Klinsmann Names Roster for Mexico Game
Klinsmann Names Roster for Mexico Game avatar

U.S. Soccer released its final 23 man roster for the CONCACAF Cup showdown with Mexico coming up on Saturday, October 10, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

Klinsmann had a tough decision to make. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Klinsmann had a tough decision to make. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann had to cut 12 players from the provisional 35 man roster, with the decision taken out of Klinsmann’s hands in a couple of cases as injuries eliminated defenders John Brooks and Greg Garza, as well as forward Aron Johannsson.

Brooks and Johannsson would certainly have made the 23, although Garza would have been in a battle. The other key omission is Jordan Morris, with Klinsmann declining to recall the Stanford University star from the Olympic Qualifiers. The U.S. U23 team will be playing a semifinal game on the same day that the senior squad face Mexico, and a win in that semifinal match would send the Americans on to the 2016 Rio de janeiro Olympics.

Diskerud's exclusion (ISI Photos/Thomas Eisevhuth)

Diskerud’s exclusion may ve a surprize for some(ISI Photos/Thomas Eisevhuth)

Omar Gonzalez and Mix Diskerud are the biggest names left off of the roster, although neither omission is entirely surprising. Gonzalez has been slipping down Klinsmann’s center back chart since a good performance at the World Cup and the big Galaxy defender didn’t do enough in a pair of recent friendlies to reverse that slide.

Diskerud has been an ever present on Klinsmann’s rosters and did well when the U.S. defeated Peru 2-1 in early September, but the New York City FC man was caught up in a numbers game with Klinsmann selecting both Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin at midfield rather than in the defense.

The winner of the October 10 match will represent CONCACAF at the 2017 Confederations Cup, a competition pointed to as an important target for the U.S. by coach and Technical Director Klinsmann. Klinsmann’s other benchmarks for 2015 were Qualifying for the Olympics and winning the Gold Cup.

The Gold Cup failure last summer ups the ante considerably, marking October 10 as a hugely important date for U.S. soccer and potentially raising questions regarding the job security of the program’s Coach and Technical Director.

GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (9) : Ventura Alvarado (Club America), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)

MIDFIELDERS (7) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

FORWARDS (4) : Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy

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U.S. Advance to Semis
U.S. Advance to Semis avatar

The U.S. MNT U23 team made short work of Cuba this evening in Kansas City advancing to the all important semi final round of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers with an emphatic 6 -1 victory.

Jerome Kiesewetter led the way for Andi Herzog’s side with a brace, with the U.S. building on early goals from center backs Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga.

Carter-Vickers in action against Canada. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

Carter-Vickers in action against Canada. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

Carter-Vickers, at 17 the team’s youngest player, got the ball rolling for the Yanks with a powerful headed goal. Miazga, CCV’s 20 year old center back partner added the second with a fine header of his own before the U.S attackers got in on the scoring.

Herzog made a few changes to the lineup that handled Canada 3-1 in the opener, replacing both of his fullbacks and tinkering with his midfield. Herzog left his forward pairing untouched, a good move given that Morris scored a brace versus Canada, while Kiesewetter picked up his double today.

Fullback Dillon Serna was replaced by Marc Pelosi and Matt Polster moved to midfield with Boyd Okwuono stepping in on defense. Luis Gil started for Gedion Zelalem and impressed, albeit against poor opposition.

Cuba spoiled the Americans clean sheet with a deflected goal in added time and Pelosi had to be stretchered off late in the match after taking a wild and reckless kick to his shin.

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EPL Week 8 – Top Picks and Predictions
EPL Week 8 – Top Picks and Predictions avatar

It is EPL time again and if last week is anything to go by we are in for another roller-coaster round of games. Week 8 looks especially tantalizing with a bunch of mouth watering games on Saturday before some Super Sunday action with Everton hosting Liverpool in the 225th Merseyside Derby, while Arsenal host their rivals Manchester United.


Ferguson to Manage Beckham again

Ferguson managing Beckham back in 2003. (Getty Images)

Ferguson managing Beckham back in 2003. (Getty Images)

Alex Ferguson is to manage a Great Britain and Ireland team, captained by David Beckham in a charity match next month.

The team will take on a World Eleven, captained by french Legend Zinedine Zidane at Old Trafford on November 14.

The World Eleven will be managed by former Chelsea and Real Madrid coach Carlos Anchelloti, while former Italian referree Pierluigi Collina will referee the match.

“Everyone knows I retired three years ago and I never thought I’d be getting my boots out again and playing,” said Beckham. “Football is such a powerful tool and to have Zidane on the field, Sir Alex Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti in the stands, I think people are going to love it.”

The 40-year-old, a Unicef ambassador, added: “This match gives me the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and vital funds to help reach the children who need it most.”

Beckham played under Ferguson 394 times over an 11-year period and was part of United famous ‘class of 92′ that included other United legends Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. However, he was famously struck above the left eye by a boot kick by Ferguson, which reportedly led to the pair falling out with Beckham being sold to Real Madrid four months later.



 WEEK 7 Result Anthony Neil                 Sam
Tottenham v Man City 4-1 0-2 1-3                2-0
Leicester v Arsenal 2-5 2-2 0-2                2-1
Liverpool v Aston Villa 3-2 1-0 2-0                1-0
Man Utd v Sunderland 3-0 3-0 4-0                2-0
Southampton v Swansea 3-1 2-1 2-0                1-1
Stoke v Bournemouth 2-1 3-1 1-2                 2-1
West Ham v Norwich 2-2 2-0 1-1                  2-1
Newcastle v Chelsea 2-2 0-2 0-2                 2-1
Watford v Crystal Palace 0-1 1-1 1-3                  1-1
West Brom v Everton 2-3 2-2 1-2                   2-1

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.

Last week I got FOUR correct results, including ONE perfect score to give me a tally of SIX-POINTS. However, it was not enough to beat challenger Neil who also earned SIX-POINTS by correctly predicting SIX correct results.

Do you think you can earn more points? If so, feel free to leave your predictions below.

My Predictions
Crystal Palace v West Brom 2-1
Aston Villa v Stoke 1-1
Bournemouth v Watford 2-0
Man City v Newcastle 3-0
Norwich v Leicester 1-2
Sunderland v West Ham 0-2
Chelsea v Southampton 2-1
Everton v Liverpool 3-2
Arsenal v Man Utd 2-2
Swansea v Tottenham 1-0



Manchester City v Newcastle

Manchester City suffered their second successive defeat in the league to drop to second in the EPL. The Sky Blues lost 4-1 away to Tottenham and looked incredibly frail at the back without captain Vincent Kompany and keeper Joe Hart.

David Silva was also missing from last week's lineup but returned midweek agains (Getty Images)

David Silva was also missing from last week’s lineup but returned midweek against Borussia Monch.(Getty Images)

They managed to return to winning ways midweek in the Champions League with a last gasp 2-1 away win at German side Borussia Monchengladbach, but it was another poor defensive display and they could easily have lost if not for the heroics of returning keeper Joe Hart.

