Huge Congrats to Carmel FC Coach Carla Baker for being honored again by the Canadian National Team
American Coach Jesse Marsch Takes over Leeds United
American coach Jesse Marsch has been named the new coach at Leeds United. After successful stints as coach in MLS, especially with the Red Bulls organization lead to a dynamite go at Stausberg where he almost surprised Liverpool during the Champions League – and a failed stop at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga when all of his players either were traded or got hurt – Jesse Marsch is back on the big stage. This time in the EPL at Leeds United – the small club that moved up to the EPL last season under Belso ??? and is now desperately trying to stay above the relegation zone. Jesse could well help keep Leeds United in the EPL – and if he does and makes them better over the new couple of months – things could look up for the American. The parallels between popular American coach Ted Lasso on Apple TV have been joked about with Jesse – now trying to coach a team in London just like Lasso does in the award winning comedy.
Jesse Marsch 1st Interview as Leed’s United Coach
Ted Lasso’s 1st Interview TV Show
Jesse will get his first test this Saturday as Leed’s travels to Leicester City in desperate need of a win at 7:30 am on USA Network.
Around the World of Soccer – Russia out of World Cup / Ukraine
Huge news that FIFA finally stood up and kicked Russia out of the World Cup in Qatar after Poland and Sweden refused to play them in WC Qualifying (it was late – but this is the right decision). Horrible news coming out of the Ukraine as soccer teams around the world have given salutes to Ukraine with many athletes including soccer players returning to fight for their country.
US Soccer Prez Vote/US Soccer sells out to HBO Max and TBS/TNT for Coverage
Huge vote for the US Soccer President going on in Atlanta tomorrow as current president Cindy Cone battles former Prez Carlos Cordeiro. I am not even sure how Carlos is allowed to run again after he was forced out after (his public embarrassment with the US Ladies team for years) hopefully the US power structure will keep former National Team player Cindy Cone in charge as she has done a good job for US soccer these past 2 years. In other US Soccer News – the dam US Soccer Federation has sold the rights for our home US Soccer games to TBS and HBO Max. Get Ready to pony up US Fans – US Soccer doesn’t give a dang about you – Now you are going to have to pony up $15 a month to get HBO Max to watch the US men and women top games. Oh sure the occasion crap game will be on TBS (who did just a horrific job with Champions League 2 years ago). Sure the US soccer big brass has made more $ on the rights but at what cost? What a stupid and horrible decision this is !!!!
MLS Week 2
Good first week of soccer in MLS last weekend as the LA Galaxy, Seattle, Nashville and more got off to a good start. Chicharito Delivers the Game Winner in the 90th minute on ESPN, Nashville Dominates on Fox. This Weekend all eyes will be on Charlotte on Sat night at 7:30 pm on FOX as they look to break the record for most fans at an MLS game ever as they host the LA Galaxy. The current record held by Atlanta United who is the team Charlotte plays at next Sat. Other big news has Hector Herrer signed by Houston this week. Sunday games of interest on TV include Austin FC hosting Inter Miami on ESPN at 4 pm and a 10 pm matchup on FS1 between Portland and LAFC. (See schedule on the OBC)
Games to Watch This Weekend
The biggest game of the weekend is on Sunday at 11:30 am – the Manchester Derby as Man United host Man City and Napoli host AC Milan at 2:45 pm on Para+. Saturday starts at 7:30 am on USA with American Coach Jesse Marsch taking the helm of Leeds United as they head to Leicester City in desperate need of a win. Liverpool will host top 6 team West Ham United at 12:30 pm on NBC after Chelsea and Christian Pulisic travel to Burnely with Chelsea billionaire Russian Owner Roman Abramovich looking to sell the team. Of course Champions League and CCL kick of Tues/Wed of next week with Liverpool hosting Inter Milan up 2-0 on CBS at 3 pm Tues, while Bayern Munich hosts Salzburg tied at 1 on Para +. Wed has PSG taking its 1-0 lead to Real Madrid on CBS at 3 pm, while Man City will certainly play backups up 5-0 on Sporting on Para+. Thurs/Fri gives us Europa League Play. (full schedule in the OBC) (See the American’s play)
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BIG GAMES TO WATCH
7:30 am USA Leicester City vs Leeds United (coach Marsch)
9:30 am ESPN2 Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich
10 am USA Burnely vs Chelsea (Pulisic)
12:30 pm NBC Liverpool vs West Ham United
12:30 pm EPSN+ Stutgart vs MGladbach (Scally)
3 pm beIN Sport Nice vs PSG
3:30 pm Univision Sporting KC vs Houston Dynamo
3 pm ESPN+ Real Madrid vs Real Sociadad
6 pm EPSN+ Chicago Fire vs Orlando City
6 pm ESPN+ Cincy vs DC United
7:30 pm Fox Charlotte FC vs LA Galaxy
9 am USA Watford vs Arsenal
11:30 am USA Man City vs Man United
12 noon CBS SN Juventus vs Spezia
2:45 pm Para+ Napoli vs Milan
4 pm ESPN Austin FC v Inter Miami
3 pm ESPN+ Real Bettis vs Atletico Madrid
10 pm FS1 LAFC vs Portland Timbers
3 pm USA Tottenham vs Everton
Tues, 3/8 – Champ League
3 pm CBS Liverpool 2 vs Inter Milan 0
3 pm Para+, Univision Bayern Munich 1 vs Salzberg 1
8 pm FS1 NYCFC vs Comunicationes
10 pm FS1 Seattle Sounders vs Leon
Wed, 3/9 – Champ League
3 pm CBS Real Madrid 0 vs PSG 1
3 pm Para+, Univision Sporting 0 vs Man City 6
8 pm TUDN New England vs Pumas CCL
10 pm TUDN Cruz Azul vs Montreal
Thurs, 3/10 – Europa + CCL
12:45 pm Para+, Univ RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Sparkak Moskva
12:45 pm Para+, Univ Sevilla (Musah?) vs West Ham United
2:30 pm USA Norwich (Stewart) vs Chelsea (Pulisic)
3 pm Para+, Univ Barcelona (Dest) vs Galatasaray
3 pm Para+, Univ Sevilla (Musah??) vs West Ham United
3 pm Para+, Univ Rangers vs Zvedzda
8 pm FS2 Comunicationes FC vs Colorado Rapids CCL
10 pm FS2 CD Montagua vs Seattle Sounders CCL
12:30 pm NBC Man United vs Tottenham
3:30 pm Fox Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy
12:30 pm NBC Arsenal vs Leicester City
3:30 pm Fox Sport1 Atlanta United vs Charlotte
Stanford GK Katie Meyer death ruled Suicide
WORLD & US SOCCER
FIFA suspends Russia from World Cup, all soccer competitions: What it means, how it works abriele Marcotti
FIFA, UEFA suspend Russian clubs, national teams from all competitions
Russia to appeal to sports court against World Cup ban
Cindy Parlow Cone Q&A: U.S. Soccer prez on why she should be reelected
Carlos Cordeiro Q&A: U.S. Soccer prez hopeful on why he’s running again
USSF to weigh gender equity rule for coaches
Turner Sports, HBO Max wins U.S. Soccer TV rights in 8-year deal By Donald Wine II
Turner Nabs U.S. Soccer Rights, Will Show Games on HBO Max
American coach Marsch hired as new Leeds boss
Jesse Marsch must fight US stereotypes as well as relegation at Leeds
Jesse Marsch discusses stigma around American coaches – ‘Frankly, they’re right’
Marsch out to change perceptions as he plots Leeds escape
Jesse Marsch to alter Leeds style – but insists approach will remain ‘fearless’
Let’s spare Jesse Marsch the Ted Lasso snobbery The Telegraph
Jesse Marscch Cant Escape the Ted Lasso American Stigma =- and thats ok – The 18
Jesse Marsch gets Rare 2nd Chance for American coach in Europe
Analysis: Marsch takes a high risk/high reward opportunity in historic Leeds hire
USMNT defender John Brooks will leave Wolfsburg this summer
MLS Wk 2
MLS Power Rankings: LAFC, Nashville make statements of intent
MLS arrives in Charlotte, Carlos Vela show & more: Your must-watch Week 2 games
Welcome, Charlotte FC: How the Panthers’ ‘Other Football Project’ became a real club Kaila Burns-Heffner
Charlotte Ready for Full House –
“Super motivated”: Charlotte FC look to put on a show in home opener
DID YOUR CLUB PASS OR FAIL? TRANSFER GRADES ARE IN
MLS’s Houston Dynamo sign Mexico captain Hector Herrera
Xherdan Shaqiri: Can Swiss star “bring the glory” back to Chicago Fire FC?
