7/22/16 Indy 11 Return Home Sat Night, ICC Starts with Man U drubbing, MLS NY Darby Sun 12:30 Fox, MLS All-Star Game vs Arsenal Thurs 7:30 on ESPN

Ok so maybe the Summer of Soccer is still here – as the International Champions Cup takes center stage starting this weekend in the US and around the world over the next 2 weeks.  The games are on the ESPN networks which should provide plenty of coverage and games within driving distance:  Real vs PSG at Columbus, Bayern vs AC Milan in Chicago, Real vs Chelsea in Mich Stadium have a certain appeal as well.  Now I like this tourney but remember this is pre-season on a summer with the Euros and COPA which will keep most of the real stars on these teams limited to a ½, if they play at all. Oops forgot the. US ladies play Costa Rica tonite 9 pm ESPN

Our Indy 11 finally had their NASL tying 13 game unbeaten streak broken at Minn 2-0 after some questionable home calls did the 11 in.   They return to the Jake for FC Edmonton this Sat, July 23 7:30 pm (TV8)- make plans to support your 11 by buying tickets for Family night for as little as $11.  Its also College Nite with $9 tix with College ID.  Turning to MLS – I watched Seattle/Portland on Sunday and what an atmosphere at the Rose Pad at PP– the MLS defending champs appear to be turning the corner here near the All-Star Break with the impressive 3-1 win.  Man my other team Seattle is just self destructing.  Neat story on Matt Hedges former Carmel High star at Dallas.  Coming this weekend – the NY Darby as NYCFC faces the NY Red Bulls 12:30 pm on FOX on Sunday followed by KC hosting Seattle 3 pm on ESPN, while Sat has the LA Galaxy hosting Portland on ESPN at 3:30 following the ICC Celtic vs Leicester City match at 12:30.  The MLS All Star Game vs Arsenal is just a week away (July 28 7:30 ESPN).

Locally they are still taking signups for Carmel High Asst and Carmel FC coach Carla Baker (a former Iowa coach and former Canadian National Team GK) and her sister Former Pittsburgh Head Coach Sue-Moy Chin’s annual Post2Post Soccer field player camp  – July 25-28 —9 am to 3 pm just $195 @ Badger Field.  Finally –Carmel FC – Summer CFC Technical Training returns this week . If you are a goalkeeper – I am continuing my personal Monday night GK trainings July 18, 25, Aug 1 if interested RE: or email shanebestsoccer@gmail.com

Carmel High Boys – Youth Soccer Camp 2nd to 6th Graders only

Run by CHS Boys team players – Thurs, Aug 4 (9:30 am till 12 noon) – CHS Practice Fields River Road and 126th . 2nd to 6th Graders only – Cost $35 to CHS –- First 100 players to sign up.  Sign Up Here https://www.ticketracker.com/store/item?catalogItemId=8741   Email Shari if you have questions indyabbotts@hotmail.com.

Indy 11

Gameday Preview vs FC Edmonton

Dual Roles – nice story on Players with Families

Vukovic on Week 3 Team of Week

3 things Indy’s loss to Min United.

Family Nite at the Mike Sat Night just $11

Tough own goal for Min United GK Sammy NdJock

Min United Goalie Own Goal – funny video

International Champions Cup

Dortmund thrashes Man U 4-1 in China

Unique challenge for Man City vs Man U in ICC Mon

Schedule on ESPN

What to Watch For in ICC video

Tix still available for Real vs PGS at Columbus, Bayern vs AC Milan in Chicago, Real vs Chelsea in Mich Stadium

ICC Website


Power Rankings

MLS Allstar Roster Announced

Not the Perfect Match – Kries and Orlando FC – Jeff Carlisle

Check this Tifo from Portlands Providence Park Sunday

NY Darby – NYCFC vs NY Red Bulls

Around MLS – Seattle Slumps, NYCFC finally loses

Should US Youth Clubs be Compensated?– Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

A Mom’s Text supports Dallas and US Defender Matt Hedges – former Carmel High star


Brad Guzan to Middlesbrough?

USMNT Golden Generation Has Passed – ESPNFC Noah Davis

US youngsters light up pre-season

US Players Hot List

Christen Press Role on US Ladies

World Leagues

Only way is down for Leicester – ESPNFC Tony Evans

Conte’s 5 point plan to get Chelsea on track – ESPNFC

5 things Pep Must do at Man City


See the Complete TV Schedule online www.theoleballcoach.com

Fri, July 22

9 pm  – ESPN ,     US ladies vs Costa Rica – last Olympic Send off Game

Sat, July 23

5 am – ESPN2                                        ICC Melborne vs Juve

12:30 pm                         ESPN                                    ICC Celtic vs Leicester City

3:30 p.m. (ESPN)                                 Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy

7:30 pm Wish TV 8                            Indy 11 vs Edmonton – @ H The Jake

Sunday, July 24:

12:30 p.m. (Fox,)                                 New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC,

3:00 p.m. (ESPN,)                                Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders,

5 pm ESPN                                               ICC Inter vs PSG

Monday, July 25

5 AM ESPN 2                                           ICC Man City vs Man United  China

Tuesday, July 26

5 AM ESPN3+ESPN desportes     ICC Juventus vs Tottenham

Wed, July 27

7:30 p.m. (ESPN2        ICC Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain, Columbus, OH
9:30 p.m. (ESPN2,       ICC Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan, Chicago Soldier Field
11:30 p.m. (ESPN,       ICC Liverpool vs. Chelsea, Rose Bowl

Thur, July 28                 

7:30 a.m. ESPN3          ICC Borussia Dortmund vs Man City

(ESPN, UniMás) MLS All-Stars vs. Arsenal 7:30 p.m.