Newcastle let a two goal lead slip last week drawing 2-2 at home with champions Chelsea. The Magpies are one of only two EPL sides yet to win in the EPL – Sunderland are the only other team yet to register a win this season. They played with good energy and endeavor, and if they put in more performances like that it is only a matter of time before they get their first win.

Manchester City’s injury woes continues with captain Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure both out with knee injuries.

Wilfried Bony, Kelechi Iheanacho and Eliaquim Mangala are back in contention, Fabian Delph, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri remain out.

Newcastle are without Gabriel Obertan, Rolando Aarons and Massadio Haidara who are all injured,  but Cheik Tiote and Jack Colkback look like they have shaken off their injury problems and should start.

Manchester City are unbeaten in 17 league meetings with Newcastle (W15, D2) -their longest-ever run without defeat against a single opponent in the Premier League – and while Newcastle looked improved I think they will have to wait another week for that elusive first win this season.

Prediction: 3-0

Chelsea v Southampton

Chelsea’s poor start to the season continued as they were held to a 2-2 draw away to Newcastle. The Blues were once again sloppy in defense and look toothless up top without the presence of suspended striker Deigo Costa. They played better midweek in the Champions League away to Porto, but still lost 2-1 with their poor defending once again to blame.

Costa was the instigator and was rightly served with a 3 match ban in retrospect. (Getty Images)

Costa will sit out against Southampton as he serves his last game suspension.. (Getty Images)

Southampton bounced back from their home defeat by Manchester United with a good 3-1 victory over Swansea. The Saints struggled at the beginning of the season, but seem to be finding their rhythm again, scoring 15 goals in their last five games in all competitions.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has to decide between Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao, as Diego Costa serves the last of his three-match suspension against Southampton.

Southampton summer signing Jordy Clasie could make his EPL debut after returning from an ankle injury, while Ryan Bertrand is set to start against his former club after returning from a knee injury.

Southampton have only won one of their last 13 meetings with Chelsea (D5, L7) with their last win away at Stamford Bridge back in 2002. However, the Blues are struggling at the moment and all of a sudden the Bridge isn’t the fortress it once was. Nevertheless, I think Chelsea badly need a result and I expect them to just edge this one.

Prediction: 2-1


Everton v Liverpool

Everton’s fine start to the season continued with a 3-2 away win at West Brom. The Toffees were 2-0 down, but managed to clay their way back to earn a win thanks to two goals and an assist by forward Romelu Lukaku.

Naismith is one of many players who have shone for Everton. (Getty Images)

Naismith is one of many players who have shone for Everton. (Getty Images)

Roberto Martinez is one of the few EPL managers currently playing with two strikers with Arouna Kone and Romelu Lukaku leading the line, and it seems to be paying dividends with the Toffees scoring 13 goals in their last five games in all competitions.

Liverpool ended a six-game winless run with a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa. Daniel Sturridge showed how much the Reds have missed him by scoring two goals, but poor defending almost spoiled his return and Liverpool will really need to start improving in that area if they want to compete for a top four spot.

John Stones and Seamus Coleman could return for Everton for Sunday’s 225th Merseyside derby, but Muhamed Besic is unlikely to recover in time from a hamstring problem, while Kevin Mirallas is still suspended.

Liverpool will be without Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren, but summer signing Christian Benteke faces a late assessment on his fitness, having missed the last three matches with a hamstring injury.

Everton have not beaten Liverpool in the last nine attempts in the EPL (D6, L3) – their last win was at home in 2010. They have not endured a longer winless league streak in this fixture since an 11-match run between 1979 and 1984. But they are in a purple patch of form at the moment, while their more illustrious neighbors are currently struggling to find any rhythm.

Neither team is defending well, but both have quality in forward positions and that’s why I’ll go for a high scoring thriller with Everton to just edge it.

Prediction: 3-2

Arsenal v Manchester United

Arsenal bounced back from their away defeat to Chelsea with a good away win at Leicester. The Gunners fell behind early on, but eventually won 5-2  thanks to goals from Theo Walcott, Oliver Giroud and a hat-trick by Alexis Sanchez. But they suffered disaster midweek losing 3-2 at home to Greek side Olympiakos, with stand in goal keeper David Ospina scoring an own goal, and will need a good performance at the weekend to appease the fans.

Anthony Martial is full of confidence and shows a maturity for his young years. (Getty Images)

Anthony Martial is full of confidence and shows a maturity for his young years. (Getty Images)

Manchester United beat strugglers Sunderland 3-0 to move back to the top of the EPL for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013. Wanye Rooney, Memphis Depay and Juan Mata were all on the score sheet, but it was the performance of new signing Anthony Martial that caught the eye and it seems the young signing with continue to lead United’s attack this season.

Arsenal will be without defender Laurent Koscielny and midfielders Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta, who are all out injured. However, Oliver Giroud is available again after sitting out midweek in the Champions League because of suspension.

Michael Carrick is fit again after missing out midweek with injury, but fellow midfielder Andrea Herrera remains doubtful.

Arsenal’s worst Premier League win percentage is against Manchester United (24%) – The Red Devils are unbeaten in the last four league meetings at the Emirates (W2, D2). They have never gone five games unbeaten at Arsenal in the Premier League era.

The Gunners could easily have won this game 4-0 last season, but they ended up losing 1-2 after missing a series of guilt edge chances. I doubt they will get as many openings this time round, as United have improved defensively. I expect them to dominate, but I think this will end in a draw.

Prediction: 2-2



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U.S. Win Olympic Qualifying Opener
U.S. Win Olympic Qualifying Opener avatar

Jordan Morris sparked the U.S. MNT to a 3-1 victory over Canada in the opener of its U23 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying campaign Thursday night in Kansas City, Kansas.

Morris (ISI Photos Bill Barrett)

Morris fond the back of the net before Canada could even touch the ball.  (ISI Photos Bill Barrett)

Morris, the Stanford University striker who has become the first college player in decades to line out with the full U.S. National Team, put the Americans on the road to victory with an opening goal just seconds after the opening whistle.

Morris headed home at the end of a wonderful U.S. move that began with center back Matt Miazga and ended with Morris heading home from a perfect cross from Jerome Kiesewetter.

Canada fought back well from that early shock and nearly had a goal when U.S. keeper Zack Steffan misplayed a ball in the box.

Steffan started of nervous but settled as the game went on. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

Steffan started of nervous but settled as the game went on. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

Steffan settled after that early wobble, well blanketed by center back duo Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers, who filled that same role in the U20 World Cup this spring.

The U.S. allowed Canada to hang around before Morris struck again in the 73rd minute, running on to a through ball from Wil Trapp and taking his chance with a minimum of fuss.

