US Soccer Players https://ussoccerplayers.com The official site of the USMNT Soccer Players with soccer news, schedule, statistics, players, interviews, and exclusive stories. 2019-03-20T20:00:03Z hourly 1 2000-01-01T12:00+00:00 MLS in the new era of the FIFA Club World Cup https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/mls-in-the-new-era-of-the-fifa-club-world-cup.html 2019-03-20T20:00:03Z fifa-club-world-cup-logo

By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Mar 20, 2019) US Soccer Players - MLS received potential good news last week when FIFA opted to expand the Club World Cup. Under the current format, only seven teams participate with the Concacaf Champions League winner representing this region. That means Liga MX clubs in the Club World Cup.

That could change. Concacaf will receive three of the 24 spots in the revamped version of the Club World Cup. Triple the spots means a better chance of qualifying for the tournament without having to win the Champions League, a feat that has greatly eluded MLS clubs.

Good news for MLS, but the announcement hasn't received worldwide support. Problems, questions, and doubts surrounding the Club World Cup. So many questions abound that it seems highly unlikely that the event will even take place or become the quadrennial spectacle FIFA hopes it will be.

FIFA’s changes to the Club World Cup are sweeping. The tournament will feature more than three times the amount of teams, played in the summer instead of winter. It's now set for 2021, replacing the FIFA Confederations Cup. That National Team tournament met its doom in last week's FIFA Council meeting in Miami and is no longer on the international schedule. Neither are the annual Club World Cups, with 2018 the last before the revamp.

The move to summer means that more teams would play. It also means that those same teams may not want to extend their seasons. Some of the top European clubs have reportedly balked at the idea of having to play in a competition like that during the summer. The European Club Association, which represents more than 200 European clubs, said its member clubs will not be part of the tournament, according to published reports.

FIFA of course wants and needs for the top European clubs to participate for the revamped Club World Cup to succeed. Without their participation, the tournament might not even get the chance to get off the ground.

Of course, if the tournament does not come to fruition, it would be akin to the previous time MLS had an entry into a global club competition only to see it fall apart. The LA Galaxy had a place in the 2001 FIFA Club World Championship. That was a 12-team event that would have taken place during the summer of that year in Spain. The tournament collapsed though due to a variety of factors, including financial problems with FIFA’s then-marketing firm and a congested fixture list that summer.

The Galaxy didn't ge the opportunity to play against Real Madrid in Santiago Bernabeu. MLS seeing one of its clubs win the old Concacaf Champions Cup did not lead to much beyond that accomplishment.

It would be a bit different now, though. MLS has no such guarantees of competing in the event two years from now. Concacaf has three spots. How to assign them is now the question.

That alone seems like a complicated issue to resolve. The structure of the Club World Cup over the last decade-plus works for Concacaf. They have a calendar year champion that advances to the global tournament. As these things go, it works rather smoothly. Now, there might be no payoff for the annual winner.

Selecting its three representatives means a difficult task for CONCACAF but it would be best for the betterment of the confederation to not send three representatives from the same league. Spreading the wealth around and offering its member organizations the chance to participate in this type of event is something the confederation should want.

Unfortunately for leagues other than Liga MX, that goes against the spirit of competition and letting Champions League results speak for themselves. Liga MX clubs are the dominant force in Concacaf. Three of the four semifinalists in the current edition of the Champions League are from Mexico. Sporting KC the lone club outside of Liga MX to remain in the party. They knocked out Mexican side Toluca along its path to the semifinals.

Despite all of the problems the tournament faces in even getting off the ground, there is an upside. If MLS teams take part in the tournament, it would be the biggest stage. The chance to play during the summer against international competition in a meaningful tournament beamed across the globe represents a major opportunity.

What it might mean for the 2019 winner remains a question. That would take nothing away from Sporting KC. Considering how Liga MX clubs do in the Club World Cup, there's a way of looking at the Concacaf Champions League as an end in itself. That's certainly how the biggest clubs in Europe and South America treat their confederation tournaments.

For MLS, what matters right now is what they know and what they can control. That's the semifinals on the schedule for Sporting Kansas City.


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

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Gregg Berhalter’s March tactics https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/gregg-berhalters-march-tactics.html 2019-03-20T15:30:33Z tyler adams usmnt training

By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 20, 2019) US Soccer Players - The USMNT is coming out of a dark period. The failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup casts a shadow over the program that still lingers, more than a year-and-a-half after the loss in Trinidad eliminated the Americans from the tournament in Russia. The memories of how it all went wrong haven’t faded.

Questions about roster selection, tactics, and lineups in crucial World Cup qualifiers back in 2017 remain present in the minds of fans across the country. While a number of figures got part of the blame for the results of the Hex, the choices of the head coaches are of particular focus.

One of the hallmarks of Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure as USMNT coach was his propensity for moving players out of their usual positions into other areas of the lineup. A list of Klinsmann’s tinkering would be long and lacking context, but it’s enough to say that he liked to challenge players by forcing them to adapt to new responsibilities.