Sat, July 30

1:00 p.m. ESPN            ICC Barcelona vs. Celtic,
3:00 p.m. ESPN            ICC Chelsea vs. Real Madrid – Mich Stadium
5:00 p.m. (ESPNews                          ICC Bayern Munich vs. Inter Milan,
10:00 p.m. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes) Liverpool vs. AC Milan,
(11:30 p.m., ESPN       ICC Paris Saint-Germain vs. Leicester City,

Indy 11@ Miami – 8 pm BeIn sports

Sun, July 31

1:00 p.m. Fox, Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers,
4:00 p.m. ESPN Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles Galaxy,

Wed, Aug 3

ICC Barcelona vs. Leicester City, ICC 2:00 p.m. (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)
United States women vs. New Zealand women, Olympics group stage, 6:00 p.m. (TV NBC?)
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich, International Champions Cup 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)
Chelsea vs. AC Milan, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)
Portland Timbers vs. CD Dragon, CONCACAF Champions League group stage, 10:00 p.m. (TV TBD)

Sat, Aug 6

12 noon ESPN                ICC Liverpool vs Barcelona – Wembley

Sun, Aug 7

11 am ???                        Community Shield Leicester City vs Man United

Sat, Aug 13                      EPL Season Starts

7:30 a.m., CNBC:         Hull City vs. Leicester City 
10:00 a.m., NBCSN    Everton vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough vs. Stoke City, Southampton vs. Watford
12:30 p.m., CNBC:     Manchester City vs. Sunderland

Sun, Aug 14

8:30 a.m., NBCSN:      Bournemouth vs. Manchester United
11:00 a.m., NBCSN:
   Arsenal vs. Liverpool

MLS TV Schedule ‘ They Are Back

International Champions Cup – TV Schedule in July

EPL TV Schedule

 Soccer Camps – Boys and Girls -Ages 6 – 14

Post2Post Soccer Camp
Carmel High Asst and Carmel FC coach Carla Baker (a former Iowa coach and former Canadian National Team GK) and her sister Former Pittsburgh Head Coach Sue-Moy Chin run their annual field player camp for players of all abilities July 25-28 —9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger

Carmel High Boys – Youth Soccer Camp 2nd to 6th Graders only

Run by CHS Boys team players – Thurs, Aug 4 (9:30 am till 12 noon) – CHS Practice Fields River Road and 126th . 2nd to 6th Graders only – Cost $35 to CHS –- First 100 players to sign up.  Sign Up Here https://www.ticketracker.com/store/item?catalogItemId=8741   Email Shari if you have questions indyabbotts@hotmail.com.


If you are a goalkeeper – I am doing my personal Monday night GK trainings July 11, 18 + 25  + Aug 1.

U-9-U12 6 till 7 pm

U13 and above 7:00 – 8:15 pm

if interested RE: or email shanebestsoccer@gmail.com


Earn Your Accredited College Degree at ½ the Cost and Time of Traditional Schools


Congrats to 2 Indiana Teams in the National Championship Finals in Oklahoma. 

Boilers FC Gold (IN) only needed one early goal to claim the Under-16 Boys National Presidents Cup title 1-0 over FSC Force (NC). The goal came from Mohamed Ayad in the ninth minute.  The U16G Fort Wayne Sport Club 00G Strikers claimed second place in the National tournament and won the Fair Play award. Karmen Koch was named Most Outstanding Player and Koch, Jorden Habiby, Cali Geiger and Kayla Amidon were named to the Best 16 Team. Congrats to both Indiana teams – from Indiana Soccer.

Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs FC Edmonton  Saturday, July 23, 2016 – 7:30 p.m. ET  Carroll Stadium – 

Indy Eleven:
2W-1D-1L, 7 pts., 3rd in NASL Fall Season
6W-7D-1L, 25 pts., 2nd in Combined Season

FC Edmonton:
2W-1D-0L, 7 pts., 4th in NASL Fall Season
7W-3D-3L, 24 pts., 3rd in Combined Season

Watch Live: Local: WISH-TV   National: None  Online: ESPN3.com

Indy Eleven’s Last Time Out – Minnesota United FC 2 : 0 Indy Eleven  In the words of Indy Eleven Public Relations director John Koluder, “all good things must… yadda yadda yadda.” After matching the best ever NASL unbeaten streak in their 3-0 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Carroll Stadium, Indy Eleven suffered their first loss since October 2015 and the first of their 2016 NASL campaign away to Minnesota United FC.Christian Ramirez got in the scoresheet inside the opening three minutes from the penalty spot after Greg Janicki was judged to have brought down Danny Cruz in the box. After seeing his attempt saved by Eleven ‘keeper Jon Busch last weekend, Ramirez made sure to bury his redemptive chance to put the Loons ahead early. Things went from bad to worse for “Indiana’s Team” just three minutes later when outside midfielder Stefano Pinho bounced a cross into the area that Ramirez was there to finish off, securing his brace and further his side’s lead to two after seven minutes of play.One of the positives to come from Saturday’s loss, however, was the NASL debut of Mexico legend Gerardo Torrado as he replaced Nicki Paterson to see the field in the second half of action. Making an immediate impact, Torrado began moving the ball around the park and was helpful in his team’s attempt to claw back into the match, but the Eleven were unable to capitalize on any chances as the opportunity to set the unbeaten record slipped through their hands.

