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20 March 9:14 am

A quick hit from the world of one-time MLS Cup champions: Former Colorado Rapids head coach Gary Smith has been released by English League One side Stevenage after the club suffered their 14th defeat in the past 18 games on Tuesday night, 2-0 to Bury.

"After a very promising start with a new squad, we have slipped alarmingly and the board are concerned that the present management team may be unable to deliver the club's vision of increasing attendances and developing players in a winning environment," Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace told the club's web site. "We have waited longer than most others in similar circumstances, but we cannot in all good conscience continue to watch this downward spiral and do nothing."

Smith, 44, led the Rapids to their only league title in franchise history in 2010 before he and the club parted ways following the 2011 season. He joined Stevenage in January 2012.

19 March 5:40 pm

Say what you will about Carlos Bocanegra and whether he's the same player he was during the past two World Cups. But the dude is a professional.

It's been a tough week for the US national team captain, omitted from camp by Jurgen Klinsmann for a lack of minutes with Racing Santander and name-dropped repeatedly in the bombshell article by the Sporting News' Brian Straus as a flashpoint for what is reportedly a rift between squad and coach.

But on Tuesday, Bocanegra took the highest road possible on all the relevant social-networking venues. First, he penned a thoughtful, respectful few lines on his Facebook page:

"During the last 18 months, Jurgen has introduced a lot of new ideas to the team and has a vision of how he wants to grow the program," he wrote. "Every coach around the world has his own style and methods. He has always been up front with players about where they stand and where he sees them going.

"Not every player is going to be happy with all of the decisions and methods, but he will tell you to your face where you stand. From a coach, that is the best thing you could ask for. One of the greatest strengths of this team has always been our unity and spirit, and we all remain committed to the cause of qualifying for the World Cup."

Then, he added some thoughts on his Twitter account:

It's that kind of leadership that makes fans hope Boca is back in the picture soon.

19 March 5:30 pm

MLS Experts Jason Saghini and Andrew Wiebe will be back again on Thursday for another episode of “Starting Lineup,” our new MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager series dedicated strictly to helping you field your Best XI possible. So if you're having trouble figuring out who to start, who to pick up, who to drop or just a general question about the game let us know. We're here to talk fantasy soccer, that's it!

Post your questions in the comments section below or tweet them to @MLSFantasy, the offical MLS twitter account for everything FS:M related. And if for some reason you missed the second episode of Starting Lineup last week, check it out below.

19 March 10:48 am

La semaine des rivalités nous a offert un programme intense le week-end dernier, et c’est le sujet principal de notre émission hebdomadaire (à écouter ici) :
- On revient sur le match Montréal - Toronto, la manière dont l’Impact a gagné, l’importance de Bernier dans le jeu montréalais, l’apport des ailiers, le travail effectué à l’entraînement, l’ambiance au Stade olympique.
- Retour sur d’autres rencontres, principalement Dallas - Houston et Seattle - Portland.
- Après trois semaines de compétition, quel est le joueur désigné qui se distingue le plus et quel est le meilleur nouveau venu ?
- Les polémiques arbitrales de la semaine :

- La sélection américaine en vue de ses deux prochains matchs des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde
- Club de lecture : « La Balle au centre », les mémoires de Thierry Roland, commentateur mythique à la télévision française. Les animateurs de l’émission discutent de son style, de sa personnalité, de son franc-parler, de son image, de la Coupe du monde 1998, etc.

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

18 March 3:27 pm

Guillermo Barros Schelotto, jugador más valioso de la MLS en 2008 con el Columbus Crew, ídolo en el club de Ohio y en el Boca Juniors argentino, se rencontró este fin de semana con un viejo amigo.

El “Mellizo”, hoy DT de Lanús, se enfrentó a su amigo y excompañero en Boca, Martín Palermo, quien dirige actualmente a Godoy Cruz. El emotivo saludo al comienzo del partido, no lo fue tanto al cierre del mismo.

La razón: Guillermo venció a Martín en Mendoza por 1-0, y quedarse así como el único líder del campeonato argentino.

Lanús es el equipo al cual pertenece el volante creativo de Portland Timbers, Diego Valeri, quien se encuentra en préstamo por un año con opción de compra.

 

18 March 12:50 pm

This weekend was a special one in MLS history.

No, there weren't a ton of goals, but the coverage of the first-ever #RivalryDay from NBC and the NBC Sports Network was unlike anything the League has seen in its history, and we were lucky enough to tag along for the whole ride.

How does the old saying go? There ain't no business like show business? After seeing first-hand the work that went into the day's production, we can definitely confirm.  

At 10am on Saturday morning, Arlo White, Kyle Martino, Russ Thaler and other members of the NBC crew arrived at Red Bull Arena. First order of business, making sure Kyle's hair was just right. 

After everyone was set up, dressed and ready to go, it was time for a little rehearsal. Had the cameras been rolling, you wouldn't have known the difference, this stuff is second nature for these guys.

Just before the end of the first half, we headed up to the booth. Way up. Arlo was basically on the roof of RBA, accompanied by vast amounts of note cards laid out on the desk in front of him that apparently he never needs to use.

He makes it look easy, but you probably knew that already. We were lucky enough to catch him just before another one of New York's fizzled chances

During a typical match, White is up in the booth while Thaler is watching the match from the set, taking notes on major moments that occur during the run of play.

