Major League Soccer (MLS) is a professional soccer league representing the sport’s highest level in the United States and Canada. Sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer), the league is composed of 19 teams — 16 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada.
Report: MLS bans electronic communication in locker rooms
With the groundbreaking report of widespread match-fixing in European soccer released this morning, Major League Soccer is taking a precautionary step to ensure such a thing doesn’t happen in the United States. According to a tweet from Steven Goff at the Washington Post, the U.S.’ top-tier soccer league will ban electronic communication within team locker rooms for one hour before games.
Up to this point MLS has had no league-wide policy on pregame communication, with guidelines on use of social media left up to the individual teams.
This match-fixing report implicated a Singapore crime syndicate in determining results in World Cup Qualifying games and for matches in the UEFA Champions League. The report stated that it found 680 matches with suspicious results, but did not state specific players, teams, or organizations as the investigation is ongoing.
TSN and RDS Announce 2013 MLS Regular Season National Broadcast Schedule
TSN’s package includes 41 games featuring Canadian clubs, including all three home openers
TSN and RDS are exclusive home of the MLS ALL-STAR GAME, the MLS CUP Playoffs and the MLS CUP 2013
TORONTO (February 5, 2013) – As the home of soccer and the official broadcaster of Major League Soccer (MLS) in Canada, TSN today announced its 41-game national broadcast package that features at least one Canadian team in action – the Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, and/or Vancouver Whitecaps FC (click here for a PDF of the MLS ON TSN broadcast schedule).
TSN’s 41-game package includes 30 games from its national broadcast deal with MLS and an additional slate of Toronto FC match-ups (11 in total) as part of its partnership with the team.
TSN will announce additional games featuring two U.S.-based teams in the coming weeks.
“Headlined by international and homegrown superstars, Major League Soccer has developed an intense level of play across the league that translates into some incredibly entertaining soccer for fans,” said Shawn Redmond, Vice-President of Programming, TSN. “On the heels of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC becoming the country’s first team to make it to the playoffs and the Montreal Impact’s exciting league debut, we are proud to kick off another season of MLS ON TSN including expanded coverage of a reinvigorated Toronto FC.”
As the official French-language broadcaster of MLS in Canada, RDS will broadcast more than 30 games, including 12 match-ups featuring the Montreal Impact.
TSN and RDS’ national broadcast package is complemented by exclusive Canadian coverage of the MLS ALL-STAR GAME, MLS CUP Playoffs, and MLS CUP 2013.
All games broadcast on TSN and TSN2 are available live on TSN Mobile TV, while all games broadcast on RDS and RDS2 are available live on Télé Mobile RDS.
TSN kicks off its coverage with an all-Canadian match-up, as the Vancouver Whitecaps host the Toronto FC at BC Place during the Whitecaps FC’s home opener – and both teams’ season opener – on Saturday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET. TSN has also coverage of Toronto FC’s home opener vs. Sporting Kansas City (March 9) and Montreal Impact’s home opener vs. Toronto FC (March 16).
Additional highlights of the MLS ON TSN schedule are as follows:
· Five all-Canadian match-ups
· Two games featuring the MLS CUP 2012 champion L.A. Galaxy and superstars Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez
· Four games featuring World Cup, EURO, and UEFA Champions League champion Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls
MLS All-Star Game headed to Kansas
January 11th, 2013
The 2013 MLS All-Star Game will be played July 31 at Livestrong Sporting Park, home of Sporting Kansas City, in Kansas City, Kan. It will mark the 10th time that an elite international club has played the MLS All-Stars, who are 6-2-1 in those matches.
The 2013 MLS All-Star Game will be broadcast live at 8:30 p.m. ET on the ESPN, Univision, TSN and RDS family of networks.