Austin FC wants the wins to match the party in 2022
Who are the highest paid MLS players? Carlos Vela, Chicharito top the list
MLS teams should be racing to sign USMNT’s John Brooks after Wolfsburg exit
Manchester clubs face tricky derby as Leeds launch new era
Roman Abramovich puts Chelsea up for sale
Sources: Dodgers part-owner set for Chelsea bid ames Olley
Abramovich’s money the difference for Chelsea James Olley
FA Cup wrap: Liverpool, Chelsea, Southampton through to QF
FA Cup wrap: Man City, Crystal Palace advance to QF; Spurs beaten
Referees’ chief apologises to Everton over Man City errors
Chelsea, Liverpool put on Carabao Cup show, Barca clicking under Xavi, Napoli soar to Serie A summit Gabriele Marcotti
USWNT Stock Watch: Macario, Pugh impress, Rodman slowed by injury Caitlin Murray
USWNT to play pair of April friendlies against Uzbekistan S&S
Analyzing USWNT’s SheBelieves Cup win: how data compares to the eye test 1dBill Connelly
Lessons from USWNT at SheBelieves Cup: The future is bright, flashy, creative Julie Foudy
Ashley Hatch: ‘We want the USWNT to be overwhelming for the other team’
Carli Lloyd speaks out about culture of U.S. Women’s National Team: ‘I
Joy and flair return under Xavi as Barcelona renaissance continues Graham Hunter
In-form Napoli look for title advantage in Milan showdown
Milan giants play out dull cup semi-final stalemate
PSG to ‘try everything’ to keep Mbappe from clutches of Madrid
Leverkusen hoping in-form Diaby can take down Bayern
Celtic and Rangers to play each other in Sydney
Nantes beat Monaco to reach first French Cup final in 22 years
Valencia defeat Athletic Bilbao to reach Copa del Rey final
‘Heavy hearts’ as foreign players and coaches quit Russian clubs
INDY ELEVEN ADDS PAIR OF GOALKEEPERS TO ROSTER
· INDY ELEVEN ADDS FIVE FEMALE STAFF MEMBERS TO BOLSTER USL W LEAGUE SIDE
· INDY ELEVEN TO HOST ST. LOUIS CITY 2 IN SECOND ROUND OF 2022 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP
· PRESEASON RECAP | INDY ELEVEN 1:1 ST LOUIS CITY
· INDIANAPOLIS NATIVE JUSTIN INGRAM SIGNS WITH INDY ELEVEN
Full Ticket Offerings for 2022 Indy Eleven Games Now on Sale
FIFA suspends Russia from World Cup, all soccer competitions: What it means, how it works
Mar 1, 2022
Gabriele Marcotti Senio r Writer, ESPN FC
On Monday, FIFA announced that it was indefinitely suspending Russian representative teams (men’s and women’s). (In a joint statement, UEFA announced they were removing club sides from all competitions.) This means Russia will almost certainly not be participating in the Qatar World Cup in November. The previous day, FIFA had condemned the “use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukrain. In many ways, this is an unprecedented move by the game’s governing body. Here’s a Q&A to better understand the decisions and its implications.
Q: Russia were due to play in the men’s World Cup playoffs later this month and the women’s Euros in July. Is there any way back?
A: For the men, almost certainly not. Their playoff game against Poland was scheduled for March 24; they would need to be reinstated by FIFA. That won’t happen unless they reach a peace deal and reconcile with all those countries, including Poland, who have said they’ll boycott any match against them. (The World Cup draw to determine the eight groups is scheduled for April 1 in Doha, Qatar.)The women’s Euros is a bit different in the sense that it’s four months away. You hope and pray there’s enough time for the war to end and a resolution to be reached, but right now, it feels like a remote possibility.
Q: Why do you call this unprecedented? Haven’t countries been suspended from FIFA before?
A: FIFA suspends members all the time. Just last week, they suspended Kenya and Zimbabwe for government inference. Last year, it was Chad and Pakistan for the same reasons.
Usually it happens because of government interference, corruption or financial irregularities. Sometimes it can happen for doping or sporting corruption (like this famous case involving Chile in 1989). But to suspend a member nation for political reasons is very rare. It happened to Yugoslavia in 1992 at the height of the civil war and to South Africa in 1961 because of the country’s apartheid policy and insistence on fielding all-white teams. But there are key aspects that make this different.
Q: Such as?
A: First off, the speed of the decision. The invasion of Ukraine began less than a week ago. More significantly, in both the above cases, FIFA acted after resolutions from the United Nations. In 1992, Yugoslavia was sent home the day after a United Nations resolution imposing sanctions for atrocities committed in Bosnia. They were replaced in the European Championships by Denmark, who would go on to win the tournament. South Africa’s ban, which would last more than four decades, came after a U.N. resolution in 1960 calling on the government to abandon policies of apartheid and racial discrimination.This time, there has been no United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the invasion.
Q: How come?
A: Because Russia is one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and therefore can veto any decision. So the resolution that was introduced, demanding that Russia withdraw immediately from Ukraine, was effectively vetoed.
Dan Thomas is joined by Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop and others to bring you the latest highlights and debate the biggest storylines. Stream on ESPN+ (U.S. only).Q: Why does this matter?
A: FIFA is a sporting organisation, not a political one. It’s one thing to ban a country for political reasons when you’re backed by the U.N. It’s quite another when you’re not and you have to answer to your 211 members, some of whom might feel differently about it than many of those in the West who wanted Russia out straightaway.
