Monday, October 31, 2011

Blast Signs Former Kixx, Roit Midfielder Myers

The Major Indoor Soccer League's defending regular season champion Baltimore Blast announced the signing of veteran midfielder Ptah Myers Monday.

Myers, currently head coach of the men's soccer team at Philadelphia University, spent seven seasons with the Philadelphia Kixx, where he played on their 2007 league championship team, and played last season for the Chicago Riot.

Myers also spent time in the United Soccer Leagues with the Virginia Beach Mariners of the USL First Division and the Albany Blackwatch Highlanders in the USL Premier Development League.

Saborio Brace Gives RSL 3-0 Lead In MLS Western Conference Semifinal Series

Alvaro Saborio scored goals in the 41st minute off assists from Chris Wingert and Javier Morales and in the 53rd minute with only Morales' help as host Real Salt Lake shut out the Seattle Sounders 3-0 in the first leg of the 2011 Major League Soccer Western Conference semifinal series Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.

Ned Grabavoy scored an unassisted goal in the 88th minute for RSL.

Game two of the aggregate-goal series will take place Wednesday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Wave Re-Signs Vorberg, Oatley, Rife, McNeley

The defending Major Indoor Soccer League champion Milwaukee Wave announced Monday the re-signings of goalkeeper Nick Vorberg, midfielder Tom Oatley and defenders Josh Rife and Evan McNeley.

Vorsberg will be in his ninth season with the Wave and his fourteenth in the sport.

Of league goalkeepers with double-digit starts last season, Vorsberg allowed the fewest goals last season at 61.

He is also four wins away from 100 in his Wave career.

Oatley, in his third season with Milwaukee, had career highs last season in games played, three-point goals, goals, assists, points and blocks and is four games and two blocks away from 25 in each category with the Wave.

Rife, in his third in Milwaukee and seventh overall, played in all but one of 40 regular season games in the past two seasons and in all five playoff games.

He is seven points away from 100 in his Wave career.

McNeley, in his second season, becomes the only player in the league to have played on back-to-back league championship teams with La RaZa de Monterrey and the Wave.

Milwaukee opens defense of their MISL title November 13 at US Cellular Arena when they host the Wichita Wings.

Houston, SKC Gain Advantages In MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Series Sunday

Calen Carr scored the series-leading goal off a Brian Ching assist at the half hour mark as the Houston Dyanmo took a 2-1 advantage after playing Game 1 of a Major League Soccer Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Philadelphia Union Sunday at PPL Park in Chester, PA.

Both teams traded early goals within the first ten minutes of the game before Carr's goal.

Houston led 1-0 in the sixth minute as Brad Davis fed a pass to Andre Hainault, but Philadelphia tied the score a minute later as Sebastien Le Toux blasted a Michael Farfan assist into the back of the net.

Game 2 of their semifinal will be played Thursday at Robertson Stadium in Houston.

In the other semifinal, Teal Bunbury was assisted by Julio Cesar on a 49th minute strike, then scored on a 59th minute penalty kick to lead Sporting Kansas City to a 2-0 lead in their series against the defending champion Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO.

Game 2 of that semifinal moves to Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS Wednesday.

Winners of each of the two-game, aggregate-goal contests will meet for the one-game Eastern Conference championship next Sunday at the home of the highest-seeded team.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beckham Connects With Magee As Galaxy Lead Red Bulls In Western Conference Semifinals

David Beckham assisted Mike Magee on a 15th minute goal as the Los Angeles Galaxy shut out the host New York Red Bulls 1-0 Sunday in Game 1 of Major League Soccer's Western Conference semifinals at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.

Game 2 of the aggregate-goal series will be this Thursday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA, site of the 2011 MLS Cup championship game.

The winner of this series will advance to the one-game Western Conference championship game next Sunday against either Real Salt Lake or the Seattle Sounders.

Off two goals from Alvaro Saborio and another from Ned Grabavoy, RSL shut out the Sounders 3-0 Saturday in Game 1 of their two-game series at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT. Those two teams meet again Wednesday at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.

NSC Minnesota Stars Win NASL Championship On 3-1 Aggregate Goal Score

Having played to a scoreless draw after 90 minutes of regulation play Saturday at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, FL, the NSC Minnesota Stars became the 2011 North American Soccer League champion with a 3-1 aggregate-goal score over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Saborio Brace Gives RSL 3-0 Lead In MLS Western Conference Semifinal Series

Alvaro Saborio scored goals in the 41st minute off assists from Chris Wingert and Javier Morales and in the 53rd minute with only Morales' help as host Real Salt Lake shut out the Seattle Sounders 3-0 in the first leg of the 2011 Major League Soccer Western Conference semifinal series Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.

Ned Grabavoy scored an unassisted goal in the 88th minute for RSL.

Game two of the aggregate-goal series will take place Wednesday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rapids' Smith Out Six Months With Torn ACL; Surgery Set For Tuesday

Midfielder Jamie Smith of the defending Major League Soccer champion Colorado Rapids will miss the next six months after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament in the 72nd minute of Thursday's 1-0 wild card home playoff win over the Columbus Crew and will have the surgery Tuesday in Denver.

Smith, a native of Scotland, started 18 of 20 regular season games this season and had three goals and four assists.

USL PDL's Palmetto FC Bantams Name Coaching Staff

The expansion Palmetto FC Bantams, based in Greenwood, SC and to be part of the USL Premier Development League in the 2012 season, announced Friday Lander University head coach Van Taylor will serve in that capacity for the team and Gary Winchester will be his assistant coach.

Lander, who was a goalkeeper for a combined eight seasons in the original North American Soccer League, the American Soccer League and the Major Indoor Soccer League, retired from the game in 1984 and joined Lander in 1985, racking up over 350 career coaching wins there.

Winchester currently serves as a member of the state's Olympic Development Program.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wave Re-Sign Forwards Moreira, Rampa; Welcome Forward Perera

The defending Major Indoor Soccer League champion Milwaukee Wave re-signed forwards Hewerton Moreira and Terzen Rampa and welcomed forward Nick Perera to the franchise Friday.

Moreira, in his fifth of nine seasons in the sport with the Wave, had the third-most points on the team last season with 40 and scored 17 goals after suffering a season-ending injury in the 2009-10 season. He has 242 career points and 93 career goals.

Rampa will be in his fourth season with the Wave after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He had a career-high four blocks last season as well as an goal and an assist over eight games and is two three-point goals away from scoring 20 in his career.

Perera joins Milwaukee after spending the last two seasons in San Diego -- the 2009-10 season with the San Diego Fusion of the semi-pro Premier Arena Soccer League and the 2010-11 season with the San Diego Sockers, the defending Professional Arena Soccer League and US Open Arena Soccer champions. At the Sockers, he had five goals and eight assists in six games and was named the team's Player of the Week twice and the league's Player of the Week once.

The Wave open defense of their title at US Cellular Arena in Milwaukee November 13 against the Wichita Wings.

Houston's Moffat, SKC's Nielsen Win Final MLS Goal, Save Of The Week Awards

Houston Dynamo forward Adam Moffat and Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen were selected by Major League Soccer fans to receive the final AT&T Goal of the Week and MLS Save of the Week awards for the 2011 season.

Moffat, who won for the second time this season (He previously won the award in Week 11), scored in the 26th minute of a 3-1 home and season-ending win against the Los Angeles Galaxy Sunday and received 40 percent of the online and text votes cast this week.

It's also the second straight week a Houston player won the award with forward Danny Cruz taking the honor last week.

Alvaro Saborio of Real Salt Lake finished second in the voting at 23 percent, followed by Sammy Ochoa of the Seattle Sounders (22 percent), Emilio Renteria of the Columbus Crew (12 percent) and Simon Dawkins of the San Jose Earthquakes (four percent).

Nielsen picked up his fourth Save of the Week award, second-most this season behind Kasey Keller of the Sounders with six, with 41.3 percent of the vote to defeat Chris Seitz of FC Dallas (26.9 percent), Sean Johnson of the Chicago Fire (14 percent), William Hesmer of the Columbus Crew (13.2 percent) and Jon Busch of the San Jose Earthquakes (4.5 percent).

Bolts Head Coach/GM Makes Promise: Either We Make Playoffs Or Season Ticket Holders Get Their Money Back

At a team function Wednesday, Bernie Lilivois, head coach and general manager of the expansion Anaheim Bolts of the Professional Arena Soccer League, announced to season ticket holders that if they do not make the league playoffs this season, their ticket monies will be completely refunded.

The Bolts play their inaugural game in the league November 12 at the Anaheim Convention Center against the defending champion San Diego Sockers.

Cummings Goal Sends Rapids To Eastern Conference Semis Versus SKC

Assisted by Kosuke Kimura and Brian Mullin in first-half stoppage time, Omar Cummings scored the game's only goal as the defending Major League Soccer champion Colorado Rapids shut out the Columbus Crew 1-0 Thursday in the final wild card game of the MLS Cup playoffs at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO.

The Rapids now will face Sporting Kansas City, the Eastern Conference's regular season champion, in a two-game, aggregate-goal semifinal series beginning Sunday in Commerce City before moving next Wednesdat to Livestrong Soccer Park in Kansas City, KS for Game 2.

The winner of that series will face the survivor of the other conference semifinal series between the Philadelphia Union and the Houston Dynamo in the one-game Eastern Conference Championship November 6.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sundhage Announces 30-Player Roster For USMNT Friendly Versus Sweden November 19 In Glendale, AZ

US Women's National Team head coach Pia Sundhage invited 30 players, including all 21 members of the 2012 FIFA Women's World Cup runner-up team, to a two-week training camp beginning Saturday in Phoenix ahead of their November 19 friendly date with Sweden at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, possibly their last game of 2011 before focusing on the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in January in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The team includes players from six Women's Professional Soccer teams, led by the Boston Breakers with seven, the defending champion Western New York Flash with six, the two-time runner-up Philadelphia Independence with three and the Atlanta Beat and Sky Blue FC with two each.

Seven others played last season for magicJack, whose Boca Raton, FL-based franchise was terminated by the league's Board of Governors Tuesday after one season of play.

The USWNT will be playing their first game in Arizona since 2000 and are on a 54-game home winning streak.

Here are the players named to the roster, by position, alphabetically, and by current team:

GOALKEEPERS
Nicole Barnhart - Philadelphia Independence
Ashlyn Harris - Western New York Flash
Jill Loyden - out of contract
Hope Solo - out of contract

DEFENDERS
Rachel Buehler - Boston Breakers
Stephanie Cox - Boston Breakers
Whitney Engen - Western New York Flash
Meghan Klingenberg - Boston Breakers
Ali Krieger - FFC Frankfurt
Amy LePeilbet - Boston Breakers
Heather Mitts - Atlanta Beat
Christine Rampone - out of contract
Becky Sauerbrunn - out of contract

MIDFIELDERS
Yael Averbuch - Western New York Flash
Brittany Bock - Western New York Flash
Shannon Boxx - out of contract
Becky Edwards - Western New York Flash
Tobin Heath - Sky Blue FC
Lori Lindsey - Philadelphia Independence
Carli Lloyd - Atlanta Beat
Kelley O'Hara - Boston Breakers
Heather O'Reilly - Sky Blue FC
Megan Rapinoe - out of contract
Ingrid Wells - Georgetown University
Keelin Winters - Boston Breakers

FORWARDS
Lauren Cheney - Boston Breakers
Sydney Leroux - UCLA
Alex Morgan - Western New York Flash
Amy Rodriguez - Philadelphia Independence
Abby Wambach - out of contract

* Players formerly played for Women's Professional Soccer's magicJack franchise, which was officially terminated by the league Tuesday.

