USSoccerPlayers Archives for January 2017

Mexico isn’t sweating World Cup qualifying and neither or their fans

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Aug 30, 2017) US Soccer Players - There's something to say for tranquility. For once, Mexico is not flailing about in World Cup qualifying. There are no imminent sackings or roster shake-ups. Mexico only needs one positive result in the next few days to book passage to Russia 2018.

A new version of an old problem for MLS

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 30, 2017) US Soccer Players - It's an endless quest to prove to anyone and everyone with an interest in soccer that, yes, what happens in the United States and Canada is worthwhile and legitimate. With that in mind, Major League Soccer did veritable backflips over the news that NYCFC striker David Villa is once again part of Spain's National Team ahead of their September World Cup qualifiers.

Dealing in the transfer market

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Wednesday's soccer news starts with another round of the absurdity of the current transfer window. We're now in the era of super clubs and the bulk of the Premier League with significant amounts of money to spend but no one willing to accept a price. Why sell now when you could get more in the next window?

The transfer deadline in the Premier League

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The Premier League is approaching the transfer deadline with all the subtlety of a kid building a team in a video game. "Throw money at it" seems to be the main tactical concern, with teams panic spending at an entirely new level.

Part of this is undoubtedly the Neymar effect. Part of it is the wealth of every Premier League team wading into the types of deals that used to only involve the elite.

The USMNT at Red Bull Arena

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Aug 28, 2017) US Soccer Players – The list of cities that have hosted US World Cup qualifiers is a long one. It famously features Columbus, Ohio, site of several epic 2-0 wins versus Mexico. There's the obvious places like Washington, DC and the less so like Tampa.

Soccer has a time slot

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Monday's soccer news starts with something that should be obvious but so far isn't. One of the selling points of soccer to broadcasters is that it easily fits into a time slot. Well, until the rise of video assistant refereeing where instant replay has turned into extended stoppage times.

Is this a huge problem?

USMNT roster for September 2017 World Cup qualifiers

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USMNT coach Bruce Arena named 26 players to his roster for the September 2017 World Cup qualifiers. The USMNT plays Costa Rica on September 1 at Red Bull Arena and Honduras in San Pedro Sula on September 5.

"I think we have a good roster," Arena said. "The decisions are simply based on the fact that we need our best roster possible in order to achieve what we want to achieve here, and that's to earn points in both games.

Goal for Wood, point for Stoke

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Bobby Wood made the most of the last match day before the September international break, scoring in Hamburg's 3-1 win over Cologne. Andre Hahn started the scoring for Hamburg in the 28th minute with Wood doubling the lead in the 34th at RheinEnergieStadion. Cologne pulled a goal back seven minutes into stoppage time with Lewis Holtby scoring for Hamburg three minutes later.

MLS Week 25: Derby draw for New York, Toronto wins in Montreal

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The big story from week 25 was Toronto getting the better of Montreal in a 3-1 road win. Seb Giovinco put the Reds up in the 41st minute with Jozy Altidore doubling the lead in the 52nd. Ignacio Piatti pulled a goal back two minutes into stoppage time but Giovinco scored again a minute later.

"Obviously, you get to this time of the year and points are important in every game," Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley said.

Soccer TV: LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes

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It's rivalry week in MLS on the weekend soccer TV schedule with the California clasico on Sunday. The Premier League has a national game on ESPN on Sunday with Manchester United playing Leicester City. Plenty of options from Europe with Fox Sports offering lots of Bundesliga coverage.

LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes at 7pm on Sunday on FS1.

Rivalry Week in Canada

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 25, 2017) US Soccer Players - When the next edition of Major League Soccer's marketing vehicle du jour - dubbed "Heineken Rivalry Week for sponsorship purposes - kicks off this weekend, the lion's share of attention will be on the Sunday night clash between the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers.

Two pivotal qualifiers for the USMNT

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 25, 2017) US Soccer Players - Reports have USMNT coach Bruce Arena announcing his latest roster on Sunday. Then we'll know the group that will face Costa Rica and Honduras in two massive World Cup qualifiers on September 1 and 5.

September starts with Los Ticos at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, a few miles west of lower Manhattan.

Villa for Spain and MLS

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Friday's soccer news has Spain inadvertently paying the entirety of MLS a compliment by calling in David Villa. Like most elite European national teams, a player leaving for MLS is normally a form of international retirement. Exceptions exist, but Villa's return to Spain at 35 years-old trumps all of them.

