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11 October 6:26 pm

Newly named New York Red Bulls GM Jerome de Bontin was non-committal when he was asked last week about the future of current manager Hans Backe.

But Backe himself sounds like he knows what's happening when his contract expires at the end of the current season.

According to a report in Swedish outlet Expressen, Backe indicated that he plans on moving back to Sweden in December.

"My contract runs out and I have not heard anything, so I will be moving home in December," Backe said, according to an online translation of the article. "There has been a reorganization which brought in Gérard Houllier and Jerome de Bontin and Erik Solér has been fired."

Add to that last week's rumors that tie Harry Redknapp and Gary McAllister to the Red Bulls job and it makes for a pretty major disruption for a team that still hasn't clinched a playoff berth with two matches remaining.

We'll see how the club responds in the coming days.

11 October 12:33 pm

When an England-based media outlet gets a chance to sit down with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, the question du rigueur these days is about Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard.

After his participation in the Leaders in Football conference in London on Thursday, Garber fielded the "Lampard to MLS" question and was bullish about his one day joining the US top-flight (see the video below):

"What a great player," Garber said about Lampard. "It would be great to see him in Major League Soccer but I'm not aware of any conversations going on."

And the Commissioner also shared his thoughts about ex-New England Revolution and current Tottenham Hotspur forward Clint Dempsey, who will lead the US national team in two crucial World Cup qualifying matches.

"For me, personally, I'd love to have Clint Dempsey in Major League Soccer," he said. "I think that the top American today and playing in our league and being an idol for young kids all across the country would be good for Major League Soccer."

See the entire interview below:

11 October 11:09 am

Accéder au dernier tour des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde, et donc faire partie des six meilleures nations de la zone, est un must pour tout pays de la Concacaf le moindrement ambitieux. C’est un objectif que le Canada tentera d’atteindre pour la première fois depuis 16 ans.

Pour cela, il faudra commencer par battre Cuba ce vendredi. À en croire les diverses déclarations, les membres de l’équipe nationale canadienne ne sont pas stressés. Stephen Hart se dit très serein tout en insistant sur le fait que les joueurs sont concentrés sur ce duel, plutôt que sur le déplacement au Honduras de mardi. Olivier Occean ajoute que la pression, les joueurs la ressentent aussi dans leur club.

Les Canadiens récupéreront le jeune papa Will Johnson, de retour de suspension. À l’image de Terry Dunfield, ils sont nombreux à se rendre compte que c’est leur dernière chance de participer à la Coupe du monde.

Alors que les observateurs les voient déjà au Brésil, les États-Unis font preuve d’une inquiétude inhabituelle. Le choix Jurgen Klinsmann de ne pas sélectionner Jozy Altidore a ouvert un bal d’autres défections, pour raisons de santé celles-là. Ils n’étaient que 11 sur le terrain pour l’entraînement ce mercredi, et l’équipe, déjà privée de Landon Donovan et Brek Shea, a dû partir pour Antigua-et-Barbuda sans arrière gauche.

On s’affaire aussi beaucoup en haut lieu. Pendant que Don Garber participe à des conférences en Angleterre, les dirigeants de la MLS ont officiellement ouvert les discussions pour l’arrivée d’une deuxième équipe à New York en 2016.

09 October 2:48 pm

Here's the third and final part of our series on the long build-up, looking at how teams use long sequences of passes to break down an opponent's defense.

In this video, we examine the gaps that are created by horizontal and lateral ball movement, respectively, and why ball-playing central defenders are at such a premium these days.

09 October 2:43 pm

It's been the year of the center forward in MLS, and that's trickled down to the North American second flight as well.

The NASL on Tuesday announced its Best XI for the 2012 season, and at its head was Golden Boot winner Pablo Campos. The big Brazilian No. 9 had a career year, knocking home 20 goals in leading expansion side San Antonio Scorpions to the best regular-season record and No. 1 playoff seed.

Campos, who turns 29 this week, had four goals in 41 appearances with RSL and San Jose in 2009 and 2010.