WPS Terminates magicJack After One Season

The Board of Governors for Women's Professional Soccer announced Tuesday they have terminated Boca Raton, FL-based franchise magicJack after one season due to continue run-ins with team owner and company founder Dan Borislaw, according to Thursday's Palm Beach Post.

Borislaw also served on the board but said Thursday he had no part in the league's decision.

The team, which finished 10-8-2 with 31 points and made the league playoffs, lost a point in the WPS standings this season after Borislaw failed to meet specified league requirements for the franchise.

While it has been announced officially announced yet, expect a Dispersal Draft to be held for the team's players that included several members of the US Women's National Team, including forward/head coach Abby Wambach, goalkeeper and Dancing With The Stars contestant Hope Solo, goalkeeper Jill Loyden, defender Becky Sauerbrunn, and midfielders Shannon Boxx and Megan Rapinoe.

Wave Re-Sign Midfielders Pablo, Stewart, Leite

The defending Major Indoor Soccer League champion Milwaukee Wave announced Thursday they have re-signed midfielders Pablo, Matt Stewart and Marcio Leite for the 2011-12 season.

Pablo, a native of Florianapolis, Brazil, played in only two games last season and got his first career block. This will be his third season with the Wave.

Stewart, in his second stint with Milwaukee, had 19 points in 11 games last season and is 14 points away from 50 career points with the Wave. He also recently played for the US National Futsal Team in the Grand Prix of Brazil tournament.

Finally, Leite, in his sixth season, will reach his 100th career game (at 96 now), 50th career block (at 43), and 75th career assist (at 74) this season. He had 50 points in 23 games in Milwaukee's 2006-07 season and was named to the league's All-Rookie Team.

The Wave open defense of their title at home November 13 against the Wichita Wings at US Cellular Arena.

Marquez Brothers, El Mexicana Extend Fuego Jersey Sponsorship For Ninth Season

The Fresno Fuego of the USL Premier Development League announced Wednesday Marquez Brothers and El Mexicana Brand will retain their sponsorship of the team's jerseys for the tenth season in 2012., making it the longest such jersey sponsorship in US soccer.

The partnership began with Fresno's first season in the league in 2003.

Red Bulls Run FC Dallas Out Of MLS Playoffs

Joel Lindpere scored in the 61st minute off an assist from Mehdi Ballouchy and Thierry Henry had an unassisted strike in the 98th minute as the New York Red Bulls eliminated host FC Dallas from the Major League Soccer playoffs at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX Wednesday and advanced to a two-game, aggregate-goal Western Conference semifinal series with the conference regular season and league Supporters Shield-winning Los Angeles Galaxy.

The Red Bulls will host Game 1 of the series Sunday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, then will play at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA for Game 2.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

USWNT Group B Schedule Set For CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament

The US Women's National Team Wednesday announced the schedule of games in Group B play at the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Women's Soccer Qualifying Tournament, set for Janaury 19-29, with all games taking place at remodeled BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Monday, the world's top ranked women's team was placed in their group, along with the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Mexico, and that's the order of how they'll play the other countries in group play -- meeting the Domincan Repblic January 20 at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time (10:30 p.m. Eastern time), then Guatemala January 22 at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time (7:30 p.m. Eastern time), and, finally, Mexico January 28 a 7:30 p.m. Pacific time (10:30 p.m. Eastern time).

Teams drawn to Group A were defending tournament champion Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba and Haiti.

The top two teams in each group after pool play will advance to the semifinals January 27, with winners of those games advancing to the field for the 2012 London Olympics and playing for the CONCACAF tournament championship.

Comets, Wings To Take Annual "Retro Game" To Sprint Center January 14

The Missouri Comets of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced Wednesday their annual "Retro Game" against the Wichita Wings, now again part of the MISL, will take place January 14 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO, near the site for the 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention, behing held January 11-15 at the Kansas City Convention Center.

The league game was originally scheduled for the Independence Events Center in Independence, MO.

GOL TV To Show Final Game Of NASL Championship Series Saturday On Tape Delay

GOL TV announced Wednesday they will air the final game of the 2011 North American Soccer League Championship Series between the NSC Minnesota Stars and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Saturday on tape delay at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

The Stars led the two-game aggregate goal series, 3-1, with Game 2 taking place at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The game will be broadcast in both English (Juan Arango - play-by-play, George Metellus - color commentary) and Spanish (Arley Londono - play-by-play, Juan Mora - color commentary) and will also re-air three other times in the coming weeks.

Whitecaps Fire Assistant Coaches Miller, Hamlett

Major League Soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps announced Wednesday they have fired assistant coaches Colim Miller and Denis Hamlett, who were part of the team's transition from the USSF Division 2 Pro League.

Miller joined the team in 2010; Hamlett this year.

FIFA Announces Nominees For 2011 Women's World Player Of The Year

FIFA announced the names of ten nominees Wednesday for the organization's 2011 Women's World Player of the Year award, to be handed out January 9 in Zurich, Switzerland.

The top name on the list, of course, is five-time and reigining award-winner Marta of Brazil, who plays for the defending Women's Professional Soccer champion Western New York.

Also on the list are three members of WPS and the US Women's National Team -- Alex Morgan of the Philadelphia Independence and Hope Solo and Abby Wambach of magicJack.

Others named include Sonia Bompastor (France), Kerstin Garefrelas (Germany), Aya Miyama (japan), Louis Necib (France), Homare Sawa (Japan) and Lotta Schelin (Sweden).

Captains and head coaches of all women's national teams in the world, along with an international contingent of soccer beat writers, will cut the list of nominees to three, with those names being announced December 5.

Final MLS Team Of The Week Announced

Major League Soccer announced Wednesday the members of the league's 32nd and final Team of the Week for the 2011 season, which is compiled each week by staffers at MLSsoccer.com and honors the outstanding players and performances of the previous week.

GOALKEEPER
Jimmy Nielsen - Sporting Kansas City

DEFENDERS
Jan Gunnar Solli - New York Red Bulls
Jalil Anibaba - Chicago Fire (MLS Week 32 Player of the Week)
Mamadou "Futty" Danso - Portland Timbers
Steven Beitashour - San Jose Earthquakes

MIDFIELDERS
Osvaldo Alonso - Seattle Sounders
Brad Davis - Houston Dynamo
Diily Duka - Ciolumbus Crew
Adam Moffat - Houston Dynamo

FORWARDS
Alvaro Saborio - Real Salt Lake
Danny Koevermans - Torontio FC

MANAGER
Hans Backe - New York Red Bulls

HONORABLE MENTION
Matt Besler - Sporting Kansas City
Bobby Boswell - Houston Dynamo
Benny Feilhaber - New England Revolution
Alvaro Fernandez - Seattle Sounders
Joel Lindpere - New York Red Bulls
Tim Ream - New York Red Bulls
Emilio Renteria - Columbus Crew
Dane Richards - New York Red Bulls
Frank Rost - New York Red Bulls
Brain Umony - Portland Timbers
Graham Zusi - Sporting Kansas City

Chivas USA Names 2011 Season Award Winners

Before their final match of the Major League Soccer season last Saturday, Chivas USA handed out their 2011 season team awards.

Here are the winners:

GOLDEN BOOT - Midfielder Nick LaBrocca
- Was the only player on the roster to play in all 34 regular season games
- Eight goals and eight assists this season

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER - Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy
- Had nine shutouts and 100 saves in 32 games this season
- Nominated for 2011 MLS Comeback Player of the Year after missing all of the 2009 season and seeing little action in 2010 season due to a knee injury

DEFENDER OF THE YEAR - Heath Pierce
- Started 26 consecutive gamess this season until suffering a hamstring injury; played only four more times the rest of the season

HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR - Forward Michael Lahoud
- Worked with Schools for Salome rebuilding schools in Africa and, especially, in home country of Sierra Leone

SPIRIT OF CHIVAS USA AWARD - Forward Alejandro Moreno
- Had five goals in 24 regular season games and was called up three times to Venezuela's men's national team

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blast Sign Local Goalkeeper Product Fitzgerald

The Baltimore Blast, the defending regular season champion in the Major Indoor Soccer League, announced Tuesday they have signed goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald, who last played this season for the regular season champion Carolina RailHawks of the North American Soccer League.

Fitzgerald was the 2005 Maryland Player of the Year while at Loyola Blakefield High School in Baltimore, where he was a three-time All-Metro selection and a four-year letterman.

He then played collegiately at Wake Forest, where he still holds all-time record for minutes played, goals against average, save percentage and saves.

In 2007, he was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Team selection and played on their NCAA National Championship team.

In 2010, he was named Second Team All-ACC.

USWNT To Play In Group B At CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament In Vancouver

The top-ranked US Women's National Team were drawn into Group B Monday to join Mexico, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic at the upcoming 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament January 19-29 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The official game schedule will be announced later this week.

Group A in the tournament feature defending CONCACAF champion Canada, along with Costa Rica, Cuba and Brazil.

The winners of each group will play for the championship and automatically clinch berths into the 2012 Olympic women's soccer tournament in London during the July 27-August 12 event.

Roberts Re-Signs With Rhinos For 2012 USL PRO Season

The Rochester Rhinos, winner of USL PRO's first National Division regular season championship, announced Tuesday they have re-signed defender Troy Roberts, who served as team captain.

Roberts led the Rhinos defense to the third-best goals against record in the league and the best such record at home, posting nine shutouts in 24 games, and he was named to the USL PRO All-League Second Team.

In 2010, he played every minute for the Rhinos as they won the regular season title of the USSF Division 2 Pro League.

Rochester's defense had a similar record for goals against that season and posted ten shutouts in 30 games and Roberts was named to the league's Best XI.

From 2005 to 2008, he played for Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, who selected him eighth overall in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft.

He was part of the 2005 Galaxy franchise that won the MLS Cup and the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

In 2009, he played 29 games for the USL First Division's Cleveland City Stars.

The Rhinos also announced they have exercised option years on the contracts of defender Tyler Bellamy, midfielders Michael Tanke, Drew Cost, J.C. Banks, and forward Andrew Hoxie, and re-signed forward Isaac Kissi.

Former Whitecaps, Lynx Star Griffiths Dead At 33

United Soccer Leagues announced the death Tuesday of former Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto Lynx player Winston Griffiths at age 33 in his home country of Jamaica.

No cause of death was reported.

Griffiths played in 23 games of the 2004 USL First Division season with the Whitecaps, scoring two goals and five assists, and the team advanced to the league's championship final.

