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05 September 2:30 de la tarde

It's that time of year again. Clear your evening and weekend schedules, because you're about to have other plans. 

Yep, FIFA 13 is dropping soon, and EA Sports needs your help making this year's edition as fresh as possible. 

As part of the pageantry around the release, EA Sports is creating an extra-special downloadable cover for you to enjoy every time you fire up that console.

The cover will feature four players. One will be the top-ranked athlete from the 24 Under 24 list, the other three are up in the air. That's where you come in. 

Every club has a player nominated, all you need to do is vote for your guy as many times as possible between now and September 15. 

What's in it for you? Well, besides the chance at ensuring video-gaming glory for your favorite club, you'll also be entered to win a trip for two to MLS Cup 2012 to hang in the EA Sports Sideline FIFA Lounge (left). Airfare, hotel accomodations and tickets all included.  

Pretty sweet, right? We think so, too.

Vote on, and don't forget the official FIFA 13 release date: Your life changes for the better on September 25. 

05 September 1:47 de la tarde

On the field, Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy has come to the aid of his teammates more than once when they’ve struggled to defend opposing attacks.

Off the field, Kennedy is doing the same, coming to the aid of cancer-stricken children as one of seven MLS players who work as ambassadors for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“It’s an honor,” Kennedy tells MLSsoccer.com. “I remember growing up and looking up to professional athletes. Sometimes I don’t see myself like that, but I realize that kids respond to us. So I go to hospitals and see how bad things can be, and I marvel at how happy these kids still are when they’re fighting like hell. To give them a little bit of a distraction and a little bit of inspiration is an honor.”

For their work with the Memphis-based St. Jude, the seven MLSers — Kennedy; Chicago’s Logan Pause; San Jose’s Mehdi Ballouchy, Shea Salinas and Jason Hernandez; and New York’s Kenny Cooper and Rafa Márquez — have been named MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarians of the Month for September.

Article by Greg Lalas. Read more.

04 September 6:25 de la tarde

Highly caffeinated Seattle Sounders beat writer Jeremiah Oshan got confirmation from SSFC general manager Adrian Hanauer that former Chelsea, Barcelona, Tottenham, Monaco, Fulham, Stoke City, AEK Athens and (insert 10 more clubs here) attacker Eidur Gudjohnsen will be training with the team this week. No promises made beyond that yet.

Read all about it at Sounder at Heart. Or if you prefer the pure, untainted original, I hope your Icelandic's good.

04 September 10:35 de la mañana

Équipes nationales et clubs sont à l’honneur de l’émission Coup Franc de cette semaine (à écouter ici), à laquelle se joint Olivier Tremblay, affecté à la couverture de l’Impact de Montréal pour MLSsoccer.com. Au menu :
- Gros plan sur Canada - Panama en compagnie de notre invité, Olivier Occean, qui nous parle aussi de son adaptation à Francfort. Quelle configuration offensive pour le Canada ? Peut-on se passer de Simeon Jackson dans le onze de base ? Que sait-on de l’équipe panaméenne ?
- Discussion sur les autre matchs des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde dans lesquels sont impliqués des joueurs de MLS, avec Jamaïque - États-Unis, mais aussi Honduras - Cuba ou Costa Rica - Mexique.
- Retour sur Columbus - Montréal : l’adaptation rapide de Federico Higuain à la MLS, la fin de rencontre difficile de Montréal, l’importance du jeu aérien, la gestion du trio Nesta - Rivas - Ferrari, les clefs du match.
- Plus rien ne va à Vancouver, battu pour une quatrième fois d’affilée.
- Bien démarrer : Houston le voulait mais s’est planté à Chicago.
- Chivas USA, qui s’est effondré à San José, pourra-t-il jouer les arbitres en fin de saison ?

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).

03 September 10:20 de la mañana

Après cinq victoires consécutives, Montréal s’est incliné 2-1 à Columbus, alors qu’il menait 0-1 à 10 minutes du terme. Deux buts de la tête dans lesquels était impliqué Higuain ont offert trois points précieux aux jaune et noir contre des Québécois qui n’abdiquent pas dans la lutte pour la cinquième place.

Chicago a fait un autre pas important vers la phase finale, grâce à Nyarko, qui a parfaitement profité des erreurs de début de match de Houston. Les deux battus du jour se consoleront avec la défaite de DC United, qui a montré des progrès en déplacement, insuffisants toutefois pour ramener un point de Salt Lake où Will Johnson a connu son moment de gloire.

New York au repos, la bonne opération dans la course au Supporters Shield a été effectuée par San José et Kansas City. Les Californiens ont écrasé Chivas USA tout en trouvant la réincarnation de James Bond. Contre Toronto, le Sporting a souffert mais a émergé en fin de match.

