Joe Lago at FC Yahoo 2 days ago
There are dream starts to big games. And then there's the unbelievable beginning that the Columbus Crew got to open the first leg of their Eastern Conference Championship against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
It took all of nine seconds for the Crew to take the lead, as Justin Meram scored the fastest goal in MLS Cup playoff history to shock the Red Bulls, the Supporters' Shield winner and No. 1 overall seed on the way to a 2-0 home victory.
A long ball right off the opening kickoff found Kei Kamara, who headed the ball forward into the 18-yard box and into the path of a sprinting Ethan Finlay. With a soft header of his own, Finlay had momentary control of the ball before colliding into Red Bull defenders Kemar Lawrence and Matt Miazga.
Joe Lago at FC Yahoo 7 days ago
After the United States men's national team erased an early strike by St. Vincent and the Grenadines with six unanswered goals for an emphatic 6-1 victory, the postgame debate last Friday centered on whether anything of substance could be taken away from the Americans' lopsided World Cup qualifying opener. Had they regained their swagger? Or was it just a case of the world's 129th-ranked team being totally overmatched?
Tuesday's qualifier at Trinidad and Tobago figured to provide a more definitive answer about the current state of Jurgen Klinsmann's USMNT.
JK: “All and all, a draw on the road is okay. It keeps us at the top of the group as we move towards Guatemala in March.“
Joe Lago at FC Yahoo 9 days ago
In the lead-up and aftermath of matches, U.S. Soccer typically sends out video clips of interviews with Jurgen Klinsmann. They're convenient sound bites to see what the United States men's soccer coach and technical director has to say about the latest task at hand, but most of the time nothing new is revealed, especially when Klinsmann is comfortably talking about what U.S. Soccer wants him to discuss instead of fielding questions from the media.
On Sunday, Klinsmann comments about Friday's win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Tuesday's World Cup qualifier at Trinidad and Tobago were released. But of the 20 videos featuring Klinsmann, one clip was different from the normal sterile, straightforward response. In this video, the coach offered something new.
Here is what Klinsmann said:
OK, there's a lot of ground to cover. First, this silly notion that "miracles" were anticipated after last year's World Cup.
Joe Lago at FC Yahoo 16 days ago
As unfortunate as Lionel Messi's knee injury was for Barcelona, it provided Neymar the chance to give the club a glimpse of what life might be like without Messi by providing him the proper platform to really showcase his skills as Barca's main man.
[Slideshow: Neymar leads Barcelona to 3-0 win over Villarreal]
After a tepid start that included a 2-1 La Liga loss at Sevilla, Neymar began to settle into his new lead role. He broke out with a four-goal explosion in a 5-2 league win over Rayo Vallecano, assisted on both goals in a 2-0 Champions League victory at BATE Borisov and picked up two more assists in a 3-1 La Liga triumph over Eibar.
Joe Lago at FC Yahoo 26 days ago
Dear conference semifinals of the MLS Cup playoffs: Good luck trying to top the knockout-round matches.
You, conference semis, have a tough act to follow after the four opening matches produced some of the most riveting MLS postseason soccer in recent memory, maybe ever.
Wednesday began with a wonder goal in D.C. and closed with a five-goal thriller in Seattle. Thursday saw the first-ever MLS playoff game on Canadian soil result in a Montreal blowout of Toronto that featured yet another Didier Drogba goal. That gave way to the best game of the first round between the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City.
You can watch all the twists and turns of the shootout below with the MLS video aptly titled "Greatest penalty kick shootout in MLS history."
The most stunning PK didn't even cross the goal line.
Great theater. Best back-to-back nights in MLS history?
Major League Soccer's regular season concluded Sunday with some riveting "Decision Day" drama in which games were played concurrently at 5 p.m. ET and at 7 p.m. ET. In case you missed it, you can follow every twist and turn here.
The four early matches settled the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Columbus Crew captured the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, while the New England Revolution secured the East's remaining postseason spot as the No. 5 team.