Since opening in June 2011, Livestrong Sporting Park has become an MLS hotspot, selling out 17 of the 18 MLS games in 2012. It also hosted the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final, a 2011 Gold Cup doubleheader and 2012 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying semifinals and championship
The top MLS offseason moves so far
By Ridge Mahoney
Of the many moves MLS teams have taken since the end of the regular season, more than a few stand out, either because of the names involved or their abrupt shift from the past.
Homegrown signings generate a lot of buzz and press coverage, and they are an important facet of league operations. But relatively speaking, they don’t figure to carry the importance of veterans being traded, coaches being hired, or experienced newcomers signed.
These listings reflect the relative, short-term impact of these moves within MLS, not their shrewdness or wisdom. Time is needed to evaluate how they work out.
1. REAL SALT LAKE RE-TOOLS. Even successful teams can get stuck in a rut, and after a second-place finish and early playoff elimination, RSL management pulled to the trigger in a long-anticipated makeover. Unloading three topflight starters — forward Fabian Espindola, midfielder Will Johnson and defender Jamison Olave — gives RSL a lot of salary-cap space and allocation money; some of each will come in handy as it attempts to re-sign playmaker Javier Morales. Yet he’s not been the same since suffering a fractured ankle in May 2011, and can’t continue to play gun-shy of every tackle. The entire team seemed unduly distracted and outraged each time Morales hit the ground, fouled or otherwise. If he comes back to MLS and RSL with a new deal and renewed spirit, and those holes can be filled, he and RSL can get back to business. Regardless, a new era is about to dawn for RSL.
2. LE TOUX BACK TO PHILLY. The upgrade from USL to MLS transformed the Seattle franchise along with its new league, but didn’t work out so well for attacker Sebastien Le Toux. Moved to midfield from his preferred forward slot, he labored during the Sounders’ inaugural 2009 MLS season and the following year was traded to Philly, where he relished the city and another fanatical fan group while scoring 14 goals and registering 11 assists. But eventually his soccer chafed under the tyranny of former head coach Peter Nowak, and after bouncing to Vancouver and then New York, he’s back in Philly, where his considerable skills and efficient movement on and off the ball should blossom once again.
3. TORONTO HIRES PAYNE. When consulted by Anschutz Entertainment Group president Tim Leiweke in 2008 about who should be hired to transform the then-moribund Galaxy, then-D.C. United president Kevin Payne replied, “He’ll make you tear your hair out every so often by what he says or what he does, but the only man for the job is Bruce Arena.” Payne may himself conjure up a few such moments for Toronto FC as its recently hired president, but with a passionate fan base disgruntled by six – out of six – postseason misses and a roster as weak as any in MLS, well, who else ya gonna call? And, there are no stadium issues to distract Payne from shoring up the competitive side along with head coach Paul Mariner, who’d best not get too comfortable in that seat.
4. SPORTING KC GETS A DP. Not so long ago, Argentine international Claudio Lopez came to Sporting Kansas City as a Designated Player. He might have been the right player at the wrong time, for after he departed head coach Peter Vermes fully implemented a 4-3-3 system for which Lopez could have been an ideal left winger. The acquisition of another Argentine, Claudio Bieler, as a DP as well as ex-Rev Benny Feilhaber should enable Vermes to maximize the talents of Graham Zusi. The two Americans could be missing significant time to play for the USA in the Hexagonal and/or the Gold Cup, so how quickly and effectively Bieler adapts to MLS marks this move as essential for SKC, which won the Eastern Conference regular-season title but fizzled against Houston, again, in the playoffs.
5. PARKE GOES HOME. At some point in his career, Jeff Parke broke through the trivia banner: the last player – No. 60! — picked in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft had transformed himself from curiosity into a pretty solid defender. He’s also overcome the stigma of being suspended, along with keeper Jon Conway, for 10 games after testing positive for androstatriendione (ATD) and boldenone metabolites in October 2008. Parke is a native of the Philly suburb Abington who played his collegiate soccer in the big city at Drexel, and his strong play helped the Sounders post the second-fewest goals-allowed in the league and earned him a second straight team Defender of the Year honor. During the season he requested a trade to his hometown; in effect, he replaces Danny Califf, who was banished to Chivas USA in one of Nowak’s purges (and has since gone east again to Toronto FC). Parke turns 31 in March and as a local product backed by the fanatical sons of Ben should give the Union several years’ good service.
