DC United Players Robbed During CONCACAF Champions League Match vs. Queretaro

The Washington Post's Steven Goff reported Monday that some members of D.C. United had their cellphones and cash stolen last week in Queretaro, Mexico, during the squad's CONCACAF Champions League match against Queretaro F.C.   "S--t happens down there," manager Ben Olsen said, per Goff. "It's upsetting that stuff like that still goes down in CONCACAF." However, Queretaro F.C released a statement in Spanish, via Twitter, denying any phones were stolen from the stadium. ESPN FC's Tom Marshall provided a short summary: Per Steven Streff of SB Nation's Black and Red United, the club will compensate the D.C. United players: Olsen commended both CONCACAF and Queretaro F.C. for what he called a "very professional" response to the incident, per Goff.'s Thomas Floyd added that no evidence points to either the club or match organizers having direct involvement in the robbery. Floyd countered, however, saying team members don't completely absolve Queretaro or CONCACAF of blame: Recovering the phones will prove difficult. Floyd reported a D.C. United player used an iPhone app to locate his phone, which was roughly 130 miles away in Mexico City. D.C. United lost the first leg 2-0 and will look to overcome the deficit at home Tuesday night. Should it move on to the semifinals, United will ...
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Outlook Bleak for MLS Clubs in CONCACAF Champions League 2nd Legs

The quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League opened on Tuesday and Wednesday with a quartet of disappointing results for the four MLS teams left in the competition.  Even though D.C. United, Seattle, Real Salt Lake and the L.A. Galaxy all showed signs of promise at certain points of their respective matches, they all displayed the qualities of clubs still working their way through the preseason.  Now as the four teams enter the return legs of their fixtures with clubs from Mexico, the outlook for an MLS side to remain in the competition is bleak at best.  D.C. United set the unfortunate tone for MLS in the knockout round in the opening quarterfinal clash against Queretaro. The Black and Red, who fielded most of their first-team squad, held firm for 70 minutes before they were undone by Yerson Candelo's magnificent strike from the right side of the pitch. A second goal from Edgar Benitez and the failure to score on the road put D.C. in a precarious position heading into Tuesday's contest at RFK Stadium.   Seattle showed plenty of promise on its home turf against Club America, but a few lapses led to a pair of away goals that will be hard to get ...
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5 Dark-Horse Contenders to Watch During the 2016 MLS Season

The 2016 MLS season begins on March 6, headlined by the MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers hosting the Columbus Crew in a rematch of December's final. Both sides will surely contend for the championship. However, MLS' parity usually produces a couple of surprise playoff teams. We will analyze five dark-horse contenders in this slideshow. It consists of teams that missed the 2015 playoffs and underwent significant change to the front office, coaching staff or squad during the offseason. Here are five clubs that can make a run in the postseason.Begin Slideshow
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Frank Lampard Reveals He’s Trying to Get Andrea Pirlo Drinking Beer

Frank Lampard has revealed he has been trying to get his New York City FC team-mate and famed wine connoisseur Andrea Pirlo onto a different form of "I always try to get him a nice lager or a beer," Lampard told Shortlist (via the Sun). "He’s quite open to that but he is Mr Italian man, so loves his Italian restaurants, which there are a lot of in New York." The two veteran midfielders have quickly become friends since trading Europe for the United States in 2015, often socialising with their families in the Big Apple. "We spend time together with our other halves, go to dinner, share a glass or two of red wine. He owns a vineyard back in Italy, where he makes his own family wine, so he’s a bit of a connoisseur." [h/t the Sun]Read more MLS news on
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Will Ferrell Talks Los Angeles FC: Chants, Turtlenecks, Stadiums and More

Comedian and actor Will Ferrell appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday to discuss his part-ownership of new Major League Soccer franchise Los Angeles FC.The Anchorman star introduced the audience to his simple but catchy chant for the team, before revealing he wants to help build the club's new stadium and that he hopes to base his ownership style around that of the late New York Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner.LAFC, whose other part-owners include NBA legend Magic Johnson and former MLB star Nomar Garciaparra, hope to take part in MLS in 2018.[YouTube]Read more MLS news on
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How Does the Chinese Super League’s Spending Spree Affect MLS?

