Friday, February 12, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 12, 2016

It's Day 43 of 2016.


4 MLS teams are headed to the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals to face 4 Liga MX teams beginning Feb 23 with new faces on incomplete rosters, injuries, and preseason form. But those are just excuses. This is a real test. By Paul Kennedy of Soccer America.
  • LA v Santos, Seattle v America, DC v Queretaro, and Salt Lake v Tigres.

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Three big games this weekend:
-Sat Feb 13
Juventus v Napoli - #2 v #1 with 2 pt gap - 1:45pm CT
-Sun Feb 14
Arsenal v Leicester - #3 v #1 with 5 pt gap - 6:00am CT
Man City v Tottenham - #4 v #2 with 1 pt gap - 10:15am CT

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Omar Gonzalez is thriving at Pachuca and tells us all about it. By Brian Sciaretta of American Soccer Now.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend. From the Guardian.

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UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - begins next Tuesday, Feb 16. Get ready.

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New album from Head Wound City coming our way!


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Bill Walton: Village Idiot or National Treasure. You decide.
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One of the greasiest weasels in all of soccer, Jerome Valcke, has been given a 12 year ban from the sport. He was Sepp Blatter's bag man. Another scum bag goes down. Very in-depth story from AP.

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The FIFA presidential candidates spoke at a CONCACAF gathering in Miami on Thursday night. By Simon Evans of Rueters.



The Bird Is The Word

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 11, 2016

It's Day 42 of 2016.


The USA Women got Olympic qualifying started in the right direction, beating Costa Rica 5-0 in game 1 of 3 in the Group Stage. The match featured a goal from Alex Morgon just 12 seconds after kick off! (2 teams from CONCACAF qualify, while a 3rd goes to a regional playoff for 1 final spot.)

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Fiorentina is trying to push the women's game forward in Italy, traditions be damned. By San Borden of the New York Times.

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The great songwriter Lucinda Williams describes the songs that formed and still form her life. From Entertainment Weekly. Thanks to Esa for the link.

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Is that a running shoe on the beach over there? Is that a foot inside the shoe? You found how many in this area over the past 10 years? 16!?!? What the hell is going on? By Yanan Wang of the Washington Post.

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Minnesota United is preparing to announce the signing of former Columbus Crew midfielder Ben Speas. He averaged 10 appearances per season (mostly as a sub) with the Crew.

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Here is a list of 15 players that were on MLS rosters in 2015 and now on NASL rosters for 2016. Expect more to be added to this list over the next 6 weeks. By Paul Kennedy of Soccer America.

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New England Revolution has immediately shored up their hole in defensive midfield by buying Gershon Koffie from Vancouver Whitecaps. Jermaine Jones is out of contract and new signing Xavier Kouassi blew out his knee.

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The opponent for this years MLS All Star game is Arsenal. The game is to be played Thu Jul 28 at the San Jose Earthquakes' Avaya stadium.



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Its all Leicester! Leicester! Leicester! But what about Tottenham? They're the ones in 2nd place. By Amy Lawrence of the Guardian.

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FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali says FIFA has punished nations that don't toe the company line with downplayed bids, bad match ups, poor referees, and other punishments. By Brian Homewood of Reuters. Thanks to Simon Evans for the link.



The Bird Is The Word

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 10, 2016

It's Day 41 of 2016.


Alejandro Bedoya Strikes Again! Bedoya scored another goal for Nantes, this time late (118 min) in extra time to beat Bordeaux 3-4 in the Quarterfinals of the Coupe de France. See it here.
  • If the USA plays the next World Cup qualifier and doesn't use the midfield of Johnson-Jones-Bradley-Bedoya I'm gonna lose my mind.

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(don't even bother reading the headline of this article)
For the past few years US Soccer has used a completely different model for improving soccer and especially soccer coaching - so what is this upgrade? By Amanda Ripley of The Atlantic. Thanks to Grant Wahl for the heads up.
  • A tweet from the man leading this change of theory:


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An incredibly in-depth three part series on other ways US Soccer is looking to drastically improve its Development Academy: PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3. By Liviu Bird of Sports Illustrated.

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It has been confirmed that Minnesota United will not have to jump through any weird hoops to bring players with them to MLS. (We all know about the ridiculously complicated MSL roster rules.) By Brian Quarstad of Northern Pitch.


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New famous owners are pushing the expansion of NASL faster and and farther then ever before. By Jack Williams of the Guardian.