6. GALAXY PONDERS KEEPER SHUFFLE. During the first half of MLS Cup 2012, a goal kick taken by keeper Josh Saunders sailed straight out of bounds near the Galaxy bench, behind which head coach Bruce Arena turned away in disgust. A very sheepish and nervous Josh Saunders watched the ensuing Houston throw-in. Saunders was a rock during the 2011 championship season, but his 2012 campaign was plagued by occasional yet costly shaky moments, such as a free kick that wriggled under his body for San Jose’s only goal in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals. Saunders had taken the job from Donovan Ricketts, the starter in 2009 who was replaced by Saunders in the MLS Cup that year. After the 2011 title, Ricketts departed for Montreal, and now it may be time for Saunders to leave. Rumors swirl that the Galaxy may sign Italian veteran Carlo Cudicini; the club has picked Will Hesmer in the Re-Entry Draft and signed backup Brian Perk signed to a new deal. The prospects in L.A. for Saunders, who is out of contract, don’t look good.
7. BUDDLE MOVES TO COLORADO. A year after returning to the Galaxy from a spell in Germany, Edson Buddle is starting over again with the Rapids. Can the scorer of 93 regular-season MLS goals get back on the beam? There are myriad changes in play for Oscar Pareja, whose first year as a head coach ended with a 11-19-4 record and seventh place in the Western Conference. An attack that scored 44 goals ranked just about in the middle – tied for 10th among the 19 teams – yet has been revamped, with Conor Casey cut loose and Omar Cummings dealt to Houston. Buddle’s health – he missed about two months of the 2012 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus – limited him to 19 games and three goals in 2012, and may have encouraged the Galaxy to get rid of him.
8. CHIVAS USA PICKS ‘EL CHELIS.’ Having attained little success with recent head coaches –Martin Vazquez and Robin Fraser – who had worked in MLS, Chivas USA dipped into Mexico to find successor Jose Luis Sanchez. A long stay at Puebla and shorter stints with two other clubs includes only one notable success, the Mexican league semifinals in 2009, after he led the club into the top flight six years ago. He joins fellow Mexican native Jose David (club president) on a staff re-organized yet again by operator-investor Jorge Vergara. The track record of management staffs ignorant to the ways of MLS is pretty poor, so the growing pains for Chivas USA in 2013 will likely be severe. There is some vestige of league experience present, however; former youth director Dennis te Kloese has been named sporting president.
9. RED BULLS INK JUNINHO. Yes, Rafa Marquez and head coach Hans Backe are gone, but going forward how much can the Red Bulls rely on a playmaker who turns 38 in January? Obviously, they’re not going to. Espindola, Olave and Josue Martinez (acquired in the Le Toux deal) do the heavy lifting, which in theory, would leave the former Lyon maestro Juninho Pernambucano those pockets of space to flick balls and thread passes as he did while playing for Gerard Houllier, who is head of global soccer for the Red Bulls. Of course, that’s surely what the head coach, whoever he is, has in mind.
10. TIMBERS TRADE FOR WILL JOHNSON. Incoming head coach Caleb Porter has engineered a bevy of moves in Portland, but Will Johnson is the only acquisition to win an MLS Cup (with RSL in 2009). Johnson is a skilled, tough, smart veteran of 120 regular-season games who turns 26 next year and as Porter undergoes a major rebuild, he can lean on Johnson’s considerable talents and vast experience.
Adidas and MLS unveil new official match ball for 2013
PORTLAND, Ore. / New York – Adidas and Major League Soccer on Thursday unveiled the updated adidas PRIME, the official match ball for the 2013 MLS season. The adidas PRIME features a new, more aerodynamic construction engineered for increased control and consistent ball movement.
