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22 March 10:56 am

Entre les éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde et les blessures, il y aura beaucoup d’absents sur les terrains de MLS ce week-end… et autant de chances à saisir pour leurs remplaçants.

Privé de Nesta, le leader Montréal ne souhaite pas assumer le rôle de favori contre New York, en quête de sa première victoire et où les débuts possibles de Luyindula pourraient être les bienvenus en l’absence de Cahill, Henry et peut-être d’Olave.

Autre équipe à compter le maximum des points (mais avec un match de retard), Vancouver aura la tâche difficile à Houston, dans un stade réputé imprenable. Pour Martin Rennie, la pression est sur les Texans qui, privés de leurs ailiers internationaux, comptent sur Andrew Driver pour amener le danger.

La journée s’ouvrira samedi sur NBCSN avec DC United - Columbus, un prolongement de la semaine des rivalités. Univision Deportes diffusera le duel entre Dallas, qui vient d’engager l’international hondurien Ramon Nuñez, et Salt Lake, où Josh Saunders effectuera ses débuts en l’absence de Nick Rimando convoqué en équipe nationale américaine.

San José - Seattle sera non seulement un match au sommet mais aussi un duel illustrant bien cette journée. Entre les blessés et les internationaux, les Californiens sont bien heureux de pouvoir compter sur Walter Martinez, leur dernier renfort en date, tandis que les absences conjuguées de Johnson et Martins permettront à David Estrada de rejouer pour Seattle après 10 mois d’absence.

Un seul match est au programme dimanche : Chicago, en proie à une disette offensive et à des casse-tête défensifs, accueillera Chivas USA devant les caméras d’UniMas.

LE PROGRAMME COMPLET
Samedi 23 mars
15h30 : DC United - Columbus
16h00 : New England - Kansas City
16h30 : Montréal - New York
20h30 : Houston - Vancouver
20h30 : Dallas - Salt Lake
22h30 : LA Galaxy - Colorado
22h30 : San José - Seattle
Dimanche 24 mars
17h00 : Chicago - Chivas USA

Classement général
Toutes les heures HE (heure de New York et Montréal)
Rendez-vous ici pour la disponibilité des matchs sur MLS Live et les diffuseurs locaux
Hors États-Unis et Canada, vous pouvez voir des matchs de MLS via ces diffuseurs

21 March 3:55 pm

Last week, FC Dallas revealed a new product, the Orange Obliteration System (OOS). They hoped it would help them beat their orange-clad rivals from Houston.  

Well, it worked. FCD got a dramatic 3-2 win over the Dynamo

And now, other people want in on the action, namely, the Vancouver Whitecaps, who will face the Dynamo on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium, where the Dynamo have a 12-0-6 record since the stadium's opening last year.

Here's the tweet the 'Caps sent on Wednesday, requesting their own OOS.

Dallas, never shy about tweaking their in-state rivals, obliged.

And the Whitecaps were thankful.

A little later, the Dynamo jumped into the fray, referencing Kenny Cooper's controversial match-winning goal against Houston last week.

21 March 12:06 pm

Are you a US national team fan? Are you getting more and more amped as the hours tick down towards the next round of  World Cup qualifiers on Friday night?

Jimmy Conrad the the rest of the crew over at KICKTV are right there with you. They've just dropped the latest episode of “The Hex,” KICKTV's video series on the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

“Hexagonal 101” delivers a fast-paced refresher course on the long, global road to the World Cup, the structure of the competition and the many challenges that the USMNT and their five regional counterparts must overcome in order to book a place in Brazil 2014.

Sporting the USA's brand-new centennial jersey, which the Yanks will debut against Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., on Friday, Conrad reminds us how difficult the two-and-a-half-year-long process can be, a lesson he's learned through firsthand experience.

This is a great way to start the final countdown to the big games – and an excellent primer if you've got friends or family who could use a bit of Hex background.

21 March 11:49 am

Ce vendredi, presque toute la planète aura les yeux rivés sur la reprise des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde 2014. Dans la Concacaf, on disputera la deuxième journée du dernier tour, sur fond de polémique aux États-Unis qui s’apprêtent à affronter le Costa Rica d’Alvaro Saborio puis le Mexique.

Après une défaite initiale au Honduras, Jürgen Klinsmann a convoqué un groupe loin de faire l’unanimité et se fait tirer dessus à boulets rouges par un article de Sporting News qui, en gros, le dépeint comme un incompétent habile à créer des tensions dans le vestiaire, le tout grâce à des témoignages anonymes d’internationaux américains.

Il va sans dire que l’ambiance n’est pas au beau fixe et que les réactions fusent de toutes parts. Les analystes se demandent si les joueurs sont des enfants gâtés ou remettent en question la communication de Klinsmann. Honte, gêne, déception : certains internationaux, à l’image de Michael Bradley, ne sont pas heureux de voir les sentiments sortir du vestiaire.

Autre son de cloche du côté d’Herculez Gomez, pour qui il était à peu près temps que les médias commencent à poser des questions difficiles. « On serait au Mexique, ESPN en parlerait toute la journée », ajoute le joueur de Santos Laguna qui pense que l'équipe en ressortira plus forte. Voilà qui remet les choses en perspective.