A missed marking assignment on a Canada corner kick let Canada halve the U.S. lead minutes later when Michael Petrasso headed home from close range, but the Yanks finished the deal with a late penalty conversion from Luis Gil.

Kiesewetter earned his team a pk. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

Kiesewetter earned his team a pk. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

Kiesewetter earned the pk, a capper to a fine night from the Stuttgart attacker, who gave the Canada defense nightmares all night with his speed and skill.

The U.S. are back in action on Saturday evening when they take on Cuba at Sporting Park.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
CAN 0 1 1

USA-Jordan Morris (Jerome Kiesewetter) 1st minute
USA-Jordan Morris (Wil Trapp) 73
CAN-Michael Petrasso (Chris Mannella) 81
USA-Luis Gil (penalty kick) 90+2

USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 13-Matt Polster, 3-Matt Miazga, 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 7-Dillon Serna; 14-Fatai Alashe (2-Boyd Okwuonu, 87), 6-Wil Trapp (capt.), 16-Gedion Zelalem (15-Marc Pelosi, 57), 8-Emerson Hyndman (10-Luis Gil, 72); 17-Jerome Kiesewetter, 9-Jordan Morris
Subs Not Used: 20-Gboly Ariyibi, 11-Alonso Hernandez, 18-Charlie Horton, 5-Will Packwood, 19-Maki Tall
Head Coach: Andi Herzog

CAN: 1-Max Crepeau; 2-Johnny Grant, 19-Skylar Thomas, 5-Luca Gasparotto, 11-Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare; 10-Caleb Clarke (17-Hanson Boakai, 81), 6-Chris Mannella (16-Mo Babouli, 88), 14-Sam Piette (capt.), 7-Mauro Eustaquio (8-Jay Chapman, 66), 13-Michael Petrasso; 9-Anthony Jackson-Hamel
Subs Not Used: 12-Quillan Roberts, 18-Ricky Gomes, 4-Jackson Farmer, 3-Giuliano Frano, 15-Ben Fisk, 20-Dylan Carreiro
Head Coach: Benito Floro

Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 17 / 14
Shots on Goal: 6 / 7
Saves: 6 / 3
Corner Kicks: 5 / 2
Offside: 6 / 0
Fouls: 14 / 12

Misconduct Summary:
USA-Matt Polster (caution) 40th minute
USA-Wil Trapp (caution) 84
CAN-Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare (caution) 87

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U17 World Cup Squad Named
U17 World Cup Squad Named avatar

On the same day that the U23 national team play Canada in the first match of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers Richie Williams and U.S. Soccer released the roster for the U17 World Cup, which runs from October 17-November 8 in Chile.

Richie Williams (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Richie Williams names his squad for the World Cup.(ISI Photos/John Dorton)

The U.S. got no favors from the schedule makers for the event and were drawn into Group A with the host nation, Croatia and Nigeria. 24 countries will play in the tournament which concludes November 8 with the Championship match as well as the third place game at Estadio Sausalito in Vina Del Mar.

The U.S. had to sweat out qualification for this U17 World Cup, squeaking past Jamaica 5-4 on penalty kicks to punch their ticket to Chile.

Borussia Dortmund up and comer Christian Pulisic will lead the way for Williams and company and he will be joined by some names familiar followers of the U.S. youth scene.

William Pulisic has been a regular starter for the young team. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

William Pulisic has been a regular starter for the young team. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Goalkeeper William Pulisic played every game in CONCACAF qualifiers and he will have good protection from Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion) and Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls II) among others.

Fulham hard man Luca de la Torre will do some of the hard grafting alongside Pulisic while providing a link to a talented attacking group.

New York Cosmos precocious striker Haji Wright and Joe Gallardo (Monterrey) are just two players Williams will look to for goals.

(ISI Photos/John Dorton)

This squad will be hoping to make an impact at this tournament.(ISI Photos/John Dorton)

The young Yanks finished 1-1-1 in New Zealand four years ago, advancing from group play before bowing out with a 4-0 loss to Germany.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy II; Westminster, Calif.), William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)

DEFENDERS (8): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls II; Wappinger Falls, N.Y.),Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Penn.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake Academy; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union Academy; Media, Pa.), Alexis Velela (New York Cosmos; San Diego, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham F.C. San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; Hershey, Pa.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas; El Paso, Tex.)

FORWARDS (5): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City SC Academy; Port Chester, N.Y.), Joe Gallardo (C.F. Monterrey; San Diego, Calif.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Haji Wright (New York Cosmos; Los Angeles, Calif.)

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Kansas City Regain Their NWSL Crown
Kansas City Regain Their NWSL Crown avatar

FC Kansas City defeated the NWSL Shield winners Seattle Reign for a second year in a row to win the NWSL Championship.

Amy Rodriguez was once again the heroine. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Amy Rodriguez was once again the heroine. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Amy Rodriguez was the hero once again, scoring the only goal of the game after scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over the Reign in the 2014 Championship.

It was a relatively quiet first half with both teams struggling to create noteworthy chances. Jessica Fishlock was in the middle of all the action, the Seattle midfielder involved in a number of heavy challenges.

The game erupted into life in the second half the post prevented Seattle from taking the lead on two occasions.

The first came in the 60th minute when Kendall Fletcher’s cross was diverted towards goal, but the ball bounced on the crossbar and out of play to the relief of Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.

Rapinoe was unfortunate not to score. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Rapinoe was unfortunate not to score. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Barnhart had the post to thank three minutes later as Megan Rapinoe ripped a shot from 25 yards out, but the curling shot rebounded off the upright.

The 13,264 fans that piled into Providence Park in Portland, Oregon were finally treated to a goal in the 78th minute after some great link-up play between Kansas City’s three American internationals on the field.

Lauren Holdiay played her last game for Kansas and will now step away from the game. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Lauren Holdiay played her last game for Kansas and will now step away from the game. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Lauren Holiday, who retired from international play after the World Cup, swung a ball out to the wing to Heather O’Reilly. The midfielder, who joined the Blues in the offseason from Boston, found an unmarked Rodriguez with a pin-point cross and A-Rod headed the ball beyond Hope Solo.

The goal was Rodriguez’s sixth in six games against the Seattle Reign, with only one of those coming in a losing effort.

Rapinoe had one last golden opportunity to get Seattle on the scoresheet, but her connection with Katrine Veje’s cross in the 86th minute went straight to the grateful clutches of Barnhart.

After five minutes of stoppage time, the ref blew the whistle, cueing wild celebrations from the underdogs and disappointment from the Reign.

“We stayed really disciplined on defense for 90 minutes,” explained three-time NWSL Defender of the Year and team captain Becky Sauerbrunn. “They’ve got a lot of fire power up top; their attacking game is so strong. We came out strong, stayed disciplined, and that was the difference in the end.”