“After an exciting 2012 season for Major League Soccer, we are very proud and excited to unveil the new 2013 adidas PRIME,” said Ernesto Bruce, MLS manager for adidas. “In 2013, the new match ball will debut at MLS First Kick and will be used by thousands of youth players around the country as MLS continues to expand its player development footprint.”The adidas PRIME uses a cutting-edge panel bonding technique engineered to create a rounder more aerodynamic and water resistant ball for increased accuracy. The PRIME’s matte finish and texture provides enhanced ball control while the updated bladder increases air retention and reduces water uptake, allowing the adidas PRIME to hold its shape after repeated kicks in all weather conditions.
The PRIME’s updated panel design is inspired by the handles and shape of the Philip F. Anschutz trophy, awarded to the MLS Cup champion and colored in the official blue, green and white of MLS. The PRIME features the official MLS and adidas logos along with the signature of MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
2013 MLS home openers:
WEEK 1, Saturday, March 2:
Philadelphia Union vs Sporting Kansas City (PPL Park)
FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids (FC Dallas Stadium)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC (BC Place)
Houston Dynamo vs D.C. United (BBVA Compass Stadium)
Seattle Sounders FC vs Montreal Impact (CenturyLink Field)
Chivas USA vs Columbus Crew (The Home Depot Center)
Sunday, March 3:
LA Galaxy vs Chicago Fire (The Home Depot Center)
Portland Timbers vs New York Red Bulls (Jeld-Wen Field)
San Jose Earthquakes vs Real Salt Lake (Buck Shaw Stadium)
WEEK 2, Saturday, March 9:
Toronto FC vs Sporting Kansas City (Rogers Centre)
D.C. United vs Real Salt Lake (RFK Stadium)
Colorado Rapids vs Philadelphia Union (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park)
Chicago Fire vs New England Revolution (Toyota Park)
WEEK 3 , Saturday, March 16:
New York Red Bulls vs D.C. United (Red Bull Arena)
Sporting Kansas City vs Chicago Fire (LIVESTRONG Sporting Park)
Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids (Rio Tinto Stadium)
Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC (Olympic Stadium)
Columbus Crew vs San Jose Earthquakes (Crew Stadium)
WEEK 4, Saturday, March 23:
New England Revolution vs FC Dallas (Gillette Stadium)
MLS Power Rankings: Top dogs feed on the weak
By Ridge Mahoney, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012
Most of the MLS games last weekend matched teams likely to make the playoffs with those either eliminated or with slim hopes, and the top dogs usually prevailed.
The big match of the week didn’t produce much drama, as Sporting Kansas City crisply defeated Chicago, 2-0, Friday in a matchup of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams. The victory did pull SKC to within three points of overall leader San Jose, which added to its late-game legacy by scoring in the 95th minute to tie FC Dallas, 3-3.
Otherwise, all the teams that have qualified for the playoffs or are close to doing so either won or tied. Columbus eliminated Philly, 3-2, but still trails the Dynamo (a 2-0 winner over New England) by one point for the final spot in the Eastern Conference.
1. SAN JOSE (18-6-7). Steven Lenhart came off the bench to score twice, including yet another stoppage-time goal, in a 3-3 tie that preserved San Jose’s unbeaten run at Buck Shaw Stadium, which dates back to last season. They’ve won 11 and tied seven since losing to the Crew on Aug. 13, 2011. Yet they’ve conceded six goals in the last three games after blanking Chivas USA in back-to-back matches, and that needs to be rectified as the season winds down. The Quakes are at Colorado Saturday. Last week: 1.
2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (17-7-7). Graham Zusi scored early and late as SKC posted is league-high 14th shutout by dousing the Fire, 2-0. Lawrence Olum got his second straight start in place of centerback Aurelien Collin and helped stamp out a Fire attack that mustered just one shot on goal. SKC is unbeaten in its last nine games and takes the league’s best road mark (8-4-3) to Columbus Sunday. Last week: 2.