Tenu en échec à Dallas, Seattle se réjouit du retour en forme de Zakuani, titularisé pour la première fois depuis sa grave blessure. Rien ne va plus à Vancouver, battu pour la quatrième fois consécutive, sur le terrain du LA Galaxy emmené par un Beckham auteur de son sixième but en huit rencontres.

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

1-0
2-1
0-0
2-1
1-0
2-0
3-1
1-1
4-0
Classement général
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo

 

01 September 5:37 de la tarde

I haven't found anything officially official yet, and I'm probably not going to because I don't read Swedish, but this guy was nice enough to tweet in English for us Yanks:

Brought to my attention by the always excellent Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com. Give him a follow on Twitter.

So... how should Americans feel about this? Our coach is leaving for a team that's a darkhorse candidate to win the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada - Sweden haven't been a true contender for almost a decade, but are most definitely on the up.

My vote goes to "We should feel grateful to her and absolutely, positively understand this move." Sundhage's teams didn't always play beautiful soccer - ok, they freaking rarely played beautiful soccer - but they sure won a hell of a lot. They also gave us some of the most thrilling finishes in the history of the game and - hopefully, anyway - laid the groundwork for a sustainable top flight women's league in North America.

So good luck, Pia. You have our gratitude and best wishes.

See you in Canada.

31 August 2:41 de la tarde

La lutte pour une place parmi les cinq premiers de la conférence Est sera encore au centre des attentions au cours de la prochaine journée, d’autant que deux confrontations directes opposent quatre des prétendants.

Columbus, où Higuain fait déjà figure de héros, accueillera Montréal, équipe en forme du moment qui commence à prendre l’habitude d’affronter des adversaires au calendrier chargé. Dimanche sur Galavision, Houston, qui a ramené un bon point d’Olimpia en Ligue des champions (1-1 - résumé vidéo), tentera de faire au moins aussi bien à Chicago, où l’on ne s’inquiète pas du départ immédiat de Pappa pour Heerenveen.

Le cinquième larron, DC United, encore en train de rêver aux 100 buts de De Rosario en MLS, disputera son cinquième match en 14 jours, sur le terrain de Salt Lake en quête d’efficacité.

La journée s’ouvrira et se bouclera sur NBC Sports Network. Ce vendredi, Portland, qui sera entraîné par Caleb Porter la saison prochaine, recevra Colorado, où Hendry Thomas pourrait effectuer ses débuts. Dimanche soir, le leader San José, qui garde les pieds sur terres, devra se méfier d’un Chivas USA toujours dangereux en déplacement.

En forme ascendante, notamment grâce à Stephens à l’aise dans son nouveau rôle, le LA Galaxy accueillera Vancouver, qui veut rester maître de son sort. À surveiller également : les équilibristes de Kansas City contre Toronto, et le déplacement à Dallas de Seattle, qui a pu compter sur ses réservistes pour s’imposer 1-3 à Caledonia en Ligue des champions (résumé vidéo).

LE PROGRAMME COMPLET
Vendredi 31 août
19h00 : Portland - Colorado
Samedi 1er septembre
19h30 : Columbus - Montréal
19h30 : New England - Philadelphie
20h30 : Kansas City - Toronto
21h00 : Salt Lake - DC United
22h00 : LA Galaxy - Vancouver
Dimanche 2 septembre
19h00 : Chicago - Houston
19h00 : Dallas - Seattle
21h00 : San José - 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 ou LiveSport.tv

30 August 10:52 de la mañana

Et de cent ! En marquant le but du 2-1 contre New York, Dwayne De Rosario est devenu le septième joueur de l’histoire à franchir le cap des 100 buts inscrits en MLS. L’international canadien aurait certainement attendu une semaine de plus, en échange d’une victoire de DC United, rattrapé en fin de match suite à un but de Conde, double héros de la soirée pour les siens (score final 2-2).

Alors que les adversaires directs de DC United se réjouissaient de ce but tardif, ils ont moins ri lorsque, dans les arrêts de jeu, Eddie Gaven a offert la victoire à Columbus, pourtant réduit à 10, 1-2 à Philadelphie qui a définitivement abandonné ses rêves de phase finale.

Dans le troisième match de championnat de la soirée, New England, qui ne parvient plus à gagner, a concédé le nul 3-3 contre Chivas USA qui a remonté un retard de trois buts.

