USSoccerPlayers Archives for January 2012

Weekend TV: MLS Cup

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Saturday MLS Cup on ESPN and Telemundo at 4:30pm. USA Women - Ireland is on Fox Soccer at 9:30pm. Premier League on ESPN2: West Ham United - Chelsea at 7:30am. On Fox Soccer: Manchester City - Everton at 9:30am, Reading - Manchester United at 12pm, Fulham - Spurs at 2:30pm, and QPR - Aston Villa at 4:30pm.

Upside: A big chance

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Their Words "We hope to be as competitive as we have been, knowing we have to recover physically for the game. The players have been excellent in the way they've approached every game, they are all at 100 per cent, no-one takes their foot off the gas and I think if they do that again, we have a big chance, no doubt.

Interview: Under-17 coach Richie Williams

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The Cup is the story

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 30, 2012) US Soccer Players – It must be tough to be the other MLS finalist. On Monday, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber turned the State of the League conference call into an open mic riff on multiple topics, adding to the story lines in a week that's supposed to be about one game.

Liga MX: Tijuana 2 - Toluca 1

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Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona started in Tijuana's 2-1 first-leg win against Toluca in the Liga MX final series. Fidel Martinez opened the scoring in the 24th minute with Toluca equalizing two minutes later. Pablo Aguilar scored in the 40th minute to put Tijuana up a goal as the series heads into Sunday's deciding leg.

Fridays' TV

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Bundesliga on GolTV: Fortuna Dusseldorf - Eintracht Frankfurt at 2:30pm. Ligue 1 on Univision Deportes: Ajaccio - St Etienne at 2:30pm. Serie A on beIN Sport: Catania - Milan at 2:45pm. All Times Eastern

Upside: A little bit of accuracy

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Their Words "We missed a little bit of accuracy in our final ball, but overall to come away from here with a point you need something special spirit-wise and we have shown that." Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Other Sources Toluca gunning for title record in Liga MX final against Tijuana - from Football.

Goal and Save of the Year announced

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A defender won Major League Soccer's Goal of the Year, with Seattle's Patrick Ianni taking the honor for his volley against Kansas City on June 20th. Salt Lake's Nick Rimando won for Save of the Year, stopping Kei Kamara's shot on April 14th.

Questions: Coaches and XI

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Nov 29, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Thursday's column, Tony avoids MLS Cup completely instead turning his attention to Coach of the Year winners and the Best XI. Frank Yallop of San Jose won his second MLS Coach of the Year award this week. Of the 21 franchises that have graced the stadia in MLS, how many of them have won a coach of the year award?

Fixing US soccer's 'donut hole'

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By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 29, 2012) US Soccer Players -- The nation's identification and development structures for elite youth players continue to grow, yet talented young American professionals are falling through the cracks – and no one seems completely sure what to do about it. The onset of the MLS offseason always brings a spate of waivers, declined contract options and other mechanisms for jettisoning players.

Midweek in England and Germany

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In the Premier League on Wednesday, Geoff Cameron got the stat for Stoke City who came back to beat Newcastle 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium. Trailing from the 47th minute, Stoke's Jonathan Walers equalized in the 81st and Cameron Jerome scored the winner four minutes later. The referee booked Cameron in the 59th minute.

Wondolowski wins MVP

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In what was as close to a lock as possible in Major League Soccer's awards, the League named San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski its 2012 Most Valuable Player. Wondolowski tied the MLS record for goals scored in a season with 27. He took over 90% of the club and media votes and 70% of the player votes.

Thursday's TV: Final in Mexico

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The first-leg of the Liga MX Apertura final series is on Univision Deportes: Tijuana - Toluca at 10pm. Copa Sudamericana on Fox Deportes: Millionarios - Tigres at 7pm. All Times Eastern

Upside: Their side of the ball

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Their Words "They have grinders on their side of the ball too. For those guys who are all good players, they have other good players behind them, who maybe have a different role on the team." Houston coach Dominic Kinnear. Other Sources Site format switch for MLS title game works out in Galaxy's favor - from The LA Times' Kevin Baxter: "I'd rather be playing in L.

Wolff announces retirement

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United States National Team and DC United forward Josh Wolff announced his retirement on Wednesday. "It's been a fun ride and I have had a lot of great experiences over the years in the League, abroad, and with the national team," Wolff said in a press statement. "I'd like to thank everyone for the memories, advice, and direction over the years.

Payne named Toronto president

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Kevin Payne officially became the president of Toronto FC on Wednesday, confirming reports linking the former DC United president and CEO with the club. "I am very proud and excited to be joining Toronto FC," said Payne. "Toronto is a great soccer market with passionate fans and world-class facilities.

Another Best XI

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By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 28, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Here's the thing about Best XI's, that subjective take on the season's best performers that every observer of Major League Soccer trots out at the end of the season. Scrutiny is by design. They're subjective, which means they're inevitably wrong.

Nielsen wins Goalkeeper of the Year

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Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday that Sporting Kansas City's Jimmy Nielsen is the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for 2012. Nielsen came within one shutout of tying Tony Meola's record 16 shutouts in a single season. In other awards voting, Columbus Crew transfer window signing Federico Higuain won the Newcomer of the Year award.

What Ever Happened To: Tony Meola

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Nov 28, 2012) US Soccer Players – Tony Meola is one of the most recognizable players to ever represent the National Team. The New Jersey native had a pro career that spanned three World Cups – one of only a handful of American players to do so – and a very successful 10 seasons in Major League Soccer.