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Columbus Crew going for a fairly different look with its 2nd jersey. From Footy Headlines.

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Columbus centerback Michael Parkhurst writes an article in which he describes the horrible feeling of losing MLS Cup (for the 4th time!) and how you go about the next (this) preseason. From ESPNFC.

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A profile of the brilliant underground comic book writer and illustrator Daniel Clowes. by Robert Ito of The California Sunday Magazine.


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Even politicians in England are getting involved in the discussion over rising ticket prices. By James Riach of the Guardian.
-After days of unrest Liverpool ownership says they have heard the voices of the fans and that ticket prices will be frozen for the next 2 years. From the Liverpool Echo.



The Bird Is The Word

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 9, 2016

It's Day 40 of 2016.


USWNT players union has responded to the lawsuit US Soccer filed against them last week. And it comes off as a pretty convincing argument. From Sports Illustrated.
  • A court date of March 3 has been set.

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Two weeks ago New England announced the Designated Player signing of Xavier Kouassi from Sion, to arrive after the end of the current Swiss Super League season. But over the weekend he suffered a torn ACL and MCL. He will be out 6-8 months.
  • That can happen when you don't pay a transfer fee to get a player right away. I believe he was seen as a replacement for Jermaine Jones.
  • So will the Revs now up their offer to Jones?

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Wonderboy Dillon Powers is back in Denver and ready to go all-in on the Rapids 2016 season. By Marco Cummings of MLSSoccer.com.

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The latest on the St Paul Stadium from Minnesota United owner Dr Bill McGuire. By Frederick Melo of the St Paul Pioneer Press.

MU has signed former Houston, DC and Philadelphia wide midfielder Danny Cruz. He played last season for Bodo/Glimt in Norway.

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During the 1961–62 NBA season Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds per game. From the updated Sports Illustrated 50 greatest NBA players by Jack McCallum.

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A recap of the USMNT January training camp and friendlies. By Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated.

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Hey, how is Bob Bradley doing? Not so hot. Le Havre has lost 3 of the last 4 (all to teams above them in the table) and fallen to 7th place.
  • This stretch was the teams chance to race for the top or at least solidify a promotion spot, but they have failed.
  • Next up is Sat Feb 13 at 3rd place Metz.

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Very high ticket prices in England will only go higher, and fans are reacting. By Owen Gibson of the Guardian.

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Are ya ready for some futsal? With 16 teams across America? With Marc Cuban at the wheel? By Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.



The Bird Is The Word

Monday, February 08, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 8, 2016

It's Day 39 of 2016.


USA Men's National Team Friendly:
-Fri Feb 5
USA 1-0 Canada - USA goal by Jozy Altidore.
  • Good: Diskerud defense, Bradley passing, Altidore goal, Vincent poise, Finlay cross, Birnbaum adequate, Nagbe unpredictable
  • Bad: Jones passing, Zardes touch, Altidore finishing
  • Ethan Finlay only got into the game in the 88th minute, but on his only touch whipped in a perfect cross for Altidore to head home. How many times last year did Finlay and Kei Kamara combine on that exact same play for Columbus Crew. Well done guys.
  • Canada was abysmal. (Except for the young goalkeeper - Maxime Crepeau of Montreal.) No shots on goal even. It was a sad sight. Keep hoping for better, but it never seems to change.
  • The Jermaine-Jones-At-Centerback situation has to end for good. It does not work. A team with any sense of offense would have punished the USA.
  • The defensive effort by Mix Diskerud, especially in the 2nd half, was a thing of beauty. Would love to see that from him every game.
  • Brandon Vincent made his debut at left fullback late in the game. He did not have to play hardly any defense, so its hard to judge him on that, but his skills going forward were solid and more importantly fearless.
  • Darlington Nagbe had his best game for the USA. I have stated several times that I don't think he will ever make an impact at the international level. But I am always happy to eat my words. We shall see. This was a positive.
  • Jozy got to 33 goals in a USA uniform in fewer games then anyone else ever. 91 games.


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Up next for the USMNT - World Cup Qualifying:
-Fri Mar 25
Guatemala v USA - Time TBD in Guatemala City on beIN Sport
-Tue Mar 29
USA v Guatemala - 6PM CT in Columbus OH on ESPN2

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Scores from 4 big games over the weekend:
-Sat Feb 6
Man City 1-3 Leicester
Hertha 0-0 Dortmund
Leverkusen 0-0 Bayern
-Sun Feb 7
Pumas 1-1 Pachuca

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Omar Gonalez did what he does best for Pachuca - score with his head on a set piece. It tied the game late. Terrible marking - Pumas apparently has no idea who Omar Gonzalez is. See it here.

