MLS Cup Reactions, Transfers and Impact, and FC Cincinnati Expansion Draft



Welcome back soccer fans! Did you enjoy the MLS Cup?

The hosts of Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast give their take on one of the most meaningful MLS Cup Finals in league history. With Atlanta United’s 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers, and the last 4 MLS Cup Champions being expansion teams, there is a clear message to owners and managers what is needed to build a contender. Tune in for Nick and Mike’s thoughts and where the league is going, and whether we are witnessing MLS 3.0. Also, the hosts discuss the idea of league parity and whether league imposed rules should be lifted.

Next, the podcast takes a look at the latest transfer news. Big names have moved – Zack Steffen to Manchester City, Maxi Urruti to Montreal Impact, Caleb Porter to coach a returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy. How does this shape the teams, and was the value of the player worth the deal?

Finally, the hosts review FC Cincinnati’s expansion draft picks and transfers. The big news being the expansion side’s acquisition of Greg Garza from Atlanta, along with Kendall Waston, Darren Mattocks, Kei Kamara, Roland Lamah, Eric Alexander, and Hassan Ndam. Has FCC built an immediate contender or will they need a few seasons to compete for hardware?

Finally, congratulations to our bracket challenge winner, Greg, with his entry: My Loons Suck. Surprisingly, Greg was our only entrant who picked Atlanta United to win the MLS Cup. Greg: Email us your information so Mike can send your prize!

 

As we enter the offseason, let us know what topics you’d like covered and be sure to follow us @SOPSoccer. Thanks for listening!


Berhalter Hired (finally), MLS Cup Preview, and CCL Quick Takes



Welcome back, soccer fans! Thanks for joining the conversation on all things American soccer with the Sons of a Pitch podcast.

In this week’s episode, the hosts give their reactions to the USMNT hiring Gregg Berhalter as the new coach. While both are in favor of the hiring, it remains to be seen if Berhalter’s system with the Columbus Crew can be implemented at the national team level. Having players like Gyasi Zardes, Wil Trapp, and Zack Steffen could certainly help. Nick’s biggest takeaway is Berhalter’s ability get the most out of his team, while Mike looks to Berhalter’s unique blend of playing for the USMNT, MLS, and European leagues to help him build the team’s identity.

In Major League Soccer action, the MLS Cup Final is set between the Portland Timbers and Atlanta United. Portland, tested road warriors, travel to Atlanta and Merdedess-Benz stadium to take on the high powered attack of the Five Stripes. While the home team is favored, look to the visitors to play spoiler and ruin Atlanta’s best chance at a trophy. Expect another big game from the stars: Valeri, Blanco, Martinez, and Almiron. And how great has Attinella’s post-season play been for the Timbers? He’ll be called on more than once in this matchup.

The hosts conclude their podcast looking at the Concacaf Champions League (CCL) draw featuring 5 MLS teams. In a balanced bracket (2/3 MLS and 2 Liga MX teams on each side) don’t be surprised if this is the first year for an MLS team to win the tournament or if four Mexican teams make up the semi-finals.

Thanks for listening, and be sure to connect with us on twitter @SOPSoccer or by email: podcast@sonsofapitchsoccer.com.

 


MLS Headlines and Conference Championship Leg 1 Recap



Welcome, soccer fans, and thanks for listening to the Sons of a Pitch Podcast!

In this episode we bring you all the latest headlines around Major League Soccer (MLS), including:

  • Zack Steffen’s transfer to Manchester City: what it means for him, the USMNT, and the league
  • Coaching moves: Pareja to Tijuana, Berhalter to USMNT, Tata to El Tri – Is this the next phase of the league growth?
  • Player options exercised: Urena out at LAFC, Ricketts out at TFC, Quioto in at Houston, Abubaker in at Columbus – what it means for the teams
  • FC Cincinnati not signing 3rd Designated Player (DP) – Is Fanendo Adi enough? Is this the way to build a team?

