‘The Special One’ Mourinho Returns To Chelsea
‘The Special One’ Mourinho Returns To Chelsea avatar

Jose Mourinho is returning to manage Chelsea for a second stint after signing a four-year contract.

Jose Mourinho was very popular with the Chelsea fans and media alike! (Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho was very popular with the Chelsea fans and media alike! (Getty Images)

The 50-year-old completed his move on Monday from Real Madrid after finishing the La Liga season at the weekend with a 4-2 win over Osasuna, and will be officially unveiled as their manager at a press conference next Monday.

When Mourinho first joined Chelsea back in 2004 he described himself as “The Special One”, however this time round he described himself as just another Chelsea fan.

Mourinho had a very successful time with Chelsea and was a fans favorite. (Getty Images

Mourinho had a very successful time with Chelsea and was a fans favorite. (Getty Images

“Now I can say I am one of you, let’s make a little bit of a difference. In my career I have had two great passions – Inter and Chelsea, and Chelsea is more important for me,” he told Chelsea TV.”

“It was very, very hard to play against Chelsea, I only did it twice which was not so bad. Now I promise exactly the same things I promised in 2004, with this difference to add: that I am one of you.”

The Portuguese coach first joined Chelsea in 2004 guiding the Blues to their first league title in 50-years during his maiden EPL season.

Chelsea enjoyed a golden era of success under Mourinho winning two EPL tittles, two League Cups and a FA Cup. However, he unexpectedly left Chelsea in 2007 by “mutual consent” after a series of dsagreements with owner Roman Ambramovic.

After leaving Stamford Bridge Mourinho took charge at Internazionale, where he won Serie A twice and the Champions League, before winning La Liga and the Copa del Rey with Real Madrid in Spain.

Mourinho takes over from Raphael Benitez, who was recently appointed Napoli coach after completing his interim period as Chelsea coach by securing third place in the Premier League and winning the Europa League.

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U.S. Stun Germany
U.S. Stun Germany avatar

Jozy Altidore ended his national team scoring slump and Clint Dempsey bagged a brace, as the U.S. surprised Germany 4-3 in Washington, D.C. Saturday afternoon.

After a dismal loss to Belgium, Jurgen Klinsmann made several changes to his lineup, including the unexpected inclusion of Seattle Sounders midfielder Brad Evans at right back. Evans did fine going up against Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski.

Altidore (R) opened the game with a superb goal. (Getty Images)

Altidore (R) opened the game with a superb goal. (Getty Images)

The U.S. were hungry from the start at RFK Stadium, with Jozy Altidore making dangerous runs onto good through balls from Evans and the returned Michael Bradley. A depleted Germany were missing most of their regular team, with the absence of the Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgard and Real Madrid stars.

Still the deep German team had some talent on display, so it was something of a shock to see the U.S. jump out to a 2-0 lead by the 16th minute. The lively Altidore scored the opener with a beautiful left footed volley from a Graham Zusi cross. German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen gave the Yanks the gift of an own goal to celebrate U.S. Soccer’s Centennial. Jermaine Jones pressured the keeper and Altidore and Clint Dempsey cut off ter Stegen’s passing options, leading to the terrible blunder.

34 year old Klose did not look like his old self after suffering a knee injury earlier in the season. (Getty Images)

34 year old Klose did not look like his old self after suffering a knee injury earlier in the season. (Getty Images)

Germany missed three good scoring chances in the first half, but the improvement in the U.S. performance couldn’t be underestimated, as the teams headed to the locker room with the score U.S.A. 2 – Germany 0.

Brad Davis had to replace Fabian Johnson at the half when Johnson picked up a hamstring injury. Klinsmann will hope that the Hoffenheim man is not too badly hurt, his performance as a wide midfielder was very encouraging against the Germans and he looks to be a viable option at that spot going forward.

Germany came out strong to start the second half and were rewarded in the 52nd minute with a goal from Heiko Westermann. Westermann slipped away from his marker Omar Gonzalez to head in from a corner. Gonzalez continues to have lapses that lead to goals, will Klinsmann continue to select the big L.A. Galaxy man?

Dempsey was outstanding and led the team well. (Getty Images)

Dempsey was outstanding and led the team well. (Getty Images)

The U.S. bounced back with two goals from Dempsey just four minutes apart. Altidore controlled a through ball from Jermaine Jones and chipped a good ball into the box. Dempsey ran on to it and buried his chance.

Dempsey’s second was a real gem, the Tottenham man curled in a fine left footed shot and amazingly the U.S. led 4-1. Germany would score two goals, one from Max Kruse in the 78th minute and then Julian Draxler in the 81st. But the Yanks held on for the win and can prepare for Jamaica on June 7th with this positive outcome in their minds.

Klinsmann and the U.S. took a lot of stick for the Belgium game, so tonight the reviews will be better. It was just a friendly, but there was much positive to take from this match. Bradley and Jones clearly have to be on the pitch whenever possible. The duo provide solidity and skill in the center of the park for the U.S. Fabian Johnson looks like a good fit on the wing and if this match is the one that gets Altidore going, then things suddenly look much brighter for the U.S.

The situation at the back remains unresolved. Germany stretched the U.S. back four at times, although the defense played well at times. Beasley was beaten badly once, though nothing came of it and the speedy vet still can get down the wing. Evans fared better than many expected, will Klinsmann start him versus Jamaica?

Dempsey’s brace means he moves to 35 international goals in 96 appearances, taking him past Eric Wynalda into second on the all-time US scoring list – 14 shy of Landon Donovan’s record.

“Having a player like Clint Dempsey on your team is just a privilege,” said Klinsmann. “This is one of the best players in US history. He has the hunger and the drive. He sends a message to his own players and also to the opponents.”

The two goals aside, Captain Clint was in good form versus Germany and the beginnings of an understanding with Altidore could be big for the Americans. That said, the friendlies are over now. Friday night in Kingston is for real. These two friendlies have seen two very different U.S. teams. Which one will show up versus the Reggae Boyz on June 7th?