Other former MLS players featured in the Best XI were winger Nick Zimmerman, who had stints with both Philadelphia and New York; and central defender Ryan Cochrane, who spent eight years in MLS and won two MLS Cups with Houston.

Here is the complete Best XI list:

Forwards: Mark Anderson (Ft. Lauderdale Strikers), Pablo Campos (San Antonio Scorpions)

Midfielders: Luke Mulholland (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Walter Ramírez (San Antonio Scorpions), Walter Restrepo (Ft. Lauderdale Strikers), Nick Zimmerman (Carolina RailHawks)

Defenders: Kyle Altman (Minnesota Stars FC), Ryan Cochrane (San Antonio Scorpions), Paul Hamilton (FC Edmonton), Takuya Yamada (Tampa Bay Rowdies)

Goalkeeper: Jeff Attinella (Tampa Bay Rowdies)

Complete NASL coverage

09 October 10:38 am

À l’issue de la mini-trêve réservée aux équipes nationales, il ne restera que deux semaines de compétition à la saison régulière et deux rencontres à toutes les équipes dont le sort n’est pas encore scellé. Voici un tour d’horizon des différents enjeux. À vos pronostics !

SUPPORTERS SHIELD
San José est quasiment assuré de remporter le trophée. Avec 5 points d’avance sur Kansas City, il lui suffit à toutes fins pratiques d’un point pour terminer en tête du classement (en cas d’égalité, les équipes sont départagées par le nombre de buts marqués, ce qui avantage nettement les Californiens). Ils auront l’occasion de le remporter contre le LA Galaxy puis à Portland. En cas de double échec du leader, les Sportingmen devront réaliser le sans-faute à New York et contre Philadelphie pour s’adjuger le Supporters Shield.
San José est d’ores et déjà assuré de participer à la Ligue des champions car Kansas City s’y est qualifié en remportant la Coupe des États-Unis.

CONFÉRENCE OUEST
Salt Lake, Seattle et le LA Galaxy accompagneront San José en phase finale. Le dernier siège sera pour Vancouver ou Dallas. Avantage à l’équipe de Martin Rennie, qui compte quatre unités d’avance sur son adversaire. Une victoire contre Portland ou à Salt Lake lui suffira. Les Texans, qui ont marqué plus de buts, ne peuvent se permettre la moindre défaite et sont quasiment contraints au 6/6 à Seattle et contre Chivas USA.

CONFÉRENCE EST
Kansas City et Chicago sont déjà rassurés sur leur sort. Quatre équipes luttent pour les trois dernières places. DC United (3e, 54 pts) est le mieux classé mais son calendrier est ardu, avec la visite de Columbus et un déplacement à Chicago. Tout comme New York (4e, 53 pts), qui accueillera Kansas City avant d’aller à Philadelphie, il peut se contenter d’une victoire ou tabler sur une défaite des deux autres prétendants. Houston (5e, 50 pts), qui reçoit Philadelphie et se déplace à Colorado, doit prendre au moins autant de points que Columbus (6e, 49 pts et en mauvaise posture car la moins bonne attaque des quatre) qui, après son déplacement à DC United, jouera contre Toronto.

08 October 3:37 pm

The US roster was released, and the Twittersphere exploded — as per usual. To quote a noted philospher, "It is what it is."

And what "it is" is the inclusion of Alan Gordon over a host of other, "more deserving" candidates.

Please read those as air quotes, because that's what they are.

On a per-minute basis over the past two years, Gordon has actually been the most productive scorer in MLS. Better than teammate Chris Wondolowski (who was controversially left off), better than Eddie Johnson, better than almost anyone over any two-year stretch in league history. The only thing that's impeded him are the injuries he's had to deal with.

But even if he was less productive than he has been, he'd still be a good invite.

Gordon, you see, is a specialist. With so many players today we talk about versatility and flexibility, but that's often code for "he's a tweener." There's none of that with Gordon.

He's a No. 9. He's a forward who's going to get into the final third, put his back into a defender — or defenders — and hold the ball. Then, when he holds the ball, he'll make either an attacking, or possession-positive play with it.

