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30 April 9:48 de la tarde

If you spend enough time around Red Bull Arena, you might notice a guy decked out in Red Bulls gear buzzing around, shaking hands and sharing laughs with a variety of faces, young and old

Fernando Ruiz is that guy.

The video above courtesy of New York profiles Ruiz, who made the decision to trade NJ Transit for the training pitch and hasn't looked back since. 

30 April 3:38 de la tarde

With many of the title races in Europe's top leagues all but decided, we're reached the time of the year when the proverbial “silly season” cranks up in anticipation of the international transfer window's arrival this summer.

But when media reports in the club's own backyard place a past Sueño MLS winner on Spanish superpower FC Barcelona's radar, it's worth taking note.

On Tuesday, Barcelona-based publication Mundo Deportivo, citing “some Argentine media,” posted a report claiming that River Plate striker Gabriel Funes Mori is back in the Catalan club's crosshairs as a transfer target.

The Argentina-born, Texas-raised No. 9 was River Plate's leading scorer during the first half of the 2012-13 season and has been linked to Barça and other European powers like AC Milan in the past. But he first rose to prominence as the winner of the 2008 Sueño MLS competition, which earned him a spot in FC Dallas' youth academy.

That opportunity quickly led to a trial with England's Chelsea FC. While Funes Mori did not catch on with the Blues, members of River Plate's staff spotted him and both he and his twin brother Ramiro soon joined the renowned Buenos Aires club and rapidly rose through the ranks.

Funes Mori played for Argentina's U-20 side and made an appearance for the senior team in a friendly against Brazil last year, but US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann reportedly took notice of Funes Mori last winter and invited him to switch allegiance to the US.

Funes Mori turns 22 later this year and probably isn't quite the finished product yet. But if he does wind up at Barcelona, he'll be the first player with American ties to join the Blaugrana's senior squad.

30 April 12:21 de la tarde

Entre les matchs aller et retour des demi-finales du Championnat canadien Amway, cette compétition est au centre des discussions de l’émission de la semaine (à écouter ici) animée par son quatuor désormais habituel.

Le fait d’avoir de nombreux réservistes traditionnels dans le onze de départ a suscité beaucoup de commentaires. On se demande si les clubs prennent cette compétition au sérieux et si les supporters peuvent se sentir floués. En alignant beaucoup de jeunes, chacun n’a peut-être pas pris les mêmes risques. Les résultats ont aussi suscité des débats sur les responsabilités des joueurs sur le terrain ainsi que sur la qualité en profondeur des divers effectifs. L’essentiel de la discussion porte sur Toronto - Montréal mais on parle aussi d’Edmonton - Vancouver.

Avec l’arrivée d’une équipe de NASL à Ottawa l’an prochain, le format de la compétition sera légèrement adapté avec un tour préliminaire entre les clubs de NASL. C’était prévisible mais quel message cette décision passe-t-elle ?

Chicago vit un début de saison difficile, qui a été confirmé lors de la dernière journée à Montréal. On a pu constater de près certains progrès de l’équipe mais surtout un manque d’imagination, un potentiel mal utilisé et une défense susceptible de s’effondrer à n’importe quel moment au sein d’un onze qui semble être entré dans une routine menant difficilement à la victoire.

On connaîtra dans les prochaines semaines l’identité du vingtième club de MLS. Les signes mènent vers une deuxième équipe New Yorkaise basée dans le Queens. Alors que les Red Bulls peinent à remplir leur stade, certains s’interrogent sur la pertinence de cette décision qui pourrait cependant amener de nouvelles vedettes internationales en MLS. Et après, quel développement pour la ligue ?

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).

30 April 12:17 de la tarde

So, the Columbus Crew paid a visit to WWE Raw last night. It was pretty ridiculous. Daniel Withrow might have a future with these guys if the whole soccer thing doesn't work out. 

It got us thinking, though: Which MLS player would make the best professional wrestler? Jamison Olave? Omar Gonzalez? Donovan Ricketts? Steven Lenhart? 

Tell us in the comments, and feel free to volunteer some nickname suggestions, too.

29 April 11:51 de la tarde

Ever wondered what a match is like at Stade Saputo? The video above might give you a decent idea. Next level quality. 

Neutral MLS fan alert: Viewing may spark newfound affinity for Montreal Impact

Consider yourself warned, amusez-vous!

29 April 4:55 de la tarde

As our man Greg Seltzer pointed out last week, US national team striker Terrence Boyd has had a pretty stellar first season of top-flight European soccer. He's been mostly a starter, he's been mostly really good, and he's been mostly really consistent at putting the ball in the back of the net, scoring 12 times for Rapid Vienna.

But while he's been good, his team just hasn't. Not by their own standards, anyway. Currently the Green-Whites are 23 points off the pace set by (hated rivals) Austria Vienna, and are fighting for the second Europa League spot. For a club that's used to the top of the table – Rapid have an Austrian record 32 titles – third place just isn't good enough.

So the fans bricked up the front doors of the club's offices and made it clear that general manager Werner Kuhn is, ahem, not well-liked:

Message sent.

Credit to Deadspin for spotting the story, and to the Rapid Ultras for the image.

