USSoccerPlayers Archives for January 2017

Borussia Dortmund makes a change

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The DFB Pokal celebrations didn't last long for Borussia Dortmund. The Bundesliga club made a coaching announcement in Tuesday's soccer news, parting ways with Thomas Tuchel.

"We would like to thank Thomas Tuchel and his coaching staff for the sporting success they have brought to BVB...." read Borussia Dortmund's official statement.

The 1992 US Cup

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (May 29, 2017) US Soccer Players – It was 25 years ago that US Soccer came up with the novel idea of turning a bunch of National Team friendlies into a competitive mini-tournament. What followed was the creation of the US Cup. It answered an obvious issue for the USMNT.

Title for Chivas

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Monday's soccer news starts with Chivas winning the 2017 Liga MX Clausura title. Chivas beat Tigres 2-1 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate. Alan Pulido started the scoring for Chivas in he 17th minute with Juan Vasquez doubling the lead in the 70th. Ismael Sosa pulled a goal back for Tigres in the 88th.

MLS Week 13: Shutouts tell the story

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Week 13 of the 2017 MLS season continued over the Memorial Day weekend with losses raising more questions for struggling clubs. That started on Friday night with Toronto shutting out Columbus 5-0 at BMO Field.

Victor Vazquez put Toronto up from the penalty spot in the 6th minute. Justin Morrow doubled the lead in the 39th with Vasquez scoring again in the 59th.

USMNT roster for June 2017 games

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The USMNT has three games on the June 2017 schedule, a friendly and two World Cup qualifiers. The USMNT plays Venezuela on June 3 at Rio Tinto Stadium (10pm ET - FS1) in an international friendly. The USMNT returns to World Cup qualifying on June 9 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park against Trinidad & Tobago (7:50pm - FS1) and is away to Mexico on June 13 (8:30pm - FS1).

German Cup win for Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund

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Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund broke a winless streak at the DFB Pokal final, beating Timmy Chandler's Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1. Ousmane Dembele put Dortmund up in the 8th minute with Ante Rebic equalizing in the 29th. Coming on at halftime, Pulisic started the sequence that led to a penalty, converted by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 67th.

U-20 World Cup: USMNT 1 – Saudi Arabia 1

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The USMNT won Group F at the U-20 World Cup, finishing off group play with a 1-1 draw with Saudi Arabia. The USMNT advances to play New Zealand in the round of 16 on June 1 (7am ET - FS1). In the other Group F finale, Senegal and Ecuador drew 0-0.

Brooks Lennon put the USMNT up in the 40th minute.

Soccer TV: Arsenal vs Chelsea

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It's the FA Cup final on the weekend soccer TV schedule with Arsenal playing Chelsea on Saturday. The FA Cup final gets national TV coverage on Fox along with the Seattle vs Portland MLS game. Also on the schedule, the Scottish Cup final, the DFB Pokal final, the Copa del Rey final, the French Cup final, and the Portuguese Cup final.

Picking the 2017 soccer Hall of Famers

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (May 24, 2017) US Soccer Players - The 2017 list of player candidates for the National Soccer Hall of Fame hit email inboxes on Wednesday. Thirty-three names deep, the group is a fascinating mix of players who made a mark on the game in the United States via several different avenues.

Comeback in Liga MX, win for Chicago

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Friday's soccer news starts with the scores. The Liga MX Clausura final opened with Tigres coming back against Chivas to draw 2-2. Tigres fell behind at home to an Alan Pulido goal in the 23rd minute. Rodolfo Pizarro doubled Chivas's lead in the 42nd. Andre Pierre Gignac scored for Tigres in the 85th and equalized three minutes later.

New stars rising as USMNT U-20s find their feet at the World Cup

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (May 25, 2017) US Soccer Players - They've got a diverse, battle-tested squad. They've got a hotshot striker surging towards stardom. They've got four points from their first two group-stage games, and increasingly euphoric fans waking up early or staying up late to watch them.

Once again, it’s San Diego telling an MLS story

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By J Hutcherson (May 25, 2017) US Soccer Players - The MLS expansion process has never been what most would consider straightforward. The first round early in the league's existence was to answer a simple issue. Chicago missed the launch and Miami put a team in what most people assumed was a soccer hotbed.