FC Edmonton’s Last Time Out – FC Edmonton 1 : 0 Ottawa Fury FC   Quite the fight took place last Sunday when FC Edmonton welcomed fellow Canadian side Ottawa Fury FC in a 1 : 0 result that featured a lot more than just the one goal. Limited first half chances for both sides saw things scoreless at the break, but the second half featured plenty of action from the get-go. Featuring in the NASL Team of the Week for his performance, Eddies ‘keeper Matt VanOekel put in an excellent shift saving two battered efforts at his net inside just before the hour mark, but things looked to turn for the worse immediately afterwards. After receiving a yellow card earlier in the match, a strong challenge from Pape Diakite saw him sent off with a half hour to play, leaving newest signing Kartsen Smith to help clean up the back.Momentum shifted back the way of the hosts in the 82nd minute, though, when second half sub Sainey Nyassi drove up the pitch to swing in a low cross into the path of midfielder Nikolas Ledgerwood, who tapped home the first and only goal of the game to secure three points for the Eddies.

Who to Watch, Indy Eleven edition: MF Gerardo Torrado

After putting in a solid second half against MNU last weekend, midfielder Gerardo Torrado will likely see more of the pitch this Saturday night against FC Edmonton.A hard-nosed player who runs the center of the park, Torrado will be useful in distributing the ball as well as holding down the area just in front of a back four who were beaten twice for the first time since Minnesota United’s last visit to Carroll Stadium – a 4-2 win for the “Boys in Blue.” Though head coach Tim Hankinson has had a number of players at his disposal in the midfielder, it seems as if Torrado has impressed in his time with the club so far and may have earned a consistent place in the rotation depending on how “Coach Hank” wants to attack the Eddies in their return to Carroll Stadium. If Torrado is fit and ready to fire, expect to see him for at least the same amount of time on Saturday night, if not more than he featured against the Loons.
Who to Watch, FC Edmonton edition: MF Jake Keegan

While FC Edmonton have had a number of different goalscorers in the fall season, one man has stuck out as a consistent chance creator in the side: midfielder Jake Keegan. This is Keegan’s first year in NASL action as he signed with the Canadian side following a stint in the Irish league, but the New York native has already impressed tallying up four goals and one assist in 13 appearances. An attacking threat that moves in waves behind the strikeforce, Keegan will look to disrupt the area just in front of the defense and create chances in limited space.In his last visit to “The Mike,” Keegan was on the scoresheet in a one-all draw that saw FC Edmonton steal a point away from home. All signs will point to him being heavily involved in the action when the two meet again in the hot heat of Indianapolis.

Match-up to Mark: FW Eamon Zayed vs. GK Matt VanOekel

Though on a bit of a dry spell, forward Eamon Zayed still sits near the top of the league scoring charts and is confident he can fire home this weekend as “Indiana’s Team” looks to bounce back from their first loss of the year. However, in his way stands Eddies ‘netminder Matt VanOekel, who has impressed in the fall season with two clean sheets in three matches.Zayed has been working closely with his strike partner Justin Braun on how they can continue to link up and exploit space, something the tandem proved excellent at in the Spring Season as the Eleven were crowned champions. Now the battle becomes how the pair can stay similar in mindset but variable in attacking threat with forwards Jair Reinoso and Souleymane Youla looking to put their name on the scoresheet given the chance.There is no doubt Zayed wants to be back firing, and told IndyEleven.com’s Scott Stewart that as chances would come, he would be sure to finish.”As soon as the match finished in Minnesota, I couldn’t wait to get back on the pitch and fight again. We’ve been working, training really hard still, and don’t believe that we’ve been set back by our first loss. The extra work on the training ground, the extra work put in watching film, it all paid off in the spring and will continue to as the fall goes on. We’re confident and we can’t wait for Saturday night.”


Thoughts following Indy’s first taste of defeat in 2016

1) “All good things must …” yadda yadda yadda

It had to come eventually, right? After 13 games over a three-and-a-half month span, the “Boys in Blue” finally got their first taste of NASL defeat. The fact that it happened on the road against a very good Minnesota side might not have been all that surprising, however, the manner in which it came likely caught the team a little off guard.Coach Tim Hankinson spoke in the days before the match about how United FC would likely come out of the gates hellbent to take the game to the Eleven, so the approach to the start of Saturday’s game was expected. However, the result was not – it’s not often that teams are punished that harshly for two defensive mistakes that quickly in a game. That’s exactly what happened though, and before you know it the Loons are up 2-0 and showing no signs of slowing.To Indy’s credit, as they have all season, the guys played to the end. For awhile there in the second half I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking, “You know, if they can just get that first one on the board …” Alas, the sharpness wasn’t there, and that “first one” would never come, despite the Eleven grabbing a hold of the game in the second half.Perhaps it was the miles logged over a long week that finally caught up to them, perhaps it was just their time to lose. At the end of the day, the opportunity lost to gain the top spot in both the Combined and Fall Season standings is what the squad will rue more than the snapping of an unbeaten streak that had to come … eventually.

2) “Torrado Warning”

As mentioned above, Indy managed to turn the run of play in its favor after halftime, and part of that success came through the introduction of Gerardo Torrado. The El Tri legend finally made his NASL debut with a 45-minute shift that should have fans of the “Boys in Blue” downright giddy, and a look at the Opta Stats chalkboard bears out why:

1) Torrado finished with 26 of 29 passes completed on his 36 touches (passing chart to the right). Sure, maybe that level of precision is expected from a traditional “number 5” who’s entrusted to make the “smart pass,” except for the fact that …

2) 23 of his 29 passes were attempted in the attacking half of the field, including three “key passes” that contributed to his four chances created – IN JUST 45 MINUTES. Some of that (or maybe a lot of it) can be chalked up to the duel circumstances of the team being in a “goal-hunting” position on the scoreboard and Minnesota essentially conceding possession to the visitors, but the team was also in that position for the last 39 minutes of the first half as well, when only two key chances were created in comparison to 12 in the second half.

