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October 10, 2012

Wednesday Kickoff: Atletico names Falcao price, Busquets receives ban and more

Radamel Falcao (Getty Images)


Radamel Falcao is one of the strikers who is most in demand right now, and Atletico Madrid has set the amount that it will take for someone to pry him away from them.

Atletico Madrid GM Miguel Angel GIl Marin put a price on Falcao on Tuesday, saying the team will not be able to afford the Colombian striker if they do not qualify for the UEFA Champions League this season. Gil Marin put the price tag at €60 million ($77.2 million), but insisted that Falcao and all the players that the coach wants will stay if they can secure a berth into next year's competition.

Falcao currently has eight goals in six games for Atletico Madrid. The Spanish club is currently tied with Barcelona for first place in La Liga with 19 points from seven games played. The top three clubs in La Liga earn an automatic berth into the Champions League while the fourth-place finishers go into the tournament's qualifiers.

Here are more stories from around the world of soccer:

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Report: Suspect in RBNY coach's death flees to Mexico

Mike Jones (Red Bulls)

The man suspected of killing New York Red Bulls youth coach Mike Jones in New York City over the weekend has fled to Mexico, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Orlando Orea, also known as Orlando Gutierrez or Orlando Estevas, bought a one-way ticket on an Aero Mexico flight with cash minutes before its departure from Kennedy International Airport on Tuesday morning, according to an anonymous official in the report. Orea is suspected of having murdered the 25-year-old Jones with a knife on Sunday morning.

Detectives on the case discovered Orea's name at about 4:45pm on Tuesday and placed the 32-year-old suspect on a no-fly list, but he had already left the country by then, officials said.

According to officials, it is not clear what ties Orea has to Mexico, if any. Officials also said that the attack may have been a result of a mistaken identity.

The Red Bulls are holding a private memorial for Jones in Westchester County on Wednesday.

October 09, 2012

Donovan, Shea ruled out of USMNT's upcoming World Cup qualifiers


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U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Monday he called up target strikers with good heading ability because it was likely that the Americans were going to be forced to settle for whipped in crosses in their two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Well, Klinsmann will not be getting any of those crosses from Landon Donovan or Brek Shea.

Donovan and Shea have been ruled out for the Americans' upcoming qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday and Guatemala next Tuesday. Both entered the camp with knocks and underwent medical evaluations by the team staff on Tuesday morning, only to be ruled out and sent back to their respective clubs. Klinsmann has the option to replace them on the roster, but he is not expected to summon any at this time.

"It's unfortunate for Landon and Brek that they won't be able to play," said Klinsmann via a press release. "Landon was very optimistic over the weekend when his knee was feeling much better, but now he needs time to recover. We knew Brek was a question mark coming in, and now we have a clear picture of where he stands. We feel confident that the group we have will get the job done."

Continue reading "Donovan, Shea ruled out of USMNT's upcoming World Cup qualifiers" »

A closer look at a special night in Seattle

KickTV: Jimmy Conrad at El Clasico


Donovan misses first USMNT practice to undergo medical evaluation


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Landon Donovan's knee might be feeling better than it did on Saturday, but that still does not mean he will play for the U.S. men's national team on Friday.

Donovan missed the United States' first training session in Miami on Tuesday morning as he was being evaluated by the team's medical staff, U.S. Soccer announced on its Twitter.

Donovan arrived to South Florida on Monday with an injured left knee that he hurt in the LA Galaxy's 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday and despite skipping an MRI with his club because his knee had felt better, Donovan's status for Friday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Antigua & Barbuda is still unknown.

If Donovan is unable to start on Friday, Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi is most likely to fill in for him on the right side of the Americans' midfield.

What do you think of Donovan missing the U.S.'s first practice? What type of role do you see him having in the Antigua & Barbuda game? Should he just sit it out so as to be healthier for the Guatemala game?

Share your thoughts below.

SBI MLS Rookie of the Month: Austin Berry


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The Chicago Fire surged up the Eastern Conference standings in September, rattling off a four-match winning streak that helped them grab second place and eventually clinch the team's first playoff berth since 2009. Austin Berry played a key role in that September success, and his play during that stretch earned him SBI MLS Rookie of the Month honors.

The University of Louisville product continued his outstanding rookie season with steady play at centerback for the Fire throughout the month. During the month, Berry broke the Fire team record for consecutive starts by a rookie, previously held by Carlos Bocanegra.

Berry beat out fellow rookies Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Luis Silva (Toronto FC) and Nick DeLeon (D.C. United) for this month's honors.