Wednesday's TV

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The USA Women - Ireland friendly is o Fox Soccer at 9:30pm. Premier League on ESPN2: Manchester United - West Ham United at 3pm. Fox Soccer has Chelsea - Fulham at 2pm and stoke City - Newcastle United at 5pm. Everton - Arsenal is on Fox Soccer Plus at 3pm with Southampton - Norwich at 7pm. Scottish Premier League on FS+: Hearts - Celtic at 5pm.

Traffic to market Gold Cup and CCL

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CONCACAF announced on Tuesday that Traffic Sports won the bid to become the Confederation's 'commercial rights partner' for the 2013 Gold Cup and the 2014/15 Champions League. "The strategic alliance with Traffic is the result of a long assessment process that showcases the vast and growing interest in the market for our Confederation properties and tournaments," CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said.

Upside: Transparency and accountability

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Their Words "We're committed to transparency and accountability in CONCACAF including instituting public draws for matches for the first time and creating committees to ensure we operate with integrity and professionalism at all times." CONCACAF general secretary Enrique Sanz. Other Sources MLS Cup week conjures memories of anticipation, distractions - from SI.

Payne leaves United

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DC United announced on Tuesday that president and CEO Kevin Payne is leaving the club. "They say the only constant in life is change," Payne said in a press statement. "For me, D.C. United has been like my child. We brought the team into the D.C. and national sports world 17 years ago and every day since – good and bad – has been a labor of love.

Questions: MLS Youth Development

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Nov 27, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Tuesday's column, Tony gets the answer for how much MLS spends on development, wonders why you can't buy an MLS cap at most airports and looks forward to First Kick 2013. During his State of the League conference call, how much did Commissioner Don Garber claim the League spends, each year, on youth development?

The League's market

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 27, 2012) US Soccer Players – Let's play with definitions, shall we? What does 'market' really mean in a major metropolitan area? Specifically, what does it mean in the biggest metro region in the country? When Major League Soccer was still on the drawing board, it meant the region.

Yallop named 2012 MLS Coach of the Year

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As Major League Soccer continues with their awards program, MLS named San Jose's Frank Yallop as 2012 Coach of the Year. Yallop's team won the Supporters' Shield, exiting the playoffs in the Western Conference semifinals. Yallop received the majority of the club, media, and players votes. "This is a great individual honor," Yallop said in a press statement.

Johnson wins Comeback award

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Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson capped a standout return to Major League Soccer by winning the League's Comeback Player of the Year award for 2012. Johnson scored 14 goals in 28 games, becoming one of the top offensive threats in MLS. He scored the winning goal in the League's All-Star Game and used his club play to return to the US National Team.

2012 MLS Best XI

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Major League Soccer announced the Best XI for 2012. The League divides the voting among players, club leadership, and members of the media. Voters pick according to a 3-4-3 formation. Goalkeeper – Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City) Defender – Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes) Defender – Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) Defender – Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City) Midfielder – Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC) Midfielder – Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) Midfielder – Chris Pontius.

Tuesday's TV

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Bundesliga on GolTV: Hamburg - Schalke at 2pm. Premier League on ESPN Deportes: Sunderland - QPR at 2:45pm. Fox Soccer has Aston Villa - Reading at 3pm. Cops del Rey on beIN: Real Madrid - Alcoyano at 3:30pm. All Times Eastern

Upside: A routine

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Their Words "Sometimes you find yourself in a routine where you line up behind certain people. Ossie is normally behind me so he is unsure of where to stand now, but that's just footballers and silly superstitions." Fill-in Everton captain Phil Jagielka. Other Sources Landon Donovan hints MLS Cup may be his last game with L.

Corner: Cup Break

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Lets talk about the need for a two-week break in a playoff schedule. The National Football League gets away with it because they can get away with pretty much anything. That's what happens when you're the market leader. Stretch your season into March and not enough people will complain to matter. Some might actually prefer it, since technically it extends the schedule.

Liga MX: Tijuana advances

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Tijuana took care of business at home in the Liga MX playoffs on Sunday night, wiping out top seed Leon's two goal lead from the opening leg with a 3-0 shutout at Estadio Caliente. Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona got the start for Tijuana, with Corona subbing out in the 61st minute. Fidel Martinez opened the scoring in the 43rd minute and Duvier Riascos brought Tijuana level on aggregate in the 68th.

National Teamers Abroad: A goal and lots of cautions

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We start in the Bundesliga, where Fabian Johnson scored in Hoffenheim's 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen. Trailing by two goals, Johnson scored in the 59th minute. Steve Cherundolo and Hannover were on the wrong side of a 5-0 shutout against Bayern Munich. Bayern have a nine-point lead at the top of the table after 13 games.

What pro sports league has the most in common with Major League Soccer?

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 26, 2012) US Soccer Players – Normally, most people aren't bothered by flattering comparisons. It's human nature to decide that the person making even a decidedly unlikely connection must see something you only notice at the very best moment of your very best day.

Weekend TV: Liga MX

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Saturday Premier League on Fox Soccer: Sunderland - WBA at 7:30am, Manchester United - QPR at 10am, Aston Villa - Arsenal at 12pm, Everton - Norwich at 2:30pm, and Wigan - Reading at 4:30pm. Fox Soccer Plus has Stoke - Fulham at 10am. Championship on beIN Sport: Wolverhampton - Nottingham Forest at 1pm.

