US Soccer Players The official site of the USMNT Soccer Players with soccer news, schedule, statistics, players, interviews, and exclusive stories. Mon, 26 Jun 2017 04:27:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MLS Week 17: Coaching change overshadows rivalry week Mon, 26 Jun 2017 04:27:16 +0000 dominic-kinnear-san-jose-earthquakes-former-head-coach-major-league-soccer

The roundup for week 17 of the 2017 MLS season starts with a coaching change in San Jose. The Earthquakes announced that coach Dom Kinnear and assistant John Spencer are out in favor of technical director Chris Leitch as the new head coach with director of methodology Alex Covelo as his assistant. The news came after San Jose's week 17 win.

"I would like to thank the ownership group for giving me the opportunity to coach the club,” Kinnear said in a press statement. “I want to thank my staff for all their hard work and I wish the players the best of luck going forward."

San Jose beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 at home. Danny Hoesen put the Quakes up in the 13th and assisted on Marco Urena's goal in the 68th. San Jose's Nick Lima saw red in the 67th, picking up two yellows in four minutes for unsporting behavior. RSL's Jose Hernandez spoiled David Bingham's shutout attempt with a goal four minutes into stoppage time.

Week 17's weekend schedule opened on Friday night at BMO Field with Toronto shutting out New England 2-0. Drew Moor opened the scoring in the 11th minute with Seb Giovinco doubling the lead six minutes into stoppage time. Alex Bono kept the clean sheet with three saves.

"I thought it was a great save," Toronto coach Greg Vanney said of Bono stopping a Teal Bunbury header in the 88th minute. "I don’t think he had a boat load of big saves that he had to make, he covered the goal well. But the one save he had to make at the end of the game won us the three points on the night, otherwise we would have been taking one home. It was a great job by him."

It was a rivalry week game at BBVA Compass Stadium. Houston and Dallas split the points, finishing 1-1. Erick Torres put Houston up in the 19th minute with Maxi Urruti equalizing in the 59th.

"You know, I think the team went out there and we left it all out on the field," Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric said. "Unfortunately, we didn’t get the three points that I thought we deserved, but you’ve got to give credit to Dallas because they’re a good squad. And you know, they brought it tonight and so did we. And it was a good Texas Derby."

NYCFC shutout New York on the road at Red Bull Arena. Jack Harrison scored in the 33rd minute with Ben Sweat doubling the lead in the 65th. Luis Robles made four saves to keep the clean sheet.

Atlanta beat Colorado 1-0 at home. Josef Martinez scored in the 67th minute with Alec Kann making two saves for the shutout.

"The clean sheet was a big step for us, it’s been a while since we’ve had one,” United defender Michael Parkhurst said. "We feel like some games we’ve been good enough to get a clean sheet and it hasn’t happened for whatever reason and other games we have rightfully given goals and made some mistakes. To come out here in front of our home fans in a tough game where Colorado made it very difficult defensively, we knew that we had to be tight in the back. We knew it was probably going to be a one goal game."

Philadelphia beat DC United 1-0 at home. Fabrice-Jean Picault scored in the 31st minute with Andre Blake making four saves to keep the clean sheet.

"The first half was a little lethargic for us," DC United coach Ben Olsen said. "In some ways for both teams. At the end of the day they made the play, though, and we didn’t."

Columbus beat Montreal 4-1 at MAPFRE Stadium. Federico Higuain put the Crew up in the 17th with Anthony Jackson-Hamel equalizing two minutes later. Ola Kamara setup Kekuta Manneh's goal in the 70th minute. The two switched rules two minutes later with Kamara scoring and Manneh assisting. Higuain scored again in the 88th minute.

Minnesota and Vancouver drew 2-2 in front of 19,017 at TCF Bank Stadium. Cristian Techera converted a 17th minute penalty to put the Whitecaps up and assisted on Tony Tchani's goal two minutes into first-half stoppage tie. United came back with goals from Francisco Calvo in the 50th and Jerome Thiesson in the 63rd.