Mike and Nick also recap Leg 1 of the Conference Championships

 

Shout out to Mark Fangmeier, HeathOut, and David Sterling for providing great MNUFC fan insight. And condolences to our resident Red Bulls fan Stephen J. Phillips. Someone please hide the sharp objects from him.


USMNT vs. Italy and MLS Headlines



Hello soccer fans, and welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast!

We are pleased to bring you our live reactions to the USMNT friendly versus Italy. Listen as the hosts give their live takes on the game and answer all the burning questions surrounding the teams:
-What’s the status of the head coaching position?
-How should Christian Pulisic be utilized?
-Can Ethan Horvath compete with Zack Steffen for the starting GK spot?
-What is the team’s identity?

During the game, Mike and Nick also break down the latest Major League Soccer headlines. Listen for their reactions to:
-Jim Curtain’s contract extension with the Philadelphia Union
-MLS players currently in the playoffs playing internationally – For or Against?
-Minnesota United FC re-signs defender Kallman
-American U-20s defeat Honduras to advance to Concacaf finals; USMNT announces friendly vs. Costa Rica
-Concacaf Champions League teams from the MLS

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast using the links on the right, follow us on twitter @SOPSoccer, and as always, thanks for listening!


MLS Conference Semi-Finals Recap



Hello fans of Major League Soccer, and welcome to another episode of Sons of a Pitch Soccer Podcast!

Tonight, the hosts recap the conference semi-finals of the Major League Soccer Playoffs.

  • Portland and Seattle gave us another chapter in the Cascadia rivalry and an instant MLS Playoff classic. Did anyone think that Dairon Asprilla would be the deciding factor?
  • Sporting KC showed up against Real Salt Lake and confirmed why they were the best in the West. Has SKC’s offense proven the deciding factor in the playoffs so far?
  • Red Bulls New York ended Columbus Crew’s dream season. No one could #SavetheCrew from the high press. Can RBNY finally capture that elusive cup victory?
  • Josef Martinez regained his Golden Boot form as he and Atlanta United eliminated NYCFC. How will he fare against Red Bulls pressure and their ability to smother the best players on opposing teams?

Looking forward, Nick and Mike stick to their pick of SKC winning the MLS Cup. Nick has them defeating RBNY, while Mike sees Atlanta United advancing out of the East. What are your thoughts on the playoffs so far? Is your pick to win still alive? Follow us @SOPSoccer or email us at podcast@sonsofapitchsoccer.com.


Time Killers Before Kickoff: MLS Media Links



Have we got news for you!

Just one more day until the 2nd leg of 1st round of the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs continues, and it seems like forever since we had a match! If you need something to get you through the next 24 hours, we’ve assembled a host of links to various coverage. Enjoy reading and supporting other MLS news sources.

We at Sons of a Pitch would especially like to thank Nick Chavez and LAFC Weekly for following us on twitter and putting out great content. We hope to collaborate with them in the future. Also, we’d like to recognize Grant for his support of the MLS and support of our podcast.

  • Check out The NYCFC Nation as they look towards the Cityzens match up with Atlanta United.
  • Even with LAFC out of the playoffs, be sure to bookmark LAFC Weekly to keep up with the latest club news from the fans’ perspective.
  • The numbers guys over at Five Thirty Eight still have Atlanta United as the MLS Cup favorites. Check out their advanced statistics and see if you agree.
  • Speaking of The Five Stripes, The Cooligans are certainly entertaining, if not also informative.
  • SB Nation has your team covered! Catch the latest headlines from around the league by their knowledgeable team of writers.
  • Sports Illustrated and Planet Futbol have in-depth playoff coverage on a variety of topics and storylines. And also one about Inter Miami FC’s new stadium.
  • And of course, all the news straight from the league itself: MLS Soccer.

Happy reading!


Ep 40 – Knockout Round Recap, Next Round Preview



It’s a Saturday special here at the Sons of a Pitch podcast!

