Friday, October 30, 2009

Chicago Sun-Times: Blanco Signs One-Year Deal With Veracruz

Midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco of Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire signed a one-year deal Thursday to play for Veracruz, a second division team in his home country of Mexico, once his current Fire contract ends in December, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday.

Blanco is vying to play for Mexico in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and, if he makes the roster, would miss the first three months of the 2010 MLS season.

Fire officials are confident that when mid-July comes and he can legally opt out of the rest of his deal with Veracruz, he will return to Chicago.

Dynamite Re-Signs Handsor As Player-Coach, Youth Academy Director

The Denver Dynamite of the Professional Arena Soccer League announced Friday they have re-signed player-coach Chris Handsor for the 2009-10 season and also named him youth director for the new Dynamite Academy.

Handsor will play in his 14th indoor soccer season and his second in Denver.

In 336 combined games with the Cleveland Crunch, Philadelphia Kixx and Baltimore Blast in the former Major Indoor Soccer League, Handsor had 244 goals and 199 assists. He also earned a league championship with each team.

Lyall Retires After 11 Seasons In Vancouver

Defender Geordie Lyall announced his retirement from the Vancouver Whitecaps of the United Soccer Leagues First Division Friday after 11 seasons.

Lyall, who had five goals and five assists in his career, played on the team's 2006 and 2008 USL1 Championship teams, was named a finalist for the 2006 USL1 Defender of the Year award and was named to the 2006 USL1 All-League First Team.

He leaves the Whitecaps as 12th on the all-time list in minutes played at 14,969 and 15th on the appearances list at 193 games.

WPS Fields Half Of Nominees For FIFA Women's World Player Of The Year Award

In an announcement Friday in Zurich, Switzerland, FIFA announced the 10 players nominated for the 2009 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award and Womens Professional Soccer franchises can boast half of the field.

The WPS nominees are led by back-to-back-to-back defending champion Marta of Brazil (2006, 2007, 2008), who plays for the Los Angeles Sol.

The Washington Freedom boasts two of the five nominees -- Abby Wambach of the USA and Sonia Bompastor of France.

The other WPS selections are Kelly Smith of England (Boston Breakers) and Brazil's Cristiane, who is now a free agent after being released by the Chicago Red Stars.

Of the five non-WPS names, four represent Germany -- Nadine Angerer, Inka Grings, Simone Laudehr and Birgit Prine.

The final nominee is Japan's Mana Iwabuchr.

Voting for the award will now take place by captains and head coaches of all women's national teams with five finalists for the honor to be announced in early December.

The award will be handed out December 21 at the annual World Player Gala in Zurich.

Rhinos Bring Inaugural Head Coach Back To Front Office

Pat Ercoli, the first head coach of the United Soccer Leagues First Division's Rochester Rhinos, returned to the franchise Thursday as its new general manager and director of soccer operations.

As head coach from 1996 to 2004, Ercoli was 154-77-18 and led the team to three divisional championships and five USL1 finals appearances, which led to three USL1 championships in 1998, 2000 and 2001, and two Lamar Hunt US Open Cup championships in 1996 and 1999.

Beat Send Draft Picks To Pride For G Whitworth

The Atlanta Beat, an expansion team for 2010 in Women's Professional Soccer, Thursday traded their 10th and 12th overall picks in the WPS Draft this January to FC Gold Pride to obtain and sign goalkeeper Allison Whitworth.

Whitworth previously played in Atlanta in 2008 for the Atlanta Silverbacks of the United Soccer Leagues' W-League and went 8-0-0 with five shutouts and a 0.50 goals against average before being drafted to WPS by the Pride.

At Auburn, she had 22 career shutouts and set a school record for saves in her final collegiate season.

Whitworth was also the Southeastern Conference Student Athlete of the Year in 2007.

Houston, Seattle Open MLS Cup Playoffs With Scoreless Draw

In a game that not only had the largest crowd for a semifinal playoff game in Major League Soccer history with 35,807 at Qwest Field in Seattle, but more yellow cards handed out than goals given up, the Houston Dynamo and the Seattle Sounders opened the first leg of their two-game Western Conference semifinal series with a scoreless draw.

Game two of the series will be played at Houston's Robertson Stadium November 8.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

BYU Names Former Goalkeeper As Goalkeeper Coach

The BYU Cougars of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League announced Thursday former goalkeeper Brandon Gilliam is joining the team as their goalkeeper coach.

Gilliam finished in the top two in the PDL in goals against average and in the top five in save percentage in his final two seasons with the Cougars.

Schweitzer To Be Inducted As Player In USL HOF

Former Rochester Rhinos defender Scott Schweitzer will be the second and final person to be inducted as a Player into the 2009 United Soccer Leagues Hall of Fame class during the league's Annual General Meeting next month in Tampa, the league announced Thursday.

Schweitzer will join former Charleston Battery and Portland Timbers forward Paul Conway, who was announced Wednesday, in the Player category for 2009.

Schweitzer, who last spent two seasons as head coach of the USL First Division's Carolina RailHawks (2007-08), is one of six players in league history to play any position and be named six times to an All-League team.

He was named to a team for five straight seasons from 1997 to 2001, then was named again in 2003.

Schweitzer is also one of two at his position to be named the league's Defender of the Year twice in the 1998 and 1999 seasons.

He began his USL career in 1995 with the Atlanta Ruckus, joined the Carolina Dynamo in 1996, and moved to the Rhinos in 1997. Schweitzer left Rochester for the Syracuse Salty Dogs in 2004, but returned in 2005 for his final season.

He led the Rhinos to two USL1 regular season titles, three USL1 Championships and four USL1 Championship final appearances.

United G Wicks Out 4-6 Months After Shoulder Surgery

Major League Soccer's DC United announced Thursday goalkeeper Josh Wicks will be out for four to six months after undergoing surgery to repair his left shoulder.

He injured the shoulder in a collision with a fellow United player in their 2-1 loss September 27 to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Wicks started 19 games this season and had a 1.40 goals against average and five shutouts.

DCU's Payne Feels Pain Of Fine After Making Questionable Comments

Major League Soccer Thursday fined DC United president Kevin Payne $5,000 for comments the league deemed detrimental to their public image.

While MLS would not detail the extent of the comments, Payne did give an online interview to the Washington Post, where he was critical of conservative play styles of the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference and the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake of the Western Conference that he said created "a lot of games in our league that I can't watch."

Payne issued a statement Thursday, calling his comments "unprofessional" and stated he was "trying to explain the sometimes unfair expectations (put) on the head coach of DC United."

He also said he has contacted all three franchises and offered an apology.

Wambach Leads US Women To 1-0 Win Over Germany

Abby Wambach scored the lone goal of the game in the 34th minute as the top-ranked US Women's National team shut out second-ranked Germany, 1-0, in an exhibition match Thursday in Ausgberg, Germany.

The game took place at the new Impuls Arena, which will serve as the host site for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

MLS Fans Name Final GOW, SOW Winners; Ljungberg Named MLS POM For October

Robbie Findley of Real Salt Lake and Kevin Hartman of the Kansas City Wizards were selected in fan voting as the Major League Soccer Goal of the Week and Save of the Week winners for the 32nd and final week of the 2009 season Thursday.

Findley, who was named Mondaythe final Player of the Week award for the season, defeated teammate Yura Movsisyan, Seattle Sounders teammates Nate Jaqua and Brad Evans, Wizards star Kei Kamara and Juan Pablo Angel for the honor.

Hartman, who won the second GOW award of the season in Week 11 (the competition began in Week 10), beat out Bouna Coundoul (New York Red Bulls), Joe Cannon (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Dario Sala (FC Dallas) and Pat Onstad (Houston Dynamo).

Also Thursday, MLS named Seattle midfielder Freddie Ljungberg the Player of the Month for October after assisting on four goals to lead the expansion Sounders to a playoff berth, becoming the first expansion team since the 1998 Chicago Fire to make the playoffs in their inaugural season.

He is also the first Swedish player in league history to win the award.

Cougars Re-Sign Three More From Championship Team, Add Bardales

The defending Professional Arena Soccer League champion Stockton Cougars announced Wednesday they have re-signed three members of last season's team -- midfielder Majell Aterado, defender Lee Pricer and goalkeeper Santos Arteaga -- and added former Los Angeles Galaxy forward Isaias Bardales to the 2009-10 roster.

Aterado will be in his third season with the Cougars, having joined them in 2007 as the California Cougars through the Major Indoor Soccer League Supplemental Draft. He wound up spending part of the 2007 season with the Stockton Pumas, an affiliate team in the second-tier Premier Arena Soccer League before being called up to the MISL level.

Pricer played for the Turlock Express, another Premier affiliate franchise, before coming to Stockton and had three total blocks in three games.

Arteaga also spent time in Turlock.

Bardales was the 11th overall pick in the 2001 Major League Soccer SuperDraft and played 12 games over two seasons with only one goal scored. He was then loaned to the Syracuse Salty Dogs of the A-League (now United Soccer Leagues First Division) in 2003, but was released during the season.

Before joining Stockton, he played in the USL's Premier Development League with the San Diego Gauchos (2006) and the San Jose Frogs (2007).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sky Blue Signs Gunning From Lady Blues Affiliate

The defending Women's Professional Soccer champion Sky Blue FC announced Wednesday they have signed defender Ashleigh Gunning from the Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues, their affiliate in the United Soccer Leagues W-League, who won the 2009 regular season championship.

Gunning had two goals and two assists in 13 appearances with the Lady Blues last season en route to the league regular season championship and a semifinal appearance in the playoffs.

Gunning played one season at LSU in 2003 before transferring to Coastal Carolina University in 2004.

In 2007, she was the leader in the Big South Conference in scoring with 22 points and was the conference's Player of the Year in 2008 after having 39 points on 15 goals and nine assists.

Before joining the Lady Blues, she played in the W-League for the Cocoa Express and the Charlotte Lady Eagles.

Former Battery, Timbers Forward Conway To Be Inducted In USL HOF

United Soccer Leagues Wednesday named former Charleston Battery and Portland Timbers forward Paul Conway as the first of two Player category members to be inducted into the organization's Hall Of Fame at their Annual General Meeting next month in Tampa, FL.

Conway played for the Battery from 1998 to 2005, then joined the Timbers for the 2006 season.

At Charlestion, he was named to the All-League Second Team in 1999 after scoring 14 goals and five assists that season.

In 2000, he tied with Greg Howes and Johnny Menyongar with 17 goals for the Goal Scoring Championship and with Digital Takawira with 42 points for the Scoring Championship.

The next season, Conway was the sole winner of both awards with 22 goals and 47 points, respectively.

He was a member of Charleston's 2003 USL1 Championship team and remains the team's all-time leader scorer in goals, assists and points.

In 2006, he joined the Timbers, where his father became an assistant coach, but scored only one goal in limited duty.

He ended his career with 79 goals and 29 assists in under 15,000 minutes played over 178 regular season games.

USL will announce the second Player category inductee Thursday.