Chicago shutout Orlando City 4-0 at home. David Accam scored in the 3rd and 8th minutes, assisting on Nemanja Nokolic's goal in the 52nd. Accam finished his hat-trick with a 63rd minute penalty. Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson kept the clean sheet without having to make a save.

"I think it was all about the team," Chicago's David Accam said. "We played well in training. We wanted to press them high, be in an open position to get balls, and that's what we did all day today. I thought I could do anything on the pitch today, and I just wanted to enjoy myself and help the team win, and that's what we did today. Especially after my first goal, I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win."

Sporting Kansas City beat the Galaxy 2-1 at StubHub Center. Roger Espinoza scored for Sporting in the 22nd minute with Ike Opara doubling the lead in the 35th. LA's David Romney pulled a goal back in the 77th.

Week 17 concluded in Portland with the Cascadia derby. A hot evening at Providence Park ended in a 2-2 draw. Joevin Jones put Seattle up in the 27th minute, but they were down a man with a red card to Brad Evans for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity in the 44th. Fanendo Adi converted the resulting penalty. Four minutes into second-half stoppage time, Dairon Asprilla scored. Clint Dempsey subbed on in the second-half, heading in a stoppage time equalizer.

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2017 USMNT Gold Cup squad Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:57:50 +0000 us-soccer-federation-logo-stitched

USMNT coach Bruce Arena cut his provisional Gold Cup squad to 23 players on Sunday. Gold Cup camp begins on June 25 in Nashville, TN. The USMNT opens group play against Panama on July 8 in Nashville (4:30pm ET - Fox Sports). Arena will be able to alter his roster should the USMNT advance to the knockout round. He can make up to six changes.

"It's a good roster with a nice blend of experienced, veteran players and a good group of newcomers as well," Arena said. "There's good balance at every position. We can play a number of ways, and I think all these players have a desire to play for the US and will be working hard. It will be a competitive camp. They are going to be highly motivated, very coachable and they have an opportunity to make a statement."

2017 USMNT Gold Cup squad

GK: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 54/0), Bill Hamid (D.C. United; 2/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 5/0)
DEF: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 39/1), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 39/1), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 2/0), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 11/0), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 2/0), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC/CAN; 1/0), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna, MEX; 6/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 47/5)
MID: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 8/0), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX; 5/2), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 60/2), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX; 17/2), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 6/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 0/0), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution; 0/0), Kenny Saief (Gent/BEL; 0/0), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 31/7)
FOR: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 23/3),Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City; 0/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 15/2)

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Soccer TV: New York Red Bulls vs NYCFC Fri, 23 Jun 2017 21:00:52 +0000 new-york-red-bulls-nycfc-mls-soccerIt's another chance for MLS on national television on the weekend soccer TV schedule. Rivalry week sees New York hosting NYCFC on Fox, part of a Saturday doubleheader with the Russia vs Mexico Confederations Cup game. Also on the soccer TV schedule, Fox doubles down on the network coverage of the Confederations Cup with Germany vs Cameroon on the Sunday schedule.

New York Red Bulls vs NYCFC on Saturday on Fox at 1:30pm. Does proximity always mean a rivalry? Maybe, when it comes to MLS. Maybe not when it comes to American sports. NYCFC hasn't been around long enough to really tick off their nearest neighbors. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls have a long history with DC United, among others. That could change over 90 minutes, with the national TV spotlight on Red Bull Arena.

Saturday Soccer TV

Confederations Cup on Fox: Russia vs Mexico at 11am. FS1 has New Zealand vs Portugal also at 11am. MLS on Fox: New York Red Bulls vs NYCFC at 1:30pm. Spain Segunda Division promotion playoff second-leg on beIN en Espanol: Getafe vs Tenerife at 3pm with Tenerife up 1-0. NASL on beIN Sport: Miami vs NY Cosmos at 7:30pm.

Sunday Soccer TV

Confederations Cup on Fox: Germany vs Cameroon at 11am. FS1 has Chile vs Australia also at 11am. MLS on ESPN: Portland vs Seattle at 10pm.