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Bobby Wood scored a great goal for Union Berlin with superb individual effort where he dribbled through 2 sets of 2 defenders and buried his shot to the near post to tie the game late. See it here.

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Sporting Kansas City ran a Superbowl ad for the club. From Total MLS.

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A look at the dream season for Leicester City. At the top by 5 points (over Tottenham + Arsenal) with 13 games to play. By Rob Hughes of the New York Times. Unreal.

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Premier League: 10 talking points from this weekend’s action. From the Guardian.

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Bundesliga Matchday 20 in 60 seconds. (video) From Duetsche Welle.

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The German football federation has sued Franz Beckenbauer, 5 other former German football officials, and FIFA over how money was spent for the bidding and execution of the 2006 World Cup that Germany hosted. By Ciaran Fahey of the Associated Press.

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UEFA Champions League returns on Tue Feb 16 with the Round of 16.

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"A Chinese football revolution that is only just beginning and has an uncertain destination." By Owen Gisbon of the Guardian.



The Bird Is The Word

Friday, February 05, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 5, 2016

It's Day 36 of 2016.


The Super Bowl. Jeff Johnson writes a letter about Hardee's to Jerry Richardson the owner of the Carolina Panthers. From McSweeney. Oh, and who's going to win the big game?

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Next for the USMNT:
-Fri Feb 5
USA v Canada - 9:15pm CT on FS1.



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Should the USMNT be worried about the form of Tim Howard and Brad Guzan? By Noah Davis of ESPNFC.

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4 more fun games this weekend:
-Sat Feb 6
Man City v Leicester - 6:45am on NBC Sports
Hertha v Dortmund - 8:30am on FS1
Leverkusen vs Bayern - 11:30am on Fox
-Sun Feb 7
Pumas v Pachuca - 12:00pm on Univision Deportes, Univision

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This drone footage of the Syrian city of Hom is one of the most breathtakingly brutal things I have ever seen. Its beyond sad. Its embarrassing that fellow humans would do this to each other. From the Guardian. Thanks to Alex.

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Minnesota United


  • Have signed 33 year old German goalkeeper Kristian Nicht from Indy Eleven.




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Catching up with former Chicago Fire and Montreal Impact head coach Frank Klopas. By Guillermo Rivera of Chicago Now.

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Introducing San Antonio FC

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All the details including dates for the 2016 US Open Cup tournament. From US Soccer.

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One of the forgotten "Yanks abroad" is Eric Lichaj at Nottingham Forest. Whats going on with him these days? By Brian Sciaretta of American Soccer Now.

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Sunderland AFC, where Jozy Altidore suffered and DeAndre Yedlin flounders, is "stale, rotten and about to be relegated." By Chris Thomas of the Guardian.

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Notorious NPSL team Detroit City has crowd sourced $400,000 to renovate a historic stadium. By John Niyo of the Detroit News.

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Samuel Eto'o tells us that we don't know the real Jose Mourinho - a very good person. By Four Four Two. (Editors note: I am a huge fan of Mourinho.)

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Lets end the week with some longform action! Here is a full person-by-person rundown of the entire current FIFA scandal from start till today. By James Tyler of ESPNFC.



The Bird Is The Word

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 4, 2016

It's Day 35 of 2016.


US Soccer has filed a lawsuit against the union that represents the USA Women's National Team. The dispute is over a collective bargaining agreement that the union says is invalid. US Soccer is not seeking damages, just a declaration that the cba is in play. By Andrew Das of the New York Times.
  • The two sides have been negotiating over the disagreement but when the union dug in its heals the federation took legal action. Either way the old collective bargaining agreement expires Dec 31, 2016. -All the documents and a summary of the lawsuit. By Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com.
  • US Soccer, not surprisingly, has no mention of any of this on its website.

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Lee Nguyen is a late bloomer for call ups for the USMNT, so how and why is this the time? By Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated.

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The collective bargaining agreement between MLS and its players was posted on line yesterday by the players union. Some interesting details in there. Kyle McCarthy of Fox looks at win/performance bonuses.

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How to become a celebrity in Iceland. By Dan Bilefsky of the New York Times.

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Christian Pulisic is on the edge of something potentially big at Dortmund. By Samuel Charles of Soccer America.

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Stuart Holden has retired. His open letter. From US Soccer.

