Juventus makes its moves

Juventus logo By J Hutcherson (Jul 17, 2018) US Soccer Players - When Juventus arrives in the United States later this month, they're not going to be the team anybody expected. That includes their fellow European teams on their International Champions Cup schedule as well as the MLS All-Stars they'll play in Atlanta on August 1. Nobody saw Juventus deciding to reinstate their super club status by successfully putting in a transfer bid for Cristiano Ronaldo. Nobody saw Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo's former coach at European champions Real Madrid, following in a few months as a "special advisor". Juventus has reset the stage domestically and in Europe, and they've done it in time to raise their profile on tour in the United States this summer. Obviously, none of the teams or personalities involved are new to a live US audience. Ronaldo wasn't in the squad when Real Madrid played the MLS All-Stars last Continue reading "Juventus makes its moves"

Nothing set midway through the MLS season

LAFC coach Bob Bradley By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Jul 13, 2018) US Soccer Players - Cresting the hill that is the halfway point of the MLS season doesn’t generally reveal much. There’s still so much left to play for, and the secondary transfer window has only just opened. Even as clubs scramble to reinforce their squads during the signing period, they also must navigate crucial games in the heat of the summer. By the time August rolls around, the league could look very different. What is nominally a new beginning, if only because the human brain likes to split things like long soccer seasons into more manageable chunks, gets underway on Saturday with a slate of fascinating matchups. Four of them stand out.

New York Red Bulls vs Sporting Kansas City

The Red Bulls threw Chris Armas directly into the fire last week. Quickly promoted to take over for Jesse Marsch, Armas Continue reading "Nothing set midway through the MLS season"

Saying so long to the 2018 World Cup

fifa-world-cup-trophy Friday's soccer news starts with the obvious. The World Cup concludes on Sunday (11am ET - Fox) with France vs Croatia and FIFA's president Gianni Infantino already letting us know that this is the best World Cup ever. Wait, what? "Since a couple of years I was saying that this will be the best World Cup ever," FIFA said. "Today I can say it even more, with more conviction... It is the best World Cup ever. For this, I would, first of all, like to thank everyone, which was involved in the participation, the organisation of the World Cup. Infantino got even more effusive about the hosts, but we'll leave it at that. His contention that the first World Cup under his leadership is the best in the history of the tournament isn't exactly a shocker, even if it probably won't hold up to a lot of scrutiny. FIFA managed Continue reading "Saying so long to the 2018 World Cup"

Wins for NYCFC and Philadelphia

Toyota Park The soccer news starts with MLS action. NYCFC shutout Montreal 3-0 at Yankee Stadium. Jesus Medina put NYCFC up in the 60th minute and assisted on Ronald Matarrita's goal in the 65th. Matarrita assisted on Jonathan Lewis's goal in the 76th. Sean Johnson didn't need to make a save for the clean sheet with NYCFC outshooting Montreal 23 to 3 and putting 7 on goal to Montreal's 0. In the other MLS game, Philadelphia beat Chicago 4-3 at Toyota Park. Haris MEdunjanin scored for the Union in the 31st with Nemanja Nikolic equalizing from the penalty spot in the 39th. Cory Burke scored for Philadelphia three minutes into first-half stoppage time. Aleksandar Katai leveled the score in the 69th, with Burke returning the Union lead in the 73rd. Bastian Schweinsteiger got a late equalizer for the Fire four minutes into stoppage time, but David Accam scored Philadelphia's winner a minute Continue reading "Wins for NYCFC and Philadelphia"

Juventus remembers to be a super club

juventus-new-logo The soccer news starts with something that seemed reserved for clubs outside of Serie A. That is until Italian champions Juventus went all in and set a new incoming transfer record in Italy. It cost them over $131m dollars to get Cristiano Ronaldo, and with it they sent a clear message. In an era of Premier League money and Spanish dominance in Europe, Juventus decided to play. It's not often that the key player on a Champions League winning team decides to call time on a club, but this isn't a regular offseason for Real Madrid. They've already lost their coach, Zinedine Zidane, and with him at least some of the momentum that produced their Champions League three-peat. Zidane's decision convinced pundits that Real Madrid was a club in transition. Ronaldo and Gareth Bale both suggesting their time with the club might be over helped fuel that narrative. Still, Ronaldo Continue reading "Juventus remembers to be a super club"

The Champions League changes all over again

The UEFA Champions League logo. By J Hutcherson (Jul 10, 2018) US Soccer Players - The champions of Scotland began their 2018-19 season on Tuesday, with Celtic on the road in Armenia in the Champions League qualifiers. Yes, the same day two UEFA national teams meet in the World Cup semifinals in a European country, Europe's governing body needed to get on with their club competition. That the initial stage involves the winners of the Scottish Premier League is down to bigger leagues wanting more group stage places for their clubs and the UEFA coefficient. That doesn't mean it makes sense. It's easier to make the argument against Celtic and the reconstituted version of Rangers as two of the biggest clubs in British soccer. They're giants sharing a city and a lengthy history now dominated by Celtic. Whatever your feelings about the current version of Rangers, they're playing in the same shirt and stadium as Continue reading "The Champions League changes all over again"

DC United moves forward

The scoreboard at Audi Field. DC United held their ribbon-cutting event to officially let everybody know that Audi Field is ready for its first MLS game. United's nice new home opens on Saturday when they host Vancouver, and with it the club sets new expectations. Those start immediately, with DC United needing to turn their back-loaded home schedule into points. Once again, the unbalanced schedule creates a slight opening for the team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. DC might have only won twice this season, but they've also only played 14 games. The teams between them and the final playoff spot have played 18 or 19. If DC can quickly turn Audi Field into a fortress, things change for them this season. No doubt that this could all end in tears and recriminations this season. DC is now opening a new stadium and debuting new designated player Wayne Rooney. That combo either Continue reading "DC United moves forward"

Q&A with Sean Johnson: “We live to play games”

NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson. By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Jul 9, 2018) US Soccer Players – Look closely at how much New York City FC’s defense has improved in recent years and you’ll discover that one of the reasons involves goalkeeper Sean Johnson. In just his second season with NYCFC, Johnson has helped push the team to new heights. The 29-year-old shot-stopper had spent his entire career for the Chicago Fire, the team that drafted him in 2010. In 2016, he ended up at NYCFC. That’s when his and the team’s fortunes took on a dramatic improvement. Good with both his feet and hands, Johnson has been able to make those around him better. He’s often called upon to make an amazing save to preserve a result. Former NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira, who aggressively pursued Johnson before recently leaving the club for a job with French club Nice, liked to play Continue reading "Q&A with Sean Johnson: “We live to play games”"

Wayne Rooney at DC United

dc-united-audi-field-groundbreaking-ceremony-major-league-soccer-mls The soccer news starts with Wayne Rooney tweeting from the plane on his way to DC to join United. The safe assumption was that Rooney wasn't traveling to enjoy the National Mall or revisit some of his favorite places from the last time he was in the nation's capital. DC United made the move official on Thursday, signing him through the 2021 MLS season. Rooney turns 33 on October 24. "It is fantastic to be joining DC United at such an exciting time in the club’s history with the new stadium opening in just a few weeks," Rooney said. "Moving to America and MLS fulfills another career ambition for me. I have the hunger to be a success here and will give DC 100 percent - as I have always done for every team I have ever played for. When I visited earlier this summer I was really impressed with Continue reading "Wayne Rooney at DC United"