Wawrousek Latest To Leave Whitecaps

The Vancouver Whitecaps of the United Soccer Leagues First Division announced Tuesday assistant coach Todd Wawrousek's contract with the team has expired and he will not be retained for the team's 2010 season.

Before coming to Vancouver, he served as head coach of the women's soccer team at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania from 1990 to 2006 and was assistant coach of the now-defunct USL W-League's Hershey Wildcats from 1997 to 2001.

Cougars Re-Sign Brambila, Muluzi, Bueno For 2009-10 PASL Season

The defending Professional Arena Soccer League champion Stockton Cougars announced the re-signings Tuesday of Hugo Brambila, Dalitso Muluzi and Erneston Bueno for the 2009-10 season.

Both Brambila and Muluzi played in the second-tier Premier Arena Soccer League with the Stockton Pumas and Turlock Express, affiliate teams of the Cougars.

Brambila played in only three games last season due to a right foor injury, but scored all three of his points in a December 13 home game against the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League's Edmonton Drillers on two goals and an assist.

He also played on the Premier Arena Soccer League's Mexico All-Star Team against the Cougars in February 2007 and for the Stars of Mexico in a September 2007 game with them.

Muluzi played in eight league games and 10 overall last season, posting two goals and an assist, as well.

Bueno played in only two games for the Cougars after joining the team following six seasons in the Premier league with Off The Wall Santa Clara.

USMNT To Face Slovakia For First Time In Bratislava

The US Men's National Team announced Monday they will face Slovakia, a fellow 2010 FIFA World Cup finalist, November 14 in Bratislava, four days before taking on Denmark, another finalist, in Aarhuis November 18.

It will be the first time the US and Slovakia have met and the US is one of six teams that will play two 2010 World Cup finalists during the final FIFA-approved dates for international friendly games this year.

Slovakia won Group 3 of UEFA qualifying for the 2010 event in South Africa.

There is no word on if the game will be televised in the US.

Revolution-Fire Opening Series Game Moved To Sunday

Major League Soccer announced Tuesday Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Chicago Fire and the host New England Revolution has been moved from 4 p.m. Eastern time Saturday to 2 p.m. Eastern time Sunday.

No reason was given for the change.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Columbus Crew Announce 2009 Team Awards

The Columbus Crew, who once again won Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference regular season championship and the Supporters Shield for having the best record in the league this season, named the winners Monday of their 2009 season team awards.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Danny O'Rourke

MAN OF THE YEAR
Brian Carroll

BUDWEISER TEAM GOLDEN BOOT
Guillermo Barros Schelotto

HARDEST WORKING MAN
Gino Padula

DEFENDER OF THE YEAR
Chad Marshall

COACHES PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Eddie Gaven

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Adam Moffat

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Eric Brunner

US SOCCER FEDERATION HUMANINTARIAN CANDIDATE
Steven Lenhart

FANS FAVORITE
Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Steven Lenhart (tie)

BEST GOAL OF THE SEASON
Jason Garey (July 18 against Real Salt Lake)

FC Dallas Cuts GM, Will Not Fill Opening

Hunt Sports Group, owner of Major League Soccer's FC Dallas, announced Tuesday they will not renew the contract of general manager Michael Hitchcock after four seasons and will not fill the opening.

The team will instead hire a technical director to assist Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman in oversight of the day-to-day operations of the franchise.

Under Hitchcock's reign, FC Dallas was 48-47-27 in the regular season and 2-2-0 in the playoffs.

Team president John Wagner will continue in his current position.

Cowlishaw To Join USL Hall Of Fame As A Coach

United Soccer Leagues announced Tuesday Leigh Cowlishaw, head coach of the 2009 USL Second Division champion Richmond Kickers, will be one of three people inducted into the league's Hall Of Fame at their Annual General Meeting in Tampa, FL next month.

Cowlishaw began his USL career as a Kickers player from 1993 to 1998 and played under every head coach in the team's history.

During his playing days, he led the Kickers to the 2005 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup championship and the USL Premier Development League championship.

In September 1999, the Kickers retired his number 13 jersey.

Cowlishaw ranks in the top ten all-time for Richmond in goals scored (19), points (49) and assists (11).

He was part of teams that upset three Major League Soccer teams in LHUSOC play -- the Colorado Rapids (2000 while in USL1), DC United (2004 while in USL1) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (2007 while in USL2).

As a head coach since 2000, Cowlishaw has yet to experience a losing season, going 138-62-46 overall and 9-6-12 in the playoffs., and has coached them to USL1 championship game appearances in 2001 and 2005 and the 2009 USL2 title.

The Kickers made the postseason in all four seasons they played in USL2 and five of the six seasons played in USL1.

He will become the eighth head coach to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame, along with former Kickers head coach Dennis Viollet, who was inducted in 2002.

Wayne, NJ Joins W-League For 2010 Season

The North Jersey Valkyries, based in Wayne, NJ, became the first expansion team named for the 2010 United Soccer Leagues W-League season Tuesday.

The team will be owned and operated by TSF Academy, who has teams in the USL's Super-Y League and Super-20 League.

Mark White has been named the team's first general manager and head coach.

Battery Assistant Coach Joins MLS' Revolution In Same Capacity

Mark Watson, an assistant coach with the Charleston Battery of the United Soccer Leagues First Division since 2006, will be serving in the same capacity for Major League Soccer's New England Revolution throughout their appearance in the 2009 MLS Cup playoffs.

Watson replaces Paul Mariner, who resigned recently to take a position with a European team.

Watson played four seasons with the Battery and is one of six players in team history to play in 100 games.

The Revolution will face the Chicago Fire in one of the two Eastern Conference semifinal series. The two-game, aggregate-goal series begins Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, then heads to Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL November 7.

Toronto FC Will Not Renew Cummings' Contract

The search for a new head coach for Major League Soccer's Toronto FC began Tuesday with the team announcing they would not be renewing the contract of interim head coach Chris Cummings.

Cummings was hired May 5, 2008 as an assistant coach to former head coach Mo Johnston, who now is in a front office position, and was elevated to the interim position April 29 when Johnston resigned to move upstairs.

Toronto FC was 8-9-7 with Cummings at the helm.

Earthquakes Retain D/M Corrales With Multi-Year Contract

Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes announced Monday defender/midfielder and team captain Ramiro Corrales signed a multi-year contract.

Born in Salinas, CA, Corrales became the franchise's all-time leader in appearances October 7 against FC Dallas. He has now appeared in 167 games, following Saturday's season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Corrales is third on the team in starts (151) and minutes played (13,332), tenth in assists (19) and was a member of two MLS Cup championship teams in 2001 and 2003.

He began his MLS career with the San Jose Clash in 1996 and also played for the Miami Fusion and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars before leaving in 2005 to play in Norway for Ham-Kam, where he was the team's Most Valuable Player in the 2006 season, then moved to SK Brann for the 2007 season.

Corrales returned to the States in 2008 and started 22 games this season, recording two goals and two assists.

Athletica D Cross Heads To FC Gold Pride

Former St. Louis Athletica defender Niki Cross became the latest Women's Professional Soccer free agent to sign with FC Gold Pride Monday.

Cross, drafted by St. Louis in the fifth round of the inaugural WPS draft from the University of Connecticut, scored her only goal with the Athletica July 26 against the Pride. She played in 11 games with the Athletica.

Former Thunder GM Buchholz Joins Aztex As CEO

Former Minnesota Thunder player and executive Djorn Buchholz was named Monday the chief executive officer of the Austin Aztex of the United Soccer Leagues First Division, effective November 9.

Buchholz spent six years with the Thunder and held many positions in operations, media relations, sales and marketing before being named the team's general manager in 2005.

He will take responsibility of all aspects of the Aztex organization, including sales and marketing, ticket sales, soccer camps, operations and finance when he starts the new job.

USL To Induct Three More Teams Into 10+ Club

During the Hall of Fame ceremony at their Annual General Meeting next month in Tampa, FL, United Soccer Leagues will honor the Charlotee Lady Eagles and the Ottawa Fury of the W-League, and the Thunder bay Chill of the Premier Development League as 10+ Clubs -- recognized for completing 10 years of competition within the organization.

The Lady Eagles were founded in 2000 and have made the W-League in nine of their 10 seasons, making the championship game in 2000 and winning the-then W-2 Championship in 2001.

Charlotte's all-time regular season record is 97-24-9 and are 12-8-1 in postseason history.

The men's Eagles, of the USL Second Division, joined the 10+ Club during the first Hall of Fame ceremony in 2001.

Ottawa missed the W-League playoffs from 2000 to 2002, but have reached the playoffs the last seven straight seasons, making the semifinals five teams and finishing as championship runners-up twice.

Thunder Bay will be the first Canadian team from the PDL to be honored as a 10+ Club member.

The Chill won the 2008 league championship in only their second postseason appearance.

Thunder Bay has an all-time record in regular season play of 75-80-17 and a playoff record of 5-1-0.

Final GOW, SOW Ballots Announced

Fans will place their final regular season votes this week for Major League Soccer's Goal of the Week and Save of the Week competitions as ballots were unveiled Monday.

Usually, fans can vote for their favorite players and goalkeepers through 2 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday (Goal of the Week) and Thursday (Save of the Week), but, due to the playoffs, voting at www.mlsnet.com ends Wednesday at 2 p.m. for both awards.

The final winners selected will move on to the final voting for Goal and Save of the year, also to be voted on by fans.

Here are the nominees for Week 32 Goal of the Week:

Juan Pablo Angel, New York Red Bulls
Scored in the 62nd minute off Jeremy Hall for his second goal in a 5-0 win over Toronto FC Saturday

Robbie Findley, Real Salt Lake
Scored in the 33rd minute off Andy Williams for his second goal in a 3-0 win over Colorado Rapids Saturday

Nate Jaqua, Seattle Sounders (previously won in Weeks 11 and 23)
Scored in the 61st minute off Fredy Montero and Freddie Ljungberg in a 2-1 win over FC Dallas Saturday

Yura Movsisyan, Real Salt Lake
Scored in the 83rd minute off Javier Morales in a 3-0 win over Colorado Rapids Saturday

Brad Evans, Seattle Sounders
Scored in the 84th minute off Freddie Ljungberg in a 2-1 win over FC Dallas Saturday

Kei Kamara, Kansas City Wizards
Scored in the 30th minute off Graham Zusi in a 2-2 draw Saturday with DC United

Jeff Larentowicz, New England Revolution
Scored an unassisted goal in the 79th minute of a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew Sunday

In the Save of the Week voting, previous winners Kevin Hartman (Kansas City Wizards - Week 11), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake - Week 19), Dario Sala (FC Dallas - Weeks 28 and 30) and Pat Onstad (Houston Dynamo - Weeks 12 and 23) are joined by Joe Cannon of the San Jose Earthquakes and Bouna Coundoul of the New York Red Bulls.

Findley Named Final MLS Player Of The Week

Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley was named the final Major League Soccer Player of the Week Monday for the 32nd week of the 2009 season.

He scored two goals in the team's 3-0 win Saturday over the Colorado Rapids which eventually led them to their second straight playoff berth.