It's not sexy, but it's effective, and it's crucial for Jurgen Klinsmann's scheme. It's about holding the ball in the final third and building chances, not about forcing turnovers and hitting on the break. Gordon gives him a better chance to implement his plan than pretty much anyone in the pool — not only because he can make plays, but because he makes it significantly easier for the guys around him to make plays. When he occupies a defender, that defender stays occupied.

Consider: For years, the US played better with Brian Ching or Conor Casey on the field than they did without, in spite of what can be accurately described as "shoddy finishing." Those two guys largely have the same skillsets as Gordon, who is both bigger and a better finisher.

Here's how Klinsmann put it in his conference call:

"That's more tactical related," he told reporters on Monday. "...That's the reason we brought in Eddie [Johnson] and Alan, two guys that are good in the air, they can lay balls off."

Translation: They can take a beating, hold the ball, and bring our attacking midfielders — guys like Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi, maybe even Herculez Gomez — into the play. They give the US a better chance at combining and building a goal (I still don't think Johnson does, but whatever — I can live with it).

The invite for Gordon makes perfect sense. As for the Twittersphere explosion ... well, it is what it is.

08 October 11:03 am

À deux journées de la fin de la saison régulière, l’heure des verdicts approche. San José a fait un pas de plus vers le Supporters Shield, mais en atomisant Colorado, le leader a déjà composté son billet pour la prochaine Ligue des champions. Wondolowski, auteur d’un triplé, est devenu meilleur buteur de l’histoire du club, et n’est plus qu’à deux réalisations du record de 27 buts inscrits en une saison par Roy Lassiter.

Contraint au partage dans les derniers instants, le dauphin Kansas City est surtout soulagé que la blessure d’Espinoza ne soit pas si grave que cela, alors que le but de Gaven dans les arrêts de jeu pourrait sauver la saison de Columbus. Toujours sixième de la conférence Est, l’équipe de l’Ohio peut remercier Montréal, qui est allé arracher un nul à Houston, toujours frustré de l’annulation (justifiée) du but de Ching dans les arrêts de jeu. Vainqueur à Toronto, DC United se sent comme un voleur mais est le grand bénéficiaire de la journée.

Chicago s’est rassuré sur son sort en s’imposant lors du sommet de samedi grâce à deux buts de MacDonald sur le terrain de New York qui, selon Thierry Henry, a mérité sa défaite.

Dallas, dans un jour sans à Chivas USA, a concédé un nul qui risque d’avoir des conséquences néfastes. Les suites de la blessure de Landon Donovan pourraient aussi nuire au LA Galaxy, battu par Salt Lake, et à l’équipe nationale américaine.

Enfin, comment passer sous silence la soirée riche en émotions à Seattle, où l’équipe locale a livré une de ses meilleures prestations de la saison pour battre Portland 3-0 devant plus de 66 000 personnes, dont environ 1200 supporters visiteurs ? Du tifo des ECS au résultat en passant par la manière, Sigi Schmid en avait les larmes aux yeux, précisant que c’est comme cela qu’il imaginait le paradis…

LES RÉSULTATS
Toronto - DC United
New York - Chicago
Philadelphie - New England
Houston - Montréal
Colorado - San José
LA Galaxy - Salt Lake
Columbus - Kansas City
Chivas USA - Dallas
Seattle - Portland

 
0-1
0-2
1-0
1-1
1-4
1-2
1-1
1-1
3-0

Classement général
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo

 

05 October 1:44 pm

Jurgen Klinsmann has spent much of his year-plus at the head of the US national team talking about big ideas and expansive long-term goals.

A few gritty rounds of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying seem to have brought out the flinty realist in him, however.

The German-American coach shared his thoughts on the qualifying grinder and his team’s overall progress in a Q&A with ussoccer.com on Thursday. And while he claimed that the rigors of regional competition have been “pretty much what I expected,” and largely adhered to his optimistic outlook, it’s hard not to believe that he’s adapting his ambitious outlook to his current circumstances.

