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08 March 7:13 pm

Needless to say, Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League games were exciting.

Perhaps even more so because of the nearly unprecedented attendance. Between the two CCL matches, 71,001 fans showed up. That's an average of 35,500.

By comparison, UEFA's four Champions League games this week averaged 49,776.25. That includes 75,632 fans who packed the Nou Camp in an attendance figure nearly as ridiculous at Barcelona's 7-1 destruction of Bayer Leverkusen.

Take what you will from it, but it's fair to say that the bar for CCL matches hosted by MLS teams has been raised.

08 March 3:01 pm

More predictions today from FIFA 12. Not only is it one of the greatest time-sucks/soccer video games ever created but it is also a predictor of Golden Boot winners.

According to EA Sports the game "predicted that Galaxy striker Robbie Keane will win the 2012 Budweiser Golden Boot, awarded to the top goal scorer at the end of the regular season. EA SPORTS has predicted Keane will score 19 goals this season."

19 for Keane? It's catchy and it rhymes, so why not.

Here's a look at how FIFA 12 predicts the rest of the race will play out. Personally, I'm wondering if Juan Agudelo will get 10 starts in 2012 let alone 10 goals.

08 March 11:50 am

Frankie Hejduk is a legend in Columbus. His eight years playing for the Crew, including captaining them to the 2008 MLS Cup title, made him a fan favorite. (Drinking beers in the parking lot with the diehard supporters when he was suspended for a game didn't hurt his Q rating at Crew Stadium either.)

Now, after he finished his career with the LA Galaxy last year, it looks like the Crew might abide the dude again.

“There’s some Crew players that just resonate,” Crew President and GM Mark McCullers told The Columbus Dispatch recently. “Brian McBride still resonates. Frankie resonates and that certainly has value for us. I would love to have Frankie in the organization." 

08 March 11:44 am

At the beginning of every season every outlet under the sun makes their predictions as to who will lift the Philip F. Anschutz trophy at the end of the year. For ages this has been the domain of both professional & amateur soccer journos, TV pundits and sports radio personalities. You can now add video games to the list.

Yes, even inanimate objects are experts now...kind of.

Using the latest version of their best-selling FIFA soccer franchise, the minds at EA Sports were able to predict who they think will take home the hardware in 2012. And guess what? They're thinking repeat as they've got the Galaxy pegged to do it all over again.

To come to this conclusion, EA Sports simulated the entire 2012 MLS regular season, testing all 19 clubs under the same conditions they will face in the months ahead to determine that the LA Galaxy will finish first overall in the 34-game regular season with a league record 75 points, posting a 22-9-3 win-draw-loss record. This would see the Galaxy completing a record-setting regular season and winning the MLS Supporters’ Shield for the third straight year.  No team has ever finished first three consecutive MLS seasons.

Here's how FIFA 12 predicted the tables would turn out for both the Eastern and Western conferences this year. Where does your club land?

So go on Galaxy-haters, start sharpening those knives and yelling about big-market bias. Just aim your anger squarely in the direction of your game console, not 420 Fifth Ave.

08 March 11:12 am

Les deux rencontres de Ligue des champions impliquant des clubs de MLS ont a été riches en spectacle ce mercredi soir. Avec des scores serrés, le suspense reste intégral pour les quarts de finale retour.

Devant une foule record au Centre Rogers, le Toronto FC a pris un départ canon, profitant d’une des faiblesses défensives du LA Galaxy, les corners, pour ouvrir la marque tôt dans la rencontre. On ne jouait pas depuis 20 minutes que le jeune Luis Silva punissait une défense californienne pas encore dans son match pour faire 2-0. Les détenteurs de la dernière Coupe MLS mettaient ensuite la machine en route et réduisaient l’écart à 2-1 avant la pause.

Lors d’une seconde période spectaculaire, Beckham et ses partenaires poussaient de plus en plus vers l’égalisation. Plus Torsten Frings, auteur d’un grand match, peinait physiquement, plus la défense locale pliait. Elle a fini par rompre dans les derniers instants, sur un corner de Beckham que Donovan a propulsé au fond des filets (score final 2-2 - voir le résumé en vidéo).

À peine la rencontre terminée, les yeux étaient rivés sur Seattle où Santos Laguna semblait à prendre. Rapidement, les Sounders ont ouvert la marque et ils semblaient en mesure d’accentuer leur avance. Mais en fin de première période, les Mexicains ont haussé le rythme, puis égalisé méritoirement à l’heure de jeu. Leur joie fut de courte durée : quelques instants plus tard, Evans offrait la victoire 2-1 à Seattle. Un résultat dont les deux équipes ont semblé se satisfaire.

Mardi, le choc 100% mexicain a été remporté par Monterrey, qui s’est imposé 1-3 à Morelia. Ce jeudi soir, Metapan a causé la surprise en battant les Pumas de l’Unam 2-1. Les quarts de finale retour se joueront la semaine prochaine.