Monday Soccer TV

No games on the schedule. All Times Eastern

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Recalibrating our ideas about lower division American soccer Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:00:53 +0000 christos-fc-goal-celebration-dc-united-us-open-cup-fourth-round-2017-soccer-game

By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Jun 23, 2017) US Soccer Players - They arrived by the hundreds, some hours early even on a weeknight. Their vehicles backed up for miles down the small country roads and residential streets like the crowds flocking to the baseball diamond in “Field of Dreams.”

The bucolic little stadium simply wasn’t ready for their numbers. The entry lines stretched easily a hundred yards down the grassy hillside beyond the gates. They queued up to get parking spots, then to get inside, then to buy beers – the suds sold out shortly after halftime – and hot dogs and barbeque sandwiches. It was worth it. After all, this was a special occasion.

Plenty wore the black and red garb of the home team. More, startlingly more, wore a neon-green t-shirt bearing an unfamiliar crest on the front and a huge list of names on the back, often adorned with a matching scarf. Though lacking the organization and practice of their opposite numbers supporting the professional team, they cheered for their side. They did so loudly and up to the very end, when the long-shot dream collapsed, exhausted but proud, like the players who carried it.

I’m speaking, of course, about the US Open Cup Fourth Round match between DC United and Christos FC at the Maryland SoccerPlex on June 13. I know, I know. It’s now old news in the ever-accelerating US soccer media cycle. More than a week later, the firsthand experience of still reverberates in my head, reliably popping up whenever there's a mention of the grand old tournament or the lower divisions of American soccer.

As anyone reading this will know, Christos are this year’s Open Cup darlings. The beer-league amateurs from Baltimore knocked off the USL’s Richmond Kickers and other favored opponents in previous rounds. Then they pushed DC as hard and far as anyone – themselves included – could expect. Along the way, they seduced both neutrals and the media, cracking wise about their chances while cracking open beers during Washington Post interviews and the like.

Cup Cinderellas are not a new thing, either here or abroad. Yet this particular underdog felt different. Yes, Christos were charming, and tightly knit, and actually quite good at soccer. They also flipped a switch in their community that few of their predecessors in the modern era did. That should give all of us pause.

A bunch of 9-to-5 working Joes, underwritten by a liquor store and wearing a crest cribbed from Aston Villa’s. Those guys inspired a crowd about triple the size of DC United’s home Open Cup game at this time last year. That game was against the Ft Lauderdale Strikers, the shuttered NASL side whose sad trip to the auction block this week provides a strange symmetry here.

Of course Christos had the support of their family members and friends. That alone didn’t draw 3,000-plus loyalists an hour or so down the freeway at rush hour. From their accents to their resounding collective “O” during the national anthem (a quirky Orioles tradition), it was clear that this event had brought out the rank and file of Baltimore soccer, whether the individuals had direct ties to those boys in green or not.

They didn’t appear particularly keen to watch their local top-tier pro side in action, either, other than as a heartless Goliath to sight crosshairs on. They get 18 or more chances a year to go watch DC United at RFK Stadium, which on most days is a shorter drive from Charm City and where walk-up tickets are always available.

No. Christos carried the Baltimore and Maryland flags on their cup run. That inflamed local pride to a depth that United simply does not.

Like many places in America, Maryland’s biggest city is an idiosyncratic, fiercely proud, and slightly provincial place. Those that grow up there tend to stay, and if they wander away, often return. Everyone knows everyone else in its keenly competitive soccer landscape, where high-school play still matters a great deal despite having faded in importance elsewhere. “Balmer” hasn’t been able to support an outdoor pro team in some time. However, the city's indoor side, the Blast, dominate their league and routinely dismember visiting teams in front of healthy crowds downtown at Royal Farms Arena.

“I’ve played in a lot of places,” Christos’ star striker Pete Caringi III told “But there’s just something different about wearing the name Baltimore across your shirt. It makes me play better. It’s not the same with some other name on there. You don’t feel the same. At least I don’t.”

FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio served up some insights on this angle in a long-form piece on the lower divisions this week. Speaking to those on the front lines like Peter Wilt and Dennis Crowley, he concludes that the game’s real growth proposition is one, two and even three steps down the ladder from MLS, where the game can truly start to infiltrate the fabric of daily American life.

The USL is making plans to plunk an expansion team down in Charm City, though I’m not prepared to predict a slam-dunk success just yet. Like the big crowds that turn up for Gold Cup games and international friendlies at M&T Bank Stadium, Christos’ Open Cup campaign is still fundamentally a one-off event. It’s much harder to run a club, with a week-to-week league and all it entails. Many teams of the past have tried and failed to sell pro soccer to places that won’t turn up to support just any bunch of guys in matching kits.

Any squad in Baltimore will need to both inspire and reflect the community in the way that Christos did. It’s really not so different from what happens, and is globally celebrated, in Liverpool or Bilbao or Buenos Aires’ La Boca.

Major League Soccer's strategic mapping groups most or all of Maryland under DC’s footprint. United will never connect with the essence of Baltimore like Christos did. It’s unrealistic to expect them to. The Columbus Crew learned much the same one night later. They lost to FC Cincinnati in front of a fervent crowd of 30,000-plus eager to watch their upstate “big brothers” get humbled in the Open Cup.

There’s something deep and ancient and potent at work here. And the leaders of American soccer must recognize that they’ve failed to truly summon it in much of this nation, save a few prominent exceptions like Portland and Seattle.

Forming and arguing opinions is part of this business. I’ve always felt the need to keep some measure of detachment from the pitched battlefields of the promotion-relegation debate. It’s maybe the hottest-burning topic of the American game of late. With so many ideologues involved, I’ve felt more useful arriving from a reporting perspective than an editorial one.

It’s simplistic to leap to the sloppy conclusion that last week proved that we need pro-rel ASAP. The Christos phenomenon should make all of us stop and second-guess our assumptions about this and related matters. A subterranean layer of soccer devotion lies under the surface, just waiting to be farmed by caring and skilled hands. It’s imperative that we speed the plow.

Charles Boehm is a Washington, DC-based writer and the editor of The Soccer Wire. Contact him Follow him on Twitter at:

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Weighing the MLS rivalries Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:30:57 +0000 seattle-sounders-fans-mls-soccer-club

By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Jun 23, 2017) US Soccer Players - Once again, Major League Soccer has manipulated its schedule to bring us a round of games thick with rivalries. The weekend has a sponsor. The league's marketing department is opening up the throttle in a bid for attention. While MLS is clearly the biggest professional soccer league in the country, it nevertheless struggles to entice even a moderate percentage of the available soccer fans here.

None of this is new or news. Still, it's interesting to consider how long it will last. Or, in the case of each individual rivalry, how long it will take before no extra work is necessary to drive attention.

To be fair to MLS, rivalry games across most sports in the United States receive significant hype in the days leading up to a game. This is construct of the modern sports industry, not necessarily something unique to the soccer League. Yankees-Red Sox goes back a century. Yet MLB and its broadcast partners still see fit to lay thick the nonsense heading into a series. Competition for eyeballs almost demands that leagues and TV outlets do everything they can to push people to buy into a rivalry. That's the situation even if that rivalry is decidedly new, decidedly manufactured, or decidedly underwhelming.

The three MLS Rivalry Week brought to you by some league sponsor games on the schedule are Houston vs FC Dallas, the Red Bulls vs NYCFC, and Portland vs Seattle. All of them are rivalries in some manner, but there are different flavors involved. Geographical proximity makes them legitimate on their faces, but no one will claim they all measure up to the best tests of great rivalries. MLS is testing the limits of the appetite for even the best among them with their scheduling.

The last truth probably applies most to Portland vs Seattle, the most intense of the three rivalries MLS is highlighting this week. There are underpinnings of the Cascadia derby that transcend the game of soccer. Like so many good city vs city rivalries, issues of culture and size are at play. Rather than exist as the reason for a rivalry between Portland and Seattle, Timbers vs Sounders is merely an avatar for a rivalry that runs deeper than sports.