Kansas celebrating their NWSL Championship. (ISI Potos/John Todd)

Kansas celebrating their NWSL Championship. (ISI Potos/John Todd)

Kansas City are the only club to have made the playoff in each of the three seasons of NWSL play, finishing runners-up in regular season play on each occasion. After losing 3-2 to the Portland Thorns in the 2013 semifinals, they have gone on to win back-to-back titles against the Seattle Reign.

The Reign came off their second-straight season atop the regular season standings, only to fall at the last hurdle once again.

But take nothing away from Kansas City, who overcame the odds in the Championship game once again. Congratulations to FC Kansas City, who look to make it a three-peat in the 2016 season!

Goals by Half 1 2 F
FCKC 0 1 1
SRFC 0 0 0

Scoring Summary
FCKC — Amy Rodriguez 78’ (Heather O’Reilly)

Misconduct Summary
FCKC — Becky Sauerbrunn 76’ – Caution

Lineups & Stats
FCKC: GK Nicole Barnhart, D Leigh Ann Brown, D Amy LePeilbet, D Becky Sauerbrunn (C), D Becca Moros, M Jen Buczkowski, M Mandy Laddish (Yael Averbuch, 90 + 2), M Erika Tymrak (Shea Groom, 88), M Heather O’Reilly, M Lauren Holiday, F Amy Rodriguez (Sarah Hagen, 90 +3)
Substitutes not used: Katelyn Rowland, Liz Bogus, Frances Silva, Caroline Kastor

SRFC: GK Hope Solo, D Kendall Fletcher, D Rachel Corsie, D Lauren Barnes, D Stephanie Cox (Elli Reed, 77), M Keelin Winters (C), M Kim Little, M Jessica Fishlock, F Merritt Mathias (Katrine Veje, 72), F Megan Rapinoe, F Beverly Yanez
Substitutes not used: Haley Kopmeyer, Amber Brooks, Mariah Bullock, Danielle Foxhoven, Kiersten Dallstream

Stats Summary
Shots: FCKC- 10, SRFC – 7
Shots on goal: FCKC – 3, SRFC – 3
Saves: FCKC- 3, SRFC – 2
Corner kicks: FCKC- 2, SRFC – 5
Fouls: FCKC- 8, SRFC – 2
Offsides: FCKC- 1, SRFC – 3

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Philadelphia Lose Final to Kansas in Heartbreaker
Philadelphia Lose Final to Kansas in Heartbreaker avatar

“We’re double devastated,” Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin told reporters after the Union lost its second consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, this one on penalty kicks to Sporting Kansas City.

Jim Curtin could not hide his devastation. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Jim Curtin could not hide his devastation. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Oh, did I mention that both losses came at home? It was hard to blame Curtin for being down after Philadelphia had outplayed Sporting for most of a 90 minutes that ended all even at 1-1, before a goalless extra time period that gave way to penalty kick shootout.

And while Philadelphia were denied the club’s first trophy since it began play in 2010, Kansas City won its third U.S. Open Cup and its third trophy in the past four years.

But before SKC could hoist the Cup it had to survive an opening 45 minute blitz that really should have produced more than a 1-0 halftime lead for Philadelphia.

Le Toux celebrates the game opener. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Le Toux celebrates the game opener. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

The Union took the lead in the 23rd minute on a fine goal from the modern era leader in U.S. Open Cup goals Sebastien Le Toux. The Philadelphia forward finished superbly, but the defense splitting pass from fellow Frenchman Vincent Nogueira to set up the goal was even better.

As well as Philadelphia had started the match Le Toux’ strike would have put the home ahead by a 2-0 score if former Kansas City player C.J. Sapong had converted an early, open look. Instead Sapong, the Union’s leading scorer in his first season in the City of Brotherly Love, hit a weak shot that SKC keeper Tim Melia saved with ease.

Melia played his part in this Cup win on a night full of goalkeeper intrigue. That Melia would start was uncertain until recently, with backup Jon Kempin on hand if needed.

Melia was outstanding in goal for Kansas City. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Melia was outstanding in goal for Kansas City. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Melia came through for the 2015 U.S. Open Cup Champions with seven saves from open play as well as two more big ones in the shootout, although neither Maurice Edu or Andrew Wenger hit his shot with anything approaching conviction.

Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin faced a huge goalkeeping dilemma for this match, having to choose between Open Cup stalwart John McCarthy, who had gotten the Union back to this final, and Andre Blake, the talented young Jamaican international who came into this match on the back of a 10 save effort in a 1-1 tie with New England.

In the end Curtin would choose both. Blake got the start and was solid, if not spectacular on the night, only to be pulled by Curtin for PK specialist McCarthy in the games 120th minute, a la the Netherlands in the World Cup.

In the end it is hard to say that the move by Curtin had made much difference. Both team’s were on the mark from the spot, with the shootout win eventually going Sporting KC’s way 7-6.

Penalties have always been a cruel way to decide a champion and this was no exception. On a night when the Philadelphia defense had largely shut down Sporting’s dynamic offensive players Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer and Graham Zusi, that trio all shook the twines from the spot while Maurice Edu, who had led the Union defense with a smooth efficiency, had his weak shot saved by Melia.

Kristian Nemeth, who scored a superb second half equalizer for SKC, was the only Sporting player denied by McCarthy in the pk round, before the shootout, the match and the championship were finally decided.

Philadelphia sub Andrew Wenger hit his shot like a man who would have rather been anywhere else, and Melia saved gratefully.

Kansas celebrating their victory after they won the shootout. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Kansas celebrating their victory after they won the shootout. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

That left it up to Sporting’s August signing Jordi Quintilla and the Spaniard did not disappoint. A past member of Barcelona’s storied La Masia, Quintilla had probably never heard of the U.S. Open Cup before signing on with Peter Vermes and company, but he looked plenty happy when his superb penalty kick won it.

It will go down as a difficult loss for Philadelphia, who went one step further than last year when it lost the final in extra time, also after having led.

Kansas City were lucky not to go a man down when a wild kick from Chance Myers caught Andre Blake in the head. Blake bravely played on, with the KC fullback escaping without so much as a yellow card.

The loss will sting Philadelphia, who are set to miss out on the playoffs again, the Union have made the MLS post season just once in its six year existence.

Both teams will be back at it on Saturday, with Philadelphia in Toronto as Kansas City travel to Portland in the heat of a playoff race.

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Herzog Confident as U-23′s Olympic Qualifiers Begin
Herzog Confident as U-23′s Olympic Qualifiers Begin avatar

United States Men’s U23 coach Andi Herzog spoke to the media by conference call today, just one day before his squad take on Canada in the first game of Olympic Qualifying Group play tomorrow night in Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kansas.

Ethan Horvath during UEFA Europa game. (Getty Images)

Ethan Horvath during UEFA Europa game. (Getty Images)

The biggest news to emerge from the Herzog presser was the unavailability of goalkeeper Ethan Horvath for the team’s first two matches versus Canada on October 1 and Cuba on the 3rd, also at Sporting Park. The U.S. closes out group play against Panama on October 6 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce, City, Colorado.

