Kick Off: Have weekend plans? Shelve them and watch seven MLS games for free on Saturday and Sunday
Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. ALTIDORE SCORES WINNER IN DUTCH CUP FINAL
Jozy Altidore fired his AZ Alkmaar side to the KNVB Cup in the Netherlands on Thursday, with the US striker scoring the game-winner against PSV Eindhoven in a 2-1 victory. Altidore was delighted to clinch the first trophy of his career, an accomplish made even sweeter as he continued to push past the 30-goal mark for the season: "I'm just so happy to win something. I told the guys, it's not everyday you get in this position. You never know – I may never get this chance again in my career.” He joins a short list of North Americans to win a trophy in Europe.
2. WATCH SEVEN MLS GAMES THIS WEEKEND FOR FREE
Get your popcorn and beverages ready because MLS Live is offering a FREE trial this weekend. Up to seven out-of-market matches will be available to fans (local blackout rules apply). On Saturday, Montreal host Real Salt Lake (2 pm ET) then catch a huge Western Conference clash between Seattle and San Jose (4 pm ET). After that, the Vancouver Whitecaps meet LA in a playoff rematch (7 pm ET) before a double-header at 7:30 pm ET – New England face New York and Columbus take on the Colorado Rapids. The late game sees West leaders FC Dallas take on struggling D.C. United (8:30 pm ET). The lone game streamed on Sunday is a biggie, with Houston hosting rivals Sporting KC at BBVA with their home unbeaten streak on the line (8 pm ET). Sign up now to start your free trial.
3. HENRY QUESTIONABLE FOR CLASH WITH REVS?
Thierry Henry has never played at Gillette Stadium in his career, will he do so this weekend? “I’ve got to speak with Mike [Petke],” Henry said. “I’ve never played there, so we’ll see how it is.” The main problem is that Henry tends to avoid playing on turf after several injuries picked up in the past. Is this all just a smokescreen?
4. CHELÍS ON AGUDELO TRADE
"El Chelís" says he didn’t have any knowledge of Juan Agudelo’s trade from Chivas USA to New England. Uh-oh. But he wasn’t too fussed. He trusts the people running Chivas: “They're planning something big. Count on it.” Then the Mexican coach had this to say on player movement: “The one thing that annoys me, it's that they take the player and tomorrow they say, 'Here's your rent, your bicycle, your gym, your car, your kids in school, all that you have, and then look, you're somewhere else.'"
5. NELSEN ON NEW ARRIVALS: “SHORT-TERM BAND AIDS”
A MLS head coach who knew plenty about his trades and dealings is Toronto FC boss Ryan Nelsen. Former club QPR and the British Isles have helped him out again, with Steven Caldwell and Tal Ben Haim heading to Ontario on loan for three months. Plus, fellow Kiwi Jeremy Brockie is in Toronto to bolster the strike corps during the A-League offseason. Nelsen explained, “With these other players, we’re just bringing them in again to help out the situation until we can find the right guys who we really want to invest in for the long term." Arguably Nelsen’s best addition so far, Robert Earnshaw, talks about his life at TFC with the BBC. And a club in Ben Haim's homeland of Israel is run for the fans, by the fans.
6. MLS DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE BUSY
It has been a hectic few days for the MLS Disciplinary Committee. First, it looked at the unique incidents involving Steven Lenhart, Paulo Nagamura and Eddie Johnson. Then late yesterday, the Disciplinary Committee dished out more suspensions and fines for Carlos Alvarez and head coaches Caleb Porter and John Hackworth. Do you agree with the decisions?
7. UNION THINK BIG, YOUTH THE WAY FORWARD
Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz is thinking big, really big. In an in-depth interview with the Delaware County Daily Times, the Union boss spoke of his ambitions for Philly’s academy and for his dream of having a local starting lineup. “My dream someday is to field a starting XI from this region, with kids that grew up in this town,” Sakiewicz said. “With 35,000 boys in this area between eight and 18, that’s very possible. That’s more boys than Chelsea has to look at.” Meanwhile, Sueño MLS stars are aiming to impress this week.
8. USMNT TO FACE GUATEMALA IN PRE-GOLD CUP FRIENDLY?
Reports yesterday suggested that the US national team has lined up a friendly against Guatemala in San Diego ahead of this summer’s Gold Cup. Do you think this would be a good test for the US and Jurgen Klinsmann? The game is rumored to take place on July 5 at Qualcomm Stadium.
9. MCBRIDE JOINS EXTRATIME RADIO, CHATS MOYES AND UNITED
Former USMNT star Brian McBride knows new Manchester United boss David Moyes better than most. The former Fulham, Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew striker played under Moyes at Preston North End and Everton and spoke about that and more to the lads on ExtraTime Radio. The gang also discussed Moyes’ love for US players, which he revealed when he came on ET Radio back in 2011.
10. INDIA TO FOLLOW MLS MODEL?
Not many people pay attention to the I-League, but maybe that will change in the future. The top league in Indian soccer has announced changes that will see it follow a similar model to Major League Soccer. Check out this piece in the Indian Express for all the details.
11. MLS FANTASY: BRUIN, HENRY AND WONDO LEAD THE WAY
With a plethora of games this week in MLS, if you chose your captain correctly you may be set for a massive points haul. We reveal the fantasy team of the week so far, with plenty more games coming up this weekend. The starting lineup answers plenty of your questions.
12. FROM COMMUNITY COLLEGE TO THE FA CUP FINAL
From Yavapai College in Arizona to Ohio State University, then on to Sporting Kansas City in MLS and finally to Wigan Athletic of the English Premier League. It has been quite a journey for Roger Espinoza. And that continues on Saturday, as the Honduran faces Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley. (12:15 pm ET, FOX) “This was one of the reasons I came here, to be involved in big occasions like this," Espinoza said. "Obviously I knew I was also coming in to a relegation battle, but I’m just happy to be here and we’ve got plenty still to play for.” Good luck, Roger.
13. EPL CLIMAX, CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS
Wigan are hoping plenty of the teams around them in the table falter in league action this weekend while they chase FA Cup glory. Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa can all but secure safety with a win at home to Chelsea (7:30 am ET, ESPN2). Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea and Clint Dempsey do battle on Sunday (8:30 am ET, Fox Soccer) as Stoke host Champions League-chasing Tottenham. Then you can see Sir Alex Ferguson’s farewell to Old Trafford (11 am ET, Fox Soccer) when United host Swansea City. While Crystal Palace and Brighton play this afternoon (2:45 pm ET, beIN Sport) in the first leg of their Championship playoff semifinal.
14. DONOVAN ON MANCHESTER UNITED RUMORS
Landon Donovan believes David Moyes was the “pretty obvious choice” to replace Sir Alex Ferguson. But the big question asked of Donovan yesterday was whether he be joining Moyes at United, given how well he did at Everton a few years ago. “Well ... I'm pretty sure that they prefer players that can make penalty kicks,” Donovan said. “So perhaps if I can get that back under my belt, I'll have a chance.” Maybe Donovan enjoyed Moyes’ infamous “horseshoe” runs? Then again, probably not.
15. NO PARTY PLANS FOR FERGIE, ROONEY ON THE WAY OUT?
"Low key" and Sir Alex Ferguson? Surely those two things don’t go together. But it seems that a muted send off will take place on Sunday, and that Wayne Rooney will play no part in it as Ferguson is set to bench the want-away striker. Rooney allegedly asked for a move away from United earlier this week, and the biggest clubs in Europe are circling for his signature. Don't look now, but West Brom fans are cashing in by selling their tickets for the home tie against United on May 19, what will be Ferguson’s last-ever game in charge.
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