Mourinho games the Europa League

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Not too long ago, there was a push to add some kind of meaning to the Europa League. On the surface, it was easy to dismiss the tournament as close to irrelevant. Winning meant lifting a trophy, sure, but few confused that with an overwhelmingly successful season. The Europa League was what it was, Europe's second-tier competition.

FIFA U-20 World Cup: Senegal 0 – USMNT 1

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A Josh Sargent goal was the difference in three points for the USMNT at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Sargent scored in the 34th minute for the 1-0 win over Senegal in Group F. Jonathan Klinsmann picked up the shutout for the Americans.

The USMNT now leads Group F with four points to Senegal's three.

Chivas needs a trophy

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (May 24, 2017) US Soccer Players - There is no greater club in Mexico than Club Deportivo Guadalajara, known more commonly as Chivas. At least, that's what their supporters say.

Chivas indeed have a storied history. Famous for their red-and-white striped jerseys, Chivas is the only team in Mexico to use only Mexican-born players and, more recently, players of Mexican descent.

MLS looks for help in development

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (May 24, 2017) US Soccer Players - Major League Soccer faces a myriad of challenges if it is going to reach its self-stated goal of becoming one of the top leagues in the world anytime soon. Without thinking too hard, things like television ratings and national relevance stand out as problems that have no easy solutions but are crucial to any progress.

Ajax vs Manchester United

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The 2016-17 Europa final (2:45pm ET - FS1) tells its own story. Once a super club vs still a super club, even if Manchester United needs the Europa League title to qualify for the Champions League. Somehow, Ajax only spending to realistically compete at Eredivisie level has turned into a story of youth and forced decisions.

The Premier League barely quits while it’s ahead

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By J Hutcherson (May 23, 2017) US Soccer Players - There's an old line about any club sport staying away just long enough for you to remember how much you cared. Even the short run season in the National Football League has enough games and enough opportunities for fans to decide they have something else to do with their Sundays.

The cost of the Championship

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with an item that isn't exactly a surprise. David Moyes is no longer the manager of Sunderland, one of the new members of the Championship. According to reports, Moyes had indicated a willingness to stay with the club a league down. He officially resigned on Monday.

Sunderland's relegation became official a couple of weeks ago, capping a tough season in the Premier League that began with only two points from ten games.

The USMNT and the summer of 2017

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (May 22, 2017) US Soccer Players – Another busy summer is starting Amid the scores of MLS matches and international friendlies on the soccer schedule, the USMNT will play some of their most important games of the year. Bruce Arena's team will have to play at least nine matches over the course of two months.

Arsenal’s problem

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Monday's soccer news starts with Arsenal not getting the ending they wanted to the 2016-17 Premier League season. Needing a win and help on the final match day, they handled their business with a 3-1 win over Everton at the Emirates Stadium. Unfortunately for their last ditch effort to qualify for the Champions League, so did Liverpool.

U-20 World Cup: Ecuador 3 – USMNT 3

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The USMNT needed a stoppage time equalizer to split the point with Ecuador in their Group F opener at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The game kicked off at 5pm ET local time, 4am East Coast time.

Ecuador took the early lead at Incheon Stadium with Herlin Lino scoring in the 5th minute. Bryan Cabezas doubling the lead two minutes later.

MLS Week 12: Dallas loses, Philadelphia wins

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After a run of Wednesday games, week 12 of the 2017 MLS season resumed on Friday. New York and Toronto drew 1-1 at Red Bull Arena. Bradley Wright-Phillips put New York up in the 38th minute with Benoit Cheyrou equalizing in the 70th.

"Obviously, it's positive we didn't lose the game," Toronto forward Jozy Altidore said.

Bundesliga and Premier League finales

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We start the USMNT players in Europe and Mexico roundup with the Bundesliga finishing off their season on Saturday. Christian Pulisic subbed on at halftime for Borussia Dortmund in their 4-3 win over Werder Bremen. Zlatko Junuzovic put Werder Bremen up on the road in the 7th minute. Marco Reus equalized for Dortmund in the 32nd with Pierre Aubameyang scoring in the 42nd.

