Sylvae MLS News

30Oct/120

Why NBC’s Purchase of EPL TV Rights Could Be Bad for US Soccer

The television broadcasting conglomerate NBC announced on Sunday that, beginning in 2013, they had acquired the domestic television rights to England's Barclay's Premier League (EPL) for the next three seasons. NBC Sports' deal with the EPL, worth an estimated $250 million, comes as a strong blow to rival cable television networks ESPN and Fox Soccer (FSC), who are the only two stations currently showing Premier League matches in the States. Fox Soccer in particular, has been steadily losing its television rights to several other premier European soccer leagues.If the network does not act quickly to stop this bleeding, it may soon find itself in the same zone of obsolescence as GolTV, the once proud owners of television rights to Spain's La Liga, who now only show German Bundesliga and a few less-popular South American matches. As a result, Rupert Murdoch's satellite television giant DirecTV dropped GolTV from their broadcast packages. Even with their extravagant financial offer, which was reportedly four times what any other network was willing to pay, NBC will feel confident that they can recoup expenses in a timely fashion, given soccer's increasing ...
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30Oct/120

MLS Playoffs: Power Ranking the Teams Going for MLS Cup Glory

The Major League Soccer regular season wrapped up last night and with the end of the season, the playoff field is now set. The fourth and fifth seeds will take each other on in a one-game knockoff round, followed by home-and-away series for each conference’s semifinal and final round. The winners of each conference will then meet for the MLS Cup on December 1. Here is how the teams stack up.Begin Slideshow
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28Oct/120

DC United: Hamid Records Eight Saves Against Chicago

D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid recorded a career-high eight saves on Saturday to help United secure a tie at Chicago's Toyota Park and second place in the final Eastern Conference standings. This was one for the books. Combined with a couple strong diving stops by Chicago's Sean Johnson, this game was an absolute jewel for advocates of those who provide soccer's last line of defense.Hamid and Johnson are two young and promising keepers in Major League Soccer. Both are incredibly athletic, and this season both added significant degrees of poise and presence for their respective clubs.But on this day, Hamid's star shone brighter, out of necessity. Chicago thoroughly outplayed D.C. on the rest of the pitch in a game that had playoff significance for both.United needed a tie to hold second place. Chicago was looking for a win to avoid dropping to fourth and having to host a play-in game. Chicago struck first. The Fire's Patrick Nyarko fired a blast that beat a diving Hamid and struck net just inside the right post.Hamid quickly regained his feet, batted an arm at the invisible gods of soccer misfortune and then took on an expression of stony resilience. It was an expression that seemed ...
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27Oct/120

2012 MLS Playoffs: Previews and Seeding Scenarios for Each Team

It's that time of year again. With only a few matches left to be played in the regular season, the Major League Soccer Cup playoffs are quickly approaching.The new playoff format stresses the seeding of teams in each conference. The fourth and fifth seeds must play a single-elimination play-in game to advance to the Conference Semifinals.In addition, with the Conference Finals now being a two-legged, aggregate series, having home-field advantage in the second leg will be a boost for whichever team is seeded higher.Here's a team-by-team breakdown of current playoff seedings and how they may change in the final weekend of the season.Begin Slideshow
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25Oct/120

Sporting Kansas City Defeats Philadelphia, Clinches Conference Title

Sporting Kansas City, on the strength of goals from Jacob Peterson and C.J. Sapong, defeated the Philadelphia Union 2-1 Wednesday in front of a sellout crowd of 19,428 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.With the win, Sporting KC captured the Eastern Conference regular season title for the second consecutive year. It is the fifth division/conference crown overall, but it's the first time in franchise history the team has won consecutive titles.In the locker room after the game, Sporting KC captain Jimmy Nielsen told us it wasn't a typical game. Nielsen said:It was a weird game to play, with all the respect for Philadelphia, but they were all over the place. I don’t want to say they were unorganized, but you could feel they didn’t have anything to play for they risked it a little bit more and were maybe a little more lousy on their defending. It was a very, very weird game to play.Philadelphia's Amobi Okugo seemed to be the main villain for the evening, getting booked in the third minute for a foul on defender Seth Sinovic.I may be biased, but that may have been one of the few calls the ref got right. That and a good no-call on ...
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25Oct/120