The MLS Cup Playoffs have begun, and the knockout round is complete. NYCFC defeated the Union, Columbus upset DC United, Portland held on vs. FC Dallas, and LAFC fell to Real Salt Lake in a late night shocker. Nick and Mike recap the games, the goals, and what surprised them most in the early stages of the playoffs.

Also, Sons of a Pitch is hosting their own MLS Bracket Challenge group, and after the first round of games, only one entry is perfect. Congrats to Gary, the Dynamo fan and apparent Western Conference expert, who successfully predicted the knockout round. We’ll keep you updated as all the picks come in throughout the playoffs.

Looking ahead, there are some great playoff match-ups around the league:

NYCFC vs. Atlanta United
It’s offense vs. offense as this series could be decided by the goals scored at Yankee stadium. Expect a high scoring 1st leg. SOP Pick: Atlanta

Columbus vs. Red Bulls
#SavedtheCrew vs. #SupportersShield. Can Berhalter’s team figure out the high press and stymie BWP? If not, they could be in for a long series. SOP Pick: RBNY

Timbers vs. Sounders
A rivalry match-up early in the playoffs? Thank the soccer gods! This should be an exciting affair, and I expect players’ emotion to be as important as goals scored. Nick’s pick: Timbers, Mike’s pick: Sounders

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
If RSL’s strikers continue their form, SKC’s defense is going to be put to the test. But there’s a reason SKC is best in the West. SOP Pick: SKC

 

How does your bracket look? Is your team still in? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out to us on twitter @SOPSoccer.


Ep 39 – MLS Decision Day Recap and Playoff Preview



Decision Day has come and gone, and so have the playoff dreams of the LA Galaxy and Montreal Impact. How did the events of the final week of Major League Soccer games play out? Nick and Mike recap all the games, give you their analysis, and Mike has a really good time talking about Toronto FC’s shocking 4-1 victory over Atlanta United.

The hosts also preview the playoffs, with each picking Sporting Kansas City to lift the Cup. Nick likes the New York Red Bulls to win the East, while Mike thinks Atlanta is just too good to be denied a spot in the finals. Who do you think will make headlines? Join our playoff bracket challenge and compete with the hosts for a $25 dollar gift card.

Let us know your thoughts on all things MLS in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on twitter @SOPSoccer. Thanks for listening!


MLS Playoff Predictions In Review



Now that #DecisionDay has come and gone, we look back on our pre-season playoff predictions and whether our picks had a penchant towards perfection. (Ok, enough with the alliteration.)

So, how did we do? In the Eastern Conference, we successfully predicted 3 of 6 playoff teams. Who knew Chicago and Orlando City would be historically bad? In the Western Conference, Nick picked 5/6 teams, while Mike picked 4/6. Nick got the wrong LA team, and Mike put his faith in Vancouver. (Serves him right as a TFC fan.) Our picks are in the table below. Continue reading MLS Playoff Predictions In Review


Ep. 38 – Week 34 Round Up: Results, Playoff Predictions, and Storylines



Welcome back, soccer fans! Thank you for joining us at Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast.
This episode looks back at Week 34 and looks forward at Decision Day and the Major League Soccer playoff picture.

With only one week remaining in the MLS regular season, nearly all playoff spots are locked up. The remaining spot in the Eastern Conference will belong to either Columbus (who will clinch with a win) or Montreal (who need to win and have Columbus draw or lose). After spending much of the season in the 4th spot, the Crew’s complacency and lack of scoring have finally caught up with them. In the West, Real Salt Lake will await their fate, having played their full 34 game season. If the LA Galaxy win against the Houston Dynamo, RSL gets eliminated and the Galaxy qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs – one step closer to their rebuild.

Regardless of the outcome, goal scoring and goal differential favor Atlanta Untied, New York Red Bulls, and Sporting Kansas City. But we all know that luck has as much to do with a one-game outcome as does consistent play all season. What are your playoff predictions? Who will win their conference. Which team will raise the MLS Cup?

All this and more in SOP Episode 38. Thanks for listening. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and find us one twitter @SOPSoccer.