29 April 3:51 de la tarde

Does playing at home influence referees' decisions?

Answering that question may depend on which side fans are on for a given match, and what the outcome of the game is. But there is growing evidence that referees do inadvertently tip the balance in the home side's favor more often than not.

In this article from The Guardian, Sean Ingle discusses the ways in which a home crowd can help their team receive fewer cards, as well as increase injury time if the home side needs more time to get a result.

These results are not only present in English and German soccer, the countries highlighted in the article, as evidence from other sports, including the NBA, also supports the hometown bias.

Still, given the frequent complaints leveled at officials from fans of home teams, the bias isn't the sole determinant of outcome, and obviously has a larger impact on some contests than others. Furthermore, if cheering for one's team and trying to coerce favorable decisions from referees is a hallmark of attending games for fans, the article notes that the impact of fans on actually helping the team perform looks to be negligible, at least statistically.

Don't let that hold you back from heading to the stadium and cheering on your local team, though – you could help give the home team the slightest of edges.

29 April 2:43 de la tarde

Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney can score goals. He can also do the weather.

McInerney was a guest forecaster alongside meteorologist Katie Fehlinger on CBS3 in Philadelphia on Monday and, although he wasn't as good as D.C. United's Chris Pontius, the Union youngster still delivered on the day's weather forecast as well as next Saturday's, when Philadelphia host the Seattle Sounders.

29 April 12:41 de la tarde

Ah, les blessés et les rotations d’effectif. Voilà qui a alimenté bien des discussions lors de la dernière journée… tantôt positivement, tantôt négativement.

Ainsi, le leader, Dallas, qui avait pris une avance de deux buts à Vancouver, a finalement concédé le partage. Le tournant du match : les sorties sur blessure de Jacobson et John.

À Montréal, ce sont les changements effectués mercredi dernier pour la visite à Toronto qui ont fait jaser… ou plutôt se taire les supporters qui ont manifesté leur mécontentement par plusieurs minutes de silence. Ils étaient plus heureux en fin de rencontre suite à la victoire contre Chicago de leurs favoris avec une attaque remodelée.

Au LA Galaxy, certains ténors sont hors-circuit et Bruce Arena est obligé de s’en passer. Mais ses jeunes ont brillamment pris la relève, en s’imposant 0-2 à Salt Lake. Bien qu’ayant récupéré Davis, Houston semble en manque d’énergie et a souffert pour sauver un point chez lui contre Colorado.

L’exploit de la semaine est à mettre à l’actif de Portland, toujours invaincu en déplacement, qui est allé s’imposer en marquant trois buts à Kansas City à qui pareille mésaventure n’était pas arrivée depuis un 4-0 concédé en juin dernier à Philadelphie. Peter Vermes blâme les pertes de balle des siens, qui ont permis à l’adversaire de les surprendre en contre.

Enfin, de Columbus - DC United, on ne retiendra pas autant la belle victoire locale ou la confirmation des problèmes de l’équipe de Ben Olsen que le spectaculaire incendie qui a touché le marquoir du stade.

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

 
1-2
2-0
2-2
2-0
3-0
2-3
0-2
2-2
1-1

Classement général
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo

 

26 April 2:54 de la tarde

This week was a busy one for MLS WORKS and the clubs in their communities. The week started off with celebrations for Earth Day. MLS WORKS and the Portland Timbers hosted an Earth Day Service Project at Hosford Middle School and unveiled a solar panel installation and environmental beautification at the school as part of the MLS WORKS/Continental Tire “How Green Are Your Goals?” contest. Yesterday was World Malaria Day and MLS WORKS joined Nothing But Nets in the fight against Malaria by challenging MLS fans to donate a net to save a life. Find these stories and other MLS club initiatives in our weekly highlights:

Saturday's Game Activities

Soccer Walking Washington DC

Update: World Malaria Day and Juggle-a-thon

Kraft Family's pledge to One Fund Boston nets $617,000 to date

Revolution to wear orange ribbons on Saturday

Dynamo players, coaches participate in Tommy Bahama Island Cowboy Classic

VIDEO: Juggle to save lives on World Malaria Day

Cinco De Mayo celebration planned for May 4 match

How the Union's recent rally around Autism awareness touched one supporter in particular

LA Galaxy players help build Reading Garden at Annalee Avenue Elementary School in Carson

Revolution, Red Bulls Supporters March together

Exclusive Interview with Rafael Garcia on LA Galaxy Foundation event at Annalee Elementary

Sports in Times of Tragedy

The human spirit always prevails

Busch, Quakes team up for Navy SEAL Foundation fundraiser

Hejduk Participates in AIDS Walk

Earth Day 2013 at Hosford Elementary

D.C. United celebrates Earth Day

BBVA Compass Stadium and Houston Dynamo team up for Earth Day celebration benefiting Hermann Park Conservancy

Quakes, Wells Fargo announce Summer 4v4 tournament dates

MLS Players Union donates portion of 2012 fines to Urso Fund

Blue's walk and song

Soccer Walking Denver in your Blue Jeans!

Frankie Hejduk Kicks off the Anti-Bullying Walk/Run in New Albany

For more community news from around the League, visit the MLS WORKS news section.