It’s worth remembering that while Russia was the only one of the 15 Security Council members to vote against the resolution, another three abstained: India, China and the United Arab Emirates. That’s a sizable chunk of the world’s population right there.
Q: Is that why they didn’t suspend them on Sunday, instead issuing that somewhat tame provisional statement to simply ban Russian teams from playing on home soil, without an anthem or flags and calling themselves “Football Union of Russia”?
A: Pretty much. But here, it’s worth remembering what we’re talking about when we talk about FIFA.
While it can seem at times like a monolith run by an all-powerful president like Gianni Infantino, on this occasion it’s not as if he made the decision personally. It was taken by something called the FIFA Bureau, which is a fancy way of saying a Zoom meeting between Infantino and the presidents of the six confederations: UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, AFC, CAF and OFC.
Some of those present wanted to suspend Russia straightaway, adding a conditional road map for readmission, like withdrawal from Ukraine and a peace deal. Others were more cautious.
Q: Why? Because they didn’t have the “safety blanket” of a U.N. resolution to back them up?
A: Partly yes, but also because these are all elected officials and they answer to their members.
Like I said, not everybody felt as strongly about banning Russia as many NATO countries do. Some folks feel that there’s a double standard at play. After all, FIFA didn’t ban the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland and the rest of the “coalition of the willing” when they invaded Iraq in 2003 without an explicit authorisation from the U.N. Nor did they sanction Saudi Arabia when they bombed Yemen in 2015.
FIFA and the confederations wanted to make sure they had enough public support. And most likely, they knew they were going to get it, but they had to go through a process. https://playlist.megaphone.fm/?e=ESP6802460575 Q: What does that mean?
A: They wanted more member associations to come out in the open in support of a ban, and that happened almost immediately. Poland — Russia’s first opponents in the World Cup playoffs — said they would refuse to play against Russia. So too did Sweden and the Czech Republic, followed by more than a dozen others, which enabled FIFA to say they basically had no choice: It was either exclude Russia or a bunch of other countries.
They got further support on Monday when the International Olympic Committee issued its own statement, requesting that Russia be banned. Now, the IOC isn’t the U.N., but it’s a major global organisation. At that point, the FIFA Bureau felt empowered to proceed from a legal perspective as well.
Q: How so?
A: Because Russia can appeal FIFA’s decision by taking their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It’s an independent body, and in the past, it has gone against major sporting organizations, like it did when it overturned Manchester City’s ban for violating Financial Fair Play.
Russia have a good record there. When the World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia for four years for failing to comply with regulations, CAS reduced it to two years. And just last month, at the Winter Olympics, it upheld Russia’s decision to lift the provisional suspension on figure skater Kamila Valieva. So FIFA wanted to make its ban as legally watertight as possible.Q: Is this ban fair toward Russian athletes? They’re not the ones waging war …
A: Some people feel that way and it’s why, even when Russia were banned from the Olympics, the athletes were still allowed to compete as individuals. But it’s important to note that the ban is on Russian institutions, not athletes. Russian players who compete in other countries — like Atalanta forward Aleksei Miranchuk, who scored on Monday night against Sampdoria, but did not celebrate — are free to play.Historically, there was a sense that sports and politics should always remain staunchly separate. This goes way back to Olympic Games in ancient Greece when, so the story goes, they’d actually suspend wars to compete in Olympiads. But folks figured out long ago that sports are excellent propaganda tools for governments, and the line has become blurred.In 1973, the Soviet Union boycotted a World Cup playoff game against Chile because of human rights violations by the government of Augusto Pinochet. In 1976, 28 African countries boycotted the Montreal Olympics after the IOC refused to kick out New Zealand, whose rugby team had toured South Africa in violation of a worldwide boycott. A number of Western countries boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics after the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. The list goes on and on.More broadly, I think we’ve become more comfortable with our sporting institutions taking positions that in the past were deemed as “political” or “taking sides” and therefore unacceptable, whether it’s taking a knee before kickoff in the NFL, or the Premier League, or MLB moving its All-Star Game from Georgia in response to a new voting law, or the NBA moving its All-Star Game out of North Carolina because of its objection to a law that limits anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people in the state.We’ve come a long way from 1968, when Tommie Smith and John Carlos were expelled from the Olympics for having the temerity to raise their black-gloved fists into the Mexico City sky. Which is why it won’t be surprising if we continue to see protests against Russia and solidarity with Ukraine until peace returns — and that includes during the World Cup qualification playoffs and the women’s European Championships.
Charlotte is ready for MLS: How the Panthers’ ‘Other Football Project’ became a real club
Mar 3, 2022 Kaila Burns-Heffner
It’s transfer deadline day in Europe, and atop the 12th floor of a skyrise in Charlotte, North Carolina, Zoran Krneta darts back and forth through Charlotte FC‘s offices. A bell rings, signifying another season ticket sold, a tally is added to the ticket sales leaderboard and staff members prepare gift boxes to send out to new supporters.
Krneta, the club’s sporting director, suggests moving the interview to a local French bar. On the eve of potentially signing the club’s second Designated Player, he hoped his old fashioned would be celebratory. Ultimately, though, that deal fell through and, looking back, the whiskey would be consolatory.For Major League Soccer‘s newest expansion team, growing pains are natural and to be expected. When building a club from the ground up, firsts are meant to be celebrated — even if “first big signing to get away” isn’t necessary one of them. The first coach, the first kit, the first game: they’re all milestones worth toasting.The first game wasn’t as joyous as many hoped, ending in a 3-0 defeat to D.C. United. There’s still the home opener to come, though, on Saturday when Charlotte welcomes the LA Galaxy to the Queen City.The team’s highly publicized and ambitious goals are plastered all over the club’s walls: There’s 74K for the largest MLS crowd ever, 30K for the average attendance over the course of a season and 1 to symbolize hosting a playoff match. That ambition was born long before owner David Tepper spent a record-breaking $325 million expansion fee — eclipsing the $200 million St. Louis reportedly paid to join the league, starting in 2023 — to finally bring an MLS team to the Carolinas after several failed bids by previous entities, and it has been a common thread woven throughout the fabric of the fledgling club. It also goes beyond wanting to be the first MLS team to fill a roster spot through a reality show (which likely won’t happen until the back half of the season), or the first team in the league to hire a “chief fan officer.”The club says it’s all about being progressive.”We have been doing it differently since day one, and we’re not doing it to be disruptive and to be loud, we’re doing it because we actually think it will help us win on the field and off the field,” former Charlotte FC president and now-CEO of parent company Tepper Sports and Entertainment (TSE) Nick Kelly said. “If we can’t be the first person to do it, or we can’t be the best at it, or the only one who’s doing it, why are we doing it?”That emphasis on innovation has not been lost on MLS commissioner Don Garber. “I think any time you bring a new team into a league, you hope that they bring new ideas, that they innovate, that they make everybody better,” Garber told ESPN. “Having that enormous energy that only comes when you first join a league, I’m excited for it.”