3) Torrado’s average position was roughly 15 yards more up the field than the man he replaced, Nicki Paterson, and another five past fellow central midfielder Brad Ring (don’t believe it … look below). While that likely won’t be the “new norm” for the Indy Eleven midfield (make no mistake, Torrado wasn’t brought in to be a traditional playmaker) it could provide a look into how Hankinson might – or at least can – use El Borrago when he’s inserted into the starting lineup, which one would expect to happen this Saturday against FC Edmonton.

3) Do the Loons Have Our Number? Not So Fast …

With Indiana’s Team taking the season series two wins to one it’s hard to say Minnesota indeed “has Indy’s number” … but the number two is indeed meaningful, as the Loons are the only team to score multiple goals on the “Boys in Blue” in 2016. Minnesota – which indeed possesses the highest-scoring attack in the NASL – twice in three meetings put two on the scoreboard against Indy Eleven, but only once was it enough to result in defeat.When it comes to who Indy Eleven might host in the playoffs, Minnesota could very well be high on that list … if they aren’t hosting a game themselves as the potential Fall Season champion, that is. What is for certain is that these two Midwestern (or close enough) squads have built up a certain amount of contempt for each other in three somewhat chippy games, and that might only get magnified should a meeting in the postseason come to pass.

So Where Does Indy Stand?

Fall Season: 2W-1D-1L, 7 pts., 3rd place

With New York falling hard on the road at Rayo OKC, the “Boys in Blue” stayed within two points of the front-running Cosmos while falling just one place on the table, being lapped by Rayo, which has gone undefeated in its first four Fall affairs.

Combined Season: 6W-7D-1L, 25 pts., 2nd place

Again, Indy Eleven sits just two points behind the first-place Cosmos, but no one stands between the “Boys in Blue” and New York on this table.

What’s On Tap?

A hard-charging FC Edmonton side (7-3-3, 24 pts. in Combined Season; 2-1-0, 7 pts. in Fall) comes to the Circle City this Saturday on Family Night, presented by McDonald’s (7:30 p.m. ET, live on WISH-TV, ESPN3.com & Exitos Radio 1590 AM). Edmonton currently sits just one point behind Indy Eleven in the Combined Season standings, making a return to the win column for Indy important in order to gain a little breathing room on another contender for the Fall Season (and therefore a threat to the #1 seed in The Championship).

MLS All-Stars will take on Arsenal at 7:30 PM ET Thur-July 28. ESPN, UniMás, TSN or RDS. More information

All-Star Team

# GK BINGHAM, David San Jose Earthquakes
# GK BLAKE, Andre* Philadelphia Union
# D BESLER, Matt* Sporting KC
# D BIRNBAUM, Steve D.C. United
# D CIMAN, Laurent* Montreal Impact
# D FARRELL, Andrew New England Revolution
# D RIDGEWELL, Liam Portland Timbers
# D ROSENBERRY, Keegan* Philadelphia Union
# D VINCENT, Brandon Chicago Fire
# D WASTON, Kendall Vancouver Whitecaps
# M BECKERMAN, Kyle** Real Salt Lake
# M DIAZ, Mauro** FC Dallas
# M DOS SANTOS, Giovani* LA Galaxy
# M JONES, Jermaine Colorado Rapids
# M KAKÁ* Orlando City SC
# M KLJESTAN, Sacha NY Red Bulls
# M NAGBE, Darlington* Portland Timbers
# M PIRLO, Andrea* New York City FC
# M TRAPP, Wil Columbus Crew SC
# F DEMPSEY, Clint* Seattle Sounders
# F DROGBA, Didier* Montreal Impact
# F GIOVINCO, Sebastian* Toronto FC
# F LARIN, Cyle Orlando City SC
# F PIATTI, Ignacio Montreal Impact
# F VILLA, David* New York City FC
# F WONDOLOWSKI, Chris San Jose Earthquakes

HEAD COACH: Dominic Kinnear (San Jose Earthquakes)

Colorado Rapids retake top spot in Power Rankings after Dallas slips up

Thanks to a big defeat for last week’s number one, the Colorado Rapids climb back to the top of the Power Rankings, while a pair of Eastern Conference teams make big jumps.