Champions League underdogs don’t exist

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Thursday's soccer news starts with what some hope might be an underdog story. Then again, Qarabag knocking out Copenhagen in the playoffs isn't exactly taking out a top team from a top league. If this is what passes for a Cinderella story, it's not much of one.

With all due respect to the Azerbaijan Premier League champions, we're too far into the us and them era of the Champions League.

MLS Scores: Another own-goal win for DC United

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Week 25 got a Wednesday start with the Columbus Crew shutting out the Galaxy 2-0 at home. The Galaxy played a man down from the 18th minute with a red card to Ashley Cole for a serious foul. Ola Kamara scored for the Crew in the 45th with Justin Meram adding a goal in the 90th minute. Zach Steffan kept the clean sheet without having to make a save.

LA’s MLS teams keep Mexico in mind

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Aug 23, 2017) US Soccer Players - If you build it, so the saying goes, they will come. In Major League Soccer's early days, the league created its own spin to that - if you load your rosters with them, they will come, where "them" meant players from an ethnic group and "they" were fans of that same group.

Chris Wondolowski scores MLS goals

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 23, 2017) US Soccer Players - On Saturday in a stadium that he probably deserves some credit for helping bring about, San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski added another record to this already lengthy list. With his penalty kick goal deep into added time, Wondolowski hit the double-digit goal scoring mark for the eighth consecutive season.

Fulham out, win for Tijuana, Yankee Stadium

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Wednesday's soccer news starts with the USMNT scores from Europe and Mexico. Tim Ream was on the bench with Fulham exiting the League Cup 1-0 at home to Bristol Rovers. The game's only goal came in the 13th minute.

"Yes, it's disappointing," Fulham coach Slavisa Jokanovic said. "We didn't play a good enough game, we didn't create enough clear chances.

What counts as a crisis for Manchester City?

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with an open question for Manchester City. What counts as a crisis? It's certainly not splitting the point at home against Everton. Not even when it's an old friend from that other Manchester team scoring the goal. Certainly not when there's the additional challenge of playing a man down for almost 45 minutes.

The move from player to pundit in US soccer

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Aug 21, 2017) US Soccer Players – There's an increasing number of former US players doing color commentary on TV these days. The move into punditry seems like a natural next step as more players seek to stay in the game they love, while lending their expertise to the growing number of coverage hours across all media outlets.

Should MLS worry about entertaining?

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Monday's soccer news starts with an exciting weekend in MLS. Well, unless you're concerned that the MLS version of parity might be trending towards fluke runs and too much stoppage time. That's the latest version of the old entertainment value debate when it comes to Major League Soccer.

What was entertaining about MLS in week 24 was for the wrong reason.

Pulisic comes up big for Dortmund in Bundesliga opener

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There's a new season, same story feel to what Christian Pulisic did in Borussia Dortmund's opening day 3-0 win at Wolfsburg. Pulisic opened the scoring in the 22nd with Marc Bartra doubling the lead four minutes later. Pulisic assisted on Pierre Aubameyang's goal in the 60th.

"I am really satisfied," Dortmund coach Peter Bosz said.

MLS Week 24: Another win for Montreal, Chicago’s problems grow

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Week 24 of the 2017 MLS season started with the New York Red Bulls falling flat in a 2-0 loss at Portland on Friday night. The Red Bulls played at Cincinnati in the US Open Cup on Wednesday. Diego Valeri put Portland up in the 65th and assisted on Darren Mattocks's goal six minutes into stoppage time.

Soccer TV: Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United

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There's one nationally available MLS game on the weekend soccer TV schedule, and it's the late Sunday matchup between Seattle and Minnesota on FS1. Also on the soccer TV schedule, it's the start of the 2017-18 Serie A season on beIN Sport. NBCSN has Sunday's London derby with Spurs hosting Chelsea.

Defensive questions return as USMNT enters stretch run

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 18, 2017) US Soccer Players - A familiar sinking feeling returned for many USMNT fans this week. Defender John Brooks is out with injury and will miss the September World Cup qualifiers. The commanding young center back made a major move earlier this year with a transfer – via the largest fee ever paid for an American player – from Hertha BSC to their Bundesliga counterparts Wolfsburg.

There’s always time in MLS

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 18, 2017) US Soccer Players - The 2017 Major League Soccer season is more than five-and-half months old. Every team in the league is past the 22-game mark. The regular season is now two-thirds complete. The sprint to the postseason is upon us.

This means that most of what we thought we knew, everything the first two-thirds of the season taught us, is now worthless.

