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Category: MLS

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Not feeling the (Dallas) Burn: why MLS teams tried to sound more European

There was a time when US soccer was a storm of Rowdies and Cosmos, but now United is the name of choice. What’s going on?

Once, pro soccer in the United States firmly embraced the country’s sporting culture. Teams that came to prominence in the 1970s in the North American Soccer League (NASL) had names that wouldn’t sound out of place in the NFL: the New York Cosmos and and Tampa Bays perhaps being the most notable. Cheerleaders  roamed the sidelines, and even the foundations of the game – such as the offside rule and the draw – were changed to appeal to an audience accustomed to traditional American sports.

But over the last 15 years, Major League Soccer has evolved from a league of teams with names such as Wizards, Burn and Clash to something that sounds a lot more, well, European. There are three Uniteds (Atlanta, Minnesota and DC), two called City (New York – whose name is down to their parent club, Manchester City – and Orlando), one Real (Salt Lake) and a Sporting (Kansas City). That’s not to mention the many lower division sides who have also changed their names in recent years.

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Romelu Lukaku makes debut as Manchester United see off LA Galaxy

  • LA Galaxy 2-5 Manchester United
  • Mourinho rules out bid for Cristiano Ronaldo

After this stroll of a victory Jose Mourinho became the latest Manchester United manager to rule out a move for Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Mission impossible” was how the Portuguese billed it. “We have never thought about it because he is such an important player for his club, of great economic power. I am not a defender of my club once you waste time on players who are mission impossible,” he said, and so United fans will have to put on hold their dreams of a romantic return of a player they still adore again.

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Los Angeles Galaxy v Manchester United – live!

2.21am BST

Preamble

Evening all. And welcome to a meaningful game.

9.34pm BST

Graham will be here soon. In the meantime, here’s the latest on Romelu Lukaku:

As a coup de théâtre, Manchester United’s swoop for Romelu Lukaku was rather magnificent. A much-needed striker was acquired, Wayne Rooney was offloaded and José Mourinho’s last two clubs were left looking a little foolish – Chelsea as they failed to land a player who had seemed almost certain to join them since January and Real Madrid as they vainly held out on their valuation of Álvaro Morata. From a football point of view, though, the deal raises as many questions as it answers.

Assuming Morata was plan A for United – and unless United were playing some implausible double game he surely was – it is a significant change of tack to turn to Lukaku. They are very different players and the hop from one to the other reinforces the idea United’s transfer policy is based on buying individuals and then fitting them together rather than setting out with a coherent strategy. Or at least it would if Lukaku were not – whatever tensions may have existed between them in the past – such an obviously Mourinho style of striker.

Related: Romelu Lukaku: Manchester United’s plan B but a very José Mourinho striker | Jonathan Wilson

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Cobi Jones: Let’s see how we can give back to the kids in the City of Angels

The USA’s most capped player says going home to become director of football at the fourth-tier City of Angels FC ‘was a no-brainer’

Cobi Jones has no hesitation when asked why the United States’ most capped player would become the director of football at City of Angels FC, a fourth‑tier club founded by two Englishmen which has just finished second-bottom in the Southwest Conference.

“That’s my local area – it’s where I grew up,” he says of the Angels’ San Fernando Valley locale. “It was a no-brainer when approached. You have the instant heart palpitations, going: ‘Wow!’ It’s in my neighbourhood. This is what you dream about as a kid, especially here in the US. Because when I was growing up there was no opportunity to go beyond just the youth set-up.

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US Open Cup: focus on lower leagues after season of MLS upsets

The cup will have a non-MLS semi-finalist after Miami FC and FC Cincinnati’s meeting. But victory in the competition is not a guarantee of future success

With MLS play halted for two weeks for the Gold Cup, the US domestic soccer schedule in July is thin. However, the US Open Cup continues to gather steam, with a full round of quarter-finals this week.

While there have been intriguing match-ups in the last eight across the country already, all eyes will be on Wednesday’s game between Miami FC and FC Cincinnati. Both teams come from the lower divisions – Miami play in the North American Soccer League and Cincinnati in the United Soccer League – and the game is a bellwether for the state of second-division soccer in the United States.

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Bruce Arena shows that many of USA’s best prospects are MLS based

The USMNT coach has always respected players from the domestic league, and this summer is likely to be a showcase of the talent available in MLSAmerican heroes tend to have a familiar look. Indeed, the US national team took to the field on Saturday in …

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Schweinsteiger falls and Nesta shines on night of shocks in US Open Cup

  • Crowd of 32,287 sees FC Cincinnati beat MLS’s Chicago Fire on penalties
  • Miami FC, coached by Italian World Cup winner, beat top-flight Atlanta United

It was a night of shocks in the US Open Cup on Wednesday as two MLS teams fell to lower division opposition in the last 16.

FC Cincinnati, who knocked out top-flight Columbus Crew, in the previous round beat another MLS team, Chicago Fire, on penalties in front of a raucous crowd of 32,287 in Ohio. Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Fire could not break down Cincinnati over 120 minutes and for once a German was on the wrong end of a penalty shoot-out. Cincinnati hopes to have an MLS team when the league expands and Wednesday’s atmosphere showed the passion for soccer in the city.

