La Liga set to stage match in US as battle to match Premier League grows

• Regular-season fixture could take place as early as this season
El Clásico would remain in Spain under proposals La Liga is set to stage a regular-season match in the United States, possibly as early as this year, but a clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona is pretty much out of the question. The league said on Thursday it is planning to play a match across the Atlantic as part of a new 15-year partnership with the sports and entertainment group Relevent to promote the game in North America. The group operates the International Champions Cup, the world’s largest summer club tournament. Barcelona and Real Madrid faced each other in the tournament in Miami last year. Continue reading...

Stadium vote opens way for MLS’s Crew to move from Columbus to Austin

  • Club would move 1,000 miles from current home under plan
  • Crew owner keen on Austin, city without major league team
Austin City Council has voted to move ahead with a plan for a new, privately funded stadium on city land sought by the owner of Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew for a move to Texas. Crew owner Anthony Precourt has been courting Austin for a potential move since late 2017 and has sought a deal to build a 20,000-seat stadium on 24 acres of city property in time for the 2021 MLS season. Austin is the largest metropolitan area in the country without a major league sports franchise. Continue reading...

Is the US falling out of love with European clubs’ summer tours?

The International Champions Cup is still capable of attracting huge crowds in the US, but away from the marquee games, attendances were down Whatever you do, don’t call it pre-season. Meaningless games are now a thing of the past, at least according to the International Champions Cup. Billed as “club football’s premier summer tournament,” this year’s edition was the largest to date, encompassing 18 teams and 27 games played in 22 different cities on three different continents. And yet, the crowd numbers didn’t quite live up to hype. On more than one occasion, swathes of empty seats were visible for games involving some of the world’s biggest clubs. Only 16,000 fans turned up at the 69,000-capacity Heinz Field for a match between Borussia Dortmund and Benfica. A game between Roma and Tottenham in San Diego attracted just 18,800 spectators from a potential capacity of 70,000. The German and English champions, Continue reading "Is the US falling out of love with European clubs’ summer tours?"

El Señor Wayne | The Fiver

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now! Occasions in which the Fiver has been proud of Wayne Rooney: the brazen expression on Wazza’s face when he cashed in on his new-found fame by posing in head-to-toe gear of a notable manufacturer of sportswear whilst being draped across a Ford Ka at Goodison Park with a personalised number plate ‘ROO NI’, when he admitted that Sister Act 2 was one of his favourite films, the self-deprecating ‘punch’ celebration referring to the time he was knocked out cold by Phil Bardsley in his own kitchen, when he got a Stereophonics tattoo, and most notably, when Rooney launched his acting career in a Casillero del Diablo advert – “they say he is a legend.” Continue reading...

Wayne Rooney saves DC United and sets up 96th-minute winner within seconds

• Match-saving tackle seven seconds before he set up winner
• Goal came deep into injury-time for 3-2 win against Orlando Wayne Rooney’s eventful start to life at DC United continued with an astonishing passage of play in the 96th minute against Orlando City which saw him run half the length of the pitch to prevent a near-certain goal, before immediately setting up the winner. For good measure, the goal brought up Luciano Acosta’s hat-trick. Related: Crew prepare to leave Columbus ... for a city about to launch another pro club Continue reading...

After six months, is Carlos Cordeiro close to reviving US soccer fortunes?

The new US Soccer president helped bring the 2026 World Cup to North America, but problems from a new coach to infighting need to be addressed When Carlos Cordeiro was elected US Soccer Federation (USSF) president, his mandate was to bring the 2026 World Cup to North America and to transform the federation’s governance. But his critics fretted that he would merely effect incremental change, not the sweeping reforms they think are needed. For others he was an enigma, little-known beyond the USSF representatives who had elected him vice-president two years prior. Continue reading...

‘Authenticity is not about accents’: Kyle Martino on NBC’s Premier League success

The US may have failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup but interest in the Premier League is as strong as ever as the new season approaches As a midfielder at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut, Kyle Martino was named the top high school player in the United States, and he earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Virginia. As much as he loved soccer, and as good as he was at the sport, he still had to scramble to watch matches on television. “I grew up struggling to find the game on television,” says Martino, who is now 37 and a studio analyst of Premier League coverage on NBC, which begins Friday with a match at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Leicester City. “I would watch it in Spanish, do whatever I could to breathe it. It was definitely on the periphery of the sporting Continue reading "‘Authenticity is not about accents’: Kyle Martino on NBC’s Premier League success"

Crew prepare to leave Columbus … for a city about to launch another pro club

The MLS side may swap Ohio for Austin, Texas. But is there a room in a city which could go from zero professional clubs to two? Applause rippled through the room as a curtain fell to reveal the name and crest of Austin’s new professional soccer team. But the audience was not here to welcome the Major League Soccer club that is desperately trying to relocate to Texas from Ohio. This, in a VIP lounge next to the starting grid, was the launch of a United Soccer League franchise that will play at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack. The new team’s players include Edson Braafheid, who came off the bench for Holland in the 2010 World Cup final, and they are pursuing a quixotic bid to add some pace by signing Usain Bolt. Early next year the club intends to finish a 5,000-capacity stadium tucked into a bend in Continue reading "Crew prepare to leave Columbus … for a city about to launch another pro club"