Findley ended the 2009 regular season with a career-high 12 goals, beating his previous best total of eight in 2007, and led the team in scoring for the second time in his career.

Real Salt Lake, the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, plays the defending conference and league champion Columbus Crew, starting Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.

MLS Announces Playoff Matchups

Major League Soccer Monday officially announced the conference semifinal matchups for the 2009 MLS Cup playoffs, beginning Thursday night.

Matchups will consist of a two-game, aggregate-goal series, with winners advancing to the conference championship game.

Due to the fact more Western Conference teams qualified for the playoffs than Eastern Conference teams, Real Salt Lake was moved into the Eastern Conference playoffs as the fourth seed.

Here are the matchups (all times Eastern):

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Columbus Crew vs. #4 Real Salt Lake
Game 1 - Saturday, 6:30 p.m. @ Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT
Game 2 - November 5, 8 p.m. @ Crew Stadium, Columbus, OH

#2 Chicago Fire vs. #3 New England Revolution
Game 1 - Saturday, 4 p.m. @ Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Game 2 - November 7, 8:30 p.m. @ Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL

WESTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Los Angeles vs. #4 Chivas USA
Game 1 - November 1, 5 p.m., @ The Home Depot Center, Carson, CA (Chivas hosts)
Game 2 - November 8, 7:30 p.m. @ The Home Depot Center, Carson, CA (Galaxy hosts)
Note: Both teams call The Home Depot Center their home field in the regular season

#2 Houston Dynamo vs. #3 Seattle Sounders
Game 1 - Thursday, 10:30 p.m. @ Qwest Field, Seattle, WA
Game 2 - November 8, 3 p.m. @ Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX

Monday, October 26, 2009

FC Dallas' Cunningham Earns Budweiser Golden Boot

FC Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham was named the winner of the 2009 Major League Soccer/Budweiser Golden Boot competition for being the league's outstanding goal scorer.

Cunningham becomes the fourth player to win the honor twice, joining Taylor Twellman, Carlos Ruis, Stern John and Roy Lassiter.

Cunningham had 17 goals this season, one more than his previous career high of 16 at Real Salt Lake in 2002, the last time he won the Golden Boot.

He edged Conor Casey of the Colorado Rapids, who had 16 goals, for the award.

Cunningham was a four-time MLS Player of the Week this season and was named the Player of the Month for September. He also had four multi-goal games this season.

He played in 28 of 30 regular season games and is second place on the all-time goal scoring list with 121 goals.

First Goal Of Season Important In Last Game Of Season

Jeff Larentowicz picked the perfect time to score his first Major League Soccer goal of the 2009 season.

On the last day of the season, in the final game of the season, and in a game where the last playoff berth was up for grabs, Larentowicz's unassisted goal in the 79th minute gave the New England Revolution a 1-0 win over the two-time Eastern Conference regular season and Supporters Shield champion Columbus Crew Sunday at Crew Stadium to earn their eighth straight playoff berth.

With New England's victory, the Colorado Rapids of the Western Conference were denied the last of eight berths in the postseason. Had Columbus won, Colorado would've punched their ticket to the playoffs.

The Revolution ended the regular season 11-10-9 with 42 points while the Crew finished 13-7-10 with 49 points.

With the regular season now complete, the first round matchups in the MLS Cup Playoffs were announced.

The eight teams will compete in a two-goal, aggregate-goal series with games Thursday and Sunday nights.

The matchups will be as follows:

- Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Chivas USA

- Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders

- Columbus Crew vs. Real Salt Lake

- Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution

MLS will announce the official schedules Monday.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dynamo Takes Second Seed In Western Conference Playoffs

Andrew Hainault (26') and Domenic Oduro (29') scored goals in a three-minute span of the first half and Abe Thompson hit the game-winner in the 52nd as the Houston Dynamo clinched the seed in Major League Soccer's Western Conference playoffs with a 3-2 victory over Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center Sunday.

Brad Davis assisted on Hainault's and Oduro's goal in the win.

Houston finished their regular season with a 13-8-9 record with 48 points but lost the head-to-head tiebreaker this season to the new conference champion Los Angeles Galaxy (12-6-12, 48), 1-0-1.

Michael Lahound (59') and Eduardo Lillingston (88th minute penalty kick) scored for Chivas, who end the regular season 13-10-7 with 45 points.

Wolff, Conrad Take Wizards Team Awards

Forward Josh Wolff and defender Jimmy Conrad were name team award winners by Major League Soccer's Kansas City Wizards Saturday.

Wolff was named the team's Most Valuable Player for the third time in his career and the first time since 2005. He finished with a career-best 11 goals, sixth best in all of MLS.

Conrad was named the team's US Soccer Federation Humanitarian of the Year representative for his work with Athletes Against Autism and the Child Protection Center. Friday, he was also named a board member for the Kansas City Zoo.

Sounders Set MLS Average Attendance Record

Besides becoming the first expansion team since the 1998 Chicago Fire to make the Major League Soccer playoffs in their debut season, the Seattle Sounders set two records in their home season finale Saturday against FC Dallas at Qwest Field.

The game set a single-season attendance record of 33,108 fans and the team averaged a new league record of 30,943 fans per home game this season.

Real Salt Lake Announces 2009 Award Winners

Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake announced the winners of their 2009 season team awards at halftime Saturday of their 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
D Nat Borchers
- Led team in minutes played and was sixth in the category in MLS
- Missed only 21 minutes of play this season
- Only player to start all 30 RSL games this season, one of five field players and eight overall players to do so in MLS this season, and the fourth player in team history to do it

DEFENDER OF THE YEAR
Jamison Olave
- Teamed with Borchers to allow one goal in 450 minutes of play in August, led team to 3-1-1 record in the month and team had four of season-record 11 shutouts in August

US SOCCER FEDERATION HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR NOMINEE
D Robbie Russell
- Donates time to Nothing But Nets malaria awareness campaign and the American Lung Association

BUDWEISER TEAM GOLDEN BOOT AWARD
F Robbie Findley
- 12 goals this season, second-most in a season in RSL history
- Beat his career season-high of eight in his rookie season of 2007

Galaxy Has Lead In Western Conference Standings After Win Over Earthquakes

The Los Angeles Galaxy, heading to Major League Soccer's playoffs for the first time since 2005, took over the lead in the Western Conference standings after defeating the conference's worst team, the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, Saturday at The Home Depot Center.

The Galaxy benefited from an own goal by San Jose's Bobby Burling in the 24th minute, then saw Landon Donovan hit one in the 77th minute off Chris Klein for the win.

At 12-6-12 with 48 points, a point behind the Seattle Sounders (12-7-11, 47), the Galaxy has officially won the Western Conference regular season championship, no matter who wins the final game of the season Sunday between the Houston Dynamo and Chivas USA, both playoff-bound teams, at The Home Depot Center.

Both teams have 45 points (Houston is 12-8-9; Chivas is 13-10-6), but even if both teams play to a draw, Los Angeles would win the conference via head-to-head matchups with both teams.

The Galaxy went 1-0-1 this season with Houston (1-0 win June 28, scoreless draw October 18) and defeated Chivas 2-0-1 during their annual Honda SuperClasico series (Scoreless draw April 11, 1-0 wins July 14 and August 29).

Evans Goal Breaks Tie; Sounders Oust FCD From Playoffs

Freddie Ljungberg's second assist of the game on a Brad Evans goal snapped a tie in the 84th minute and the host Seattle Sounders eliminated FC Dallas from the Major League Soccer playoff race with a 2-1 victory Saturday at Qwest Field.

Atiba Harris scored FC Dallas' last goal of the 2009 season in the 14th minute off a Daniel Hernandez assist and finished their campaign at 11-13-6 with 39 points in the Western Conference.

Ljungberg teamed with Freddy Montero to even the score at 1-1 as Nate Jaqua scored in the 61st minute.

The Sounders, heading to the playoffs in the first season in MLS for the first time since the Chicago Fire did so in 1998, ended their season 12-7-11 with 47 points.

Findley's Dual Goals Lock Up Playoff Berth For RSL

Robbie Findley scored a pair of goals and Andy Williams assisted on each as Real Salt Lake clinched the next-to-last Major League Soccer playoff berth Saturday with a 3-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium against the Colorado Rapids.

Yura Movsisyan added a goal off Javier Morales in the 85th minute for RSL.

RSL gained the fifth Western Conference playoff berth when the Seattle Sounders eliminated FC Dallas from the playoff race with a 2-1 victory at Qwest Field in Seattle.

RSL ends the regular season at 11-12-7 with 40 points while Colorado also had 40 points but in a 10-10-10 record.

United, Wizards Play To Draw In Regular Season Finale

Claudio Lopez's penalty kick in the second minute of second-half injury time allowed the host Kansas City Wizards to play to a 2-2 draw against DC United in their Major League Soccer 2009 season finale Saturday at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

Kei Kamara opened the scoring for Kansas City off a Graham Zusi assist in the 30th minute that served as the halftime lead.

United leveled the game in the 67th minute off a penalty kick, then took over the lead in the 82nd minute on a unassisted Julian James goal.

DC ended their season 9-8-13 with 40 points in the Eastern Conference standings and Kansas City finished 8-13-9 with 33.

Red Bulls Close Out Giants Stadium Era With Shutout

Macoumba Kandji and Juan Pablo Angel had a pair of goals and an assist each as the New York Red Bulls ended their Major League Soccer home era at Giants Stadium with a 5-0 rout of Toronto FC Saturday.

The Red Bulls, who finished with the worst record in the league this season at 5-19-6 with 21 points -- last place in the Eastern Conference, move into Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ for the 2010 season.

Matthew Mbuta also scored for New York in the victory.

With the loss and a later draw between DC United and the Kansas City Wizards, Toronto FC was denied a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs and end their season 10-11-9 with 39 points.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Four More Commit To Texas Outlaws For 2010

Shaun David, Renato Pereira, Jaime Harrigan and Chuck Salas are the latest players to commit to playing for the Texas Outlaws in the 2009-10 Professional Arena Soccer League season.

The foursome are former members of the Dallas Sidekicks.

They join Adam Jochelson, Kellan Zindel, Keegan Hudson, Anthony James, John Martinez, John Andrews and Jose Castro in committing to the team for the season.

Cougars Ink Vedder, Robledo To New Deals

Defender David Vetter and midfielder Uriel Robledo re-signed with the defending Professional Arena Soccer League champion Stockton Cougars Friday.

Vetter played in 12 league games and in five other contests last season. He has six goals in PASL Pro play and nine overall with 27 blocks and served only two penalty minutes.

Robledo had 13 goals in 13 overall games, 10 in 10 PASL-Pro games.

Glen Undergoes Surgery; Back For 'Quakes In 2010

San Jose Earthquakes forward Cornell Glen underwent successful arthroscopic surgery Thursday to repair a torm meniscus in his right knee and will not compete in Saturday's Major League Soccer season finale at The Home Depot Center against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

He will be able to return to the team, however, for the 2010 season.

