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52 posts from March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

World Cup qualifying continues

The second leg of the two-game early spring swing ramps up Tuesday night with Venezuela hosting Colombia in a widely-anticipated match.

Then Wednesday, the full slate. The U.S. hosts Trinidad and Tobago at 7:57 p.m., finishing a day that includes England-Ukraine and Italy-Ireland.

For the full schedule, click here.

I'll catch the English play at Weston's Carolina Ale House, an official U.S. Soccer Bar.

Around Major League Soccer

The headlines

Wizards look to future with soccer-specific stadium

Akinbiyi set to fill niche with Dynamo

No new name in works for Vancouver MLS team

Md. panel advances D.C. United stadium study bill

Kissinger’s New Mission: Bring World Cup to the U.S.

NFL reporter converted to the other game of football

Confirmed: Blues interested in Serna

Serna 

If nothing else, Miami FC's preseason roster has some serious buzz.

Last week, we reported the Blues had brought in Reiner Alcantara and Pedro Faife, two past members of the Cuban national team who defected last October.

Now, we have it on good authority that the team is seriously considering signing Diego Serna, who gained popularity in the area when he played for the MLS' Miami Fusion.

Our friends over at the Miami Ultras were at the Blues' scrimmage with Montreal Impact, and reported that Serna played for FC.

If he is formally under contract, Miami FC has not released the news -- which it undoubtedly would, considering the buzz his signing would create.

An obvious question: At 35, how well can he still play?

We'll be at the Blues' scrimmage against Barry Wednesday, and will let you know how Serna looks.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Around Major League Soccer

FC Dallas off to its worst start with 2-0 loss

Sounders FC one of only two perfect teams in MLS

Toronto ekes out draw to remain undefeated

Fresh, offensive start for Quakes

Kissinger aids U.S.'s World Cup effort

Whoa.

From U.S. Soccer:

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced on Monday that former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger has accepted an invitation to join the USA Bid Committee and help drive the county’s bid for the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup. The USA Bid Committee is putting together a comprehensive bid to present to FIFA by May 2010.

“We are very pleased to have Dr. Kissinger join us in our endeavor to bring back the World Cup to the United States,” said Gulati. “He’s done a tremendous amount for the sport in this country and his enthusiasm and knowledge of soccer will surely help us to earn the right to once again host the biggest sporting event in the world.”

One of the most prominent political figures in U.S. history, Dr. Kissinger has been a longtime supporter of soccer and has contributed greatly to raising the visibility of the sport in the United States. He was a crucial figure in helping bring the 1994 FIFA World Cup to the United States, serving as chairman of a 16-member advisory panel. In 1996, FIFA honored Dr. Kissinger with the Order of Merit for his service to the sport across the world.

Dr. Kissinger served as the 56th Secretary of State from 1973-77. During that time he also held the position of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, which he first assumed in 1969 until 1975. Since leaving government service, he founded Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm, and holds the title of chairman of the company.

Throughout his career, Dr. Kissinger has received numerous prestigious awards for his diplomacy, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. Dr. Kissinger also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian award) in 1977 and the Medal of Liberty (given to 12 foreign-born American leaders in celebration of the centennial for the Statue of Liberty) in 1986.

"I am looking forward to being actively involved in the USA's bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups," said Kissinger. "The U.S. put on a fantastic World Cup in 1994 and we know if provided the opportunity to host the tournament again we will put together an event that will amaze soccer fans across the world."

Dr. Kissinger joins five other members on the USA Bid Committee: Gulati, who will serve as the Chair of the Bid Committee, Carlos Cordeiro, non-executive Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs (Asia), U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Phil Murphy, the former National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee. The Executive Director of the Bid Committee is David Downs. Cordeiro, an independent director on U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors, was appointed as a Committee member last month. Other members of the USA Bid Committee will be announced in the near future.

The U.S. is one of nine countries that have formally declared their desire to submit a bid. The others are Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia, with joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain. Qatar and South Korea are applying solely for the 2022 tournament. FIFA’s 24-man Executive Committee will review each country’s bid and name the two hosts for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups in December 2010.