“They are very difficult games going into countries in the Caribbean and Central America,” said Klinsmann. “You have to adjust to the environments there. You have the crowd’s influence. You have refereeing that here and there may not be the way you want it. It’s difficult. It’s very physical and tough.

“You have to respond to it with the right attitude. You have to have respect for those teams. You have to battle them. You have to win your battles first before you play nice football.”

Remember, this is the same coach who proclaimed his desire to play flowing, “proactive” soccer and stand toe to toe with world powers. A week after suggesting in an ESPN.com interview that he would even “send a tall center back up front” and go Route-1 style if the US somehow found themselves chasing the game against Antigua and Barbuda next week, Klinsmann acknowledged his own on-the-job educational process.

“From a coaching perspective, I learned a lot about having games in Jamaica and Guatemala, so I know what to expect the next time I go in there,” he said. “Every coach goes through those learning curves. At the end of the day, we are here for points. We need to qualify for the World Cup, so we need to make sure the players understand the urgency of doing things.

“Going into these last two qualifying matches of the first group stage, it’s really important that the players understand from the first second on that we have a sense of urgency in everything we do.”

Comparing CONCACAF’s underdogs to the awkward UEFA minnows his German national team wrestled past during qualification efforts in his own playing career – including a tight home victory over Wales that nearly kept Die Mannschaft out of the 1990 World Cup that they eventually won – Klinsmann acknowledged the underrated challenges that US teams perennially encounter in their own backyard.

“You have to explain to people that even if you are on paper the big favorite, for your opponent the game against the United States is the game of the year, and maybe the game of the decade,” he said.

“If you take just five percent off the gas, you will struggle. They will come away with a tie, they might beat you. It is important that the players must understand there is no easy game on the agenda. There is no such thing. Soccer is unpredictable. You can mess up again with one set piece, and then they bunker themselves in and you do not find a way through that wall and you lose 1-0 and wonder why afterwards.”

US fans can only hope that Klinsmann and his squad make sure that feeling, which befell them after last month’s upset loss to Jamaica, doesn’t return any time soon.

05 October 1:16 pm

We can't believe it's already October, but were excited to have launched the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Soccer Kicks Cancer Breast Cancer Awareness initiative this month. Clubs have had an impressive start to the month both on and off the field. The sheer number of community events and initiatives conducted this week alone are worth a standing ovation. Check it out:

Columbus Crew Community News and Notes

Crew host Mascot Soccer 2012

Red Bulls Believe Program

Stand Together Week City Hall Proclamation

Crew Team Awards and Casino Night

San Jose Earthquakes bartending event to benefit Earthquakes Community Fund

City of Portland Proclaims October 8-14 Stand Together Week

D.C. United: The Black and Red Go Pink

Stand Together: September Snapshot

San Jose Earthquakes team up with Light the Night

Dynamo's Bobby Boswell visits patients at Methodist Cancer Center

Major League Soccer and Portland Timbers partner to present Socio MLS

Chicago Fire Celebrate 15th Anniversary

Rapids go pink at Soccer Kicks Cancer match on Saturday

Global Down Syndrome Campers to take part in Colorado San Jose match

Crew Boot Breast Cancer

Crew pay tribute to Kirk Urso with dedication in Founder's Park

United for DC Race for a Cause

Dynamo Charities launch Ching Champions

Portland's Kimura and Hoban mentors kids at Friends of the Children event

Seattle's Carrasco named Humanitarian of the Month for October

Whitecaps FC go pink for Wednesday's match

Chivas USA kick-off Career Panel Series

FC Dallas Foundation Fundraiser

Houston Dynamo host Breast Cancer Awareness Night

Centraide Cup Charity Soccer Tournament Raises $250,000

Saputo big winner at first ever Centraide Cup

Revs team with Armani for Breast Cancer Awareness

Stand Together: David Horst invites you to Stand Together Week

San Jose Earthquakes host Be the Match for Jeremy

Sporting Kansas City goes pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Night

Chicago Fire Foundation Events

Video: Montreal Impact revamps Parc Theodore

Dreams for Kids & D.C. United Soccer Clinic

For more community news from around the League, visit the MLS W.O.R.K.S. news section.