Glen ends the 2009 campaign with four goals and an assist in 12 games.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Prince George FC Names Sibiya Head Coach

Expansion franchise Prince George FC of the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League and the Professional Arena Soccer League named 13-year veteran indoor and outdoor soccer star Sipho Sibiya head coach Thursday, according to Opinion250.com.

Sibiya runs The Soccer Academy in Prince George. He played indoor soccer for the Edmonton Drillers in 1996 and 1997 and spent four outdoor seasons for the Vancouver 86ers in the A-League, now known as the United Soccer Leagues First Division, where he played for the Montreal Impact in 1998.

Red Stars Sign Sitch Away From WPS Champions

The Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer announced Friday the signing of free agent defender Julianne Sitch for the 2010 season.

Sitch played last season in the league's debut for the defending champion Sky Blue FC, scoring one goal in 996 minutes of play and starting 11 of 16 games. Her goal came June 28 in a 2-1 loss to St. Louis Athletica.

Celedes To Retire From Soccer After Red Bulls Finale

New York Red Bulls midfielder Alberto Celades will retire from professional soccer after playing in the team's final Major League Soccer game in Giants Stadium Saturday against Toronto FC, the franchise announced Friday.

The Red Bulls move into Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ for the 2010 season.

Signed by the team March 11, Celades started 13 of 16 games this season with one goal and three assists.

Celades is a veteran of Spain's La Liga, having played for FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Real Zaragosa. He also played in France for FC Girondins de Bordeaux.

Rough Riders Head Coach Resigns After Three Seasons

Citing professional and family reasons for his decision, Dan Fisher announced his resignation as head coach of the Long Island Rough Riders in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League Friday.

The Rough Riders went 27-12-9 under his leadership and competed in the 2007 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and the 2009 USL PDL playoffs, earning their first playoff berth in six seasons.

Fisher previously served as an assistant coach with the team in the 2001, 2002 and 2006 seasons when the team competed in the USL Second Division, winning the league championship in 2002.

Whitecaps Cut Loose Four More Players

After releasing three players Thursday, the Vancouver Whitecaps of the United Soccer Leagues First Division leveled the axe again Friday, cutting loose goalkeeper Diego, midfielders Michael Ndubuisi Onwatuegwu and Marco Reda, and forward Aaron Wheeler.

Thursday, the team announced it was not renewing contracts on Vincente Arze, Charles Gbeke and Lyle Martin.

Diego signed with Vancouver January 30 but saw no playing time with the senior team. He did go 2-2 with a 1.43 goals against average for the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency in the USL Premier Development League this season.

Onwatuegwu played in Vancouver's September 18 game against the Cleveland City Stars after joining the team August 13 following three seasons in the Indonesian Premier League (2005-08) with Presiba Bantul.

Reda came to the Whitecaps February 19 from the Charleston Battery. He spent five of his first seven seasons in USL1 with the Toronto Lynx, now in the USL PDL. Reda was also a member of the inaugural season roster of Major League Soccer's Toronto FC in 2007.

Wheeler, who played in 2009 for the Reading Rage in the PDL, signed August 28 but never played for the franchise.

Chivas Error Gives Fire Playoff Berth; Helps Crew Clinch Supporters Shield

Eduardo Lillingston headed a corner kick from Cuauhtemoc Blanco into his own team's net in the 67th minute and the Chicago Fire clinched their fifth straight Major League Soccer Eastern Conference playoff berth with a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA Thursday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL.

The win was Chicago's first since August 23 and it allowed to finish their 2009 regular season with an 11-7-12 record with 45 points, good enough for second place in the conference behind the defending conference and league champion Columbus Crew, who, by virtue of the Chicago win, clinched their second straight Supporters Shield crown for having the league's best regular season record.

The Crew are 13-6-10 with 49 points and end their season Sunday when they host the New England Revolution.

Chivas, already playoff bound, is 13-10-6 and is locked into a three-way tie for the Western Conference lead with the Los Angeles Galaxy (11-6-12) and the Houston Dynamo (12-8-9), all at 45 points.

The Galaxy close their season Saturday at The Home Depot Center against the San Jose Earthquakes while Chivas uses the same location Sunday to welcome the Dynamo.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

USMNT To Face Denmark On Road For First Time

The US Men's National Team, who recently clinched their sixth straight appearance in the FIFA World Cup for 2010, will face fellow qualifier Denmark in an exhibition game November 18 at NRGi Park in Aarhus.

It will be the first time the US has faced Denmark on the road.

In five games, the two teams have tied three times and each team holds a victory. The US last won over Denmark, 3-1, January 20, 2007 at The Home Depot Center.

There is no word yet on who will televise the game.

Former CCS Star Hlavaty Joins Polish Soccer Team

Neil Hlavaty, a member of the 2008 United Soccer Leagues Second Division champion Cleveland City Stars, has signed a deal to play in Poland for Jagiellonio Bialystok.

The Illinois native joined the team after being recommended by former team member Tomasz Frankowski, who Hlavaty befriended when the two played for Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire.

Frankowski is a three-time scoring champion in Poland and a nine-time league and cup champion.

Hlavaty had three assists in 15 games for Cleveland in the 2008 season. The City Stars elevated themselves into the USL First Division in 2009.

Hlavaty left high school after his junior year and spent two seasons with the Chicago Fire's affiliate in the USL Premier Development League. In 2007, he had four goals and four assists in 15 games and, in 2008, had one assist in eight games.

Whitecaps Retain Nash; Cut Arze, Gbeke, Martin

The Vancouver Whitecaps of the United Soccer Leagues First Division announced Thursday they have exercised the 2010 option year on the contract of Martin Nash, but have released free agents Vicente Arze, Charles Gbeke and Lyle Martin.

Nash will play in his 10th season over three stints with the Whitecaps and in his 14th overall USL1 season in 2010.

Over his three stints, Nash has scored 26 goals and 40 assists, including four goals and three assists in 25 regular season games this season.

He was one of five Whitecaps to play in over 2,000 minutes of regular season play and made the USL1 All-League Team for the fifth time in his career.

In 2010, he will reach 250 career appearances with the Whitecaps (one away now at 249), 20,000 career minutes played in Vancover (15 minutes shy now at 19,975), and 100 career points as a Whitecap (at 92).

Arze had one assist in 887 minutes over 19 appearances this past season. In 48 career games over two seasons, he had one goal and three assists.

Gbeke was acquired in the middle of the 2008 season from the newly-crowned USL1 champion Montreal Impact and scored 14 goals and three assists last season, counting both regular season and playoff games. He had 12 goals in the 2009 regular season, winning the Goal Scoring Championship. In 61 career games, Gbeke had 19 goals and seven assists.

Martin had one goal and two assist in all competitions in 2009 and had two goals and eight assists in 6,415 minutes over 82 games in three seasons with Vancouver.

Dynamo Defender Cameron Gets SOW Honor

Houston Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron's bicycle kick to stop a potential goal in their game Sunday against the Los Angeles Galaxy was impressive enough to Major League Soccer fans to have them name him winner Thursday of the league's Week 31 Save of the Week voting.

Cameron is the first non-goalkeeper to win the weekly voting since Houston defender Wade Barrett teamed with Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad to share the honor after Week 23.

Cameron beat Steve Cronin (DC United), Preston Burpo (Colorado Rapids), Donovan Ricketts (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Edwards (Toronto FC) and Andrew Weber (San Jose Earthquakes) in fan voting at www.mlsnet.com.

Dynamo Done In CCL After Metapan Ends Group Stage With Win

Emerson Umana's game-winning goal in the 56th minute allowed Mexico's Metapan to play spoiler and win its only game in Group A play of the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League Wednesday by edging the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer, 3-2, in Mexico.

Metapan, who finished in last place at 1-5-0 with three points, took a quick 2-0 lead as Elias Montes and Anel Canales scored goals in the seventh and eighth minutes, respectively.

Houston then cut the lead in the 28th minute off a Geoff Cameron goal, then goalkeeper Tally Hall fired a shot in the opponents' net prior to halftime.

The Dynamo finished Group A play in third place at 2-3-1 with seven points.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cougars Re-Sign G Jesus Molina

The defending Professional Arena Soccer League champion Stockton Cougars re-signed goalkeeper and championship game Most Valuable Player Jesus Molina to a contract for the 2009-10 season Wednesday.

Molina led the team to a 10-9 overtime victory over the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League's Edmonton Drillers in the PASL-Pro's first championship game in their league's history.

He led all goalkeepers in the league's first season in minutes played (839 minutes, 36 seconds), saves (278) and games started (14). Molina was 11-4 with a 7.36 goals against average.

Dutch WNT D, Captain Koster Joins Sky Blue FC

Daphne Koster, defender and captain of the Dutch Women's National Team, became the first player from her country to join Women's Professional Soccer Wednesday, signing with the defending champion Sky Blue FC.

She joined her national team at age 16 and has played in 91 games over 12 years.

Koster most recently led Az in Alkinaar to two straight league titles.

She began her soccer career at age six with SVA in Assendelft, where she stayed for 13 years. Koster then joined Ter Leede in Sassenheim, leading them to four national titles, 2 KNVB Cups and a SuperCup championship.

Koster was runner-up in the premier Dutch Hoofdklasse after the 2002-03 season, then won the honor the next two seasons.

BYU Ties Weber State After Two Overtime Periods

The BYU Cougars of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League played to a 1-1 draw with Weber State University Wednesday after two overtimes periods failed to settle anything in a physical contest that saw five red and three yellow cards issued.

BYU took the lead prior to halftime as Trevor Henderson assisted Blake Tillotson on a goal. Weber State scored in the 83rd minute on an unassisted Kyle Christensen play.

The Cougars are 1-1-1 in their exhibition schedule, having beaten Utah State University, 2-0, September 25, and lost to Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake, 4-1, October 2.

BYU next faces Utah Valley State Friday.

John Selected MLS Goal Of The Week

For the fourth straight week, Major League Soccer fans voted a player from FC Dallas as winner of the Goal of the Week competition...but it wasn't Jeff Cunningham, who has won the award the last three weeks (only because he wasn't nominated).

George John's fourth-minute goal off Dave van den Bergh in a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Colorado Rapids at Pizza Hut Park was voted the outstanding play of the week by fans who voted at www.mlsnet.com.

John defeated Luciano Emilio (DC United), Fabian Espindola (Real Salt Lake), Nate Jaqua (Seattle Sounders), Brandon McDonald (San Jose Earthquakes) and Maykel Galindo (Chivas USA) for the award.

PASL Pro Champion Cougars Sign Tovar

The defending Professional Arena Soccer League champion Stockton Cougars signed forward Enrique Tovar to a deal Tuesday.

Tovar, who played with the team, then called the California Cougars in the now-defunct Major Indoor Soccer League from 2005 to 2008, played in the National Indoor Soccer League in 2008 for the Rockford Rampage, where he had 10 goals and seven assists for 28 points in 18 games.

In his three seasons with the Cougars, he has 67 goals, the third-best total for Cougars players since 2005. He also is second in team history in points (157) and fifth all-time since 2005 in assists with 31.

