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New England Revolution

29 August 12:23 pm

Une fois n’est pas coutume, l’émission Coup Franc (à écouter ici) est diffusée le mercredi cette semaine et accueille Olivier Brett en studio. Allongée et enrichie, en voilà le menu :
- Rémi Roy, entraîneur des gardiens de New England, nous parle de la saison actuelle de son club, de la transition en cours, de ses gardiens et des qualités des meilleurs portiers de la compétition.
- Amos Magee, entraîneur adjoint à Portland, se penche sur l’échange Perkins - Ricketts, tente d’expliquer pourquoi son équipe n’a pas confirmé sa bonne première année, évoque ses difficultés en déplacement et la Cascadia Cup qui pourrait sauver la saison.
- Nos deux invités confirment aussi les avantages de parler français en MLS.
- Discussion sur les gardiens : Qui sont les meilleurs en MLS ? Comment les évaluer ? Serait-il opportun d’avoir un joueur désigné à ce poste ?
- Caleb Porter sera-t-il l’homme de la situation à Portland ? Quel est le profil idéal d’un entraîneur en MLS, comment et où le recruter ? Quelles sont les erreurs à ne pas commettre ?
- Débat : Qui de Colombus, Montréal, Houston, Chicago et DC United disputera la phase finale de la saison ? Nous avons analysé le classement et le calendrier de chacune des équipes pour vous faire le portrait le plus clair possible de la situation. Voyez aussi le fameux tableau de Frédéric Lord.
- Kansas City - New York : 1-1, alors que New York n’a pas tiré une seule fois au but !

L'émission Coup Franc est aussi disponible sur Stitcher et iTunes. Vous pouvez nous joindre par courriel (coup.franc@MLSsoccer.com) ou sur Twitter (@CoupFrancMLS).

01 August 1:16 pm

How often do you see a soccer player stick with one team for a decade? Anywhere?

New England's Shalrie Joseph is one of the few standard-bearers left in the league. You think Revs, you think Shalrie and the dreads.

So should the Revs retire his number? Should they retire it while he's still active? Should they give it to other players to wear?

Vote here.

31 July 1:25 pm

Ever wonder what the days are like in the life of MLSers leading up to matches?

Well, now you can find out. Major League Soccer and NBC have announced a new, day-in-the-life series, MLS 36. The program – which follows in the footsteps of fellow NBC Sports Network series Fight Night 36, IndyCar 36 and NHL 36 – takes viewers behind the scenes for a player's 36 hours prior to kickoff.

San Jose Earthquakes star and golden-boot leading Chris Wondolowski wil be the first league player highlighted, when his preparation for the 2012 MLS All-Star Game will air on Sunday, August 5 at 9:30 pm ET on the NBC Sports Network. The second installment is set to air the following Friday, August 10 when Seattle's Fredy Montero's preparations are recorded ahead of the Sounders' World Football Challenge match vs. Chelsea on July 18.

Additional episodes and players of MLS 36 will be announced at a later date. Which player to the right would you want to see featured? Or, let us know who else you would want in the comments below.

31 July 11:45 am

La période des transferts internationaux estivale est terminée et de nombreux clubs en ont profité pour se renforcer. C’est le thème de notre émission Coup Franc cette semaine (à écouter ici), avec le menu suivant :
- Notre invité Eric Hassli parle de son transfert et de son rôle à Toronto, de son état de forme, de son style de jeu par rapport à celui de Danny Koevermans, évoque Vancouver à qui il est encore très attaché ainsi que de son amour de la liberté sur le terrain et en dehors.
- Les principaux transferts du mercato : quel est le meilleur coup ? Gros plan sur les arrivées les plus récentes : Tim Cahill (New York), Jerry Bengtson (New England), Frederico Higuain (Columbus), Christian Tiffert (Seattle), Sherjill MacDonald et Alvaro Fernandez (Chicago). Nous sommes curieux de connaître votre opinion à ce sujet !
- L’apport des joueurs du Honduras à la MLS : Najar, Espinoza et Bengtson éliminent l’Espagne aux jeux Olympiques, Bernardez et Chavez ont un rôle important dans la première place de San José, Houston est intouchable depuis l’arrivée de Garcia.
- La remontée de Philadelphie, contre New England (résumé vidéo) et au classement

L'émission Coup Franc est aussi disponible sur iTunes. Vous pouvez nous joindre par courriel (coup.franc@MLSsoccer.com) ou sur Twitter (@CoupFrancMLS).

25 July 12:09 pm

On vient de dépasser la mi-saison et j’avais envie de voir à quel point les équipes en étaient par rapport au même stade l’an dernier. Le calendrier de la MLS étant ce qu’il est, j’ai d’abord réalisé un classement des 18 premières rencontres de chaque club (qui permet au passage de relativiser le classement actuel). Ensuite, je l’ai comparé avec le classement de leurs 18 premiers duels l’an dernier pour voir leurs progressions / régressions respectives. Même s’il faut prendre ces tableaux avec des pincettes, notamment en raison du déséquilibre entre les matchs joués à domicile et à l’extérieur, ils n’en demeurent pas moins des indicateurs très intéressants. À vous d’en tirer vos propres conclusions… N’hésitez pas à les partager !