Europa: Goal for Boyd but loss for Rapid Vienna

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Mix Diskerud and Rosenborg held up at home in a 3-2 win over Terrence Boyd's Rapid Vienna in Europa League Group K plau on Thursday. Rosenborg took the lead in the 28th minute with Rapid equalizing in the 53rd. Boyd put Rapid ahead with his 66th minute goal, but Rosenborg were level ten minutes later and took the lead for good in the 79th.

Liga MX playoffs: Loss for Tijuana

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It was a tough night for Tijuana in the first leg of their playoff series with Leon, losing 2-0 at the Estadio Leon. Leon opened the scoring in the 56th minute and doubled their lead two minutes later. Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona got the start for Tijuana, with Corona subbing off in the 67th minute.

Friday's TV: Ligue and Liga

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Ligue 1 on beIN Sport: St Etienne - Valencienne at 2:30pm. La Liga on beIN Espanol: Real Sociedad - Osasuna at 3:30pm (6pm on beIN. All Times Eastern

Questions: Offseason developments

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Nov 22, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Thursday's extra special Thanksgiving edition of The Questions, Tony looks at offseason developments in Seattle, Salt Lake, and New England, and salutes the playing career of Dallas's former captain. What positives did Sounders coach Sigi Schmid take from Seattle's season and playoffs?

Giving thanks for what we have in American soccer

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By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 22, 2012) US Soccer Players -- The media in this country is routinely perceived as pessimistic, cynical and sensationalistic, and its rapidly-growing ranks of soccer journalists are no exception. Interest and expectation grows along with the game's profile. With it, comes competition for web traffic and breaking news stories.

Assist for Jones in Champions League

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In Champions League play on Wednesday, Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04 shutout Olimpiakos 1-0. Jones assisted on Christian Fuchs's 77th minute goal. Schalke has a one point lead on Arsenal at the top of Group B. Oguchi Onyewu got the start and Malaga got two quick goals from Diego Buonaotte (8th) and Sebastian Fernandez (9th) only to end up drawing 2-2 with Zenit in Group C.

Thursday's TV: Europa and Playoffs

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Europa League on Fox Soccer: Lazio - Spurs at 1pm, Liverpool - Young Boys at 3pm, and AIK - Napoli at 5pm. Fox Soccer Plus has Rubin Kazan - Inter Milan at 12pm, Newcastle - Maritomo at 3pm, and Marseille - Fenerbache at 5pm. Liga MX playoffs on Univision Deportes: Club America - Toluca at 8pm, and Telemundo: Leon - Tijuana at 10pm.

Upside: Our objectives

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Their Words "Chelsea Football Club can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed interim first-team manager until the end of the season. The owner and the Board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives.

Why LA will win the 2012 MLS Cup

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By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 21, 2012) US Soccer Players -- When the LA Galaxy rushed off the podium after giving the MLS Western Conference trophy just the smallest modicum of respect on Sunday night in Seattle, the message they sent to the rest of the League echoed through the rapidly emptying expanse of Century Link Field.

Why Houston will win the 2012 MLS Cup

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Nov 21, 2012) US Soccer Players – At first glance, the Houston Dynamo appears like an odd MLS Cup finalist. No one expected them to be in this position at the start of the season. Even fewer thought they would be playing for the title once the playoffs began. In a League where the playoffs matter more than the regular season (see San Jose and Kansas City), the.

Nordsjaelland 2 - Shakhtar Donetsk 5

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Michael Parkhurst's Nordsjaelland played a strong first-half against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday, but had no answer in the second. Morten Nordstrand opened the scoring for Nordsjaelland at their Parken Stadium in the 24th minute. Shakhtar equalized two minutes later, but Nordsjaelland responded with a 29th minute goal from Kasper Lorentzen.

Beckham interview

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The day after announcing he plans to leave the Los Angeles Galaxy at the conclusion of the season, David Beckham spoke with Major League Soccer's official site.

Wednesday's TV: Champs League

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Champions League on Fox Soccer: Zenit - Malaga at 12pm, Manchester City - Real Madrid at 2:30pm, Arsenal - Montpellier at 5pm (2:30pm on Fox Soccer Plus), and Anderlecht - Milan at 7pm. beIN Sport has the Argentina - Brazil friendly at 7pm. All Times Eastern

Upside: Be a leader

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Their Words "It's for us now to find a solution on the pitch. If one leader is missing maybe each player has to be a leader on their own and try to fill the gap." Everton's Sylvain Distin. Other Sources David Beckham will leave the Galaxy different from how he found it - from The LA Times' Kevin Baxter: Beckham changed the league in other ways too.

Questions: Acceptable seasons

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Nov 20, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Tuesday's column, Tony looks at successful seasons in MLS, the release of the Rapids' face of the franchise, and shrugs at the news that Red Bull might not be totally in favor of a New York City based franchise. Looking at the Eastern Conference, which franchises can say they had even an acceptable season?

Besler wins Defender of the Year

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Sporting Kansas City's Matt Besler is the latest Major League Soccer award winner, named Defender of the Year on Tuesday. "I am very humbled, yet ecstatic, to be honored as MLS Defender of the Year," Besler said in a press statement. "To be a part of such a great team and backline, you could make an argument for any of the back four for Sporting Kansas City.

Beckham's MLS

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 20, 2012) US Soccer Players – Is it possible to discuss David Beckham without making it about the whole of Major League Soccer? It's tough to argue that there's any separation between Beckham's tenure in MLS and the League's steps forward, but is it fair? We've all read the quotes from club and League officials crediting Beckham with reorienting professional soccer's scope in North America alongside his own.

