Stories 13-11 - December 23

Stories that Missed the Countdown

Omar Gonzalez is poised to anchor the US backline at the 2014 World Cup. And, perhaps equally significant, he’s shown that young American players can still achieve big things – and be justly rewarded for them – without bolting for Europe.

Plus, D.C. United win the US Open Cup and Real Salt Lake come away empty-handed. READ ON...

Story No. 10 - December 23

Changes at Chivas USA

The powers that be at Chivas USA claimed 2013 would be the start of a new era, and they certainly got that part right.But after one of the most frustrating and fascinating seasons for any Major League Soccer franchise in recent memory, the question remains: Where exactly is the team headed now? READ ON...

Story No. 9 - December 24

The Return of Landon Donovan

2013 will ultimately be remembered as the year Landon Donovan almost walked away from the game, at the age of 30, and the comeback that ensued.

And if anything is to be learned from Donovan’s contemplation of retirement, it’s that sometimes you just need to play some barefooted soccer with a bunch of kids in a field in Cambodia to remind yourself why you love this game so much. READ ON...

Story No. 8 - December 24

The Rise of the Portland Timbers

To understand the significance of the Portland Timbers’ season in 2013, you only need to look to their final game – even if it was a loss – against Real Salt Lake.

But on that chilly November night, with “P-T-F-C, P-T-F-C” raining down from the stands, the league saw just what it looks like when the Timbers truly matter, and when the product on the field is finally relevant. It’s why the rise of the Portland Timbers is one of’s top stories of 2013. READ ON...

Story No. 7 - December 25

Mike Magee's Rise to Stardom

A ruthless a finisher as any in the 2011 and 2012 playoffs for the LA Galaxy, "Magic Mike" Magee seemed due to translate his playoff heroics into a productive regular season at some point. And it certainly happened in 2013 – just not with the team everyone expected. READ ON...

Story No. 6 - December 25

Kreis Leaves Real Salt Lake for NYCFC

When nearly half the coaches in the league had one foot in boiling water, Jason Kreis ordered the lobster.

Try and recall another coaching shift like this one in league history. Just try. Is it as big as Kreis going from his DIY league powerhouse at Real Salt Lake to the great unknown of New York City FC, the expansion franchise backed by Manchester City that, despite its financial fortitude, has no players, no stadium and no history?READ ON...

Story No. 5 - December 26

Red Bulls Get Their Silverware

Four games into the season, the New York Red Bulls had two points and no hope. Thirty games after that, they had their first trophy, a coach moved to tears on the field, and a celebration that will live forever in franchise lore.

Let it be said that in the year 2013 of the Common Era, the New York Red Bulls won the Supporters’ Shield. They outpaced Sporting KC by a single point, taking home the regular-season title 59-to-58, and sent their fans into delirium. READ ON...

Story No. 4 -December 27

Sporting Kansas City Win MLS Cup

Maybe it was the mind-numbing cold, a chill so deep and penetrating that beer froze in the cup. Maybe it was the fact that the penalty stage had dragged out for ten rounds, the longest shootout in MLS Cup history. Maybe, after more than a decade of postseason disappointment, it took a little time to realize that their hearts really weren't going to be broken.

When Lovel Palmer's last-ditch spot kick hit the crossbar, and then the pitch in front of the goal mouth, there was a moment of hesitation. Not for long – a couple of adrenalin-revved heartbeats, perhaps – but there it was. READ ON...

Story No. 3 - December 28

The Robbie Rogers Saga

We’re going to reach a time, probably in the not-too-distant future, when a professional athlete’s sexuality is about as relevant as how high he wears his socks. And there are many observers who, for varying reasons, wish we could hurry up and get there.

But it’s worth repeating that we are not quite there yet. That’s why Robbie Rogers’ decision to return to soccer this past spring, after coming out as gay in February and briefly retiring from the sport, is an important, landmark moment, not just for Major League Soccer but for society in general.READ ON...

Story No. 2 - December 29

The Drumbeat of Expansion

The pyramid, from the top down, is growing. More than a decade after contraction threatened MLS’ viability, vitality drives it forward toward new markets, new fans and new owners ready to invest in a product clearly on the rise.

If 2013 is any indication, Don Garber better take a few more deep breaths. Expansion doesn’t seem likely to slow anytime soon. READ ON...

Story No. 1 - December 30

Clint Dempsey Returns to MLS

It started as a low rumble of rumors, seemingly little more than a fevered mumbling of “silly season” gossip. Yet that ripple – fuelled, as is so often the case these days, by social media – suddenly swelled into something bigger. Something that took hold of the faithful and fanciful first, but quickly swept like wildfire among those millions paying even the slightest bit of attention to soccer in the United States.

It wasn't a rock star, or a political icon, or an NFL or NBA headliner that was causing all this ruckus. Clint Dempsey was coming home. READ ON...