With Horvath playing Europa League matches as the number one keeper with his Norwegian club Molde, Herzog admitted that he chose to “compromise” with Molde, so the U.S. will play the first two matches with just two keepers on the roster.

Zach Steffan impressed in the U.S. goal at the recent U20 World Cup, and given his familiarity with Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers, the U20 center back pair who are expected to start in this tournament, he may be Herzog’s choice ahead of Charlie Horton.

Goalkeeping certainly played a huge role in the team’s failure to qualify for London 2012, indeed the spectre of the Nightmare in Nashville will be hanging over its head tomorrow when the U.S. take to Sporting Park field in Kansas City to face Canada.

Sean Johnson’s inexplicable whiff in March 2012, on El Salvador’s Jaime Alas’ long range bouncer ended U.S. hopes of qualifying for London, embarrassing the team on home turf in the process.

Jurgen Klinsmann has said several times since that the failure to compete in the international showcase was a setback in the development of the players in that group and for that reason the U.S. MNT coach and Technical Director has made no secret of the importance to U.S. of qualifying for Rio 2016.

Julian Green came off the bench  (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Julian Green will be missing from the squad. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

And Horvath is not the only player Herzog will be missing, with Julian Green, Shane O’Neill and Rubio Rubin the most prominent players absent from this U.S. roster.

Just over two years ago Green was the bright young thing of U.S. Soccer, plucked from Bayern Munich to score a World Cup goal against Belgium, but the young German-American has stagnated and Herzog admitted as much this afternoon.

Herzog cited a shoulder injury suffered by Green, an unsuccessful 2014 loan stint to Hamburg as well as Green’s unavailability for the recent U23 games in England, before conceding, “we were expecting a little bit more.”

Herzog made sure to add that, “he’s still young and for sure he will have a great future.”

Rubio’s absence was a simple case of his club (Utrecht) needing the young attacker, but Herzog was clearly unhappy that defender Shane O’Neill is not in Kansas City and available for selection.

Herzog called O’Neill, “one of our captain’s,” and made it clear that he holds Belgian club Royal Mouscron-Peruwelz responsible for the absence of the former Colorado Rapids defender.

Herzog explained the process saying that O’Neill, “had some injury problems and at the end he signed with a new club that didn’t want to release him, so they always told me he’s injured.”

Andy Herzog coaching the U-23's. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Andy Herzog coaching the U-23′s. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

According to Herzog the Belgian side told the coach that O’Neill needed a two week break, but the coach revealed that O’Neill, “told me he’s fine, so there was a lot of fights with his club.”

The upshot is that O’Neill will miss out and now comes news that fullback Eric Miller will not be on hand.

GotSoccer can confirm that the Montreal fullback has been recalled by the Impact, with reports out of Salt Lake that fullback Boyd Okwuonu has been called into the U.S. squad to replace Miller.

Miller was singled out for praise by Herzog after the recent games in England, so he will be a loss to the backline, but given the opposition, anything less than advancing to the semifinals would be deemed a failure.

Herzog expressed confidence in his young squad, mentioning Emerson Hyndman, Gedion Zelalem and Cameron Carter-Vickers as standouts, while stating that New York Red Bulls center back Matt Miazga, “has a future in the men’s national team in the next couple of months, not years.”

Herzog also revealed that he is happy with Arsenal wunderkind Gedion Zelalem’s loan move to Glasgow Rangers. “Yeah, I think for every young player the most important thing is to play.” “It was not easy to get the starting job at Arsenal,” where Herzog says the Gunners, “already have four or five world class players at his position.”

“I think it is good for him to make the loan deal with Glasgow Rangers,” Herzog said. “On one side he’s fighting for promotion to bring Rangers back to the best league in Scotland, on the other side it’s a tough league with a lot of hard working players, lot’s of battles, and that’s what he has to improve a little.”

Herzog is all too well aware of the expectations on his side, but Jurgen Klinsmann’s right hand man sounded confident during today’s conference call pronouncing himself, “really excited and very optimistic.”

Herzog (ISI PhotosThomas Eisenhuth)

Herzog expects a lot from his squad.  (ISI PhotosThomas Eisenhuth)

Herzog, Austria’s most ever capped player, said of this team, “ I expect my team to have good control of the game, to dictate the rhythm of the game, especially in midfield and to create some chances.” “We have,” Herzog said, “some quality players, we have pace and speed up front, so I expect a lot.”

He’s not the only one.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Charlie Horton (Leeds; Cleveland Ohio), Ethan Horvath (Molde; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downington, Pa.)

DEFENDERS (5): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield; Arlington, Va.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wis.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; Gahanna, Ohio), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.)

FORWARDS (4): Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Maki Tall (FC Sion; Washington, D.C.)

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Philadelphia Hosts Sporting KC Wednesday Night in U.S. Open Cup Final
Philadelphia Hosts Sporting KC Wednesday Night in U.S. Open Cup Final avatar

On Wednesday night at PPL Park the Philadelphia Union host the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final for the second year running, this time facing Sporting Kansas City after falling 3-1 to Seattle in 2014.

With last season’s disappointment still fresh Philadelphia are fully motivated as they pursue the first ever honors in club history.

Benny Feilhaber has been a constant offensive threat for Kansas City. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

Benny Feilhaber has been a constant offensive threat for Kansas City. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

At the other end of the spectrum Sporting KC are chasing the third U.S. Open Championship in franchise history, seeking to add to titles won in 2012 and 2004 the latter as the Kansas City Wizards.

A win on Wednesday would be a third trophy in four years for SKC, adding to that 2012 U.S Open Cup title and the 2013 MLS Cup.

Philadelphia will have the home field advantage in Chester, Pennsylvania on Wednesday evening, but Sporting KC will hardly be intimidated.

Despite making the move before the season to the Western Conference, generally acknowledged as the tougher of the two league conferences, fifth place Sporting are in the thick of a tight playoff battle, while ninth place Philadelphia are all but eliminated in the East. SKC have compiled 45 points, 11 more than the Union and have outscored Philly 45 to 39 while boasting a plus four goals difference, far easier on the eye than the Union’s minus nine.

Union coach Jim Curtin also has to navigate a potentially divisive goalkeeper controversy involving John McCarthy, who has backstopped the Union through all four wins to get back to the final and Andre Blake, the presumptive future number one, who starred with 10 saves in Saturday’s 1-1 tie in New England.

It may be hard for Curtin to turn away from McCarthy, given that the local product won two penalty kick shootouts while conceding just twice from play in the Union’s four game journey to the finals.

Sporting had a much different trip to Chester, following a 1-0 opening win by beating FC Dallas 6-2 before going on to top the Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake with a pair of 3-1 victories.

KC also have goalkeeping questions, with regular starter TIm Melia hobbled by a hamstring injury. If Melia can’t go Peter Vermes will turn to Jon Kempin.