Building a club
Before the expansion bid was announced, Charlotte FC existed as an acronym on an email subject line as OFP: the Other Football Project. In the fall of 2018, a small internal committee of Carolina Panthers staff members, whose responsibilities ranged from ticketing, to partnerships, to entertainment, to community, to digital, started assembling the groundwork for the MLS bid. OFP meetings took place twice a week in a vacant suite at Bank of America Stadium, after the day’s work for the Panthers was done. It was in those confines where the first pitch decks to the league were discussed, verbal commitments from potential suite owners were secured and where a hypothetical idea turned into a tangible team.”It was almost like an after-school project, developing this franchise,” said current Charlotte FC president Joe LaBue. “It was a lot of fun, just spitballing, whiteboarding, iterating what it would look like.” 17, 2019. The answer was a resounding “yes,” as more than 7,000 season-ticket deposits were made in the following 24 hours.”[Tepper] didn’t strike me as a karaoke guy, but you know, it showed that he’s got unbridled passion,” Garber joked, recalling the moment his newest owner broke into song alongside him. “He’s brought that same energy and passion from day one.”Tepper punted a soccer ball through priceless artwork in celebration at the uptown Mint Museum, and a pre-pandemic party took the city’s soccer scene by storm, like the one Charlotte had been fighting off all day.”We were gathered in Hooligans in the French Quarter in Charlotte, which is kind of the hub of the Charlotte soccer scene,” Matt Chantry, VP of supporters group Mint City Collective, said. “It was like sardines in a can in there. David Tepper just rolled in and was pouring pints, buying everyone beer and taking selfies with people leaning out the window and chanting.”The team was supposed to launch in 2021, alongside Austin FC, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed further celebrations by a year. The coronavirus impacted the timeline of renovations to Bank of America Stadium, home of the Panthers for the past 26 years — and soon to be Charlotte FC’s too — and any capacity restrictions would have deprived the club of the atmosphere and financial support that comes with an inaugural season.
Charlotte is now the sixth club in MLS to share its home stadium with the city’s NFL counterpart (along with Atlanta United, the New England Revolution, the Chicago Fire, Nashville SC (until its new soccer-specific stadium opens this season) and the Seattle Sounders), and the third team to be housed under the same ownership (joining Atlanta and New England). Having Bank of America Stadium as an already-established selling point has been vital for the club in recruiting players and staff — even before Tepper invested approximately $50 million to transform the Panthers’ home into a multi-sport facility.
“This building, I don’t have this in Greece or in Poland,” DP Karol Swiderski said after being introduced to his new fans at the stadium. “This is something special for me.”
The challenge came in making Bank of America Stadium feel like it belonged to the football club as well. An entry corridor illuminated by chandeliers leads into a 2,600-square-foot dressing room equipped with a marble restroom and shower area. A soccer-specific training room, player lounges, sports medicine suites with hydrotherapy pools and offices were also built out for Charlotte FC.The club’s initial plan called for partnering with the city to transform the old Eastland Mall into a mixed-use redevelopment site that would house the team’s headquarters. That changed when Charlotte FC announced its headquarters would reside in Uptown and the academy would occupy the Eastland Mall site, with conversations over a long-term plan still ongoing. For now, the team is training on the natural grass of Matthews SportsPlex — formerly home to the USL’s Charlotte Independence — and at Bank of America ahead of games that will be played on turf.The league’s first chief fan officer, Shawn McIntosh, scrolls through recordings of original chants and jingles in a message thread he has with various supporters’ groups. They bounce around ideas for tifos and matchday traditions, and plan get-togethers to practice for the inaugural season. While the chants and traditions are new, Charlotte is quick to say the club is not building soccer culture in the Carolinas from scratch. Supporters groups like the QC Royals, who were established in 2015, had been cheering on other local clubs like the now-folded Stumptown AC and the Charlotte Independence for years. Those fans are hoping to make the team’s first home game the most-attended match in MLS history.”To have the largest crowd ever in an MLS game speaks to where our league is going,” Garber said. “That’s a story that will be heard around the world.”There have been hiccups along the way, though, primarily to do with ticket prices and fees associated with them.Charlotte is the first in the league to mandate a personal seat license for season tickets sold outside of the supporters’ and community sections — the latter having licenses covered through a sponsorship arrangement with healthcare provider Centene. Those license fees range from $350 to $900, with an option to pay over 36 months. Season tickets were already among the most expensive in the league, ranging from $486 to $2,250, drawing considerable criticism on social media. Despite those missteps, supporters have noted the club’s emphasis on authenticity and communication when it comes to addressing their concerns.”I’ve worked in sports for 13 years,” McIntosh said. “I’ve never seen this level of transparency. It starts from the top.”Fans were consulted in the early stages of the OFP meetings, and their level of interest helped bring MLS to the Carolinas. LaBue stressed the importance of maintaining those relationships. Just two days after he was announced as Kelly’s successor, he was exchanging contact information with supporters’ groups at a local bar.”I need them to be a sounding board,” LaBue said. “I don’t need them to be constant cheerleaders. I need them to hold us accountable.”
Building a team
Krneta was announced as the club’s first hire two weeks after the bid announcement. He co-founded Star Sports & Entertainment, where he brokered contracts across MLS, the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A. His global connections have aided in putting the pieces of the club together, including bringing on Steve Walsh as a special advisor.
Leicester City won the Premier League with Walsh as assistant manager in 2015-16, and he’s credited with recruiting N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy — the three pillars of that title triumph. His appointment, along with the hiring of director of scouting Thomas Schaling from PSV Eindhoven, kickstarted the global search to build out the roster.