In some cases, Klinsmann likely thought that playing a player “out of position” was the best solution to a pressing problem and gave his team the best chance to win.

We have results by which to judge Klinsmann. We don’t yet have that with Gregg Berhalter, the man tasked with reviving the USMNT program in 2019. Thursday’s friendly against Ecuador in Orlando will be the first time Berhalter will coach the US at full strength. Minus a few players unavailable because of injuries, Berhalter had his choice from the entirety of the American player pool. What happened over the last cycle is probably why Berhalter isn’t getting much benefit of the doubt when it comes to his positional choices.

It’s important to note that while Klinsmann often moved players out of their “natural” positions, he never gave advance notice of those moves or fully explained the reasoning behind them after the fact. Klinsmann’s choices were mysterious ones, with the information gap playing a large role in how fans and analysts viewed them. When they didn’t work, there was no way to better understand them within the structure of the team. Only Klinsmann and his staff really knew what they were trying to accomplish.

Berhalter is taking a different approach. That we even have a “surprising” positional wrinkle to talk about ahead of two March friendlies speaks to the new coach’s propensity for careful explanation and transparency.

News broke from Orlando on Monday that Berhalter intends to play Tyler Adams as a right back. Adams is a central midfielder for RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga, where he is thriving since joining the club. There are a couple of caveats, one of them large, to the “Tyler Adams as a right back” statement.

First, the small one. Adams may not be playing as a right back now, but he has played the position in the past for the New York Red Bulls. On his way up from the academy system in New Jersey, Adams played in the back line before he seized control of a holding midfield spot. In retrospect, it’s easy to believe that Adams was always destined for a move to midfield. Still, there was a time not so long ago with the Red Bulls when right back looked like it could be his best position.

The second caveat, the large one, comes from Berhalter’s system. The coach outlined not just the plan to play Adams as a right back and DeAndre Yedlin in midfield, but the reasons why it makes sense. As evidenced by the January camp and the system deployed by the United States, the right back is more of a roaming defender/midfielder than the traditional role.

Even the usual modern description of a right back, as wing attacker in addition to the defensive responsibilities, fails to capture the utility of the position in Berhalter’s plan. Nick Lima’s showing in January proved effective enough for Berhalter that he now wants to try the ultra-mobile Adams in the role.

Despite the caveats and despite thousands of words spilled to explain the full context of Berhalter’s plan for Adams, the reaction has been one of bewilderment. Playing Adams in a position other than the one in which he’s starring for Leipzig seems strange at best and potentially damaging to the player and the USMNT at worst.

None of the reaction is fair to either Adams or Berhalter. The new coach especially deserves time to put his imprint on a team following the interim year of 2018. Interim coach Dave Sarachan did his job, most notably bringing through young players like Adams. However, nobody expects a caretaker coach to formulate a tactical identity.

Berhalter won’t coach a meaningful match for the United States until the Gold Cup arrives in June. The two friendlies during this FIFA international window will be challenging, but they’re still friendlies. No matter how much intensity the Americans bring to the table, neither match will approximate a game with something on the line.

If the Adams plan fails against Ecuador and Chile, some will take it as evidence that Berhalter was wrong and that Adams should play his club role. If the experiment works and Adams excels as a roaming right back, the friendly nature of the game will undercut the evidence at hand.

As is usually the case, these friendlies are more lose/lose than win/win. That doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable to Berhalter and his staff, just that they the weight they carry as the team builds towards the summer is impossible to pin down.

The difficult reality for impatient fans ready to see the team take gigantic steps forward is that the wait continues. It's going to take the Gold Cup to get a firm idea of the early returns from the Berhalter era. It's not just winning this summer, it's how the USMNT plays.

At the beginning of any other World Cup cycle, a head coach would get the chance to bed in his ideas before the knives came out. This isn't the situation with the USMNT.

Berhalter knew what he was taking on. So far, he seems unphased by questions about his system and is willing to explain them. Tyler Adams at right back is just one example of Berhalter doing something that seems unconventional on the surface but has a clear purpose.

Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. Either way, the new head coach deserves a chance to try.


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

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Jason Kreis and the USMNT U-23s https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/jason-kreis-and-the-usmnt-u-23s.html 2019-03-20T14:30:10Z usmnt u23s coach jason kreis

The soccer news starts with US Soccer announcing that Jason Kreis will coach the USMNT U-23s. Kreis takes over the program immediately, with the team currently in camp in Spain. The U-23s are the team that attempts to qualify for the Olympics, something that has turned into a challenge in recent cycles. Kreis takes the job while remaining part of Inter Miami.

"It's a tremendous opportunity," Kreis said in a press statement. "It's an opportunity to be a part of a new system under the leadership of Gregg Berhalter and Earnie Stewart leading the National Team the way that they are. It's an opportunity to work with the country's brightest young stars, and it's an opportunity to represent your country. In my opinion, that's the highest honor of all."

The Olympics has turned into an obstacle for the USMNT program, compounded by Mexico's recent success. The USMNT last qualified in 2008, finishing in 9th-place. There best finish in the modern era of American soccer was 4th in 2000. Meanwhile, Mexico won gold in 2012, finishing 9th in 2016.