Roma 2 - Torino 0

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Michael Bradley and Roma shutout Torino at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday. Pablo Osvaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 71st minute with Miralem Pjanic doubling the lead in the 86th. With the win, Roma are 6th in the table trailing Rome rivals Lazio by three points with all clubs on 13 games played.

Win or Lose, Cup Beckham's last Galaxy game

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On Monday, Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham announced that the December 1st MLS Cup final will be his last game for the club. "I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career," Beckham said in a press statement.

Tuesday's TV: Groups

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Champions League on Fox Soccer: Spartak Moscow - Barcelona at 12pm, Juventus - Chelsea at 2:30pm, Galatasaray - Manchester United at 5pm (2:30pm on Fox Soccer Plus), and Benfica - Celtic at 7pm. All Times Eastern

Upside: Something special

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Their Words "We talk about laying a foundation here and having something special for years to come and I believe it's here. I really do. This group is a bunch of great, young guys who are willing to fight and do what it takes. This experience was invaluable for them." DC United coach Ben Olsen. Other Sources Back in MLS Cup, '12 Galaxy happy to do it the hard way - from MLSsoccer.

Dempsey Wins US Soccer award

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United States National Team player Clint Dempsey is the US Soccer Federation's Male Athlete of the Year for 2012, US Soccer announced on Monday. Dempsey scored six goals at international level in 2012.

MLS Officiating

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Wouldn't it be nice to get a semifinal with a clear winner on the scoreboard and on the field? DC United entered their second-leg with eventual finalists Houston feeling like a no-call in the opener stacked the series against them. It didn't help that Major League Soccer's head of officiating eventually agreed with DC's take.

Berry named MLS Rookie of the Year

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Chicago's Austin Berry is Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year, MLS announced on Monday. Berry led across all of the voting blocks, receiving over half the votes in the club and media sections and over 30% of the player votes. Also announced on Monday, Berry's teammate Logan Pause is the 2012 Individual Fair Play winner and the New England Revolution won the team Fair Play award.

Winning the North London derby

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 19, 2012) US Soccer Players – It's easy to trot out the standard coach-speak following Arsenals 5-2 win over Tottenham in England's Premier League on Sunday. More specifically, it's a 5-2 win in one of that League's most contentious derbies, a showdown of neighbors that's supposed to be a highlight game.

LA wins the West

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The Los Angeles Galaxy will host Houston in the 2012 MLS Cup, with both wildcard teams advancing on Sunday. In Seattle, the Sounders thought they had taken an early lead on the night only to have Eddie Johnson's opener called for offside. Johnson responded with a 12th minute goal, and it was 2-0 Seattle when Zach Scott scored in the 57th.

Houston wins the East

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Houston drew 1-1 with DC on the night at RFK Stadium, taking the Eastern Conference final series 4-2 on aggregate. Oscar Garcia scored for Houston in the 33rd minute, with Branko Boskovic equalizing for United in the 83rd.

National Teamers Abroad: Tough games in the Premier League

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It was tough going for Americans in England's Premier League over the weekend, with two National Teamers Abroad clubs giving up five goals. Spurs were on the wrong side of a 5-2 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. With Tottenham taking the lead in the 10th minute, goal scorer Emmanuel Adebayor exited to a red card eight minutes later.

Tijuana advances in Liga MX playoffs

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Tijuana and Monterrey drew 1-1 on Sunday night, with Tijuana advancing to the Liga MX Apertura semifinals 2-1 on aggregate. Pablo Aguilar opened the scoring for Tijuana in the 51st minute with Monterrey equalizing deep into stoppage time at the Estadio Caliente. Edgar Castillo started for Tijuana with first-leg hero Greg Garza subbing on in the 71st minute.

Weekend TV: London derby

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Saturday Premier League on ESPN2: Arsenal - Spurs at 7:30am. On Fox Soccer: WBA - Chelsea at 10am, Norwich - Manchester United at 12pm, Liverpool - Wigan at 2:30pm, and Newcastle - Swansea at 5pm. On Fox Soccer Plus: Manchester City - Aston Villa at 10am, Reading - Everton at 12pm, and QPR - Southampton at 2pm.

Upside: The Buzz

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Their Words "It's an important game for the club. When you go into a game like this you want to make the most out of what people are thinking, the buzz in relation to the game." Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas. Other Sources DC United's Ben Olsen seeks a balance of aggressiveness, patience - from The Washington Times' Thomas Floyd: The Houston Dynamo and a two-goal disadvantage.

Liga MX: Monterrey 0 - Tijuana 1

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Edgar Castillo got the start for Tijuana in their 1-0 opening leg win in their semifinal series with Monterrey. US Under-20 National Team player Greg Garza subbed on in the 78th minute and scored the game's only goal in the 86th minute. The series concludes on Sunday in Tijuana. Joe Corona was on the bench for Tijuana.

Bocanegra expected to miss six weeks

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The apparent hamstring strain that led to United States National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra subbing out in the 18th minute of the Russia - USA friendly on Wednesday is a torn hamstring in his left leg. According to his club Racing Santander's official site, Bocanegra will need six weeks of recovery.

Video: Altidore in Holland part 2

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Friday's TV

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Ligue 1 on Univision Deportes: Lorient - Lille at 2:30pm ET.

Upside: Hold your hands up

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Their Words "Sometimes you come off the pitch and have to hold your hands up and say you've either played against a top team or a top player. I thought we controlled large parts of the game, but obviously Zlatan was the standout player and it was his night. It was a fantastic individual performance." England midfielder Steven Gerrard.