Before playing for the Cougars, Tovar played for the California Gold in the United Soccer Leagues' former Pro Select League (now the Premier Development League) in 2004 and was the leading scorer in 2004 for the San Francisco Soccer Football Association's Premier Division.

Vallow Re-Signs For Two More Seasons With Rhinos

The Rochester Rhinos of the United Soccer Leagues First Division announced the re-signing of goalkeeper Scott Vallow to a contract through the 2011 season Tuesday.

If he completes the contract, he will have spent 11 years with the franchise.

Vallow also played in Major League Soccer for the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) in 1999 and 2002 and the Colorado Rapids in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

Vallow played in 19 regular season games for the Rhinos this season and led the team in wins (seven) and saves (69).

He is the Rhinos' all-time leader in wins, saves, shutouts and ties.

MLS Gets Good Report Card For Diversity

For the third straight season, Major League Soccer received an A grade in racial hiring by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics In Sport for its racial hiring practices.

In other areas, MLS improved to a B in gender hiring, up from a C+ in 2008 and a D+ in 2007, but grades of D+ in team professional positions and C- in team senior administration hirings.

Its combined race and gender grade of B+ was similar to last year, but its points total grew from 85.7 to 88.5.

The UCF study found white players in the league increased from 59 percent in 2007 to 62 percent in 2008, but the number of African-American players dropped from 22 to 20 perent.

MLS had four minority coaches among its 15 member teams in 2008 -- Denis Hamlett (Chicago Fire), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy), Juan Carlos Osorio (New York Red Bulls) and Fernando Clavijo (Colorado Rapids) -- but only Hamlett and Osorio kept their jobs for part of the 2009 season.

The number of minority assistant coaches also fell from 17 to 9.5 percent.

The number of minority team presidents or chief executives remained the same in 2009 as in 2008 -- three.

Women among professional staff in the league office rose from 42 to 48 percent with minority hirings remaining flat at 43 percent. Women gained a third team president position from last season and an additional Latino women was hired from 2008 levels.

While the percentage of women in team senior administration roles rose from 20.4 percent to 24.8 percent, the percentage of minorities in same positions fell from 20.5 to 18.9 percent.

Donovan Named Player Of The Year And Decade

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan was named the best player on the US Men's National Team for the 2009 season, winning his sixth straight Honda Player of the Year award Tuesday.

The 19-year-old award is given annually to the team's best player in a vote by national soccer media and Donovan is the only player to win the award more than twice.

Also, by the fact he has won this award six times in the last 10 years, Donovan was also automatically named the Honda Player of the Decade for the 2000s. Eric Wynalda was the first Honda Player of the Decade in the 1990's.

Donovan receives a 2010 Honda Insight for winning the outstanding player award.

Crew Makes CCL Quarters; United Waiting To See If They Get In

The defending Eastern Conference and Major League Soccer champion Columbus Crew became the first franchise to make the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League tournament by playing to a 1-1 draw Tuesday at Bayamon, Puerto Rico to the Puerto Rico Islanders of the United Soccer Leagues First Division.

Cristian Arrieta scored the opening goal for Puerto Rico, who made it to the inaugural tournament's semifinals in 2008-09, before Emilio Renteria had the game-tying goal in the 74th minute.

The Crew finished second in Group C play with a record of 2-2-2 with eight points while Puerto Rico finished last at 0-3-3 with three points.

The top two teams in each of four groups advance to the knockout round stage, with matches to be announced November 17 in New York.

In Group B play, MLS's DC United played Toluca of Mexico to a 1-1 draw after Chris Pontius and Israel Lopez scored goals for their respective teams in Mexico.

Toluca will advance as the possible group winner with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points, but United, at 3-2-1 with 10 points and in second place, needs some help to earn a quarterfinal berth.

If Mexico's Marathon (3-2-0, nine points) should lose Wednesday to Trinidad and Tobago's San Juan Jabloteh (0-5-0, 0), United advances; otherwise, Marathon takes the spot.

Five teams have already clinched quarterfinal berths -- the Crew from MLS and four Mexican teams: Toluca, Cruz Azul, Pachucs and Pumas.

Dynamite Re-Signs Thomas, Hamilton

The Denver Dynamite of the Professional Arena Soccer League announced Tuesday the re-signing of Tony Thomas and Jay Hamilton, whose soccer playing days go back to the semi-professional Colorado Predators and are also members of the US National Arena Soccer Team.

Thomas, a former player with the Boulder Rapids Reserve in the United Soccer League's Premier Development League, led Denver in shots in the league's inaugural season and shared the goal scoring championship with former Dynamite player Garth Archibald with 18.

Hamilton, who played for the San Diego Sockers in the original Major Indoor Soccer League, set a PASL-Pro single game scoring record by having seven goals and four assists.

Two-Time Winner Ricketts Leads Week 31 Ballot For SOW

Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts of the Los Angeles Galaxy, a two-time winner of Major League Soccer's Save of the Week competition, voted on by fans at www.mlsnet.com through 2 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, is one of six names on the ballot named Tuesday for the Week 31 award.

Ricketts won the award in Weeks 14 and 18 of this season.

Also nominated are Andrew Weber (San Jose Earthquakes), Steve Cronin (DC United), Preston Burpo (Colorado Rapids), Brian Edwards (Toronto FC) and Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Aztex Win Second Game Of Three-Game Euro Tour

Nicki Patterson and Theo Stair scored goals as the Austin Aztex of the United Soccer Leagues First Divsion edged Accrington Stanley of England's League 2, Thursday as the Aztex continue a whirlwind, three-game training camp against some of England's best teams.

The Aztex opened their tour with a 1-0 bout Wednesday with Stoke City, the Aztex's parent club, and will close out the series Tuesday against the reserves of Sheffield Wednesday.

Davies Condition Improves; Onyewu Surgery Set For Wednesday

US Men's National Soccer Team forward Charlie Davies was moved out of the intensive care unit of a Washington, DC hospital Monday as he recovers from serious injuries suffered in a one-car accident early Tuesday morning prior to the US playing Costa Rica to a draw in the final game of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Davies broke several bones, including two in his right leg, as well as suffered a lacerated bladder and numerous facial fractures.

He will have surgery next week to repair a broken left elbow and will need several operations to repair the facial fractures.

Davies will need six to 12 months to rehabilitate from these injuries, making him ineligible to be place on the roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Meanwhile, defender Oguchi Onyewu will have surgery Wednesday to repair a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee, suffered in last Wednesday's draw.

A timetable for his recovery will come after the surgery is complete.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sky Blue FC Welcomes Midfielder Carli Lloyd For 2010 Season

The defending Women's Professional Soccer champion, Sky Blue FC, announced Monday the signing of 2008 US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year and US Women's National Team midfielder Carli Lloyd for the 2010 season.

Lloyd played in the league's inaugural season for the Chicago Red Stars and had a pair of goals and an assist.

Born in Delran, NJ and a two-time Parade Magazine All-America player in 1999 and 2000, Lloyd become the first player in the history of Rutgers University's women's soccer program to be a four-time First Team All-Big East honoree.

The 2004 Midfielder of the Year in the conference, Lloyd remains the school's career leader in points (117) and goals (50) and led the Scarlet Knights to two NCAA Tournament appearances.

She was a finalist for Soccer Buzz magazine's Player of the Year award and a semifinalist for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy in her senior season at Rutgers.

In 2008 with the USWNT, she started all 35 games that season and had nine goals and nine assists. She also played all 600 minutes in the Beijing Olympics and scored the game-winning goal in extra time to lead the team to the Olympic gold medal.

National Soccer Hall Of Fame And Museum Unveil 2010 Builder Ballot

After no nominees received the required percentage of votes to be considered for induction in 2009, the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum in Oneonta, NY announced the 2010 nominees for induction consideration on the Builders Ballot.

The nominees are:

- Bruce Arena, current Los Angeles Galaxy head coach in Major League Soccer and former US National Soccer Team head coach

- Chuck Blazer, FIFA Executive Committee member and General Secretary of CONCACAF

- Dr. Bob Contiguglia, past president of US Soccer and US Youth Soccer

- Tony DiCicco, current Boston Breakers head coach in Women's Professional Soccer and former US Women's National Soccer Team head coach

- Bob Gansler, former USMNT and MLS Kansas City Wizards head coach

- Don Garber, commissioner of MLS

- Francisco Marcos, president emeritus and senior director of international development for United Soccer Leagues

- Fritz Marth, former administrator of US Adult Soccer Association

- Kevin Payne, president and CEO of MLS' DC United

- Sigi Schmid, current Seattle Sounders head coach in MLS and former coach of the defending MLS champion Columbus Crew

NSHOF members and a select group of soccer administrators will vote on who will be inducted, with a leading candidate having to appear on at least 50 percent of ballots cast.

The winner, or winners, if two or more canidates appeared on the same percentage of ballots cast, will be announced early next year.

Three-Time Winner Jaqua On MLS GOW Ballot For Week 31

FC Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham won't have a chance to win a fourth straight Major League Soccer Goal of the Week award in voting by fans at www.mlsnet.com through 2 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, but Seattle Sounders forward Nate Jaqua could win his fourth GOW award of the season as he is one of six nominees on the ballot for Week 31.

Jaqua scored the game-winning goal off MLS Player of the Week Freddie Ljunberg in the 76th minute to take a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Wizards and become the second team in MLS history to clinch a playoff berth in their first season in the league (The first to do this was the 1998 Chicago Fire).

Jaqua has been voted the GOW winner in Weeks 11, 15 and 23 this season.

Here are the other nominees:

Fabian Espindola, Real Salt Lake
Scored insurance goal in 90th minute off Robbie Findley in 2-0 win Wednesday over the New York Red Bulls

Luciano Emilio, DC United
Scored lone goal off Thabiso "Boyzzz" Khumalo in 17th minute of 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew Saturday

George John, FC Dallas
Scored in fourth minute off Dave van den Bergh in 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids

Brandon McDonald, San Jose Earthquakes
Scored team's first goal off Shea Salinas and Chris Leitch in 21st minute of 2-2 draw against Chivas USA

Maykel Galindo, Chivas USA
Scored team's first goal off Sacha Kljestan in seventh minute of 2-2 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes

Ljungberg Named MLS' Week 31 Player Of The Week

Seattle Sounders midfielder Freddie Ljungberg was named Monday the Major League Soccer Player of the Week for Week 31 of the 2009 season.

Ljungberg assisted on two goals in the team's 3-2 victory Saturday over the Kansas City Wizards, which helped Seattle clinch a playoff berth and become only the second expansion team in league history -- behind the 1998 Chicago Fire -- to make the playoffs in their first MLS season.

It was also Ljungberg's first weekly honor of his career.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Revs AC Resigns; Team Awards Handed Out

New England Revolution assistant coach Paul Mariner officially resigned from the Major League Soccer franchise Saturday after their scoreless draw to the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium to pursue a coaching position abroad.

Mariner has been on head coach Steve Nicol's staff for six seasons and has seen the team appear in three MLS Cup championship games, four Eastern Conference championship games and the championships of the 2007 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and the 2008 SuperLiga.