Soccer TV: The Premier League season finale

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It's the final day of the 2016-17 Premier League season on the weekend soccer TV schedule. All games are at the same time on Sunday, with the NBC family of networks providing blanket coverage. Saturday is the end of the 2016-17 Bundesliga season on Fox. Sunday has the conclusion of the Liga MX semifinals.

Playing the transfer game in MLS

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (May 19, 2017) US Soccer Players - The international transfer market is, ostensibly, a an exercise in economics. Buying a player means exchanging capital for talent you believe will help your team win more games. Selling a player brings about the opposite result. You may lose someone who could help you on the field, but the financial return strengthens the club.

Mourinho and Manchester United point to the schedule

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Once again, it's Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho asking questions about the Premier League. This time, it's scheduling a game for Sunday when his team plays the Europa League final on Wednesday.

Even though the Premier League wants all of the finales to at the same time, Mourinho certainly has a point.

Arena’s decisions for the next round of World Cup qualifying

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (May 18, 2017) US Soccer Players - Two weeks from Saturday, the USMNT will return to match play with a friendly vs Venezuela at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. It's a warm-up before pivotal World Cup qualifiers vs. Trinidad & Tobago on June 8 and at Mexico on the 11.

Philadelphia turns it around

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The Philadelphia Union is on a five-game undefeated streak with three wins in a row, enough to turnaround an MLS season by week 12. The Union was the poster child for troubled clubs early on, with predictions of a coaching change and questions over the scope of the team. Fair enough considering the results.

MLS Week 12: Five games on Wednesday

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Week 12 of the 2017 MLS season had a busy Wednesday schedule that started with a win for Philadelphia. The Union shutout Houston 2-0 at Talen Energy Stadium. Fabrice-Jean Picault opened the scoring in the 17th minute with Illsinho adding a goal in the 38th. Andre Blake kept the clean sheet with four saves.

2017 US Open Cup Second Round

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The 2017 US Open Cup Second Round added teams from the NASL and USL, but four amateur clubs made it through to the next round. That included unaffiliated amateur team Christos FC knocking out the Richmond Kickers. The Eric Wynalda coached LA Wolves also continued their run, knocking out Chula Vista FC.

Gio Dos Santos for club not country

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (May 17, 2017) US Soccer Players - Earlier this week, Mexico released its roster for upcoming friendly matches against Croatia in Los Angeles on May 27 and Ireland in New Jersey five days later. One name not on the list was the LA Galaxy's Giovani Dos Santos. Perhaps that was not surprising.

Will there be a rival candidate for the US Soccer presidency?

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (May 17, 2017) US Soccer Players - Sunil Gulati won election as US Soccer Federation president for the first time in 2006 by unanimous vote, just a few months ahead of the USMNT's underwhelming World Cup campaign in Germany. Gulati ran unopposed, a clear indication of his popularity and ability to drive a large support base after years of serving as an executive in the organization.

Garber in Montreal

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MLS commissioner Don Garber took the league's roadshow to Montreal on Tuesday, meeting with media and not exactly flattering his hosts. The Montreal Gazette's Stu Cowan had Garber calling for "relevance" for the club in the market.

"We need more relevance for this team," Garber said.

Win for Reading in the promotion playoffs

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Danny Williams's Reading got the better of Tim Ream's Fulham advancing in the Championship playoffs 1-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate. Yann Kermorgant converted a 49th minute penalty to send Reading through. Goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi kept the clean sheet at the Madejski Stadium. Reading advances to the May 29 final at Wembley, playing the winner of the Sheffield Wednesday vs Huddersfield series that concludes on Wednesday.

Chelsea’s Championship

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By J Hutcherson (May 16, 2017) US Soccer Players - Chelsea celebrated their 2016-17 Premier League title with a late winner against Watford on Monday. It was the kind of game that was entertaining if not exactly a validation of what Chelsea did this season. To their critics, and there are many, that was winning a title by beating teams like Watford.