Questions: Late additions

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Nov 15, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Thursday's column, Tony suggests there's no advantage to having the second-leg at home, looks at Salt Lake's stunning ending to the season, and pleads with successful coaches to stop playing the ‘no respect' card. Isn't it asking a lot for a recovering player to make a difference to a team well behind on aggregate?

MLS announces awards schedule

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On Thursday, Major League Soccer announced the finalists and the schedule for their 2012 awards. New York's Thierry Henry, San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, and Kansas City's Graham Zusi are up for the Most Valuable Player. Rookie of the Year Finalists Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) Nick DeLeon (D.C. United) Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) Xbox Individual Fair Play Finalists* Ante Jazic (Chivas USA) Logan Pause (Chicago Fire) Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls) *Selected by MLS.

Russia - USA: Player reaction

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Five From Russia

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 15, 2012) US Soccer Players – On Wednesday, the USA failed to lose against the 9th-ranked team in the world. Let me stop you before letting me know FIFA Ranking is meaningless. Let's just assume that a team having no trouble in UEFA qualifying is quality, certainly not business as usual by CONCACAF standards.

Quote Sheet: Russia 2 - USA 2

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Coach Jurgen Klinsmann On the match against Russia: "We saw a very entertaining game. Russia proved why they are one of the best teams in Europe, and we wanted to see how good we are against such a strong team. I think you saw we can compete with very good teams in the world. The way our team fought back twice after being down a goal was great.

Picking an MLS keeper

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By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 14, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Goalkeepers are an odd breed. Not necessarily in personality, though they often carry, as a group, a reputation for being some of the stranger characters in the game. No, goalkeepers are an odd breed because finding one you can depend on week in and week out isn't as easy as it might seem.

Thursday's TV: Mexico playoffs

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FA Cup on Fox Soccer: Atrincham - Burton Albion at 2:30pm. Liga MX playoffs on Univision Deportes: Monterry - Tijuana at 8pm and Telemundo: Chivas - Toluca at 10pm. Copa Sudamericana on Fox Deportes: Millonarios - Gremio at 7pm. All Times Eastern

Upside: Philosophy and structure

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Their Words "This is the return of the prodigal son. From its inauguration, the plan was to make Chivas USA the son of Chivas de Guadalajara. Along the way it got away from that and the clubs suffered a divorce in philosophy and structure." Chivas USA owner Jorge Vergara. Other Sources U.S. fortunate to escape Russia with draw in final match of 2012 - from SI.

Highlights: Russia 2 - USA 2

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Russia 2 - USA 2

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After a strong Michael Bradley strike from the top of the arc in the 76th minute to level the score, Russia went ahead on an 84th minute penalty. That setup a shock stoppage time winner from Mix Diskerud who had his shot from the top of the box deflected into the goal. With the game kicking off at 10am East Coast time at Kuban Stadium in Krasnodar, the home side went up in the 9th.

Wednesday's TV: Friendly

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Russia - USA is on ESPN2 and Univision Deportes at 10am. beIN Sport has Argentina - Saudi Arabia at 1pm and Panama - Spain at 4pm. ESPN Deportes has Czech Republic - Slovakia at 11:30am and Holland - Germany at 2:30pm. On GolTV: Argentina - Saudi Arabia at 12pm, England - Sweden at 2:30pm, and Ireland - Greece at 4:30pm.

Upside: An old jersey

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Their Words "When I was in the MLS, my mum pulled out an old jersey and got it framed for me and that was the number - number two. It's a number that has significance for me and I'm happy to be wearing it." Tottenham forward Clint Dempsey. Other Sources Klinsmann provides second chances for Americans vs.

Questions: DC's complaint

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Nov 13, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Tuesday's column, Tony looks at the MLS Eastern Conference finals, analyzes why playing conservatively against the Galaxy is a bad idea, and looks at what happened to San Jose during the last month. Legitimate case or not for a potential game-changing foul, did DC United do enough in the first leg in Houston?

Video archive: USA - Russia

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Preview: Russia - USA

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By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 13, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Jurgen Klinsmann's effort to test the US National Team with demanding international friendlies continues in faraway Krasnodar on Wednesday, as the Yanks visit Russia for their final match of 2012 (10am ET - ESPN2). Amid a brief break from the tension of CONCACAF qualifying, Klinsmann has called in a hybrid US roster featuring both regulars and newcomers which should make for interesting.

Video: Altidore in Holland

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Tuesday's TV

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FA Cup on Fox Soccer Plus: Braintree Town – Tranmere at 2:30pm ET.

Upside: 1,000 percent

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Their Words "All I can say is that I am clear in my head about the commitment moving forward. This was about me being ready to accept the responsibility of being a part of the National Team and everything that goes with it, and now I am ready. I hope I will get chances in the future. I am in 1,000 percent.

Corner: The New York Red Bulls

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So once again, New York presses the reset button. After all, you can't call replacing the coaches, the key front office personnel, and appointing global and local sporting directors as a logical progression from what was in place at the start of the 2012 Major League Soccer season. This is Red Bulls soccer, and it would be a mistake to take anything for granted.

Studio 90: USA arrive for camp ahead of Russia friendly

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Expectations in the Conference Finals

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 12, 2012) US Soccer Players – Whenever a team takes a sizeable first-leg lead in a two-game playoff series, the talk normally moves to comebacks. There's almost always an example of a team that made good on a first-leg deficit. Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan made that point after his team was the one taking that sizeable first-leg lead.

Roster announced for Russia friendly

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On Monday, United States National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann released his 21-man roster for Wednesday's friendly against Russia (10am ET – ESPN2). "We ask for these games because they are big learning curves for us," Klinsmann said in a press statement. "We need to measure ourselves against the best teams out there and build even more confidence.