In 1994, the U.S. hosted the FIFA World Cup for the first time and silenced a world of doubters on how the sport would be received in the United States. World Cup USA 1994 was the most successful event in FIFA history, demonstrating the United States’ ability to stage major international events, and Americans’ ability to embrace the world’s most popular sport.

The cumulative attendance of 3,587,538 broke the previous record by more than one million, and the average attendance for the 52-game tournament of 68,911 also established a new mark. On July 17, 1994, Brazil and Italy disputed the FIFA World Cup title in front of 94,194 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Overall, U.S. stadiums were filled to 96 percent capacity during the World Cup.

Monday's Need To Know

Much was made of the Men's National Team's game in El Salvador, but the true story of the weekend came in the Ivory Coast. According to the Associated Press, at least 22 people were killed and 132 wounded Sunday when the crowd stampeded before a World Cup qualifying match against Malawi in the capital Abidjan. Now, FIFA wants answers. That, and more, in Monday's NTK.

The headlines:

FIFA asks for report on Ivory Coast stadium deaths

Chivas defender Bornstein added to MNT

Mexico's Osorio: This Win Will Give Us Confidence

Lampard Warns England Of Ukraine’s Shevchenko Threat

Lampard: Don't write off Owen

Mourinho voices support for FIFA's '6+5' rule

Monday MLS Breakdown: Trend Spotting

Miami FC's night in the spotlight

MiamiFC Stay in Saturday to watch the U.S. team's World Cup qualifier against El Salvador?

You caught more than the Yanks' great finish.

Miami FC, the USL-1 team that nearly wasn't this year, was ubiquitous.

Its ownership group, Traffic Sports, promoted the match, and used valuable advertising board space to showcase Miami FC, which is dubbed "El Equipo De Las Americas."

Meanwhile, back in the states, the Blues scrimmaged the Montreal Impact Sunday at Sunrise Soccer Complex. The teams played three 30-minute halves, with the Impact taking the first two sessions, 1-0, 1-0. Miami FC nabbed the third period on a goal by Pedro Faife, one of two Cuban defectors on the team.

"I think we looked good on four day's work. We have a lot to work on but Monteral is an excellent team," said Miami FC coach Zinho. " It's good to take advantage of these situations so we can look at everyone and give them a fair chance."

The Blues are scrambling to put together a roster before April 18, the start of the USL-1 season.

They have two more scrimmages to evaluate the players in on a tryout basis: Wednesday against Barry University and Saturday against Lynn.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday's Need To Know

After spending a week in Miami preparing for two World Cup qualifying matches in five days, the U.S. Men's National Team landed in San Salvador Thursday afternoon. News and notes on the game, plus much, much more, in Friday's NTK.

The headlines:

MNT Heads to El Salvador For FIFA World Cup Qualifier 

Goal.com: El Salvador-USA Preview

Goalie Howard in spotlight for US soccer team

Benitez says Liverpool won't be signing Silva

Barca's Laporta: Messi is not for sale at any price

WPS Season Preview: New Women’s League Is Set To Kick

Son Claims Sir Alex Could Leave Manchester United In 2010

U.S. Under-17 Swept Away By Argentina

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Around Major League Soccer

Revolution sign African striker

Dynamo close to signing veteran Akinbiyi

Hartman one save away from MLS record

Investor: Las Vegas still ideal for MLS expansion team

Colorado Waives DiRaimondo; Sign Michael Holody

Yanks head south after week in Miami

Bob Bradley's bunch boarded a plane for El Salvador Thursday afternoon after training in Miami for the last four days.

Up next: A grueling five days that includes two games in two countries.

As I wrote over on the mothership, the only injury of the week was a tweaked right knee by Oguchi Onyewu, although he is expected to play.

In case you missed Tuesday's profile of Landon Donovan, you can read it here.

And of course, for more coverage of the team, visit USSoccer.com.