MLS Cup Final Preview: Can Houston Dynamo Spring a Shock by Beating La Galaxy?

The MLS season comes to a head tonight when David Beckham's LA Galaxy face Houston Dynamo in what promises to be one of the most enthralling finals of recent times.Californian side Galaxy have home advantage as this highly-anticipated clash takes place in their fortress—the Home Depot Centre in downtown Los Angeles.The bookies have Houston as underdogs, and there is some substance behind their expectations. Galaxy have already won the prestigious MLS Supporters’ Shield, which is the league's award to the team who have earned the most points over the season before the playoffs.Galaxy's accumulation of 67 points this season is the second-highest points total in MLS history, and the team is tipped to deliver Beckham MLS gold for the first time. They have also seen off two of the league's most dangerous teams in the playoffs, New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake.It is widely expected that the former England captain will secure a move back to Europe in the coming weeks, most likely to French giants Paris St Germain. And having made his final season his best in terms of assists and appearances, Beckham will want to leave on a high note should he wish to leave the ...
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Ex-Barcelona & Mexico Star Rafa Marquez: NY Red Bulls Teammates Not on My Level

During New York Red Bulls' Wednesday night match against Real Salt Lake, every time former Barcelona star Rafael Marquez touched the ball, a chorus of boos filled Red Bull Arena.The fan reaction was warranted: as the New Jersey-based Red Bulls (who also boast former Arsenal and Barcelona star Thierry Henry in their ranks) were trailing 3-1 at home to a Salt Lake who have hit a purple patch of form, winning their last five.New York Red Bulls' home record for the past five games makes for horrific reading for their passionate support.With this humiliating defeat denting their playoff hopes, Red Bulls have endured a 0-2-3 record in their last five games. However, the criticism seemed exclusive to Marquez, who was the only solid performer in a Red Bulls defense that leaves much to be desired.Tim Ream, the 18th pick of last year's MLS SuperDraft, gifted Salt Lake a crucial second goal, after a series of suicidal defensive play left Real Salt Lake's Fabian Espindola with the easy task of slotting the ball home.None of the above defensive errors included Marquez, the Mexico captain who has over 100 appearances for his country.Yet The Designated Player, Marquez, bore the brunt of the torrents of ...
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Five American MLS Prodigies Who Will Make It Big in Europe

There is no doubting that Major League Soccer's standard of football has sharply risen over the last five years.With this evolution of the league, the USA has produced some exciting soccer prospects who are already good enough to shine in the big leagues of Europe.And with MLS's new Youth Designated Player rules coming into place, there will be more young naturalized football talent coming from the land of the free.Here I will tip five fledgling American prospects who are set to emulate USA football hero Landon Donovan and impress on the biggest stages of the beautiful game.Begin Slideshow
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Ex-Manchester United Trialist Freddy Adu Putting His Career Back on Track in MLS

At the mere age of 14, Freddy Adu had the whole footballing world licking their lips at the thought of having a true American footballing prospect. Fresh-faced Adu had just signed a huge sponsorship deal with sports giants Nike and was allocated as the first pick in the 2004 MLS Superdraft. Having been picked up by 2004 Eastern Conference champs DC United, Adu had American soccer fans and pundits eating off the palm of his small hands. Even for American sport, a 14-year-old professional athlete is quite something.Fast forward seven years, and after a serious lack of playing time in Europe, Adu has begrudgingly returned back to the MLS. It is argued that Adu is the perfect example of a young man given too much too young. The Ghanaian-born American proved difficult to manage under DC United’s fiery manager at the time, Peter Nowak. Ironically, it is Nowak’s Philadelphia Union side Adu has just joined on a free transfer. The fame got to his head. He dated US singer JoJo and constantly tried courting the interest of European clubs via the media. After complaining about playing time in the States, a 16-year-old Freddy Adu was once given a trial at England ...
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How Manchester United and Barcelona Damaged Major League Soccer

Soccer in the USA is one of the fastest emerging football markets in the world, of that there is no doubt. A glance at the steady expansion in the MLS over the last five years is testament to that, with successful franchises having sprung up recently in Seattle, Toronto, Philadelphia and Portland.Matches are now played in front of capacity crowds at soccer-specific stadiums—as opposed to the barely full NFL stadiums that were used to host the sub-standard matches of earlier years—with an array of international stars such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez and Torsten Frings turning out for their respective teams. So business is booming—in football at least—in the USA and, inevitably, the European giants of the game want a piece of that American pie.Dominant football powers such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus toured the country this year, playing money-spinning friendlies against eachother as well as MLS teams.While the game's senior officials, like MLS Commissioner Don Garber, were licking their lips at the prospect of revenue opportunities and media interest brought about by these matches, the teams and hardcore fans are suffering.The MLS fixture list is among the most complicated and congested in football. Given the ...
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MLS: New York Red Bulls’ Juan Agudelo the Man To Put USA Soccer on the Map

Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson; three forwards the American media once touted to make an impact on the world stage. The hype for some was such that sports giant Nike became heavily involved, but almost 10 years later they're still scraping the egg from their faces. However unfulfilled these promises proved to be, that hasn't stopped media on both sides of the pond adding fuel to the debate that the MLS has once again uncovered another gem fit for the world stage. His name is Juan Agudelo, an 18-year-old Colombian-turned New Yorker, who has since pledged his footballing allegiance to the country that adopted him as an 8-year-old boy with the most humble of beginnings. Still living with his mother, it's hard to believe that Agudelo's career has taken off as quick as it has; the youngster has already appeared for the national team on four occasions, netting twice, the first of which set a record as the youngest scorer for the USA, and the second coming against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. Agudelo followed a different path to that taken by the majority of his compatriots. His natural ability prompted MLS side New York Red Bulls to sign him ...
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