The demise of the freebie TV soccer leagues

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Friday's soccer news starts with something basic. Depending on your cable system, some soccer leagues are freer than others. If your package includes most of the major sports channels, it's a reasonable assumption that so do a lot of other peoples. That may or may not be true. Some people are paying extra for things like FS1, much less beIN Sport, GolTV, or Univision Deportes.

Soccer TV: Portland Timbers vs New York Red Bulls

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Friday's soccer TV has the New York Red Bulls on the road in Portland. The 2017-18 La Liga season begins on beIN Sport and Bayern Munich is in action in the Bundesliga on FS1. Also on the soccer TV schedule, Liga MX on Univision Deportes.

Portland Timbers vs New York Red Bulls on FS1 at 10pm.

Chicago home and away

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Thursday's soccer news starts with the Montreal Impact shutting out the Chicago Fire 3-0 at Saputo Stadium. Ignacio Piatti opened the scoring in the 6th minute. Matteo Mancosu doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 37th with Piatti scoring again a minute later. Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush kept the clean sheet with two saves.

Is next season already out of reach for the LA Galaxy?

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Aug 16, 2017) US Soccer Players - Soccer is cyclical. Dynasties build and then they crumble and from the ruins can be rebuilt once more. The LA Galaxy is a testament to that, having gone through the highest of highs to the abyss before skyrocketing once more.

Climbing out of the hole the team dug for itself about a decade ago took some doing, but the team may not be able to replicate that rise-from-the-ashes any more.

The US Open Cup wins in Cincinnati

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 16, 2017) US Soccer Players - It was a unique moment in the modern history of American soccer. Rarely has a team below the MLS level had the chance to play an established MLS name in a match with something significant on the line. Never before has that lower division team benefited from a sold out crowd bigger than all but a few first division clubs could muster.

Mastroeni out at Colorado, Brooks out for three months

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Wednesday's soccer news starts with the Colorado Rapids using that unfortunate MLS euphemism that means they've fired the coach. The Rapids "parted ways" with Pablo Mastroeni, drawing a line underneath a poor record this season and a previous regime no longer running the show in Commerce City.

"We would like to thank Pablo for his contributions to this organization, both as a player and as head coach," said Rapids Sporting Director and Interim General Manager, Pádraig Smith.

The Soccer Hall of Fame forgets Steve Cherundolo

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By J Hutcherson (Aug 15, 2017) US Soccer Players - There are some obvious things we can all safely assume when it comes to American soccer. MLS will expand as long as there are people willing to pay the expansion fee. Foreign stars will normally say very nice things about the quality of American soccer.

The Premier League considers their own rules

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The transfer window isn't riding an all-time high in popularity anywhere in world soccer. FIFPro, the international players union, is challenging it under European labor law. Clubs across Europe are wondering if we're in the middle of an inflated period they'll regret sooner than later. Now, the Premier League is considering ending it early next season to match with the start of their league schedule.

5 USMNT players to watch in Europe

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Aug 14, 2017) US Soccer Players – The long, hot summer of preseason friendlies and nonsensical curtain-raiser Super Cup matches has finally given way to the start of the domestic season across most of Europe's five major domestic leagues. With France and England already underway, with Germany, Italy and Spain soon to follow, it's time to take stock of Americans playing abroad and which ones to keep an eye on over the next nine months.

Playing and watching for trophies

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It's always a shame when someone has to roll a statement back that should resonate without any disclaimers. Spurs defender Danny Rose got himself into trouble for saying he would leave the club in order to win trophies. More to the point, a club that doesn't match the ambition of elite players is an issue for a short career.

The Premier League returns, Brooks injured

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The USMNT players in Europe and Mexico starts with the Premier League. the 2017-18 season began with Danny Williams subbing on in the 57th minute for Huddersfield Town in their 3-0 shutout of Crystal Palace. An own-goal put Huddersfield up in the 23rd minute at Selhurst Park. Steve Mounie scored in the 26th and 78th minutes.

MLS Week 23: Dempsey scores, Frei saves

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Week 23 of the 2017 MLS season started with business as usual for Clint Dempsey and the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders shutout Sporting KC 1-0 at home. Dempsey scored the game's only goal in the 36th minute with Jordan Morris assisting. Stefan Frei made three saves to keep the clean sheet, his fourth in a row.