In 2005, he joined the Lynx on loan from Jamaica's Arnett Gardens and scored one goal in four games.

He also played in Major League Soccer with the MetroStars, Los Angeles Galaxy and New England Revolution.

He scored two goals in 28 games with his country's men's national team from 1998 to 2002.

Soccer Scene USA offers its condolences to the Griffiths family on their loss.

Nominees Announced For Final MLS Save Of The Week Award Of Season

Voting has opened for fans to select the 32nd and final winner of Major League Soccer's Save of the Week contest for the 2011 season, which honors the goalkeeper who makes the most outstanding save.

Fans can go to http://www.mlssoccer.com/ to view the nominees and cast their vote before 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Thursday.

The nominees for Week 32 are Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City), William Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Chris Seitz (FC Dallas), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) and Jon Busch (San Jose Earthquakes).

AT&T Goal Of The Year Voting Starts Tuesday

Major League Soccer announced the voting for the 2011 AT&T Goal of the Year award begins Tuesday with the first of four rounds of online and text voting over the same number of weeks.

The first round of voting, at http://www.mlssoccer.com/gotw/gotw2011, will start Tuesday and run through Saturday with 64 nominees -- the winners of the 32 weeks of fan voting this season, plus 32 wild-card picks made by the website's staff -- broken up into sixteen groups of four goals, with four groups voted on each period (Groups A-D: Tuesday through 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, Groups E-H: Wednesday through 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Thursday, Groups I-L: Thursday through 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Friday, Groups M-P: Friday through 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Satuday). The top two nominees from each group after voting ends Saturday advance to the second round.

Round 2, from Sunday through November 2, will see the 32 survivors fight in eight groups of four, with the top two from each group making it to the Round of 16.

In the Round of 16 (November 3-10) , the remaining highlights will be placed in four groups of four, with only each group's top play advancing to the Final Four (November 11-14), with the highlight that gets the most votes winning the crown.

The league also announced voting for the 2011 Save Of The Year Award will begin November 1 with details on that to come.

Wave Welcomes Back Six More To Roster

The defending Major Indoor Soccer League champion Milwaukee Wave announced the re-signings of six players -- defenders Jonathan Santos, Joe Hammes, Jonathan Greenfield and JP Rodrigues; forward Ian Bennett, and midfielder Guilano Oliviero -- who will join former league Most Valuable Player Greg Howes, former MISL Championsip Series MVP Marcel Feenstra and former Omaha Vipers star Fabinho Ribiero.

Santos missed most of last year due to an injury.

Hammes will be in his ninth season with the Wave and has tallied double-digit point totals for five consecutive years and is a point away from scoring his 100th career point.

Greenfield, from Cape Town, South Africa, is back for his fourth season and has played on two MISL Championship teams with Milwaukee. He scored his first career playoff goal last season against the Missouri Comets.

Rodrigues scored his 25th career goal this February against the Baltimore Blast and is 14 blocks away from 100 for his career.

Bennett will play in his fifth league season and second with the Wave. Milwaukee was a perfect 11-0 in games where he scored a point.

Oliviero, a player/assistant coach, will be in his 17th overall season and 11th with the Wave.

Since returning to the team, Oliviero has tallied double-digits in goals and assists for the last eight years.

He finished second last season for the Wave in points (48) and goals (17) and is now fifth on the Wave's all-time list for most goals scored.

Oliviero is one of 15 players in indoor soccer history to score over 1,000 career points.

Ex-Eagles Leave Nest To Become SharX

Defender Brady Bryant and midfielder Miguel Ferrer, teammates this season with the USL PRO's Charlotte Eagles, will leave the team's nest to join the inaugural Major Indoor Soccer League's Norfolk Sharx, the Sharx announced Monday.

The two made impressions on SharX staff during a two-day open tryout September 9-10.

Bryant, with the Eagles since 2008, played collegiately at The Citadel before transferring to the University of Moblie (AL) for his sophomore year, when he was named a 2002 National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics.

He then played semi-professionally in the USL Premier Development League with the West Michigan Edge and for the amatuer Chicago Eagles Select.

Bryant, son of former NFL defensive back Bobby Bryant of the Minnesota Vikings, began his professional career with the USL Second Division's Wilmington Hammerheads in the 2004 season, then played indoor football for the Columbia Stingrays of the National Indoor Football League in 2007.

In 2008, he went back to soccer with the Eagles and was named a USL-2 All-League First Team member.

In 2011, Bryant had one goals and two assists in 16 games.

Ferrer had one goals and one assist with the Eagles in 22 regular season games, and one goal and two assists in 16 regular season 2010 games.

He joined the Eagles after graduating from North Carolina-Pembroke in 2010, where he was named an All-Conference, All-Region and All-American honors in his senior year.

Ferrer studied in Germany in 2008 and played half a season with semi-pro team SG Oppenweller.

Hayes Joins Sky Blue As Assistant Coach Under Gabarra

Emma Hayes, the original head coach of Women's Professional Soccer's Chicago Red Stars in 2009, was named Monday as an assistant coach to head coach Jim Gabarra with Sky Blue FC.

Since leaving the Red Stars after two seasons in 2010, she served as the technical director of the defending champion Western New York Flash.

She began her coaching career with the Long Island Rough Riders of the USL W-League from 2001 to 2002, earning the Coach of the Year award in 2002.

Hayes then moved on to Iona College, where she led them to back-to-back Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Championship in 2004 and 2005 and was named Coach of the Year in 2004.

Finally, she spent three seasons (2006-08) as assistant coach and director of the Arsenal Ladies Football Club in England's Women's Premier League.

Orlando City's Fuller To Serve As Color Commentator On ESPN3.com Coverage Of MAAC Men's Soccer Tournament

The defending champion Orlando City Soccer Club of USL PRO announced Monday player/head coach Ian Fuller will serve as a color commentator on ESPN3.com's coverage of the 2011 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's Men's Soccer Tournament, to be held at ESPN's Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, FL November 3-7.

He will work on two quarterfinal games Friday afternoon, both semifinal games that Sunday and the championship game that Monday.

City Islanders Named Gregg GM Of Franchise And Youth Academy

The defending National Conference champion Harrisburg City Islanders of USL PRO name John Gregg as the new general manager of the franchise and its youth academy, replacing Kiersten Rowe, who recently resigned after over eight years there,

A graduate of Harrisburg's Central Dauphin High School in 1988, Gregg played collegiately at Paul Smith College and Johnson State College, who he led to a 1992 NCAA Division II National Championship.

He also played as a goalkeeper for the USL First Division's Hershey Impacy (1989, 1990) and the Harrisburg Heat of the National Professional Soccer League (1996-2000) and has 25 years coaching experience on the club soccer level.

PASL Goes With New Style Of Baden Game Ball For 2011 Seasons

After playing three seasons with a Baden-branded white game ball with red stars, the Professional Arena Soccer League Monday introduced a new ball for the 2011-12 season in the PASL and PASL-Premier, as well as the official game ball for the US National Arena Soccer Team -- the Baden SX501-5000.

The mainly yellow ball with logos of the leagues and the USNAST, along with the signature of league commissioner Kevin Milliken, makes for easier visibility on the pitch, has a softer touch than the old ball, is more durable and holds its shape better.

Foley, Fana Tabbed Twice In 2011 Puerto Rico Islanders Year-End Awards

David Foley (Board of Directors Player of the Year, Team Most Valuable Player) and Jonathan Fana (Coaches and Players Player of the Year) earned a pair of honors as the North American Soccer League's Puerto Rico Islanders handed out their 2011 regular season awards hardware at a ceremony Friday.

Other winners were:

- Most Improved Player: Salem

- Goal of the Year: Scoree by Aaron Pitchkolan

- Defender of the Year: Ray Burse

- Humanitarian of the Year: Alexis Rivera

- Special Merit Award: team staff member Orlando Torres

Final AT&T Goal of the Week Voting For Last Week Of MLS Season Underway

Major League Soccer Monday announced the five nominees for the AT&T Goal of the Week award for Week 32 of the 2011 season.

Fans can view the scoring plays of the nominees by visiting www.mlssoccer.com/att-goal-week and can vote for their choice either online or via their cell phone by texting to 22442 and typing in the code for their particular favorite. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time Thursday with the winner to be announced Friday.

The nominees are (with codes next to them) Emilio Renteria of the Columbus Crew (G1), Alvaro Saborio of Real Salt Lake (G2), Sammy Ochoa of the Seattle Sounders (G3), Simon Dwakins of the San Jose Earthquakes (G4) and Adam Moffat of the Houston Dynamo (G5).

Fire's Anibaba Earns Final MLS Player Of The Week Award For Week 32

Chicago Fire defender Jalil Anibaba, playing in the team's final game of the season Saturday in a 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium, scored his first -- and only -- two goal of the season off headers to be named Monday the Major League Soccer Player of the Week for Week 32 of the 2011 season.

He is the second Fire player to win the award this season, joining Week 29 winner Marco Pappa; the second Fire player to win the award in the last three weeks, and the second defender on any franchise to get the honor, joining Jeff Parke of the Seattle Sounders from Week 10.

Timbers Name 2012 Regular Season Award Winners

The Portland Timbers, completing their first season in Major League Soccer, had a ceremony Sunday honoring the winners of their first postseason team award winners.

Forward Jack Jewsbury was named the team's Most Valuable Player after setting career-high numbers in points (22), goals (seven) and assists (eight) and was the only player in the league this season to have two separate four-game point-scoring streaks. He also earned a spot on the 2011 MLS All-Star Team.

Other winners were:

- Forward Kenny Cooper as the team's Budweiser Golden Boot winner, scoring eight goals this season.

- Goalkeeper Troy Perkins as the Supporters Player of the Year, tallying a career-high nine shutouts this season.

- Midfielder Kalif Alhassan as Young Player of the Year.

- Midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe with the Play of the Year award for a July 2 goal against Sporting Kansas City.

- Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson as MLS W.O.R.K.S Humanitarian of the Year

Revolution Part Ways With Nicol After Ten Seasons

After missing the Major League Soccer playoffs the last two seasons and finishing with the worst record in the Eastern Conference and the league this season, the New England Revolution announced Monday they have released head coach Steve Nicol after ten seasons with the franchise.

Nicol finishes with a career record of 112-108-31 and was fourth best in league wins behind Sigi Schmid of the Seattle Sounders, former MLS and US Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley, and current Los Angeles Galaxy and former USMNT head coach Bruce Arena.

Nicol had led the Revolution to six straight Eastern Conference championships from 2002 to 2007 and saw them advance to the MLS Cup final four times -- 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007 -- only to lose each one.

New England also won the 2007 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title and was the only MLS team to win the 2008 SuperLiga between the league and the best of the Mexican Primera Division.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chivas USA, Sounders End Reserve League Season With 3-3 Draw

Host Chivas USA played the Seattle Sounders to a 3-3 draw Sunday in their final games of the 2011 Major League Soccer Reserve League season at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

The Sounders, who officially won the league's West Division title with an 8-1-1 record and 25 points, got two goals from Pat Noonan and a third from Lamar Neagle in the first half.