Making the Olympics a priority is a statement of intent, trying to reverse that recent history and show that the program can compete at this level. There are issues. There's no obligatory U-23 international release window, with clubs able to withhold players. There's the players already established with the senior squad that may or may not take part in the Olympic qualifying tournament. There's FIFA's deal with the International Olympic Committee that allows for three over-23 players should a team qualify.

That doesn't take away from the opportunity. This is a showcase for a younger generation of players and an opportunity for the National Team technical staff. The hiring of Earnie Stewart as general manager and Gregg Berhalter as coach is part of a broader cultural change. That brings with it youth soccer technical director Tab Ramos, already in place and in charge of the U-20s. It's that team taking the next step.

Ramos's U-20s are also in Spain, preparing for the World Cup that begins for the USA on May 24 in Poland. How much these tournaments matter is due in large part to the US Soccer technical staff. Going all in on the youth tournaments is a risk, but taking those opportunities may also be a necessity.

In the era of Nations Leagues and changes to the global soccer calendar, most fans can still pick out the games that really count. The ones that show where a program is heading. That's the upside for competing in the youth World Cups and the Olympics.

Soccer America's Paul Kennedy relays USMNT defender Omar Gonzalez's comments from a media round-table. Pro Soccer USA's Jordan Culver has DeAndre Yedlin talking about the younger USMNT players. The Athletic's Paul Tenorio looks at the return of Jordan Morris to the USMNT. ESPN's Jeff Carlisle has Christian Pulisic talking about the Berhalter era of the USMNT.

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 editor@usnstpa.com

Photo by Brad Smith - ISIPhotos.com

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MLS and the March international break https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/mls-and-the-march-international-break.html 2019-03-19T14:30:56Z 2019 MLS soccer ball

The soccer news starts with the MLS schedule. Showing some respect to the international break, there are only five games in an abbreviated week 4. There's certainly an argument for that being five too many.

In the league's own media roundup, they pointed to the "80 MLS stars set for National Team action" over the break. That's the standard reason for topflights taking the international break off rather than coming up with ways to play through. It could be worse. The league could press on with a complete schedule. Still, it's not exactly optimal from a competition standpoint.

Columbus is at Philadelphia on Saturday night without Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes. Zack Steffen would've also been unavailable due to international duty had he not picked up an injury. That changes what Columbus does best, a team dependent on its USMNT players. Philadelphia has its own issues with their Concacaf players.

FC Cincinnati is losing key players to Costa Rica and Jamaica, turning the expansion side's squad into something different at New England. The Red Bulls play this weekend with starters missing. And so on.

Advantage to the MLS clubs not missing as much, a situation that isn't about competing with best available lineups. That's sort of the point of the league schedule, something that might be less of an issue in 2019 but is still a problem. It's not fair, turning an already problematic league schedule into hoping that the call-ups aren't completely disruptive.

"I’ve obviously been in this league and I know you’re going to lose guys to international duty, you’re going to have to rotate," Columbus coach Jason Kreis said following his club's win over FC Dallas. "I never lose sight of that, I need everyone. I say that all the time and I’m not shallow in saying that, I mean it."

That full availability remains such a challenge in this league has a simple answer. It's the same one from the era when the league played on regardless of the FIFA calendar. No games during the international breaks.

Pro Soccer USA's Jordan Culver reports from USMNT training in Orlando. SBI Soccer's Ives Galarcep has the positioning for the US defense. NYCFC's Simreen Kheraj talks to USMNT player Jonathan Lewis. AP's Ronald Blum looks at the tactics for the USMNT in March. ESPN's Jeff Carlisle updates the situation with FIFA and training compensation for DeAndre Yedlin. The Independent's Jack Pitt-Brooke on the US clubs pressing FIFA to address the lack of promotion and relegation.

The Guardian's Sid Lowe on Lionel Messi's latest exploits. BBC Sport with the state government stepping in to operate the Maracana Stadium.

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 editor@usnstpa.com

Photo courtesy of MLS

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Aaron Long: “How lucky am I that I have Tim on my right and Luis behind me in goal?” https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/aaron-long-how-lucky-am-i-that-i-have-tim-on-my-right-and-luis-behind-me-in-goal.html 2019-03-18T18:00:54Z aaron long usmnt defender

By Clemente Lisi – HARRISON, NJ (Mar 18, 2019) US Soccer Players – Aaron Long is the latest talent to come out of the Red Bulls' system. Over the past few years, the Red Bulls have relied on many young talents like Tim Ream, Matt Miazga, Tyler Adams, Sean Davis, Conor Lade, and Tim Parker. Some have moved on. Others, like Long, are working hard to help RBNY win its first MLS Cup.

Named MLS Defender of the Year last season, Long was originally drafted into the league 36th overall by the Portland Timbers in 2014. Released by the Timbers, Seattle acquired Long before he joined the Red Bulls in 2016. Long refined his skills with Red Bulls II in 2017, winning the USL Defender of the Year and helping the team win the USL regular season and USL Cup. It was last season that Long got a chance to start and he had a breakout second season in a Red Bulls jersey. His center back partnership with Parker was a big part of why the Red Bulls captured the Supporters’ Shield. The 26-year-old California native played in career-high 31 games and made the MLS All-Star team.

