blog

New England Revolution

25 June 5:31 pm

The Scottish Premier League's loss just may be Major League Soccer's gain.

After the collapse of storied club Glasgow Rangers, their prized winger Sono Aluko is being linked with a move across the pond to the United States. According to a report from The Scottish Sun, the 23-year-old Nigerian international has declared publicly that he does not want his contract renewed, with the publication contending that the Houston Dynamo are leading the charge for his services.

According to the Sun, the New England Revolution are also in the hunt for the outside midfielder, who scored 12 goals in 21 appearances last season for 'Gers. The English-born Aluko spent three seasons playing for fellow SPL side Aberdeen – where he tallied seven times in 82 appearances  prior to joining Rangers. The report also mentions Championship sides Crystal Palace and Charlton as teams interested in Aluko's services.

If the Scottish Football Association agrees to transfer his registration, he could be set to make an immediate impact for whichever club he signs with.

24 June 9:41 pm

I just went 2/9 on my weekend picks. This was after going 2/6 midweek.

It’s not because I’m bad at picking games (though lord knows, I’m not good), but it’s because the parity in MLS is just that hard to get a handle on these days. This is a league where players like Branko Boskovic and Chris Rolfe come off the bench, where Danny Koevermans goes from misfiring back to deadeye, and where a nine-point week is enough to vault you back into the playoff race.

Turns out the Galaxy aren’t dead yet

Sorry, I know this is going to annoy a lot of you. It’s always fun to try to shovel dirt on the champs – doubly so when it’s a high-profile team.

But it turns out that was premature. LA just rattled off three straight wins, including two by shutout. It’s too early to say they’ve returned to their 2011 form, but it’s also clearly too late to take back all the nasty stuff we’ve said about them over the past couple of months.

One thing to bear in mind: David Beckham said it came down to being happy and loose in the locker room, and that it’s cleared up only in the past couple of weeks. So whatever it was that was eating away at LA’s commitment went away when Robbie Keane did. Will it return now that he has?

“Emergency Defender” proving a rock in Philly

Last week John Hackworth said that youngster Amobi Okugo would be playing in central defense for the time being as an emergency measure. If his first two games there are any indication, he may never get a chance to move back to the midfield.

Okugo is simply excellent when the game is being played in front of him, showing good anticipation and understanding of both when and how to play outlets to the midfield. He’s also big and strong enough (6-foot, 170 pounds) to bully around in the box when it comes down to that.

Most importantly, though, he’s just a better player when he doesn’t have to have 360 degree awareness. This isn’t unusual – d-mids tend to mature later than other players precisely because it’s such a complex position.

But Philly already have two veterans (Brian Carroll and Gabriel Gomez) for that spot, and are paper-thin in defense. And the US… well, we know all about the plethora of defensive-minded central midfielders available to Jurgen Klinsmann.

There are, however, precious few young central defenders who’ve impressed on a game-to-game basis. Okugo’s off to a good start in that regard. Let’s hope he stays there, and we see a bit of him in the red, white and blue this January.

Why not build more Gordons?

Alan Gordon didn’t just become a good soccer player overnight. He’s always had a great passing eye, a good understanding of where to be in build-up play and a willingness to stick his nose in. Even if he’s not a 90-minute player, he’s still valuable. The past two months – and past two games especially – have been proof enough of that.

The thing is, though, that Gordon (and his teammate Steven Lenhart) were built by years of practice and occasional game time. Each of them took several years to get up to speed, and now the Quakes are reaping the rewards of both LA’s and Columbus’ hard work.

Which begs the question: Why don’t more teams take on young guys like Gordon and Lenhart then groom them for that specific role? While combing through MLS rosters, the only ones I’ve seen who are really, truly doing that are Columbus (with Tom Heinemann and Aaron Schoenfeld), Houston (Cam Weaver and Colin Rolfe) and New England (Blake Brettschneider).

None of these guys are truly ready right now – though Brettschneider is close, and Heinemann would have gotten there this season if not for his injury – but in two years, all of these guys can be looked at as Gordon or Lenhart-types.

Or, if you want to go with the original model: Brian Ching-types.

So yeah, putting a guy like that – a true center forward – out there may not be what Vicente del Bosque would do. But no MLS team is going to have Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Fabregas and Busquets to call on. If you’re not Spain, chances are you’ll need a target.

I’d want my team already hard at work making one.

29 May 3:16 pm

Total Points – Dwayne De Rosario (89)

With Thierry Henry missing several weeks due to a hamstring injury, DeRo has taken over as the No. 1 player in Fantasy Soccer: Manager.  He’s had a weeks of 10, 15 and 20 points, and his most recent point output was the most by a single player thus far in 2012.  DeRo has 20+ more points than the next closest midfielder, making him a legitimate threat every week and a player you can build your team around.

Percentage Owned – Jay DeMerit (35.3)

DeMerit has been the most widely selected player in FS: M the entire season. Thirty-five percent of all managers currently have him on their roster. The second-closest player is Kenny Cooper (28 percent). At one point, DeMerit had the highest score of any defender, but lately he’s been slipping. D.C. United players Daniel Woolard and Brandon McDonald, Aurélien Colin, and even teammate Lee Young-Pyo have since leapfrogged DeMerit, so only time will tell if it’s his worldwide fame or his actual production that makes him the most “popular” player in MLS.

