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15 June 10:13 de la mañana

Morning, everybody. Just under 24 hours completed here in Montreal, and so far the stay has been fantastic. Our crew touched down yesterday and while we're getting ready to cruise out to Impact training, wanted to share a few images from our visit to the new Stade Saputo. 

Conclusion: You're gonna love it. 

The Impact were kind enough to hook up the Extratime Radio crew with some space to record yesterday's show, then Impact owner Joey Saputo stopped by, work vest and all. Awesome, and I have a feeling he might be out there again today. The shot above is the pitch from the big guy's office, not a bad view, right?

This was pretty sweet. It's a little tough to make out, but that was the number two spelled out on the far side in the seats. That area of seating acts as a countdown clock of sorts for everyone working out at the stadium, with the number changing each day. According to Saputo, they've been changing the number in the middle of the night since the 24-day mark. 
 

After the visit, the lovely folks at the new Football Cafe on Rue Saint-Denis took care of us for the Spain-Ireland massacre. If you're ever up here for a match, make sure you stop by. 

Very nice, and very much looking forward to Saturday. We'll check back in soon.

14 June 6:05 de la tarde

Italy is embroiled in another soccer scandal, and Impact striker Bernardo Corradi has no sympathy for any player found guilty of the ultimate sin: match-fixing.

ExtraTime Radio was in Montreal on Thursday to talk to the Impact about the opening match at Stade Saputo, and the guys passed along Corradi's answer to a question about his thoughts on punishment for those who sully the game via match-fixing. The veteran striker certainly didn't hold back during a scrum with local reporters.

“I have my idea on this situation: I think that if someone bets on his matches, he has to be banned, and not just for 10 months or 12 months," Corradi told reporters. "For me, he cannot play soccer anymore. If you are lucky enough to be a soccer player and you earn money, and you train. … I think a lot of guys would like to play soccer for a job. You’re lucky when you’re doing this, and if you waste everything by betting on your games, you have to be punished. That’s my way of thinking.”

It's certainly black and white for Corradi, although it must be mentioned that new Impact signing Marco Di Vaio is scheduled to return to Italy in the coming weeks to testify in the probe.

14 June 2:55 de la tarde

Habrán perdido 2-1 ante México, pero la pasión de la gente de El Salvador hacia sus jugadores es admirable, especialmente hacia el defensa de los Portland Timbers, Steve Purdy.

El espigado salvadoreño-estadounidense tuvo una gran actuación ante los jugadores aztecas, logrando cumplir la difícil misión de marcar a Giovani Dos Santos y Javier “Chicharito” Hernández. La afición cuscatleca se hizo notar en Twitter, donde una y otra vez elogiaron el trabajo del jugador de los Timbers.

Estos son algunos de los mejores tweets:

A sus 27 años, Purdy se encuentra jugando su segunda temporada con los Timbers y aunque ha tenido tiempo limitado en el campo (3 partidos como titular), dejó demostrado ante México que es lo que El Salvador justamente necesita para afrontar las difíciles eliminatorias mundialistas.

14 June 2:17 de la tarde

MLS W.O.R.K.S., the Philadelphia Union Foundation, the Chester Upland School District and organizers from KaBOOM! hosted a design day for children at Science & Discovery High School yesterday. Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Chase Harrison was on-site to help out children from the Chester neighborhood put crayon to paper to draw their dream playgrounds. Elements from the children's drawings will be incorporated into the final design for the new community playground, which will be built on July 24 as part of the All-Star festivities and will provide more than 500 children in the Chester community with a safe place to play.

Click here for photos from the event.

Be sure not to miss any coverage from the event and check us out on Twitter (@MLSWORKS) with #MLSAllStar.

 

14 June 12:55 de la tarde

Glasgow Rangers formally announced on Thursday that the original club no longer exists — they are now known the world over as “The Rangers Football Club.” The question now for MLS fans is what's in store for the club's US contingent made up of Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya?

In the next week or so, the other 11 Scottish Premier League teams will meet to vote on whether Rangers can enter the SPL next season. The newly formed team, which is replacing the side which was formed in 1872, will have to win the vote by a majority of 8-4 in order to compete in Scotland’s top division. If not, they will likely be demoted to the bottom tier of Scottish professional soccer, the third division.

So will Bocanegra & Co. be lining up against the likes of Montrose, Elgin City and Peterhead next season? Or enjoying the Old Firm derby against archrivals Celtic FC at a packed Ibrox Stadium? Only time will tell, as the wait to find out their fate will be an anxious one for the US trio.

One report Thursday suggests that with the original Rangers Football Club ceasing to exist, no player is contractually obligated to play for the newly formed club. Hence, all three US players could end up as free agents and able to speak to whichever clubs they want.

Watch this space, this saga will rumble on long into the summer months. Let us know what you would like Rangers' American trio to do in the comments section below.

14 June 10:05 de la mañana

Comme beaucoup d’entre vous certainement, j’ai les yeux rivés sur l’Euro depuis une semaine et aujourd’hui, je sors du sujet MLS pour partager avec vous deux trouvailles concernant l’équipe des Pays-Bas.

La première charmera tous les parents… et les inspirera peut-être. Ce bambin de deux ans connaît les noms de tous les joueurs de l’équipe ! Si votre enfant sait faire pareil avec votre club de MLS, envoyez-moi la vidéo.