Also Saturday, before the game, the Revolution announced their 2009 season award winners.

Midfielder Shalrie Joseph won the team's Most Valuable Player award and the Revere Cup as Man of the Year by The Midnight Riders, one of the team's many independent booster clubs. Joseph is also tied with Kheli Dube for the team's Budwesier Golden Boot title with eight goals each, but that award will have to be handed out after the team's final game of the regular season next Sunday at the Eastern Conference champion Columbus Crew.

Defender Jay Heaps, who had a goal and four assists this season, was named the Defender of the Year.

Western Conference Title To Be Decided Next Weekend

Thanks to the Houston Dynamo and the Los Angeles Galaxy playing to a scoreless draw Sunday at Robertson Stadium in Houston, who will win Major League Soccer's Western Conference will be decided on the final day of the regular season next Sunday.

With the draw, the Dynamo (12-8-9) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (11-6-12) are once again tied with Chivas USA (13-9-6) for the conference lead, all with 45 points.

All three teams have qualified for playoff berths, with the Seattle Sounders joining them Saturday night.

The Galaxy will host the San Jose Earthquakes this Saturday at The Home Depot Center while Chivas opens the same arena to welcome the Dynamo next Sunday.

Impact Become Latest Three-Time USL1 Champion

Roberto Brown assisted Joey Gjertsen on a 40th minute goal and scored two minutes later with help from Peter Byars as the Montreal Impact became the 2009 United Soccer Leagues First Division champion Saturday with a 3-1 second leg victory over the former champion Vancouver Whitecaps at Saputo Stadium in Montreal to sweep the series.

Montreal, who won the first game in Vancouver last Saturday, 3-2, won the series by a 6-3 aggregate score and joins the Rochester Rhinos (1998, 2000, 2001) and the Seattle Sounders (1995, 1996, 2005, 2007) as the only franchises to win at least three championship titles, previously winning in 1994 and 2004.

If USL1 Commissioner's Cup regular season titles from 1995 to 1997 and from 2005 and 2006, the Impact have now won more league titles in history.

Tony Donatelli also scored for the Impact on a 30th minute penalty kick.

Ansu Torre tallied Vancouver's lone goal in the 44th minute off a Marlon James assist.

Chivas USA Takes Western Lead With Draw Versus Earthquakes

Ante Jazic assisted Justin Braun on a game-tying goal in the 66th minute that allowed Chivas USA to take over the lead in Major League Soccer's Western Conference Saturday, despite playing the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-2 draw at The Home Depot Center.

Maykel Galindo scored Chivas' first goal in the seventh minute off a Sacha Kljestan assist.

Chris Leitch assisted Brandon McDonald (21') and Ryan Johnson (58') on goals for San Jose, who is in last place in the conference standings at 7-13-8 with 30 points and takes on the Los Angeles Galaxy at the same location next Saturday.

Chivas is now 13-9-6 with 45 points and hosts the Houston Dynamo next Sunday, the final day of the 2009 regular season.

FC Dallas Stays In Playoff Hunt With Fifth Win In Six Games

George John, with an assist from Dave van den Bergh in the fourth minute, and Ugo Ihemelu, helped by Jeff Cunnigham and Dax McCarty in the 66th minute, led FC Dallas to a 2-1 Major League Soccer victory over the Colorado Rapids Saturday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX, the team's fifth win in their last six games and keeps them in the playoff hunt.

Dallas is 11-12-6 with 39 points and are in sixth place in the Western Conference standings. They will close out their 2009 regular season campaign next Saturday at the Seattle Sounders.

Pat Noonan scored Colorado's only goal unassisted in the 71st and the Rapids fell to 10-9-10 with 40 points and fifth place in the conference standings. The Rapids travel to Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT next Saturday to face Real Salt Lake.

Sounders Clinch Playoff Berth By Edging Wizards

Nate Jaqua's game-winning goal in the 76th minute off a Freddie Ljungberg assist allowed the Seattle Sounders to clinch their first Major League Soccer playoff berth after defeating the Kansas City Wizards Saturday, 3-2, at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

Seattle became the fifth MLS franchise and the fourth from the Western Conference to clinch a playoff berth. The Sounders also are the first expansion team since the 1998 Chicago Fire to make the playoffs in a franchise's first season.

Tyrone Marshall had a goal and an assist for the Sounders and Roger Levesque added a goal as the Sounders (11-7-11, 44) landed in a three-way tie for second place in the Western Conference standings with the Los Angeles Galaxy (11-6-11) and the Houston Dynamo (12-8-8). Seattle hosts FC Dallas next Saturday at Qwest Field.

The Wizards, who host DC United next Saturday, got goals from Zoltan Hercegfalvi in the 51st minute and Josh Wolff two minutes later.

Kansas City is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings at 8-13-8 with 32 points.

United Snaps Three-Game Losing Streak, Beat Crew

Thabiso "Boyzzz" Khumalo assisted Luciano Emilio on the lone goal in the 17th minute as host DC United snapped a three-game Major League Soccer losing streak Saturday with a 1-0 victory over the defending Eastern Conference, Supporters Sheld and league champion Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.

The Crew, who host the New England Revolution in the final regular season game at Crew Stadium next Sunday, are 13-6-10 with 49 points.

United (9-8-12, 39) is in a three-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with the Revolution and Toronto FC (both 10-10-9). DC travels to the Kansas City Wizards next Saturday.

Brennan Scores Lone Goal As Toronto FC Stays In Playoff Hunt

Jim Brennan scored an unassisted goal in the 48th minute as host Toronto FC closed out their 2009 Major League Soccer home season at BMO Field with a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake Saturday.

Toronto FC, at 10-10-9 with 39 points, moved into a three-way tie with the New England Revolution (also 10-10-9) and DC United (9-8-12) in the Eastern Conference standings.

Toronto can earn an MLS playoff berth, but it will take beating the worst team in MLS, the New York Red Bulls, on the road next Saturday, plus getting a lot of help from other teams.

RSL, at 10-12-7 with 37 points and in seventh place in the Western Conference, hosts the Colorado Rapids next Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Crystal Palace Baltimore Nearing Deal On New Stadium

Crystal Palace Baltimore of the United Soccer Leagues Second Division is close to a deal to see a new 7,000-seat, $25 million stadium built as early as 2012 and located near M&T Bank Stadium, home to the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, according to Friday's Baltimore Business Journal.

The proposed stadium would be the centerpiece of a larger, mixed-use project that would be convenient to major interstate highways and a proposed casino.

Crystal Palace currently plays home games at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Hernandez, Wondolowksi Undergo Successful Surgeries

Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes announced Friday defender Jason Hernandez and forward Chris Wondolowski will miss the final two games of the 2009 regular season, but will return for the 2010 campaign after undergoing successful surgical procedures Thursday.

Both players suffered injuries in an October 10 game at Toronto FC.

Hernandez, who appeared in 16 games, had a torn deltoid ligament in his left ankle repaired.

Wondolowski, who had three goals and an assist in 14 games this season, tore his lateral collateral ligament.

Masar, White Fill Openings On USWNT Roster

US Women's National Team head coach Pia Sundhage Friday announced two changes to the 18-player roster for their upcoming game October 29 with Germany in Augbserg.

Forward Ella Masur of the Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer will replace midfielder Angela Hucles, who announced her retirement from the sport at age 31.

Midfielder Kasey White of the WPS champion Sky Blue FC will replace fellow midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on her meniscus.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Galaxy To Spend Thanksgiving In Germany

Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy announced Friday they will begin their annual postseason tour in Germany on Thanksgiving Day when they play FC Kaiserslautern at Fritz Walter Stadium.

Kaiserslautern is currently third in Germany's Bundesliga 2 and is the only undefeated team in the league through the first two months of the season.

The Galaxy will also visit American servicemen stationed in the country and also visit children in local hospitals.

USA Remains In 11th In Newest FIFA World Soccer Rankings

Despite winning CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Wednesday following a 2-2 draw to Costa Rica at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, the US Men's National Team remains in eleventh place in the latest FIFA World Soccer Rankings, released Friday.

The top four spots in the new poll are unchanged from last month -- Brazil first. followed by Spain, the Netherlands and Italy. Germany falls one place to fifth and Argentina climbs from eighth to sixth. England is stable at seventh, Croatia (eighth) and France (ninth) move up one each and Portugal enters the top ten this month, surging seven spots from 17th.

The next monthly poll results will be announced November 20.

FC Dallas Hands Out End-Of-Season Hardware

Major League Soccer's FC Dallas decided Thursday it's never too early to hand out postseason awards and named forward Jeff Cunningham a unanimous choice for Most Valuable Player, goalkeeper Dario Sala as Defender of the Year and defender/midfielder Pablo Ricchetti their nominee for US Soccer Federation Humanitarian of the Year.

Cunningham leads the league's goal scoring race with 17 goals, was named the MLS Player of the Month for September, and is a four-time MLS Player of the Week and a three-time Goal of the Week winner, as voted by league fans weekly.

Sala was recently selected by fans as the Save of the Week competition winner Thursday for the third time in the last 10 weeks.

Ricchetti volunteers with Frisco Miracle League, an organization that gives children with diabilities the chance to play sports.

Beckham, Galliani Talk Deal; Galaxy Officials Mum

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham and AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani both sounded optimistic a deal will be finalized to have the Major League Soccer star return to the Italian Serie A franchise for another six-month loan in January 2010.

Galliani told Sky Sport Italia Thursday Beckham's return is a "done deal" and Beckham, after he led England to a 3-0 win over Belarus Wednesday in FIFA World Cup Qualifying for UEFA, told The Mirror newspaper in London a deal was "95 percent" complete.

Galaxy officials refused to comment on either remark but Tim Leiwecke, CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Galaxy, previously said he wanted a new loan deal hammered out between the parties involved in a few weeks, so the Galaxy could concentrate its efforts on performing well in the MLS playoffs after earning a playoff berth for the first time in five seasons.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

USL1 Hands Out Postseason Honors To Arrieta, Wilkinson

Puerto Rico Islanders defender Cristian Arrieta, the 2008 United Soccer Leagues Defender of the Year, won the 2009 award and was also named the 2009 Most Valuable Player Thursday as the league held their 2009 Championship Series Banquet in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Montreal Impact have a 3-2 lead over the defending champion Vancouver Whitecaps in the two-game, aggregate-score championship series, which concludes Saturday at Saputo Stadium.

If there is an aggregate tie after Saturday's game, a 30-minute golden goal tiebreaker will decide who wins the title.

Arrieta is the third player in USL1 history to win the Defender of the Year award twice or more, joining Montreal's Gabriel Gervais (2003, 2004, 2006) and Scott Schweitzer of the Rochester Rhinos (1998, 1999).

He finished tied for second place with Mandjou Keita of the Portland Timbers in the Scoring Champion race with 25 points, was tied for fourth in the league in goals with 10 and tied for seventh in assists with five.

Timbers head coach Gavin Wilkinson, who led the team to a worst-to-first storyline in 2009 and finished with a 16-4-10 record and 58 points, earning the Commissioner's Cup as regular season champion, was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.