That's what rivalries are at their best. It's an excuse for two (mostly) similar groups of people to express their distaste for one another in a forum that avoids older, messier, and more violent ways of settling pointless debates. Tribalism is something best avoided in most walks of life. It's an asset in the world of sports.

Does Houston vs Dallas meet the same standard? People from each city would naturally say yes. For outsiders, the fact that everyone involved are Texans takes some of the sting out of notions that there's a real animosity between the cities. The rivalry that exists between Dynamo fans and FC Dallas fans is certainly real. Without a richer backdrop and minus the same level of vocal support enjoyed by Portland and Seattle, it pales somewhat by comparison.

That brings us to Red Bulls vs NYCFC and the strange cultivation of a rivalry by some, but not all, of the interested parties. Where MLS and NYCFC fans see a potential vibrant, engaging rivalry, fans of the team from the western bank of the Hudson see something to rebel against. Red Bulls fans may know intellectually that it makes sense to treat NYCFC as a rival. What it lacks is a history to point to. Because of the new team's encroachment on territory previously thought of as red, they tend to be reluctant to go along with the conceit.

This is an MLS rivalry closer to arranged marriage. While there may be real heat to the proceedings in the future, the whole thing still feels lukewarm.

It does help, of course, that both of the New York sides good enough to be playoff teams and have reasonable designs on winning a championship. Building rivalries usually requires stakes. If both NYCFC and the Red Bulls are chasing top seeds in the Eastern Conference, games between them will have more gravity.

A real rivalry transcends records. It's supposed to matter even when teams are bad. When there is almost nothing else to play for in a season, a win over a rival can sometimes be the thing that adds a little joy to an otherwise disappointing stretch run. Coaches across the world have lost jobs for failing to beat a rival. Does anybody see that happening in MLS?

Maybe that's a little too much to expect. Still, Major League Soccer's emphasis on rivalry, and the manner in which they mean to use it as a boost for interest and ratings, will bring up discussions about legitimacy. Some rivalries are beyond reproach. Others don't quite convince.

Jason Davis is the founder of and the host of The United States of Soccer on SiriusXM. Contact him: Follow him on Twitter:

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The power of the Premier League Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:30:25 +0000 premier-league-logo-wide

Friday's soccer news starts with another example of how much things have changed in the Premier League. Crystal Palace, far down the list of Premier League clubs in general and London Premier League clubs in particular, is closing in on a new manager. Frank de Boer left Ajax for Inter Milan last season, losing that Italian job after three months. BBC Sport's David Orstein has the details on the proposed move to south London.

Meanwhile, there's the larger point to consider. De Boer is far from the first established foreign coach to decide on a mid-to-lower tier Premier League club as his next stop. What is changing is the expectations for those Premier League clubs. Flush with cash courtesy of the broadcast deals domestically and around the world, these are teams with spending power that doesn't correlate to their league positions. They're all wealthy by European standards, capable of competing for players and coaches that might have opted for clubs in other leagues.

Also in the soccer news, US Soccer confirmed on Friday that ESPN2 will show a US Open Cup quarterfinal game. Cincinnati vs Chicago will be available on national cable on June 28 at 8pm ET. ESPN2 is responding to the ridiculous support Cincinnati is getting, with just over 30k showing up at Nippert Stadium for their Fourth Round win over Columbus.

ESPN FC's Matt Pentz explains the importance of the Cascadia derby. The NY Times' Leander Schaerlaeckens looks at how personalities become important for the New York MLS teams. The Oregonian's look at the issues facing the Timbers. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney looks at Houston's home form. FourFourTwo's Paul Tenorio considers the growth potential in the lower divisions of American soccer.