USA – Jozy Altidore (Graham Zusi) 13th minute
USA – Marc-Andre ter Stegen (own goal) 16
GER – Heiko Westermann (Max Kruse) 51
USA – Clint Dempsey (Jozy Altidore) 60
USA – Clint Dempsey 65
GER – Max Kruse (Julian Draxler) 78
GER – Julian Draxler 81

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (2-Edgar Castillo, 56); 4-Michael Bradley, 6-Brad Evans, 13-Jermaine Jones, 23-Fabian Johnson (24-Brad Davis, 46), 19-Graham Zusi (18-Eddie Johnson, 56); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore (25-Terrence Boyd, 81)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Brad Guzan, 11-Stuart Holden, 15-Michael Parkhurst, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 20-Geoff Cameron, 21-Clarence Goodson
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

GER: 22-Marc-Andre ter Stegen; 4-Benedikt Howedes, 7-Marcell Jansen (6-Dennis Aogo, 46), 17-Per Mertesacker (23-Phillip Wollsched, 46); 3-Stefan Reinartz, 8-Julian Draxler, 9-Andre Schurrle (18-Sydney Sam, 65), 10-Lukas Podolski, 15-Lars Bender (5-Heiko Westermann, 46), 16-Sven Bender (20-Max Kruse, 46); 11-Miroslav Klose (13-Nicolai Muller, 79)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Rene Adler, 12-Ron-Rober Zieler, 14-Aaron Hunt, 21-Roman Neustadter
Head coach: Joachim Low

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U.S. WNT Too Strong For Canada
U.S. WNT Too Strong For Canada avatar

It was an Alex Morgan brace and a last minute strike by Sydney Leroux that earned the U.S. WNT a 3-0 win against Canada this afternoon on BMO Field in Toronto.

The match pinned the U.S. women against their 2012 Olympic semi final rivals, and though Canada gave them a run for their money with Diana Matheson and Christine Sinclair causing trouble, the U.S. managed a clean sweep victory.

U.S. Forward Alex Morgan was (ISI Photos/Craig Mitchelldyer)

U.S. Forward Alex Morgan was able to get a brace in the second half. (ISI Photos/Craig Mitchelldyer)

The game started off scrappy with both team’s looking to find a steady rhythm. No one scored, but there were plenty of opportunities between the two. The U.S. keeping the ball close, but Canadian defense was confident and steady, even when Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach started getting physical early on.

But Canada’s midfield had some tricks of their own and Christine Sinclair reminded everyone just how dangerous she can be, making U.S goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart sweat a few times towards the end of the half with some intimidating charges.

The second half got underway with the U.S. becoming more aggressive, keeping Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod on her toes. At the 53rd minute, Lauren Cheney sent a corner kick straight into the box and the ball met a diving Wambach as she headed it in at a difficult angle. The ball flew straight to a waiting McLeod, keeping the U.S. off the board for the time being.

Then came the lightning play of the evening. As the clock ticked closer to the end, both team’s started getting antsy for a goal. Finally, in the 69th minute Morgan got the ball from Wambach, nimbly dodged opposition and smashed it into the far right side of the Canadian net to give the U.S. the their first lead of the afternoon.

But she wasn’t finished yet. Just two minutes later, it was Morgan again with Cheney on the assist. McLeod stepped out for a fleeting moment, and Morgan capitalized on the empty Canadian net to cushion the U.S. lead 2-0.

It seemed as if that brace would stand unchanged for the remainder, as both teams kept their back lines solids, but Sydney Leroux had other plans.

Sydney Leroux was able to silence the Canadian crowd by scoring in goal in stoppage time..(ISI Photos/Rick Osentoski)

Sydney Leroux was able to silence the Canadian crowd by scoring in goal in stoppage time..(ISI Photos/Rick Osentoski)

Booing from the Canadian side followed Leroux out onto the field as fans made it clear how they felt about the Canadian’s presence. With stoppage time running into the 93rd minute, Leroux, showed her home country that she wouldn’t be put down. Wambach set her up with a nice cross, she weaved in and out of the opposition and slammed it in without a second thought. The final whistle sounded with a smiling Leroux bounding across the field and the U.S. taking the win 3-0.

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

USA – Alex Morgan (Abby Wambach)         70th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (Tobin Heath)              72
USA – Sydney Leroux (Abby Wambach)       90+3

Lineups:
USA : 18-Nicole Barnhart; 11-Ali Krieger, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 14-Whitney Engen, 6-Crystal Dunn (8-Kristie Mewis, 63); 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Cheney, 17-Tobin Heath (2-Sydney Leroux, 74); 13-Alex Morgan (23-Christen Press, 83), 20-Abby Wambach
Substitutions Not Used: 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 19-Rachel Buehler, 21-Jill Loyden
Head coach: Tom Sermanni

CAN: 1-Erin McLeod; 9-Kadeisha Buchanan, 4-Carmelina Moscato, 16-Lauren Sesselmann, 7-Rhian Wilkinson, 2-Emily Zurrer (3-Danica Wu, 78), 8-Diana Matheson, 13-Sophie Schmidt (6-Kaylyn Kyle, 68), 11-Desiree Scott, 12-Christine Sinclair (capt.), 14-Melissa Tancredi (15-Tiffany Cameron, 61)
Substitutions Not Used: 5-Robyn Gayle, 10-Christina Julien, 17-Ashley Lawrence, 19-Kylla Sjoman, 33-Karina LeBlanc
Head coach: John Herdman

Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 13 / 2
Shots on Goal: 7 / 0
Saves: 0 / 4
Corner Kicks: 9 / 3
Fouls: 10 / 12
Offside: 2 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Sydney Leroux (caution)                     90 + 3

 

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Donovan in from the Cold?
Donovan in from the Cold? avatar

U.S. Soccer has released its provisional 35 man Gold Cup roster, and it appears as if Landon Donovan may soon be freed from his time out. Like a naughty child put in timeout by his parents, Donovan was denied the opportunity to play with the big boys in the World Cup Qualifiers. Now, it seems that coach Klinsmann feels that Donovan has learned his lesson and his exile may almost be over.

Donovan international career is still not certain but at least it is looking brighter. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Donovan international career is still not certain but at least it is looking brighter. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Donovan is not yet assured of a Gold Cup place, final rosters are due on June 27th. The Gold Cup begins play July 8th. If Donovan is not on that final roster, it would be difficult to foresee the the all time United States leader in goals and assists ever donning the red, white and blue again. At least as long as Jurgen Klinsmann is at the helm.

But let us not get ahead of ourselves. As with any panel, there are other surprise omissions and inclusions on this list. Four players from the 35 man roster can be substituted onto the team after the group stages have been played.

So lets break it down. The goalkeepers contain exactly zero surprises. The four revolving third stringers get called in. Rimando has been named by Klinsmann as the number three, but MLS schedules may have a say in who plays these games, although some continuity may be in order.