Walsh made a call to his former Leicester signee Christian Fuchs to gauge the defender’s interest in the new club. Fuchs’s family was already living in New York, so the move to the U.S. felt like the right decision, and he brings with him the experience of living one of soccer’s greatest Cinderella stories.”Him making me a Premier League champion … there is nothing else I need,” Fuchs said. “I trust [Walsh].” Charlotte signed its first player, Spanish midfielder Sergio Ruiz from Racing Santander, before the club even had a name or a head coach. In the early stages of recruiting, Krneta had to rely on selling the dream of building something new. Ruiz had other enticing offers, but he was all-in on the vision.Head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez was on the staff’s radar for 18 months, but hiring him only took four days. Simply put, they didn’t think they could get him.Ramirez had won the 2019 Copa Sudamericana as the manager of Ecuador‘s Independiente del Valle and was managing Internacional in Brazil‘s Serie A while Charlotte was interviewing other candidates. He was dismissed on June 11, and Charlotte secured the club’s first coach by July 7. It was love at first sight, and Ramirez became the youngest active head coach in MLS at the age of 36 (now 37).”It is like when you see the girl [for the] first time and you know, this is the girl for you. This is how I felt when I first interviewed Miguel,” Krneta said. I was like, ‘Wow, this is the coach for us. This is the coach to take us places.'”Prior to preseason, Ramirez jokes that he spends more time in Krneta’s office than in his own home. The two have neighboring offices and have formed a strong bond Krneta chalks up to two words: trust and respect. However, Krneta claims Ramirez keeps stealing his mineral waters from his office mini fridge. That’s OK, though; Krneta has been stashing away Ramirez’s protein bars to conduct “market research” for the players, he admits with a laugh.”We make a lot of jokes,” Krneta said. “Good banter,” director of player personnel Bobby Belair chimes in. “Fantastic banter,” Krneta adds.”The office atmosphere is great,” Krneta said. “And to be honest, I don’t think we would be able to pull this team together as we did if we didn’t have this kind of atmosphere in the office.”With Ramirez locked in, the team added another layer to its evolving identity: a game model. The system is a complex style of possession play that requires a specific type of player. Having the strategy solidified made Krneta’s approach clear, and finding some players with familiarity of the system certainly helped the build.Charlotte’s first U22-initiative signing Vinicius Mello was signed from Ramirez’s former team Internacional. Former Independiente del Valle players Alan Franco and Christian “Titi” Ortiz were picked up on loans. The club’s first No. 10, Ortiz, scored nine goals in 31 games under Ramirez in 2020, while midfielder Franco started all 11 matches in the 2019 Copa Sudamericana victory.”At Independiente, I had a great year and had a lot of fun. I grew up a lot as a player and a person, so I’m very happy to be here with Coach Miguel Angel Ramirez,” Ortiz said at his introductory news conference. “I know Miguel’s playing style and it helped a lot.”The club’s first DP was secured when Swiderski joined from Greek side PAOK, shocking former Poland manager Paulo Sousa. Krneta had called his longtime friend to do a character check on the 25-year-old striker, and instead, Krneta received recognition.”I’ve known Paulo for a long time so I called him and I said, ‘Paulo, Karol Swiderski?’ And he said, ‘What about him?’ I said we like him and he said, ‘Come on, he’s a Serie A player, he’s a Bundesliga player, there’s no way he will go to MLS,'” Krneta recounted of his conversation with Sousa. “Well, we have more or less done the deal, I just want to talk to you a little more about him. He said, ‘Amazing player. Amazing human being, amazing player. I can’t believe that you got that player.'”And yet, Charlotte FC has built the team without breaking the bank. To compete, Ramirez says the team will need to pay. Where it will pay, though, is still to be decided.What Charlotte won’t do is follow the MLS 2.0 blueprint and sign a big-name star in the twilight of his career.”Guys are showing by example, showing that we should be in the gym extra, that we should be watching film extra, that we need to do the little details and take care of our bodies,” midfielder Chris Hegardt said, referencing Fuchs and Ortiz. “I think ultimately that will make the team so much better.”
The final countdown
The first weeks of 2022 were uncertain ones for Charlotte, beyond the usual question marks that come ahead of an expansion team’s inaugural season.The president of Tepper Sports and Entertainment, Tom Glick, left the organization. Charlotte FC president Kell was promoted to replace him. The team’s technical director departed for an opportunity with the Columbus Crew.The sporting side also faced some unexpected fallout in its pursuit of multiple big-name signings. Most notably, it was outbid by FC Dallas for Paul Arriola and it backed out of signing Venezuelan striker Darwin Machis.Ramirez raised eyebrows two weeks before the start of the season when he told media members that it would be very difficult to compete for the playoffs. That certainly doesn’t lend confidence to the goal of hosting a playoff match.”Ahora, estamos jodidos,” Ramirez said on the day the Machis deal collapsed. The kind translation of that is, “Right now, we’re screwed.””He really was passionate about bringing in a player and was not able to do it, and he showed his disappointment,” Garber said “But that just gets him that much more energized to getting his team right and putting the right players on the field so that he can have the most attractive product for what I think is going to be a very knowledgeable and passionate fan base.”Ramirez will be the first to admit there are still gaps in the attack, but the plan was never to have the roster set in stone for game one. The front office wants flexibility to add players in the summer window, and it will be patient in assessing the players it’s missing to be competitive.”The best coach and the best teacher is the competition,” Ramirez said following the opening-day loss to D.C. “The competition will tell us what we need to improve and where we are doing well.”Every major league team in Charlotte has now lost game one. On the pitch, an unlucky series of decisions and the club’s first goal being overturned by VAR contributed to the score sheet, but Charlotte FC showed flashes worth being patient for as the club continues to evolve.”It is the start of a journey. The group that we are, the club that we are, we have been together for five weeks, six weeks. Nobody ever said it would be easy, that we would walk through the MLS. No. No chance,” said Fuchs, the team’s first captain. “You saw glimpses of our potential, but there is still so much to learn. It’s a big factor of being patient as well.”The goal is to build a competitive team for the long haul, and that will take some time. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Krneta said.
Leeds Gives Marsch a Rarity for American Coaches in Europe: A Second Chance
When it goes south for American coaches in top leagues, the door typically doesn’t reopen. But Jesse Marsch has a chance to make headway after a setback in Leipzig.