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Fans and media are ripping Valencia to tiny pieces after being crushed 7-0 by Barcelona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals. The team's English head coach Gary Neville is starting to feel plenty of heat too. By Sid Lowe of the Guardian.

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Next for the USMNT:
-Fri Feb 5
USA v Canada - 9:15pm CT on FS1.
  • I will be watching the game at the Crooked Pint in Minneapolis.



The Bird Is The Word

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 3, 2016

It's Day 34 of 2016.


So how did LA Galaxy add 3 big name European veterans again this season without cracking the MLS salary cap? By Kevin Baxter of the LA Times.
-Nigel de Jong is the latest to join the Galaxy. (A lot of people despise this guy.) Also by Baxter.

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Is Chicago Fire starting to get a defense together? "They still have a long way to go." - Alice Cooper. By Paul Kennedy of Soccer America.

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32 days until the MLS season begins.

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With just a short time to make an impression at Chelsea Matt Miazga has done enough to be included in their 22 player roster for the Champions League knock out rounds. That is pretty interesting.

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Ale Bedoya scored for Nantes AGAIN! His 3rd in 4 games. Impressive. This was in league play, and it turned out to be the winning goal as they beat Gazelec Ajaccio 3-1. He also assisted on the first goal.
-The whole team is surging as well, climbing up to 6th place with today's win.

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Lee Nguyen is doing himself proud in January camp according to the coach. From US Soccer.

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How in the world is Leicester City still at the top of the Premier League? By Paul Wilson of the Guardian.
-Us geniuses all figured they would have faded away by now. Fantastic.
-On Sat morning Leicester goes to 2nd place Manchester City in a monumental game. 6:45am CT on NBC Sports.

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Mexico is by far the most popular soccer team in the United States, and with that as the lure Fox has bought the English language rights to show all their games in 2016. By Richard Sandomir of the New York Times.

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The Canadian Premier Soccer League is starting to take form. By Steve Milton of the Hamilton Spectator. Thanks to Northern Pitch for the link.

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Fort Lauderdale Strikers are making a push toward something bigger in many ways. By Ryan Tomlich of SBI.

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Next for the USMNT: Fri Feb 5
USA v Canada - 9:15pm CT on FS1.



The Bird Is The Word

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 2, 2016

It's Day 33 of 2016.


In response to the USA Department of Justice investigation that has unearthed financial crimes across CONCACAF + CONMEBOL the parent organization FIFA has suspended all funding of those two federations. SUSPENDED! This stoppage is currently holding up at least $10 Million to each federation. By Tariq Panja, one of the very best covering FIFA, of Bloomberg.

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Brad Evans and Michael Orozco have left the USA January camp to train with their club teams. Evans has a hamstring strain too.
-This will really open up the fullback spots for the Canada game. Will be curious to see how Klinsmann handles this. Four possibilities: Kellyn Acosta, Eric Miller, Matt Polster and Brandon Vincent.

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Kelyn Acosta got his first USMNT cap on Sunday and did a very good job according to the coach. I agree. From US Soccer.

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Aron Johannsson returned to training today for Werder Bremen. Via Brian Sciaretta on Twitter.

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Next for the USMNT:
Fri Feb 5
USA v Canada - 9:15pm CT on FS1.

Olympic qualifying playoff schedule:
1st Leg Mar 25
Colombia v USA - in Barranquilla, Col
2nd Leg Mar 29
USA v Colombia - In Frisco TX

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Headline: Smashing Pumpkins Announce Acoustic Tour. Ick.

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Sporting KC has loaned 18 year old centerback Erik Palmer-Brown to Porto. Interesting.

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Minnesota United has signed new contract with goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock and midfielder Juliano Vicentini.

And former Orlando City and Charleston Battery assistant Ian Fuller joins the Minn coaching staff.

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Is this the next NASL team?

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Miguel Ibarra has a new head coach at Leon. Luis Tena has taken over for Juan Antonio Pizzi who has become the new head coach of the Chilean national team.

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European transfer window: the good, bad and ugly of January’s deals. From the Guardian



The Bird Is The Word

Monday, February 01, 2016

Some Soccer News for Feb 1, 2016

It's Day 32 of 2016.


USA got 2016 off on the right foot offensively with a 3 goal output in the Sunday friendly against Iceland.