Chivas mounted a comeback with Victor Estupinan scoring the 34th minute, academy prospect Ben Spencer doing so in the 42nd minute, and Greg Vanney hitting the game-tying shot in the 88th minute, but finished the season 3-3-4 with 13 points.

2011 MLS Cup Playoff Schedule Announced

Now that the regular season has come to the end in Major League Soccer with the host Houston Dynamo beating the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 Sunday at Robertson Stadium, the league officially announced the schedule for the MLS Cup playoffs, beginning with single-game-elimination wild cards game this week.

Here is the complete postseason schedule (Times listed are Eastern, first team listed hosts game):

WILD CARD ROUND (Single-game-elimination)
October 26, 9 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel and TSN2 - FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls
October 27, 10 p.m., Altitude 2, ONN and TSN2 - Colorado Rapids vs. Columbus Crew

EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS (Two-leg aggregate-goal series)

First Leg
October 29, 7:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel and TSN - FC Dallas vs. Sporting Kansas City OR October 30, 7 p.m, Fox Soccer Channel and TSN - Colorado/Columbus winner vs. Sporting Kansas City

October 30, TBA, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com - Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo

Second Leg
November 2, TBA, Fox Soccer Channel - Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas/Columbus Crew OR Colorado Rapids

November 3, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com - Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union

WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS (Two-leg aggregate-goal series)

First Leg
October 29, 10 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel and TSN2 - Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders

October 30, TBA, ESPN or ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com and TSN2 - Colorado/Columbus OR New York Red Bulls vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

Second Leg
November 2, TBA, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com and TSN2 - Seattle Sounders vs Real Salt Lake

November 3, 11 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, and TSN 2 - Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Colorado/Columbus OR New York Red Bulls

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS (single-game elimination)

(Decision on which conference plays first unknown)

November 6, 5:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel
November 6, TBA - ESPN or ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com and TSN2

MLS CUP 2011 at The Home Depot Center, Carson, CA
November 23, TBA - ESPN2, Galavsion and TSN2

Moffat Leads Galaxy To Win Over Galaxy In Last MLS Regular Season Game

Adam Moffat had an unassisted goal in the 27th minute, then assisted Bobby Boswell on a strike three minutes into the second half as the host Houston Dynamo defeated the 2011 Major League Soccer Western Conference regular season and Supporters Shield champion Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 at Robertson Stadium in the final game of the season Sunday.

Houston made the lead 3-0 in the 74th minute when Brad Davis fed a pass to Carlo Costly, but the Galaxy prevented the shutout when 16-year-old Jack McBean became the youngest Galaxy player to score a regular season goal in a league game off a Chad Barrett assist.

The Dynamo finished the regular season in second place in the Eastern Conference standings at 12-9-13 with 49 points and advances to a two-game, aggregate-goal conference semifinal series with the second place Philadelphia Union beginning at PPL Park in Chester, PA October 30 and ending November 3 at Robertson Stadium.

The Galaxy, who finished the season 19-5-10 with 67 points, will face either the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids, the Columbus Crew or the New York Red Bulls in a similar series in the Western Conference October 30 at that team's home, then the Galaxy host the second game November 3 at The Home Depot Center.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stars Take 3-1 Lead In 2011 NASL Championship Series Over Strikers

Neil Hlvaty, Luke Mulholland and Lucas Rodriguez scored goals as the host NSC Minnesota Stars won the first leg of the 2011 North American Soccer League Championship Series with a 3-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Saturday at NSC Stadium in Blaine, MN.

The Strikers' lone goal came in the 53nd minute off a Stars' player's own goal.

Game 2 of the series will be next Saturday at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Earthquakes Rock Dallas, But Wondolowski Loses Golden Boot To United's De Rosario

Simon Dawkins scored unassisted goals in the 26th and 38th and Rafael Baca had a goal off assists from Steven Beitashour and Khari Stephenson in the 27th minute as the host San Jose Earthquakes rocked playoff-bound FC Dallas 4-2 in Major League Soccer play Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.

But the victory had a bittersweet taste for San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski.

Attempting to win a second straight Budweiser Golden Boot for scoring the most goals in the league, Wondolowski had only one goal -- off a penalty kick in the 34th minute -- to tie him with DC United forward Dwayne De Rosario at 16 goals.

But, since both teams are now done for the season, De Rosario claimed the Golden Boot title by virtue of assisting on more goals (12) than Wondolowski did this season (two).

FC Dallas' goals came in first-half stoppage time as Jack Stewart and Daniel Cruz allowed George John to break up a 4-0 lead for San Jose, then Bruno Guarda and Jair Bentiez teamed in second-half stoppage time on Ruben Luna's first goal of the season on their final matchday.

Dallas, who finished fourth in the Western Conference standings at 15-12-7 with 52 points, will host either the Houston Dynamo or the New York Red Bulls in a wild card game Wednesday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX.

Sounders Stun Chivas USA At The Home Depot Center

The Seattle Sounders ended their 2011 Major League Soccer season with a 3-1 victory over host Chivas USA Saturday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

Chivas' Andrew Boyens contributed to Seattle's first score on an own goal in the 33rd minute for the eventual halftime lead, then made up for the mistake by teaming with Mariano Trujillo on Victor Estupinan's goal for the Goats in the 83rd minute.

Alvaro Fernandez had a 68th minute goal for the Sounders off a Brad Evan assist and Fredy Montero and Roger Levesque connected with Sammy Ochoa on a 73rd minute strike.

The Sounders finished the regular season with a second place finish in the Western Conference at 18-7-9 with 63 points and now has a first-round bye in the MLS Cup playoffs, beginning Wednesday with wild card play.

Chivas ended the 2011 campaign with an eighth place finish in the Western standings at 8-14-12 with 36 points.

RSL, Timbers Play To Season Finale Draw At Rio Tinto Stadium

Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers ended their 2011 Major League Soccer regular seasons Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT with a 1-1 draw.

Alvaro Saborio scored first for RSL in first-half stoppage time off a Fabian Espindola feed and Mamadou "Futty" Danso evened the score in the first minute of second=half stoppage time with an assist from Brian Umony.

Real Salt Lake finished the season with the third spot in the Western Conference standings at 15-11-8 and 53 points, as well as a first-round playoff bye.

Portland ended their inaugural season in MLS in sixth place at 11-14-8 with 42 points.

Fire Burns Crew's Chance Of Clinching Top Three Seed, Must Hope For Galaxy Win Sunday

Jail Anibaba scored two goals in the first 30 minutes of the game and Diego Chavez had the game-winning strike in the 80th minute to stop a possible comeback as the host Chicago Fire edged the Columbus Crew 3-2 Saturday in both teams' regular season finale in Major League Soccer at Toyota Park in Bridgewater, IL.

Columbus' goals came in the 73rd minute as Eddie Gaven and Emmanuel Ekpo assisted Emilio Renteria and Dilly Duka fired off an unassisted shot six minutes later to tie the game before Chavez's goal one minute later.

The Fire, once since eliminated from postseason play, ended their 2011 season in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings at 9-9-16 with 41 points.

The Crew held on to the third seed in the Eastern standings at 13-13-6 with 47 points, despite the loss, but now must hope for a win by the Western Conference and Supporters Shield champion Los Angeles Galaxy over the host Houston Dynamo Sunday to keep that spot.

A win by Houston Sunday puts the Dynamo in the third slot and gives them a first-round playoff bye instead of the Crew, forcing them to start in the wild card round next Wednesday.

Besler Strike Makes Sporting Kansas City Eastern Conference Champions

If you told someone when the Major League Soccer season that Sporting Kansas City, formerly the Kansas City Wizards, would start their season with a league-record 10-game road trip while their new stadium, Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS, would be completed, the team would spend most of the season in the Eastern Conference's cellar, and then, miraculously, would fight its way up the standings and become the conference's champion, no one would believe it.

Well, believe it, because that's just what's happened.

Thanks to an unassisted 54th minute goal by Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City shut out host DC United 1-0 Saturday to become MLS' Eastern Conference champion and gain one of the top seeds in the league playoffs, beginning Wednesday with wild card play.

DC United's regular season with a record of 9-13-12 and 39 points, good for seventh place in the Eastern table.

Rapids Clinch Home Field Advantage In Wild Card Round With Win Over Whitecaps

Wells Thompson scored a game-winning unassisted goal in the 84th minute as the defending Major League Soccer champion Colorado Rapids prepared to defend their title beginning this Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over the host Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place.

The win allows the Rapids, who finished the regular season fifth in the Western Conference with a record of 12-9-13 and 43 points, to host either the New York Red Bulls or the Houston Dynamo at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO in the one-game playoff.

Vancouver, who ended their inaugural season in MLS at 6-18-10 with 28 points, last in the Western standings and tied them with the Eastern Conference's New England Revolution for fewest points in the league, even though the Revolution had the league's worst record at 5-16-13, took a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute on Alain Rochat's unassisted goal.

Jeff Larentowicz tied the game at 1-all in the 59th minute as Jamie Smith and Sanna Nyassi teamed to assist on his goal.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nine Sockers Make Up USNAST Roster For Bolts International Cup Tournament

Nine members of the two-time defending Professional Arena Soccer League champion San Diego Sockers, along with head coach Phil Salvagio, were named to the US National Arena Soccer Team roster for the inaugural Anaheim Bolts Invitational Cup, taking place at the home of one of the PASL's newest teams, the Anaheim Convention Center, next Friday through Sunday.

The round-robin tournament will feature the host Bolts, the USNAST and the Mexican National Futbol Rapido team, with the USNAST facing Anaheim Friday and the Mexicans on Saturday. The Bolts will then play Mexico Sunday.

Joining Salvagio on the team are captain/forward Aaron Susi, forward and defending league Most Valuable Player Kraig Chiles, goalkeeper Riley Swift, midfielders Chiky Luna, Anthony Medina and Majell Aterado, and defenders Dan Antoniuk, Nate Hetherington and Diego Rovira.

The other players on the 12-man roster are former California Cougars defender Antonio Sutton and current Cincinnati Kings defender Sam Fiore, along with midfielder Safet Kovacevic of the Kings and formerly of the Louisville Lightning.

Southern California-Based Company Becomes Apparel Provider For PASL's Monsoon

The expansion Phoenix Monsoon of the Professional Arena Soccer League announced this week Southern California-based company FRE3KICK will be the team's official apparel provider.

Team apparel will be available at Monsoon home games, in local retail stores, and on both the team's and the company's websites.

Bottom-Feeding Teams In Eastern Conference End Seasons With 2-2 Draw

The bottom two teams in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference -- Toronto FC and the New England Revolution -- ended their 2011 regular season schedules Saturday with a 2-2 draw at BMO Field in Toronto.

Danny Koevermans teamed with Julian de Guzman to assist Nick Soolsma on the opening goal in the 20th minute, then scored with help from Eric Avila and Torsten Frings on the game-tying 85th minute goal.

New England tied the game at 1-1 in the 41st minute when Benny Feilhaber fed a pass to Monsef Zerka, then led 2-1 a minute into the second half as Milton Caraglio scored off another Feilhaber play.