MLS Playoffs: Leads for Houston and LA

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Once again, the Houston Dynamo took full advantage of hosting the first-leg of a playoff series, and once again they take a two-goal lead into the second-leg. This time, it was DC United's turn to find out what playoff home field advantage means at BBVA Compass Stadium, losing 3-1 to the Dynamo. DC led when Nick DeLeon scored in the 27th minute, taking that score into halftime.

National Teamers Abroad: Another AZ goal for Altidore

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Jozy Altidore once again showed he can score in the Eredivisie. With AZ trailing ADO Den Haag 2-1, Altidore equalized in the 64th for the 2-2 draw. Sacha Kljestan also scored, part of a glut of goals from Anderlecht in their 6-1 defeat of Club Brugge at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. Kljestan scored Anderlecht's fourth goal in the 54th minute.

Backe out at Red Bulls

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The New York Red Bulls announced on Friday that coach Hans Backe's contract won't be renewed at the end of the year. "We want to thank Hans for his work over the past three years and wish him the best of luck in the future," Global Sporting Director of Red Bull Soccer Gerard Houllier said in a press statement.

Disciplinary rules on Najar incident

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DC United defender Andy Najar will serve an additional two-game suspension and pay a fine, Major League Soccer's Disciplinary Committee announced on Friday. Najar received a red card after tossing the ball at the match official in the first-leg of DC's semifinal series with New York. Najar missed the second game as a result of the red card and will now miss both legs of the Eastern Conference final.

Fraser exits Chivas USA

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Chivas USA announced on Friday that coach Robin Fraser, his assistant Greg Vanney, and technical director Simon Elliott are no longer with the club. Fraser spent two seasons in charge of Chivas USA, finishing 8th and 9th in the Western Conference.

Weekend TV: MLS finals

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Saturday Premier League on ESPN2: Arsenal – Fulham at 10am. Fox Soccer has Everton – Sunderland at 9:30am, Aston Villa – Manchester United at 12pm, Southampton – Swansea City at 2:30pm, and Reading – Norwich at 4:30pm. On Fox Soccer Plus: Wigan – WBA at 10am and Stoke – QPR at 12pm. Scottish Premier League on FS+: Inverness – Hearts at 7am.

Europa League: Hannover, Spurs win

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Thursday's Europa League schedule brought individual success for Alejandro Bedoya, but a 3-2 loss for Helsingborg in Group L. Facing off against Steve Cherundolo's Hannover 96 at AWD-Arena, Mame Diouf put Hannover up in the 3rd minute and doubled the lead in the 50th. Helsingborg equalized in the 59th with a Nikola Durdic goal, and it was Bedoya equalizing in the 67th.

Upside: Didn't win

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Their Words "Well as I said to you, only one team is going to be happy at the end of the season. We will be a team obviously that didn't win. Only one team is going to be happy so the rest will be talking about us. It's not good enough, we want to win, but as I said to you only one team is going to win.

Video: Hexagonal announcement

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DC and Seattle advance

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The readjusted and then delayed Eastern Conference final series between DC and New York ended with an 88th minute Nick DeLeon goal on Thursday night in Harrison, New Jersey. DC advance 1-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate. The series took another odd turn in the second-leg, with DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid ejected in the 69th minute.

Friday's TV

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Bundesliga on GolTV: Mainz – Nurnberg at 2:30pm. Same time for Ligue 1 on Univision Deportes: Nancy – Rennes. Liga MX on ESPN Deportes and Azteca: Morelia – Santos Lagua at 10:30pm. mun2 has Leon – Atlas at 10:30pm (11:30pm on Telemundo) All Times Eastern

Upside: Stay unbeaten

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Their Words "We have a great team and a great group of guys here. We need to be proud of what we did this year. It's hard to stay unbeaten against the same team five times in the same season." San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch. Other Sources San Jose Earthquakes eliminated from MLS playoffs by Los Angeles Galaxy - from The San Jose Mercury News's Elliott Almond: But in the one that mattered, the Galaxy.

Questions: Changes in MLS

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Nov 8, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Thursday's column, Tony asks if tonight's the night for Fredy Montero, takes a look at opportunities for Portland and Colorado, and wonders why non-playoff teams continuing to train. Besides the hiring of Caleb Porter to be head coach, what's going to change in Portland before next season?

What to make of Montreal?

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By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 8, 2012) US Soccer Players -- From the beginning, Joey Saputo's choice of head coach for the Montreal Impact's first year in Major League Soccer seemed a little odd. It's not that Jesse Marsch lacks pedigree and potential, but he had no previous head coaching experience, possessed little to no name recognition, and didn't fit the aspirational continental flair of Major League Soccer's first officially bilingual club.

MLS Playoffs: Houston and LA advance

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Both Play-In Round clubs won their Conference semifinals on Wednesday night. Sporting Kansas City was unable to overcome Houston's two-goal lead from the first leg, winning on the night 1-0 at Livestrong Park but losing the series 2-1. Seth Sinovic scored for Kansas City in the 64th minute. Sporting outshot Houston 20 to 3, putting four of those on goal to Houston's one.

Juventus 4 - Nordsjaelland 0

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Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland had no answer for Juventus's attack in Group E play on Wednesday. Nordsjaelland fell behind six minutes in and were down 3-0 at the half at Juventus Stadium in Torino. Nordsjaelland are last in Group E with one point from four games. Moving to Denmark's DBU Pokelan cup tournament, Clarence Goodson and Brondby shutout Silkeborg 3-0 with all goals scored in the second-half.