Inside World Football's Samindra Kunti reports on Chile's bid to host the 2026 World Cup. Reuters' Anjuli Davies and Steve Slater explain the importance of US banks for the stadium construction boom in Europe. Two Hundred Percent's look at the unlikely rescue of English club Leyton Orient. AFP reports on Bastia now facing a season in the French third division due to an administrative relegation. The Set Pieces lists interesting provisions in player contracts.

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Questioning instant replay Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:30:57 +0000 mls-linesman-referee-soccer

Thursday's soccer news starts with the growing complaints about how instant replay is working at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. The quick take is that it isn't, at least not enough to convince that it's worth the effort.

Instant replay, which of course FIFA would prefer the soccer world refers to as "video assistant referee", has been a long time coming. The discussions seem to have dragged on for a decade at this point. While FIFA observed the implementation of instant replay in other sports, it spent time coming up with a system that may not be making the game any better.

In an article for FC Yahoo, Leander Schaerlaeckens looks at the calls the video assistant referee helped get wrong in the Confederations Cup. While allowing for early adaption for a "real" tournament, that's a pretty damning criticism. It's a throwback of sorts to when the National Football League first implemented instant replay. Back then, the officials would stare at the monitor for far too long before coming to a decision. That impacted the length of games along with frustrating fans in person and on TV. Maybe even now, the implementation isn't as easy as we'd like to think for any sport needing authoritative answers in real time.

The NY Times' Rory Smith tries to figure out the value of a player amid transfer market frenzy. ESPN FC's Mark Ogden advises Manchester United and Wayne Rooney to figure out a way to keep the player at the club. BBC Sport has the aftermath of another Spanish tax case involving a soccer player.'s Matthew Doyle looks at the Wednesday MLS games. The Oregonian's Jessica Floum reports on the Portland city council approving the Timbers' stadium expansion. Soccer America's Paul Gardner on Michael Bradley's goal against Mexico.

Inside World Football's Paul Nicholson reports on the public outcry over how little some professional players make in South Africa. AP's Rob Harris reports on a death at one of the Qatar stadium construction sites.

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at

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MLS Scores: Wins for DC, Minnesota, and the Galaxy Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:39:29 +0000 minnesota-united-portland-timbers-red-cards-mls-soccer-game

Week 17 of the 2017 MLS season began with four games on Wednesday. DC United got its offense restarted with a 2-1 home win over Atlanta United. Julian Gressel put Atlanta up in the 17th minute. Licoano Acosta equalized for DC in the 23rd with Patrick Nyarko scoring in the 60th.

"We made many mistakes tonight, especially individual marking mistakes," Atlanta coach Tata Martino said. "Against DC, it’s obvious that those mistakes have cost us in both games. They were individual mistakes and I think you’ve seen in the games we’ve played that we dominated possession again, but DC is able to take advantage of the errors.""

Minnesota beat Portland 3-2 at home. An own-goal put United up in the 7th minute with Diego Valeri equalizing from the penalty spot in the 37th. Christian Ramirez scored for Minnesota in the 47th with an own-goal levelling the score three minutes later. Abu Danladi scored for Minnesota in the 64th. Danladi saw red for violent conduct in the 70th with Portland's Sebastian Blanco red carded for the same thing a minute later.

"It’s difficult to win games when you make the defensive mistakes, the individual errors, that we’ve made the last two games," Portland coach Caleb Porter said. "When you look at the three goals they scored, those are routine situations. First one is an own goal off a cross, second one is one pass, a central pass that gets right through our back four, and the third one was another routine cross. We’re not getting guys making plays at the back and when you don’t get guys making plays at the back you fall short and that’s what has happened the last two games. The difficult thing is we scored two goals, and when you score two goals on the road you should get something out of the game."

The LA Galaxy won on the road, beating Colorado 3-1. Jack McBean scored for LA in the 5th minute. Dillon Serna equalized in the 37th. McBean scored again in the 63rd with Romain Alessandrini converting a penalty in the 71st minute.

The Wednesday MLS schedule finished with Seattle and Orlando drawing 1-1 at CenturyLink Field. Will Bruin scored for Seattle in the 19th minute. Scott Sutter equalized four minutes into stoppage time.