Toronto ends their season in eighth place at 6-13-15 and 33 points, while the Revolution finished in last place at 5-16-13 with 28 points.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bush Moves Over To MLS Roster For Impact

The Montreal Impact, Major League Soccer's newest team in the 2012 season, announced Friday goalkeeper Evan Bush, winner of the team's Defensive Player of the Year award and the Naorth American Soccer League's Golden Glove, is the third player to join the roster and the second to come over from the NASL roster, joining midfielder Hassoun Camara, who signed October 11.

Bush led the league in goals allowed average at 0.76, giving up 14 goals in 19 games, and had a career-best nine shutouts, including seven coming in the final 10 games of the regular season.

He was named the NASL Defensive Player of the Week in Weeks 11 and 22 of the 2011 season and was the September Player of the Month.

Bush, who also played with the USL PDL's Cape Cod Crusaders, Chicago Fire Premier and Cleveland Internationals and the Chicago Fire in MLS, spent the 2009 season with the champion Cleveland City Stars of USL Second Division, then had seven shutouts in 25 games last year in the USSF Division 2 Pro League with Crystal Palace Baltimore.

Union Signs First Deal With Radio Partner

Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union announced Thursday they have signed a deal with 610 AM WIP radio to become the franchise's flagship station and air 17 games of the 2012 season, either home or away.

The station already holds that distinction for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers.

Games will also be available online at http://www.cbsphilly.com/ and through the Radio.com application available for most mobile devices.

MLS SuperDraft Set For KC In January; Cut From Three Rounds To Two

Major League Soccer announced Friday its 2012 SuperDraft will be held in Kansas City, site of this coming year's National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention, January 12 and will be cut from three rounds to two, with the first round airing live on ESPN at noon Eastern time.

The Montreal Impact, joining for the 2012 season, will have the first overall pick in the draft.

MLS also announced a four-round Supplemental Draft will be held via conference from their New York headquarters January 17.

MLS Reviews Scoring Play, Credits Richards With Goal In 1-0 Win Over Union

"After further review,..."

Major League Soccer announced Friday Dame Richards has been credited with the New York Red Bulls' lone goal in the eighth minute of a 1-0 victory Thursday over the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena that clinched the final playoff berth of the season.

The goal was originally called an own goal by Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon after he bobbled the ball into his own net after rebounding a header from Richards.

Oduro Captures Two Of Three Chicago Fire 2011 Season Awards

Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire announced the winners Friday of their 2011 seasonal awards and Dominic Oduro, who the team gained in a March 23 trade with the Houston Dynamo, was named their Most Valuable Player and Budweiser Golden Boot winner.

Oduro had 12 goals this season, shattering his previous best total of five, with two assists and had five game-winning goals in all competitions.

He is the Fire players since 2004 to have a double-digit goal total.

In other awards, Cory Gibbs was named Defender of the Year and defender Steven Kinney was named the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year.

Gibbs, chosen by Chicago in last December's MLS Re-Entry Draft, could set a new career high for regular season games played if he steps onto the field for Saturday's season finale at Toyota Park against the Columbus Crew. He has already appeared in 25 games and has scored three goals for the Fire and four overall in his career.

Kinney, despite suffering from an Achilles injury this season, always makes it a part of his week to visit patients and parents at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago and also supports the work of Teammates for Kids and the Chicago Fire Foundation.

All three players will receive their awards at a pre-game ceremony Saturday.

Fox, Telemundo Wins English, Spanish Language Rights To 2018, 2022 World Cups

FIFA Friday awarded the English and Spanish language rights to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to FOX and Telemundo, respectively.

FOX also gets the rights to the next two Women's World Cups in 2015 and 2019 as well as to the U-17 and U-20 World Cups.

ESPN and Univision have the rights to coverage of the 2014 World Cup.

Cruz Takes Week 31 MLS Goal Of The Week, Keller Gets Save Of The Week For Sixth Time

Major League Soccer fans spoke once again and named Houston Dynamo midfielder Danny Cruz and Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller winners of the Week 31 AT&T Goal of the Week and MLS Save of the Week competitions.

Cruz, who scored a goal in the 59th minute of a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers last Friday, got 45 percent of the votes for fans who voted online or via text message, easily outbeating Sebastian Grazzini of the Chicago Fire and Andres Mendoza of the Columbus Crew, who each had 16 percent.

Ryan Johnson of Toronto FC was fourth with 12 percent and Marvin Chavez of FC Dallas was fifth with 10 percent.

Meanwhile, Keller, playing in his final MLS season, won the Save of the Week award for the sixth time this season and the second time in back-to-back weeks.

Keller won his latest award with an astounding 84.52% of the vote with no other nominee -- William Hesmer of the Columbus Crew (7.21%), Josh Saunders of the Los Angeles Galaxy (5.27%), Milos Kocic of Toronto FC (1.62%) or Bill Hamid of DC United (3.4%) -- gaining double-digit percentages.

Keller has won the award in Weeks 3, 4, 12, 23 and 30.

Tacoma Stars Name O'Brien Player-Coach, Sign Defender Sakuda

The Tacoma Stars of the Professional Arena Soccer League announced Thursday they have signed player-head coach Leighton O'Brien and defender Kevin Sakuda to contracts.

While both players did not play together, they served as parts of the 2005 and 2007 Seattle Sounders championship teams in the USL First Division.

O'Brien takes over the lead role from Greg Howes, who left the team to sign with the Major Indoor Soccer League's Milwaukee Wave, the defending champion.

O'Brien also played indoors for the Sacramento Knights (World Indoor Soccer League) and the Wave and spent three season with the Stars in the semi-pro Premier Arena Soccer League.

Sakuda, who spent the last three seasons in the Professional Arena Soccer League with the two-time defending champion San Diego Sockers, played more games for the Sounders than any player from 2003 to 2008.

Silver Knights Sign Midfielder Stevens, Goalkeeper Reed

The Syracuse Silver Knights of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced the signings Thursday of midfielder Daniel Stevens and goalkeeper Eric Reed.

Stevens returns to the States after scoring five goals in 22 appearances last season for PS Kemi Kings in Finland's top division.

He played collegiately at the University of Buffalo and spent the 2006 USL Premier Development League season with the Michigan Bucks, who won the championship game, and was later drafted by the MISL's Philadelphia Kixx.

Reed played this season for the Charlotte Eagles in USL PRO, where he led the league in minutes and games played, was second in the league in saves with 81 and had eight shutouts.

In 2006, he was the Goalkeeper of the Year in USL PDL with the Southern California Seahorses.

2007 saw him finished as the Most Valuable Player with the USL First Division's California Victory, then he was part of the 2008 USL Second Division champion Cleveland City Stars before heading to the Carolina RailHawks for the 2009 USL-1 season and the 2010 USSF Division 2 Pro League.

Mondragon Miff Costs Union Playoff Berth; Red Bulls Get Last MLS Opening

An own goal in the eighth minute credited to Philadelphia Union goakeeper Faryd Mondragon gave the host New York Red Bulls a 1-0 victory at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ Thursday, giving the Red Bulls the league's tenth and final playoff berth for the 2011 playoffs, which begin next Wednesday.

The Red Bulls finished the regular season with a 10-8-16 record and 46 points and are currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with two matchdays left this season Saturday and Sunday to settle out final playoff seeding.

The Union, who already have clinched a berth, are 11-8-15 with 48 points and are tied for the lead in the Eastern Conference in points with Sporting Kansas City (12-9-12).

The top three teams in each conference after regular season plays ends Sunday earn a first-round bye in the playoffs, while the remaining four teams, regardless of conference, meet in wild card games to advance in the playoffs.

Here are the teams that have qualified for the playoffs, in order of their record in their conference:

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Sporting Kansas City
Philadelphia Union
Columbus Crew
New York Red Bulls
Houston Dynamo

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Los Angeles Galaxy
Seattle Sounders
Real Salt Lake
FC Dallas
Colorado Rapids

Galaxy Clinch Final Quaterfinal Berth In CCL On Juninho Goal; Rapids Ousted By Metapan Win

Juninho's goal at the half hour mark cemented the last berth in the quarterfinals of the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League tournament Thursday as Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy shut out host Motagua of Honduras 1-0 in a Group A game.

The Galaxy finished the six-match group phase in a three-way tie with Mexico's Morelia and LD Alajuelnese of Costa Rica at 4-2-0 with 12 points, but Morelia (+6) and the Galaxy (+4) claimed the group's two quarterfinal berths on better goal differentials than Alajuelnese (+2).

Motagua finished winless in the group phase at 0-6-0.

Also, MLS' defending champion, the Colorado Rapids, lost out on a chance to make the quarterfinals when El Salvador's Isidro Metapan became the first team from that country to advance out of group stage play with a 3-2 victory at home over Honduras' Real Espana.

The Rapids had a hold of second place in the Group B standings at 2-3-1 with seven points, but needed both teams to play to a draw Thursday for them to advance.

Mexico's Santos Laguna won the group stage at 4-1-1 with 13 points with Metapan finishing second at 3-2-1 with ten points.

Here are the teams from each group that have moved on the knockout rounds of the tournament:

GROUP A
Morelia (Mexico). Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)

GROUP B
Santos Laguna (Mexico), Isidro Metapan (El Salvador)

GROUP C
Pumas UNAM (Mexico), Toronto FC (MLS)

GROUP D
Monterrey (Mexico - defending CCL champions), Seattle Sounders (MLS)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lancers Name Another Assistant Coach, Five Players, And A Title Sponsor

The Rochester Lancers of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced the following Thursday:

- They have added Jim Hesch to join Craig Demmin, Francisco Escos and Bill Ginther as assistant coaches to head coach Bill Andracki.

- They have signed five players -- three former members of the Rochester Rhinos in Maurico Salles, Rey Martinez and JP Reyes, a current Rhino in Andrew Hoxie, and USL PRO All-Star player Nelson Becarra.

- Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning have become the team's inaugural title sponsor.

Massie Staying Home To Play For MISL's SharX

The Norfolk SharX of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced local soccer star Brandon Massie signed a contract Thursday.

Massie most recently played for the Charleston Battery in USL PRO, who signed him in 2010 after attending an invitational tryout.

He had 57 goals and 30 assists while playing four seasons for Virginia Wesleyan College in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, where he was the first three-time conference Player of the Year in school history and the first in any conference sport in the conference's history.

Massie led the team to a 56-20-9 record during his time there and they played three times in the conference's postseason tournament, winning the title in 2008, as well as made four appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

As a senior at Hickory High School, he had 34 goals and was named Southeastern District Player of the Year, a First Team All-Eastern selection and a Furst-Team All-Tidewater pick.

Hickory went undefeated in district play during his 2003 and 2006 seasons.

Crush, Lightning Co-Hosting Second Annual Hoosier Cup

The Evansville Crush of the Premier Arena Soccer League and the Louisville Lightning of the Professional Arena Soccer League announced Wednesday they will co-host the second annual Hoosier Cup Saturday and Sunday at Metro Sports Center in Evansville, IN.