- BRIAN STRAUS23 HOURS AGO SI
- Given the chance to fire back, to plant the Stars and Stripes defiantly on English soil and remind them that “soccer” is, by the way, their word—one that was used comfortably in the U.K. for decades—Jesse Marsch instead opted for humor and humility.”I think there’s probably a stigma,” he said Thursday when speaking about American coaches at the top tier of the global game. “I’m not sure Ted Lasso helped. I haven’t watched the show, but I get it. I get it. People hate hearing the word ‘soccer.’ I’ve used the word ‘football’ since I was a professional football player.”Marsch’s first press conference as head coach—sorry, manager—of Leeds United immediately brought to mind the cultural and linguistic wringer through which Marsch’s mentor, Bob Bradley, was shoved five years ago. Bradley’s use of disqualifying Americanisms like “PK” and “road game” became a story and then, as struggling Swansea City failed to reverse course under the veteran coach, a weapon used to highlight his supposed lack of suitability for the job.Bradley lasted just 11 games/matches at Swansea (2-7-2) and never got the chance to bolster his squad during a transfer window. The Swans wound up staying up that season but then were relegated from the Premier League in 2018. They’re now 16th in the second-tier Championship.“I wish they hadn’t come and called, quite honestly, in that respect because the situation required real work and some time. And if they didn’t think I was the right guy, and everybody wasn’t on board—and ‘everybody’ needed to not just be the two American owners, but the chairman, the supporters’ trust and more of the supporters—look, if they didn’t think I was the right guy, they shouldn’t have called,” Bradley told ESPN in 2018.”So you either go somewhere where people recognize what you’re all about, and know that to get it right it’s going to take some time,” he continued. “Or you go places where at the end, when the wind starts blowing, everybody gets nervous, everybody’s shaking, everybody’s covering their own heads, and you know what happens at that moment.”What Bradley lacked was the benefit of the doubt. He was “Brad Bobley,” the loud and abusive caricature portrayed on Sky Sports’ Soccer AM show—yes, it’s called Soccer AM—who whacked players in the face with a clipboard and used outrageous terms like “cleat” and “upper 90.” He’d spent 20 years on pro sidelines, finished above England at the 2010 World Cup and nearly took Egypt to the next one despite a revolution and the Port Said riot. But he was also born and bred in the U.S., and while European clubs are coming to grips with the fact that American men can play the game, acknowledging that they also might know it requires another step entirely.Bradley may or may not have been the right fit at Swansea, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t a qualified manager. He wasn’t Ted Lasso or Brad Bobley. There’s a point at which established coaches in all sports achieve tenure—not with a specific team, but in the profession. They’re allowed to fail but they’re still employable. They move from gig to gig, and have enough benefit of the doubt built up so that one slide or setback doesn’t ruin their résumé. American born-and-bred soccer coaches haven’t established that in Europe. Bradley moved from Egypt, to Norway, to the French second division and then to the Premier League. But after three months there, he was bound for MLS. Gregg Berhalter got 14 months at Sweden’s Hammarby, was fired after a 1-3-4 rut in the summer of 2013 and then returned to MLS. Pellegrino Matarazzo, a New Jerseyan who’s been in Germany for more than 20 years, is clinging to his first head coaching job at relegation-threatened VfB Stuttgart. Californian Joe Enochs is managing in the German third division. David Wagner has established some measure of tenure—he bounced from Huddersfield Town to Schalke 04 to Swiss champion Young Boys—but his footballing ties to the U.S. are limited to his eight national team appearances in the late 1990s. He was born, raised and developed in Germany. There’s no stigma there.American coaches are in no position to be defiant. Their very existence prompts skepticism. And Marsch, who’ll make his Premier League debut on Saturday at Leicester City, didn’t hide from that Thursday. It’s his job to fit in, demonstrate deference for local football culture—not to mention the contributions of his iconic predecessor, Marcelo Bielsa—and then hope he gets the leeway to turn Leeds (5-13-8) around. “I think more and more in the States, we’re adapting to what the game here is in England and our connection with what this league is and what the culture of the sport is in this country,” Marsch said. “You know, I can understand that they don’t think that we have the experiences that can be created here in Europe. Frankly, they’re right. It was the reason I came to Europe. It was the reason I learned German. It was the reason I tried to adapt to new cultures.”Marsch may be trying to merge with the European football mainstream, but he’s still in position to alter perception and break barriers. This isn’t the first time an American has earned a high-profile coaching opportunity, but it’s still historic in a critical way: it’s the first high-profile second chance. It’s the first real shot at tenure. After progressing through the Red Bull system from New York to Salzburg and Leipzig, Marsch lasted just 20 games in Germany. His high tempo, high-pressing style wasn’t the right fit for a Bundesliga team in transition. At that point, it would’ve been easy to dismiss Marsch’s credentials. Maybe he got that far thanks only to Red Bull and when reaching the sport’s highest level, he was exposed as another American wannabe.Serious clubs didn’t pursue U.S. coaches out of the blue. Swansea, after all, was controlled by Americans Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien. Hammarby is partly held by AEG, which also owns the LA Galaxy—the club where Berhalter finished his playing career. There were established connections that paved the way. But Marsch appears to have been hired by Leeds solely because of what he’s achieved as a coach (the San Francisco 49ers are minority shareholders). There’s a reputation and some benefit of the doubt being established.“Jesse is someone we identified a number of years ago during his time at Red Bull Salzburg, and we believe his philosophy and style of football aligns with that of the club and will suit the players very well,” Leeds director of football Victor Orta said when announcing Marsch’s appointment.For all of Bielsa’s laudable success in bringing Leeds to the Premier League as Championship winners in 2020 and then finishing ninth last season, his man-to-man marking system and lack of English fluency separate him from Marsch. The latter is a firm believer in communication and connection and so in that case, may have a bit of Ted Lasso in him. But Marsch said Thursday that who he is as a manager—not what he is—is the reason he’s been hired.“I will always be respectful of what has happened here in the past three-and-a-half years … but I can say that I think even after talking to Victor Orta, he felt like I was the right type of person to come here and take over the team and help it make the next steps,” Marsch explained. “I think that my way of communicating and having relationships … obviously we know we don’t have a lot of time and that we have to find success quickly, but it’s also I think so much more than that. It’s about the character of the players and it’s about the character of the people here. Again, that makes me optimistic.”Naturally, there’s usually ample optimism at the start of any journey. We’ll see what happens if Leeds drops a couple of games in a row, or if Marsch accidentally says “shutout” instead of “clean sheet.” There’s plenty of pressure already placed on a well-known club that spent 16 years trying to return to the Premier League, only to see its stay threatened in its second season back. But there’s more on Marsch’s shoulders, fairly or not, from a U.S. perspective. He’s been given an historic second chance to make a first impression at soccer’s highest level. He has a shot at establishing an unprecedented degree of traction for a U.S. coach abroad. He’s the first to be given some genuine benefit of the doubt. If Marsch is successful at Leeds, the powers that be finally might acknowledge that Americans can know the game.Marsch is embracing the challenge, and the opportunity, with his own brand of dedication, humility and confidence. He’ll try to balance deference with the personality and persistence that have brought him this far, perhaps establishing a blueprint in the process.”It takes me out of my comfort zone, every time,” he said of each stop on his coaching journey. “It challenges me to grow and develop and learn new things. I’m very open to that.”I’m very cognizant of the fact that I’m not perfect. and I don’t want to be,” he continued. “All I can say is that the only way I know how to do things is to go all in, to give everything I have, to believe in who I am, to believe in the people that I work with and to try to maximize what we are every day. And I find If you can do that effectively, that you can be incredibly surprised with the human spirit and what you can achieve. So that sounds like Ted Lasso, I think, from what I’ve heard.”
Analysis: Marsch takes a high risk/high reward opportunity in historic Leeds hire
The legendary Marcelo Bielsa was fired as the head coach of Leeds United on Sunday and American Jesse Marsch was hired as his replacement. Now Marsch has the opportunity to succeed in the Premier League and raise the bar for American coaching – but it won’t be easy. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta breaks it down.
BY BRIAN SCIARETTA ASN POSTEDFEBRUARY 28, 2022
the RB Leipzig job on December 5, 2021, Marsch will be coaching his third team inside of a year. Last season he won his second straight Austrian Bundesliga title with Red Bull Salzburg. After the season, he was moved further up the chain of the Red Bull empire and took control of a Leipzig team that finished second in the Bundesliga.The team never looked in-synch under Marsch and in the Bundesliga it had a record of seven wins, four draws, and six losses before he stepped down.Marsch has been a groundbreaking American manager as he was the first American-born and raised manager to have a Bundesliga job, win a league title in Europe, and manage in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. He made the move after succeeding as a manger in MLS with the New York Red Bulls which he led to a Supporters Shield in 2015 and was the League’s Coach of the Year. In 2018, he left midseason to take the assistant job at Leipzig but the team would later finish the season with the Supporters Shield.Marsch will become just the second American born and raised manager in the Premier League behind Bob Bradley’s brief stint at Swansea City where he was hired shortly into the season but was fired before he even had a chance to improve the team in the transfer window. The only other American manager in the Premier League was David Wagner at Huddersfield. Wagner played for the United States national team in the late 1990’s but was born and raised in Germany.At Leeds, he will follow Marcelo Bielsa – who was very popular with the fans after having been the manager since 2018 where he oversaw their promotion in 2020. That effort ended the club’s 16 year absence from the Premier League.This season has been difficult for Leeds under Bielsa. The team has conceded 60 goals over 26 games (the highest in the league by five) and has lost four in a row. The team had been struggling immensely and the defense has been out of control – having conceded 20 goals over its last five games. Despite the struggles, Bielsa remained popular with the fans and his sacking was met with criticism among large segments of the fan base.Marsch has a huge opportunity and perhaps he can be the first American manger in the Premier League with staying power.Here are some thoughts on the move.