The six late matches completed the West bracket and determined the top overall seed. Vancouver moved up to second to join FC Dallas in the conference semifinals with first-round byes, while the New York Red Bulls, courtesy of a 2-1 victory at Chicago, won their second Supporters' Shield in the last three seasons with a league-best 60 points (FCD also finished with 60, but NYRB won the tiebreaker on goal differential – plus-19 to plus-13).
And now, the most unpredictable domestic title race in world soccer is ready to begin. Here is the entire MLS Cup playoff picture.
The FIFA World Cup may not be coming to the United States anytime soon. But America will get to throw a small version of its own international men's soccer party next summer.
U.S. Soccer, along with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL – the confederations of North and Central Americas and the Caribbean and of South America, respectively – confirmed on Friday that the Copa America Centenario will be played in the United States next summer.
The 100-year anniversary of the Copa America, which normally crowns the South American champion every four years, will be a special edition held June 3 through June 26. The tournament will bring together CONMEBOL's 10 South American nations featuring Lionel Messi's Argentina and Neymar's Brazil with six CONCACAF teams – USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica and two other teams that will be determined in a future playoff.
Venues have yet to be chosen, but the requirement of a mininum seating capacity of 50,000 rules out all of Major League Soccer's soccer-only stadiums. It also guarantees that every game will be played in American football stadiums, much like the 1994 World Cup which still holds the ticket sales record for FIFA's marquee event.
Manchester City was staring at another disappointing Champions League showing as the final minutes wound down on Wednesday's Matchday 3 encounter with Sevilla. The Premier League leaders were without top scorer Sergio Aguero and midfield engine David Silva due to injury, but still, there would be no excuses for managing just a 1-1 draw at home. Not with the way City's Abu Dhabi ownership group has splashed cash in amassing a squad rich with attacking talent.
Those deep pockets paid off in stoppage time on Wednesday. Kevin De Bruyne, the other high-priced winger that Man City purchased for $80 million during the summer transfer window, produced a brilliant strike in the first minute of stoppage time to deliver a 2-1 victory and send the Etihad faithful into delirium
It was the type of individual skill the world's richest teams spend millions for, as the Belgian gathered a pass from Yaya Toure, ran at left back Benoit Tremoulinas, cut to his left and unleashed a low, hard, skipping shot just inside the far post of Sergio Rico's goal.
FIFA announced its "shortlist" for the 2015 Ballon d'Or, revealing 23 nominees for the award that goes to the World Player of the Year. Balloting, which begins next Monday, will be based on "achievements between 22 November 2014 and 20 November 2015 inclusive."
The not-so-short list includes more honorable mentions than legit contenders. It recognizes midfield metronomes like Andrés Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid) and Ivan Rakitić (Croatia/FC Barcelona) and defensive anchors like Javier Mascherano (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich) and Arturo Vidal (Chile/Juventus/FC Bayern Munich).
It honors young talents taking their game to the next level like Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/VfL Wolfsburg/Manchester City) and Paul Pogba (France/Juventus) as well as aging veterans whose reputations still loom large like Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain) and Arjen Robben (Netherlands/FC Bayern Munich).
That leaves four serious candidates. Let's rank them.
The three finalists will be announced on November 30.
Here are the 10 nominees for FIFA World Coach of the Year:
Real Madrid legend Raul announced this week that he will finally hang up hits boots after he completes the NASL season with the New York Cosmos. The 38-year-old came to America after spending two seasons with Schalke in the Bundesliga and two years with Al Sadd in Qatar. When he left Real Madrid in 2010, his legendary status with the Spanish power had been cemented long ago, as his club record of 323 goals in 741 games figured to stand for quite some time.
The fact Cristiano Ronaldo has passed the great Raul as Real Madrid's all-time leading goal scorer in just 310 games makes the record-setting feat all the more remarkable.
Ronaldo broke his tie with Raul on Saturday in Real Madrid's 3-0 La Liga win over visiting Levante with a Ronaldo-esque strike in the 30th minute. Take a look at the history-marking goal No. 324.