With his squad well rested Vermes should have the rest of his first team available. Benny Feilhaber has been the best American midfielder in MLS for two years now, and even if that is not enough to earn a look from the U.S. MNT, Feilhaber will be tough for the Union to contain with the Dewars Cup on the line.

Dom Dwyer leads SKC with 11 goals, one ahead of Feilhaber who also has 14 assists on his ledger. Matt Besler is back in form and leads the defense.

For the second year in a row Philadelphia have rallied for the Cup, playing far better in the national knockout tournament than during the MLS regular season.

Maurice Edu's return will be much welcomed by (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Maurice Edu’s return will be much welcomed by Philadelphia. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Captain Maurice Edu is back after missing time with a groin injury and the Philadelphia defense should be stronger for his presence.

Former KC man C.J. Sapong leads Philadelphia with nine goals and would surely love to bag one or two versus his old team on Wednesday.

Curtin will be trying to tap into team’s Cup spirit versus Kansas City, who are objectively the superior team. With the playoffs all but out of the picture Philadelphia can leave it all out on the PPL Park pitch on Wednesday night, while KC will have to a take a more measured approach with the playoffs still up in the air.

Kansas City have plenty to play for too, but with nothing else on its docket, Philadelphia’s trophy drought may just come to an end Wednesday evening in front of its home fans.

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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

With the league in a mad dash towards the playoffs there was no shortage of action over the weekend, so let’s get right to this week’s MLS Big – 5.

1) Big Weekend for Big Names

When Toronto exec’s laid out the big Canadian bucks to team Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, and Sebastian Giovinco, a night like Saturday night is surely what they had in mind.

Toronto got a goal each from the Big 3 to beat Chicago 3-2 in Saturday’s match. In an interesting twist, the two Fire goals came from former TFC DP Gilberto, who was moved on when Toronto reached its DP max.

Elsewhere, Los Angeles beat FC Dallas 3-2 in a game rife with playoff implications with the L.A. goals coming from star trio Robbie Keane, Gio Dos Santos, and Steven Gerrard.

Gerrard has been(ISI Photo/David Barrett)

Gerrard in action for LA Galaxy. (ISI Photo/David Barrett)

Gerrard’s old England teammate Frank Lampard continues his late-season push with a goal for NYCFC, with David Villa scoring NYC’s second in a 2-1 win at Vancouver.

And what about Drogba? Montreal’s new star is making it look too easy, scoring both goals in the Impact’s 2-0 home win versus fading DC United. Drogba has amassed seven goals in six MLS games as he leads Montreal‘s playoff drive.

2) Atomic Ant Blowing Up!

And speaking of MLS star power, one individual has shined the brightest, Toronto’s attacker Sebastian Giovinco.

Sebastian Giovinco has been the MLS outstanding player. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Sebastian Giovinco has been the MLS outstanding player. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

The former Juventus man became the league’s first-ever 20 and 10 man with a goal and an assist in TFC’s 3-2 victory over DC. Gio’s 20 goals and 15 assists give the diminutive Italian the highest ever MLS combined goals and assists total at 35, passing Chris Wondolowski who notched 34 on 27 goals and seven assists in 2012.

3) U.S. Open Cup Teams Get Results

Sporting Kansas City and the Philadelphia Union meet Wednesday night outside Philadelphia in the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Championship game, meaning the two clubs had to balance Cup glory with regular season obligations over the weekend.

The Union is still alive, barely, in the playoff race and with that in mind coach Jim Curtin rested a few starters to prepare for Wednesday.

#1 overall piick Andre Blake with Philadelphia's head coach Hackworth. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

#1 overall piick Andre Blake with Philadelphia’s head coach Hackworth in MLS Draft 2014. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Facing New England on a Gillette Stadium field covered in American football lines for Sunday’s Patriots game, goalkeeper Andre Blake was simply immense for Philadelphia in the 1-1 draw.

The young Jamaican international made 10 saves to stifle the Revolution, sending Philadelphia into Wednesday’s final on a high note.

Meanwhile, SKC coach Peter Vermes turned to a young squad against Seattle, despite entering the match with no assurances of a playoff berth.

Vermes’ young charges got the job done against the somewhat listless Sounders, emerging with a 1-1 tie, while likely earning a measure of trust from their coach.

4) Crew Booed Off the Pitch

Columbus dropped a 2-1 home decision to Portland and the fans at Mapfre Stadium were none too pleased, sending the home team off of the field with a cascade of boos.

The New York Red Bulls were clobbered by Orlando on Friday and New England managed just 1-1 tie versus Philadelphia on Saturday, so Crew fans saw a chance to claim first place in the East wasted, and let their players know.

 Kei Kamara is making a name for himself in the MLS. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Kei Kamara could help his team to the playoffs. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

But Crew supporters shouldn’t be too upset, with three games left to play the playoffs look all but certain, and with Kei Kamara and his 22 goals, so far, leading the way, Columbus could make some noise in the MLS second season.

5) Galaxy Back on Top

The defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy are back on top of the Western Conference and also in the Supporters Shield following a 3-2 win at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Winning or losing the Supporters Shield is unlikely to keep Bruce Arena up nights, but the league’s best record also comes with the home field advantage, a prize the five-time champions would undoubtedly cherish.

(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Galaxy are once again at the top of the table. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

All teams prefer to play at home, but the dichotomy with the defending champions is surprising. 12-3-1 at home makes sense, but the clubs 2-5-8 mark away from Carson makes it clear that if you have to face the Galaxy, doing so somewhere other than the StubHub Center is the way to go.

L.A. has three games to play and could yet be reeled in by Vancouver or FC Dallas, with the Red Bulls the biggest threat in the East.

Can the Galaxy be caught? We’ll see, but securing home field now could pay off later for either the Galaxy or their prospective chasers.

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NJ Youth Soccer Coaching Healthy Habits
NJ Youth Soccer Coaching Healthy Habits avatar


NJ Youth Soccer Incorporates Healthy Habits and Child Obesity Prevention into Training for Coaches

“Coaching Healthy Habits” training will reach up to 2,000 coaches this year

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (September  24, 2015) – New Jersey Youth Soccer, the largest youth sports organization in the state, is taking a stand against childhood obesity with the launch of Coaching Healthy Habits, a training to help coaches teach players to make healthy decisions on and off the field.

Sugary drinks and calorie-dense snacks are often served to young athletes due to mistaken assumptions about how many calories they burn during practice. In fact, studies have found that children often spend nearly half of a typical sports practice standing or sitting still (for example, listening to instructions, and waiting for turns to enter a drill). The Coaching Healthy Habits training equips youth soccer coaches to reduce inactivity and overconsumption of calories with three simple principles:

• Drink Right: hydrate with water instead of sugary beverages

• Move More: increase physical activity during practice

• Snack Smart: fuel up on fruits and vegetables


“Coaching Healthy Habits expands on the fundamental lessons we’ve always taught,” said Rick Meana, NJYS Director of Coaching. “We see the training as another tool our coaches can use to help players live their healthiest lives and enjoy the game for as long as possible.”