Crosses & Key Passes – Graham Zusi (33) & (34)

Zusi has calmed down slightly after a fast start, but his 33 crosses are still seven better than the next closest player. Three successful crosses equals one bonus point, so Zusi could’ve potentially gained an additional 11 points for his efforts thus far. He also leads the league in Key Passes (34) and has seven more than the next closest player in this category as well. Zusi should continue to be one of the most coveted midfielders due to his time on the ball and SKC’s all-out attack style offense.

Big Chances Fluffed – Dominic Oduro (7)

One of the fastest – if not the fastest – players in MLS has been a huge bust in 2012. In the four games in which Oduro has scored, he’s tallied six or more points each time. However, in every other game this season (eight games) he’s managed just two points or less. In his last seven games he’s put up one point or less on six different occasions. Oduro is getting great looks, but he’s missing every single one of them. He leads all players in BCFs and has been deducted seven points total because of it. At this point, he’s more of a risk than anything.

CBI’s – A.J. Soares (123)

My initial pick for Defender of the Year is not having a sophomore slump by any means. His 123 CBIs (clearances, blocks and interceptions combined) leads all players and he’ll likely widen the gap with two games coming up in Week 13. Only three other players have more than 100 CBIs and none of them will be under more pressure than Soares should the rest of the season. He’s an absolute ball shark, but has never really been a threat on set pieces. One can only hope that his recent goal will encourage Jay Heaps to push him up more often.

Recoveries – Osvaldo Alonso (136)

Disregarding goalkeepers, there’s a tight battle for the title of “the best second-ball winner” in MLS. Alonso currently leads Dax McCarty (133) by only three recoveries, but that’s pretty much his only competition. Kyle Beckerman has the third most with 100, and it looks as if his absence due to national team duty will only widen the margin. Alonso has gained 19 bonus points already from recoveries so expect him to keep this all season long.

Transfers In – Nick DeLeon (3,800+)

When David Estrada (3,500+ transfers) started cooling down, DeLeon became all the talk. The D.C. United rookie is currently the most added player with over 3,800 transfers. His value started at $5.5m and quickly made its way to $6.8m. Now that he’s back from injury don’t expect him to return to his previous form. When DeLeon was clicking, DeRo and Salihi were in a slump. Now that they’re back in form, expect DeLeon to take a back seat. He’s still valuable, but not as much as he was back in April.

Dream Team – Kenny Cooper (4)

No one has made the “Dream Team” more times this season than Kenny Cooper, but you have to credit Thierry Henry with helping him reach this point. Coop-dog has scored six or more points on nine different occasions in 2012, making him one of the most consistent forwards in MLS. He continued to put up numbers even when Henry was out, so look for him to only get better now that he’s returned.

25 May 7:55 pm

You have an iPhone. You use it all the time. You sing songs to it. You need it. You love it. Maybe a little too much.

Maybe you sleep with it under your pillow. Maybe you grouse to it about your boss. Maybe you tell it about that one time in college when you... well, that's between you and Siri. Because Siri understands.

Siri also understands updates. She loves 'em. And we love 'em, too.

So here's the MLS iOS app update, which was just approved in the store.

CLICK ME!

Key new features:

  • Condensed games for MLS live subscribers
  • Enhanced highlight ui
  • New live ui
  • Bug fixes

Oh, and Android users? Your update is coming. Be patient.

 

Sent from my flip phone.

27 April 6:21 pm

Otra semana pasa y nos alistamos para otra jornada de la MLS.

FC Dallas y Real Salt Lake ya comenzaron la Fecha 8 con un partido que terminó en un frustrante empate para ambos clubes.

Ahora viene el plato fuerte, y como hemos tomado de costumbre, ofrecemos nuestros pronósticos para esta fecha.

Aquí en Tiro Libre no somos adivinos, pero si muy competitivos. Así que veremos quien de estos panelistas tiene razón en su manera de ver el juego y analizar los equipos.

Como siempre, ustedes nos pueden acompañar en esta causa y dar sus propias predicciones por Twitter.

Aquí vamos:

Semana 8

Partido

Kristel Valencia
Editora

Edgar Acero
Editor Asociado

Simon Borg
Senior Editor

Carlos Rodriguez
Editor de Video

MTL v POR
(Sab, 2 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

NY v NE
(Sab, 3:30 ET)

PHI v SJ
(Sab, 7 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

DC v HOU
(Sab, 7:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

CLB v VAN
(Sab, 7:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

EMPATE

CHI v SEA
(Sab, 8:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

COL v CHV
(Sab, 9 ET)

EMPATE

RSL v TOR
(Sab, 9 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

LA v DAL
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

Correcto/Total

 

4/9

 

 

4/9

 

 

3/9

 

 

4/9

 

20 April 4:43 pm

Vaya semana para hacer pronósticos…

Nos enmudecimos la jornada anterior pero regresamos en esta fecha para desafiar al futuro y predecir lo que ocurrirá en los partidos de la Jornada 7 de la temporada regular.