Martino's set up is a bit more tricky.

As the lead analyst he's situated right between the team benches, armed with a monitor of the broadcast, a headset and most importantly his own eyes and ears to tell you exactly what he's seeing and hearing on pitch level.

There can be distractions. When the broadcasts first started, it was usually assistant coaches and substitutes who weren't aware that Martino was actually on the air. They'd be tugging on their buddy's shirt while he's trying to describe what happened during the latest chance. On Saturday, it was a guy in the stands who screamed "MARTINO! MARTINO!" for, no joke, 45 minutes straight. Fun times.

As the final whistle sounded, discussions were well underway between Thaler and the day's producer, Shaw Brown, to prepare for the show's postgame interview.

There had been no goalscorer in the match, thanks in large part to the heroics of Bill Hamid. Thierry Henry had done the pregame and while there was some talk about having Dax McCarty on, in the end Hamid was the only choice.

Literally, as soon as the lights went down and Hamid exited the set, we were in the van and on the way to Stamford. So, what do three of North America's preeminent soccer broadcasters talk about when they have an hour to kill on a car ride? Lots of soccer, it turns out.

We didn't have any goals in the Sporting Kansas City - Chicago Fire match, but that doesn't mean the crew wasn't watching. 

Roughly halfway through the ride legit preparations for the Breakaway show became the focus. A four-hour rehearsal was executed earlier in the week, but there's only so much you can do to prepare for coverage of simultaneous live sporting events. At this point, we had news.  

At the time, that news focused around Henry, trying to determine exactly what his status was following the match and how it might play into the show that evening. 

With about 55 minutes to air, our crew pulled up to the gorgeous new NBC studios in Stamford. The guys had to rush inside to get setup with makeup and suits, but there was still some time to savor the moment.

Finally, after a day of rehearsal, calling an entire match earlier in the afternoon and a car ride spanning three states, the lights came on. Go time.

At halftime of RSL-Colorado, we snuck out of the studio and headed for the control room, where Brown was running the show along with coordinating producer, Pierre Moossa. We had no clue exactly what was going on, it was pretty cool to watch it all go down.

You might think two-and-a-half hours of desk analysis and highlights would be a slog for these guys, but the time flew by. By the end, everyone was surprisingly fresh and ready for another go-around again someday. 

18 March 9:40 am

Six partages en neuf rencontres et les trois autres qui se soldent par un but d’écart : la semaine des rivalités a aussi été celle des scores serrés.

Les trois vainqueurs de la journée effectuent évidemment la bonne opération au classement. À commencer par Montréal, vainqueur de Toronto et seul en tête avec neuf points, ce qui n’empêche pas ses joueurs de ne pas être satisfaits de leur prestation. Avec un match de retard, Vancouver, au repos ce week-end, est l’unique autre club à ne pas encore avoir perdu de point.

Dallas compte également six unités après sa victoire 3-2 contre Houston dans le match le plus spectaculaire de la journée. Cooper a inscrit le but de la victoire dans les arrêts de jeu et dans la controverse puisqu’il a profité du fait que le ballon touche son bras pour se retrouver seul face à Hall. « Je ne sais pas… j’ai voulu faire une tête et le ballon est arrivé devant moi », plaide le buteur. « Les tricheurs gagnent parfois », répond Dominic Kinnear. Troisième poursuivant totalisant six points, Philadelphie qui, faute d’automatismes dans le jeu posé, se distingue en étant le roi des corners en ce début de saison.

Autre polémique dans le seul derby de la compétition où, bien que réduit à dix et mené, Chivas USA a arraché le nul dans les derniers instants. Les hommes de Chelis ont été particulièrement physiques contre « l’équipe des bureaux de New York », dixit le coach. Tête basse, ceux de Bruce Arena se sont trouvés particulièrement laxistes.

Notons également les débuts d’Obafemi Martins pour Seattle, tenu en échec par Portland, et le nul concédé par New York chez lui contre DC United qui, malgré ce bon point, commence à s’inquiéter de sa disette offensive.

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

 
0-0
0-0
2-1
1-0
1-1
1-1
1-1
3-2
1-1

Classement général
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo

 

18 March 8:53 am

What a weekend. 

With the inaugural #RivalryWeek in the bag, it seems appropriate to reflect on some of the new, and not-so-new things we learned from YOU, the fan. 

Our interactive #RivalryWeek page, presented by Windows, created a one-of-a-kind, virtual Jumbotron that allowed fans’ photos and tweets to illuminate the spectacle of the weekend.

Here’s some of what we discovered:

1. @jeaniain and @T_Swaggerty show us that the rivalry between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders knows no age.
 
 
2. MLS fans love selfies just as much as anyone.
 
 
3. We’ve got some pretty artsy folks out there.
 
 
Thanks for sharing your weekend with us, we hope you had as much fun as we did. Let’s do it again soon. 
17 March 3:41 pm

 

Kei Kamara scored against for Norwich City on Sunday. Well, almost.

Kamara would have scored against Sunderland, powering a soaring header into an open net, if it weren't for Wes Hoolahan's predatory instincts on the goal line. As it stands, it's a spectacular assist that gives the Sierre Leone international another special moment on loan from Sporting KC.

Will he be going back to Sporting Park? That remains to be seen, but it's clear Kamara hasn't forgotten what he perfected in front of the Kansas City faithful. That jig remind you of anything?