Long’s strong season first caught the attention of then-interim US coach Dave Sarachan, and more recently coach Gregg Berhalter. Long grabbed his first senior cap in October against Peru and was captain for Berhalter’s first two games as coach in the US’s January friendlies versus Panama and Costa Rica. He is in the squad for the USMNT’s two upcoming friendlies against Ecuador and Chile.

We spoke with Long about his team’s strong start to the MLS season, his meteoric rise, and how he hopes to be a part of the National Team on a regular basis going forward.

A big part of your success and that of the Red Bulls last season in winning the Supporters’ Shield is the defensive partnership with Tim Parker. How did you both become so compatible as a center back pair?

If I had to choose any center back in the league to play next to, it would be him. How lucky am I that I have Tim on my right and Luis (Robles) behind me in goal?

After last season’s success, you got a call to be a part of the National Team’s January camp. How did you react when Berhalter informed you that you’d be wearing the captain’s armband for those January friendlies?

That was a surprise for me for sure. Just looking back, what a great honor. It’s something you can never prepare for, in my position, in that moment. Looking back on it, I will forever be so proud of that.

The Red Bulls were able to win their home opener 4-1 against the San Jose Earthquakes, a game where you were trailing 1-0 after the opening 45 minutes. What happened in the dressing room at halftime?

We were at home, we’re losing and we needed to step up our pressure a little bit. We changed our tactics in the way we were going to press and it really helped out.

San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski came into Saturday’s game needing a goal to tie Landon Donovan for the all-time scoring record in MLS. Was that on your mind going into this game and in the first half when he looked especially lively up top?

I think it was said earlier in the week that we said let’s make sure Wondo doesn’t get this in our building. During the game, to be honest, I didn’t think about it.

After exiting the Champions League to Santos Laguna, it was vital to grab a win, especially at home. How important was it to win the home opener and get the MLS season off to a strong start?

It was so nice to be back in our building and see it pretty full. The fans were loud and to get the win. It was icing on the cake.

You now get some time away from MLS and travel with the US National Team for its upcoming friendlies against Ecuador and Chile. Just two years ago you were playing in the USL and you went from that to captaining the team in January. Does it feel surreal sometimes?

I wouldn’t say surreal, but it’s still so exciting every time I get that email saying that I am going. It’s a great opportunity and I have to prove myself again.

Your next goal, when it comes to the National Team, is making this summer’s Gold Cup roster. How difficult will the next few months be for you in order to keep playing at such a high level?

For sure. That’s the next goal. Every game, every training you’re getting evaluated. There are many talented center backs in the US, so I know that every time I go play, I will have to show my stuff if I want to come back.


Clemente Lisi is a regular contributor to US Soccer Players. He is also the author of A History of the World Cup: 1930-2014. Find him on Twitter:http://twitter.com/ClementeLisi.

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Photo by John Dorton - ISIPhotos.com

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Atlanta United’s point https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/atlanta-uniteds-point.html 2019-03-18T14:30:59Z Atlanta United

The soccer news starts with the obvious issue for Atlanta United. So far in 2019, it's not working. Atlanta split the points at home with Philadelphia in a 1-1 draw that required a comeback. This isn't the Atlanta we knew from 2018, adding pressure to a transition that was never likely to be easy.

“I feel like we were finding some problems to really find our free man," Atlanta coach Frank de Boer said. "Because (Philadelphia) was very organized, we couldn’t keep our man in the midfield free. So, the first 40 minutes wasn’t the type of play that we wanted to see. After that, we went to 4-4-2, we got more into the game. Directly after, Josef Martinez had a good chance when he hit the crossbar. We got better in the game, and we also created more chances. We did it much better the second-half. I said to my team after the game that you all straightened your backs and tried to push forward. They Philadelphia didn’t play the four extra games during this period. Every three or four days, we’ve had a game. We are just missing the freshness to get a pass to the right man. We still made too many errors when it wasn’t necessary. I think the reason is mostly because of the freshness we are missing right now. Hopefully, after this international period, we can see a fresh United."

Whether or not this is the next example of the problem of the Concacaf Champions League is a fair question. Atlanta didn't get as far as Toronto did last season, but it's the same run of games impacting their MLS preparations. There were already enough issues for Atlanta to address without the scenarios and travel the Champions League represents.

Preparing a team to succeed in Concacaf isn't the same as getting ready for an MLS season. The best case scenario for the MLS teams involved in the Champions League is that it doesn't hamper their preparations for the regular season. That's not the kind of thing that moves the needle for Champions League excitement, but it's a more realistic look at what MLS teams face in a competition that starts in the offseason.

"Frustration is certainly there," Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. "That’s pretty obvious. Something isn’t clicking the way it did last year. That’s on us as a group to find that and figure it out. That’s part of it to a certain extend. We knew going into the season that it wasn’t going to be easy. So, we have to use these next two weeks to improve and make sure we are ready to go against Columbus."