MLS Playoffs 2012: Eastern Conference Seeds Up for Grabs This Saturday

Sporting Kansas City’s 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union last night allowed the club to clinch the coveted No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The road to the MLS Cup now runs through Kansas City.Joining them in the playoffs are the New York Red Bulls, Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire and D.C. United. All four teams clinched a playoff spot last week, and heading into the final Saturday of the regular season, that is all we know.The combinations are endless. Other than the No. 1 seed, no other seed in the Eastern Conference has been decided. There are three matches on Saturday that will clarify the playoff picture and provide the MLS with what should be an exciting night of soccer.Chicago (currently third) is making its first playoff appearance since 2009, and can finish anywhere from second to fifth. A victory over D.C. United on Saturday would clinch the No. 2 seed, but a loss, coupled with a Dynamo victory, could leave the Fire free-falling to the knockout round.The MLS’ midseason decision to change the first tiebreaker to goals scored is a detriment to the Fire. Of the four teams jockeying for playoff positioning, Chicago has the lowest goal tally ...
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21Oct/120

D.C. United Clinches MLS Playoff Berth with Win over Columbus

Coach Ben Olsen's mostly unnoticed campaign to return D.C. United to its former Major League Soccer glory reached an important milestone last night. United clinched a spot in the 2012 playoffs with a 3-2, come-twice-from-behind win over the Columbus Crew.Lewis Neal scored the winner in stoppage time. The dramatic goal bought United three priceless points that leap United to second in the Eastern Conference standings. The loss also eliminated the Crew from contention.D.C. now sits just three points below Sporting Kansas City. It can finish on top of the conference with a win over Chicago in the last regular-season game on October 27 (coupled with a Sporting loss to Philadelphia three days earlier).Is anyone outside the Washington Beltway noticing?Though United has won the league cup four times, D.C. has not appeared in the playoffs since 2007, when Olsen was playing for, rather than coaching, the side.Most observers noted the improved talent. The D.C. roster includes reigning MVP Dwayne De Rosario, a healthy Chris Pontius back from a broken leg and Honduran national Andy Najar. Before the start of this season, United added Nick DeLeon, Danny Cruz, Emiliano Dudar and Hamdi Salihi.The touted newcomers would add depth up and down the field, most ...
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20Oct/120

Thierry Henry and New York Red Bulls Face Crucial Match vs. Sporting Kansas City

Thierry Henry has led the New York Red Bulls to fourth in the Eastern Conference (53 points), but sit just four points ahead of sixth-placed Columbus Crew.  With Sporting Kansas City visiting Red Bull Arena tonight, New York will attempt to walk away with a crucial three points from the top team in the conference. They are three points that could save the club from a collapse of epic proportions.  The Red Bulls found themselves in first place following their 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 10, but have been wildly inconsistent since then and are now in danger of missing the playoffs. They are a pedestrian 3-2-2 in their last seven matches, with two of those victories coming against the lowly Timbers and Toronto FC. They failed to elevate when the level of competition increased and have only managed one point vs. playoff teams in that stretch (a 2-2 draw vs. D.C. United on Aug. 29). To make matters worse, New York’s potential implosion has been assisted by curious personnel decisions. The infelicitous firing of general manager Erik Soler and the speculation of head coach Hans Backe’s departure at year's end is an unnecessary added distraction. With ...
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18Oct/120

David Beckham: 5 Career Options for LA Galaxy Star When He Hangs Up His Boots

David Beckham's 20-year football career has been punctuated by remarkable comebacks and a staunch resilience that demonstrates you can never count the former Man United and Real Madrid man out.But time is the enemy of all athletes, and even Becks can't keep playing forever.Despite being handed a coaching role in England's World Cup 2010 set-up—after injury ruled him out of the squad—Beckham has been clear that professional football management is not in his future.And he hardly seems likely to follow his old friend Gary Neville into punditry.So with the two most obvious career options for ex-footballers seemingly out of the question, what should David Beckham do once he finally hangs up his boots?Begin Slideshow
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18Oct/120

Sporting Kansas City Must Drop Livestrong from Stadium Name (Poll)

The sad and stunning downfall of seven-time Tour de France-winning cyclist Lance Armstrong has little to do with the world of American soccer. A connection exists, though, and everyone who watched the United States men's national team defeat Guatemala on Tuesday night already knows it.The U.S. won that match 3-1, and with the victory advanced to the final round of CONCACAF, qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. All was right with U.S. soccer that night, except for the location of the match.Livestrong Sporting Park.Now, I have no problem with Livestrong Sporting Park itself. Let me be clear on this point: Livestrong Sporting Park is a magnificent venue for soccer, and the noisy, intense atmosphere created in the stadium that night was perfect for a home qualifying match.My problem has to do with that first word, Livestrong. That part of the stadium's name refers to the Livestrong Foundation, also known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping cancer survivors and their families through the recovery process.It's a cause that's close to Armstrong's heart. Amstrong himself is a cancer survivor, and the Livestrong Foundation has produced almost immeasurable good through his work as its chairman.As we all know ...
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