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Schweinsteiger falls and Nesta shines on night of shocks in US Open Cup

  • Crowd of 32,287 sees FC Cincinnati beat MLS’s Chicago Fire on penalties
  • Miami FC, coached by Italian World Cup winner, beat top-flight Atlanta United

It was a night of shocks in the US Open Cup on Wednesday as two MLS teams fell to lower division opposition in the last 16.

FC Cincinnati, who knocked out top-flight Columbus Crew, in the previous round beat another MLS team, Chicago Fire, on penalties in front of a raucous crowd of 32,287 in Ohio. Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Fire could not break down Cincinnati over 120 minutes and for once a German was on the wrong end of a penalty shoot-out. Cincinnati hopes to have an MLS team when the league expands and Wednesday’s atmosphere showed the passion for soccer in the city.

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Why Houston Dynamo v FC Dallas is becoming MLS’s most vital rivalry

It may lack the glitz of the New York derby or the grudge match in the Pacific north-west but the Texas clubs are producing fine play on the field

The rivalry between the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas lacks the pageantry of, say, the Sounders-Timbers feud up in the Pacific north-west. Though an official attendance of 22,115 showed up for Friday night’s showdown at BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston’s first announced sellout since July 2015 – the atmosphere was still somewhat short of raucous, and a sprinkling of bright-orange empty seats stood out from the crowd.

Houston-Dallas lacks the big city sparkle of the New York City FC-Red Bulls games, and the historical weight of matches pitting Toronto against Montreal. What the Texas Derby lacks in grandeur, however, it currently makes up for in on-field quality and stakes – a case can be made that, right now, it is the most compelling rivalry in all of Major League Soccer.

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David Villa’s tireless work in New York an example for MLS’s foreign stars

The World Cup winner reached 50 goals for NYC FC on Saturday, and he appears dedicated to lifting up both the league and his team-mates

Player quotes within club-sanctioned press releases are notoriously bland. That is especially true when it is a Major League Soccer club rolling out a decorated European veteran.

When New York City FC announced their first-ever signing in 2014, the summer before its inaugural season, David Villa hit on all the familiar clichés.

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Baltimore pub league side’s fairytale US Open Cup run ends against DC United

  • The last amateur team remaining in US Open Cup falls 4-1 to DC United
  • Christos FC’s roster includes loan officer, plumber and x-ray technician

A pub league team from Baltimore sponsored by a discount liquor store had their storybook US Open Cup run ended with a 4-1 loss to DC United on Tuesday, but not before giving their top-flight opponent a mighty scare.

Christos FC, the last amateur team standing in the knockout competition, struck first in the 22nd minute when Mamadou Kansaye pounded a free kick into the back of the net to stun the Major League Soccer side and the crowd of 5,286 at Maryland SoccerPlex.

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Beckham’s Miami soccer dream inches closer – but glitz is in short supply

A crucial vote from local politicians has restored life to Beckham’s stalled venture, but it’s not quite the show-stopping product he envisaged at the beginning

Barely a month ago, the final whistle was set to blow on David Beckham’s long-held dream of launching his own professional football club in Miami, the glitziest of American cities.

What was to have been a lucrative retirement project for the former England captain appeared thwarted by a series of broken stadium deals, the snail’s pace of Miami’s complicated political machinery and resistance from locals keen to block progress of Beckham’s investment group.

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David Beckham’s Miami soccer stadium land sale gets approval

  • Commissioners vote nine to four in favor of sale to Beckham’s group
  • Beckham’s looks to bring MLS to Miami in city’s Overtown district

The Miami-Dade Commission voted on Tuesday to approve a deal to sell David Beckham’s group nearly three acres of county land, representing a major hurdle cleared in the former England and Manchester United star’s push to bring a Major League Soccer team to the city.

The commissioners voted nine to four in favor to ratify a recommendation by the mayor to sell Beckham’s partnership a county truck-depot at the corner of Northwest Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue, which would become the last piece in a nine-acre site for a planned 25,000-seat stadium on the Miami River.

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Is it possible to manufacture a football rivalry? MLS has tried …

Football thrives on friction between clubs but is it inauthentic to create one? In a young league such as MLS the results can be interesting to say the least

This week the LA Galaxy reignited their two rivalries, one on the pitch, and one off it. On the pitch, the Galaxy beat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 in the 75th edition of the Cali Clásico. It was the third straight win for a suddenly streaking Galaxy, and they are now undefeated in five and back in the playoff positions. The Galaxy now look poised to make their typical summer surge, and the outlook is starting to feel sunny again in Southern California. 