3. CHICAGO (16-9-5). The Fire could have taken over first place by winning at Livestrong Sporting Park, but instead labored to dent SKC’s imposing defense and succumbed to a 2-0 defeat, its first loss away against Kansas City in five years. Chris Rolfe misfired on an early chance and Patrick Nyarko, felled by hard tackle in the first half, seldom threatened. Defender Gonzalo Segares and Coach Frank Klopas were red-carded during a frenzied stoppage-time melee and will miss Wednesday’s home game against Philly. Last week: 3.
4. SEATTLE (13-7-10). The Sounders rode their luck and a few key plays by keeper Michael Gspurning to earn a 0-0 tie at Vancouver and clinch their playoff spot. Chances were spurned by Fredy Montero, Steve Zakuani and Eddie Johnson in the second half as the defense earned its 10th shutout of the season. Mauro Rosales returned to the lineup after sitting out three games with a quadriceps strain and played the first 70 minutes. The Cascadia Cup quest reconvenes Saturday at home against Portland. Last week: 4.
5. LOS ANGELES (15-11-5). Juninho isn’t the only Galaxy central mid who carries a pulverizing shot; Marcelo Sarvas hit a blast from outside the box for his second goal of the season in a 1-1 tie at Colorado that ran L.A.’s unbeaten league streak to seven games. In the span of about a minute, Landon Donovan lost a goal for an apparent pushing foul and defender A.J. DeLaGarza left the match with a sprained left knee. Rookie Tommy Meyer, making his first appearance since early May, took over, and may get the start Saturday against RSL if DeLaGarza can’t recover in time. Last week: 5.
6. NEW YORK (15-8-8). The Red Bulls took care of business by squashing Toronto FC, 4-1, but only after falling behind did they unleash the attack that produced a goal and three assists from Thierry Henry. He set up Marcus Holgersson for an equalizing header with a corner kick and conjured up two chances that Kenny Cooper converted, then tacked on the fourth goal himself. With only two wins in the last six games the Red Bulls must turn it up when they host Chicago Saturday if they are to challenge SKC for the conference title. Last week: 6.
7. REAL SALT LAKE (16-11-4). As expected, RSL took its turn cuffing Chivas USA and also sharpened the scoring instincts of Alvaro Saborio, whose hat trick in a 4-0 rout took his tally for the season to 17, second-best in the league. Fabian Espindola entered the record books as the first RSL player to record three assists in a league match, and RSL moved into second place among MLS teams with its 12th shutout. It holds a two-point lead for second place in the Western Conference over the Galaxy heading into a return trip to Home Depot Center for a Saturday showdown. Last week: 7.
8. D.C. UNITED (15-10-6). A very dubious penalty-kick decision provided Chris Pontius the opportunity to score the goal that brought United a 1-1 tie at Portland. United failed to hold the lead after Pontius converted in the 60th minute yet did hold on for its 10th point in the last four games. Last week: 8.
9. HOUSTON (13-8-10). Midseason changes carried the Dynamo to the 2011 MLS Cup, and two recent arrivals this year — Ricardo Clark and Oscar Boniek Garcia — scored the goals by which it knocked off New England, 2-0, to extend its home unbeaten streak to 23 games. Brad Davis set up Clark’s goal in the 77th minute for his team-high 12th assist, and Tally Hall earned his 12th shutout. Houston needs to keep the home mojo working Saturday against the not-yet-eliminated Impact. Last week: 9.
10. COLUMBUS (14-11-6). A wild 3-2 defeat of Philadelphia kept the Crew just one point behind Houston for the fifth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Milovan Mirosevic scored in the 87th minute to regain a lead the Crew had squandered following two sharp finishes by Jairo Arrieta late in the first half. With eight goals in 15 games, all as a starter, Arrieta has proven to be a very astute midseason acquisition. And Andy Gruenebaum leads the league in saves. Last week: 10.