  1. Colorado Rapids(+1)
    The league’s longest unbeaten streak rolls on followingColorado’s 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City. It’s almost as if winning is a habit the Rapids have just fallen into, especially at home, where the Rapids have dropped just four points all year.
  2. FC Dallas(-1)
    Oscar Pareja chose to rest a number of key players in Seattle on Thursday and suffered a humiliating 5-0 loss. The weekendwin over Chicago helped salvage the week as the first team romped 3-1.
  3. LA Galaxy(+1)
    Back-to-back 1-0 wins are hardly attractive enough to make anyone take notice, but if L.A. strings together enough of them, everyone certainly will. That would suit Bruce Arena just fine.
  4. Portland Timbers(+1)
    The champs scored a blow in the great battle for Cascadian supremacy with a 3-1 win over Seattle on Sunday. More importantly, they got Diego Valeri back at his full powers, as evidenced by his two-goal outing.
  5. New York City FC(+3)
    The 3-1 loss in Kansas City a week ago proved to be nothing more than a blip. In Montreal on Sunday, the new three-headed monster of David Villa, Frank Lampard and Jack Harrison all scored again, with Harrison’s the pick of the bunch, in a 3-1 victory over the Impact.
  6. Montreal Impact(-3)
    Montreal’s loss to NYCFC was a hit to their standing in the East, but more pointedly, it was another reminder that — at least in recent months — they’ve been more productive withoutDidier Drogba in the lineup.
  7. Philadelphia Union(+3)
    The Union rose to the occasion with an excellent second half against the Red Bulls to salvage a 2-2 draw on Sunday, a trait that proves this is a different Philadelphia team than we’ve seen in recent years.
  8. New York Red Bulls(-2)
    They’ll be disappointed to draw after taking a lead in Philadelphia, but the Red Bulls do have another two goals from set pieces to add to their incredible total in 2016.
  9. Sporting Kansas City(-2)
    No one wins at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, so it’s tough to hold a road loss to the Rapids against Peter Vermes and his team. Still, a giving the ball away so close to goal is something good teams can’t — and don’t — do.
  10. San Jose Earthquakes(+2)
    The Quakes really were holding on for dear life after losing Anibal Godoy and Alberto Quintero when Simon Dawkins popped up with a winner in the 2-1 victory over Toronto. Goonies never say die.
  11. Toronto FC(-2)
    There are no excuses for a team to lose a game in which they held a two-man advantage. Manager Greg Vanney is going to spend the week facing some pretty uncomfortable questions.
  12. Real Salt Lake(-1)
    Real Salt Lake have just three points from the past five matches, and it’s starting to do damage to the club’s standing in the Western Conference. A flat attack isn’t helping.
  13. Vancouver Whitecaps(no change)
    The Whitecaps miss Kekuta Manneh, but it’s the defense that let them down at home in a 2-2 draw with Orlando City. The normally good David Ousted let in a soft goal that undid Vancouver.
  14. New England Revolution(no change)
    The way things are going for the Revs, a road point is a good result, even if it came with no goals. Defensive issues have plagued them, so perhaps they can build on the 0-0 draw in Salt Lake City.
  15. D.C. United(+2)
    D.C. benefited from a questionable red card and came out of Columbus with a 1-1 draw, though they’ll choose to focus on Fabian Espindola’s getting a goal and Lloyd Sam’s making his United debut.
  16. Orlando City SC(-1)
    Cyle Larin isn’t scoring at the blistering pace he did in 2015, but the Canadian striker is on the verge of double digit goals for a second straight year.
  17. Seattle Sounders(+2)
    There’s nothing like a decisive loss to a rival to undo any good feelings. The Sounders desperately needed the big 5-0 win over FC Dallas in midweek, but they also needed to back it up with a good performance against the Timbers — and they didn’t.
  18. Houston Dynamo(-1)
    With the season likely lost, the Dynamo can take positives from playing the Galaxy to statistical stalemate at the StubHub Center over 90 minutes despite being on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline.
  19. Chicago Fire(-1)
    Last weekend’s sign of life, a home win over Sporting KC, gave way to the reality of the Fire’s situation in the form of a 3-1 road loss to FC Dallas. That’s now 26 games without a road win for Chicago.
  20. Columbus Crew SC(no change)
    Ola Kamara scored, but Columbus couldn’t figure out a way to make it stand up for a win … again. Time is slipping away quickly from Gregg Berhalter and his team.Jason Davis

Jason Kreis taking over at Orlando City has makings of an imperfect marriage

Jason Kreis is back working in MLS, having been named as the new coach of Orlando City SC on Tuesday. The surroundings will no doubt look different from his previous stint with New York City FC. Orlando is a long way from New York in all manner of ways, from geography to the vibe of each city.But when it comes to Kreis’ new and old clubs, there are an uncomfortable number of similarities. It leads one to wonder whether he has exchanged one bad situation for another. Both organizations are headed by ambitious owners who want considerable sway over personnel decisions. That in and of itself is no crime. In fact, in many ways it’s a positive, so long as their philosophy matches that of the manager they hire.That certainly wasn’t the case for Kreis when he was in New York. Owners City Football Group opted for big, splashy signings like David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard, regardless of whether they happened to fit with what the team needed. Kreis wanted to duplicate the clearly proven blueprint that worked for him when he was in charge of Real Salt Lake. It was that clash of styles, in addition to the less-than-stellar results on the field, that led to Kreis’ firing at the conclusion of last season.That’s why this seems like such an imperfect marriage. The Lions have spent much of the past nine months thrashing about in a way that goes well beyond the performances on the field. Former GM Paul McDonough did a credible job building the roster for its expansion season, and Orlando came within five points of making the playoffs. Then owner Flavio Augusto da Silva decided to bring in former Benfica executive Armando Carneiro to oversee all things soccer. Since McDonough’s authority was fatally undermined, he resigned and popped up at Atlanta United. Then, in a stunning turn of events, Carneiro soon followed McDonough out the door, with founder and minority owner Phil Rawlins taking over the GM duties.Former coach Adrian Heath insisted during the preseason that the crisis had been averted, but the subsequent acquisitions were of the head-scratching variety. Antonio Nocerino was the most egregious example; he’s a savvy veteran, but he no longer possesses the mobility needed to be effective in MLS.Of course, when a season goes bad, there is always a question of who bears more of the responsibility: Is it the head coach or the GM? The coach will say, “I did the best I could with what was given me.” The GM insists, “I went out and got the players the coach wanted.” When the ship is sinking, there is usually just one life jacket to go around between those two individuals, with the GM, typically, having one hand on it already. It seemed a matter of time until Heath was finally cut loose, and while the timing of it was something of a surprise, the outcome wasn’t.It is into this organizational morass that Kreis is wading, and given the club’s penchant for big names like Kaka and Julio Baptista, it’s difficult to see how much his situation has changed for the better. Without question, Kreis is a smart coach whose experience in New York will serve him well. It’s certain he will have insisted on being given the requisite control that he lacked in his previous head-coaching job. But promises are one thing, reality is another. When a Nocerino is pushed on him, will management listen when he says no? Or will he once again be forced to make do with a roster not of his making?The onus isn’t just on Kreis. Orlando’s management will need to learn some lessons as well.Would Kreis have been better off waiting for a different opportunity? There are bound to be some positions opening up at the end of the season. Given the struggles that the Seattle Sounders are going through at the moment, it’s possible Kreis might have linked up with old boss Garth Lagerwey. But the number of MLS managerial opportunities remain few, and it’s impossible to predict when the perfect job will become available. Wait too long, and you run the risk of being forgotten.While Kreis was viewed largely as having been done wrong by New York City FC, his reputation still took a hit. He can’t afford to fail again.Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle. 