Off the pitch, however, things are a little more fractious. Last week, LAFC, the expansion team set to enter MLS in 2018, hired an artist to paint a street mural in Downtown LA in the latest effort to create brand awareness. A few days later, some Galaxy fans spray-painted over the mural, changing the “LA” in LAFC to the “LA” in the middle of Galaxy. This came after the LAFC Regulators — a mysterious group of four men who have since deleted their social media accounts — spray-painted a Galaxy “This is LA” billboard, and cut out the bottom right quadrant to keep as a trophy. Since then, several other billboards and murals have been tagged and painted over. It seems that there is a full-blown graffiti war underway in Los Angeles

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Does MLS have a Texas problem?

Houston and Dallas, who meet in Sunday’s Texas Derby, are two of MLS’ best clubs this season from two of its biggest cities. So why aren’t they more popular?

Whoever coined the phrase “demographics are not destiny” could have been referring to Major League Soccer in Texas just as easily as talking about politics.

Simple population figures would imply that two of the league’s biggest clubs are facing off in the Texas Derby on Sunday, with the right to fire a cannon awarded to the team with the season’s best head-to-head record – provided they have secured the appropriate paperwork from safety-conscious city authorities, that is.

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MLS: where the standing fan is fast becoming king

Los Angeles FC are the latest team to announce standing areas for their fans, and it is a trend supporters on the other side of the Atlantic will note

Fan culture in Major League Soccer isn’t always considered to be the most authentic. That comes with the nature of the competition, in its franchised form, but that’s not to say fan culture doesn’t exist in North American soccer. This season, safe standing has become a part of that culture, with Orlando City leading the way (sometimes in very … expressive ways). Others, such as Atlanta and Minnesota United, are following their lead.

In what has quickly become typical fashion for Los Angeles FC, a much teased announcement on Saturday confirmed that MLS’s glitziest club without a team will also have a standing section of their own at their new stadium to help create “an electric and unified stadium atmosphere on match-days.” It was not an original part of the plan (although standing areas had been mooted), but LAFC presumably saw how a standing section has energised Orlando City and crowbarred it into their own blueprint.

Continue reading…

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MLS: where the standing fan is fast becoming king

Los Angeles FC are the latest team to announce standing areas for their fans, and it is a trend supporters on the other side of the Atlantic will note

Fan culture in Major League Soccer isn’t always considered to be the most authentic. That comes with the nature of the competition, in its franchised form, but that’s not to say fan culture doesn’t exist in North American soccer. This season, safe standing has become a part of that culture, with Orlando City leading the way (sometimes in very … expressive ways). Others, such as Atlanta and Minnesota United, are following their lead.

In what has quickly become typical fashion for Los Angeles FC, a much teased announcement on Saturday confirmed that MLS’s glitziest club without a team will also have a standing section of their own at their new stadium to help create “an electric and unified stadium atmosphere on match-days.” It was not an original part of the plan (although standing areas had been mooted), but LAFC presumably saw how a standing section has energised Orlando City and crowbarred it into their own blueprint.

Continue reading…

0

MLS: where the standing fan is fast becoming king

Los Angeles FC are the latest team to announce standing areas for their fans, and it is a trend supporters on the other side of the Atlantic will note

Fan culture in Major League Soccer isn’t always considered to be the most authentic. That comes with the nature of the competition, in its franchised form, but that’s not to say fan culture doesn’t exist in North American soccer. This season, safe standing has become a part of that culture, with Orlando City leading the way (sometimes in very … expressive ways). Others, such as Atlanta and Minnesota United, are following their lead.

In what has quickly become typical fashion for Los Angeles FC, a much teased announcement on Saturday confirmed that MLS’s glitziest club without a team will also have a standing section of their own at their new stadium to help create “an electric and unified stadium atmosphere on match-days.” It was not an original part of the plan (although standing areas had been mooted), but LAFC presumably saw how a standing section has energised Orlando City and crowbarred it into their own blueprint.

Continue reading…

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Can the A-League learn anything from the US experience with the MLS?

Despite some market similarities and familiar challenges there are stark differences in experience and strategy

Australian football has long been fascinated by Major League Soccer. A 2003 report by the National Soccer League Task Force – an “Australian Soccer Association” brains trust charged with figuring out just what the future A-League should be – featured several pages on the American version of club football.

Around the same time, player-turned-pundit Andy Harper was sent to the US by Football Federation Australia to discover what the Americans were up to first hand. In 2008, another FFA delegation flew across the Pacific to learn more about MLS while, more recently, Mark Falvo – FFA’s head of international affairs and government relations – spoke to the league’s New York City headquarters about how to approach proposed expansion.

Continue reading…

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Can the A-League learn anything from the US experience with the MLS?

Despite some market similarities and familiar challenges there are stark differences in experience and strategy

Australian football has long been fascinated by Major League Soccer. A 2003 report by the National Soccer League Task Force – an “Australian Soccer Association” brains trust charged with figuring out just what the future A-League should be – featured several pages on the American version of club football.

Around the same time, player-turned-pundit Andy Harper was sent to the US by Football Federation Australia to discover what the Americans were up to first hand. In 2008, another FFA delegation flew across the Pacific to learn more about MLS while, more recently, Mark Falvo – FFA’s head of international affairs and government relations – spoke to the league’s New York City headquarters about how to approach proposed expansion.

Continue reading…