11. FC DALLAS (9-12-10). Coach Schellas Hyndman was steamed after a 3-3 tie at San Jose last week in which FCD twice conceded goals that wiped out one-goal leads. Blas Perez underlined his importance by scoring twice and a brave header by Matt Hedges pushed FCD in front, 3-2, in the 88th minute but a stoppage-time goal by the Quakes deprived it of tying Vancouver for fifth place in the West. Still, there’s three points for the taking Sunday at Chivas USA. Last week: 12.
12. MONTREAL (12-15-4). The weekend’s results didn’t eliminate the idle Impact, which takes its 2-12-1 road record for a must-win game to Houston, which hasn’t lost at home since June of last year. Midfielder Brian Arguez has returned from a three-month loan to FC Edmonton of the NASL Last week: 11.
13. VANCOUVER (10-12-9). Jay DeMerit failed to put away a good chance and Camilo misfired in stoppage time to leave the Whitecaps with a 0-0 tie against the Sounders that extended their winless streak to seven. Some good work by keeper Brad Knighton, who posted his first shutout of the season, earned the result that preserved a two-point lead over FCD in the playoff race. Darren Mattocks and John Thorrington left the match with injuries and unknown is their status for Wednesday, when the ‘Caps take their shot at Chivas USA at home. Last week: 14.
14. COLORADO (9-18-4). The Rapids have been pretty poor a few times this season but not so at home against the Galaxy Sunday while scrapping for a 1-1 tie. They fell behind early yet rallied to tie the game when right back Hunter Freeman got up the wing to center a ball Jaime Castrillon drilled first-time into the net. Castrillon’s goal took his season tally to eight, not bad for a new player on a struggling team. Last week: 13.
15. PHILADELPHIA (8-15-6). The inevitable elimination from playoff contention came at Columbus, which prevailed, 3-2, after a penalty kick by Danny Cruz and equalizer from Jack McInerney had wiped out a 2-0 deficit. Blunders by Amobi Okugo gave the Crew openings on its first two goals. The Union conceded the winner right from the kickoff after it had tied the game, but still its 19 road goals conceded is one of the lowest figures in the league. Now officially in the role of spoiler, it gets back on the road Wednesday in Chicago. Last week: 15.
16. PORTLAND (7-15-9). Bright Dike scored his second goal in as many games in a 1-1 tie with D.C. United, which grabbed the lead on a penalty kick awarded when officials thought David Horst had deflected a cross with his arm. He hadn’t but still the Timbers fought back to score when Dike chased down a loose ball before United could clear it. The Timbers take a modest run of nine points from the last seven games to Seattle for a Cascadia Cup clash on Sunday. Last week: 16.
17. NEW ENGLAND (7-16-8). The Revs lost for the ninth time in the last 14 matches, dating back to early July, when they were shut out, 2-0, in Houston. Benny Feilhaber got his first start since Sept. 1 and hit a curling free kick that forced a good save, and Jerry Bengston bounced a header just wide from a Fernando Cardenas cross. Bobby Shuttleworth posted five saves in his second straight start as Coach Jay Heaps ponders his plan for 2013. Last week: 17.
18. CHIVAS USA (7-16-7). The losing streak stands at six matches and the goalless run is 442 minutes after a 4-0 home loss to Real Salt Lake. Since taking over prior to the 2011 season, head coach Robin Fraser’s record is 15-30-19, and the team is on course to set a league record for fewest goals scored with just 21 and four more games to play. Last week: 18.
19. TORONTO (5-19-7). In the race to avoid finishing the season rock-bottom, TFC took a 1-0 lead over the Red Bulls when Ryan Johnson belted a searing shot into the top corner less than six minutes after the opening kickoff. Not much went right after that in a 4-1 defeat. Last week: 19.