What did you think of Berry's play in September? What rookie impressed you the most last month? Think Berry wins Rookie of the Year?

Share your thoughts below.

Must-See Goal: Jackson Martinez

USMNT Daily Update: Altidore snub a gamble that could pay long-term dividends, or blow up in Klinsmann's face

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Jurgen Klinsmann made sure to offer up as thorough an explanation as possible on Monday for his decision to leave Jozy Altidore off the U.S. national team roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.He pointed to national team form, and cited tactical reasons for wanting to look at new players. The explanations still rang a bit hollow though because while you can't argue with the notion that Altidore's U.S. national team form has been largely disappointing, it is extremely tough to deny that, based on recent club form, Altidore is one of the best players in the national team pool.

So why would Klinsmann leave off a player enjoying the best run of form of his professional career, a player currently scoring goals at a higher rate than anybody save for MLS MVP favorite Chris Wondolowski? Klinsmann made it clear he was unhappy with Altidore's effort, both in games and in training, an admission that reveals the Altidore snub to be about something other than fielding the best possible team for the crucial qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.

Klinsmann is sending a message, not just to Altidore, but to the entire U.S. player pool, that no job is safe, and that if you don't play well enough you can lose your spot. As admirable a stance as that is to take, the timing of it, with the national team's World Cup qualifying hopes on the line, feels very much like a risky gamble.

Continue reading "USMNT Daily Update: Altidore snub a gamble that could pay long-term dividends, or blow up in Klinsmann's face" »

Scorpions, Rowdies lead way in NASL's 2012 Best XI

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The San Antonio Scorpions and Tampa Bay Rowdies were the best two teams in the regular season this year, so it should come as no surprise that their players make up more than half of NASL's 2012 Best XI.

NASL announced the best players of the campaign on Tuesday morning and both the Scorpions and Rowdies had three players, the highest total from any of the eight teams in the league. The three Scorpions were forward Pablo Campos, midfielder Walter Ramirez and former Houston Dynamo defender Ryan Cochrane. The Rowdies' three players were goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, defender Takuya Yamada and midfielder Luke Mulholland.

In all, six of the eight teams had players on the Best XI. The two clubs that did not were the seventh-placed Atlanta Silverbacks and the Puerto Rico Islanders, who ended the regular season in third.

Here is the complete Best XI from the 2012 NASL season:

Forwards: Mark Anderson (Ft. Lauderdale Strikers), Pablo Campos (San Antonio Scorpions)

Midfielders: Luke Mulholland (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Walter Ramirez (San Antonio Scorpions), Walter Restrepo (Ft. Lauderdale Strikers), Nick Zimmerman (Carolina RailHawks)

Defenders: Kyle Altman (Minnesota Stars FC), Ryan Cochrane (San Antonio Scorpions), Paul Hamilton (FC Edmonton), Takuya Yamada (Tampa Bay Rowdies)

Goalkeeper: Jeff Attinella (Tampa Bay Rowdies)

What do you think of the NASL 2012 Best XI? Agree with most of the selections? Should someone have been on that isn't?

Share your thoughts below.

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Ray Gaddis


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The Philadelphia Union are coming off arguably their best week of the season, and Ray Gaddis played a big part in helping make that happen.

Gaddis started and went the distance in both of the Union's wins last week, first helping stymie the Chicago Fire offense in Philadelphia's upset victory at Toyota Park before helping the club get a cleansheet win over the New England Revolution on Saturday. For that, Gaddis has been named SBI's MLS Rookie of the Week.

Gaddis edged out another pair of defenders to take the award, as the Fire's Austin Berry and FC Dallas' Matt Hedges also enjoyed strong weeks.

What do you think of Gaddis claiming this week's honors? Impressed by his two performances for the Union? Should someone else have won?

Share your thoughts below.

Tuesday Kickoff: Bolton's Coyle fired, Ballack wants coaching license and more

Owen Coyle (Getty Images)



The English Championship has not even reached the two-month mark yet, but already we have the first coaching casualty of the season.

Bolton Wanderers fired manager Owen Coyle on Tuesday morning after a nightmare start to their season in the Championship. Bolton, who were relegated from the Premiership last season, are currently in 18th place in the 24-team league with a 3-5-2 record that has seen them concede 16 goals. Coyle had been in charge of Bolton since January 2010, but the painful start to the campaign that has hindered the club's chances of gaining promotion has ended his time there.