MLS, Europe, and that summer soccer schedule

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Tuesday's soccer news decides to play nice with the idea that MLS is a growing league with only bright days ahead. That makes it easier to overlook the kind of things that don't play nice with the better examples from professional soccer leagues in the rest of the world.

As the European and Mexican seasons come to a close, it's tough to downplay the kind of things that are still works in progress in good old Major League Soccer.

Celtic in the 1967 European Cup

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (May 15, 2017) US Soccer Players – Europe has seen many great clubs over the decades. Spanish giants Real Madrid dominated the tournament, now known as the UEFA Champions League, since the 1950s. The club has won the trophy more times than any other team.

Promotion and relegation in England

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Monday's soccer news starts with the relegation places in the Premier League settled with a week left in the season. Hull City joins Middlesbrough and Sunderland in dropping to the Championship, with none of those results much of a surprise.

ESPN FC's Philip Buckingham reports on the game that sealed Hull City's relegation.

MLS Week 11: Philadelphia causes DC United problems

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The Philadelphia Union flipped the script in week 11 of the 2017 MLS season, beating DC United 4-0 at RFK Stadium. Haris Medunjanin opened the scoring in the 39th with DC going a man down with a red card to Luciano Acosta for a serious foul in the 55th. Medunjanin assisted on Oguchi Onyewu's goal in the 64th.

Ingolstadt relegated, Liga MX playoffs

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Any chance at safety came to an end on Saturday for Ingolstadt, joining Darmstadt as the automatically relegated teams. Alfredo Morales subbed on in the 62nd minute for Ingolstadt's 1-1 draw at Freiburg. Ingolstadt gave up a goal in the 31st with Dario Lezcano equalizing in the 43rd. Ingolstadt will finish in 17th-place with no ability to escape the automatic relegation place with one game remaining.

Soccer TV: Spurs vs Manchester United

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Somehow, Manchester United is still in contention for a top four finish in the Premier League. They'll need three points against 2nd-place Spurs on the weekend soccer TV schedule. The first round of the Liga MX playoffs conclude and there are several options from MLS.

Spurs vs Manchester United on Sunday at 11:30am on NBCSN.

The return of the SuperLiga?

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (May 12, 2017) US Soccer Players - According to reports out of Mexico, the owners of Liga MX are set to ratify plans for a new cup competition at meetings later this month ahead of the Clausura Liguilla final. Atlas president Gustavo Guzman tipped off reporters about development on Tuesday, saying it was "very good news" that a new outlet for Mexican soccer was coming into existence just as the country's clubs pulled out of the Copa Libertadores.

FIFA being FIFA at their Congress

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The soccer news starts with FIFA president Gianni Infantino using some interesting phrasing when describing issues facing world soccer's governing body. As the Independent's Ian Herbert asks why Infantino thought it was the right move to introduce "fake news" and "alternative facts" into the FIFA conversation.

“This is who we are” – The USMNT U-20s aim for identity

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (May 11, 2017) US Soccer Players - The USMNT U-20s have gathered in Japan for their final preparations for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The tournament kicks off for the Yanks on May 22 with a tricky-looking matchup against Ecuador (4am ET - FS1).

Juventus vs Real Madrid in the Champions League final

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Real Madrid did as expected in the Champions League, knocking out city rivals Atletico to book a date with Juventus. It's no knock against the competition that super clubs make it through. That is the point after all. Atletico is certainly in that category, spending the requisite amounts of money to remain a contender across multiple seasons.

2017 US Open Cup First Round results

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It was opening night for the US Open Cup, with unaffiliated amateur, Premier Development League, and National Premier Soccer League teams in action. Nine PDL teams advanced alongside eight NPSL and eight unaffiliated teams to the second round. USL and NASL teams join the Open Cup field in the second round, scheduled for May 17.

Win for Toronto, playoffs open in Liga MX

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Toronto FC got a 90th minute goal to beat Columbus 2-1 on the road. Federico Higuain converted a 28th minute penalty to put the Crew up at MAPFRE Stadium. Tosaint Ricketts equalized in the 81st and scored Toronto's winner in the 90th.