Hexagonal announced

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On Wednesday night in Miami, the United States learned its schedule for the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. "Usually, a team would like to have the first game at home, but if you don't have the first game at home you make the best out of it," coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "We are looking forward to going to Honduras for the first game and then we're going to take it one game at.

NY- DC postponed

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Major League Soccer has moved the New York – DC United Eastern Conference semifinal second-leg to Thursday at 7:30pm ET at Red Bull Arena. Snow in the region forced a delay to the scheduled Wednesday night start and eventually a postponement. The series is tied 1-1. The first-leg of the Eastern Conference finals moves to Sunday at 4pm ET.

Thursday's TV: Europa

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Major League Soccer Western Conference semifinal second-leg on NBC Sports Network: Salt Lake – Seattle at 10pm. Europa League on Fox Soccer: Anzhi Makhachkala – Liverpool at 12pm, Spurs – Maribor at 3pm, and Marseille – ‘Gladbach at 5pm. Fox Soccer Plus has CLub Brugge – Newcastle at 1pm, Partizan – Inter Milan at 3pm, and Napoli – Dnipro at 5pm.

Upside: No complaints

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Their Words "There are no complaints from me. We have come away with four points from two of the top teams in the league." Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman. Other Sources D.C. United says it can weather the MLS playoff storm vs. Red Bulls - from The Washington Post's Steven Goff: "Our team is built for that.

The persistent charm of the late bloomer

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By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 7, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Do you know where to look for talent? Do you know what you're looking for? What if you look too soon? For well over a decade now, US Soccer has been working diligently to grow its player identification network, casting a wider, finer net in an effort to make sure they don't overlook any prospects.

Preview: The Semifinal Second-Legs

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 7, 2012) US Soccer Players – We'll start with the obvious. Houston did enough in Game One to expect to advance to the Eastern Conference final. Sporting Kansas City has no choice but to talk up home field and their advantages (9pm ET – MLS Live), but the reality is a team up against it.

Champions League win for Anderlecht, draws for Schalke and Malaga

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Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht pickted up three points in Group C with a 1-0 shutout of Zenit on Tuesday in Bruseels. Kljestan setup Dieumerci Mbokani's 16th minute winner. In Group B, Jermaine Jones got the start for Schalke in their 2-2 draw with Arsenal at the Veltins-Arena. Arsenal led 2-0 by the 26th minute, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored for Schalke in first-half stoppage time.

November 2012 FIFA Ranking

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The United States moved up five spots to 27th in the FIFA World Ranking released on Wednesday. The USA beat Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala in World Cup Qualifying during the rankings period. Mexico moves up five spots to 14th, followed by Panama at 46th and Jamaica at 50th. Honduras is 56th with Haiti in 57th and Canada in 60th.

Wednesdays TV

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Major League Soccer Conference semifinals second-legs on NBC Sports Network: NY – DC at 8pm and ESPN2: San Jose – LA at 11pm. Champions League on Fox Soccer: Braga – Manchester United at 2:30pm, Celtic – Barcelona at 5pm, and Chelsea Schakhtar Donestk at 7pm (2:30pm on Fox Soccer Plus). Liga MX on Univision Deportes: Monterrey – Toluca at 9:30pm.

Upside: Task ahead

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Their Words "Before the game it's not about figures or statistics. The only thing that counts is the task ahead of us. And it isn't easy." Schalke 04 manager Huub Stevens. Other Sources Howard reflects on decade in England, looks at future options - from SI.com's Grant Wahl: Howard now holds the top current mark of 192 consecutive league starts.

Questions: LA's semifinal

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Nov 6, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Tuesday's edition, Tony asks what Los Angeles could have done Sunday evening to change the result against San Jose, continues to wonder why MLS makes life difficult for itself, and salutes veteran goalkeepers. What adjustments could Bruce Arena have made to take control of the Western Conference semi-final first-leg?

Struggling in Major League Soccer

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 6, 2012) US Soccer Players – One of the questions that Major League Soccer has yet to answer after 17 regular seasons is when it's time for a team to admit they no longer have a chance. Over its history, MLS is the League of slight chances turning into real opportunity.

Tuesday's TV: Champions League

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Champions League on Fox Soccer: Manchester City – Ajax at 2:30pm, Real Madrid – Borussia Dortmund at 5pm (2:30pm on Fox Soccer Plus), and Schalke 04 – Arsenal at 7pm.

Upside: Take confidence

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Their Words "Drawing is our Achilles heel at the moment and we need to win these games. But we've got to take confidence from the performance - it was outstanding." Everton's Phil Neville. Other Sources Rimando: Blood on His Gloves, Questions in the Stands - from The Ny Times' Liviu Bird: The booing continued.

Wondolowski wins Player of the Month

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San Jose's Chris Wondolowski is Major League Soccer's Player of the Month for October, MLS announced on Monday. Wondolowski finished the 2012 season tied for the League's all-time single-season scoring record with 27 goals. Five of those goals came in October. Wondolowski received all but three of the 18 first-place votes.

Corner: Arsenal

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It's always interesting to see an elite team unable to do the basics. For Arsenal, that meant questionable defending in their loss to Manchester United. At Premier League level, that's what normally happens when you can fairly use a phrase like ‘questionable defending.' Arsenal – and everybody else in the EPL for that matter – lack the offensive threats to have a bad day against United and expect to come away with something.