FIX THE DEFENSE
Jesse Marsch must come in right away and fix the team’s defense. That is by far the biggest problem for Leeds and the team is bleeding goals every single game over its past five. He won’t have the ability to make any roster changes until the summer so he must make do with what he has.
Injuries have hit Leeds United hard this season with central defender Liam Cooper, midfielder Kalvin Phillips, and top forward Patrick Bamford all out with long-term injuries.But what Bielsa had with the players at his disposal were not defending. In earlier season with Bielsea, the team had speed in transitions, and could defend as a unit. Lately, the team was terrible getting back into defensive shape once it lost the ball.Marsch will have to implement a system that focuses more maintaining defensive shape and might not be as aggressive offensively.
NEEDS QUICK SUCCESS
Leeds is technically two points clear of the relegation zone (ahead of both Everton and Burnley by two points) but has played two more games than both of those teams. By all metrics, Leeds United is in worse shape than it looks in the standings and it is trending in the wrong direction.Here is the key takeaway: Leeds United has a manageable schedule over its next five games. After that, it will become more difficult. Over its next six games, Leeds does not have to play a team inside the top seven while it will also get to play twice against teams in the relegation zone (Leicester, Aston Villa, Norwich, Wolves, Southampton, and Watford).fter those six games, three of the next four will have games against Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal. The final two games will be manageable against Brentford and Bright & Hove.But clearly, the best prospects of survival will be determined in those next six games. If his team is in the relegation zone come the portion where three of the four games are against top teams, they’re going to be in trouble.If Marsch is going to succeed, he is going to need to be successful right away.
POTENTIAL FOR HISTORY
If Marsch can keep Leeds United in the Premier League, it will be successful, and he will likely be in the good graces of Leeds fans at least to start 2022/23. There will always be some who won’t warm up and he will unfairly be surrounded by Ted Lasso jokes. Even if he succeeds, he will always be a few losses away from a hot seat – which is true for most Premier League managers.Marsch is an American trailblazer but to do that, he will need to take risky jobs. He is doing that here. He is replacing a legend and will need to get a team to reverse course after spiraling out of control defensively.It is a high risk/high reward job. The risk is two unsuccessful stints inside of a year while trying to carry a torch for American coaches in Europe. Any failure he has will be magnified. But any success he has will be amplified as a breakthrough for American soccer.
It should also be noted that Marsch is not used to controversy. Every job he has ever taken has been met with a wave of skepticism. That famously started in New York when he replaced a club legend in Mike Petke (who won the Supporters Shield the year before) and it started a revolt among the club’s supporters. His initial hires in Salzburg and Leipzig were not viewed favorably at the time.But a big part of what will determine Marsch’s success in Leeds will be showing that he learned from his struggles at Leipzig. He managed big players in New York and in Salzburg – Tyler Adams, Thiery Henry, Dominik Szoboszlai. But at Leipzig, there were egos to manage, and the overall talent was a step-up. It wasn’t just having an individual star or two. Leeds isn’t a Champions League team like Leipzig (or even Salzburg), but this is the Premier League.Can Marsch get players in the biggest league to buy into what he wants to do? If not, does he have a Plan B? Can he adapt to different situations? Marsch is smart and is a student of the game, and any student will tell you that you learn more from mistakes and struggles than from successes.This is a defining exam for Marsch as a student.
USMNT weekend viewing guide: second chances
A second week of MLS and a debut in the EPL
It’s the second weekend of the MLS regular season as players across the US continue to round into form but across the pond is the real second chance as Jesse Marsch begins his second Top Five stint of the season as he looks to guide Leeds United out of playoff relegation beginning Saturday morning. All that and more as we roll through the weekend.
Leicester City v Leeds United 7:30a on USA
We don’t often highlight managers but it isn’t often that an American manager is making his Premier League debut. Four months after getting sacked less than halfway through his Bundesliga managerial debut Jesse Marsch is taking the wheel at Leeds United. Marsch has some large shoes to fill, taking over for club legend Marco Bielsa who led the club up from relegation in 2020 and drove them to a ninth place finish in the Premier League last season but has been unable to maintain that level this year as Leeds have fallen to 16th place and are just two points out of the relegation spots. They have also played more matches than the two teams just below them in the standings so could be passed and drop into 18th without losing. Marsch will certainly have his hands full both in terms of needing quick results, dealing with the stigma of being an American manager, and replacing Bielsa but he seems to be taking it all in stride and has a solid mentality.
Marsch will make his Premier League debut Saturday morning as Leeds face Leicester City who currently sit in 12th place but could jump up the table several spots as they have a number of games in hand relative to those around them in the table. Leicester are coming off a 2-0 win over Burnley.
- Christian Pulisic appears to be rounding back in to form for Chelsea but minutes management seem to always be an issue so don’t be surprised if he doesn’t start against relegation threatened Burnley on Saturday, the match will be played at 10a on USA.
- Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig face Freiburg at 9:30a on ESPN in a massive match for Champions League qualification. The two teams are tied with 40 points, with Leipzig currently edging out Freiburg for fourth place based on goal differential.
- John Brooks will reportedly be moving on from Wolfsburg when his contract runs out this summer but for now he remains with the side who currently sit in 12th place and face Union Berlin at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Julian Green, Timothy Tillman and Greuther Furth have (very) quietly pulled four points from their past three matches which brings them to 14, still five points behind their closest competitor for bottom of the table. They take on Bochum at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt visit Hertha Berlin at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Josh Sargent picked up another assist midweek in his teams FA Cup loss to Liverpool. Norwich will be looking for their first points in four weeks when they face Brentford at 10a on Peacock.
- Joe Scally has found minutes hard to come by in the second half of the season, his Gladbach teammates take on Pelegrino Matarazzo’s relegation threatened Stuttgart at 12:30p on ESPN+.
- Yunus Musah continues to get significant minutes for Valencia who face Granada at 12:30p on ESPN+. Valencia are pretty comfortably middle of the table at this point.
- Jonathan Gomez was included in Real Sociedad’s bench for their midweek victory over Mallorca on Wednesday but did not see the field, it was his first inclusion on the bench. His team face Real Madrid at 3p on ESPN+ which would be a pretty shocking time to make your debut but he does seem to be inching closer to making a first team debut and we’ll be keeping an eye on this.