The Crush, the defending champions after beating the Lightning Reserves in overtime last year, will join Metro FC, Los Bravos, Beatdown City Blazers, Louisville Rayo, Cincinnati Kings and the Indy Elite in the tournament, which serves as the first round of the 2011-12 US Open Arena Soccer Championship.

MLS Announces Dates For Third Annual Re-Entry Draft

Major League Soccer announced Thursday its third annual Re-Entry Draft will be held in two stages -- the first December 5, the second December 12.

The draft, created by the league's new collective bargaining agreement with its players union, allows players who are out of contract or who played on a team that chose not to exercise option years on their contracts to sign with a new team.

In 2011, 13 players were signed to contracts with new teams, with 11 such deals happening in Stage 2.

Piasa Re-Signs Anzalone, Signs Judiscak For 2011-12 Season

The Illinois Piasa of the Professional Arena Soccer League announced the re-signing of Chris Anzalone and the signing of Justin Judiscak for the 2011-12 season Thursday.

Both players were members of the league's St. Louis Illusion.

Anzalone played collegiately at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and semi-professionally with the USL Premier Development League's Springfield Demize.

Judiscak played at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Wambach Named Sportswomen Of The Year By Women's Sports Foundation

Abby Wambach, US National Team forward and player-coach of magicJack in Women's Professional Soccer, was named Wednesday Sportswomen of the Year for Team Sports at the 32nd annual Women's Sports Foundation Women In Sports Awards Gala in New York City.

During the 12-month qualifying period from August 2010 to July 2011, Wambach was named the US Soccer Federation Female Athlete of the Year for the fourth time, became the all-time leading scorer for the US team at the FIFA World Cup, and scored ten goals in 11 games with magicJack, including having three multi-goal games and the second hat trick in WPS history.

DC United's Davies Sues Nightclub, Red Bull For $20 Million After 2009 Accident

Forward Charlie Davies of Major League Soccer's DC United filed a $20 million lawsuit last Wednesday against DAS Enterprises, the owners of the Washington, DC nightclub Shadow Room, and energy drink Red Bull, claiming they are responsible for events that led to a October 12, 2009 car crash on the George Washington Memorial Parkway that injured him and the driver, Maria Espinoza, and killed passenger Ashley Roberta, but also crushed his chances of playing on the 2010 US World Cup team after suffering numerous broken bones and a lacerated bladder following the crash.

Davies claims the three attended a private party at the club, sponsored by Red Bull, but that the bar continued to serve drinks to Espinoza after they knew she was legally drunk.

Espinoza later was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter.

Roberta's family also filed a similar lawsuit against DAS Enterprises and Red Bull  in federal court in Virginia last Thursday.

Davies' suit will be heard in an initial hearing January 13.

Mexico's Irapuato Shuts Out NASL's Silverbacks

Ulises Mendivil scored the game's lone goal in the 48th minute as visiting Irapuato FC of the Mexican Primera Division shut out the North American Soccer League's wall-to-wall worst team this past season, the Atlanta Silverbacks, 1-0 Wednesday at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.

Former forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who played in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire, competed in the game for Irapuato.

Santos Laguna Shuts Out Rapids In CCL Play; Can Clinch Knockout Phase Berth With Thursday Draw

Aaron Galindo and Jesus Escobaza scored goals 12 minutes apart Wednesday as host Santos Laguna of Mexico played Major League Soccer's defending champion Colorado Rapids to a 2-0 shutout to win Group B in the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League tournament with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points and earned a spot in the Knockout Phase, to begin early next year.

The Rapids are in second place in the group pool at 2-3-1 with seven points and, if Isidro Metapan of El Salvador and Spain's Real Espana play to any draw Wednesday, they will move to the Knockout Phase; if not, the game's winner will take over second place.

Timbers Tie United, But DC Out Of Playoffs

Kenny Cooper opened the scoring with a 24th minute goal off Rodney Wallace and Dwayne De Rosario hit a 73rd minute strike off a Josh Wolff assist as the visiting Portland Timbers played host DC United to a 1-1 draw Wednesday at RFK Stadium and eliminated United from the Major League Soccer playoffs.

Portland, 11-14-8 wih 41 points and in sixth place in the Western Conference, can claim the last of the league's four wild card playoff berths if the Philadelphia Union beats the New York Red Bulls Thursday night at Red Bull Arena and the Timbers beat Real Salt Lake on the road Saturday.

DC United, 9-12-12 with 39 points and in seventh in the Eastern Conference, closes out their 2011 season by hosting Sporting Kansas City Saturday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wichita, Syracuse Holding Upcoming MISL Scrimmages

The Wichita Wings and Syracuse Silver Knights of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced plans Wednesday to hold team scrimmages.

The Wings will have their revived Black And Orange Scrimmage October 26 at Hartmann Arena, with season tickets holders admitted for free and the general public can attend for free by donating an item of non-perishable food for the Kansas Food Bank.

After the game, there will be a a Meet-And-Greet session with players and coaches.

On October 27, the Silver Knights will have their event at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena with free admission.

Columbus Crew Announce 2011 Award Winners At Ceremony

The Columbus Crew Tuesday announced individual award winners from the 2011 Major League Soccer season at a cerement presented by adidas at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion.

Here are the winners:

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Chad Marshall

DEFENDER OF THE YEAR
Julius James

BUDWEISER GOLDEN BOOT
Andres Mendoza

MAN OF THE YEAR AND GOAL OF THE YEAR
Jeff Cunningham

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Sebastian Miranda

OHIOHEALTH COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Danny O'Rourke

CSF CREW CHIEFS HARDEST WORKING MAN OF THE YEAR
Robbie Rogers

FANS CHOICE
Emilion Renteria

MLS W.O.R.K.S/US SOCCER FEDERATION HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR
Tommy Heinemann

MLS Names Week 31 Team Of The Week Members

Major League Soccer announced Wednesday the members of the league's 31st Team of the Week for the 2011 season, which is compiled each week by staffers at MLSsoccer.com and honors the outstanding players and performances of the previous week.

GOALKEEPER
Kasey Keller - Seattle Sounders (MLS Week 30/31 Player of the Week)

DEFENDERS
Gonzalo Segares - Chicago Fire
Omar Gonzalez - Los Angeles Galaxy
Geoff Cameron - Houston Dynamo

MIDFIELDERS
Osvaldo Alonso - Seattle Sounders
Graham Susi - Sporting Kansas City
John Thorrington - Vancouver Whitecaps
Brek Shea - FC Dallas

FORWARDS
Andres Mendoza - Columbus Crew
Chris Wondolowski - San Jose Earthquakes
Camilo Sanvezzo - Vancouver Whitecaps

MANAGER
Dominic Kinnear - Houston Dynamo

HONORABLE MENTION
Eric Avila - Toronto FC
Jair Benitez - FC Dallas
Marvin Chavez - FC Dallas
Brad Davis - Houston Dynamo
Dilly Duka - Columbus Crew
Todd Dunivant - Los Angeles Galaxy
Jackson Goncalves - FC Dallas
Sebastian Grazzini - Chicago Fire
Tally Hall - Houston Dynamo
Julius James - Columbus Crew
Milos Kocic - Toronto FC
Sebastien Le Toux - Philadelphia Union
Josip Mikulic - Chicago Fire
Sanna Nyassi - Colorado Rapids
Jamison Olave - Real Salt Lake
Tyson Ward - Seattle Sounders

MLS Announces Expansion Draft For Impact To Take Place November 23

Major League Soccer's newest franchise, the Montreal Impact, will begin to build their inaugural roster when they take part in the league's next Expansion Draft, set for a November 23 conference call in New York, the league announced Wednesday.

The draft will last ten rounds and all current MLS teams will be able to protect 11 players on each roster, as well as those involved in the Generation adidas and Homegrown Player programs, and those in special categories.

All teams must submit their list of protected players by November 21.

Spain Remains Best In The World, US Down To 34th In Latest FIFA Poll

Spain remains the top men's national team in the October FIFA/Coca-Cola World Soccer Rankings, released Wednesday, with the Netherlands, Germany and Uruguay holding spots two through foatur in the top ten.

Brazil moves up two spots to fifth this month, followed by a unchanged Italy, England (up one spot), Greece (up three spots), Portugal (down three places) and an unchanged Argentina rounding out the rest of the list.

The US, who defeated Honduras 1-0 last Saturday in Miami for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's first win since taking over the team, then lost 1-0 three days later to Ecuador at Harrison, NJ, dropped from 31st to 34th in the latest poll.

The US will next play in Slovenia (27th, up six places from September) November 15, then travel to France on the 19th (15th, down three from September) before the November poll results are released on the 23rd.

Estupinan Goal Give Chivas Final Reserve League Win Of Season Over Whitecaps

Victor Estupinan was assisted by Chris Cortez on the game's only goal in the 40th minute as host Chivas USA shut out the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 in Major League Soccer Reserve League play at The Home Depot Center Tuesday.

Chivas improves its 2012 Reserve League record in the West Division at 3-3-3 with 12 points, but  they play their final game of the season Sunday when they host the Seattle Sounders.

Vancouver, in its final Reserve League season, finished 2-6-2 with eight points.

Defending Champ Monterrey Defeats Sounders In CCL Play, But Both Make Knockout Stage

Cesar Delgado scored an tie-breaking and game-winning unassisted goal in the 61st minute as the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League defending champion Monterrey of Mexico edged the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer 2-1 in the final game of Group D pool play Tuesday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Monterrey wasted little time getting on the board as Humberto Suazo fed a pass to Abraham Dario Carreno scored the first goal of the game in the third minute of play, but, with three minutes left before halftime, Seattle' Fredy Montero tied the game unassisted.

Monterrey wins the group phase at 4-2-0 with 12 points and Seattle finished second in the standings at 3-2-1 with ten points, but grabbed the second qualifying spot from the group and advanced to the tournament's Knockout Stage early next year..

The Sounders returns to MLS play Saturday when they close out the regular season at Chivas USA Saturday at The Home Depot Center.

Toronto FC Shuts Out FC Dallas On Plata Brace In Final CCL Group Phase Game; On To Knockout Round

Joao Plata scored unassisted goals in the 69th and 81st minute and Danny Koevermans opened the scoring with an unassisted 29th minute play as Toronto FC shut out FC Dallas 3-0 Tuesday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX in an all-Major League Soccer match from Group C of the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League.

Toronto ended the six-game group stage with a 3-2-1 record and ten points and became the second team from Canada to advance to the knockout stage, begining early next year, behind the Montreal Impact, then of the USL First Division, USSF Division 2 Pro League and the North American Soccer League, but who will join MLS for the 2012 season.

Toronto plays their final MLS regular season game at home Saturday against the New England Revolution.

FC Dallas ends its CCL run winless in their last four tournament games and with a record of 2-3-1 with seven points. Dallas travels to the San Jose Earthquakes to end MLS regular season play this Saturday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Watson, Ukah Return To Blast; Baltimore Welcomes DeRoux

The Baltimore Blast of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced the re-signings Tuesday of forwards Matt Watson and Warren Ukah for the 2011-12 season and welcomes defender/midfielder Stephen DeRoux to the roster.