Portland had the league's longest-ever winning streak at 24 games, finished with the best road record at 6-1-8, had the best offense in the league, scoring 45 goals, and were tied with the Carolina RailHawks for best defense, allowing just 19 goals this season.

Wilkinson, also Portland's general manager, joins Alan Hinton (1994 and 1995 with the Seattle Sounders) and Bob Lilley (1997 with the Hershey Wildcats, 2003 with the Montreal Impact) as the only two-time winners in league history.

AC Milan Demands "Compensation" From US Soccer For Onyewu Injury

Adriano Gallani, CEO of AC Milan in Italy's Serie A, is upset with US Soccer over national team defender Charlie Davies' torn patellar tendon injury suffered in Wednesday's 2-2 draw between the US and Costa Rica in FIFA 2010 World Cup qualifying play for the CONCACAF region and is "expecting compensation" from US Soccer, since he is now out of action for four to six months.

Onyewu has only played 30 minutes this season for Milan but Gallani is irate over the fact "once again the national team take players and we lose out due to injuries," according to an interview with Gazetta dello Sport Thursday.

"We can't pay a player who can't play for six months," Gallani said.

Dynamite Adds Five More Players To 2009-10 Roster

The Denver Dynamite of the Professional Arena Soccer League announced the signings Thursday of five more players to their roster for the 2009-10 season, which begins for them November 14 when they host the expansion San Diego Sockers at Bladium Denver.

Forward Aaron King played last season for the now-defunct Colorado Lightning and also has played for Miami FC Blues and the Carolina RailHawks in United Soccer Leagues First Division and the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.

Midfielder Roby Monroe also comes to the Dynamite from the Lightning and was on the original roster of the San Diego Sockers back in the first Major Indoor Soccer League. He also played for four teams in the USL Premier Development League -- the Colorado Comets, San Diego Gauchos, El Paso Patriots and Nashville Metros -- as well as the Cincinnati Riverhawks in the A-League, which became USL1.

Midfielder Travis Carey began his playing career in the USL Second Division with the Western Mass Pioneers and played last season with the Premier Arena Soccer League's New York Shockers. He also had USL PDL experience with the Cape Cod Crusaders and the Albany Admirals.

Midfielder Justin Stoner spent two seasons in the Premier league with the Golden Strikers.

Goalkeeper Brett O'Connor played for the Premier's Denver Dragons and the USL PDL's Colorado Springs Blizzard.

Sala Voted SOW Winner For Third Time In 10 Weeks

For the third time this season and in the last 10 weeks, Major League Soccer fans named FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala winner of the Week 30 Save of the Week competition Thursday.

Sala previously won the award in Weeks 20 and 28 of the 2009 season and defeated Matt Reis (New England Revolution), William Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Kevin Hartman (Kansas City Wizards) and Joe Cannon (San Jose Earthquakes) in this week's voting, conducted on www.mlsnet.com.

RSL Finally Defeats Red Bulls At Rio Tinto Stadium

Andy Williams had the game-winning goal off assists from Robbie Findley and Will Johnson in the 80th minute and Fabian Espindola had a unassisted insurance goal 10 minutes later as Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake defeated the New York Red Bulls for the first time in team history, 2-0, Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.

It was RSL's first game in 18 days.

The game was a rematch of the 2008 Western Conference Championship Game, which the Red Bulls won, 1-0, before losing the MLS Cup to the eventual champion Columbus Crew.

RSL improved their record to 10-11-7 with 37 points and moved one step closer to a possible MLS playoff berth. They travel to Toronto FC this Saturday and close the 2009 regular season at home next Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.

The Red Bulls, with the worst record in the league at 4-19-6 with 18 points, play their final game in franchise history at Giants Stadium next Saturday against Toronto FC before moving next season to Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.

US Draws To Costa Rica, But Wins CONCACAF Qualifying

The US Men's National Team are champions of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after playing to a 2-2 draw to Costa Rica Wednesday at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.

Costa Rica, who needed the win to avoid playing in a two-game playoff against a South American opponent to qualify for the 32-team field, took the early lead when Bryan Ruiz scored twice -- in the 21st and 24th minutes -- off US goalkeeper Tim Howard.

However, playing with the spirit of injured forward Charlie Davies looking on, Michael Bradley began the US' comeback with a 72nd minute goal and Jonathan Bornstein, in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time, fired a header off a Robbie Rogers to force the draw, giving each team one point in the standings and the US finished qualifying with a record of 6-2-2 with 20 points.

Davies was seriously injured in a one-car accident in Arlington, VA early Monday morning that killed a 22-year-old passenger and will miss playing for the US in the 2010 tournament.
However, the US will now have to deal with another injured player, this one less serious.
Defender Oguchi Onyewu tore a patellar tendon in his left knee during the game and forced the US to play with 10 men, since the team had used all three of their available substitutes. He is expected to be out 3-4 months, but should be on the 2010 World Cup team.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mitts Heads To Philadelphia Independence

US Women's National Team defender Heather Mitts has been reunited with The City of Brotherly Love as she signed a contract Wednesday to play for the expansion Philadelphia Independence of Women's Professional Soccer.

Mitts, who is engaged to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback A.J. Feely, previously played for the Philadelphia Charge in the Women's United Soccer Association and competed in all 51 games of the team's and league's existence.

She led the Charge to playoff berths in the 2001 and 2002 WUSA seasons and was a league All-Star in 2003.

Mitts played with the Boston Breakers in the WPS' inaugural season and had one assist in 19 games. She has been a member of the USWNT since 2004 and became the 25th player in team history to earn 100 international appearances with the team.

Lancaster Rattles Mexican First Division's Puebla

Mauricio Harrie, Christian Gutierrez and Jesus Slater scored goals as the Lancaster Rattlers of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League defeated Puebla FC of Mexico's First Division, 3-1, last week at Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, CA.

Evans Scores Goal As Sister Team Beats Stoke City

Gareth Evans scored the only goal of the game in the 85th minute as the Austin Aztex of the United Soccer Leagues First Division shut out their affiliate franchise, Stoke City of the English Premier League, 1-0, in an exhibition Wednesday in England.

The team is on a three-game tour of the country.

NISL Announces 2009-10 Schedule

The National Indoor Soccer League Wednesday unveiled its 2009-10 schedule, which begins November 13 when the defending champion Baltimore Blast host the Rockford Rampage in a rematch of the 2008 championship game, and ends March 21 when the Blast travel to the Philadelphia Kixx and the Rampage are at La Raza de Monterrey.

The league welcomes the Milwaukee Wave, who last played in the now defunct Xtreme Soccer League, this season and bids farewell to the Massachusetts Twisters, who finished with the only non-winning record of the five franchises last season.

The top three teams at the end of the season will qualify for the playoffs with the regular season champion earning a bye into the championship game, which they will host.

The second- and third-place teams will meet in a two-game, aggregate-goal semifinal series with the winner facing the regular season champion in the championship game.

All but one of the games on the league's schedule will be played Friday through Sunday. That lone game is a December 31 home contest at US Cellular Arena with the Wave hosting the Blast.

For a look at the complete 2009-10 schedule, go to http://nislnet.com.

Wave To Welcome Wilt Back Into The Fold Wednesday

The Milwaukee Wave of the National Indoor Soccer League will hold a Wednesday press conference to announce Peter Wilt will join the expansion franchise as president and CEO, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Tuesday.

Wilt currently serves as president, CEO and governor of the Chicago Red Stars in Women's Professional Soccer and once worked for the Wave in 1987.

Wilt was also a founding general manager and president of Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire and led the efforts to get Toyota Park, the first publicly-funded stadium in MLS, built.

In 1990, Wilt left the Wave to join the Chicago Force as their general manager, before leaving in 1994 to be president and general manager of the Minnesota Thunder of the outdoor A-League, now known as the United Soccer Leagues First Division.

The team also announced they will open their debut 20-game schedule in the NISL November 22 on the road against La Raza de Monterrey, then face them at US Cellular Arena December 6.

The Wave join the NISL after playing last season in the now-defunct Xtreme Soccer League.

Timbers Retain GM/HC Wilkinson For 2010 Season

The Portland Timbers, the regular season champion in the United Soccer Leagues First Division for the 2009 season, announced the retention of general manager/head coach Gavin Wilkinson Tuesday.

Wilkinson, who has been with the franchise since it joined USL1, led the Timbers to the Commissioner's Cup title this season after the team finished 16-4-10 with 58 points, including a league-record 24-game unbeaten streak.

Portland also led the league in goal scoring with 45, shared the title with the Carolina RailHawks for fewest goals allowed with 19, and saw five players named to All-League teams.

Wilkinson played defender for the team from 2001 to 2006 and is among their career leaders in games played (124) and minutes played (10,181). In the 2005 and 2006 seasons, he was a player/assistant coach.

In his three seasons as head coach, the Timbers have made it to the USL1 playoff semifinals twice and won the 2009 Commissioner's Cup. Wilkinson, in that time, is 37-22-29.

Sala, Hartman Highlight MLS SOW Ballot

Two-time winner Dario Sala of FC Dallas and Week 11 winner Kevin Hartman highlight the five choices announced Tuesday for Major League Soccer's Save of the Week competition for Week 30 of the 2009 season.

Sala won the top goalkeeping award in the 20th and 28th weeks of the season.

Others in the running include three multi-time nominated players this season -- Joe Cannon of the San Jose Earthquakes, William Hesmer of the defending champion Columbus Crew and Matt Reis of the New England Revolution.

To view each player's outstanding save candidacy for the week and to vote for the winner, visit www.mlsnet.com before 2 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.

Davies Out For USMNT After Early Morning Accident

US Men's National Team forward Charlie Davies remains in serious but stable condition in a Washington, DC hospital after suffering a broken tibia and femur in his right leg, a broken bone in his left elbow, a lacerated bladder and facial lacerations following an early Monday morning one-car accident that killed a passenger in a vehicle Davies was driving.

The accident occurred at 3:15 a.m. Eastern time on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Arlington, VA, killing 22-year-old passenger Ashley Roberta. There was no word on how the accident took place.

The USMNT confirmed, however, Davies was out after a team-imposed curfew Sunday night.

Davies underwent successful surgery Monday, but will need at least a year to rehab from his injuries and will miss both Wednesday's final FIFA 2010 World Cup qualifying match in CONCACAF against Costa Rica and the entire 2010 event.

Davies has scored four goals in 17 career games with the USMNT, including three of them this season. He also had three assists in 2009 and started nine of 13 contests.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Red Bulls Sign Goalie To One-Game Contract

Pending approval from Major League Soccer, the worst team in the league, the New York Red Bulls, signed goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell to a one-game contract and will play Wednesday on the road against Real Salt Lake, according to Monday's NY Post.

Patterson-Sewell, who has been practicing with the team since Friday, will serve as a backup to main goalkeeper Danny Cepero.

Patterson-Sewell played this past season for the Carolina RailHawks in the United Soccer Leagues First Division, where he had a remarkable .533 goals against average with 10 shutouts in 15 games played.