Experts from Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative of ChildObesity180 at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition in Boston, collaborated with US Youth Soccer and Massachusetts Youth Soccer to create Coaching Health Habits. The training was piloted in New England in 2014 and first launched nationwide last fall.

“Coaching Healthy Habits draws on a combination of research and hands-on experience, and we know it will help kids gain even greater health benefits from youth sports,” said Dr. Christina Economos, Vice Chair and Director of ChildObesity180. “But we can’t stop here. We need to teach and reinforce healthy habits throughout our children’s days, and I hope that more organizations will follow in US Youth Soccer’s footsteps to implement these simple changes and reverse the trend of childhood obesity.”

With more than 150,000 players and 10,000 licensed coaches, NJ Youth Soccer is one of the largest US Youth Soccer member state associations in the country. All 2,000 NJ Youth Soccer coaches who earn licenses this year will be exposed to the Coaching Healthy Habits training.

“Our coaches know that they’re not just teaching soccer skills; they’re teaching life skills that will help their players achieve success on and off the field,” said Meana. “It’s really important to us that these behaviors become second nature at practice, so we’re recommending the training as part of our coursework for all new coaches.”

Healthy Kids Out of School works with coaches and enrichment program leaders around the country to promote the Drink Right, Move More, and Snack Smart principles for healthy out-of-school time. The program’s website (www.HealthyKidsHub.org) provides resources to support the implementation of these principles. For additional information about Coaching Healthy Habits, visit www.usyouthsoccer.org/online-education.


About NJ Youth Soccer

New Jersey Youth Soccer, a 501(c) (3) organization affiliated with U.S. Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Federation, is comprised of more than 150,000 players from 5 to 19-years-old; 40,000+ coaches; and thousands of volunteers. Members collectively support the sport of soccer through training, practice, competition and the spirit of good sportsmanship. The association features recreational, travel soccer programs at multiple skill levels; Olympic Development Programs (ODP); tournaments including the National Championship series; coach and referee training and certification programs; and TOPSoccer, a program for children with special needs. The New Jersey U.S. Youth Soccer ODP provides training and competitive programs for players of the highest caliber for the purpose of increasing the success of the U.S. National Teams.


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Ali Curtis Talks Red Bulls
Ali Curtis Talks Red Bulls avatar

Whippany, N.J. – Building a professional soccer team is hard, especially when your star player, Thierry Henry, has already walked off into the sunset and a new rival, New York City FC, is hogging all of the media attention.

photo1The job doesn’t become any easier when in your first act in charge of the team, you turn your new club’s most fervent fans against you, but that is exactly what Ali Curtis did when he fired uber popular New York Red Bulls coach Mike Petke last January 7, just two weeks after taking the job.

“I was a very unpopular person for the first couple of months,” Curtis acknowledged to GotSoccer in a wide ranging chat Thursday morning at the Red Bulls bucolic training center in suburban New Jersey.

Curtis spoke with GotSoccer just a few days after the Red Bulls defeated the Portland Timbers to become the first team to qualify for the Major League Soccer playoffs.

The Red Bulls celebrating scoring at the Yankee Stadium. (ISI Photos/Mike Lawrence)

The Red Bulls celebrating scoring at the Yankee Stadium. (ISI Photos/Mike Lawrence)

As he waited for his team to emerge onto the verdant practice fields in Whippany, New Jersey Curtis let GotSoccer in on his thought process upon taking on the job of running New York’s original MLS club.

“I’m smart enough to know that there are always challenges,” Curtis relayed, “especially when you are making big and drastic changes.”

Replacing Petke with Jesse Marsch certainly qualified as a “big and drastic” change, but Curtis needed the right man to implement his plan, and the Sporting Director was confident that Marsch was that man.

On Thursday, just over eight months after hiring Marsch on the same day that he let Petke go, Curtis said, “I think we’re in a really good place.”

Relaxed, but measuring his words carefully, Curtis told GotSoccer that, “for lack of a better phrase, everything is going according to plan.”

And what is that plan? “First and foremost,” said the plans architect, “it was to really establish an identity and not just this team, but also the entire organization.”

“Coming in,” Curtis expounded, “in terms of, what’s our vision, what’s our philosophy, what are the core principles that we live by, what’s our style of play?” “And,” Curtis added, “what are our long term goals and what are our short term goals?”

So it’s more than the high press then. Notice that style of play was the fourth question Curtis posed.

Then Curtis broke the whole project down into three parts. “Those three components were very important. Strategy and identity, communications, as well as staffing,” was how Curtis put it.

Red Bull's Head Coach Jesse Marsch  (ISI Photos /Mike Lawrence)

Red Bull’s Head Coach Jesse Marsch (ISI Photos /Mike Lawrence)

Staffing, of course starts at the top, in this case with head coach Jesse Marsch, who Curtis says shares his philosophy.

Given the circumstances surrounding the Marsch hire, many assumed the two men were the best of friends. “Yeah,” Curtis said when GotSoccer inquired about his past relationship with the former Montreal Impact coach.

Laughing, Curtis said, “you had a lot of this come out that we were buddies and we weren’t.” “I didn’t know how many kids he had, I didn’t know who his wife was, in fact,” added Curtis, “I didn’t know Jesse that well.”

Of course, the Sporting Director did his research and says that “Jesse and I are different people, but philosophically, stylistically, in many ways we’re very similar.”

Speaking to a small press contingent after Thursday’s practice the coach echoed Curtis’s main points. “We knew a lot of the same people, “ Marsch said, “and a lot of the same people felt that we were both good men. So when we met and we started comparing ideas, we kind of realized there was a lot of symmetry in the way that we think and work.”

Referencing the preseason town hall meeting that saw Red Bulls fans vent their anger at Curtis and Marsch in the wake of the Petke firing, Marsch chuckled when he said, “when you have a town meeting after you really get to know somebody after two days, your bonds are forged a little bit stronger.”

Those bonds have strengthened throughout a season that has gone better than just about anyone could have expected. With Marsch as the point man, the Curtis plan has worked a charm on the field, with the Red Bulls pressing teams to distraction while fashioning a team first mentality that the club has ridden to top of the MLS standings.

His plan ahead of schedule, the Red Bulls are a team on its way to answering its Sporting Directors questions, and Cutis is much more popular these days with the Red Bull fanbase.

Curtis was never overly concerned. “In the New York metropolitan market you gotta be tough,” Curtis told GotSoccer. “You have to have a thick skin, and I’m fine with that. I believe in our plan, I believe in our people and I think over time people have gotten to understand what we’re doing and what this is all about, and,” Curtis summed up, “that’s good.”