Watson, in his fifth season with the Blast, played on their 2008 and 2009 MISL Championship teams.

He led the Richmond Kickers to the USL Second Division Championship in 2006 and was named to the USL-2 All-League Team in 2007.

A two-time, back-to-back America East Conference Midfielder of the Year in 2004 and 2005 at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, he had three goals and a team-leading seven assists in his senior season there and was named a First Team National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas All-South and All-Regional selection.

Ukah, who began his indoor career with the Milwaukee Wave in 2007-08 and was named to the MISL All-Rookie Team, will be in third season with the Blast. Last season, Ukah had 19 points on five goals and eight assists.

DeRosa spent the 2009 USL-1 and 2010 USSF Division 2 Professional League seasons with the Montreal Impact, where he led them to the USL-1 title in 2009 and was named Newcomer of the Year.

He played collegiately at Prince George's Community College, where he had 15 goals and 26 assists and was named a National Junior College Athletic Association Division III First Team and All Mid-East selection, and a NSCAA Second Team All-American.

In 2005, he signed a development deal with Major League Soccer's DC United, where he played in ten games.

In 2008, he had a goal and two assists in 29 games with the USL-1's Minnesota Thunder and was named to the All-League First Team.

USL PRO Annnounces Dates, Location For 2012 Player Combine

USL PRO announced Tuesday their sixth annual invitational player combine will be held January 26-29 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.

The event will bring the top 102 players from North America to town to be evaluated by head coaches and general managers from all professional leagues in the hopes of landing a contract.

In the combine's history, over 150 players have signed professional contracts, including 20 in 2011.

Players interested in consideration for an invitation will be able to fill out an application, to be found at the Events tab on http://www.uslsoccer.com/ beginning November 7 through December 9, and they will be invited to attend the combine based on their background and achievements in the sport.

Dynamo End Reserve League Season With Shutout Over SKC

Alex Dixon scored unassisted in the 28th minute and Will Bruim fed a pass to Colin Clark in the 42nd minute as the Houston Dynamo closed out their 2011 Major League Soccer Reserve League season with a 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City Tuesday at Swope Park in Kansas City, MO.

The Dynamo finished in second place in the Central/Mountain Division at 6-4-0 with 18 points.

SKC, meanwhile, is 3-4-2 with 11 points in the division, and ends their season later this week when they host FC Dallas.

FC Edmonton Announce Petersen, Baart Leaving; Chin Stays

FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League announced Tuesday assistant coach Edwin Peterson is leaving the team to return to the Netherlands to work for KNVB and starting goalkeeper Rein Baart has turned down a contract that would have made him a player-coach.

The team also announced American Shawn Chin, who scored two goals and an assist in 14 games this season, would be returning for the 2012 season.

RailHawks Forward Barbara Named First League MVP

The revived North American Soccer League announced Tuesday Carolina RailHawks forward Etienne Barbara was named winner of the Golden Ball Award, given to the league's Most Valuable Player.

Barbara led the team to the league's regular season championship and, along the way, broke over 20 individual and team records and was named to the Best XI team after scoring 20 goals and eight assists this season.

USMNT To Play Slovenia In World Cup Rematch November 15 In Ljubljana

The US Men's National Team announced Tuesday they will play an international friendly November 15 against Slovenia at Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana in a rematch of a 2010 FIFA World Cup Group C match that ended in a 2-2 draw.

Slovenia was recently eliminated from play in the Euro 2012 tournament.

Nominees Announced For Week 31 MLS Save Of The Week Award

Voting has opened for fans to select the 31st winner of Major League Soccer's Save of the Week contest for the 2011 season, which honors the goalkeeper who makes the most outstanding save.

Fans can go to http://www.mlssoccer.com/ to view the nominees and cast their vote before 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Thursday.

The nominees for Week 31 are Milos Kocic (Toronto FC), William Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Bill Hamid (DC United), Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders) and Josh Saunders (Los Angeles Galaxy).

Los Angeles Strikers Announce Promotional Partnership With MLS' Chivas USA

The Los Angeles Strikers of USL PRO announced a marketing partnership with Chivas USA of Major League Soccer that will see the Strikers be able to promote themselves at every Chivas home games next season at The Home Depot Center.

In return, Chivas fans who buy tickets to their team's 2012 season opener will get an equal number of tickets to attend the Strikers' home opener.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Keller's Final Regular Season Performance Earns MLS Week 30 & 31 Player Of The Week Award

Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller, playing in his final Major League Soccer season, was named Monday winner of the Week 30 and 31 Player of the Week award after having seven saves in a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

He is the first true goalkeeper this season to win the weekly award, as midfielder Mike Magee won the award earlier this season in a relief goalkeeper role for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Vipers To Join PASL In 2012-13; League Announces Divisional Structure

The Omaha Vipers, who left the Major Indoor Soccer League after playing one season and was set to join the Professional Arena Soccer League this season, have announced they were unable to secure a home arena and will now wait until the 2012-13 season to come onboard, according to OurSportsCentral.com.

The PASL will again have two divisions for the 2011-12 season -- the Eastern, featuring the expansion Kansas Magic joining the returning Cincinnati Kings, Detroit Waza, Illinois Piasa, Louisville Lightning and the Ohio Vortex; and the Western, featuring the two-time defending league champion San Diego Sockers, two expansion teams in the Anaheim Bolts and the Phoenix Monsoon, returning teams in Revolucion Tijuana and the Tacoma Stars, and the Turlock Express, who have promoted themselves from the semi-pro Premier Arena Soccer League.

The California Cougars, who joined the league after also leaving the MISL, have folded.

The league does not list teams that play in the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League or Liga Mexicana Futbol Rapido in this season's standings, signifying those leagues will not be taking part for thr first time in the league's postseason tournament, set for March 9-10 at Del Mar Arena in San Diego, CA.

Seven of the PASL's 12 teams will qualify for the tournament, with the Sockers, as host team, earning an automatic berth.

The top four teams in the Eastern Division and the top two in the Western, besides San Diego, if they are in the top two, will earn tournament berths.
The 2011-12 season opens November 4 with the Tacoma Stars visiting the Turlock Express at Turlock Indoor Soccer and ends February 26 with the Stars visiting the Anaheim Bolts at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

The full schedule is available at http://www.arenaleague.com/.

USL Renews Partnership With Enterprise Rent-A-Car

United Soccer Leagues announced Monday they have extended a partnership with Enterprise Rent-A-Car that allows players, coaches, teams and fans to receive the best available rental rates for their vehicles year-round.

Nominees Announced For Week 31 MLS Goal Of The Week Award

Major League Soccer Monday announced the five nominees for the AT&T Goal of the Week award for Week 31 of the 2011 season.

Fans can view the scoring plays of the nominees by visiting www.mlssoccer.com/att-goal-week and can vote for their choice either online or via their cell phone by texting to 22442 and typing in the code for their particular favorite. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time Thursday with the winner to be announced Friday.

The nominees are (with codes next to them) Danny Cruz of the Houston Dynamo (G1), Ryan Johnson of Toronto FC (G2), Andres Mendoza of the Columbus Crew (G3), Marvin Chavez of FC Dallas (G4) and Sebastian Grazzini of the Chicago Fire (G5).

Barrett Strikes Again As Galaxy Sweep SuperClasico Series Over Chivas USA

Chad Barrett scored the game's lone goal in the 53rd minute off an Adam Cristman assist as the host Los Angeles Galaxy, Major League Soccer's regular season Western Conference and Supporters Shield champion, shut out Chivas USA 1-0 Sunday in the final game of their 2011 SuperClasico rivalry at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

With the win, the Galaxy swept the two-game series, became the only MLS team this season to finish their home season undefeated, and tied a league record for most shutouts posted in a regular season with 17.

Ironically, in their first game of the series May 21, hosted by Chivas at that site, Barrett also scored the only goal.

Los Angeles improved their record to 19-4-10 with 67 points and readies themselves to face Motagua on the road in the final 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage season before returning for their 2011 MLS regular season finale this Saturday at the Houston Dynamo.

Chivas, long since eliminated from playoff contention, is in seventh place in the Western Conference standings at 8-13-12 with 36 points and ends their home and regular season schedule on the final matchday of the 2011 season next Sunday against the Seattle Sounders.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rapids To Defend MLS Cup, Thanks To SKC Win Over Red Bulls

Major League Soccer's defending champions, the Colorado Rapids, will truly be able to defend their MLS Cup title after getting help from Sporting Kansas City Saturday to earn the ninth available playoff spot out of ten this season.

After playing Real Salt Lake to a scoreless draw Friday in a Western Conference matchup at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO, the Rapids needed SKC, currently tied for the lead in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Union, to defeat the New York Bulls Saturday at Livestrong Sporting Park, which they did, 2-0, on goals by Teal Bunbury and C.J. Sapong, to earn a playoff berth.

This season, ten teams will qualify for the postseason -- the top three teams in each conference and the next four, regardless of conference.

With a week left to play in the regular season, here are the teams who have qualified:

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Sporting Kansas City, Philadelphia Union, Columbus Crew, Houston Dynamo

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Los Angeles Galaxy (Supporters Shield champion), Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, Colorado Rapids

Toronto FC Reserves Rough Up Union At Chester Park

Toronto FC defeated the Philadelphia Union 3-1 Sunday in both teams' final Major League Soccer Reserve League game of the season at Chester Park in Wallingford, PA.

Toronto ended their season at 3-5-2 with 11 points in the Eastern Division while the Union, whose only goal came off the foot of 16-year-old Zach Pfeffer, finished at 2-7-1 with seven points.

Heinemann Hat Trick Gives Crew Reserve League Win Over Revolution

Tommy Heinemann had unassisted goals in the 45th and 71st minute and converted a penalty kick in the 51st minute as the Columbus Crew routed the host New England Revolution 5-1 in Major League Soccer Reserve League play Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.

Kevin Burns also scored for the Crew on a penalty kick four minutes after Heinemann's and Justin Meram was assisted by Santiago Prim on a 79th minute strike to end a unchallenged five-goal stretch and continue to improve on their Eastern Division championship record at 8-1-0 with 24 points.

The Crew will end the season this week at home against DC United in a game that was postponed October 2.

Andrew Sousa scored the Revolution's lone goal unassisted in the 26th minute and they ended their 10-game season at 4-5-1 with 13 points.

From Doormat To Conference Leader To Playoff Berth: SKC Shuts Out Red Bulls

Teal Bunbury and C.J. Sapong scored goals as Sporting Kansas City, who started the Major League Soccer season on a league-record 10-game road stretch before playing their first home game at new Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS and was, at one time, the worst team in the conference and league, shut out the New York Red Bulls, still up for an MLS playoff berth, 2-0 Saturday at Livestrong.

SKC is now tied 12-9-12 with 48 points and tied with the Philadelphia Union (11-7-15, 48 points) for the Eastern Conference lead. Kansas City hits the road for their regular season fnale next Saturday at DC United.

The Red Bulls are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings at 9-8-16 with 43 points and end their home and regular season Thursday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ against the Union.

