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Starting XI: Eleven things to watch for this weekend in MLS

MLS Soccer - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 8:00am

Welcome to Starting XI, our Friday rundown of what to watch for – and what we're watching this weekend in MLS and beyond. And don't forget to get your Spanish-language fix with FutbolMLS.com's in-depth preview of the upcoming Copa Centroamericana.

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Sporting Kansas City determined to correct defensive mistakes in home tilt vs. Houston Dynamo

MLS Soccer - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 7:15am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes still hasn't talked directly to his defenders about what went wrong in their last match. Then again, he hasn't had to.

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Montreal Impact vs. Columbus Crew | MLS Match Preview

MLS Soccer - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 7:09am

STADE SAPUTO, Montréal, Qué.
Aug. 30, 2014 (WEEK 25, MLS Game #233)
7:30 p.m. ET (TVA; TWCS-OH)

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Summer sun shines on Live Your Goals

FIFA - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 1:51am
FIFA’s Live Your Goals programme was busy with activity during August with events taking place in Canada to coincide with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, as well as Wales, Armenia and elsewhere.

Sports Briefing | Soccer: Clear Path for FIFA Chief

NYT Goal blog - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:04pm
The UEFA president, Michel Platini, said that he would not challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency but that he hoped somebody would.

Seattle Sounders Academy's Jordan Morris earns USMNT call thanks to big success at youth levels

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:15pm

TUKWILA, Wash. – With the call-up of Stanford University forward Jordan Morris on Thursday, the Seattle Sounders Academy has officially produced another prospective member of the United States national team.

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NWSL soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 3:54pm

(Aug. 28, 2014) – FC Kansas City are seeking a redemption of sorts when the Blues take the field Sunday against Seattle Reign FC in the 2014 NWSL Championship Game after painfully falling short of their goal last season.

Game Info | Watch Live | Tickets

Last season, FCKC were set to claim the NWSL Shield, given to the team with the best regular-season record, and needed just a draw to secure the No. 1 seed in the final game of the 2013 campaign.

However, FC Kansas City surrendered a goal to Chicago Red Stars forward Jen Hoy deep in second-half stoppage time of that game. The loss cost the Blues the regular-season silverware and sent them into a semifinal with Portland Thorns FC, who overcame a 2-0 deficit against FCKC to pull off a 3-2 victory en route to the 2013 NWSL Championship.

It was a run of results that left Blues defender Leigh Ann Robinson and her teammates asking ‘what if’ – a question she hopes to answer against the Reign in a match broadcast on ESPN2.

“To make it to the final is definitely very rewarding, but we still feel like we have some unfinished business from last year,” Robinson said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “We’re hungry, ready and excited to get this far and I think we match up well with Seattle in terms of both teams liking to play through the midfield. It’s going to be a good match up and we’re super excited.”

Robinson and fellow defenders Becky Sauerbrunn, Nikki Phillips, rookie Kassey Kallman and goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart  are a big part of the reason why FC Kansas City enjoyed a second-consecutive playoff appearance and are on the verge of a league title – with their 1.33 goals against average the third best in the NWSL.

“I feel like we have a really good, cohesive unit right now,” Robinson said. “Obviously, having Becky controlling that back four – and even the back six, at times – is probably one of the main reasons. But bringing in Nikki Phillips as another veteran is another. [The three of us] have played at this level and that’s made it easier for Kassey [Kallman] to grow this year. … She’s really progressed into one of the top rookies in the league and someone we trust.”

In addition to a strong defense, coach Vlatko Andonovski’s squad also boasts two strong players on offense in Lauren Holiday and Amy Rodriguez.

In particular, Rodriguez has enjoyed a standout season. The U.S. international, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Seattle, skipped the entire 2013 NWSL season to give birth to her first child but has returned this season with the second most goals in the league.

“We know that [Rodriguez] can get behind the line and she’s going to make runs and expose back lines with speed,” Andonovski said. “But one thing that she’s done this year more than any year before, and what made her different, is she’s getting involved in the buildup and she’s getting more involved in the


Along with their star duo of Holiday and Rodriguez, the Blues can also expect key contributions Sunday from midfielders Erika Tymrak, Jen Buczkowski, Jenna Richmond and Merritt Mathias.

“It will be a good show for soccer fans in the country,” Andonovski said. “We’ve played Seattle three times and every time it’s been a good match and there have been a lot of goals every time. Soccer fans will have the chance to see the two best teams in the league.”