Middlesbrough keen to sign Brad Guzan from Aston Villa – sources

Middlesbrough are in talks to sign U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan from Aston Villa, sources close to the North East club have told ESPN FC.Guzan’s future at Villa has been in doubt since the club’s relegation and the Championship club are willing to let him move on as they look to trim their wage bill.The 31-year-old came in for criticism from some fans last season as Villa struggled and he lost his place in the starting XI to Mark Bunn for the final few weeks of 2015-16.The recent arrival of goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini from Hellas Verona has raised further questions over Guzan’s future at Villa Park with the Italian expected to be No. 1 under Roberto Di Matteo next season.<Middlesbrough have already signed former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes this summer and they want to bring in Guzan to provide cover and competition for the Spaniard as they prepare for life back in the Premier League.Guzan was first-choice keeper for United States during this summer’s Copa America as they reached the semifinals and he is keen on staying in the Premier League.The shot-stopper, who joined Villa from Chivas in 2008, has made over 150 appearances for the club and Villa are prepared to let him leave on a free transfer to speed uphis departure with the player entering the final year of his contract.]

USMNT ‘golden generation’ with Donovan, Dempsey has already passed

Fans of the United States men’s national team spend a lot of time waiting for talent to arrive. There’s a sense that the American program should be better, that the skill level should improve over time — and it has. The first 35 athletes in the player pool are better overall than they were 20 years ago.While there are multiple, overlapping reasons for this improvement — including a focus on youth development, the growth of Major League Soccer, recruitment of dual nationals, and more money in the game — there’s no doubt that American soccer is growing stronger. What’s missing, however, is an evolutionary leap forward, an influx of talent that resets expectations rather than simply continuing the upward trajectory.What’s missing is the U.S.’s Golden Generation.Golden generations become legendary and secure their places in history; think of the Netherlands in the 1970s, with Johan Cruyff, Piet Keizer, Willem van Hanegem, Johnny Rep, Ruud Krol and Johan Neeskens. Or the potent Colombian crew from the late 1980s and early 1990s that featured Carlos Valderrama, Rene Higuita, Leonel Alvarez, Faustino Asprilla, Freddy Rincon and Adolfo Valencia.England had one in the 2000s with David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, as did Spain from 2008 to 2016: Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol. Belgium currently has one of its own with Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Christian Benteke and Vincent Kompany, among others.It appears that every country gets a golden generation eventually. So why not the U.S.?Well, the reality is that the U.S.’s time has already come and, mostly, gone.In the 18 months between Nov. 3, 1981, and March 9, 1983, Jermaine Jones, Landon Donovan, Kyle Beckerman, DaMarcus Beasley and Clint Dempsey were born. That quintet includes arguably the best American player ever (Donovan) and the team’s most dangerous goal scorer (Dempsey), along with Beasley, the only American male to play in four World Cups. Beckerman, for his part, is a vital man in coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s mind with a decorated club career, while Jones is a midfield mainstay.Donovan and Dempsey are two of the U.S.’s all-time Best XI and Beasley is in the top 20. That’s a pretty good year-and-a-half period, significantly better than what we’ve seen elsewhere, especially if you add in auxiliary talent like Herculez Gomez, Oguchi Onyewu and Ricardo Clark, who was born one day after Dempsey.Consider a few alternatives. The closest comparison is probably the generation that precedes this group, which includes the likes of Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Pablo Mastroeni and Josh Wolff, along with injury-prone Cory Gibbs and John O’Brien. These players achieved some success, but their individual accomplishments don’t rise to the level of Donovan or Dempsey. Additionally, Donovan and Beasley played major roles in the team’s biggest achievement, the 2002 World Cup run. The current generation — led by Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya, Brad Guzan and Fabian Johnson — hasn’t gotten close, either.There are a few issues with this golden generation thesis. For one, Jones developed completely outside of the U.S. system in Germany and didn’t join the American squad until 2010. However, it is worth noting that it is not unusual for a player to grow up in one country and play for another in the current international soccer landscape; just because Jones came of age in Germany doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be counted as part of the American generation. The same goes for Johnson.Furthermore, Jones, Donovan, Beckerman, Beasley and Dempsey never played a major tournament together; Jones was injured and Beckerman was absent during the 2010 World Cup, while Donovan was left off the 2014 roster. While we’ll never know how (if at all) Donovan’s inclusion would have impacted the proceedings at the 2014 World Cup, it’s hard to argue that he wouldn’t have made a positive contribution, one that would have bolstered the legacy of his generation. Remember, too, that Jones was one of the U.S.’s best players in Brazil. Imagine what could have been if he recovered in time to reach South Africa.ESPN FC asked American soccer expert Brian Sciaretta about this theory. He didn’t agree.To me, a golden generation is one that is completely unparalleled and I don’t really think that Donovan, Beasley and Dempsey rise quite to that level,” he said. “That is also probably a good thing. You want a steady pipeline of players, not something that can come across as a fluke.”But that’s the point: The pipeline exists, but it’s failing to churn out better players. As good as the Bradley, Bedoya, Guzan and Johnson generation has been, it hasn’t touched the one that came before it. The following one has been worse.There’s a perception that the American soccer program, one of the richest in the world, should produce talents like Donovan and Dempsey with more regularity, churning out a steady flow of very good players. But the fact is that it doesn’t. This causes frustration for supporters, media and Klinsmann.”I’m not sure why it seems that some Americans with talent sometimes reach a certain level in soccer and then settle with that instead of pushing themselves to the next level,” the head coach said during an interview last week. He went further a bit later, saying: “You need talent but also to be extremely hungry and driven — driven by the people around you who keep pushing you — and it doesn’t help to be surrounded by people who compliment you every day and give you pats on the back.”There’s truth in Klinsmann’s comment. But at the same time, what if Donovan, Dempsey and Beasley led a generation that truly was an aberration, one that was the exception rather than the rule? It’s not a stretch to think that’s the case.If you accept that premise, you come to a disturbing conclusion: While we sat around waiting for the breakthrough, we were actually watching the revolution. And the next one might be further away than we expect.Noah Davis is a Brooklyn-based correspondent for ESPN FC and deputy editor at American Soccer Now.

