoke at 8:30am and Wigan - Fulham on Setana Xtra at 10am. On Fox Soccer Channel: Chelsea - Manchester United at 11am and West Ham United - Everton at 5pm. FA Cup on Fox Soccer: Northwich Victoria - Charlton at 7pm.

Saturday's TV

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MLS on Fox Soccer Channel: New England - Chicago at 8pm. EPL on ESPN2: Spurs - Sunderland at 10am. Setanta has Manchester City - Burnley at 10am and Blackburn - Portsmouth at 6:45pm. On Fox Soccer: Aston Villa - Bolton at 10am and Wolves - Arsenal at 12:30pm. Championship on Setanta: Swansea - Cardiff at 7:45am.

Conrad And Pause Share Humanitarian Award

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Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad and Chicago fire midfielder Logan Pause share the 2009 MLS Humanitarian of the Year award. Conrad is a spokesperson for Athletes Against Autism and the Child Protection Center along with participating in the UN Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign. Pause participates in the Passback Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Garth Brooks Foundation and the Joshua Center in Chicago.

Friday's Daily: TKO In Columbus

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With J Hutcherson -- That crack media contingent that put Columbus Crew coach Robert Warzycha in the final three for MLS Coach of the Year? Well, the biggest playoff breakdown in recent memory wasn't an overwhelming display on the part of Real Salt Lake. It was Columbus playing for the draw in the first game and not getting it.

MLS Playoffs: RSL Advances

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Real Salt Lake beat defending MLS Cup champion Columbus 3-2 on Thursday night and 4-2 on aggregate to advance to the next round of Major League Soccer's playoffs. Crew midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto returned to the lineup after being benched for game one and looked like the hero. He scored in the 19th and 35th minutes to put the Crew ahead on aggregate.

Europa League: Two Losses

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Everton were unable to turnaround their 5-0 away loss to Benfica, losing again to the Portuguese club 2-0 at Goodison Park on Thursday. Javier Saviola scored in the 63rd and Oscar Rene Cardozo followed in the 76th for the win. Tim Howard made nine saves for Everton, three more than his opposite number Jacobi Julio Cesar who picked up the shutout.

Friday's TV

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Bundesliga on GolTV: Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt at 2:30pm. Championship on Setanta: Derby County - Coventry at 2:40pm. All Times Eastern

Thursday's Daily: Groups E And I

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With J Hutcherson -- Later today, Tim Howard and Everton get the opportunity to marginalize an earlier result. That would be the 5-0 collapse at Benfica on October 22nd. A home win at Goodison Park takes the gloss off what happened at Estadio da Luz. In the short-term, it even takes out Benfica's goal differential since an Everton win puts them ahead on points in Group I.

Marshall Wins Defender Award

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For the second season in a row, the Columbus Crew's Chad Marshall was named the best defender in Major League Soccer. Marshall joins Carlos Bocanegra as the only other player to win consecutive MLS Defender of the Year awards. Also on Thursday, MLS announced Alex Prus as the Referee of the Year and Greg Barkey as Assistant Referee of the Year.

American Abroad Update: Spector Vs. Friedel

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Jonathan Spector started the game on the bench for West Ham United, but was on the field within eight minutes as they beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Upton Park. Spector subbed on for injured defender Herita Ilunga, with West Ham saving the offense for late in both halves. Mark Noble put them up from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time, beating Brad Friedel.

Slovakia Roster For Nov 14th Friendly

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GK: John Mucha (Legia Warsaw), Ľuboš Kamenár (FC Nantes), Dušan Kuciak (FC Vaslui), Lubos Stonemason (Nantes) DEF: Marek Cech (West Bromwich Albion), Ján Ďurica (Lokomotiv Moscow), Peter Pekárik (VfL Wolfsburg), Martin Petras (AC Cesena), Kornel Saláta (Slovan Bratislava), Martin Skrtel (Liverpool), Radoslav Zabavník (Terek Grozny) MID: Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Miroslav Karhan (Mainz), Kamil Kopúnek (Spartak Trnava), Jan Kozak (Slovan Bratislava), George Kucka (Sparta Prague), Marek Sapara (Rosenborg), Miroslav Stoch (FC Twente Enschede), Zdeno Štrba (Škoda.