Wizards Face US U-17 MNT In Warm-Up Match

Major League Soccer's Kansas City Wizards will host the US U-17 Men's National Team Tuesday in a warm-up game before they take on the world at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the Wizards announced Monday.

The game will take place at the Swope Park Training Center in Kansas City, MO.

The US team opens group play October 24 against Spain. Malawi and the United Arab Emirates are also drawn to their group.

Season Ends For United's Quaranta

DC United midfielder Santino Quaranta announced Monday he will undergo surgery Tuesday and will be out four to six months after breaking a bone in his left foot during practice Friday.

Quaranta missed time in the 2006 Major League Soccer season with a similar situation on his right foot.

He ends his 2009 season with two goals and six assists in 22 games.

Dallas, San Diego Scorers Get GOW Notice

Three players involved in scoring a combined three goals in one game rarely get mentioned for Major League Soccer Goal of the Week honors Monday.

Until this game -- Wednesday's 2-1 victory by FC Dallas over the San Jose Earthquakes.

David Ferreira, who scored the first goal in the 49th minute off Jeff Cunningham and Heath Pearce, is nominated for FC Dallas, as is teammate Jeff Cunningham, already named MLS Player of the Week for the fourth time this season, who scored the game-winning goal off assists from Ferreira and Dax McCarthy in the 81st minute. Quincy Amarikwa, who had San Jose's goal off Shea Salinas and Chris Wondowlowski, is also eligible for the award, voted on by fans through 2 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday at www.mlsnet.com.

Also nominated are:

Nana Attakora, Toronto FC
Scored opening goal off Dwayne De Rosario in the 47th minute of a 1-1 draw with the Earthquakes Saturday

Sacha Kljestan, Chivas USA
Scored insurance goal off Eduardo Lillingston in the 74th minute of a 2-0 win Saturday over the Kansas City Wizards

Cunningham Takes Fourth MLS POW Honor

FC Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham was named Monday Major League Soccer's Player of the Week for the 30th week of the 2009 season after assisting on a David Ferreira goal, then scoring the game-winning shot in a 2-1 win Wednesday over the San Jose Earthquakes for Dallas' third straight victory.

Cunningham, the leader in game-winning goals this season with seven and the all-time league leader in overall goals at 36, won the award for the fourth time in 2009, winning it previously in Weeks 16, 20 and 26.

Cunningham also has the lead in the Budweiser Golden Boot award by one goal over Conor Casey of the Colorado Rapids.

FC Dallas is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and, in his last 13 games, Cunningham has scored 16 times.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sebrango Tiebreaker Gives Impact Lead In USL1 Championship Series

Rocco Placentino assisted Eduardo Sebrango on the game-winning goal in the 89th minute as the Montreal Impact took a 3-2 lead over the defending champion Vancouver Whitecaps after the first game of the 2009 United Soccer Leagues First Division Championship Series Saturday at Swangard Stadium in Vancouver.

A Vancouver error gave Montreal the early lead in the 45th minute, but 2009 USL1 Most Valuable Player Marcus Haber evened the game at 1-1 in the 56th minute.

Montreal regained the lead in the 63rd minute as Adam Braz assisted Peter Byars, but it only took two more minutes before Marlon James teamed with Wes Knight on another game-tying goal.

Game two of the aggregate-goal series will be next Saturday at Montreal's Saputo Stadium.

Chivas In Three-Way Tie For WC Lead

Justin Braun scored off a Yamith Cuesta assist in the 72nd minute and Eduardo Lillingston fired a pass to Sacha Kljestan two minutes later as Chivas USA shut out the Kansas City Wizards, 2-0, Saturday at The Home Depot Center and set up a three-way tie for the lead in Major League Soccer's Western Conference standings.

Chivas (13-9-5) joins the playoff-bound Houston Dynamo (12-8-8) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (11-6-11) with 44 points, and clinched a playoff berth with the victory. Chivas host the conference's last place franchise, the San Jose Earthquakes, next Saturday, then hosts the Dynamo October 25.

Kansas City, meanwhile, is 8-12-8 with 33 points and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference race. They will host the Seattle Sounders next Saturday and DC United October 24.

Padula's First Career Goal Clinches EC Title For Crew

Gino Padula's first career Major League Soccer goal -- an unassisted one in the 36th minute -- was enough for the Columbus Crew to clinch another Eastern Conference regular-season title in a 1-0 victory Saturday over the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium, giving Columbus home field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

The Crew improves to 13-5-10 with 36 points and will host the Revolution on the final day of the 2009 season October 25. Before then, Columbus travels to DC United next Saturday.

Earthquakes Rumble Toronto FC In Draw

Just because the San Jose Earthquakes are in last place in the Western Conference and didn't qualify for a Major League Soccer berth doesn't mean they're willing to make it easy for teams who can qualify for the playoffs to do so.

Just ask Toronto FC, victims of a 1-1 draw against the Earthquakes Saturday at BMO Field.

Nana Attakora gave the home team the lead in the second minute of the second half off a Dwayne De Rosario assist and Toronto felt they were a step closer to clinching a playoff berth.

Not so fast.

Cornell Glen's unassisted goal in third minute of second-half stoppage time knotted the game and San Jose, once again, played its role as spoiler to a T...or, should we say, a D.

Toronto is now 9-10-9 with 36 points and tied with DC United (8-8-12) for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto will end their home season next Saturday against Real Salt Lake then face the worst team in MLS, the New York Red Bulls, at Giants Stadium October 24.

San Jose is 7-13-8 with 29 points and finishes their road trip over the next two weeks at The Home Depot Center, playing Chivas USA first next Saturday, followed by the Los Angeles Galaxy October 25.

BREAKING NEWS: USMNT Defeats Honduras, Clinches World Cup 2010 Berth

The US Men's National Team clinched their sixth consecutive berth in the FIFA World Cup by defeating Honduras, 3-2, in the fifth game of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 event Saturday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Conor Casey of Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids had goals in the 58th and 65th minutes and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan tallied the final US goal in the 77th minute.

Julio De Leon scored for Honduras in the 46th and 77th minutes.

The US now joins Mexico as two of the three automatic qualifers from CONCACAF.

Despite clinching a berth to South Africa, the US concludes qualifying play Wednesday against Costa Rica at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Costa Rica shut out Trinidad & Tobago, 4-0, Saturday.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Crystal Palace Baltimore Inks Adauto Neto To Deal

Crystal Palace Baltimore Friday signed veteran indoor and outdoor soccer midfielder Aduato Neto to a contract and he will play for the United Soccer Leagues Second Division franchise October 17 in an exhibition at Loyola (MD) University against the US U-17 Men's National Team, a final tuneup for the team's trip to the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Neto last played in the defunct Xtreme Soccer League for the New Jersey Ironmen, who are now joining the National Indoor Soccer League.

He last played in USL in 2004 with the Rochester Rhinos of the First Division.

Neto was the Major Indoor Soccer League's 2005-06 Most Valuable Player with the Baltimore Blast and led them to two league championships.

Denver Dynamite Has Roster Set For 2009-10 PASL Season

The Denver Dynamite of the Professional Arena Soccer League announced Friday 17 players have been signed for the team's and league's second season in 2009-10, which begins for Denver November 14 against the expansion San Diego Sockers at Bladium Denver.

Re-signing with the franchise from last season are goalkeepers Danny Main and Justin Dzuba, defenders John Molet, Chad Pearson and Jimmy Wade, and midfielders Beto Hernandez, James McMonigle, Kelly Robinson and Jake Harris.

Dzuba and Harris are members of the US National Arena Soccer Team.

Six players join the Dynamite from the now-defunct Colorado Lightning after being selected in a dispersal draft recently -- goalkeeper Michael Archuleta, defenders Mark Cromie and Josh Fallin, midfielders Mehdi Saifaira and Clayton Zelin, and forward Ryan Slaughter.

Also signed to the Dynamite are midfielder Chris Salvaggione and forward Tony Avery.

Salvaggione was the leading scorer in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Developmental League this past season with the Real Colorado Foxes and has been in Major League Soccer tryout camps at the New England Revolution, Chivas USA and the Colorado Rapids.

Avery played in the Major Indoor Soccer League for the Kansas City Comets.

Impact Hands Out 2009 Season Awards

The Montreal Impact, who will face the defending league champion Vancouver Whitecaps in an all-Canadian 2009 USL1 Championship Series, a two-game, aggregate-score series beginning Saturday in Vancouver, held their annual postseason banquet Tuesday and handed out team awards.

Here are the awards and their winners:

GUISEPPE-SAPUTO TROPHY (MOST VALUABLE PLAYER)
M David Testo
- Third season with team
- Named for first time in career to USL1 All-League Second Team
- Started 26 matches and played 2,235 minutes
- Had a goal and an assist this season
- Led team in fouls with 38.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Nevio Pizzolito
- 15th season in Montreal; 16th in league
- Started 21 games; played nearly 2,000 minutes
- Scored a game-winning goal against Miami FC June 23

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Stephen DeRoux
- Named to USL1 All-League Second Team
- Missed seven games due to a fractured cheekbone, but played in remaining 23 games

UNSUNG HERO OF THE YEAR
Adam Braz
- Sixth season with Montreal
- Started 18 of 22 matches; played for nearly 1,700 minutes
- Missed one month of season due to thigh injury
- Named three times to USL1 Team of the Week

Timbers Loan 2009 USL1 GOY To DC United

The 2009 United Soccer Leagues First Division Commissioner's Cup champion Portland Timbers announced Friday they have loaned 2009 USL1 Goalkeeper of the Year Steve Cronin to Major League Soccer's DC United for the remainder of the season.

Cronin played in MLS previously with the San Jose Earthquakes (2004) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (2005-08).

He played in 28 games for the Timbers and matched the franchise's modern day record for wins in a single season by a goalkeeper with 15, as well as being a league leader in that category. Cronin also was among the league leaders in shutouts (10), goals against average (0.68) and saves (97) and was named to the 2009 USL1 All-League First Team.

The Timbers gave up the fewest goals in the league this season with 19.

Whitecaps F Haber Named 2009 USL1 Rookie Of The Year

Forward Marcus Haber of the defending champion Vancouver Whitecaps was named the 2009 United Soccer Leagues First Division Rookie of the Year at a news conference held Friday in Vancouver to promote the start of the two-game 2009 USL1 Championship Series between the Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact.

The award was voted on by the league's head coaches and general managers and Haber defeated fellow teammate Wes Knight and Sullivan Silva of the Austin Aztex for the honor.

He becomes the first Whitecap to win the award since Guiliano Oliviero in 1995.

Haber was one of seven players this season to play in all 30 league games and was a two-time Team of the Week winner.

Haber had eight goals and four assists for 20 points this season. His goal total placed him in a tie for seventh in the league and his 20 points put him in seventh in the league.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

CPB To Play US U-17 MNT In Final Warmup For World Cup

United Soccer Leagues Second Division team Crystal Palace Baltimore announced Thursday they will play the US U-17 Men's National Team October 17 in an exhibition game at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD.

The game will be the final warmup before the US competes in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.