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29 March 7:13 de la tarde

Jimmy Conrad has already had a number of big names on his show "The Mixer" on Kick, but we doubt he's ever smiled this much while interviewing a guest.

That's because US women's national team striker and recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Alex Morgan was his guest in the latest episode, previewing the US women's huge upcoming game against Japan, her new role as a leader on the team and what it was like to pose in nothing but body paint in a very "uncomfortable" experience.

29 March 6:28 de la tarde

It wasn't MLSsoccer.com interviewing him after a league loss, so NYRB's Thierry Henry was in a good mood for this Fox Business talk in which he revealed an interesting tidbit.

"It wasn't a business decision [his arrival to MLS]," he said. "Since I was 17 or 18 I said to myself one day I'll come play in MLS and I want to play for a team in New York. I love New York."

He's not lying. We worked out the math to see if this statement was true: He was born on August 17, 1977 which would have made him 18 when MLS celebrated its first kickoff in April 1996.

But since this was a business interview, he contributed an opinion as to why European soccer telecasts enjoy relatively solid ratings in the USA: no competition from other US sports on Saturday mornings.

It's worth sticking around until the very end of this video clip. The co-anchor does her best David Beckham impersonation. Really?

29 March 5:47 de la tarde

It's official.

The Portland Timbers' third kit that won rave reviews over the offseason will make its official debut against Real Salt Lake this weekend (Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE).

As if the match-up between the two teams wasn't attractive enough.

What's your favorite Timbers jersey? Vote in the poll below.

29 March 10:29 de la mañana

La demi-finale aller de Ligue des champions entre Toronto et Santos Laguna a été chaudement disputée : buts, exclusions, suspensions, contestations et un score de 1-1 (video) qui préserve le suspense en vue du match retour.

Laissant leur buteur Peralta sur le banc, les Mexicains ont dominé un début de match pauvre en occasions avant d’ouvrir la marque par Gomez à la demi-heure. Toronto n’a jamais abdiqué et a égalisé peu après, grâce à Aceval sur coup franc.

Une phase à double tranchant puisque dans un premier temps, le ballon avait été joué trop vite, ce qui a valu une carte jaune à Koevermans, qui sera suspendu au retour. Les Mexicains seront eux privés de Mares et Quintero, tous deux exclus lors d’une fin de match houleuse, et reprochent également à l’arbitre Salazar de leur avoir refusé un penalty.

Malgré les nombreuses possibilités de but en deuxième mi-temps, le score n’a pas bougé et, même s’il aurait préféré les voir gagner, Aron Winter a aimé la prestation collective de ses hommes. Il faudra toutefois s'imposer ou marquer au moins deux buts à Torreon pour passer, ce qui ne s’annonce pas simple.

Dans l’autre demi-finale, Monterrey a fait un grand pas vers la qualification en battant les Pumas de l’Unam 3-0 grâce à un grand Suazo (impliqué dans les trois buts) et à un De Nigris (auteur de deux d’entre eux) inspiré.

LES RÉSULTATS
Monterrey (Mex)  - Pumas Unam (Mex)
Toronto (Can) - Santos Laguna (Mex)

 
3-0
1-1

 

28 March 5:54 de la tarde

Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher considers himself quite the football fan. He's famously a Manchester City fan, "loves" Mario Balotelli (whom he interviewed recently), and shows up regularly at Etihad Stadium.

But is he also becoming an MLS fan? In this Q&A with ColumbusAlive.com, in between promoting his concert in Columbus on Thursday and pimping his brother Liam's new band, he sings the praises of a recent MLS match he attended.

"I was amazed at the size of the stadiums and the amount of people that attended these matches," he says. "It was like, it's a big [expletive] deal, man, d’you know what I mean? It’s a big deal. And I was expecting it to be little more than, you know, a kick about in an athletic stadium with a few people attending. And I went to see the Galaxy and they were playing some team from Philadelphia, and it was real, d’you know what I mean? And the fans were all great, and it was a great atmosphere."

28 March 5:41 de la tarde

Maybe this new proven goalscoring tactic could become commonplace in MLS? Fans of goal-shy Montreal, Toronto, New England, Chivas and D.C. may want to look across the Atlantic to see how one group of fans helped to turn their side into a goalscoring machine....well they scored once at least.

Fans of German side Magdeburg took a different approach to their team's scoring drought. Instead of booing and hurling abuse at players and coaches, fans of the Regionliga Nord side (Germany's fourth tier) made the task a little easier for their team.

Supporters assembled behind the goal their beloved team was attacking, holding up giant colorful arrows to point their team in the direction of the opponents goal!

And remarkably it worked.

American forward Chris Wright scored the bottom club's first goal for five matches and ended their 558-minute goal drought. However his equalizer wasn't enough for a point as the home side slumped to a 2-1 defeat and remain rooted to the bottom of the standings, scoring just 16 times in 25 league games.

Either way, it’s a novel approach from the German fans. A for effort.

28 March 3:36 de la tarde

This past winter, rumor had it that former D.C. United captain Ryan Nelsen might return to the nation's capital. The 34-year-old centerback had played out his contract for Premier League side Blackburn Rovers, and was looking to finish his career with the club that developed him from a good college player into a world-class professional. 

But then Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp offered him a six-month contract to move to White Hart Lane and provide depth and experience to a club that is this season challenging for cups and pushing for a UEFA Champions League spot. He couldn't say no.

He also has proven his worth to the gaffer. On Wednesday, Nelsen scored in Spurs' 3-1 win over Bolton in the FA Cup quarterfinals, and after the match, Redknapp clearly stated his intentions regarding the longtime New Zealand international. 