Sun Jan 31
USA 3-2 Iceland - USA goals by Jozy Altidore, Michael Orozco + Steve Birnbaum. ICE goals by Kristinn Steindorsson + Aron Sigurdarson.
-Who had a good game?: Orozco (goal), Acosta (confidence), Bradley (passing), Jones (muscle), Altidore (goal), Nguyen (passing), Birnbaum (assist, goal), Kiesewetter (crossing)
-Who had a bad game?: Orozco (goals against), Finlay (lack of confidence), Zardes (missed open goal)
-USA went behind twice and came back, that is both bad and good.
-Defense limited Icelands chances, but let those few chances count.
-Waited way too long to make more changes. These young guys need more time on the field.
-Steindorsson formerly of Columbus Crew with the first goal for Iceland.
-Sigurdarson who got the other Iceland goal used to be a member of Stiff Little Fingers.
-With less than 9000 in attendance the stadium was a sad sight on television.

Next: Fri Feb 5
USA v Canada - 9:15pm CT on FS1.

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Omar Gonzalez is riding high to start the season with Pachuca. The are the only unbeaten team left in Liga MX after 4 rounds won on Saturday 3-1 v 2nd place Monterrey.
-Up next: Sun Feb 7 at Pumas in the DF.

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Sadly Brad Guzan had a horrendous weekend as he was back in goal for the FA Cup and Aston Villa got trounced 0-4 at home by Manchester City.

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Danny Williams scored for Reading as they rolled over Walsall in the FA Cup 4-0.

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John Brooks signed a new long term contract to stay at Hertha. Great for him.

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17 year old Christian Pulisic made his senior team debut for Dortmund coming on in the 68th min of a 2-0 home win over Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt. Incredible!
-All we need to know about young Pulisic. By our main man Greg Seltzer at MLSsoccer.com.

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How weird has the Marco Pappa stabbing story become? Its become a thing for TMZ to cover. That's how weird its gotten.

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Sporting KC has sold Hungarian forward Krisztian Nemeth to Al-Gharafa in Qatar.

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Its official for Matt Miazga, he is now a Chelsea player.

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LA has added Dutch defensive midfielder Nigel De Jong of Milan to their roster of aging European stars. They have a lot of games to play this season. Is this team gonna be too old? Or perfectly experienced to handle it all.

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One of my favorite MLS players (who I know is also getting old) Marcelo Sarvas has been shipped from Colorado to DC United. Good move for him.

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Colorado may also have made one of those moves that flies under the radar and could be huge in the end: Signed Swiss forward Shkelzen Gashi who has scored 41 goals in the past 2 seasons in the Swiss Super League for Basel and Grasshopper.
-He has made 10 appearances for the Albania national team.

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Eddie Johnson may be done as a pro player, but it looks like he is just getting started in life. Interesting words here.
Had the privilege watch the @orlandocitysc 2004 pro academy players compete today and coach Craig Melton introduced me at the end of training to say some encouraging words to the boys. It's amazing how much soccer has grown in this country verses when I was growing up as a kid at this exact age. These kids get to be in a professional environment and get to be coached by some of the top coaches at the youth level in our country. The future of soccer is so bright in America and you have no idea how much of a positive impact it has on their lives by taking a little time away from your day and speaking to these kids that look up to us about the game and everything that comes with being a pro player on and off the field. Reality is that all of these kids won't make it to the top which is ok but by being out there speaking to them is an experience that they will always remember and cherish for a lifetime. Giving back to the game what it gave me #LetsContinueToInspire #AreKidsAreTheFuture #POSITIVIBES #POSITIVELIVING @mls
A photo posted by eddie_johnson7 (@eddie_johnson7) on


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After 23 games in Ligue 1 this season Paris St Germain is still undefeated. Can they pull off a lossless season?

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Milan whooped Inter in the Derby della Madonnina by a score of 3-0 on Sunday. But thats not what caught my eye. The Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is 16. HOLY SMOKES! What were you doing at 16?

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Lio Messi + C Ronaldo have combined for 1000 goals! 1000! They are 28 + 30 respectively. How many more will they score?

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FA Cup: talking points from the fourth round. From the Guardian.

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Four of the worlds top ten spending teams in the Winter transfer window are Chinese. They are all in the $30-40 Million spent pile. When it crashes its gonna crash HARD.
-In a similar story, Brazilian players are flocking to China for ridiculous money. By Ewan MacKenna of the New York Times.

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Manchester City has publicly announced the hiring of Bayern coach Pep Guardiola for NEXT season.
-Should be a real fun couple of months for the current coach Manuel Pellegrini. Oof!



The Bird Is The Word

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