U.S.’s Besler, Diskerud, Yedlin cooling down while young players impress

With Liga MX back in action as of last weekend and MLS rounding into midseason form, it’s time to bring back the U.S. national team Hot List.

Who cares if most European leagues are still weeks away from kicking off the 2016-17 campaign? With World Cup qualifying set to resume in September and a gaggle of youngsters hoping to break into Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad between now and Russia 2018, there’s plenty to talk about already. Here are nine players who are trending up or down during the dog days of summer.

Warming up

 Kellyn Acosta, DF/MF, FC Dallas (MLS)

Why he’s here: After being in and out of Oscar Pareja’s lineup at the beginning of the season, Acosta has started seven of FCD’s last eight matches in central midfield, including the club’s four recent wins.

What this means: The versatile 20-year-old played left-back during his two U.S. appearances, both of which came earlier this year. But with veteran Kyle Beckerman’s decorated national team career ending, Acosta’s maturing game in central midfield could put him in contention for a holding role for the Americans.

 Terrence Boyd, FW, RB Leipzig (Germany)

Why he’s here: Now finally recovered from the knee ligament injury he suffered in late 2014, the 25-year-old striker had a goal and an assist in his first match in 19 months, albeit a preseason friendly.

What this means: It’s early yet, but regular playing time in the Bundesliga — Leipzig clinched promotion from the second tier in Boyd’s absence — could quickly vault the German-American back into the national team picture.

 Greg Garza, DF, Tijuana (Mexico)

Why he’s here: The hard-tackling left-back missed nine months following hip surgery, but he returned to the Xolos starting lineup for last week’s Apertura opener.

What this means: Garza played well in the 2-0 win against Morelia, and nearly scored on a long-range shot. With the left-back position wide open for the U.S., look for the Texan — still just 24 and already capped nine times by Klinsmann — to be recalled as soon as September if he continues to impress in Liga MX.

 Julian Green, MF/FW, Bayern Munich (Germany)

Why he’s here: The 2014 World Cup veteran started in Bayern’s first game of the preseason and impressed, scoring once and setting up another goal.

What this means: After just one senior appearance for Bayern in 2015-16, a good first impression on new coach Carlo Ancelotti can’t hurt the 21-year-old’s chances of seeing more minutes — especially with Arjen Robben sidelined for the start of the season.

 Perry Kitchen, MF, Heart of Midlothian (Scotland)

Why he’s here: Fresh off Copa America Centenario duty with the U.S., the former D.C. United destroyer jumped right into Europa League qualifying with Hearts.

What this means: If the half season he spent in Scotland raised his game, making Europe’s second-tier club competition would provide Kitchen, 24, with even more valuable experience and eventually help him assume a bigger role with the national team.

 Keegan Rosenberry, DF, Philadelphia Union (MLS)

Why he’s here: The rookie right back was recently named an MLS All-Star starter following an impressive start to his professional career.

What this means: While there might be fewer depth issues at right-back than on the left, Rosenberry’s emergence has him on Klinsmann’s radar; he trained with the U.S. last month after the national team played a Copa match in Philly.

Cooling down

 Matt Besler, DF, Sporting Kansas City (MLS)

Why he’s here: Besler started two games and played well en route to the Americans’ fourth place Copa finish and was also named an MLS All-Star. But the SKC captain has been an unused sub in two of his club’s last three games, including last week’s 1-0 loss at Colorado Rapids.

What this means: Strange as it was to see a healthy Besler on the bench,Sporting coach Peter Vermes insisted that he was merely sticking with a lineup that had played well in the vet’s absence. It will be interesting to see if the 29-year-old is back in central defense for Sunday’s contest against the Seattle Sounders (3 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Mix Diskerud, MF, New York City FC (MLS)

Why he’s here: Not only has Diskerud not played in NYCFC’s last six games, he hasn’t even been in uniform. The former U.S. regular’s most recent appearance was in a U.S. Open Cup loss to second-tier New York Cosmos on June 18.

What this means: It won’t be easy for Diskerud to break back into Patrick Vieira’s team, not with City sitting atop the Eastern Conference. But the Norwegian-American’s relatively high salary makes him difficult to trade. As such, don’t expect him to add to his 38 U.S. caps anytime soon.

 DeAndre Yedlin, DF, Tottenham Hotspur (England)

Why he’s here: Yedlin is here through no fault of his own, really; his immediate future could hinge on whether or not Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce stays with the Black Cats or becomes England’s next manager instead.