Fire Scores Late To Stun United, Still In Hunt For A Playoff Berth

Sebastian Grazzini and Diego Chaves scored second-half stoppage time goals to snatch a victory away from Dwayne De Rosario, who scored his Golden Boot-tying 15th goal of the season in the 90th minute of a 2-1 victory by the Chicago Fire over host DC United Saturday at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.

De Rosario is tied with defending Boot champion Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

The Fire remain in the playoff hunt at 8-9-16 with 40 points for sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings and will play their home and regular season finale next Saturday against the Columbus Crew.

DC United is in seventh place in the Eastern standings at 9-12-11 with 38 points and will play Sporting Kansas City next Saturday at RFK.

Mendoza Brace, Duka's Dilly Gives Crew Shutout Over Revolution, Clinch Playoff Berth

Andres Mendoza scored goals in the 31st and 63rd minute and was sandwiched by Dilly Duka's first career Major League Soccer strike in the 59th minute as the Columbus Crew shut out the host New England Revolution 3-0 Saturday in league play Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA to clinch a playoff berth.

Columbus is 13-12-8 with 47 points and is third in the Eastern Conference standings. They will play their regular season finale next Saturday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview,IL.

New England is the worst team in the conference and the league at 5-16-12 with 27 points and will face Toronto FC on the road in both teams' final games next Saturday.

Dallas Snaps Whitecaps' Two-Game Win Streak; Ends Their Season With No Road Wins

Martin Chavez scored his eighth goal of the season and Brek Shea his 11th as host FC Dallas broke the Vancouver Whitecaps' two-game winning streak and handed them a Major League Soccer regular season without a single road victory in a 2-0 rout Saturday at Pizza Hut Park in their home finale.

FC Dallas, already bound for the MLS playoffs, is tied for third place in the Western Conference standings with Real Salt Lake, who share identical records of 15-11-7 with 52 points. Dallas travels to Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, CA in both teams' regulat season finales next Saturday.

Vancouver is now last in the Western standings at 6-17-10 with 28 points. The Whitecaps will host the defending MLS Champion Colorado Rapids next Saturday at BC Place.

Sounders Give Keller Home Season Sendoff With 2-1 Win Over Earthquakes

In goalkeeper Kasey Keller's final regular season Major League Soccer home game before he retires from the sport at season's end, Chris Wondolowski scored his 15th goal of the season, tying him with Dwayne De Rosario for the MLS Golden Boot award, off a Rafael Baca assist in the 24th minute and Fredy Montero had an 87th minute unassisted game-winner as the Seattle Sounders edged the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Saturday in their home finale at CenturyLink Field.

Wondolowski, the defending Golden Boot winner, is attempting to become the first MLS player to win the award in consecutive seasons.

Sammy Ochoa tied the game for San Jose with an 82nd minute strike.

The Sounders, winners of four of their last five games and have already clinched a playoff berth, are in second place in the Western Conference at 17-7-9 with 60 points and close out their season next Saturday against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

San Jose, out of playoff contention, is 7-12-14 with 35 points for eighth place in the Western Conference and hosts FC Dallas in their home finale next Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.

Union Play To Draw With Toronto FC, But Clinch Playoff Berth

Sebastien Le Toux scored his 10th goal in his last 11 games and led host Philadelphia Union to a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC in their Major League Soccer home season finale at PPL Park in Chester, PA and earned themselves a spot in the league playoffs.

Ryan Johnson also scored for Toronto in the game.

The Union (11-7-15, 48 points) is tied for the lead in the Eastern Conference standings with Sporting Kansas City (12-9-12, 48 ppoints) and will end their regular season at the New York Red Bulls this Thursday.

Toronto, long since eliminated from the playoffs at 6-13-14 with 32 points for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, ends their home season at BMO Field next Saturday against the New England Revolution.

NASL Championship Series Set -- NSC Minnesota Stars Versus Fort Lauderdale Strikers

The NSC Minnesota Stars and the Fort Lauderdale will meet in a two-game aggregate goal series to determine the 2011 North American Soccer League champion after both teams won two-game semifinal series Saturday.

The Stars will host the first game of the series next Saturday at NSC Stadium in Blaine, MN, followed by the Strikers hosting Game 2 October 29 at Lockhart Stadium.

In the second leg of semifinal matchups, Lucas Rodrigues scored a goal in regulation play and kicked the game-winning goal in a shootout as the Stars upset the regular season champion Carolina RailHawks by a 5-4 aggregate score Saturday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.

NSC took a 1-0 lead in their series last Saturday in Blaine on a goal from Andrei Gotsmanov, who added another goal in Game 2 Saturday in Cary. Neil Hlavaty added a penalty kick in the 67th minute of Saturday's game.

Carolina got a hat trick from Pablo Campos and added another from Nick Zimmerman in the second game, which led to a 4-4 aggregate tie and the shootout.

At Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale Saturday, Brian Shriver scored in the 19th minute off a Walter Restrepo assist and knocked in the game-winner in the 59th minute off Pecka as the Strikers, who defeated the Puerto Rico Islanders, the league's second-place team in the regular season, 3-1 in last Saturday's game at Juan Ramon Loubriel, beat them 2-1 in the second game for a 5-2 aggregate victory.

David Foley had the lone goal for Puerto Rico unassisted in the 56th minute.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gonzalez Assists On Goals As RSL Shuts Out Rapids In MLS Reserve League Finale For Both Teams

Nelson Gonzalez assisted on goals by Arturo Alvarez in the 33rd minute and Jean Alexandre in the 43rd minute as Real Salt Lake shut out the host Colorado Rapids 2-0 Saturday in each team's final Major League Soccer Reserve League game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO.

Both franchises' senior teams played to a scoreless draw Friday at the same site, allowing RSL to retain the Rocky Mountain Cup for a fifth straight year.

RSL snapped a four-game losing streak in Reserve League play and finished with a record of 3-7-0 and nine points in the Cemtral/Mountain Division, while the Rapids finished one step above theam at 3-6-1 with ten points.

Dynamo Surge To Second In Eastern Conference By Shutting Out Timbers; RSL, Rapids Play To Scoreless Draw

The Houston Dynamo surged to second place in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference with a 2-0 victory Friday over the host Portland Timbers in their home season finale at JELD-WEN Field.

Andre Hainault scored in the 36th minute off a Brad Davis assist and, in the 59th minute, Luiz Camargo connected with Danny Cruz for the other goal.

Houston is now 11-9-13 with 46 points and is two points behind the Philadelphia Union (11-7-14, 47 points) for the conference lead. The Dynamo host theirs and the league's final game of the 2011 season next Saturday against the Western Conference and Supporters Shield champion Los Angeles Galaxy.

Portland, meanwhile, is in sixth place in the Western Conference at 11-14-7 with 40 points and plays their season final next Saturday at Real Salt Lake, who played the host Colorado Rapids to a scoreless draw Friday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO.

With the draw, RSL retained the Rocky Mountain Cup for the fifth straight year. RSL has already earned a playoff berth and is 15-11-7 with 52 points.

The Rapids are in fifth place in the Western Conference standings at 11-9-15 with 46 points and closes out their season next Saturday at BC Place to face the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Only four teams have qualified for the ten available playoff berths and they all are from the Western Conference -- the Galaxy, the Seattle Sounders, RSL and FC Dallas.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Riley Re-Ups With WPS Champion Flash

The defending Women's Professional Soccer champion Western New York Flash announced Thursday they have re-signed defender Ali Riley, a finalist for the league's Defender of the Year award won by teammate Whitney Ergen.

Riley, who has played in 52 games for New Zealand's women's national team, won a WPS Championship in 2010 with FC Gold Pride and was the league's Rookie of the Year last season.

Former Eagle Toby To Become Silver Knight

The Syracuse Silver Knights of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced the signing Friday of former Charlotte Eagles forward Darren Toby.

A native of Lowlands, Trinidad & Tobago, Toby made his professional debut with the Eagles in April 2008 and led the team to the USL Second Division Championship in his first season. He was also named to the USL-2 Second Team All-League squad and to a USL PRO Team of the Week in June 2011.

USMNT To Play France For First Time In 32 Years In Paris

The US Men's National Team, currently 1-3-1 under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, announced Friday they will play against France for the first time in 32 years November 11 at Stade de France in Paris and will soon announce another opponent they will face on November 15.

The USMNT last played Tuesday to Ecuador, losing 1-0 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.

It will be the first time the US has played France since a pair of games in 1979, both won by France, and it will be their first game against European competition since September 6's 1-0 win over Belgium in Brussels.

France recently clinched a berth in the knockout stage of Euro 2012 by winning Group D after playing Bosnia and Herzegovina to a 1-1 draw.

Wondolowski, Keller Win MLS Week 30 Awards

Forward and reigning Golden Boot champion Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller were chosen by fans via text and online voting for Major League Soccer's AT&T Goal of the Week and the league's Save of the Week competitions for Week 30 of the 2011 MLS season.

Wondolowski won his award with 41 percent of the vote, nearly double that of second-place finisher Nizar Khalfan of the Vancouver Whitecaps, who got 24 percent.

Freddy Adu (14 percent) and Brian Carroll (nine percent) of the Philadelphia Union finished third and fifth, respectively, in the balloting with Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls getting 12 percent of the vote.

Keller, who is retiring from the sport at the end of the season, won the Save of the Week award for the fifth time this season after taking it in Weeks 3, 4, 12 and 23.

In a three-man race this week, Keller captured 65.49 percent of the vote, well over double what second-place Donovan Ricketts of the Los Angeles Galaxy earned (29.22 percent). Frank Rost of the New York Red Bulls got a mere 5.29 percent of the vote.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

City Islanders General Manager Rowe Announces Resignation

The Harrisburg City Islanders of USL PRO announced the resignation this week of Kiersten Rowe, who has been the organization for over eight years, most recently as general manager since 2009.
She joined the franchise in 2004 as director of marketing and operations.

Rowe graduated from Elizabethtown College, where she played four seasons on their women's soccer team.

FC Edmonton Announces Release Of 11, Retainment Of 11

After finishing their first season in the fledgling North American Soccer League with a record of 10-12-6 with 36 points and earning a playoff berth, though were eliminated by the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in a quarterfinal playoff match, FC Edmonton announced a number of roster moves Wednesday.

First, the team chose not to pick up the option years of the contracts of 11 players, making them all free agents.

The 11 are goalkeeper Jaswinder Gill, defenders Jeffrey Ouijano, Alex Suprenant, Paul Matthijs, Eddy Sidra and John Jonke; midfielders Chris Lemire, Mutanda Kwesele and Sam Lam, and forwards Conrad Smith and Dan Antoniuk.

Second, Edmonton balanced the cuts with the retainment of 11 other players after accepting their contract options.

Those 11 are goalkeeper David Monsalve, defenders Andre Duberry, Niko Saler, Paul Hamilton and Antonio Rago; midfielders Shawn Saiko, Chris Kooy and Dominic Oppong, and forwards Alex Sements, Kyle Yamada and Michael Cox.

Forwards Paul Craig and Kyle Porter, goalkeeper Lance Parker and midfielder Ilja Van Leerden are already under contract to FC Edmonton for the 2012 NASL season.