"I had been chasing him for years and he's only on a six-month contract," Redknapp was quoted as saying in Thursday's New Zealand Herald, "so we'll have to give him a new one at the end of the season."

28 March 11:08 de la mañana

Ce mercredi soir, le Toronto FC accueille Santos Laguna pour la demi-finale aller de la Ligue des champions. Un rendez-vous historique mais ô combien difficile pour les hommes d’Aron Winter.

Après leur brillante qualification contre Los Angeles, ils ont subi deux défaites, à Seattle puis contre San José. Sans l’apport défensif de Torsten Frings, leur défense prend l’eau de toutes parts. La mission s’annonce difficile contre des Mexicains en tête de leur championnat qui ont administré une correction à Seattle au tour précédent. Pour éviter une telle mésaventure, le staff technique torontois a demandé conseil aux américains.

Si les ténors Peralta, Suarez, Quintero et Gomez sont sur le terrain, Milos Kocic peut s’attendre à une soirée occupée. Tous ses équipiers ont reçu la mission de travailler bien plus que d’habitude en perte de balle.

Toronto comptera sur Ryan Johnson pour menacer une défense mexicaine parfois fébrile en déplacement : “Il ne faut pas avoir peur d’eux, sinon, nous partirons battus avant même le début du match”, a déclaré l’attaquant jamaïcain. La principale crainte des joueurs de Torreon est de voir se sublimer une équipe torontoise “capable du meilleur comme du pire”.

L’autre demi-finale sera 100% mexicaine et opposera le tenant du titre, Monterrey, aux Pumas de l’Unam.

 

Horaire Match Télévision
Mercredi 28 mars, 20h00 (HE) Toronto FC (Can) - Santos Laguna (Mex) Fox Soccer, Sportsnet, TeleFutura, ESPN Latin Norte, ESPN 2 Caribbean
Mercredi 28 mars, 22h00 (HE) Monterrey (Mex) - Pumas Unam (Mex) Fox Soccer, Sportsnet World, TeleFutura, ESPN Latin Norte, ESPN 2 Caribbean

Rencontres également disponibles sur CONCACAF TV

28 March 9:35 de la mañana

MLS InsiderIt’s time to lift the lid on a secret that I’ve been carrying around for a bit: your boy SF is leaving MLSsoccer.com for a new writing opportunity in another corner of the American soccer world.

As excited as I am for my new gig I would be lying if I didn’t say that departing MLS HQ was anything but bittersweet. Being a long-time fan of the league, the opportunity to act as an evangelist for a game and an entity that I care deeply about was one that I’m honored to have had.

For the past 3 years I started and finished my day with MLS. The first thing I would do when the alarm went at 6:30a.m? Check @MLS_Insider to see if any of the outspoken & engaged followers and friends I’ve had the pleasure of servicing --and in many cases meeting-- hollered at me overnight. Last thing I would do before I went to bed? On matchnights, I’d drop a “Parting Shot” photo on Facebook to send you all to sleep with sweet dreams if your club won, or nightmare fuel if your side was on the receiving end of a blowout.

In between then there was everything from standing in the wings when Thierry Henry was unveiled in NY to hotel elevator small talk with David Beckham to countless late-night rendezvous in soccer bars coast-to-coast with my fellow fans.

I have a lot of love for the players, coaches & staffers that make this league work but it’s the latter that I think I’ll miss the most; I can honestly say that I may be the person in American soccer that holds the title for Most Beers Received from Strangers and for this I thank you all.

But I won’t reach for misty-eyed memories right now or ever when it comes to my time at “MLS Insider”. I mean seriously guys, I got paid to go to the combine, the SuperDraft, the All-Star game and MLS Cup every year so let’s save the sympathy for someone who didn’t live the dream.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Chris Schlosser for giving me this opportunity; can you believe this all came about after a chance meeting on the subway? I’m also indebted to Commissioner Garber and Mark Abbott for trusting me to run around the league’s offices, hotel bars, locker rooms & after-parties with a video camera and a 113K follower-strong Twitter account with the only restraints being my own good judgment. I hope your trust was paid back in kind gentlemen.

And I hope you guys enjoyed letting me take you on the ride. We had a hell of a run, didn’t we?

Follow Shawn Francis on Twitter: @TheOffsideRules.

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Are you interested in becoming the next MLS Insider?  Check out the Social Media Manager job description here.

27 March 11:45 de la mañana

Kansas City est le seul club à compter neuf points après trois semaines de compétition. Il est aussi le seul à avoir en ses rangs un joueur impliqué dans un but (en marquant ou en donnant la dernière passe) lors de ses trois rencontres : Graham Zusi.

Auteur de la passe décisive à Aurélien Collin qui a permis à son club d’égaliser contre Dallas ce week-end (vidéo ci-dessous), il avait marqué contre New England la semaine précédente et offert le seul but du match à CJ Sapong à DC United.

Sa spécialité ? Les phases arrêtées, particulièrement les coups francs. Il a une prédilection pour délivrer la passe décisive depuis le côté droit, et surtout pour envoyer le ballon plein centre (plutôt qu’au premier ou au second poteau) sur la tête d’un de ses partenaires.

Zusi est aussi capable de marquer et sait se trouver au bon endroit pour conclure victorieusement une première tentative de son équipe repoussée par l’adversaire (à l'image de son premier but de la saison).

Une combinaison de qualités qui ont valu à ce joueur de 25 ans ses deux premières sélections - et son premier but - en équipe nationale américaine au début de cette année.