Should that happen, it's not going to be just about De Boer and his players turning a corner. It's going to be another reminder from the reigning MLS champion about the real cost of preparing to compete in the Champions League.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Parker Johnson on United's formations against Philadelphia. SBI Soccer's Jeff Weisinger looks at another disappointment for the San Jose Earthquakes. The NY Times' Kevin Draper on the issues with the New England Revolution.

Soccer America's Paul Gardner has another example of instant replay causing problems. The Guardian's Andy Brassell explains Werder Bremen's style of play.

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 editor@usnstpa.com

Logo courtesy of Atlanta United

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MLS Week 3: DC United scores five, FC Cincinnati wins at home https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/mls-week-3-dc-united-scores-five-fc-cincinnati-wins-at-home.html 2019-03-18T02:59:16Z wayne rooney dc united hat trick

Week 3 of the 2019 MLS season saw DC United shutout Real Salt Lake 5-0 at Audi Field and FC Cincinnati win their home opener. Seattle extended their run of form once again with help from Jordan Morris and Minnesota lost in Carson.

Wayne Rooney had a hat-trick in DC's 5-0 win over RSL, converting a 34th minute penalty and scoring in the 41st and 65th minutes. RSL went a man down with a red card to Jefferson Savarino in first-half stoppage time for a serious foul. Marco Silva followed with a red card for unsporting behavior in the 67th. Rooney assisted on Lucas Rodriguez's goal in the 76th with Ulises Segura scoring in the 80th. DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid made two saves to keep the clean sheet.

“Chemistry is on another level right now," Hamid said. "We went about things the right way today. We didn’t lose our heads, stayed calm, and it paid off."

FC Cincinnati retained the Nippert Stadium advantage, winning their first MLS home game 3-0 over Portland. Kendall Watson scored for Cincinnati in the 15th with Allan Cruz doubling the lead in the 61st. Mathieu Deplagne scored in the 63rd minute. Portland's Larrys Mabiala saw red in the 70th minute. Spender Richey needed three saves to keep the clean sheet.

“Very proud of our club and our city and all the players," Cincinnati coach Alan Koch said. "I think we all know this club has worked incredibly hard to get where we are today, and I think the players showed their willingness to sacrifice for the team and they deserve to get the three points tonight.”

Seattle beat Chicago 4-2 on the road. Jordan Morris assisted on Victor Rodriguez's goal in the 8th minute and scored in the 15th. Nicolas Lodeiro assisted on Morris's goal, converting from the penalty spot int he 49th. Chicago came back with goals from Raheem Edwards in the 56th and Fabian Herbers in the 84th. Raul Ruidaz scored Seattle's fourth goal in the 88th minute. Chicago finished with 12 shots on goal to Seattle's 7.

"I think today we were beaten by a better team," Chicago coach Veljko Paunovic said. "I think they opened the match with a very good couple of actions. They converted their opportunities immediately and that affected our confidence.... "But, at the end of the day, I think we lost the game because of our mistakes and it's my responsibility, obviously."

Columbus shutout FC Dallas 1-0 at home. Gaston Sauro scored the game's only goal in the 10th minute. Zack Steffen kept the clean sheet with two saves.

"I think we improved some things in the second-half, we had more of the ball, more movement, more passing and we created some chances and it was better but it wasn’t good enough," Dallas defender Matt Hedges said.

Houston beat Vancouver 3-2 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Memo Rodriguez put Houston up in the 15th minute with Fredy Montero equalizing from the penalty spot in the 35th. Alberth Elis converted a Houston penalty in the 42nd. Lass equalized for Sporting in the 54th with Rodriguez scoring Houston's winner in the 73rd.

The New York Red Bulls came back to beat San Jose 4-1 at Red Bull Arena. Cristian Espinoza scored for San Jose in the 5th minute. Alex Muyl equalized for New York in the 51st, scoring again in the 71st. Bradley Wright-Phillips made it 3-1 Red Bulls in the 85th with Daniel Royer scoring in the 89th.

"We had two games in one," San Jose coach Matias Almeyda said. "The first-half was excellent, and the second-half was bad against an unforgiving team. They've been working together for five years now and have an established style of play. We are looking to win, establish our playing style and build mentality. It's going to take a while."

Montreal beat Orlando City 3-1 on the road. Orij Okwonkwo put the Impact up in the 14th with Ignacio Piatti scoring in the 15th and 80th minutes. Dom Dwyer scored for Orlando a minute into stoppage time. City finishing a man down with a red card to Zakaria Diallo for violent conduct six minutes into stoppage time.

The Galaxy beat Minnesota 3-2 at home. Jonathan Dos Santos converted a penalty in the 36th minute with Chris Pontius doubling the LA lead in the 41st. Jan Gregus pulled a goal back for Minnesota in the 75th with Sebastian Lletget making it 3-1 Galaxy in the 81st. Angelo Rodriguez scored for Minnesota in the 87th minute.