In the Canadian Championship final first-leg, Montreal and Toronto drew 1-1 at Stade Saputo. Matteo Mancosu put the Impact up in the 19th minute with Jozy Altidore equalizing in the 30th.

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LAFC intrigue and Mexico asks their fans to stop Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:00:29 +0000 andres-guardado-mexico-soccer-player

By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Jun 21, 2017) US Soccer Players - There is still quite some time until LAFC takes the field. Many things with this club are still up in the air, but the possibilities seem unlimited. The roster will not start to take shape until sometime after a team lifts the 2017 MLS Cup. Already, rumors swirl linking a top Mexican player to LAFC and the potential for more such signings is there.

Should Andres Guardado join LAFC, it might reveal the direction the club hopes to take with its roster. It would also spark an arms race in Los Angeles, the kind that should have happened a decade ago.

By bringing in and chasing top-level Mexican talent, LAFC would try to make an instant impression in a tough market. Simply bringing in Mexican talent is a bit of an antiquated business model. However, bringing in someone as respected as Guardado, still in the prime of his career, would show LAFC’s buying power.

Signing Guardado could point LAFC toward a bright future. LAFC could become the West Coast version of Atlanta United. One of two MLS expansion teams to begin play in 2017, Atlanta has been a revelation in its first season. The club is in contention for a playoff spot and has been strong from the outset of the season. Atlanta’s brand is an exciting one as the club leads the league in goals with 31 through 15 games. With players like Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron, and Hector Villalba, Atlanta features some quality international players. That leads directly to an entertaining brand of soccer.

LAFC would do well to be in that position a year from now. What would make LAFC’s situation an even more exciting one is its natural rivalry with the Galaxy. The back-and-forth between the two clubs will be exciting. Particularly so if LAFC’s potentially high-spending ways force the Galaxy to up their own level of player acquisitions.

The Galaxy though is having a quite average season. The team sits toward the bottom of the Western Conference table, with five wins through 14 games and a meager 1-3-3 record at home, unheard of by the Galaxy’s own standards. The team will have to improve significantly before the year is out to keep the attention on the five-time MLS champions versus the flashy new kids in town.

Name players that transcend soccer is one way of capturing that attention. The Galaxy’s interest in Zlatan Ibrahimovic has died off. There seems to be no other such player in the team’s sights.

The Galaxy would need an injection of talent if LAFC land Guardado. They'll need even more if the club lands its likely number one option, Javier Hernandez, who has been a target of several MLS clubs. If any club can land Hernandez, though, it could be LAFC. All the conditions are there to make it happen. LAFC is not afraid to spend money. At least that’s the impression given by looking at its ownership group.

Once LAFC officially begins to acquire players - aside from the pair already under contract in Carlos Alvarez and Monday Bassey Etim - the team’s spending habits will begin to take shape. Being Atlanta West could be an expensive venture. Atlanta has two players earning more than $1 million per year and another at $770,000. Guardado would likely command a seven-figure salary while landing Hernandez might mean offering him the largest salary in the league.

Soon names will begin to shape LAFC”s roster. If Guardado becomes the first big name signing by the club, the excitement around LA’s newest soccer club will only increase.


Mexico national team fans have long been getting under the skin of opponents by chanting a derogatory and profane word after each opposing goal kick. FIFA has tried, unsuccessfully, to stop it in the past, but now the world governing body may be ready to do something serious to stop it.

FIFA warned Mexico to stop with “insulting and discriminatory” chants during the Confederations Cup opener against Russia. Days before, FIFA opened the door to allowing referees to stop matches as a way to crack down on unruly fan behavior. Who knows if that will be the way this chant gets out of the game, but its exit needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Some will argue that the word is not discriminatory while others will say it is the worst of the worst. That’s semantics, though. Nobody is denying that the word is vulgar, whatever the intended meaning of the word is.

Soccer is the beautiful game and lends itself to many wonderful things, both on and off the field. It is the only sport in the world that brings people from all corners of the globe together. To stand by and watch it get marred by vulgarity and hate is a bad precedent and just as harmful to the image of the game as hooligans have been.