 Bocanegra will definitely add experience and leadership at the back. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Bocanegra will definitely add experience and leadership at the back. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

At first glance the defense looks like a case of back to the future, with the inclusion of former stalwarts Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu. Perhaps it is more a case of the vets being brought in to pressure the younger pair of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler. The big question mark here is the absence of Dallas FC center back George John. John misses out, at least in part, due to Klinsmann’s continued fascination with Michael Orozco Fiscal. The other somewhat notable rejection involves Eric Lichaj. The full back has recently been released by Aston Villa and is looking for a new club. Lichaj has never gotten much love from Klinsmann, and although he had an up and down season for the Villains, other players have been given a pass for a drop in form by Klinsmann, but never Lichaj.

The midfield is an interesting group, and I am particularly happy to see Alejandro Bedoya get a call in. Reports out of Sweden have the winger playing more of a central role and on Saturday Bedoya scored his sixth goal of the season for Helsingborg. After 11 games Helsingborg top the league.

Jose Torres (L) will be hoping to prove he is the player that many thought he would be. (ISI Photos/ John Todd)

Jose Torres (L) will be hoping to prove he is the player that many thought he would be. (ISI Photos/ John Todd)

Young speedster Josh Gatt remains an interesting prospect, Mix Diskerud is worth a look as a creative midfielder, as is Benny Feilhaber. Jose Torres gets another chance, will he ever assert himself? And Klinsmann faves Beckerman, Brad Davis and Brad Evans are also in the mix. Beckerman can be counted on in a d-mid role here.

New Chicago Fire goal scoring midfielder Mike Magee would seem worthy of a late career call from Klinsmann, a la Davis and Alan Gordon. But no such luck for Magee. Then there is Brek Shea. Will Shea finally be healthy? If not, why is he continually called in? Lifelong forward Eddie Johnson is named as a midfielder here, another question mark. Then we have Graham Zusi and Stuart Holden. Holden has been out forever and is looking for a platform to prove that he is healthy and back to his best. If that proves to be the case, then he will walk onto the World Cup team. As for Zusi. Isn’t it about time that the likeable MLS star starts producing something more than good hustle and the occasional touch of class for the Nats? Is it because Klinsmann continually plays Zusi as a winger, when he may be better suited to a central midfield role. Zusi has played both for SKC, but he emerged as a big MLS deal in the center. Maybe he should get a run there for the Yanks.

Agudelo is a surprize omission from the squad.(Getty Images)

Agudelo is a surprize omission from the squad.(Getty Images)

The big disappointment up top is no Juan Agudelo. The immensely talented young striker is looking very much at home since his trade to New England, for as long as he stays there, and is worth a place in this squad. The head scratcher is Alan Gordon. The rugged San Jose man contributed against Antigua and Barbuda, but it is hard to see the 31 year old in Brazil, so why not bring in the dynamic Agudelo.

With Donovan listed as a striker - it looks like Kilinsmann's formation may be interesting. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

With Donovan listed as a striker – it looks like Kilinsmann’s formation may be interesting. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Another curiosity up top is naming Donovan as a forward, while Johnson is listed as a midfielder. Of course no one is locked into a position, but Donovan is obviously the better winger of the two. Jack McInerney deserved a call up and the other selections are safe enough. The big surprise is Hawaiian striker Bobby Wood from 1860 Munich. Wood is an exciting prospect that has recently recovered from injury to return to the Munich lineup.

That Terrence Boyd is not included in the group is somewhat surprising, although that may have to do with club commitments. Here is the 35 man provisional roster.

Goalkeepers (4): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders (11): Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/Mexico), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander/Spain), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana/Mexico), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby/Denmark), Oguchi Onyewu (Málaga/Spain), Michael Orozco Fiscal (Puebla/Mexico), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg/Germany)

Midfielders (13): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Helsingborgs/Sweden), Joe Corona (Tijuana/Mexico), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/Norway), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Josh Gatt (Molde/Norway), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers/England), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Brek Shea (Stoke City/England), Jose Torres (Tigres UANL/Mexico), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards (7): Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna/Mexico), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich/Germany)

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U-20 MNT Get First Win
U-20 MNT Get First Win avatar

The United States U20’s picked up their first win of the Toulon Tournament today (Saturday) when they defeated Congo DR 1-0. It was a solid, if unspectacular performance by the U.S., who relied on a 75th minute goal from Daniel Cuevas to secure the victory.

Daniel Cuevas (L) got the game winning goal for the U-20's. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Daniel Cuevas (L) got the game winning goal for the U-20′s. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Cuevas scored off a nice feed from striker Alonso Hernandez, who is playing in his first tournament for the U.S. Hernandez just came into the U.S. picture impressing coach Tab Ramos after after earning some first team playing time with Mexican power Monterrey. Hernandez has done well in Toulon, and may have earned a spot on the World Cup squad.

U.S. goalkeeper Cody Cropper made two outstanding saves before giving way at the break for Kendall McIntosh. Those two saves kept the U.S. level during a first half that saw the Yanks get the better of the play without putting much pressure on the Congo keeper. Cropper’s confidence should be in better shape after this solid performance, after the Southampton man had something of a nightmare in the opener against France. The only real first half chance for the Americans came on a fine solo effort from Daniel Pineda, but the Chicago Fire wingers shot was well saved.

The Americans were the better team in the second half passing the ball well, with good play from subs Hernandez and Will Trapp and some attacking forays down the right flank by 17 year Kellyn Acosta. Cuevas was inclined to try and do too much with the ball, often being dispossessed, before his big strike.

Ramos is giving a variety of players the opportunity to show what they can do.(ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Ramos is giving a variety of players the opportunity to show what they can do.(ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

The U.S. move to third place in their five team group with this win, but remain a longshot to finish in the top two. A first or second place finish is needed to advance. Ramos likely won’t mind missing out on the knockout round, he made six changes to his starting lineup tonight, after changing five starters from game one to two.