NYCFC and LAFC drew 2-2 at Yankee Stadium. Alexandru Mitrita put NYCFC up in the 39th with Carlos Vela equalizing in the 43rd. Alexander Ring returned the NYCFC lead in the 62nd with Vela equalizing from the penalty spot in the 76th minute.

Atlanta's issues continued with a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia at home. Brendan Aaronson put the Union up in the 47th minute with Ezequiel Barco equalizing in the 70th.

Toronto FC came back to beat New England 3-2 at BMO Field. Carles Gil converted a 9th minute penalty to give the Revs the lead. Ayo Akinola equalized for Toronto in the 14th with Jordan Hamilton scoring in the 45th. Gil equalized in the 52nd. Jozy Altidore subbed on in the 68th minute and scored Toronto's winner in the 80th.

Week 3 ended in Colorado with the Rapids drawing 1-1 with Sporting KC. Diego Rubio put the Rapids up in the 54th. Colorado went a man down in the 87th with a red card to Johan Blomberg. Johnny Russel equalized for Sporting a minute later.

Photo by Jose L Argueta - ISIPhotos.com

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Goals for Orozco and Novakovich, assist for Yedlin https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/goals-for-orozco-and-novakovich-assist-for-yedlin.html 2019-03-18T02:19:00Z Liga MX logo.The roundup of USMNT players in Europe and Mexico starts in Liga MX with Michael Orozco scoring in Lobos BUAP's 1-1 draw at Morelia. Orozco scored in the 38th minute with Morelia equalizing in the 45th. Orozco subbed out in the 73rd minute.

Ventura Alvarado's Necaxa won 2-1 at Santos Laguna. Facundo Castro scored for Necaxa in the 17th minute with Santos equalizing in the 55th. Rodrigo Contreras scored Necaxa's winner a minute into stoppage time.

A league down, Rubio Rubin subbed out in the 30th minute for Dorados in their 1-1 home draw with Mineros de Zacatecas. Trailing from the 41st and going a man up in the 79th, Fabian Bordagaray equalized for Dorados a minute into stoppage time.

Andrija Novakovich scored and had an assist in Fortuna Sittard's 3-1 home win over Emmen. Fortuna Sittard went up from an own-goal in the 2nd minute with Novakovich assisting on Lisandro Semedo's goal in the 18th. Novakovich scored two minutes into first-half stoppage time. Emmen pulled a goal back in stoppage time. Also in the Eredivisie, Eric Palmer-Brown's NAC Breda lost 4-0 at home to FC Utrecht. Mix Diskerud subbed on in the 87th minute for Ulsan Hyundai's 1-1 win at Daegu in the K-League. Kim Bo-Kyung scored for Ulsan in the 64th with Daegu equalizing in the 79th minute.

John Brooks's Wolfsburg came back to beat Fortuna Dusseldorf 5-2 at home. Falling behind in the 30th minute, Admir Mehmedi equalized for Wolfsburg in the 34th. Wout Weghorst scored for Wolfsburg in the 54th with Robin Knoche adding a goal in the 57th. It was Weghorst again in the 59th making it 4-1 Wolfsburg. Fortuna scored in the 65th with Weghorst finishing off his hat-trick in the 88th minute.

Christian Pulisic's Borussia Dortmund won 3-2 at Hertha BSC. Falling behind in the 4th minute, Thomas Delaney scored for Dortmund in the 14th. Hertha retook the lead from the penalty spot in the 35th with Dan-Axel Zagadou equalizing in the 47th. Hertha went a man down in the 85th. Marco Reus scored Dortmund's winner two minutes into stoppage time. Hertha saw another red card three minutes later.

Andrew Wooten scored in Sandhausen's 4-0 home shutout of St Pauli in the 2.Bundesliga. Wooten opened the scoring in the 34th minute with Philipp Forster doubling the lead in the 43rd. Fabian Schleusener made it 3-0 in the 46th with Forster scoring again in the 49th.

DeAndre Yedlin had an assist in Newcastle United's 2-2 draw at Bournemouth in the Premier League. Salomon Rondon scored for Newcastle in first-half stoppage time. Bournemouth's Joshua King equalized from the epnalty spot in the 48th. King put Bournemouth up in the 81st with Matt Ritchie equalizing four minutes into stoppage time. Tim Ream's Fulham lost 2-1 at home to Liverpool. Trailing from the 26th minute, Ryan Babel equalized for Fulham in the 74th. Liverpool converted an 81st minute penalty.

Geoff Cameron subbed out in the 55th minute for QPR's 2-2 draw at Hull City in the Championship. Jarrod Bowen scored for Hull in the 7th and 44th. Josh Scowen pulled a goal back for QPR in the 62nd with Tomer Hemed equalizing in the 84th. Matt Miazga's Reading drew 0-0 at Stoke City.

Antonee Robinson's Wigan Athletic beat Bolton 5-2 at home. Joe Garner scored for Wigan in the 4th minute with Gavin Massey and Nick Powell adding goals in the 51st and 55th. Bolton pulled a goal back in the 62nd with Michael Jacobs making it 4-1 Wigan in the 69th minute. Bolton scored in the 80th with Leon Clarke responding for Bolton with an 81st minute goal. Lynden Gooch subbed on in the 61st minute for Sunderland's 2-1 home win over Walsall in League One. Falling behind in the 4th minute, Lee Cattermole equalized in the 33rd and Will Grigg scored Sunderland's winner in the 71st.