MLS Streaming Matchups (all games on ESPN+)
- The New England Revolution (Altidore, Lletget) take on FC Dallas (Ferreira, Pomykal) at 1:30p.
- Toronto FC (Bradley, Bradley) face the New York Red Bulls (Clark, Tolkin, Long) at 1:30p.
- Montreal (Mihailovic) and Philadelphia (Aaronson, McGlynn) kick off at 4p.
- The San Jose Earthquakes (Ebobise, Cowell) take on the Columbus Crew (Zardes, Morris, Berry) at 4:30p.
- Cincinnati and DC United (Yow, Nyeman) start at 5p.
- Chicago (Slonina) and Orlando City face off at 5p.
- Minnesota United take on Nashville (Zimmerman) at 5p.
- The Colorado Rapids face Atlanta United (M. Robinson) at 5p.
- Vancouver takes on New York City FC (Gray) also at 5p.
- Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders (Morris, Roldan) kick off at 5p.
Elche v Barcelona – 10:15a on ESPN+
Sergino Dest looks to be reestablishing himself under new manager Xavi as he has now started four of the last five league matches for his side. Barcelona have won four of their five matches over that stretch as well and now sit in fourth place in the La Liga standings. Fourteen points back of Real Madrid, any hopes of challenging for the league title have disappeared this season but there is some fierce competition for those Champions League qualifying spots with the teams in 3rd through 7th place separated by just four points.
- DeAndre Yedlin and Inter Miami take on Austin FC at 4p on ESPN. Miami played to a scoreless draw with Chicao last weekend while Austin took advantage of a hapless Cincinnati side to pickup their first win, 5-0.
- Kellyn Acosta and LAFC look to continue their hot start when they face the Portland Timbers at 10p on FS1 to close out the weekend. Eryk Williamson continues to recover from his ACL injury though indications were he had hopes of an early season return.
- Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann, and Venezia have some work to do to get out of the relegation spots, currently trailing Cavliari by three points for safety. They face 10th place Sassuolo at 9a on Paramount+.
- Timothy Weah and Lille face Claremont at 11:05a on beIN Sport. Weah has been bouncing back and forth between starts and bench appearances since his return from injury in January.
- Chris Richards remains out for Hoffenheim who face Koln at 11:30a on ESPN+.
- Matthew Hoppe saw 22’ off the bench for Mallorca in their 2-0 loss to Real Sociedad, it was his first appearance since early January. His club take on Celta de Vigo at 12:30p on ESPN+.
- Konrad de la Fuente has not made the matchday squad for Olympique Marseille in league play since January. This is in part due to injury but he did appear in the teams two Europa League matches in late February but still failed to make the team bench for Ligue 1 since. His team face Monaco at 2:45p on beIN Sport.
INDY ELEVEN TO HOST ST. LOUIS CITY 2 IN SECOND ROUND OF 2022 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP
By Indy Eleven Communications, 02/28/22, 12:45PM EST
Indiana’s Team Returns to U.S. Soccer’s National Championship Versus MLS NEXT Pro Side on Tuesday, April 5 at IUPUI Carroll Stadium
CHICAGO/INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Soccer has determined the pairings and possible pairings for the Second Round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – U.S. Soccer’s National Championship. Twenty-three Division II and 23 Division III pro teams will see their first tournament action, joining 16 First Round winners in a week that will feature a modern record of 31 matches in a single round.Among that group of teams entering in the Second Round is Indy Eleven, which will now host its 2022 USOC opener against MLS NEXT Pro side St. Louis CITY 2 on Tuesday, April 5. Kickoff at IUPUI Michael A. Carroll Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. ET; broadcast information for the game will be announced in the coming weeks.Tickets for the match will be on sale exclusively to 2022 Season Ticket Members through this Friday, March 4 at 11:00 a.m., when they will go on sale to the public via indyeleven.com/tickets; Season Ticket Holders should look for details on how they can purchase via email this afteroon.Seats for the match in the Brickyard Battalion (West Stand) and Corner Sections will cost only $5, while tickets in the Sideline, Midfield, and Premier Sections will cost $11. In addition, Premium Hospitality options are also available and can be secured by calling 317-685-1100.“The U.S. Open Cup offers our club the valued opportunity to compete for a trophy for our fans and make an indelible mark on the American soccer landscape,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Mark Lowry. “We are glad to have the opportunity to begin our Cup run at home in April and look forward to our fans supporting us throughout this prestigious tournament.”After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup returns for its 107th installment in 2022. Indy Eleven’s last U.S. Open Cup run in 2019 started with a 1-0 victory over USL League One side Lansing Ignite FC in the Second Round at Butler University’s Sellick Bowl before Indiana’s Team suffered defeat by the same scoreline at fellow USL Championship side Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in the Third Round.The 46 professional teams debuting in the Second Round include 23 from the USL Championship (Division II), two from MLS NEXT Pro (Division III), 10 from the National Independent Soccer Association (Division III) and 11 from USL League One (Division III). They will be joined in the Second Round by the 16 Open Division winners from the First Round, set for March 22-23.As a result of competition parameters and the hosting draw for the Second Round, eight games of the 31 matchups will see First Round winners against Division II clubs, eight First Round winners taking on Division III sides, while Division II vs. Division III will be on the marquee for 15 contests.More details surrounding the tournament, including a full listing of Second Round pairings, can be found at ussoccer.com/us-open-cup.Competition rules for the Second Round require First Round winners to be paired against either a Division II or Division III club. Further, the tournament has a universal provision to preclude teams from the same qualifying pool playing their first Open Cup game from facing each other. Each pro division is considered a unique qualifying pool regardless of the number of leagues in the division.Pairings were made on a geographical basis within the parameters listed above. If three or more teams/pairings were from the same proximity, matchups for these teams were made by random selection. Instances where a logical geographic fit did not exist were resolved by random selection. Home teams for each round are determined by random selection among those who apply to host. Clubs whose venue meets minimum tournament standards are given priority. Seventeen lower-seeded U.S.-based Division I Major League Soccer clubs will enter in the Third Round, which will be played April 19-21, while the remaining eight MLS sides will take the field in their first Open Cup action in the Round of 32, which takes place May 10-11.
April 8 Third Round Draw
April 19-21 Third Round (17 lower-seeded Division I teams enter)
April 22 Round of 32 Draw
May 10-11 Round of 32 (Eight higher-seeded Division I teams enter)
May 12 Round of 16/Quarterfinal Draw
May 24-25 Round of 16
June 21-22 Quarterfinals
July 26-27 Semifinals
Sept. 6, 7, 13 or 14 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final
The full range of ticket offerings for Indy Eleven’s 2022 season at IUPUI Carroll Stadium – starting with the home opener on Saturday, April 2, against LA Galaxy II – are now available, including Season Ticket Memberships, single game tickets, special multi-game packages, and an increased portfolio of hospitality options. To get full details and purchase tickets, visit indyeleven.com/tickets, or call 317-685-1100 during regular business hours.
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