Il y avait aussi de l’action sur la scène internationale : une équipe rajeunie du LA Galaxy a facilement disposé 4-0 des Puerto Rico Islanders en Ligue des champions. La veille, Toronto avait protégé le nul trop tôt contre Santos Laguna et a craqué durant les arrêts de jeu (1-3). Rappel : ce soir, Seattle se déplace à Caledonia et Houston rend visite à Olimpia.

Classement général
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo

29 August 1:00 de la tarde

Do you like the Caleb Porter signing for Portland? Because I do.

Here are a couple of positives:

He'll likely keep Darlington Nagbe playing like this. Way back in February, everybody in Timbers camp assured me that Nagbe was one of the most talented players in the league. Then head coach John Spencer went so far as to say he's the most talented player in MLS.

I shook it off as a coach predictably trying to build the confidence of a youngster who'd shown flashes, but didn't seem to have the mindset (or a clear position) to be successful. Nagbe didn't score enough to play as a second forward, didn't pass aggressively enough to be a No. 10, and didn't work the flanks like a winger. Barring the Goal of the Year vs. Sporting KC, his 2011 season was, frankly, disappointing. He was a guy you'd want on your side in five-v-five keep-aways, but not in a game that counts.

GOAL: Nagbe puts the Timbers ahead

And that continued to be the story until about three weeks ago. Something clicked, and now Nagbe is a devastating force any time he's in the final third. Y.P. Lee doesn't get left on his rear too often, but that's exactly what happened this weekend when Nagbe scored the opener in the 2-1 win over the Whitecaps.

I'm happy about this not just because the Timbers deserve a bit of luck, but because Nagbe is in the process of getting his US citizenship (and is reportedly fairly close). And anyone who's playing this well, and is that tidy with the ball, will hopefully translate that to the international level.

Porter, of course, coached Nagbe at Akron, and brought the best out of him there. So purely from a "Selfish US Fan" perspective — yes, I like this hire.

I also like what Porter's done with Akron. Recruiting to northeast Ohio is, we'll say, just a bit harder than recruiting to Westwood or Chapel Hill. He had a vision for his program, and saw it out against fairly significant odds.

That success in the college ranks is actually a pretty good predictor of MLS success. It's something I had the chance to talk with Frankie Hejduk about last season, as he was riding the wave to his second Shield/Cup double with one of the great teams in MLS history. He'd done so before, back in 2008 with the Columbus Crew — one of the other great teams in MLS history.

To paraphrase, Hejduk felt that the biggest similarity between the 2011 Galaxy and 2008 Crew was the way the teams were managed. Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid — the two best managers in MLS history (apologies to Dom Kinnear) — had created an atmosphere that Hejduk compared to college, an atmosphere of competitiveness but unity that he said doesn't often exist at the professional level.

Coming from a guy who's played in the UEFA Champions League, the CONCACAF Champions League, a pair of World Cups and won the Supporters' Shield winners in three different decades, that observation has some weight.

Porter, by all accounts, is cut from the same cloth. A lot of people see a college background as a handicap, but Frankie and I see it as a plus.

And here are the negatives:

Porter's Under-23 Olympic qualifying team was lamentably rigid. He stayed with the 4-3-3 come hell or high water, and the US both burned and drowned. The Canadians exposed his squad badly, and then he failed to adjust for the group finale against El Salvador. You want to forget, but you remember.

It's a case of him failing to make the best use of his available resources. This past U-23 group was loaded with pacey wingers and fullbacks who can cross, and big, strong forwards who can finish those crosses. A 4-4-2 was called for given the personnel — imagine El Salvador trying to contain Terrence Boyd and Will Bruin, just for a moment if you would. It's laughable.

But the adjustment never came. It was 4-3-3 to the very end, and it was ugly. The good news for Timbers fans is that he hasn't been that rigid at Akron, so perhaps it wasn't really his call with the U-23s.

He gets cute and plays guys out of position far too often for my tastes. Sometimes the best bet is just to keep it simple, and he seems to be against doing that a bit too often. I don't know if it's because he's young or if it's just how he's wired, but it definitely puts a ceiling on my expectations from him.

Anybody who watched MLS in 2011 — anybody! — could've told you that Perry Kitchen (another Akron product) was going to struggle at central defense in Olympic qualifying. It was also fairly apparent even at that point that Amobi Okugo would end up being a backliner.

Yet Kitchen spent the tournament in the heart of defense, while Okugo played defensive mid. Five months later, that's practically inconceivable.

Not to sell the job short, but 90 percent of managing is keeping the players pointed in the right direction emotionally and then putting everyone in the right spots on the pitch. I have little doubt that Porter will be successful at the first (I can't stress this enough: Every single player I've talked to who's played for him at any level absolutely loves him).

For the second ... if I were a Timbers fan, that's where my worries would be.