Sylvae MLS News

28Nov/130

MLS Expansions, Premier League Interest and the Rise of Football in the US

The latest installment in the never-ending story surrounding Major League Soccer and its expansion plans arrived last week, as Orlando City Soccer Club was officially announced as the league’s 21st franchise, to join New York City Football Club as new entrants in 2015. The story of football’s expansion and rise in the US is impressive, especially given the context of its domestic league’s relative young age, but a look at the FIFA World Rankings shows that at 14th place (as of the time of writing), the US is here to stay. To explore just how football has developed in America though, we have to first look back across the pond and to the Premier League, whose increasingly globalized product is at the heart of it all.   NBC Sports deliver polished Premier League product to US audiences The new PL carrier in England, BT Sport, recently struck a groundbreaking deal to carry the Champions League from 2015-2018, as reported by BBC Sport. But they’re arguably not even the biggest newcomer to have caused waves through the football television industry. That accolade goes to America’s NBC Sports, who have well and truly taken football coverage in the U.S. up several notches, especially in comparison with the likes ...
Filed under: MLS News No Comments
27Nov/130

Should Major League Soccer Alter Their Transfer Window Mindset?

Ever since the Los Angeles Galaxy acquired David Beckham in 2007, the big name designated player transfer policy of Major League Soccer has seen quite a few big names enter the league.  Now, as the MLS offseason and January transfer window beckon, the name of the latest star to be linked with MLS has been released.  According to a report by Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror, Toronto FC have agreed to a deal with Tottenham and England forward Jermain Defoe.  At 31, Defoe would still be able to produce for the Reds, who are a side that are in desperate need of a successful season north of the border in 2014.  Defoe has been relegated to the bench at Spurs since the summer arrival of Roberto Soldado from Valencia, and he is looking to break into Roy Hodgson's England squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  There is no doubt that this would be a massive get by Toronto FC and the league itself, but is it the right transfer to highlight the offseason?  Some of the highest profile designated players in the league at the moment are in the latter stages of their careers, including Robbie Keane, Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry.  While all three of those ...
Filed under: MLS News No Comments
26Nov/130

MLS Cup 2013: Date, Time, TV Info and Preview of Sporting KC vs. Real Salt Lake

Apparently, it was a good year to be No. 2 in Major League Soccer. Following Real Salt Lake's advancement on Sunday and Sporting Kansas City's a day earlier, both No. 2 seeds in the Western and Eastern Conference tables have advanced, setting up a 2013 MLS Cup that it's safe to say few expected. For many, it had been preordained from the start of the postseason that the New York Red Bulls and the Portland Timbers would meet in the finale of the United States' soccer season. Or, if it wasn't both of them, at least one of the two teams that had topped their respective conferences would have at least gotten a shot. But, alas, it wasn't meant to be. Real Salt Lake won both of their legs against Portland, good for an aggregate score of 5-2. Their celebration of their first MLS Cup appearance since 2009 even took place before a shell-shocked crowd at Portland's Jel-Wen Field. Sporting Kansas City's triumph was a little less certain. Heading into Saturday's matchup at Sporting Park, the two teams had played to a scoreless draw two weeks prior. When the Dynamo took an early lead on Oscar Boniek García's goal in the third minute, it ...
Filed under: MLS News No Comments
25Nov/130

Vermes & Kreis Poised for Sporting Kansas City-Real Salt Lake MLS Cup Match

They are two of America’s up-and-coming managers, and in seven head-to-head encounters there has been little to separate them. Since Peter Vermes took charge of the then-Kansas City Wizards in August 2009 he and Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis have each won three matches against the other and drawn once. Only twice has the spread between them been two goals or greater; just once has one of the two clubs strung back-to-back victories against the other (Real Salt Lake in 2009 and 2010). It goes without saying the eighth and tie-breaking match will be a closely-fought, and likely low-scoring, affair, and in this particular instance the stakes could not be higher. On Saturday, December 7, Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake will square off to determine American football supremacy in the 2013 MLS Cup. And that both clubs have won the league on one occasion—Kansas City in 2000 and Salt Lake in 2009—only serves to set up a tie-breaker of even greater proportions. But given Kansas City’s 13-year MLS Cup drought, Vermes has had to create a winning mentality from scratch in recent seasons whereas Kreis and a handful of his current players are just four years removed from their memorable win on ...
Filed under: MLS News No Comments
25Nov/130

Best and Worst from the 2nd Leg of the MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Final

The best action from the second leg of the MLS Cup playoffs conference final was highlighted by Real Salt Lake's defense, but what about the worst? Plenty of candidates met the criteria this weekend, but the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City took inept turns in the final third of the pitch on Saturday. All that transpired at JELD-WEN Field the next day paled in comparison. Here is a look at why that turned out to be the case.   Best: Real Salt Lake's defense The Portland Timbers entered the second leg of the conference final needing at least two goals to send the tie into extra time. Instead, they scored none. There's a reason for that. Even with 54.9 percent possession and 18 attempts, the Timbers finished the evening with as many goals as they have trophies—zero. A club that finished the season having completed 79.2 percent of its passes only found a 72 percent accuracy in the biggest match of the season. Even worse, 17.5 percent of Portland's 40 crosses successfully connected. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando was forced to make just two saves all night. According to the RSL's website, the 34-year-old Rimando credits the central pairing of Chris Schuler and Nat Borchers for the club's defensive efforts: Fantastic. ...
Filed under: MLS News No Comments
25Nov/130

Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake: Score and Recap from 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs

After dominating the first leg, Real Salt Lake clinched the Western Conference championship and a ticket to the MLS Cup with a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Sunday. They won the playoff 5-2 on aggregate. ESPN FC summed up the victory for Salt Lake: Motivated by a raucous crowd as usual, you could tell that the Timbers came into the match needing to make up two goals in the 90-minute span, as they pushed the envelope early and often. Although they controlled the tempo early on, as well as possession, it wasn't Portland who struck first, despite the desperate attempts. In the 29th minute of the match, Robbie Findley of Salt Lake slipped free inside the box right in front of Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, and the left-footed strike was the match's only goal. Portland came awfully close to equalizing just three minutes later, but the would-be goal was nullified on an offside call. MLS provided a link to the controversial play: Even though plenty of time remained to mount a comeback, Salt Lake was able to take control of the pace of the match late in the first half and early into the second. Instead of giving into Portland's aggressive style of play, Salt ...
Filed under: MLS News No Comments
24Nov/130

Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo: Score and Recap from 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs

After coming up on the wrong end of playoff outcomes against the Houston Dynamo in the previous two seasons, Sporting Kansas City turned the tables on their Eastern Conference foe and earned a trip to the MLS Cup in the process. After falling behind by a goal early, Sporting netted the match's final two goals to earn a 2-1 win in the second match of their two-leg Eastern Conference Final at Sporting Park. The two played a scoreless draw in Houston in the first leg.  The energy at Sporting Park was fantastic. Of course, it was far too cold for fans to just sit quietly in their seats. This picture was taken a few hours before kickoff: After the scoreless draw in the first leg of this playoff, it took only three minutes for Houston to get on the board. After some sloppy defense, Oscar Boniek Garcia took a headed pass by Brad Davis and drilled a right-footer from the center of the box into the bottom left corner. The fast start for Houston did not destroy the confidence of Kansas City.  Sporting was aggressive playing in front of the energetic crowd, and it didn't take long for their effort to show up on the ...
Filed under: MLS News No Comments
23Nov/130

MLS Cup Playoffs 2013: Key to Victory for Each Team in Conference Championships

After a two-week break, the MLS Cup Playoffs get back underway this weekend. In the Eastern Conference, Sporting Kansas City host the Houston Dynamo. After a 0-0 first leg, the second leg should provide plenty of entertainment. And with no away goals rule, Sporting KC won't have to worry about a major uphill battle if they concede an early goal. On the other side, Real Salt Lake carry with them a 4-2 lead from the first leg when they travel to Portland to take on the Timbers for the Western Conference title. Even a two-goal lead isn't safe when you consider how raucous and boisterous the crowd will be at Jeld-Wen Field. In order for each team to get through to the final, they'll have to make sure they follow through on these keys to the game.   Eastern Conference Final Sporting Kansas City: Free Graham Zusi and Let Him Create One of the most enjoyable teams to watch in MLS over the past couple of seasons has been Sporting KC. Peter Vermes uses a very positive attacking style that's not only been a pleasure on the eyes, it's also been very successful on the pitch. One of the biggest reasons for that success has been Graham Zusi. The 27-year-old ...
Filed under: MLS News No Comments
22Nov/130

Potential Names for David Beckham’s MLS Franchise

After finally hanging up his boots earlier this year, David Beckham is looking to continue his legacy within the beautiful game by becoming the owner of a team. Goldenballs is expected to take charge of a yet-to-be-announced new MLS franchise in Miami, a city that hasn't enjoyed top-tier football since the Fusion were dissolved in 2001. On Friday, Beckham gave an inkling to ESPN that the new team is an inevitability: "Miami is something that really excites me because there is a great energy down there. They are ready for a football team in that part of the world." Once the new Florida team gets the MLS stamp of approval, it will need a name—and we're one step ahead with these ideas. You're welcome, Dave... Begin Slideshow
Filed under: MLS News No Comments
20Nov/130

MLS Cup Playoffs 2013: Most Important Player for Each Remaining Club

With only four clubs remaining in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the pressure is on for each side to play its best. In order for that to happen, the teams will need some great performances from key players. Some of the league's biggest stars are no longer in contention for a league championship. Landon Donovan and the L.A. Galaxy have been eliminated, along with Clint Dempsey and the Seattle Sounders. The New York Red Bulls and Thierry Henry are also out after finishing the regular season with the most points. Still, there are plenty of key players remaining around the league. These stars will have a big role in the next few matches, and the one that performs the best could end up raising the trophy at the end of the year.   Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City The strength of Sporting KC is the defense, which led the league with the fewest goals allowed this season. Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler took care of business on the back line and made few mistakes to keep every match low scoring. However, the offense does not run without Graham Zusi. Despite bouncing back and forth to the United States national team, he still managed to total seven assists ...
Filed under: MLS News No Comments