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Photo courtesy of FC Kansas City

After missing out on Jermaine Jones, Chicago Fire's Frank Yallop not giving up on adding "top player"

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 3:26pm

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Four days on from the disappointment of missing out on the signing of Jermaine Jones, the Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop insisted the club will continue with its efforts to bring in a marquee name.

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Chivas USA's Wilmer Cabrera says addition of new players creating atmosphere of competition

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 3:11pm

When head coach Wilmer Cabrera hinted a couple weeks back that Chivas USA would look to add some pieces for the stretch run, a subsequent departure by leading assist man Mauro Rosales would have probably been at the bottom of the list of possibilities.

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Chicago Fire vs. FC Dallas | MLS Match Preview

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 2:45pm

TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
Aug. 30, 2014 (WEEK 24, MLS Game #222)
7:30 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; TWCS-TX)

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Houston Dynamo's Tally Hall on inability to pull team out of frustrating season: "That's been difficult"

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 2:32pm

HOUSTON – Tally Hall has seen his share of success as a starting goalkeeper. Taking over for Houston Dynamo legend Pat Onstad in 2011, the ‘keeper is used to late season runs and ending campaigns in championship games, MLS or conference.

But this season has been a shock to that custom.

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New Cycle Begins as Klinsmann Picks U.S. Team

NYT Goal blog - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 2:20pm
The United States men’s national team will play its first match since the World Cup in Brazil, at the Czech Republic, on Wednesday.

USMNT youngster Romain Gall on debut with Columbus Crew: "I couldn't have pictured it any better"

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 2:18pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio – When the Columbus Crew announced that the team had acquired USMNT youth product Romain Gall, Gregg Berhalter made it clear that the speedy playmaker was a project and wouldn't be a main contributor for the Crew in 2014.

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Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 2:08pm

SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
Aug. 29, 2014 (WEEK 25, MLS Game #232)
7 p.m. CT (NBCSN)

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Kei Kamara leaving Middlesbrough, could be eyeing return to MLS and former club Sporting KC

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 2:02pm

Kei Kamara could be on his way back to Major League Soccer after the former Sporting Kansas City forward and his current club Middlesbrough announced Thursday that they have mutually parted ways.

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Chicago Fire add US youth international midfielder Collin Fernandez as a Homegrown Player

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 1:59pm

The Chicago Fire announced Thursday that the team has signed midfielder Collin Fernandez as a Homegrown Player. Fernandez will not be added to the Fire’s first team roster until 2015. Per MLS and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Colorado Rapids loan forward Danny Mwanga to NASL's New York Cosmos

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 1:41pm

Former No. 1 draft pick Danny Mwanga's quest for playing time will take him to the NASL, after the Colorado Rapids announced Thursday they have loaned him to the New York Cosmos.

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NWSL soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 1:33pm

CHICAGO (August 28, 2014) – Seattle Reign FC midfielder Kim Little was voted the NWSL Most Valuable Player for the 2014 season.

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Verónica Boquete came in second in the voting, while FC Kansas City forward Amy Rodriguez was third.

Little, 24, became the first player in NWSL history to earn the Army National Guard Player of the Month on multiple occasions – claiming the honor three times during the season for the months April, May and July.

The Aberdeen, Scotland native lead the league with 16 goals in 23 games and also finished tied for second with seven assists, one behind teammate Jess Fishlock, as she helped lead Reign FC to the 2014 NWSL Shield.

The Scotland international’s 16 goals this year are an NWSL single-season scoring record – breaking the previous mark held by FC Kansas City midfielder and 2013 NWSL MVP Lauren Holiday. She scored the record-breaking tally with the first of two goals in a 4-1 win July 30 against the Houston Dash in Seattle’s 20th game of the year.

Little, whose discover rights were acquired by Seattle in an offseason trade with the Washington Spirit, scored in six consecutive games May 10-June 7. She also had four two-goal games during the season in addition to scoring against all eight other teams in the league, with her five goals against the Dash the most against any single opponent.

Seattle Reign FC will return to action against FC Kansas City in the 2014 NWSL Championship Game on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 3 p.m. ET at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash.

The NWSL awards are voted on by a selection of journalists that cover the league on a consistent basis, team officials and NWSL players.

LA Galaxy wondering how the San Jose Earthquakes let Alan Gordon get away after initial success

MLS Soccer - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:29pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy couldn’t ask Alan Gordon for much more.

But he says he’s got more to give.

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Bundesliga and Premier League Teams Collide in Champions League Draw

NYT Goal blog - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:24pm
Thursday’s draw for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League featured familiar collisions of German and English contenders.


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