MLS Playoff Predictions: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

As the MLS season begins its stretch run, a unique dimension about the league takes shape.Unlike so many other major sports, MLS teams jockey for position and yet remain fairly close in the standings.Months of league play have done little to separate many of the teams, a sign of effective parity.So with the playoffs now beginning to emerge on the horizon, many squads still have a decent chance at postseason play.Here's a look at some of the hotter teams, and conversely some that are downright gruesome.Begin Slideshow
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Olympics 2012: New England Revolution’s Jerry Bengtson Sinks Spanish Armada

With two games down in the Olympic group play, there are a few subplots that have dominated news so far. None is more striking than the demise of Spain. With its emphatic 4-0 win in the final of Euro 2012, Spain had gone from strength to strength, winning three major international tournaments in a row. And while its Olympic squad was mostly a 23-and-under roster, it still shocked the soccer world that one of the favorites will make an ignominious first-round departure.  The Man Who Fired the Shot Heard Around the Soccer World Spain’s demise came at the hands of a Honduran team that proved equal parts tough and resilient, characteristic attributes of a team pulling an upset. One man was of particular note, though, embodying the lonely nature of his underdog team, written off as it was surely was by the experts. Jerry Bengtson, recently signed by the New England Revolution, took up the solemn duty as the lone striker in Honduras’ lineup. And though a majority of his afternoon was spent in the thankless role of the sole player Honduran defenders and midfielders hoofed it to downfield, he had one very bright moment. Seizing a driven cross, Bengtson ...
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American Soccer’s Future: An Interview with MLS Star Bill Hamid

Bill Hamid is, in many ways, a glimpse into American soccer’s future. As a 21-year-old goalkeeper playing in MLS, he plays a position which the United States has made its own in the past decades. Continuing the tradition of talented American keepers, Hamid became the youngest goalie in MLS history to win a league game as a 19-year-old in 2010, beating the previous record holder (some guy named Tim Howard). Hamid’s fast ascent towards success is rooted in his unique position as a player. He was the first D.C. United player to sign with the main team from their academy. Opting not to go the college route, he went professional early (enrolling at United’s academy in January of 2007) and it has paid off. “It depends on what you want,” noted Hamid. “Certain players want to get their education under their belt, but other guys just want to jump in the game and start learning as fast as possible, and I decided to take that route. It’s on another level from college, because it’s year-round and the training is fast.” At a more broad level, Hamid seemed to agree that the academies are another step in building American soccer, saying ...
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David Beckham’s Top 10 MLS Moments

Like it or not, David Beckham is the most widely known MLS player in the world.He's a flagship player, and has been ever since he arrived with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.Debate will undoubtedly rage forever about the effectiveness that Beckham has had in "winning Americans over to soccer," as argument goes.Yet he has certainly had an impact, scoring trademark free kicks and whipping in beautiful crosses for his Galaxy teammates.So what have been Beckham's top MLS moments? Here's a look at a few.Begin Slideshow
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MLS All-Stars vs. Chelsea: 6 Bold Predictions

It's mid-July, and that can only mean one thing for MLS.The time has come once again when they assemble the All-Star team for one of the most fun All-Star games in America.Unlike so many other sports, where these meaningless games find an amassed group of talent with no worthy adversary, MLS is never starved for quality opponents.On a yearly basis, the timing of their All-Star game coincides with preseason tours of some of the finest squads in the world.This season, the soccer gods have seen fit to lure in Chelsea, still freshly minted from being crowned as slightly miraculous Champions League winners.And regardless of the manner of their victory, Chelsea have been busy all summer, adding and subtracting players.What remains for the Londoners is a stacked lineup.For MLS, it will be another amazing opportunity to showcase the league and its finest players.For the fans, it should be fun to watch. Here are some predictions for the upcoming clash.Begin Slideshow
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MLS Power Rankings at Halfway: Shocking Surprises and Predictable Realities

Roughly halfway through the MLS season, and like many seasons before it, there is a large degree of unpredictability.One reason why the MLS format (with it's salary cap etc) is a good setup is that it promotes league parody first, and worries about nearly everything else second.For this reason (and, it should be said, many others) the defending champion often finds itself in a difficult spot.The 2011 champs, the L.A. Galaxy, are no different, spending much of the early part of this year falling back to earth as abruptly as possible.Yet as past giants struggle, last year's struggling teams begin to rise. Now, halfway through the newest MLS season, let's see where they stack up: 1. San Jose Earthquakes (11-4-4): Armed with league leading scorer, and one-man bailout machine Chris Wondolowski, the Earthquakes have rattled off several last-second wins so far this year. They're far from being a one-man team, but if anyone asks you who the MVP is so far, make no mistake it's San Jose's talisman. 2. D.C. United (10-5-3): Our first major surprise on the list comes early! D.C., long bereft of any good news (let alone a playoff bid since 2007), have found their groove thanks to a ...
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6 MLS All-Stars Who Could Cut It in the Premier League

Under normal circumstances, any conversation regarding the MLS and English Premier League will usually concern which slightly over-the-hill EPL veteran will next decide to see out the remainder of his career in America.Having said that, it's important to remember that there has been an underrated flow going in the other direction for several years now.Players like Clint Dempsey, Stuart Holden, Tim Howard and Landon Donovan (on loan) are all quality players who have had a positive impact on Premier League clubs.With that being said, who could cut it from the 2012 MLS All-Star team?Let's take a look.Begin Slideshow
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Top 10 Veterans We’d Love to See in MLS

It's undeniable that Major League Soccer has continued its rise in American sports. Attendance and interest has been up, and the quality of games has improved.Yet there's also the undeniable fact that MLS has become, for better or worse, a league where many veterans of European leagues come to retire.Fans can debate the merits of this, but it is nonetheless beyond debate that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.So who would we like to see in MLS? Again, this is up for debate as it's a subjective point of discussion. That said, there are a few obvious choices.Let's take a look at a few of them.(Keep in mind, some of these are players who we'd like to see in the league, not necessarily people we think will play here.)Begin Slideshow
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6 Reasons Why the New York Red Bulls Will Win the MLS Cup

With so much of the focus in this still young MLS season on either Kansas City, Salt Lake City or even the defending champions in Los Angeles, the remarkable has actually come true.The New York Red Bulls are flying under the radar.Of course, it's partly their own fault. Underachievers for so long now, prognosticators could be forgiven for dismissing Hans Backe's side.Yet this season, I'm going out on a limb. I'll say that they finally reach their potential.Here are six reasons why.Begin Slideshow
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Sene and Cardenas Typifying Remade Revolution Attack

Starved for goals against Colorado on Wednesday, the Revolution turned once again to their cast of new faces. And in Saer Sene and Fernando Cardenas, they have found two very promising signings. Add in players like Jose Moreno, Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen, and the Revolution have found a strategy to overhaul their struggling attack: strength in numbers. So far, only flashes of potential have risen to the surface (since New England still sits with two more losses than wins at 3-5), but last night’s 2-1 win against the Rapids was particularly representative of what this team is capable of when they're firing on all cylinders. That they were down 1-0 early was also significant. Gauging a team’s capability is best done when they’re losing. And watching Jay Heaps’ squad respond was heartening for New England fans. Rather than panicking, players like Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph and Clyde Simms simply settled down. They began grinding down Colorado’s passing game and winning the ball higher and higher up the field. And when possession was regained, almost every Revs player on the field avoided the panicky, rushed passes straight up field that soccer teams so often resort to when they’re trailing. Instead, ...
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