The U20 World Cup starts on June 21 and Ramos is clearly using this event to find players for that more important tournament.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        0 1 1
CGO                        0 0 0

USA – Daniel Cuevas (Alonso Hernandez) 75th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Cody Cropper (12-Kendall McIntosh, 41); 15-Kellyn Acosta, 4-Caleb Stanko (capt.), 21-Javan Torre, 3-Juan Pablo Ocegueda; 8-Benji Joya, 5-Mikey Lopez; 7-Victor Pineda (13-Dillon Serna, 59), 20-Danny Garcia (6-Wil Trapp, 57), 11-Daniel Cuevas; 16-Jordan Morris (9-Alonso Hernandez, 41)
Subs Not Used: 2-Eric Miller, 10-Collin Martin, 14-Oscar Sorto, 18-Jeffrey Payeras, 19-Alfred Koroma, 24-Marlon Hairston
Head Coach: Tab Ramos

CGO: 1-Riffi Mandanda; 2-Marcel Tisserand, 4-Anthony Walongwa, 19-Chancel Mbemba, 3-Mike Cestor; 20-Jonathan Bijimine (18-Aristote Nsiala, 70), 21-Omenuke Mfulu (11-Olivier Lusamba, 57), 8-Patrick Nzuzi; 12-Clarck Nsikulu (7-Bidje Manzia, 70), 9-Hermann Kabasele, 10-Harrison Manzala

Subs Not Used: 5-Thierry Kasereka, 6-Lema Mabidi, 13, Heritier Luvumbu, 14-Ndombe Mubele, 15-Herve Ndonga, 16-Lorhim Diafuka, 17-Merveille Bope, 22-Grace Katshimuka
Head Coach: Sebastien Migne

Stats Summary: USA / CGO
Shots: 10 / 10
Shots on Goal: 3 / 5
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 11 / 11
Offside: 0 / 0

 

 

 

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U.S. Soccer – Home and Away
U.S. Soccer – Home and Away avatar

While the U.S. senior squad were getting schooled by Belgium on Wednesday evening in Cleveland, the third round of the U.S. Open Cup was wrapping up with seven matches played all across the country.

Two more Major League Soccer teams fell to underdogs with the L.A. Galaxy going out to the Carolina Railhawks for the second straight year, 2-0, while the Seattle Sounders fell 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Bruce Arena had previously complained about he Open Cup schedule.(Getty images)

Galaxy’s coach Bruce Arena had previously complained about he Open Cup schedule and in protest did not travel and kept many of his starting line-up in L.A..(Getty images)

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena had complained loudly about the Cup schedule, which sent L.A. cross country to play Carolina in the midst of a heavy MLS travel schedule. Arena then elected not to travel himself, and kept the majority of his first team with him in California.

Carolina took full advantage and a pair of second half goals, from former Red Bull Austin da Luz and Brian Shriver, sent the Galaxy back across country pondering a loss.

Three time U.S. Open Cup winner, and 2012 finalist Seattle Sounders, fell to NASL side Tampa Bay Rowdies. Rowdie’s Georgi Hristov scored the game’s lone goal on a rebound, after former USMNT goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann made the initial save. Seattle had a chance to salvage a draw, but Obafemi Martins missed on an 85th minute penalty kick.

The remaining five games went according to the script, with MLS sides coming out on top. The Chicago Fire beat the Charlotte Eagles in Charlotte 2-0, behind a goal and an assist from Mike Magee.

Fabian Espindola scored the game winning goal for the Red Bulls. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Fabian Espindola scored the game winning goal for the Red Bulls. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

New York Red Bulls topped Reading United AC on goals from Fabian Espindola and Lloyd Sam, in front of returning goalkeeper Ryan Meara. Meara was something of a sensation for the Bulls last season, before a hip injury knocked him out of action. Meara wasn’t overly busy versus Reading, but he handled what he had to and he could be an upgrade for NYRB if he is all the way back.

The Columbus Crew just about survived against the Dayton Dutch Lions, needing an 84th minute goal from Justin Meram to advance. Dayton showed true grit after going a man down in the 14th minute. Eddie Gaven, who has just been ruled out for the season with a knee injury, scored for Columbus in the 52nd minute. Shane Smith leveled for the DDL in the 78th minute, worrying the Crew before Meram sealed the deal.

Houston ended a two game home losing streak at the expense of FC Tucson, sending the PDL side back to the desert with a 2-0 loss. Alex Dixon and Giles Barnes hit the target for the Dynamo.

Frederic Piquionne (R) was the hero of the evening for Portland. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Frederic Piquionne (R) was the hero of the evening for Portland. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Finally, former West Ham United man Frederic Piquionne was the hero with four first half goals, as the Portland Timbers walloped the Wilmington Hammerheads 5-1. The Hammerheads avoided a shutout on a fine side volley from Paul Nicholson, but Portland put the USL Pro side back in their place with a late strike from Futty Danso.

Below find the fourth round U.S. Open Cup schedule.

June 12 New York Red Bulls (MLS) at New England Revolution (MLS) 7:30 p.m. ET Harvard University; Cambridge, Mass.

June 12 Philadelphia Union (MLS) at D.C. United (MLS)
7 p.m. ET Maryland SoccerPlex; Boyds, Md.

June 12 Columbus Crew (MLS) at Chicago Fire (MLS) 7:30 p.m. CT Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.

June 12 Orlando City SC (USL PRO) at Sporting Kansas City (MLS) 7:30 p.m. CT Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.

June 12 Houston Dynamo (MLS) at FC Dallas (MLS) 8 p.m. CT FC Dallas Stadium; Frisco, Texas

June 12 Chivas USA (MLS) at Carolina RailHawks (NASL) 7:15 p.m. ET WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.

June 12 Charleston Battery (USL PRO) at Real Salt Lake (MLS) 7:30 p.m. MT Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

June 12 Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) at Portland Timbers (MLS) 7:30 p.m. PT JELD-WEN Field; Portland, Ore.

Citing, “a gentleman’s agreement ,” Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman will not allow four SKC loanees to play for Orlando City against K.C. in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 12.

SKC coach Peter Vermes agreed and so goal scoring sensation Dom Dwyer, keeper Jon Kempin, defender Jann Songo’o and midfielder Christian Duke, will not be available for Orlando.

SKC are of course within their rights, but with Dwyer playing so well that his own club appears to be ducking him, it remains to be seen if the 2012 first round draft choice will be recalled to the parent club at some point this season.

In MLS news, Chivas USA fired colorful coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola. Better known as El Chelis, Sola was brought in amid much fanfare to turn the increasingly unstable franchise around. In an oddly worded press release Chivas USA said the firing was for poor results, adding cryptically that Sola had not always, “followed the patterns of respect and conduct implemented by Major League Soccer as well as Chivas USA.”

Fielding six new starters against Colombia on Thursday, the U.S. U20’s dropped a 2-1 decision in Toulon Cup play. Tab Ramos’ side got out to an early lead with a goal directly off of a corner kick from Danny Garcia.