Thursday's TV

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U-17 World Cup on Galavision: Mexico - Korea at 10am. Europa League on GolTV: Hamburgh - Celtic at 1pm, Villarreal - Lazio at 3pm, and Everton - Benfica at 8pm. MLS playoffs on ESPN2: Salt Lake - Columbus at 8pm. Copa Sudamericana on Fox SPorts en Espanol: Universidad - Fluminense at 6pm and LDU Quito - Velez Sarsfield at 8:30pm.

Fulham Tries To Build On US Connection

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By L.E. Eisenmenger - BOSTON, MA (Nov 4, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- Fenway Sports Group (FSG) recently penned a deal with Fulham to find a jersey sponsor for the London-based EPL team. Seeking an ambitious six million pounds annually, FSG intends to connect Fulham with a US-based corporation with global marketing needs in the United Kingdom, Europe, and particularly Asian markets, where the EPL recently experienced explosive growth.

Thornton Is MLS Keeper Of The Year

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Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton won the 2009 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award, Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday. Thornton won the award in 1998, becoming the third MLS keeper to be honored twice. New England midfielder Steve Ralston won the Fair Play award, with the Chicago Fire winning the team Fair Play award.

U-17 WC: Italy 2 - USA 1

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The United States exited the FIFA Under-17 World Cup at the knockout stage, losing 2-1 to Italy at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, Nigeria. In the 18th-minute, Jack McInerney's penalty attempt was saved by Italy keeper Francesco Bardi. This was Bardi's first game in the tournament, starting in place of injured keeper Mattia Perin.

Wednesday's Daily: Staying Put

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With J Hutcherson -- Hey look, it's another MLS coaching vacancy. This time, it was Tom Soehn opting himself out of the running for a new contract with DC United. That might end up being a unique exit, but DC ends up in a situation familiar to too many clubs in Major League Soccer. A quick turnaround with the identity of the club at stake.

Wednesday's TV

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The Under-17 World Cup knockout round game between the United States and Italy is only available online (10am - ESPN360.com). Champions League on Fox Soccer Channel: Rubin Kazan - Barcelona at 12:30pm, Lyon - Liverpool at 2:30pm, and Arsenal - Alkmaar at 5pm (2:30pm on Setanta). All Times Eastern

Denmark Roster For Nov 18th Friendly

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GK: Stephan Anderson (Brondby), Thomas Sorensen (Stoke City) DEF: Daniel Agger (Liverpool), Lars Jacobsen (Blackburn), Michael Lumb (AGF Aarhus), Per Kroldrup (Fiorentina), Simon Kjaer (Palermo), William Jorgensen (FC Copenhagen) MID: Christian Poulsen (Juventus), Jakob Poulsen (AGF Aarhus), Michael Silberbauer (Utrecht), Soren Rieks (ESbjerg), Thomas Enevoldsen (Groningen), Thomas Kahlenberg (Wolfsburg), Dennis Rommedahl (Ajax) FOR: Jesper Gronkjaer (FC Copenhagen), Johan Absalonsen (OB), Jon Dahl Tomasson (Feyenoord), Martin Jorgensen (Fiorentina), Morten Rasmussen (Brondby), Soen Larsen (Duisburg)

Soehn Won't Coach DC In 2010

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DC United coach Tom Soehn has officially removed himself for consideration for a new contract. Soehn's current deal expires at the end of the year. "When you're in this business, the experiences you face together forge special bonds and friendships that will always remain," Soehn said in a press statement.

Tuesday's Daily: Something Old

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With J Hutcherson -- The one sentence summary of the Scottish Premier League so far would go something like this: Rangers have money trouble, the Old Firm wants out, and Hibs are pretty good. You could shuffle those three items around, but I went with order of immediate importance. Rangers are currently trying to work through a situation that could see them forced into selling players.