MLS and the Playoff Standard

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By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 5, 2012) US Soccer Players – The majority of complaints about the playoff setup concern the two-leg series. So how about getting rid of the two-leg series? This is an old point in this League and we've seen a variety of answers. Though it managed to throw me on an annual basis, MLS used to follow the two-leg Conference semifinals with a single game Conference championship.

MLS Playoffs: Slight advantage

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Major League Soccer's 2012 semifinal opening legs still have plenty of questions remaining. To start, when will we see a goal in the Seattle – Salt Lake series? Opening on Friday night at CenturyLink Field, the game ended scoreless with both goalkeepers doing their part. RSL's Nick Rimando finished with five saves to Michael Gspurning's four, and it was Rimando getting the plaudits for keeping his team in the game.

National Teamers Abroad: Assists in Germany

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We start in the Bundesliga, where Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams's Hoffenheim got the better of Jermaine Jones and Schalke, beating them 3-2. Johnson setup Kevin Volland's 13th minute opener with Schalke equalizing twice. Sven Schipplock scored Hoffenheim's winner in stoppage time. Jones subbed out in the 77th minute.

Marsch 'parts ways' with Impact

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When a club that didn't make the postseason calls a press conference for a playoff Saturday, the news is likely to be important. Montreal announced earlier today that coach Jesse Marsch is no longer with the club. "It is important to clarify that this is not a dismissal or a resignation, but rather an amicable parting of ways," Impact president Joey Saputo said in a press statement.

Magic Mike Magee

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By Zac Lee Rigg - LOS ANGELES, CA (Nov 2, 2012) US Soccer Players -- It's playoff season in Major League Soccer, which means that teams are duking it out in knockout competition and also that Mike Magee is in scorching form. Very few MLS players – if any – have his ability to switch on the form for the biggest, most meaningful games.

Weekend TV: Semi

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Saturday MLS playoffs on NBC Sports Network: DC - NY at 8pm. Premier League on ESPN2: Manchester United - Arsenal at 8:30am. Fox Soccer has Swansea - Chelsea at 10:30am, WBA - Manchester City at 1pm, Fulham - Everton at 3:30pm, and Norwich - Stoke at 5:30pm. On Fox Soccer Plus: Spurs - Wigan at 10:45am and Sunderland - Aston Villa at 3pm.

Upside: Extremely difficult

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Their Words "Without you cheering for us through the good times and the bad - be it at the stadium, on the road, at a bar or in your living room - it would have been extremely difficult for us to go from last place in 2011 to becoming the first Canadian team to reach the MLS Cup playoffs. We gave it our all on the pitch this evening but sometimes things don't go your.

MLS Western Conference Play-In: LA 2 - Vancouver 1

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Though Vancouver didn't make it easy, the Los Angeles Galaxy will play Western Conference champions San Jose in the semifinal round of the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs. Vancouver led from the third minute when Darren Mattocks scored. LA equalized in the 69th through Mike Magee, and Landon Donovan won the game from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute.

SWZ 1 - AZ 4

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A big game for Jozy Altidore in the Dutch Cup, scoring twice in AZ's 4-1 win at the Tinga Sportpark in the KNVB Beker round of 16. AZ went up in the third minute when Johann Gudmundsson scored. He doubled the lead in the 47th, only for SWZ to pull a goal back in the 52nd minute. Altidore put the game away a minute later, scoring again in the 60th minute.

Friday's TV: Playoffs

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NBC Sports Network has the Western Conference semifinals: Seattle - Salt Lake at 10pm. FA Cup on Fox Soccer: Cambridge City - MK Dons at 3:30pm. Bundesliga on GolTV: Eintracht Frankfurt - Greuther Furth at 3pm. Ligue Cup on beIN Sport and Univision Deportes: Brest - Lorient at 3:45pm. Liga MX on Fox Deportes: Jaguares - UNAM Pumas at 9:30pm.

Upside: Right shoes

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Their Words "You push the game and then a guy slips and you give up a goal. What are you going to do? I mean, it's part of it. We had the right shoes on. We had studs on. Sometimes the game is a little bit cool but we pushed the game. Hats off to our guys becauhse they pushed it and left everything on the field.

Questions: Season statistics

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Nov 1, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Thursday's column, Tony ties the questions together, with comments on Chris Wondolowski, Carlos Valderrama and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, MLS goalkeepers, and more. With three Player of the Month awards, 11 game-winning goals, and becoming the first player in MLS history to outscore an entire team over the course of a season (Chivas USA scored 24 goals, he scored 27), which.

Old school MLS rivalries

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By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 1, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Back when Major League Soccer was just a startup, when every team played in someone else's building and the jerseys had the look of Trapper Keeper cover art, a handful of meaningful rivalries formed in the cauldron of the new American soccer League.

MLS Eastern Conference Play-In: Chicago 1 - Houston 2

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Home field advantage wasn't the difference in the Eastern Conference Play-In Round at Toyota Park on Wednesday. Houston advances to the Eastern Conference semifinals after taking a two-goal lead. Will Bruin opened the scoring in the 12th minute and doubled the lead in the 46th. Alex pulled a goal back for Chicago in the 83rd, but that was it for the Fire offense.

Wins for Malaga and Hannover in cups

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Oguchi Onyewu opened the scoring in the 2nd minute of Malaga's 4-3 Copa del Rey win against Cacereno on Wednesday. Roque Santa Cruz scored twice for Malaga. Terrence Boyd scored in the 73rd minute to send Rapid Vienna's Austrian Cup game against Rheindorf Altach into overtime. Rapid scored twice to advance 4-2.