The U20's have struggled thus far in this tournament. (ISI Photos/)

The U20′s have struggled thus far in this tournament. (ISI Photos/)

However, a five minute lapse in the second half when the U.S. allowed two goals, cost the Americans the match. Ramos thought that the U.S. played, “ok,” but was concerned that, “when we lost control of the game, we also lost our composure.”

The team will be back in action Saturday against Congo DR, before closing out group play versus South Korea on June 5.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
COL 0 2 2

USA – Danny Garcia 7th minute
COL – Jherson Vergara (Harrison Mojica) 44
COL – Felipe Aguilar (Harrison Mojica) 49

Lineups:
USA: 12-Kendall McIntosh; 2-Eric Miller, 4-Caleb Stanko (capt.), 21-Javan Torre (18-Jeffrey Payeras, 41), 13-Dillon Serna; 15-Kellyn Acosta, 6-Wil Trapp (10-Collin Martin, 67); 16-Jordan Morris, 20-Danny Garcia, 19-Alfred Koroma (11-Daniel Cuevas, 53); 9-Alonso Hernandez
Subs Not Used: 1-Cody Cropper; 3-Juan Pablo Ocegueda, 5-Mikey Lopez, 7-Victor Pineda, 8-Benji Joya, 14-Oscar Sorto, 24-Marlon Hairston
Head Coach: Tab Ramos

COL: 1-Christian Bonilla (capt.); 17-Ronal Herrera, 5-Felipe Aguilar, 2-Jherson Vergara, 4-Andres Correa; 6-Jose Leudo, 8-Cristian Higuita (14-Sebastian Perez, 41), 16-Luis Mena; 10-Brayan Angulo (7-Harrison Mojica, 41), 22-Andres Renteria, 9-Jhon Cordoba (19-Miguel Borja, 41)
Subs Not Used: 3-Deivy Balanta, 11-Cristian Palomeque, 12-Luis Hurtado, 13-Helibelton Palacios, 15-Guillermo Celis, 18-Julian Figueroa, 20-Yair Ibarguen, 21-Jair Mosquera,
Head Coach: Carlos Alberto Restrepo Isaza

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Train with an FC Kansas City Player
Train with an FC Kansas City Player avatar

Looking for a unique and fun idea for a birthday party or small group event? How about the opportunity to train with an FC Kansas City soccer player?

The team is offering just that, with small sided games, individual improvement and increased levels of competition to benefit all players whether beginner or advanced.

Checked out the rates below and for information please visit the KSYSA Facebook page.

Team Rates

  • 1 day session is $10 per player for 60 minutes
  • 5 day session is $40 per player 60 minutes

Small Group Rates

  • 2 players:  $100 for 60 minutes
  • 3 players: $120 for 60 minutes
  • 4-6 players: $130 for 60 minutes

 

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Donate to the OSA Tornado Relief Fund
Donate to the OSA Tornado Relief Fund avatar

The Oklahoma Soccer Association and First Fidelity Bank has set up the OSA Tornado Relief Fund to accept donations for OSA soccer clubs that were affected by the storms this month.

All proceeds will go to donated for the clubs to use as they wish. U.S. Youth Soccer, U.S. Soccer and other state associations will be lending a hand as well. Reach out to those in need- donate today!

For the full story and information on how to donate please visit the OSA website: Click Here

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NWSL – PRO decide that penalty call in Seattle was wrong
NWSL – PRO decide that penalty call in Seattle was wrong avatar

The emotional wounds continue to fester after a tumultuous match between the Portland Thorns and Seattle Reign FC last Saturday in Tuwila, Wash left Seattle reeling when a dicey referee decision granted the thorns a penalty kick in the 84th minute and ultimately the 1-0 win.

Margaret Domka came under scrutiny when her own organization came out and disagreed with her decision. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Margaret Domka came under scrutiny when her own organization came out and disagreed with her decision. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

But Wednesday, the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) released a statement after meticulously studying video footage of the controversial play that seems to linger in the air like a bothersome stench.

After a pass is made from Christine Sinclair to Allie Long, referee Margaret Domka witnessed Seattle Reign defender Kristen Meier hold Allie Long inside the penalty area to prevent her from gaining possession of the ball and called a penalty kick. The available video evidence does not show this hold to have significantly impacted Long’s ability to play the ball prior to being cleared by the Seattle defense, and play should have been allowed to continue.”

With U.S. WNT goalkeeper Hope Solo back in action for the first time since her surgery, Seattle played like never before, a recharged electrical force surging through the field. Then, Sinclair took that fateful kick and when the ball hit that net, the “swoosh” echoed throughout the stadium.

Canadian forward Sinclair converted the penalty by Solo with ease. (ISI Photos/J. Adam Fenster)

Canadian forward Sinclair converted the controversial penalty by Solo with ease to give Portland and undeserved win. (ISI Photos/J. Adam Fenster)

“It was one of the few PKs (where) I’ve actually been really nervous,” Sinclair told reporters after the match.

Afterwards,  Seattle gallantly pushed forward, but was unable to equalize. Solo, who had hoped for a thrilling NWSL debut was not happy.

“Unfortunately, Portland didn’t earn the victory and I think that’s what’s most disappointing for our team. They didn’t earn it. Dubious call. Referee gives it up. That’s really all I’ve got to say,” Solo told reporters.

Other post match comments directed towards the ref’s decision, like the one above, has stemmed further action. The NWSL plans to announce any sanctions against players and coaches for future post game comments that question match officiating.

Does any of this bring closure for Seattle? Maybe a little, and it did spur some in depth discussion and a fresh outlook on NWSL rules. But alas, it still doesn’t change the outcome of the game and Seattle makes out with zero points. At least the season still has a way to go and at this point, anything can happen.

 

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U.S. MNT Outclassed by Belgium
U.S. MNT Outclassed by Belgium avatar

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann had called this game against Belgium a barometer, “to see where we are.” After Wednesday night’s 4-2 drubbing in Cleveland, the answer is no place positive.

Klinsmann has a lot of work still to do. (ISI Photos)

Klinsmann has a lot of work still to do. (ISI Photos)

Although it can be folly to read too much into a friendly, by any measure this was a disjointed and discouraging performance by the United States. The highly regarded Belgians boasting a strong roster with 10 players from the EPL were a class apart from the U.S. and if the game on Sunday versus Germany goes anything like this then the Americans will head to Jamaica anything but confident.