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EPL Week 7 – Top Picks and Predictions
EPL Week 7 – Top Picks and Predictions avatar

Week 6 Predictions and Results

 Week 6 Result Anthony Sam
Chelsea v Arsenal 2-0 1-1 2-1
Aston Villa v West Brom 0-1 1-2 1-2
Bournemouth v Sunderland 2-0 2-0 1-0
Newcastle v Watford 1-2 1-1 2-1
Stoke v Leicester 2-2 2-2 1-2
Swansea v Everton 0-0 2-1 2-0
Man City v West Ham 1-2 3-0 3-0
Tottenham v Crystal Palace 1-0 1-1 2-1
Liverpool v Norwich 1-1 2-0 2-1
Southampton v Man Utd 2-3 1-1 0-2

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.

Last week, I got THREE correct results, including TWO perfect scores to earn a total of SEVEN-POINTS, which was enough to see off challengers Sam who managed to earn FIVE-POINTS.

It was not a particularly good week for us with the predictions, but I expect a lot better this week. So if you think you know the EPL feel free to leave your predictions below.

Week 7 Predictions

Tottenham v Man City 0-2
Leicester v Arsenal 2-2
Liverpool v Aston Villa 1-0
Man Utd v Sunderland 3-0
Southampton v Swansea 2-1
Stoke v Bournemouth 3-1
West Ham v Norwich 2-0
Newcastle v Chelsea 0-2
Watford v Crystal Palace 1-1
West Brom v Everton 2-2



Tottenham v Man City

Tottenham won 1-0  at home to Crystal Palace last week to maintain their solid start to the season. The north Londoners have the second best defense in the EPL this season, conceding just four, behind visitors Manchester City who have only conceded two. However, Spurs have really struggled for goals this year, scoring five goals in their opening six games, and that is why they are not higher up the table.

Agüero should cause Tottenham's defense problems.  (Getty Images)

Agüero should cause Tottenham’s defense problems. (Getty Images)

Manchester City were scoring and winning for fun, but the fun came to an end last weekend as the Sky Blues lost 2-1 at home to West Ham. That loss brought an end to their record 11-game EPL winning streak, and was their second loss on the trot at the Etihad after they were beaten by Juventus in the Champions League a few days earlier.

Tottenham have a dismal recent record against Manchester City, losing eight of their last nine and conceding 27 goals in their last eight EPL games against the two time EPL champions with an average of 3.4 goals a game.

Those stats suggest City have Tottenham’s number, and with the north Londoners struggling to score goals I can only see this game going one way.

Prediction: 0-2


Leicester V Arsenal

Leicester continued their fine start to the season fighting back from two goals down to rescue a draw away to Stoke. The Foxes remain the only unbeaten team in the EPL and this season’s surprise package. Riyad Mahrez was once again one of their star perfromers, scoring a penalty and  completed 25 dribbles already this season – only Lionel Messi (33) has completed more dribbles in Europe’s top five division.

Arsenal tasted defeat for the second time this season going down 2-0 away to Chelsea. The Gunners were hard done by after two of their players received red cards, while Chelsea’s Diego Costa stayed on the field of play. Arsenal have since seen defender Gabriel’s red card rescinded, though he is serving a one-match ban for improper conduct.

Riyad Mahrez has lit up the EPL this season. (Getty Images)

Riyad Mahrez has lit up the EPL this season. (Getty Images)

Leicester are without a win against Arsenal in 17 league games since a 2-1 victory in their first Premier League meeting, at Filbert Street in November 1994 (D6, L11). However, they are playing well and are arguably playing the most attractive football in the EPL, while Arsenal have yet to get into gear. Nevertheless, the Gunners have player’s all over the field that can score goals and that’s why I’ll go for a scoring draw here.


Manchester United v Sunderland

Anthony Martial is full of confidence and show a maturity for his young years. (Getty Images)

Anthony Martial is full of confidence and show a maturity for his young years. (Getty Images)

Manchester United bounced back from defeat in the Champions League with a fine win away to Southampton. Teenage signing Anthony Martial scored a brace and also netted midweek to bring his goal tally to four goal in four appearances for the Red Devils.

Sunderland’s poor start to the season continued with a loss away to newly promoted Bournemouth. The Black Cats have now gone nine games without winning in the EPL (D4, L5) and were also dumped out the League Cup by EPL leaders Man City, who thumped them 4-1.

Sunderland have won just two of the 28 Premier League meetings, and only one of the last 26. Combine that with the fact they have conceded a league-high 13 goals in this season’s Premier League – 10 of those goals have come in the first half – and it seems this game can only go one way.

Prediction: 3-0

Newcastle v Chelsea

The Newcastle’s horror show continued with a home loss to Watford last weekend. That loss meant the Magpies remain one of only three teams to have not won a game in the EPL – Stoke and Sunderland have also yet to win.  Their loss midweek to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup has heightened pressure on new manager Steve McClaren, but to be fair, McClaren Newcastle’s problems have been brewing for quite a while – The Magpies have earned just 15 points from a possible 75 in 2015 (W3, D6, L15).

Costa was the instigator and was rightly served with a 3 match ban in retrospect. (Getty Images)

Costa was the instigator and was rightly served with a 3 match ban in retrospect. (Getty Images)

Chelsea returned to winning ways last week with a 2-0 victory over neighbors Arsenal. However, their win was marred by the controversial behavior of striker Diego Costa, who escaped punishment during the game for throwing his hands and elbows in an opponent’s face, but has since been banned for violent conduct.

Newcastle are in their worst form for some time, but they have a terrific record against the Blues at home in recent years, having won their last three home matches against Chelsea. Nevertheless, I think the Magpies are in free fall at the moment and I expect the Blues to win this one comfortably.

Prediction: 2-0



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Vermont Soccer ODP Tryouts
Vermont Soccer ODP Tryouts avatar

Vermont Soccer ODP Tryouts are open for the 2016 season!

Eligible players can show their stuff on Sunday, November 1st and Sunday, November 8th. Check out the training schedule and try-out details below, and for more information please visit the VSA website.

Courtesy of VSA

Courtesy of VSA

- Completed ODP Paperwork
- Properly inflated soccer ball (Size 4 for U12, Size 5 for U13+)
- Water
- Registration fee of $35 cash or check (made payable to Vermont Soccer Association) for those individuals who did not choose to register online


Players are selected, in most states, on the basis of open tryouts. These tryouts are conducted by the state association coaches who are recognized for their ability to identify and train players with superior skills. Some state associations combine scouting techniques and invitations to certain players with the open tryouts. Selection of these players is not an easy task. The state association head coach or State Coach will be assisted in the selection process by several other qualified coaches from the club or league level. Players are evaluated on the four components that make up a soccer player:
1. Technique
2. Tactics
3. Fitness and Athletic Ability
4. Psychological Component (attitude)

All players will be notified of the results by email within 2 weeks following the final tryout session.Pool teams will consist of 20-30 players in each age group pool. Only a maximum of 18 players will be selected from each age group pool for participation in the ODP tournament in June. Selections for the ODP Tournament Team will be made by late April or early May.

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