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By THOMAS FLOYD Fire forward Chris Rolfe may have spent two and a half years plying his trade in Denmark, but it's readily apparent the 29-year-old's heart never left Chicago. For as grateful as Rolfe was for his opportunity to test himself with Superliga side Aalborg BK, the Ohio native never quite settled in with the culture or the club the way he did with the Windy City and the Fire organization. In April, Rolfe concluded his injury-plagued European escapade and returned to Chicago, newly appreciative of the franchise that drafted him in 2005. "I missed the camaraderie the most,"... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD The raucous Timbers Army and intense setting of a Cascadia Cup match at Jeld-Wen Field will serve as the introduction of Major League Soccer to the audiences of NBC on Saturday. For the first time, NBC's main network will televise an MLS game as the Portland Timbers host the Seattle Sounders. While the Sounders will look to secure their positioning toward the top of the Western Conference, the Timbers will want to salvage an otherwise lost campaign by claiming the Cascadia Cup with a victory. Elsewhere around the league this weekend, Sporting Kansas City will host the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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Photo by ISIphotos.com By THOMAS FLOYD George John has experienced his fair share of setbacks in the past year. But if the FC Dallas centerback's spirits have been dampened, he isn't showing it. Last summer, a deal that would have sent John to English side Blackburn Rovers FC fell through. Then, the 25-year-old's offseason loan across the pond with West Ham United saw him never get off the bench. Once he returned to MLS, John found himself sidelined for seven games with a concussion as Dallas' winless drought stretched to three months. A month ago, John made his return. In... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD Riding a three-game winning streak, Sporting Kansas City has climbed back to the top of the Eastern Conference -- a spot the New York Red Bulls are keeping a close eye on from a short distance. That first place slot will be on the line Sunday when Kansas City hosts New York in a nationally televised clash at Livestrong Sporting Park in the first of three matches between these two clubs in the next two months. The match will feature Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler, one of the league's top centerback pairings, going up against the likes... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD As if the pressure of the Cascadia Cup rivalry between the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps wasn't enough, this weekend's bout featuring the Pacific Northwest rivals also carries notable Western Conference playoff implications. With a crowd of about 60,000 expected to fill CenturyLink Field, the Sounders will host the Whitecaps in a match contested between two of the teams locked in a three-way tie for third in the conference. (Los Angeles is the other.) With so little margin for error, neither side can afford to drop points head-to-head if they intend on eventually securing that key first-round... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD Manchester United fans won't have to wait long to see Robin Van Persie in a Red Devils uniform. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he is confident Van Persie, signed Wednesday on a transfer from Arsenal, will be cleared and ready to play when United kick off their English Premier League season Monday against Everton. "We hope all the things will be tied up, although sometimes medicals do take a bit longer," Ferguson said. "I am sure he will be available for Monday's game." With a wealth of talent up top, including Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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It sure didn't take long for the San Jose Earthquakes to climb back atop the ladder. More late heroics gave San Jose a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, pushing the Earthquakes back to the No. 1 spot in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings after they had been dethroned the week prior by the Houston Dynamo. Elsewhere in the poll, Sporting Kansas City jumped to the second position following the club's U.S. Open Cup triumph and league win over D.C. United. And this week's biggest riser was FC Dallas, which vaulted four slots to No. 13 with... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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Welcome to the top spot, Houston. Riding a five-game winning streak and six shutouts in their past seven matches, the Dynamo have climbed to No. 1 in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings. Houston's latest triumph, a 2-0 result against the New York Red Bulls, put the Dynamo on top of the Eastern Conference as well. The Los Angeles Galaxy, meanwhile, experienced the week's biggest fall, dropping three slots to No. 8 after a 4-0 defeat at the Seattle Sounders, who jumped two positions to a tie for sixth. Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings (as voted on... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD Nine months after claiming the Eastern Conference crown, the Houston Dynamo are finally on the verge returning to the top of the ladder. Riding four consecutive wins, the Dynamo will face the New York Red Bulls Friday night with sights on extending the streak and passing their conference foe for first place. With both clubs undefeated at home this season, Houston has the considerable advantage of hosting this one at BBVA Compass Stadium. Elsewhere around the league, the Rocky Mountain Cup continues when Real Salt Lake travels to take on the Colorado Rapids, and the Seattle Sounders... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD Four months after being diagnosed with leukemia, Stiliyan Petrov is in remission. The Aston Villa captain and Bulgaria international was diagnosed after he developed a fever following a match March 24 against Arsenal. Petrov, 33, has suspended his career while receiving treatment and was the subject of numerous tributes around the English Premier League this past season. On Thursday, Aston Villa announced the improvement to Petrov's outlook. "It is with great delight that the club can confirm on behalf of our long-standing captain, Stiliyan Petrov, that Stan's acute leukaemia is in remission. Stan would like to take... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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No Geoff Cameron? No problem. Despite losing their U.S. national team centerback to Stoke City, the Houston Dynamo have continued their rapid ascension in the Eastern Conference, winning their fourth straight en route to the No. 3 spot in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings. Despite having Cameron in the lineup for just one game in July, Houston only allowed one goal in six matches throughout the month. Elsewhere in the rankings, Salt Lake surged to No. 2 thanks to a win over Vancouver and New York's loss to Montreal. Otherwise, there was little fluctuation in the poll as many... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD At the moment, the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake have created some breathing room between them and the Western Conference pack. But with a win over RSL on Friday night, the Vancouver Whitecaps will put themselves right in the thick of the race as well. The clash will feature two key contributors from the MLS All-Stars' win over Chelsea FC on Wednesday, with Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman going up against Vancouver's Jay DeMerit. Elsewhere around the league, Alessandro Nesta is poised to make his MLS debut for the Montreal Impact against the New York Red... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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American fans hoping to catch Luka Modric during Tottenham's preseason tour are going to miss out. The Croatian playmaker, who has said he wants to join Real Madrid, failed to report to the team for training Friday and did not join it for its flight Saturday to Los Angeles. The 26-year-old with four years left on his Spurs contract will likely be fined two weeks' pay. Tottenham is reportedly holding out for a nearly $50 million transfer fee. Paris Saint-Germain, which has been spending liberally this summer, also is said to be interested in Modric's services. "This will go against... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD The Los Angeles Galaxy will be out for a dose of SuperClasico revenge this weekend. Chivas USA grabbed its first win in the Home Depot Center rivalry since 2007 with a 1-0 triumph in May. Come Saturday, the Galaxy will look to even the season series and widen their narrow lead over Chivas for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff slot. Elsewhere, the Interstate 95 feud between the New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union will feature a new wrinkle, as Sebastien Le Toux goes up against the side that traded him to Vancouver in the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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Mohamed bin Hammam is back in the game. The Qatari official Thursday won his appeal of a lifetime ban imposed by FIFA amid allegations he bribed voters while running for president of the international body last year. The Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, did not find him innocent of corruption, instead reversing the ban because of a lack of conclusive evidence. ''It is a situation of 'case not proven,' coupled with concern on the part of the Panel that the FIFA investigation was not complete or comprehensive enough to fill the gaps in the record,'' the international high court... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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With the league's best record on the line, the San Jose Earthquakes came through Saturday in spectacular fashion. San Jose, the Supporters' Shield front-runner, rose to the challenge against second-place Real Salt Lake on Saturday, cruising to a 5-0 win that secured a season sweep of RSL and a firm grasp on the top spot in this SBI MLS Power Rankings. With Salt Lake and D.C. United suffering blowout losses, Sporting Kansas City jumped up to the No. 2 position after a 2-0 win over Columbus. And in the week's biggest drop, the Vancouver Whitecaps plunged five slots to No.