With many expecting Klinsmann to stick with the same back four that shut out Mexico at Azteca, the coach replaced Matt Besler with Clarence Goodson, starting the same group that blanked Costa Rica in snowy Colorado. New centurion DaMarcus Beasley got the start at left back with Geoff Cameron manning the right full back spot.

Cameron and Gonzalez were both caught napping on Belgium’s 6th minute opening goal by Kevin Mirallas. Tim Howard made the initial save, but his defenders froze while Howard’s Everton teammate pounced on the rebound. Howard was furious at his backsmen and was not shy about letting them know it.

Sacha Kljestan in action against Belgium. (ISI Photos/Rick Osentoski)

Sacha Kljestan (L) getting away from Belgian goal scorer Christian Benteke. (ISI Photos/Rick Osentoski)

With the U.S. playing without Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan was given a chance to play in his preferred central midfield position. Kljestan didn’t exactly grab the bull by the horns, in what was nothing more than an average performance.

Cameron went some way towards making amends for his part in Belgium’s opener with his headed goal in the 22nd minute. A Brad Davis corner kick was headed back across the goal by Clint Dempsey to set up Cameron and the U.S. made it to the half tied 1-1.

Brad Guzan came on for Howard after the break and Eddie Johnson came on for Jozy Altidore, who looked to be pressing in an uninspiring effort. With the U.S. playing a bit better, a terrible blunder by Omar Gonzalez gifted Belgium a 3-1 lead. Gonzalez’ heavy touch in the box led to an easy goal by Christian Benteke in the 56th minute.

Fellaini (R) fights for the ball with U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey. (Getty Images)

Fellaini (R) fights for the ball with U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey. (Getty Images)

Eight minutes later Fellaini headed past Guzan and on the 71st minute Benteke added his second when he ran on to a Steven Defour pass and beat his Villa teammate as the game became a rout. The U.S. were awarded a penalty that Dempsey converted in the 80th minute, making the final scoreline misleadingly respectable. The penalty came from a good run by Beasley, one of several the U.S. Man of the Match made on the night. Beasley fed Johnson whose cross resulted in the penalty.

On a poor night for the Americans Jermaine Jones, Beasley and to a lesser extent Graham Zusi and Clint Dempsey were best for the home team. The keepers couldn’t be blamed for the goals, but the defense never jelled and the midfield were outplayed.

Stuart Holden made a late appearance to little effect and still seems unlikely to see time in the qualifiers. Bradley and Jermaine Jones should be available for selection Sunday against Germany, but Klinsmann must settle on a back line and let them build some continuity. Klinsmann’s decision to leave Landon Donovan out of this team doesn’t look good after a performance like this one, a reminder of the gamble Klinsmann has taken with that omission.

Again, friendlies can give rise to false hopes, or indeed an exaggerated sense of dread. Still, the U.S. will have to produce a far better display against Germany on Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C. Another blowout heading into the Hex would be bad news for the U.S. psyche heading into Jamaica, with Panama and Honduras on deck.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                         1 1 2
BEL                          1 3 4

BEL – Kevin Mirallas                                      6th minute
USA – Geoff Cameron (Clint Dempsey)            22
BEL – Christian Benteke (Kevin De Bruyne)      56
BEL – Marouane Fellaini (Kevin De Bruyne)      64
BEL – Christian Benteke (Steven Defour)         71
USA – Clint Dempsey (penalty kick)                80

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard (12-Brad Guzan, 46); 20-Geoff Cameron, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 21-Clarence Goodson (5-Matt Besler, 69), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 13-Jermaine Jones, 16-Sacha Kljestan (11-Stuart Holden, 81), 19-Graham Zusi (6-Brad Evans, 69), 24-Brad Davis (25-Terrence Boyd, 63); 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.), 17-Jozy Altidore (18-Eddie Johnson, 46)
Substitutions Not Used: 15-Michael Parkhurst, 9-Herculez Gomez
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

BEL: 1-Simon Mignolet; 2-Toby Alderweireld, 3-Thomas Vermaelen (15-Sebastien Pocognoli, 36), 4-Vincent Kompany (capt.) (16-Guillame Gillet, 72), 5-Jan Vertonghen; 6-Marouane Fellaini, 7-Kevin Mirallas, 8-Steven Defour (22-Timmy Simons, 76) 9-Romelu Lukaku (23-Thorgan Hazard, 83); 11-Kevin De Bruyne (14-Dries Mertens, 68), 18-Moussa Dembele (20-Christian Benteke, 41)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Jean-Francois Gillet, 21-Thomas Kaminski, 13-Laurent Ciman, 17-Maxime Lestienne, 19-Jelle Vossen
Head coach: Marc Wilmots

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Indiana Soccer announces partnership with Indy Eleven
Indiana Soccer announces partnership with Indy Eleven avatar

Indiana Soccer announced this week that they have established a partnership with the up-and-coming Indy Eleven Professional Soccer Club. This advancement will be vital in promoting the game of soccer statewide.

“Partnering with the Indiana Soccer Association is the most important step Indy Eleven can take in reaching out to the soccer community across Indiana. We want this relationship to be so all-encompassing that when people think of Indy Eleven they will also think of Indiana Soccer, and vice-versa,” said Indy Eleven President/General Manager Peter Wilt. “We look forward to collaborating with Indiana Soccer’s dedicated staff, players, coaches, referees and families to help Indy Eleven work in meaningful and creative ways to strengthen the sport we all are so passionate about.”

Read the full story on the Indiana Soccer Association website: Click Here

Indy_Eleven___Indiana_Soccer

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Busy Times For U.S. Soccer
Busy Times For U.S. Soccer avatar

There is suddenly a lot going on in U.S. soccer circles, so let’s take a quick look at today’s news. First item, the U20’s dropped the opener of the Toulon Tournament yesterday 4-1 to rude hosts France.

Benji Joya continued to show his class.(ISI Photos)

Benji Joya continued to show his class.(ISI Photos)

Toulon is not sanctioned by FIFA and as such is a bit of an oddity. The games are 80 minutes long and while the tournament is a U21 competition, many teams are fielding U20 sides in preparation for the U20 World Cup, beginning later this month in Turkey.

As the home team France are going all out to win this event, fielding an experienced side featuring several 21 year olds that are regulars in League 1 play. France were too much for the U.S. U20 side yesterday, but coach Tab Ramos will still take away some positives from Tuesday’s defeat.