El Gringo Simon Borg tuvo algo de suerte en la Jornada 5 y nos ganó a todos, mientras que Kristel y yo tenemos que desempatar esta semana. Carlos por su parte... pobre Carlos.

En fin, los verdaderos expertos son ustedes, los aficionados, así que como siempre esperamos que también nos den sus predicciones en los comentarios abajo o por Twitter en @Futbol_MLS.

Deséenme suerte, y los dejo con esto:

ESCUCHA: El Matador Luis Hernández opina sobre la suspensión a Rafa Márquez  

Semana 7

Partido

Kristel Valencia
Editora

Edgar Acero
Editor Asociado

Simon Borg
Editor Senior

Carlos Rodriguez
Editor de Video

TOR v CHI
(Sab, 3:30 ET)

EMPATE

CLB v HOU
(Sab 7:30 ET)

EMPATE

COL v LA
(Sab, 9 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

VAN v DAL
(Sab, 10 ET)

EMPATE

CHV v PHI
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

EMPATE

SJ v RSL
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

POR v SKC
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

EMPATE

DC v NY
(Dom, 6 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

Correcto/Total

 

2/8

 

 

2/8

 

 

1/8

 

 

5/8

 

 

17 April 10:50 am

There’s a lot that goes into being a captain, and each of the 19 in Major League Soccer approach it in a different way. From Shalrie Joseph’s ever-present chatter to Davy Arnaud’s work ethic, our new series “Taking the Lead” provides an in-depth look at what leadership means to those wearing the armband, as told in their own voices. The series debuts Wednesday, April 18 with Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman.

10 April 5:59 pm

These days, 5-3-2 is usually seen as a sign of respect when facing an opponent far superior in strength (e.g., anyone vs. Barcelona).

But to win in Fantasy Soccer: Manager, perhaps it's best to think that you are playing Messi & Co. each week. The FS:M Dream Team has lined up with five defenders four out of five weeks thus far. Ironically, this formation is producing more points for teams than the 4-3-3 and 3-4-3. I myself have been lined up mostly in a 3-4-3 thinking that midfielders and forwards would get me the most points. Fail.

Player HAWAIIFAN13 proved the benefits of the 5-3-2. In Week 5, he rode the formation to 106 points, the second highest score recorded by a team this year.

So what does this mean for the rest of the 2012? Do the stats suggest taking a completely different approach and start dumping midfielders (and even forwards) for defenders? You be the judge.

Players averaging 5.0 points or more per game (by position)

Defenders – 27
Goalkeepers – 12
Midfielders – 10
Forwards – 8

The numbers above should make your decision a little easier. At this point in the season, there is more security in starting defenders than there is at any other position. Honestly, it’s not even close. Forwards and midfielders can be a huge investment, and so far, most of them aren’t living up to the asking price.

Need help with your squad? Tweet your MLS Fantasy Soccer questions to @Ben_Jata

06 April 5:23 pm

New England Revoltion derrotó como visitante al flamante campeón de la MLS, LA Galaxy. San José hizo lo mismo en Seattle. Vancouver Whitecaps sigue invicto y no ha recibido un gol en contra hasta ahora… esta temporada ha sido simplemente impredecible.

Aun así, vamos a tratar.

A partir de la esta Jornada 5, el grupo de Tiro Libre: Kristel Valencia, el Gringo Simon Borg, nuestro productor (e incansable fan del Arsenal FC) Carlos Rodriguez, y yo ofreceremos nuestras predicciones de los partidos a jugarse cada fecha.

Tendremos aciertos y tendremos fallas, pero los invitamos a que nos acompañen en esta travesía y nos den sus predicciones cada semana por este medio o por Twitter en @FutbolMLS.

¿Quién será el Walter Mercado del fútbol?

ESCUCHA: Víctor Bernárdez (SJ Earthquakes) y Olman Vargas (Columbus Crew) en Tiro Libre

JORNADA 5

PARTIDO

Kristel Valencia
Editora

Edgar Acero
Editor Asociado

El Gringo Simon
Editor Senior

Carlos Rodriguez
Editor de Video

MTL v TOR
(Sabado, 12 ET)

CLB v NY
(Sabado, 3 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

SKC v LA
(Sabado, 4 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

SJ v VAN
(Sabado, 7 ET)

EMPATE

DC v SEA
(Sabado, 7:30ET)

EMPATE

RSL v COL
(Sabado, 9 ET)

POR v CHV
(Sabado, 10:30ET)

EMPATE

Correcto/Total

 

3/7

 

 

3/7

 

 

6/7

 

 

2/7

 

 

04 April 6:13 pm

With NBC Sports continuing their great coverage of MLS for the first time in their history, check out the awesome "All Rise" promo video below.

Make sure you tune into their next nationally televised game between Philadelphia and Columbus at 3:30pm on Saturday April 14.

Hands up if your enjoying the coverage so far…..oh I see David Beckham is a fan of the production on NBC Sports!