CLASSEMENT 2012 APRÈS 18 MATCHS
    J Pts
1. San José 18 36
2. DC United 18 33
. Kansas City 18 33
4. Salt Lake 18 32
5. New York 18 31
6. Vancouver 18 30
7. Chicago 18 28
8. Seattle 18 27
9. Columbus 18 25
. Houston 18 25
11. Chivas USA 18 23
12. Colorado 18 22
. New England 18 22
14. LA Galaxy 18 20
. Philadelphie 18 20
16. Portland 18 19
17. Montréal 18 18
18. Dallas 18 15
19. Toronto 18 13
COMPARAISON 2012 / 2011 APRÈS 18 MATCHS
    J 2012 2011 Diff.
1. Vancouver 18 30 14 +16
2. San José 18 36 22 +14
3. Kansas City 18 33 22 +11
4. DC United 18 33 23 +10
5. Chicago 18 28 18 +10
6. New England 18 22 16 +6
7. New York 18 31 25 +6
8. Houston 18 25 20 +5
9. Chivas USA 18 23 21 +2
10. Salt Lake 18 32 31 +1
11. Seattle 18 27 28 -1
12. Colorado 18 22 23 -1
13. Columbus 18 25 27 -2
14. Portland 18 19 21 -2
15. Toronto 18 13 15 -2
16. Philadelphie 18 20 28 -8
17. LA Galaxy 18 20 34 -14
18. Dallas 18 15 34 -19
 
12 July 3:15 pm

Los catrachos se están tomando la MLS.

El ‘Muma’ Bernárdez llegó a San Jose a principios de esta temporada y se convirtió en titular indiscutible del equipo líder de la MLS, mientras que Boniek García ha agradado en sus primeras presentaciones con Houston Dynamo.

Ahora es el turno de Jerry Bengtson, quien es el único delantero nato del país centroamericano en la MLS (recordemos que Carlo Costly llegó y se fue rápidamente del Dynamo).

El nuevo Jugador Franquicia de New England Revolution debutó a lo grande con un gol en el triunfo por 2-0 ante los New York Red Bulls el fin de semana pasado.

La pregunta queda: ¿Cuántos goles anotará el tres veces goleador de Honduras este año?

Le preguntamos en nuestra última edición del podcast Tiro Libre (ESCÚCHALO AQUÍ) y el jugador fue sincero:

“Creo que faltan como 17 partidos, esperamos hacer la mayoría de goles… pueden ser que se pasen de 10 o no, pero voy a estar mas contento de poder anotar y de que el equipo sume de a tres [puntos]”.

¿Qué piensan ustedes? ¿Tiene Bengtson la capacidad de anotar más de 10 goles a partir de ahora? Recuerden, el irá a los Olímpicos de Londres con Honduras y se perderá algunos juegos.

01 July 5:21 pm

There's like a 99 percent chance that, if you're reading this blog post, you also watched the 2012 European Championship final between Spain and Italy.

It was awesome. Even if you had no rooting interest (full disclosure: I'm a quarter Italian, but was pulling for Spain), it's hard not to get caught up when the stakes are that high and the quality of soccer on display matches it.

And it just kills me that CONCACAF and CONMEBOL can't figure out a way to get a "Copa Américas" up and running every four years, starting immediately after the Euros. What an incredible opportunity the two confederations are missing.

Hopefully someday, they'll figure it out.

Anyway, only one real observation this week...

Scoring keeps going up and up and up

You should be reading Andrew Wiebe's Opta Spotlight every week. This past week's edition was especially good. Click me!

OK, now that you've read it, you know that teams are passing more, passing more accurately, passing more aggressively, and as a result (we assume), scoring more. Before this week scoring was already up 12 percent over last season's pace. That will have gone up some more, since in Week 17's 10-game slate there were 34 total goals.

And it's not just a blip. Since the end of the international break, MLS clubs have produced 100 goals in 33 games (thanks to Greg Lalas for that little tidbit).

It's the reversal of a 10-year trend. Back in 2001 MLS averaged 3.28 goals per game; by 2010, that was down to 2.46. Here's the whole table:

2011 -- 2.58
2010 -- 2.46

2009 -- 2.54
2008 -- 2.81
2007 -- 2.66
2006 -- 2.62
2005 -- 2.87
2004 -- 2.61
2003 -- 2.89
2002 -- 3.01
2001 -- 3.28
2000 -- 3.19
1999 -- 2.86
1998 -- 3.57*
1997 -- 3.26
1996 -- 3.37

The key thing here isn't just that MLS have imported guys like Thierry Henry (one of the league's elite finishers) and David Beckham (one of the league's elite chance creators). The league's also kept guys like Dwayne De Rosario and Brad Davis, who've both had overseas interest; they've developed highly rated talents like Chris Pontius and Will Bruin, who've both been given plenty of time to figure out where the net is; and, of course, used the Reserve League to help build Chris Wondolowski, who's turning into one of MLS' all-time greats.

It's a multi-faceted approach to finding and cultivating talent, and the numbers say it's working.

* For those of you who don't remember 1998 for one reason or another ... yes, that season was as crazy as the numbers indicate. Go find some YouTube clips of that year's Galaxy squad — it'll be worth your time.

29 June 11:22 pm

Just in time for the seven games on the MLS schedule that are available on MLS LIVE this weekend, our developers have launched two new features for the live match streaming service.

Multi-game: Users can now watch up to three games at once
Game Alerts: Users can now get notified on screen about other game events.
 
This is available immediately for both live and archived content. Which is important, because you probably don't already watch enough soccer.
 
Go to http://live.mlssoccer.com to sign up for MLS LIVE and watch all the best MLS action live.
 

 
We're pretty happy about it. Hopefully you are, too.
 
PS - We're also working on new features on the iPhone/iPad in the coming weeks. Patience.
25 June 4:31 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 8:41 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.