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01 September 6:37 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 3:41 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 11:52 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 2:00 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.

29 August 1:23 de la tarde

Une fois n’est pas coutume, l’émission Coup Franc (à écouter ici) est diffusée le mercredi cette semaine et accueille Olivier Brett en studio. Allongée et enrichie, en voilà le menu :
- Rémi Roy, entraîneur des gardiens de New England, nous parle de la saison actuelle de son club, de la transition en cours, de ses gardiens et des qualités des meilleurs portiers de la compétition.
- Amos Magee, entraîneur adjoint à Portland, se penche sur l’échange Perkins - Ricketts, tente d’expliquer pourquoi son équipe n’a pas confirmé sa bonne première année, évoque ses difficultés en déplacement et la Cascadia Cup qui pourrait sauver la saison.
- Nos deux invités confirment aussi les avantages de parler français en MLS.
- Discussion sur les gardiens : Qui sont les meilleurs en MLS ? Comment les évaluer ? Serait-il opportun d’avoir un joueur désigné à ce poste ?
- Caleb Porter sera-t-il l’homme de la situation à Portland ? Quel est le profil idéal d’un entraîneur en MLS, comment et où le recruter ? Quelles sont les erreurs à ne pas commettre ?
- Débat : Qui de Colombus, Montréal, Houston, Chicago et DC United disputera la phase finale de la saison ? Nous avons analysé le classement et le calendrier de chacune des équipes pour vous faire le portrait le plus clair possible de la situation. Voyez aussi le fameux tableau de Frédéric Lord.
- Kansas City - New York : 1-1, alors que New York n’a pas tiré une seule fois au but !

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).

28 August 7:40 de la tarde

For nearly a year now, Bob Bradley has blazed an unlikely trail as manager of the Egyptian national soccer team as it attempts to reach the 2014 World Cup amidst a turbulent political climate in the country.

Filmmaker Jeffrey Plunkett – a midfielder on Bradley's Princeton University team that reached the 1993 NCAA Final Four – has used his camera to chronicle Bradley's often harrowing journey in a documentary titled We The Pharaohs and, based on the trailer above, it looks to be quite the film.

On the field, Bradley has gotten off to a solid start on the road to Brazil, with Egypt topping Mozambique and Guinea to get off to a perfect start in qualifying.

However, just as important as his results on the field has been his ability to endear himself to the Egyptian people, standing in solidarity as they go through one of the most difficult times in their history. Political upheaval and violence have rocked the country for more than a year, and the deaths of 79 people at a local soccer game in Port Said in February were strongly linked to the political violence enveloping the country at the time and had a dramatic impact on the national soccer scene.

Unfortunately, we won't be seeing the end product of the film chronicling this incredible journey any time soon – work on the film will be completed next fall, around the end of the World Cup qualifying, with the film set for release in spring 2014. Still, be sure make a note of this one – if the trailer and story so far are any indication, it promises to be outstanding.

28 August 12:19 de la tarde

Empêtré en bas de classement en championnat, Toronto espère humer à nouveau les effluves du début d’année en Ligue des champions. Ce soir, les Ontariens rêveront d’exploit contre Santos Laguna, champion du Mexique en méforme qui les avait éliminés en demi-finale de l’édition précédente. S’il est rétabli, Eric Hassli pourrait disputer ses premières minutes dans la compétition.

Face aux Puerto Rico Islanders, la tâche s’annonce plus facile demain pour le LA Galaxy que rien n’arrête en ce moment, même d’importants maux d’estomac qui n'ont pas empêché Beckham de jouer dimanche. En forme également, à l'image de Rosales, Seattle ne devrait guère connaître de problèmes jeudi sur le terrain des Trinidadiens de Caledonia.

La tâche la plus ardue sera pour Houston, en déplacement à Olimpia (Honduras) : les Texans ont tout intérêt à retrouver le rythme !

On jouera aussi d’importants matchs de championnat ce mercredi. Après un déplacement difficile à Kansas City, New York rendra visite à DC United, qui visera une 13e rencontre consécutive sans défaite sur ses terres, ce qui lui permettrait d’égaler son record de 2007. À Philadelphie, Columbus pourrait devoir faire appel à son troisième gardien, Matt Lampson. New England, qui a officialisé l’acquisition du milieu offensif Juan Toja, accueillera Chivas USA.

Notez par ailleurs que Kansas City sera privé de Teal Bunbury pour le reste de la saison. Quant à notre podcast hebdomadaire, il sera diffusé ce mercredi en raison de la disponibilité de nos invités.

EN LIGUE DES CHAMPIONS
(Ma 20h00) Toronto - Santos Laguna (Mex)
(Me 22h00) LA Galaxy - Puerto Rico Islanders (PRi)
(Je 20h00) Caledonia (T-T) - Seattle
(Je 22h00) Olimpia (Hnd) - Houston

EN MLS (tous mercredi 20h00)
Philadelphie - Columbus
DC United - New York
New England - 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

28 August 11:14 de la mañana

Is Roger Espinoza Wigan's next Honduran hard man?

The Mirror seems to think so, reporting that the Sporting KC midfielder has caught the eye of Latics manager Roberto Martinez. If Wigan want to secure the services of the Honduran international before January, they'll have to move quickly as the international transfer window closes on Aug. 31.

Espinoza impressed for his country in the London Olympics, scoring against Brazil in the quarterfinals before receiving a standing ovation after being sent off in the final minutes. He's been a starter for Peter Vermes in Kansas City since 2010, gradually working his way onto the list of the best box-to-box midfielders in MLS.

What do you think? Would Espinoza fit at Wigan? Can Sporting afford to lose him after Teal Bunbury was lost for the season with a torn ACL?

27 August 7:05 de la tarde

All 32 goals from Week 25 action. Three belong to Fredy Montero, three to Federico Higuain. Two each to Alan Gordon, Simon Dawkins... and Kei Kamara.

Ouch.

ALL GOALS FROM MLS Week 25