Soccer TV: Barcelona vs Real Madrid

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It's Spain's turn for their season starting prestige kind of friendly. Barcelona plays Real Madrid in the first-leg of the Spanish Super Cup on the weekend soccer TV schedule. That means another version of the El Clasico that's not quite the same as the regular El Clasico. Hey, at least this time its in Spain.

MLS plays by its ridiculous rules

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 11, 2017) US Soccer Players - MLS closed its summer transfer window with a bang this week. Several current and former USMNT players found themselves at the center of the action. The process offered up a timely snapshot of the many and nuanced ways in which the domestic league both fosters and frustrates this country's players.

Deadline Day in MLS

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 11, 2017) US Soccer Players - The close of the Major League Soccer transfer window brought a flurry of activity. Perhaps for the first time ever, deadline day in America's top division was rife with enough intrigue to keep fans engaged all the way up to the midnight eastern cutoff.

Liverpool and Premier League money

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Friday's soccer TV has the start of the 2017-18 Premier League season and a willingness to once again consider the big picture. For the Premier League, that's spending a whole lot of the revenue they're generating in large part through TV rights deals all over the world.

What this is building is the expectation up and down the league that the Premier League's club have no choice to spend.

Soccer TV: Arsenal vs Leicester City

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The 2017-18 Premier League begins on the Friday soccer TV schedule. Arsenal plays Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium. There are also games from France's Ligue 1 and Liga MX.

Arsenal vs Leicester City at 2:45pm on NBCSN. It's the return of games that count for Premier League clubs, bringing to an end a friendly schedule that seems to get longer every summer.

How to watch the 2017-18 Premier League season

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It's the start of the greatest league in the world if you believe the hype around the Premier League. If you don't, it's still the start of the season for one of the world's elite league. The Premier League offers some of the biggest names in the game while seeming more than happy to pay what that costs on our behalf.

MLS advances in the US Open Cup

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Thursday's soccer news has MLS getting one spot in the 2017 US Open Cup final a forgone conclusion. Sporting Kansas City took it at the expense of the San Jose Earthquakes, advancing 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Danny Hoesen put San Jose up on the road in the 4th minute. Diego Rubio equalized in the 32nd.

The 2017 MLS transfer season nears its end

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 9, 2017) US Soccer Players - The 2017 MLS secondary transfer window closes on Wednesday. Like any good deadline, this one has prompted a flurry of activity with mere hours to go as clubs looks to strengthen their sides or cash in on the market, whichever the case may be.

LAFC begins to make an impression

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Aug 9, 2017) US Soccer Players - FoFor expansion MLS clubs, first impressions are important. The first impression set by the other Los Angeles expansion club engrossed that club and stuck to it like a ball and chain and haunted it until its demise. The first impression LA's newest Major League Soccer club gives off, specifically with its newest signing, will lead in the opposite direction.

Soccer TV in America is changing

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The soccer news starts with Disney deciding how ESPN can monetize a reworked sports streaming site in the near future. As in, a reworked streaming site that may or may not care about your cable subscription. Whatever happens with ESPN, it's part of a larger trend that impacts how American soccer fans can watch games.

How to watch the 2017-18 Bundesliga season

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It's the Bundesliga, the league that every American likes to pretend they once watched on PBS a long time ago. If Soccer Made in Germany had those ratings, even the language barrier wouldn't have prevented the Bundesliga from being the most popular European league in the States. It's not, something that is a challenge for the current version.

The European transfer market after Neymar

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Tuesday's soccer news has plenty of people predicting gloom for European soccer. According to this view, PSG triggering Neymar's hefty buyout clause and completing his move from Barcelona might destabilize the transfer market as we know it. It's too much money in a top heavy system that has already allowed for inflation whenever it's a Premier League club doing the buying.

Tommy McNamara: “It’s good for the league”

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Aug 7, 2017) US Soccer Players – Tommy McNamara is one of those MLS players with cult hero status. Despite being on a star-studded New York City FC team that includes David Villa and Andrea Pirlo, McNamara is often the standout player. He's become a fan favorite because of his work ethic and dedication to his team.

Chicago keeps it going

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Monday's soccer news starts with the Chicago Fire adding three more points near the top of the Eastern Conference table. Chicago won their ninth home game in a row, beating New England 4-1. They're 2nd in the East, three points behind Toronto with a game in hand.

"I think the team knows how to play and the team knows our identity," Chicago coach Veljko Paunovic said.

MLS Week 22: VAR makes its debut in Major League Soccer

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MLS week 22 was notable for the introduction of the video assistant referee otherwise known as instant replay. It got used for the first time in Philadelphia's 3-1 win over Dallas, the kind of trivia question that no one should ever bother asking.