Coyle's dismissal will have direct implications for two Americans plying their trades with the Trotters. Coyle brought in both centerback Tim Ream and midfielder Stuart Holden, and what their roles will be with the team going forward will depend largely on who replaces Coyle. Ream has been on the bench recently after a poor start to the season while Holden is still recovering from his knee injury.

Here are more stories from around the soccer world:

Continue reading "Tuesday Kickoff: Bolton's Coyle fired, Ballack wants coaching license and more" »

October 08, 2012

USMNT Notes: Donovan's injury showing improvement, Kljestan's return and more


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Fears that Landon Donovan will miss yet another U.S. men's national team training camp have been put to rest by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Klinsmann revealed during a conference call on Monday afternoon that Donovan's injured left knee had shown substantial signs of progress and the veteran midfielder was on a plane to Miami to join the rest of the U.S. for their preparations ahead of their important World Cup qualifier against Antigua and Barbuda on Friday. Donovan injured his knee late in the Los Angeles Galaxy's 2-1 defeat to Real Salt Lake on Saturday night after a collision with Jamison Olave, laying motionless on the field before being stretchered off by team doctors.

"We were in touch over the last two days, obviously, and he was actually supposed to do an MRI this morning in Los Angeles but he skipped it because it improved a lot yesterday during the day," said Klinsmann. "We spoke last night and he said if it was even better this morning, he would skip the MRI and come straight to Miami."

Another player who is coming off an injury but was included in the U.S. roster was Jermaine Jones. Jones did not dress for Schalke 04's 3-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg this past Saturday because of a left ankle injury picked up in training last week, but Klinsmann said the German club held the midfielder out as a precaution and that he should be 'totally fine' for the U.S. camp.

Here are more USMNT notes from Monday's conference call: 

Continue reading "USMNT Notes: Donovan's injury showing improvement, Kljestan's return and more" »

Klinsmann cites Altidore's disappointing USMNT form as key reason for WCQ snub


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When Jozy Altidore was left off the U.S. Men's National Team roster for a pair of crucial upcoming World Cup qualifiers, the decision looked to be a serious head scratcher considering Altidore has been one of the best forwards in Europe in the early months of the new club season.

It was no mistake though. It was a decision Jurgen Klinsmann made based, not on Altidore's club form, but rather on his national team form, which has been disappointing during Klinsmann's tenure as head coach.

"I communicated with Jozy that I was not happy about his latest performances with us, maybe even over the last 14 months," Klinsmann told media on Monday during a conference call to discuss the U.S. roster. "I think Jozy can do much, much better and the reason he is not coming in is mainly because of the performances in Jamaica and at home, also in training, also certain things that went on through the May-June camp."

Altidore has scored eight goals for AZ Alkmaar, good for the Dutch Eredivise lead, but his continued struggles to have a similar impact with the national team ultimately led Klinsmann to look at other forward options in San Jose's Alan Gordon and Seattle's Eddie Johnson for Friday's qualifier at Antigua & Barbuda, and the Oct. 16th qualifier vs. Guatemala.

Continue reading "Klinsmann cites Altidore's disappointing USMNT form as key reason for WCQ snub" »

Klinsmann unveils 24-man roster, omits Altidore and Boyd among others


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U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has released the 24-man roster that will aim to attempt to reach the final round of World Cup qualifying, and there are surprises aplenty.

Sacha Kljestan, Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon were among the players selected by Klinsmann for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala, while Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd, Jose Torres and Chris Wondolowski were all surprisingly left off. Landon Donovan, who suffered a knee injury on Saturday while playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy, was also included on the roster. 

Other veterans on the team are Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey. Timmy Chandler, who told SBI last month he was open to an October call-up, was also once again missing.

Here is the full roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (8) : Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland)

MIDFIELDERS (8) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (5): Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)

Continue reading "Klinsmann unveils 24-man roster, omits Altidore and Boyd among others" »

Mid-Day Ticker: FA charges Cole, RBNY youth coach killed, and more

Ashley Cole Chelsea (Getty Images)

Ashley Cole's now infamous tweet grabbed its share of headlines last week, and this week will be no different it appears.

Cole has been charged with misconduct by the English FA for his tweet that came in response to the John Terry racism case. The 31-year-old fullback, who has since apologized for the tweet, has until October 11 to responde to the charge

Cole is is due to join the England national team camp on Monday to prepare for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland. Cole has 98 career caps for the Three Lions and he could reach 100 if he plays in both upcoming games.

Here are more stories from around the soccer world:

Continue reading "Mid-Day Ticker: FA charges Cole, RBNY youth coach killed, and more" »

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