France's captain Alexandre Coeff opened the scoring for his team and led them to a convincing victory. (Getty Images)

France’s captain Alexandre Coeff opened the scoring for his team and led them to a convincing victory. (Getty Images)

In heavy rain the U.S. started slowly, with the speed of the French team putting the Americans back on their heels. The Yanks seemed to come to grips with the pace of the game and looked like getting out of the 40 minute half at 0-0, before the French struck for two late goals.

France captain Alexandre Coeff pulled one of his bag of tricks, with a back heeled volley that left U.S. keeper Cody Cropper with no chance. Two minutes later though, Cropper had every chance to save a simple shot from Gianelli Imbula Wanga, but somehow he fumbled the shot and allowed it to roll through his legs, a real backbreaker for the Yanks.

Benji Joya scored on a 72nd minute free kick, but the U.S. conceded just a minute later, quelling a potential comeback. Substitute Jordan Morris looked dangerous when he entered, and he should have earned a penalty with the game not yet out of reach at 3-1.

Jordan took on and beat his man, crossing from the endline. Somehow a clear hand ball was missed by the referee and his assistant. A late French goal finished the U.S. and hurt the Americans on goal difference.

Joya, Morris and the man Morris replaced, Alfred Koroma were best for the U.S.

Ramos will make wholesale changes for Thursday’s match versus Colombia as he prepares for Turkey and the World Cup which starts June 21. Colombia defeated South Korea 1-0 in their opener, also on Tuesday.

US Open Cup Upsets

What would the US Open Cup be without some David’s rising up and knocking off a couple of Goliath’s? We’ll probably never know.

Alan Gordon will see htis as a huge loss for his team.(ISI Photos/David Bernal)

Alan Gordon will see htis as a huge loss for his team.(ISI Photos/David Bernal)

The third round of the Cup saw two MLS sides taken out by slingshot, with the Charleston Battery sending home the San Jose Earthquakes with a 1-0 win, while Orlando City eliminated the Colorado Rapids 3-1.

Both lower league winners played at home, with Charleston getting the lone goal of the match from their Irish center back Colin Falvey, while Sporting Kansas City loanee Dom Dwyer notched a brace for Orlando. English striker Dwyer has been tearing it up all season for Orlando City and his heroics have set up a fourth round match at Kansas City on June 12.

Sporting can recall Dwyer at any time, although I don’t know how sporting that would be.

Other U.S Open Cup results were Philadelphia Union 2-1 win over the Ocean City Nor’easters, on Brian Carroll’s stoppage time goal. An 89th minute Sheanon Williams own goal had given the Nor’easters hope after an early Jack McInerney goal put Philly ahead.

FC Dallas won 2-0 over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on goals from Blas Perez and Matt Hedges. A brace from Kelyn Rowe led New England to a 5-1 rout of the Rochester Rhinos. Defending champs Sporting KC topped the Des Moines Menace to set up that match up with Orlando City, getting goals from Kei Kamara and Claudio Bieler.

DC's Willis was the hero of the day - taking his team through to the next round, (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

DC’s Willis was the hero of the day – taking his team through to the next round, (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Struggling DC United survived to win on a shootout, after a 0-0 draw with the Richmond Kickers. Keeper Joe Willis was the hero, saving two pk’s.

Real Salt Lake avoided pk’s with two extra time goals to beat the Atlanta Silverbacks and assistant coach Eric Wynalda 3-2. A 98th minute goal from Devon Sandoval and one in the 101st minute by Khari Stephenson got RSL through.

Finally, goalkeeper Dan Kennedy took matters into his own hands, or foot, scoring a 62nd minute penalty kick to give Chivas USA a 2-1 win over the L.A. Blues.

USMNT Take On Belgium

The U.S. begin preparations for three big Hex matches in June with a friendly against Belgium in Cleveland tonight. Jurgen Klinsmann named 30 players for this series of matches, but a few have come up lame, Maurice Edu, Brek Shea and Corey Ashe. Some others are unavailable because their season ran long. The Hoffenheim duo, Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams, Joe Corona and Fabian Castillo of Tijuana and Roma’s Michael Bradley won’t be in Cleveland.

Sacha Kljestan should start the game in midfield. (ISI Photos/)

Sacha Kljestan should start the game in midfield. (ISI Photos/)

Klinsmann has already let slip that Sacha Kljestan will start alongside Jermaine Jones in the center of the midfield. Does that mean a return to the old 4-4-2? The Anderlecht man has just won a second straight Belgian title and this will be his first start under Klinsmann and a rare chance to play in his natural position, rather than out wide where he often ends up for the U.S.

DaMarcus Beasley is expected to start, and earn his 100th cap, congratulations to Run DMB for reaching that milestone. Klinsmann’s backline choices will be worth watching. Does he go with Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler or does Geoff Cameron or even Clarence Goodson get a run? Klinsmann has hinted at trying Fabian Johnson as a winger, he has played there often for Hoffenheim.

Belgium will certainly be a stern test for the U.S. Currently everyone’s favorite pick as the next big thing, Belgium are loaded and players like Marouane Fellaini, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele, to name a few will be lining out tonight versus the U.S.

It should be a good test and with Germany coming up on June 2nd the Americans will have been challenged by two serious teams before the Hex resumes June 7th in Jamaica. The Americans then host Panama in Seattle and Honduras in Sandy, Utah on June 18th.

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MSYSA announces 64 teams for Director’s Academy launch
MSYSA announces 64 teams for Director’s Academy launch avatar

MSYSA has announced 64 teams and clubs to participate in the inaugural launch of the Director’s Academy program.

The program was created to better develop youth players and coaches for elite youth teams/clubs in the U11 and U12 age groups in Michigan by offering quality and competitive matches.

The 64 teams were chosen based on team history, player development history, coaching education history, etc. Each team/club selected must prepare a 10-month training program to focus on the most imperative training methods.

Check out the teams below and for the full story please visit the MSYSA website.