In the FA Cup, Cameron Carter Vickers's Swansea City lost 3-2 at home to Manchester City. Matt Grimes converted a 20th minute penalty for Swansea with Bersant Celina doubling the lead in the 29th. Manchester City came back with a 69th minute goal and equalized from a 78th minute own-goal. City scored the game winner in the 88th minute.

"It's great testament to the lads that we were 2-0 up against the Premier League champions," Grimes said. "But it’s very disappointing that we didn’t win the game. As a team, we are all extremely proud of our performance but obviously there is an element of disappointment as we feel we deserved more."

Timothy Weah subbed on in the 78th minute for Celtic's 1-0 win at Dundee. ODsonne Edouard scored six minutes into stoppage time. Shaq Moore's Atletico Levante won 1-0 at Ejea in Spain's third division. Ethan Horvath was in goal for Club Brugge's 2-1 home loss to Royal Excel Mouscron. Trailing from the 33rd minute, Siebe Schrijvers scored for Club Brugge in the 72nd. Royal Excel Mouscron scored in the 81st minute.

Josh Gatt subbed on in the 70th minute for Altach in their 2-1 home loss to LASK. Mergim Berisha scored for Altach in the 37th minute. LASK equalized in the 47th and went ahead in the 51st. Jonathan Amon subbed on in the 73rd minute for Nordsjaelland's 1-0 win at Vendsyssel FF. Andreas Olsen scored in the 84th minute.

Did Not Play: Jose Torres (Puebla 1 - UNAM Pumas 0), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas 0 - Toluca 2), William Yarbrough (Leon 2 - Veracruz 0), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Dusseldorf 2 - Wolfsburg 5), Josh Sargent and Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen 3 - Bayer Leverkusen 1), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht 1 - Nurnberg 0), Emerson Hyndman (Bournemouth 2 - Newcastle 2), Danny Williams (Huddersfield Town 3 - West Ham 4), Eric Lichaj (Hull City 2 - QPR 2)

Logo courtesy of Liga MX

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FC Cincinnati’s home game https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/fc-cincinnatis-home-game.html 2019-03-15T18:00:19Z nippert-stadium-cincinnati-us-open-cup-semifinal-2017-soccer-game

By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 15, 2019) US Soccer Players - The truth is that for FC Cincinnati, Sunday’s home Major League Soccer debut wasn’t exactly “a long time coming”. At least not if we’re judging by the amount of time between MLS making the expansion announcement in May of 2018 and the upcoming game against Portland at Nippert Stadium on March 18, 2019.

The fans of other recent expansion teams had to wait much longer between expansion celebration and inaugural home game. LAFC went 1,277 days between the two events, Minnesota United 718 days, and Atlanta United 1,054 days before starting life in a temporary venue at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. FC Cincinnati’s turnaround between birth and first home match will be 292 days at kickoff on Sunday.

FC Cincinnati is also playing in a “temporary” home stadium in the club’s first MLS season. The plans are in place for a new venue in the West End neighborhood, with construction expected to open in 2021. The new Cincinnati stadium was a prerequisite for the city to get a call up to MLS. With so many cities vying for a spot in the league, MLS officials have held firm on pushing bidding ownership groups to firm up stadium construction plans in the “urban core” of their markets before making expansion official.

The quotes are necessary around “temporary” if only because FC Cincinnati’s situation is dramatically different from that of Minnesota United, Atlanta United, and LAFC. Each of those clubs played in venues new to them or went straight into their new permanent homes in their first seasons. FC Cincinnati will spend the wait for the West End playing in a stadium very well known to both the club and its fans.

Nippert Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati was FCC’s home venue for each of its three seasons in the USL. It was Nippert that served as the backdrop for Cincinnati’s explosion onto the professional soccer scene in the United States, where crowds of 30,000 become the norm for second division soccer in Cincinnati.

FC Cincinnati’s remarkable run in the 2017 US Open Cup, a run that likely did more to push Cincinnati to the front of the expansion line than anything else, had its biggest moments at Nippert Stadium. FCC beat the Columbus Crew in the fourth round in front of a crowd of 30,160, then bested that number twice more in the tournament.

The massive crowd that showed up for the game against Columbus convinced ESPN to broadcast the club’s next match in the Open Cup, a penalty shootout triumph over the Chicago Fire in front of 32,287 people. FCC’s winning run ended in the quarterfinals against the Red Bulls. 33,250 fans in the building made another weighty impression despite the loss.

Minnesota, like FC Cincinnati, existed as a lower division club before making the move to MLS. Unlike FCC, United couldn’t use their lower division home as a temporary base in MLS. Size and location requirements forced MNUFC to play the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium for two seasons ahead of the opening of a stadium in St Paul this season rather than at NSC Stadium in Blaine. That change of venues was fundamental in making the MLS version of Minnesota feel new.