Tuesday's TV

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Champions League on Fox Soccer Channel: Atletico Madrid - Chelsea at 2:30pm, Manchester United - CSKA Moscow at 5pm (on Setanta at 2:40pm), and Milan - Real Madrid at 7pm. Setanta also has Bayern Munich - Bordeaux at 6:45pm. All Times Eastern

MLS Anounces Awards Finalists And Schedule

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Major League Soccer will be announcing the 2009 award winners over three weeks in November. The League announced the schedule and the three finalists in each category on Monday. Jeff Cunningham, Landon Donovan, and Shalrie Joseph are in the running for the Most Valuable Player award, with the announcement set for Thursday, November 20th.

Beckham Loan Official

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On Monday, the Los Angles Galaxy announced that midfielder David Beckham would once again be joining Serie A club AC Milan on loan. Beckham will officially join Milan on December 28th and remain with them through the completion of the 2009-10 Serie A season. He will rejoin the Galaxy following the completion of the 2010 World Cup.

The List: 10 Things Towards South Africa

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By Clemente Lisi - NEW YORK, NY (Nov 2, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- With World Cup qualification in the books, the US National Team has the next seven months to prepare for South Africa. Achieving success at the World Cup comes through a combination of hard work and luck. In other words, things have to fall into place at exactly the right time to make the difference between getting bounced in the first round or making.

Monday's Daily: Over Thinking

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With J Hutcherson -- Credit Columbus Crew coach Robert Warzycha with one thing: he's not afraid of creating a potential problem. That's what happens with the roll of the dice that was leaving out his club's designated player. Who is also Major League Soccer's reigning MVP... averaging a goal every other game this season.

American Abroad Update: Goals And Yellows

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First Star: Clint Dempsey got the third of Fulham's three goals in their 3-1 win over Liverpool. Bobby Zamora had Fulham up in the 24th-minute, but Fernando Torres answered back three minutes from halftime. In the second, Erik Nevland put Fulham back up in the 73rd-minute. Liverpool went down a man in the 79th when Philipp Degen was sent off, and ended up with nine after Jamie Carragher followed with an 82nd-minute red card.

MLS Playoffs: Chivas USA 2 Los Angeles 2

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The most competitive of the opening round first-legs happened at the Home Depot Center on Sunday. Maicon Santos had Chivas USA up four minutes in, but LA drew even when Mike Magee scored in the 14th. Landon Donovan gave the Galaxy the lead in the 41st, and that held through halftime. The only goal of the second-half came early, with Maykel Galindo equalizing for Chivas USA in the 50th-minute.

U-17 WC: UAE 0 - USA 1

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The Under-17 United States National Team advanced to the knockout stage of the U-17 World Cup with a 1-0 win over United Arab Emirates. Jack McInerney put in a rebound in the 35th-minute for the win. "We are really pleased with today's performance," US coach Wilmer Cabrera said. "I want to congratulate UAE, who have a very good team and were very competitive.

MLS Playoffs: Chicago 1 New England 2

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The Revolution might have entered the playoffs in eighth-place, but that didn't matter on Sunday at Foxborough. Chicago went up in the 17th-minute when Chris Rolfe scored, and that almost held into halftime. Emmanuel Osei equalized for the Revolution two minutes into first-half stoppage time. Shalrie Joseph scored the winner in the 75th.

Monday's TV

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Championship on Setanta: Sheffield United - Newcastle at 8:30pm. All Times Eastern

MLS Playoffs: Columbus 0 - Real Salt Lake 1

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The weekend schedule attempted to match the excitement of Thursday's opener, and Columbus - Real Salt Lake failed miserably. The reigning champions did nothing to remind anybody that they're the team to beat. Instead, a game full of examples of dire soccer got capped with a late goal and a Columbus loss.

Defense

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There are many components to good team defense as well as to individual defensive skills. As soon as the opponent gains possession of the ball, the team is on defense, and the defenders must be especially aware and prepared as an offensive attack approaches their own goal. After a transition (one team switching to offense while another switches to defense) the first responsibility of the defense is to get between the ball and the goal.