La seconde… je vous laisse la commenter. Trois chanteurs très connus aux Pays-Bas ont revu et corrigé La Danse des canards pour encourager leurs joueurs, qui font partie du clip !

13 June 3:22 de la tarde

While the MLS All-Stars will await an announcement on who will be their new head coach, their opponents for the July 25 fixture just solidified theirs.

In a press release from Chelsea FC on Wednesday, they announced that Italian manager Roberto Di Matteo – who led his side to both the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup titles – has signed a two-year contract with the club. Di Matteo took the reins at Chelsea during the final 11 weeks of the season after replacing Andre Villas-Boas during the first weekend in March.

Says Chelsea's chief executive Ron Gourlay: "Roberto's quality was clear for all to see when he galvanised the squad last season and helped the club make history, and the owner and board are very pleased he will be continuing his good work. Although he has set the bar very high in the short time he has been in charge, we know that Roberto is the right man to lead Chelsea onto further success."

 

13 June 12:43 de la tarde

Last night a group of USA fans gathered at The Hill in Midtown Manhattan to watch the Yanks take on Guatemala in World Cup Qualifying courtesy of ExtraTime Radio.

With stomachs full of free sliders, mozzarella sticks and potato skins, the bar cheered as Landon Donovan drove up the flank and passed the ball to Fabian Johnson, who dished it to Clint Dempsey to score the opening goal.  Enjoy the grainy reaction footage and tell us where you watched the US pick up the road point.

13 June 11:31 de la mañana

Le Canada a commencé le troisième tour des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde avec un 4/6. Bien ? Certes… Suffisant ? Pas si sûr.

Ce mardi, le Honduras était prenable, mais ça a fini 0-0. Chez soi, contre un concurrent direct, il faut gagner. Je me prenais presque la tête à deux mains en écoutant les commentateurs du direct télévisé expliquer à quel point les rencontres à l’extérieur sont difficiles en Concacaf… en parlant des autres, pas d’un voyage à Toronto.

Au Canada, on se montre vite content de soi. Alors, quand je vois Olivier Occean et Kevin McKenna clairement insatisfaits, je me dis qu’il en faut plus comme eux, avec cette mentalité de vainqueur. La réaction plus mitigée de Dwayne De Rosario est due à une question orientée…

C’est vrai que c’est un meilleur départ que lors des qualifs précédentes. Maintenant, il faut confirmer contre Cuba, éviter la défaite au Honduras et faire mieux que lui dans le double affrontement contre le Panama (ou espérer que ce dernier, auteur d’un sans-faute, s’effondre).

Dans les autres groupes, le Mexique et les États-Unis ont souffert. Le premier s’est imposé de justesse au Salvador, alors que le Guatemala a contraint les Américains au nul.

13 June 12:08 de la mañana

Was a 1-1 draw the right result? Probably. Well, 2-2 might have been more accurate.

We'll get to the rest of this just after a few of those match balls come down out of orbit.

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Geoff Cameron has proved that he's the right choice in central defense

Was he perfect? No, far from it. His first touch was a giveaway and he needs to be smarter defending set pieces.

But he was significantly better than Clarence Goodson, and miles better than Oguchi Onyewu was against Antigua and Barbuda. It's always been a matter of "when," not "if," with Cameron, and it looks like the "when" is just about now.

There will still be tough days to come. Someone will sucker him into a bad foul, or he'll get caught ball-watching, or he'll blow a trap. But he put in a tough 45 minutes and did so with a fair share of aplomb. It was a good first "big" game from Cameron, who should be in the starting lineup from here on out.

Of course, it was also a bad game by Carlos Bocanegra, who totally misplayed the longball that led to the foul that led to the one decent (read: spectacular) free kick of the evening. Let's hope Tim Ream, George John, Matt Besler and whoever else is on Jurgen Klinsmann's radar make a Cameron-like leap in the next few months.

Fabian Johnson is irreplacable at left back

One of the things I wanted to see was how Johnson would combine down the left with Landon Donovan. And it was good.

Donovan's in a particularly passive mode right now, which means he's totally willing to drift wide when Johnson darts inside. It's what happened on the goal, and why Johnson only had to beat one guy instead of two.

And the fact that we can casually talk about one of our players beating a defender off the dribble ... man, that is a nice weapon coming out of the back. Edgar Castillo is functional, and I have high hopes for Justin Morrow, but neither of those guys has the raw creative ability Johnson shows every time he takes the field for the US.

Of course, he can also be spun like a top in one-v-one defensively, and is prone to ball-watching. Two of Guatemala's best chances on the evening were directly attributable to his poor defensive play.

But I don't care. He brings so much other stuff to the table that it hardly matters.

Nobody's on the same page in the final third

Just about the only quality link-up of the night for the US came on the goal. The midfield play was better as a whole (though Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones were turnover machines), and the defense was relative solid compared to previous outings.

But the final third is still a mess. If Donovan played the ball early, the runs came late. If Dempsey tried a flick, he should have went for a through ball.

And there aren't enough expletives in the world to describe Jozy Altidore's thought-process on that late chance that Michael Bradley served up on a platter.

It is ugly, and not showing signs of getting better. Klinsmann's biggest job is still shoring up the defense, of course. But a close second is reminding his attackers how to attack.