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD Front-runner status in the Supporters' Shield race is at stake this weekend. The MLS-leading San Jose Earthquakes will host a Real Salt Lake team sitting just one point back in the Western Conference standings. With the top attack in MLS, Chris Wondolowski and the Earthquakes will be eager to test themselves against Jamison Olave and Salt Lake's dependably stingy back line. Elsewhere, the New York Red Bulls will welcome the Seattle Sounders in a clash of big-budget clubs, while the Portland Timbers will kick off the post-John Spencer era against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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Fabio Capello may not be unemployed much longer. The former England manager who abruptly resigned in February, just months before he was to lead the nation at Euro 2012, met with the Russian federation Thursday to discuss the national team's coaching opening. Capello is reportedly the front-runner to replace Dick Advocaat, who already had plans to leave Russia for PSV Eindhoven even before his side failed to advance out of the group stage at Euro. "I can say that my father would be very interested to become Russia's coach," said Pierfilippo Capello, the 66-year-old Italian's son and agent, to the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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After briefly falling on hard times, Real Salt Lake is back in familiar territory. Dropped to a season-low position of No. 6 in last week's SBI MLS Power Rankings because of a four-game winless drought, Salt Lake jumped back to third in the new poll thanks to a four-point week highlighted by Alvaro Saborio's hat trick in a 3-0 triumph over the Portland Timbers on Saturday. Elsewhere in the rankings, the San Jose Earthquakes clung to the top spot despite a disappointing week, while the Colorado Rapids experienced the biggest change, dropping five slots to No. 15. Here are this... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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With Euro 2012 over, the Olympics several weeks away and foreign clubs' preseason tours still around the corner, this weekend will be all about MLS. Saturday night's TV slate is headlined by NBC Sports' broadcast of the clash between the Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field. With Seattle winless in nine and Colorado coming off a midweek loss at home to Vancouver, both sides will want to get back on track with a win. On Sunday, ESPN will televise the Los Angeles Galaxy's trip without David Beckham to take on the Chicago Fire, who have surged toward the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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By THOMAS FLOYD Last November, Sporting Kansas City was exposed on its home field at the most inopportune of times. This weekend, the club will look to right that wrong. The Houston Dynamo will return to the site of their upset win over Kansas City in the Eastern Conference final, visiting Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday. Kansas City has been tough but not invincible there this season, going 6-2-0. The fixture headlines another packed weekend of MLS action, which will also feature the Colorado Rapids' trip to take on the Seattle Sounders in an important Western Conference duel and a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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Chris Wondolowski just won't stop scoring goals. After leading the league in goals each of the past two seasons with 18 tallies in 2010 and 16 last year, Wondolowski has already found net 14 times in just 16 games for San Jose this season, leading the Earthquakes to a league-best 11-4-3 record. The 29-year-old has found a variety of ways to score, beating goalkeepers with goals spectacular, gutsy and cheeky. Wondolowski was voted the mid-season MVP by SBI staff members, finishing ahead of candidates including D.C. United midfielder-forward Dwayne De Rosario, Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman and New York... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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After an up-and-down rookie campaign, Will Bruin has found a rhythm in 2012. The Houston Dynamo striker has scored nine goals in 17 appearances, claiming the up-for-grabs starting job alongside Brian Ching with authority and emerging as one of the league's most dangerous forwards. Plagued by injury and inconsistency, the Indiana product scored just five times last season. Bruin was voted the most improved player in MLS through the first half of the season by SBI staff members, defeating candidates such as Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and the New York duo of forward Kenny Cooper and right back Brandon Barklage.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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American striker Charlie Davies is taking his search for regular playing time to Denmark. Sources have confirmed to SBI that the 26-year-old has signed with Danish side Randers FC. Davies had been with French club Sochaux since December, when his season-long loan deal with D.C. United expired and the MLS side declined an option to purchase his contract. Davies made just two appearances off the bench for Sochaux, his first since suffering major injuries in a fatal October 2009 car accident near Washington, D.C., that sidelined him for a year and a half and kept him off the United States'... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2012 at Soccer By Ives
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Saer Sene was brought to the New England Revolution to do one thing: score goals. Halfway though his first MLS season, it's mission accomplished. The 25-year-old French striker and former Bayern Munich reserve has bagged eight goals in 15 appearances for the Revolution, providing a physically imposing presence for Jay Heaps' squad up top. Sene was voted by SBI staff members as the top newcomer to MLS thus far in 2012, beating out a field that included Vancouver right back Lee Young-Pyo and Colorado midfielder Jaime Castrillon. What are your thoughts on Sene receiving the honor? Did he deserve the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2012 at Soccer By Ives