Ah, oui, le Canada aussi joue ce vendredi, il affronte le Japon au Qatar. Seul pays du G8 à être déjà éliminé, il a un entraîneur par intérim qui est aussi directeur technique de la fédération. Cette dernière programme des matches (c’est un progrès par rapport à il y a 10 ans), prétend qu’elle cherche un sélectionneur et prépare la prochaine Gold Cup mais n’expose aucun plan à long terme pour aller en Russie en 2018. Pas de polémique cependant : les médias s’en désintéressent complètement, en dehors de quelques-uns très complaisants. Vu sous cet angle, ils sont chanceux, les Américains…

20 March 9:41 pm

Last Saturday was a big one in Seattle. 

Portland Timbers in town, the whole city was buzzing about the arrival of Obafemi Martins and the hometown Sounders were putting on for a national television audience

So what better night to shoot some all-access footage from CenturyLink Field? That's exactly what happened, and you can see the finished product in the video above. You get tactical talk from Sigi Schmid, a charged-up prematch speech from Steve Zakuani, DeAndre Yedlin's hair in glorious slow-mo and a whole lot more.

If all this looks familiar, it should. Definitely worth a watch, Sounders fan or not. 

20 March 6:06 pm

Más de uno de nosotros nos hemos preguntado qué tipo de música vienen escuchando los jugadores de fútbol cuando se bajan del bus de concentración e ingresan al estadio donde jugarán un partido de fútbol. Muchos de ellos, ni siquiera se quitan los audífonos estando dentro del inmueble.

El presentador mexicano de Deportes Telemundo Karim Mendiburu empezó a resolvernos esa duda. Lo hizo con el volante de la selección hondureña y del Houston Dynamo, Oscar Boniek García, al preguntarle qué tipo de música lo dejaba listo previo a un partido. La respuesta sorprenderá a más de uno…

20 March 3:38 pm

Bill Hamid is crushing it this week.

On Saturday, D.C. United's 22-year-old goalkeeper kept a clean sheet in a massive rivalry match at Red Bull Arena. 

On Monday, he was named MLS Player of the Week. He was also nominated twice for Save of the Week

Today, another honor: A place in the EA Sports FIFA 13 Ultimate Team of the Week, right alongside the likes of Eden Hazard, Rio Ferdinand and David Villa. 

What gets you on the team, you ask? Well, doing things like this surely can't hurt: 

Hamid becomes the third MLS player to earn a place in the team this year after Philadelphia Union centerback (We can call him that now, right?) Amobi Okugo grabbed a spot last week, just after Mike Magee was recognized the week prior. 

20 March 2:33 pm

Former Major League Soccer veteran Alejandro Moreno has officially joined the ESPN soccer family, and will work the US national team game as an analyst when the Americans take on Mexico next Tuesday night in Mexico City.

Moreno (above, with Chivas USA in 2012) will primarily serve as an analyst for Mexican national team and Liga MX matches on ESPN’s English networks, as well as a studio analyst for marquee events such as MLS Cup, Confederations Cup 2013 and other FIFA events.

“Alejandro has a remarkable knowledge of the game and the rare ability to communicate it with insight,” ESPN senior vice president and executive producer Jed Drake said in a statement. "His work for us so far has shown he will be a great addition to our talented and diverse analyst team."

Moreno’s relationship with ESPN dates back to 2011, when he was a guest studio analyst for the MLS Cup Playoffs while playing for Chivas USA.  He returned to the same role in 2012.

Moreno played for six different MLS teams before he retired after last season. He also earned 43 caps for the Venezuelan national team from 2004-11.

20 March 12:35 pm

Two of the brightest, boldest executives in MLS have earned places on Sports Business Journal's annual “Forty Under 40” list of top young personalities in the sports business world.

 

Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson and Sporting Kansas City part-owner Robb Heineman (right) have received the honor, a repeat feat for both men.

In fact, it's the third straight year Paulson has made the list, elevating him to the “Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame,” while Heineman (at right, with MLS Commissioner Don Garber) can savor a second consecutive nomination.

As part of the honor, SBJ profiled both executives, hailing Heineman's role in his club's renaissance over the past two years and his forward-leaning approach to technology and fan relations.

“Through social media, we’re trying to give fans a sense of ownership,” Heineman said. “They’re not just fans, but they help shape some of the decisions that we make.”

Meanwhile, Paulson spoke to the publication about his outspoken public profile and use of Twitter to connect with the public – and occasionally even share his opinions of refereeing decisions and the like.

 

“I’m trying to be a little bit less of the face of the team this season,” Paulson (right) told SBJ. “I don’t mind being out there, but if the owner is too much a part of the story of the team, that’s ultimately a negative thing.”

LA Galaxy and Chivas USA fans may be interested to note that Ray Elias, chief marketing officer for StubHub, who will assume naming rights for the Home Depot Center later this year, is also on the list

20 March 11:52 am

From the department of What Ever Happened To….

As rumored as long ago as January by some keen-eyed bloggers in Philadelphia, it looks like former Union head coach Peter Nowak (above) has landed a new job as the new technical adviser for the Kirkwood Soccer Club based in New Castle, Del.

Nowak, who was fired from the Union on June 13, 2012, will be running technical training sessions for the club beginning April 1, according to a recent announcement on Kirkwod’s Facebook page.