What this means: Yedlin helped Sunderland avoid relegation while on loan from Spurs, but a permanent move north is less likely if Allardyce leaves. That said, the 23-year-old proved he can play in the Premier League last season, and other suitors will be on notice if he’s not going to be a regular with Tottenham. Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN T


Trio of “Boys in Blue” touch on juggling pro career and fatherhood

Jul 20, 2016 By:Scott Stewart
Being a professional soccer player with Indy Eleven is no walk in the park. With training at least five days a week, gym workouts, and just taking great care of the body in general on top of a game – or two – every week, there is a lot on your plate.When you add fatherhood to the spectrum, things only pick up. But for defender Greg Janicki, midfielders Brad Ring and Nicki Paterson, and even head coach Tim Hankinson, it’s all part of the process.“When people used to talk about kids you kind of would shrug it off and say whatever, but then you have a kid of your own and the little things are so cool,” explained Janicki. “Everything is something new for them. It’s just awesome seeing them grow.”The 32-year-old defender now has two children – Adrian (two years and three months old) and Will (five months old), and feels the weight of fatherhood more than ever.“It’s a lot of work, don’t get me wrong. As a soccer player you need your rest and stuff and you don’t get that as much as you would like anymore. But, at the same time it helps take your mind off of things pretty easily if you have a bad day or a bad game or something like that,” remarked the recent birthday boy.Midfielder Brad Ring also joins Janicki in the column of two-time fathers. As a typical veteran might do on the field, Ring best explained the new challenges he and his wife are beginning to face with a pair of youngsters in the household tactically.“Two is definitely harder than one in my opinion. With one, you trade off shifts with your wife and share responsibility. With two, you are shifting the focus back to two vs. two and go ‘man-on-man’ as opposed to being able to tag team. We’re still in the hard newborn phase, but give it a couple of months and it will all pick up,” said Ring.While Paterson considers himself in the younger veteran category on the pitch, he’s a rookie as a father – but states that he couldn’t be happier to be alongside his wife on this journey.“Just seeing your son’s smile on his face when he sees you in the morning, or wakes up from a nap – it’s probably my favorite part. I have to give a huge shout out to my wife though, because moving to a different country we don’t have the support system that some of the other guys do and I know that can be difficult,” said Paterson.“She deserves so much credit, so when I’m able to I repay her however I can.”The sentiment of crediting their wives, while different for Janicki, was also echoed by the defender.“Some nights when she works at midnight and I have the kids to myself it can be difficult. But, she makes incredible sacrifices for me so I see that I do what I can to repay that. It’s all part of the process,” said Janicki.Unsurprisingly, it is no different for Brad Ring and his wife and fellow Indiana University alumna, Juli.

“One of the hardest things is the away games. You feel a bit guilty leaving your wife with more responsibility. You try and make up for it when you’re back which makes Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday harder, but it is what it is and you push through it. (Juli) deserves more than I can put into words,” said Ring.From a coaching standpoint, the demands are just the same if not increased. Head coach Tim Hankinson has been with his wife, Yvette, for years, enough to have five children between the two of them – but the price he paid was not a simple one. Days away became months away, but it’s a sacrifice he knew was necessary at this level.“It grounds me to be a father and husband. Coaching has taken me around the world, but a lot of the time you aren’t able to spend full-time with your family,” lamented Coach ‘Hank.” Going to India, I saw my sons for just a couple of weeks over a nine-month period. In Jamaica, I saw my family only one time for a long weekend.“These stints can take you away for periods at a time and you can’t uproot your family and turn their lives upside down, so you communicate with Skype and WhatsApp and remind yourself that you’re connected and you’ll be together soon.”With grown children, the difficulties that are present for Coach Hankinson are far different than the three of Janicki, Ring, and Paterson, who all have newborns to take care of.“Right now the challenges revolve around just waking up at night. In those first few months getting them to sleep through the night is tougher. He gets up around 3 AM and 6 AM and me and my wife switch off and do one shift every night, so that presents its challenges,” Janicki said. “You just have to plan your day around things and make sure he’s fed and got enough sleep so everyone is happy and the day goes easier.”“You can’t look too far into the future on the soccer front, but ‘Family Greg’ is just trying to keep the kids happy (laughs). We might have another one at some point – my wife wants four – but keeping everyone together and happy is a daily chore that I look forward to in the immediate,” said Janicki.

Nicki Paterson is on the same page.

“He’s a newborn and there’s a lot to take care of. When I have to practice for three or four hours a day, I want to give my wife a break when I come back. I won’t see there isn’t a lot to handle, though. He’s constantly growing and becoming more mobile, so I see a lot more time on the ground than I used to!”For fellow midfielder Brad Ring, logging mileage is already part of the process.“Before kids … you might get to go home and play video games, maybe watch a movie, or just kind of hang out and keep things low-key, but my two-year-old wants to go out and play soccer, he wants to go to the park and to splash zone or the pool. It’s just a lot more time on your feet playing entertainer,” said Ring.While sleep may be missed on a daily basis and road trips keep players away for stretches at a time, rather than dwell on those moments these Indy Eleven dads have gained a new perspective on how important it is to live in the here and now and enjoy every new moment for their families.“With soccer you never know how long you have in the game. I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity and was happy I was able to do so, but now I love ‘dad mode,’” beamed Ring. “Having my two-year-old experience everything is awesome – he talks about everything. After the last home game when the BYB guys set off some smoke, he wouldn’t stop talking about it. The entire car ride and even after we got home was just, “Lincoln score goal and they blew smoke!’ It’s great for me and it’s leaving a lasting impression as well.”


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