Philadelphia took a 3-0 home lead in that game starting with CJ Sapong's goal in the 17th.

Pulisic scores for Borussia Dortmund in the Supercup

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The USMNT players in Europe and Mexico opens with Christian Pulisic picking up where he left off with Borussia Dortmund, scoring in the 2017 Supercup loss to Bayern Munich on penalties. Pulisic opened the scoring in the 12th minute with Bayern equalizing in the 18th. Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned the lead in the 71st with Bayern equalizing in the 88th from an own-goal.

Notes from the 2017 MLS All-Star Game

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By Charles Boehm – CHICAGO, IL (Aug 4, 2017) US Soccer Players - The usual bells, whistles, and fireworks featured as Major League Soccer held its 2017 All-Star Game at Soldier Field on Wednesday. As others have written on these pages, this annual occasion is neither perfect nor putrid.

Soccer TV: Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich

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Fox is betting big on the DFL-Supercup for some reason, showing Saturday's game on network television. You'd think this was a shot at whoever has the right's to Sunday's Community Shield game, but that's also a Fox property. It's relegated to FS1, begging the question as to why Fox thinks Borussia Dortmund playing Bayern Munich might be a bigger weekend soccer TV attraction than Arsenal vs Chelsea.

MLS moves to instant replay

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Aug 2, 2017) US Soccer Players - The MLS All-Star Game isn't exactly a "midpoint of the season" affair. For a host of practical reasons, the league chooses to hold its exhibition extravaganza a bit further along in the calendar than halfway.

Normally, that fact is nothing more than a small quirk for an operation rife with larger ones.

The Neymar to PSG story

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Friday's soccer news starts with the big reveal that Neymar wanted to move to PSG for "a new challenge." Go ahead and fill in the punchline for moving from one top heavy league to another. There's not much challenge to an away date in Lille in February all things considered, but we know that's not what he's talking about.

MLS plays its game against Real Madrid

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Thursday's soccer news starts with the MLS All-Stars taking Real Madrid to penalties on a rainy night in Chicago. The game ended 1-1 in regulation. Borja Mayoral scored for Real Madrid in the 59th with Dom Dwyer equalizing in the 87th. Dwyer and Gio Dos Santos had their penalties saved with Real Madrid converting all four of theirs to take the trophy.

The Galaxy and Curt Onalfo

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Aug 2, 2017) US Soccer Players - Following a legend is always difficult. No matter how good of a job the next coach does, the shadows cast are too long to overcome and the shoes left behind are too big to fill. Curt Onalfo learned that the hard way.

Onalfo did not make it through his first summer on the job with the LA Galaxy.

Is the MLS All-Star Game for the fans or the league?

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By Jason Davis – CHICAGO, IL (Aug 2, 2017) US Soccer Players - The MLS All-Star Game is many things. Marketing exercise. Soccer festival. Measure of MLS growth.

The MLS All-Star Game does a reasonable job of being some of those things and a poor job of being others. The nature of the event means its value is constantly in question, at least with the current format.

Garber stresses over the obvious

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By J Hutcherson (Aug 2, 2017) US Soccer Players - It's almost cheating to latch onto comments made in an open discussion that anybody with internet access and time on their hands could've watched. MLS commissioner Don Garber provided the talking points in a Tuesday fan forum, and one of them is worth serious consideration.

Game day for the MLS All-Stars

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Wednesday's soccer news has the 2017 MLS All-Star Game on the schedule (8:30pm ET - FS1). If we didn't convince you yesterday that the All-Star Game might be worth your time, do us a favor and spare our precious feelings.

Meanwhile, on the field the MLS All-Stars face a Real Madrid squad that are likely as interested as the rest of us with what's happening with their favorite La Liga rivals.

Learning to like the MLS All-Star Game

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By J Hutcherson (Aug 1, 2017) US Soccer Players - The original title replaced "like" with "love," but that seems like pushing it. In the other direction, "tolerate" seemed a bit much. "Put up with" probably misses the point. So here we are with like rather than love.

Then again, loving the all-star game is an odd idea that's hardly soccer-specific.

A day away from the 2017 MLS All-Star Game

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with the run-up to MLS once again trying to give meaning to a friendly. It's a tough ask, if we're being honest. On one side of the ball is an All-Star team that by definition hasn't had enough time together to do more than the basics. On the other side of the ball is a Real Madrid squad that's had enough high profile preseason games already to find some form.