08 March 9:33 am

Herculez Gomez handles Twitter about as well as any American soccer player, so it was no surprise when the Santos Laguna striker took to the interwebs early Thursday morning following his side's 2-1 loss against Seattle in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.

Gomez, who is enjoying a nice run of form after struggling for playing time early in his Santos tenure, scored his side's only goal -- slipping the ball past Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and inside the back post after taking a deft touch with his back to goal -- and was a threat for most of the night, leading his team with five shots (three on goal) and five fouls suffered.

All in all, it was a decent night for both sides. Seattle took control of the tie, earning a one-goal aggregate advantage heading into the second leg, and got a jolt of confidence ahead of their trip to Mexico. Santos, despite being outplayed for most of the match, got their precious away goal, giving them plenty of reason to believe they can shake off the loss in Seattle when they return to Torreón next week.

Beyond the requisite thank yous, Herc dropped a few interesting nuggets that you can find below. #90left was the theme of many of his tweets following the match, a fitting refrain considering MLS sides have had so much trouble earning results in Mexico.

With a little prodding from Ives Galarcep, Herc also addressed his burgeoning hair helmet, which was hot topic on Twitter during the match, as well as the attention he received from Leo Gonzalez during his 84 minutes of action.

07 March 6:11 pm

I've always been of the opinion that the argument is "Pele vs. Maradona" instead of "Pele vs. Maradona vs. Di Stefano" simply because the Blond Arrow never won a World Cup.

Fifty years later, we may be in the midst of Di Stefano Part II.

What if that's Lionel Messi's destiny? What if his next seven years are as great as his past four, but Argentina comes up short in both 2014 and 2018? Will he truly be in the argument with Pele and Maradona? Or will he languish with Di Stefano, Cruyff and Puskas in the ranks of those who never got it done on the world's greatest stage?

Where do you stand?

07 March 3:08 pm

Si la saison est sur le point de commencer, la période des transferts est encore très chaude. Dernière preuve en date : l’annonce de la signature d’Arne Friedrich à Chicago. Le défenseur allemand débarquera en MLS avec un palmarès de deux demi-finales de Coupe du monde, un titre de vice-champion d’Europe et plus de 80 sélections en équipe nationale.

Tous les clubs de MLS ont été très actifs sur le marché au cours de l’hiver. Si vous voulez voir toutes les transactions en un coup d’œil, c’est très simple : MLSsoccer.com a pensé à vous et les a rassemblées sur cette page.

Maintenant, à vous de vous exprimer :

  • Quel club a réalisé LE transfert de l’hiver (et, évidemment, qui est le joueur en question) ?
  • Quelle équipe s’est renforcée là où elle en avait vraiment besoin ?
  • Qui a raté son hiver et vivra une saison difficile à cause de ça ?
  • Quelle est la meilleure acquisition et la plus grande perte de votre club favori ?
  • Quel joueur venu de l’étranger est le renfort le plus important pour la MLS ?
  • Quel départ vers l’étranger ou joueur parti à la retraite va le plus vous manquer ?
07 March 12:42 pm

Introducing MLS Timeline on FacebookWe're telling the Major League Soccer story with Facebook's new profile.  

Facebook has grown over the years to capture the growth of the League and engage with our fans in a timely, authentic, media-rich way. Now, with Facebook Timeline, we now have a home for all the great MLS stories we’ve shared with our fans over the years. We’ve also posted many of our most memorable videos, photos, updates, awards and events since our founding in 1995.

Along with the history section on MLSsoccer.com, this is where we’re telling the story of MLS, from beginning, to middle, to now.

 

 

 
07 March 12:06 pm

Maybe it was the fact that he was called "Stevie" to start the segment by ESPN Press Pass host Dan Thomas -- that's a little too chummy for a host to address a football legend -- but former New England Revolution manager Steve Nicol may have overstepped his journalistic bounds by stating this about the LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders in this 2012 season preview:

"They have talent, they have money and the way MLS is set up, you have to know the rules and these guys can manipulate the rules to help them."

We can only hope that by the word "manipulate" he means that those clubs are savvier than all the others at managing the roster rules in MLS.

But that statement comes on the heels of this declaration by Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis to SI.com: "It's a little puzzling even for me to figure out how the Galaxy is affording all these players. At some point I can only worry about so many things. But I've always been in favor of making all the rules more black and white and putting everybody on the same page."

The speculation surrounding big market bias resurfaces every now and then. But it's got to stop. There are 15 other owners outside LA, NY and Seattle, not to mention an MLS Players Union, who would never just sit idly by and allow "manipulation."

After the first statement, it was no surprise to hear who Nicol named as the favorite of the 2012 MLS season.

"Hard to see past LA," said Nicol, who coached the New England Revolution to four MLS Cup title matches without big money stars. "They have talent and they have money."

Again with the money? This isn't the EPL or La Liga. Please.