"That was by no means perfect from our side," Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney said.

2017 Liga MX Clausura playoffs preview

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (May 10, 2017) US Soccer Players - The sprint that is Liga MX's Clausura regular season finished Sunday when Santos and Toluca drew 2-2. The result means the same two teams meet in the playoffs. While the regular season was hotly contested, the postseason will ramp that up quite a few notches.

Things change for Atlanta and Minnesota

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (May 10, 2017) US Soccer Players - This is, as they say, why they play the games. During the buildup to the 2017 MLS season, when 19 teams were still reviewing what went wrong while Seattle celebrated, two expansion clubs plotted their debuts. Though the new Uniteds shared a moniker, they each went about building their organizations in decidedly different ways.

Pressure in MLS

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Two views on the MLS experience starts Wednesday's soccer news. The Mirror's Alex Smith has Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger's comments about quality of play in MLS. FC Yahoo's Leander Schaerlaeckens talks to Atlanta United coach Tata Martino about lower pressure in MLS.

FIFA decides on 2026 World Cup bidding proposal, allocation

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The FIFA Council announced the proposal bidding process for the 2026 World Cup and the allocation of places as part of their preparations for the 67th FIFA Congress. The Congress is set for Thursday in Bahrain. The FIFA Council will propose the following guidelines for the 2026 World Cup bidding process, requiring ratification by the Congress on Thursday.

The Premier League map

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By J Hutcherson (May 9, 2017) US Soccer Players - There's been plenty of talk about the pro sports footprint in North America. A league like MLS has spent considerable time trying to expand theirs, but even the bigger leagues with 30 teams have plenty to consider.

The NFL opened the Jacksonville market and moved a team to Nashville and nobody followed.

USMNT roster for 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup

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USMNT coach Tab Ramos named 21 players to the roster for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The tournament begins on May 20 in Korea.

"We are very excited to once again provi

de a great competitive opportunity to our players and are looking forward to heading to Korea Republic," Ramos said.

Middlesbrough and Sunderland in the Championship

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with Middlesbrough's relegation. A 3-0 loss to Chelsea made their drop to the Championship official with two games left to play. That fills two of the three relegation spots in this season's Premier League, with 18th-place Hull City still battling to stay up at the expense of 17th-place Swansea, 16th-place Crystal Palace, or an unlikely scenario involving the 14th or 15th-place teams.

The relegation problem for USMNT players in Europe

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The drop looms for more than a few teams with USMNT players on their roster. This is a troubling trend that will more than likely lead to players making moves. We saw this last season with Brad Guzan, making his Aston Villa exit to stay up with Middlesbrough. The Premier League is causing concern, with the good news that DeAndre Yedlin has a Championship winners medal chased by USMNT players seeing their teams drop a division.

Being a backup goalkeeper in MLS

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (May 8, 2017) US Soccer Players – It's every team's nightmare. Your starting goalkeeper picks up an injury during a game. He's subsequently stretchered off. Following a few tense moments, your backup goalie quickly takes off his tracksuit, sprints towards the goal, and takes his place on the field.

The Premier League problem

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The soccer news starts with an open question about the 2016-17 Premier League season. Has it been any good? Chelsea's prolonged slog to the title continues later today against Middlesbrough (3pm ET - NBCSN) with the feeling that at least one team should've been able to press them if not overtake them.

MLS Week 10: Toronto wins MLS Cup rematch

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Week 10 of the 2017 MLS season saw Toronto get the better of Seattle at CenturyLink Field. In a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup, Toronto won 1-0 on the road. Jozy Altidore converted a 23rd minute penalty for the game's only goal. Clint Irwin kept the clean sheet with two saves.

"Two weeks ago, a lot of people were concerned because we weren't necessarily turning some of those games into wins," Toronto coach Greg Vanney said.

Tijuana finishes in 1st-place in Liga MX

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We start the USMNT players in Europe and Mexico with the conclusion of the Liga MX Clausura regular season. Joe Corona subbed out in the 66th minute and Paul Arriola played the first-half in Tijuana's 1-0 win over Veracruz. Luis Chaves scored the game's only goal in the 86th minute at Estadio Caliente.