U11 Boys

page1image12544

U12 Boys

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U11 Girls

U12 Girls

Alliance FC ’03 Black

Canton Celtic ’02 Black

Alliance FC ’03 Black

Alliance FC ’02 Black

Canton Celtic ’03 Black

page1image23048

FC Nova ’02 Black

Canton Celtic ’03 Black

Canton Celtic ’02 Black

FC Nova ’03 Black

page1image28216

Force ‘01/02 Black

Chill SBC ’03 Blue

Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. Black

Force FC ‘02/03 Black

page1image33384

Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. Gold

Force ‘02/03 Purple

Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. Gold

Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. Gold

page1image39056

LCSC Meteors ‘02

Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. Gold

page1image41104

Michigan Fire Jrs. ’02 Red

Kingdom ’03 Silver

page1image44576

Michigan Burn ’02 Black

page1image45624

LCSC Meteors ‘03

page1image47360

Michigan Gators ’02 Orange

LCSC Meteors ‘03

Michigan Fire Jrs. ’02 Red

Michigan Fire Jrs. ’03 Red

Michigan Hawks ‘02

Michigan Jaguars ’03 Green

page1image54096

Michigan Jaguars ’02 Green

Michigan Gators ’03 Orange

Michigan Jaguars ’02 Green

Michigan Rush ’03 Northville

page1image59264

Michigan Rush ’02 Northville

Michigan Hawks ‘03

Michigan Rush ’02 Northville

Michigan Wolves ‘03

page1image64776

Michigan Wolves ‘02

Michigan Jaguars ’03 Green

page1image66784

RSC Lightning ’02 White

RSC Lightning ’03 White

page1image70256

RSC Lightning ’02 White

page1image71728

Michigan Rush ’03 Northville

page1image73080

TKO Crew Juniors ‘02

page1image74448

TKO Crew Juniors ’03 Gold

TKO Crew Juniors ’02 Gold

RSC Lightning ’03 White

TNT Dynamite ’02 Red

TNT Dynamite ’03 Red

TNT Dynamite ’02 Red

TNT Dynamite ’03 Red

Vardar ‘02

Vardar ‘03

page1image85328

Vardar ‘02

Vardar ‘03

page1image87216

Vardar East ’02 Academy

Waza FC East ‘03

page1image90336

Waza FC East ‘02

Vardar East ’03 Academy

page1image92384

Waza FC East ‘02

Waza FC West ‘03

page1image96120

Waza FC West ‘02

page1image97592

Waza FC East ‘03

page1image98944

Waza FC West ‘02

page1image100312

 

 

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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

1) Robbie Rogers Makes History

Robbie Rogers made history this weekend when he entered Sunday’s game for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 77th minute of the Galaxy’s 4-0 win over Seattle, becoming the first openly gay male athlete to compete in a major American sports league.

When news of NBA veteran free agent Jason Collins’ Sports Illustrated article broke in late May, Collins was referred to as the first active male athlete in one if the four major American sports to come out as gay. Forgotten by many at the time was that Robbie Rogers had made his own declaration in February, when he told all that he was gay and said that he was stepping away from the game.

But the question of whether soccer is “major” or not faded into irrelevance when a smiling Rogers was subbed into Sunday’s game. The sheer normality of the moment, one player replacing another late in a blowout victory, was encouraging for Rogers. “Ok, this is a soccer game, I’ve done this a million times,” Rogers said after the game. “I’m not not naive,” Rogers added, “I know people are watching.”

Now, with his debut out of the way, Rogers can work on regaining full match fitness after his time away from the game. There may yet be some moments that won’t go as smoothly for Rogers as his home debut went in front of an encouraging L.A. crowd, but perhaps the last major taboo in men’s professional sports has been broken and there is no going back now.

2) Mike Magee Goes Home to Chicago

It was no secret that L.A. were trying to acquire Rogers from Chicago, but it was a bit of surprise that the Fire were able to pry Mike Magee away from the Galaxy in return. Magee remains L.A.’s leading goal scorer this season with six, and he has displayed a knack for scoring big goals in L.A.’s run to consecutive MLS Cup titles.

Mike Magee returns home to Chicago. (Getty Images)

Mike Magee returns home to Chicago. (Getty Images)

It turns out that Magee requested the trade so that he can be closer to his family in Chicago, making this a rare trade in which everyone gets what they want. Magee, a midfielder/forward is going to a Chicago team that desperately needs goals, as well as some points in the standings. The Fire sit in eighth place, 10 points behind Philadelphia for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot. Chicago do have two games in hand on the Union, but they will be hoping that Magee can add to his goals tally in his hometown. Magee’s six goals are just one behind the Fire’s team total of seven.

3) Can Someone Get This Kid A passport?

18 year old New England Revolution attacker Diego Fagundez was born in Uruguay, but has been living in the United States since he was a young child. Fagundez has repped the U.S. at various youth levels, but he is ineligible to suit up for the Red, White and Blue. I don’t know if he wants one or not, but if he was in just about any other country he would have been granted some sort of special status passport by now. So what about it Sunil, don’t you know anyone in the U.S. State Department?

Fagundez international status is still open.(Getty Images)

Fagundez international status is still open.(Getty Images)

Meanwhile Fagundez and 20 year old Juan Agudelo are fast becoming a nightmare for New England opponents, with the duo each scoring for the second time in consecutive games, as the Revs topped Toronto 2-0 on Saturday.

Playmaking midfielder Lee Nguyen is another cog in a much improved New England side that
looks poised to make a playoff push this season.

4) Montreal are For Real

While everyone keeps waiting for Montreal to come back down to earth, the Impact just keep on winning. This weekend’s victims were the Philadelphia Union, falling to the Impact in Montreal in a 5-3 thriller.

Marco Di Viao has been impressive for Montreal. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Marco Di Viao has been impressive for Montreal. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Montreal’s 37 year old Italian striker Marco Di Vaio has apparently sipped from the fountain of youth since his arrival in Canada, and on Saturday Di Vaio notched a first half hat trick to outdo Philadelphia’s 20 year old American striker Jack McInerney, who managed just a single goal on the evening. Di Vaio and McInerney are tied now with nine goals in the race for the MLS Golden Boot.

In just their second season in MLS the Impact are breathing down New York Red Bulls neck at the top of the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are on top with 25 points, with Montreal just two points back, having played just 11 matches.

5) U.S Open Cup Starts For MLS Clubs – USMNT Get Ready For Hex

League play takes a back seat this week as round three of the U.S. Open Cup gets underway with nine MLS clubs taking part. Sporting Kansas City will open their defense of the Cup by taking on the wonderfully named Des Moines Menace tonight at Sporting Park.

The U.S. have a few important friendlies coming up.(Getty Images)

The U.S. have a few important friendlies coming up.(Getty Images)

The USMNT will also take on Belgium Wednesday night in Cleveland with Germany on deck for June 2, in Washington D.C. And not to forget Canada, the Maple Leafs take on Costa Rica tonight in Edmonton, Alberta.

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