Five things the USWNT must do to successfully defend the World Cup

With the Tournament of Nations behind them, the world’s No 1 team is eight weeks from opening their France 2019 qualifying campaign. Here are five things they must do to retain their title By the time 2017 ended, it seemed as if the US could do little wrong in midfield. Anchored by the partnership of Julie Ertz and Samantha Mewis, plus a rotating cast of talented attack-minded midfielders, Jill Ellis’s team found it easy to dominate matches and out-press their opponents. However, the team was unable to pick up from where they left off in the new year, and still have not found that form. Injuries to both Ertz and Mewis, as well as several others, have forced Ellis to try new things, but hardly anything has matched last year’s success. The midfield has looked stiff at times and has had difficulty fully connecting with the forwards ahead of them, Continue reading "Five things the USWNT must do to successfully defend the World Cup"

State of the league: MLS’s growth remains steady rather than spectacular

As MLS pauses for Wednesday’s All-Star Game, the state of America’s top division is very much in the eye of the beholder Amid all of the annual clamor of All-Star week, one of the regular rituals is Don Garber’s state of the union speech, wherein the MLS commissioner will present a snapshot of where MLS finds itself. It can be an odd event, with few exact equivalents in world football. In part that’s because given the closed structure of the league, the MLS commissioner’s role is proportionally an outsize one compared to his nearest equivalents in much higher profile leagues – it’s hard to imagine a Richard Scudamore speech facing the same degree of scrutiny, for example, unless he was dropping a bombshell announcement. Continue reading...

‘When it all goes right’: Canada’s Alphonso Davies is living the dream

The Canadian teenager’s rise from a Ghanaian refugee camp to newly minted Bayern Munich signee is a modern fairy-tale Last month, dozens of grey-haired men in dark suits congregated in a sprawling space at Moscow’s Expocentre for a five-hour Fifa Congress marathon. The big business was selecting the hosts of the 2026 World Cup and both bids were given a 15-minute presentation opportunity to make a final pitch to voters. The United bid, composing of the United States, Mexico and Canada, were up first. Their opening gambit came from a young man dressed in a bright red tracksuit top who strode confidently towards the microphone before detailing his personal story. He told the crowd that his parents had fled relentless violence in Liberia and that he had been born in a Ghanaian refugee camp. Continue reading...

Matildas suffer late heartbreak as USA salvage Tournament of Nations draw

  • USA 1-1 Australia
  • Lindsey Horan swoops late to cancel out Chloe Logarzo goal
An injury-time equaliser saved the United States’ now 18-game unbeaten record as the Matildas came within seconds of repeating last year’s Tournament of Nations victory over the current World Cup holders. Australia coach Alen Stajcic came to the University of Connecticut’s Rentschler Field – a 40,000-capacity open concrete bowl home to the American football team – with a plan and the Matildas came close to executing it to perfection.
Continue reading...

Wayne Rooney breaks nose and DC United duck with first MLS goal

• Rooney scored his first goal for his new club in 2-1 win
• The striker required five stitches atfter the matchWayne Rooney enjoyed a night of ecstacy and agony as he scored his first goal for new club DC United in a 2-1 win over Colorado Rapids but later broke his nose. Captaining the MLS side in his third game for the club, Rooney opened the scoring when he latched on to a through ball and fired through the legs of his former Manchester United teammate Tim Howard. It was his first goal for the American club after moving from Everton earlier in the summer. Continue reading...

Alex Morgan hat-trick fires USA over Japan in Tournament of Nations opener

Alex Morgan capped a seemingly effortless hat-trick by converting off a dazzling piece of footwork by Tobin Heath, and the US rolled to a 4-2 victory over Japan on Thursday night in its opening match of the four-team Tournament of Nations. Megan Rapinoe also had a goal and an assist for the world’s top-ranked team, which hasn’t lost since the Americans dropped their opening match of the same tournament to Australia last year. Continue reading...

‘We’re over it’: Carter-Vickers eager to take place with USA and Spurs

The USA center back, keen on making his mark with Tottenham’s first team this year, is part of the next generation of American players ready to wash away the acid memory of Russia 2018 In Earnie Stewart’s full-to-bursting inbox, resolving the ‘Europe question’ will not be far below the priority of appointing a head coach, when he begins his role as new USMNT general manager next week. The competing philosophies over whether to pick MLS-based players or choose those plying their trade in the European leagues dogged the US throughout their failed bit to reach Russia. Geoff Cameron’s post-mortem assertion that it created a “poisonous divide” in the squad remains an utterly damning assessment of US Soccer and then-coach Bruce Arena’s handling of the issue. Continue reading...