Soccer TV: Arsenal vs Manchester United

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Manchester United already letting everybody know that their focus is on the Europa League takes a bit of a gloss off of the biggest matchup on the weekend soccer TV schedule. Still, a slip by Arsenal at home on Sunday might have United reconsidering the Premier League path to next season's Champions League.

4 MLS coaches in trouble

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (May 5, 2017) US Soccer Players - The landscape of the 2017 MLS season is gaining a bit of focus. Two months into the campaign, most teams have crossed the one-quarter threshold. There's a long way to go, but we at least have some idea of who these teams are and what they are capable of.

Manchester United in the Europa and Premier Leagues

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Friday's soccer news has Manchester United's Europa League strategy paying off in the first leg. With the Premier League season getting away from the super club, it's Europa League ho! Even if people are questioning why Europe's secondary tournament is now an opportunity for the kind of clubs that don't belong in it.

Soccer TV: West Ham United vs Spurs

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There's a London derby on Friday's soccer TV schedule, with West Ham hosting Spurs at the stadium both teams wanted. Also on the schedule, Cologne plays Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga and the USMNT is in action in the CONCACAF U-17 Championships.

West Ham United vs Spurs at 3pm on NBCSN.

US Soccer’s $100 million problem

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (May 4, 2017) US Soccer Players - This week Grant Wahl delivered major news that should reverberate across the American soccer scene for months, likely years, to come.

The Sports Illustrated and FOX correspondent revealed on Tuesday that the US Soccer Federation is sitting on a whopping $100 million in surplus cash.

Wins for Toronto and Sporting KC

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Thursday's soccer news starts with last night's MLS action. At BMO Field, Toronto beat Orlando City 2-1. Seb Giovinco put Toronto up in the 9th minute with Jozy Altidore assisting and doubled the lead in the 38th. Kaka pulled a goal back for Orlando in first-half stoppage time.

"First and foremost we are really disappointed with the loss," Orlando coach Jason Kreis said.

Why do the LA MLS teams insist on a Mexico connection?

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (May 3, 2017) US Soccer Players - In the early days of MLS, the league pandered quite a bit. The strategy in the mid-1990s seemed simple. Bring in players from certain countries and fans/citizens of those countries residing in MLS towns would turn out en masse to watch them play.

Coaches under pressure in MLS

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (May 3, 2017) US Soccer Players - The peculiarities of MLS can make simple questions difficult to answer. Like which club's coach faces the most pressure?

MLS is still a young team with many younger clubs, making it tougher than it would be in other leagues and other sports.

The MLS expansion standings

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St Petersburg, Florida voted in favor of letting Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards revamp Al Lang Stadium. Edwards wants to spend his own money to continue converting the former baseball park into an 18k-capacity MLS venue. It's worth noting that Edwards also paid for Tuesday's special ballot initiative, driving home the point that he doesn't expect public money.

Most disappointing Champions League finals

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As the 2016-17 Champions League takes the next step towards the finale, let's look back at when the matchups didn't exactly inspire. Champions League soccer might be the commercial for the best the club game has to offer, but it doesn't always work out that way. One caveat. We're not going to be contradictory and add something like the 1998-99 final that not only was great, but did an awful lot for the popularity of soccer in America.

The Champions League semifinals

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with the run-up to the big midweek games from Europe. The Champions League hits the semifinal stage with Real Madrid vs Atletico on Tuesday and Monaco vs Juventus on Wednesday. Will we see the kind of free flowing soccer that serves as an ad for the game across the world?

5 things so far from the 2017 MLS season

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (May 1, 2017) US Soccer Players – We're far enough into the 2017 MLS season to start taking the standings seriously. Although the league's unpredictable nature can turn even a mid-table team into a contender once the playoffs roll around, there are some things we can glean.

Nobody respects Chelsea

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Monday's soccer news starts with an interesting twist to this Premier League season. Plenty of people want to talk about what the big name clubs aren't doing in their pursuit of the title. Fewer are interesting in building up the league leaders as a legitimate power.

Chelsea has had a lock on the top of the table since November.