The Chinese Super League's blockbuster transfer market has crept its way into Major League Soccer. Seattle Sounders striker Obafemi Martins is closing in on a move to Shanghai Shenhua for around $3 million, per ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle.If the deal is confirmed, China's spending splurge will become a worry for MLS.Both MLS and the CSL are considered to be up-and-coming leagues. Yet it is the latter that is rapidly growing into a top competition, despite starting in 2004.Firstly, the CSL is snapping up players in their prime. Alex Teixeira was a Liverpool and Chelsea target, per Marcus Christenson and Thiago Rabelo of the Guardian. The Brazilian ended up signing with Jiangsu Suning and will earn around €10 million annually, per the Sport Bible.Meanwhile, the highest-paid MLS player is Kaka at about $7.1 million, per the MLS Players Union.The structures of both leagues are telling based on these figures alone. MLS' salary cap prevents the teams from signing more quality players. This is not the case in China.Designated players, general and targeted allocation money allow for some flexibility. This has allowed Toronto FC to spend more in annual wages than any other MLS club at $22.7 million, per ESPN FC.However, it's still an inadequate ...
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Can the Seattle Sounders Be MLS Title Contenders Without Obafemi Martins?

The Seattle Sounders received news over the weekend that no club wants to hear less than a month before the regular season begins. The Sounders are expected to lose their leading scorer from 2015, Obafemi Martins, to Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League.  The transfer shouldn't come as a major surprise given the recent spending power of the Chinese first division and the history Martins has. Before spending three years in Seattle, Martins bounced around between six different clubs in seven seasons.  Having Martins stay in Seattle for three seasons has to be judged as a success given the player's propensity to go after a big payday. It must be noted Martins isn't officially gone as of this writing, but all signs are pointing to the transfer happening sooner rather than later.  "I can tell you that Oba is not here with us for this phase of camp," Seattle general manager Garth Lagerwey told ESPN's Jeff Carlisle. "We've had an approach from a Chinese club for his services. It could take a while to have that resolved. There's really nothing else we can add at this point, but hopefully we know more by the end of the week." With the Nigerian forward not ...
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Could the Balance of Power Shift from West to East in MLS in 2016?

Major League Soccer prides itself on parity, but when the championship is determined, there is a good chance a Western Conference team will pick up the trophy.  Since the Columbus Crew captured the MLS Cup in 2008, six of the last seven MLS Cup champions and four of the seven Supporters' Shield winners have come from the Western Conference. The only Eastern Conference team to win the MLS Cup during that span was Sporting Kansas City, who now resides in the West, in 2013.  As the 2016 season approaches, the West is still seen as the better conference, but there could be a chance that the East takes over the throne if certain things fall into place.  The good news for the East entering the new season, which begins March 6, is it possesses a few teams that are capable of winning the MLS Cup.  The New York Red Bulls, who have won two Supporters' Shields in the last three years, bring back the majority of last season's Shield-winning squad. With Bradley Wright-Phillips up top and Dax McCarty leading the midfield from his spot in front of the back four, the Red Bulls have the talent to finally get over the hump and win ...
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Arsenal vs. MLS All-Stars Announced for 2016 MLS All-Star Game

Major League Soccer has announced Premier League giants Arsenal as the opponents for the league's All-Star team this summer, with the match set to be played in San Jose, California, on Thursday, July 28. MLS' official Twitter account confirmed the news with a short video: The MLS All-Stars have been taking on foreign guests during the All-Star Game since 2005 and beat Arsenal's fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 last year. It will be the Gunners' first appearance in the All-Star game, joining the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich on the list of teams who have participated. The match will be a part of Arsenal's pre-season tour, and the Gunners will play a second match on American soil against Chivas de Guadalajara in Los Angeles three days later, per the club's official website. Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is excited to return to the USA after their visit to the east coast in 2014: Pre-season is a critically important time for us and we are delighted to be going to San Jose and Los Angeles to participate in the 2016 MLS All-Star game and to play Chivas. We have tremendous support across America and enjoyed our visit to New York in the summer of 2014 when we played ...
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Is Bruce Arena Loading Up for One Last MLS Cup Run with the LA Galaxy?

The Los Angeles Galaxy have undergone the most intriguing offseason in Major League Soccer. At first, the idea of the Galaxy signing experienced players like Ashley Cole indicated that the club was falling behind, per Sean Steffen of SB Nation. Now, it appears as if there's an actual plan. Head coach Bruce Arena is trying to win the MLS Cup and other trophies, in what could be his last season with the Galaxy. Arena signed a multi-year extension before the 2014 season. Due to MLS rules, the terms were not disclosed, but at 64 years old, the American tactician may be tempted by another challenge in the near future. Arena admitted to ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle that he'd like to stay in the game, but he didn't know whether it would be with LA or another team. Whatever he decides to do after the upcoming season, Arena's ambition for 2016 was made clear this winter. The Galaxy sold defender Omar Gonzalez and midfielder Juninho to Pachuca and Club Tijuana, respectively. LA then bolstered the roster by acquiring defenders Cole and Jelle Van Damme, along with midfielder Nigel De Jong for a combined $1.3 million in salary. To put that number into context, LA's three marquee signings ...
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