Atlanta famously packed 50,000 into Bobby Dodd Stadium to see its launch before migrating to Mercedes-Benz Stadium but didn’t exist in any form before that first game in 2017. LAFC might be the spiritual reincarnation of Chivas USA, but there was no on-field identity for the club before the 2018 debut.

That makes FC Cincinnati special and the club’s home opener at Nippert Stadium unique in the latest wave of expansion. Not since Orlando jumped into MLS and started play at the Citrus Bowl has a team made the top division move and hosted home matches in the first stadium they called home. FC Cincinnati may be playing in a new league, but the feel of the club for the fans won’t be all that different than it was in 2016, 2017, or 2018.

Earlier this week, the club announced 30,000 tickets sold for the game against Portland, guaranteeing that the atmosphere will be equally as raucous as those seen at the USL level in years past. It’s impossible for FC Cincinnati to set a new attendance record because slight changes to the configuration will limit capacity to 32,250. An MLS sellout would put the game fourth on FCC’s all-time single-game attendance list. Regardless, the number will still represent a triumph.

Whatever the rest of the season brings, FC Cincinnati will have this first home match to look back on. This is a team riding the wave largely created by its fan base from USL to the top level of soccer in the United States.

The season might not go as poorly as the pundits expect if the results from Sunday is an indication of the team’s potential. The short runup to the inaugural MLS campaign forced the club to scramble together a roster from MLS veterans, USL carryovers, and a select group of internationals. There is clearly talent in the group. Head coach Alan Koch is learning the MLS ropes. The returns will probably be up and down all season. What matters for FC Cincinnati is that the club is competitive and gives fans hope for a bright future.

When the West End Stadium opens in a few years, FC Cincinnati will get another chance to celebrate. By then, the club will be two seasons in and the new club smell will have worn off. The occasion will be momentous, but it won’t have the same feeling as the first MLS home game at the place where the legend of FC Cincinnati and its enormous, passionate fan base was born.

A loss of that organic, special feeling is something to guard against for FCC. New and state-of-the-art doesn’t always ensure success, even when the club is well-stocked with goodwill. Cincinnati soccer fans are likely to be as fickle as any. It’s always dangerous to assume otherwise. MLS may have required the club secure a plan for a brand new soccer-specific stadium to gain entry to the league, precluding remaining at Nippert, but the identity established there is among the club’s most important assets.

The curtain-raiser on Sunday will be a showcase of FC Cincinnati in its natural environment. What comes in 2021 might not be better or worse than the version of the club that we see today, but it will different. Those watching from beyond the Queen City should take note of this weekend’s match not just because it’s a first. It’s a first happening against a well-worn backdrop that is beautiful in its own way.


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

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Photo by Greg Bartram - ISIPhotos.com

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Sporting Kansas City advances in the Concacaf Champions League https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/sporting-kansas-city-advances-in-the-concacaf-champions-league.html 2019-03-15T14:30:26Z Sporting Kansas City 2019 concacaf champions league goal celebration

Friday's soccer news starts with the last MLS team standing in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League. Sporting Kansas City overturned a first-leg deficit to win 3-0 on the night and advance 4-2 on aggregate to advance past Independiente. Sporting plays Monterrey in the semifinals with Tigres vs Santos Laguna on the other side of the bracket.

Krisztian Nemeth opened the scoring in the 74th minute with Roger Espinoza making it 2-0 on the night in the 81st. Nemeth scored again in the 86th minute. Tim Melia kept the clean sheet with three saves. Independiente goalkeeper Jose Guerra made 10 saves with Sporting taking 27 shots to Independiente's 3.

"We knew that after the first goal, it was going to be a different game," Nemeth said. "I have to say their goalkeeper was amazing. I'm happy to score the first one and after that, of course, the game was more open and we created more chances. The team did a really good job tactically and physically. Everything was perfect."

Also in the soccer news, the Champions League quarterfinals are set:
Spurs vs Manchester City
Ajax vs Juventus
Manchester United vs Barcelona
Liverpool vs Porto

In the Europa League:
Benifca vs Eintracht
Slavia Prague vs Chelsea
Arsenal vs Napoli
Villarreal vs Valencia

Timmy Chandler wasn't in the squad for Eintracht's 1-0 win at Inter Milan to take their round of 16 series by the same score. Luka Jovic scored the only goal of the series in the 5th minute. Eintracht goalkeeper Kevin Trapp made four saves to keep the clean sheet.

“It’s an unbelievably good feeling," Eintracht midfielder Sebastian Rode said. "We’re proud and pleased that we achieved it.... "If we continue like this as a team, we can cause the big teams problems."

Reuters' Simon Evans reports that FIFA will delay the vote on expanding the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams. AP's Rob Harris on the diplomacy aspect of expanding the 2022 World Cup. ESPN reports of a potential European boycott of FIFA's revamped Club World Cup. The Guardian's Francisco Navas looks at Atlanta's slow start.

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 editor@usnstpa.com

Photo by Bill Barrett - ISIPhotos.com

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