FIFA has done well to crack down on hooliganism and needs to eradicate Mexico’s chant as well.

Luis Bueno is a veteran soccer writer. Follow him on twitter @BuenoSoccer.

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Another end for the Strikers Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:30:20 +0000 fort-lauderdale-strikers-logo

By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Jun 21, 2017) US Soccer Players - The original version of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers might not have been as famous as the Cosmos or the Rowdies. That doesn’t mean they didn’t make a mark during the heyday of the original North American Soccer League. In the late-70s and early-80s, the Strikers were not only the club of famed English goalkeeper Gordon Banks, German great Gerd Mueller, and a host of other European stars. Their captain was American soccer institution Ray Hudson. During his playing days in Fort Lauderdale, Hudson led the Strikers to the playoffs in every season of their existence.

The name resonated in South Florida. When the original Miami FC moved north to Fort Lauderdale and Lockhart Stadium following the 2010 USL season, the club decided to resurrect the Strikers name. Like similar NASL brand revivals across American soccer in the first decade the 21st century, trading on the former existence of an NASL gave new soccer clubs a bit of a head start. For an older generation, nostalgia pulled them to the team. For those too young to remember NASL 1.0, there was no stigma from that league’s failure.

The modern Fort Lauderdale Strikers (actually the third incarnation of the name, if we’re being technical--a second Strikers team played in the ASL and APSL from 1988-94) had a rocky existence. “Had” is appropriate. As of Tuesday morning at 10am Eastern Time, any chance that the latest version of the Strikers might return to the field in the modern version of the NASL died. The club's assets went for a paltry $5,100 at auction.

That’s how much Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards paid for the Strikers’ naming rights, trademarks, customer and vendor lists, and any remaining contracts held by the team. Edwards, who had recently won a summary judgement against the Strikers in a lawsuit over several loans Edwards issued the Strikers’ ownership, was the club’s largest creditor and cannot, by virtue of the ruling, revive the club in NASL. The Strikers’ membership interest in that league was specifically excluded from the assets available in the public auction.

Not that Edwards would want to have anything to do with NASL at this point. After floating loans to the Strikers to keep that team - and by extension, the NASL itself - alive in 2016, he moves his team to for the USL this season. Edwards clearly saw his interests better served by a league with a connection to MLS and his expansion push in Tampa Bay. A man who had once been one of the leading figures of the new NASL’s independent spirit came to the realization that the lower divisions of American soccer are chaotic, unsteady, and potentially ruinous.

Consider the figures attracted to the Strikers after the move up the coast. The initial years in Fort Lauderdale were very good, with the team reaching the championship game twice in four season. Attendance, however, didn’t seem to match the results, with the team failing to best 5,000 in the 20,000+ capacity Lockhart Stadium. Nevertheless, the club attracted flashy new owners in a trio of Brazilians who even managed to entice Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo to get on board their ambitious project.

Before long, however, the Strikers were failing to meet payroll. Overly ambitious ideas about building a “global brand” undermined the Strikers’ efforts to attract a local fan base. By the middle of 2016, the Strikers were moving out of Lockhart and into a stadium with a capacity of 5,000. They never came close to filling it.

As these things go, the sale of the Strikers name for less than the price of a used Honda is fairly mundane for American soccer. That the Strikers got a modern resurrection at all makes it notable among the historical names of game in the United States. The dustbin of history is full of names and logos that will never again emblazon a jersey or grace a scarf. The Strikers did better than most.

Still, the end of the line for an American soccer name that people recognize prompts anxious thoughts about the game’s past and future. There are only so many recognizable name in our spotty soccer history. Whenever one disappears it's a soccer-specific tragedy.

So we say goodbye to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 1977-2017, with a few years missing and maybe not goodbye forever. Because this is American soccer and nothing is ever certain.

Jason Davis is the founder of and the host of The United States of Soccer on SiriusXM. Contact him: Follow him on Twitter:

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