Monthly Archives: March 2019

USMNT Friendlies vs. Ecuador and Chile and MLS Week 4 Roundup



Hello again, soccer fans! We hope you enjoyed the USMNT action to offset the short MLS schedule this weekend. We at the Sons of a Pitch certainly enjoyed seeing all the names and faces of the future of US Soccer this week.

In their 3rd game under coach Gregg Berhalter, the United States Men’s National Team played a controlling game against Ecuador, but only had a 1-0 victory to show for it. In the next game against Chile, the USMNT had a difficult time beating the high press and were on the back-foot most of the game. Despite that, they held on for a 1-1 draw. Our biggest takeaways are the continued implementation of Coach GGG’s system and the integration of the European based players, and the building of a winning culture. We really say was Adams, McKennie, and Pulisic can do together, but we also saw the flaws in letting wing-backs push too far up the field.

Rising Stock: Zardes-1 goal, 1 assist in last 2 games; Trapp-the smartest guy on the field;

Falling Stock: Baird-who was non-existent; Lovitz-who looked lost; Ream-who still makes that one, dumb play every game

Meanwhile in a less than full slate of Major League Soccer games, the headlines could read:

  • FC Dallas keeps taking points
  • Orlando City finally get a win
  • LAFC get another stoppage time victory – this time courtesy of some Walker Zimmerman brilliance
  • FC Cincinnati win again, turning critics into bandwagon fans
  • At least one New England is terrible: the Revolution are in complete disarray

Thanks for listening, and be sure to join the conversation in the comments below or on twitter @SOPSoccer.


USMNT vs. Ecuador and Chile: Roster Breakdown, U-23 Coaching Hire



Hello soccer fans, and welcome to a special USMNT episode of The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast.

While the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) have prepared for friendly matches vs. Ecuador and Chile, our hosts have prepared an analysis of Gregg Berhalter’s squad. Breaking down each position player pool, Nick and Mike discuss the strengths of each player, expected line-ups, and what they expect out of the match. While still relatively young and inexperienced, the USMNT needs to develop both tactics and a winning culture.

In other national team news, the U-23 USMNT squad have hired Jason Kreis as their new coach. Mike thinks this is a great move, and getting someone who’s played and coached at various levels in the United States is a big advantage. As the youth squad prepares for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Kreis’ direction of the team and continued development of players like Weah, Carter-Vickers, Mihailovic, and Robinson will be key.

What do you expect from the friendly matchups? Who are you excited to see put on the Red, White, and Blue? Follow us on twitter @SOPSoccer or leave us a message in the comments below.

USMNT SCHEDULE:

March 21, 2019 8 PM ET MNT vs Ecuador Orlando City Stadium; Orlando, FL
March 26, 2019 7:55 PM ET MNT vs Chile BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas

CCL Quarterfinals Recap and MLS Week 3 Roundup – Seattle’s Best, Mitrita’s Attitude, and Cincy’s Home Opener



Hello, soccer fans! Welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. So much has happened since our last episode, and we thank you to coming to us for all your Major League Soccer news. We’ve started to see a few teams separate themselves as contenders, while others are already scrambling to save their season. In this episode, we recap MLS Week 3, highlighting the following:

  • Seattle is the best team in MLS after 3 weeks, DC United is the best team in the East
  • Paunovic and the Fire don’t know what they’re doing (and no amount of mediocre international signings can stop it)
  • Columbus just keeps collecting points – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
  • Atlanta, Philly, and Orlando: what are you doing?
  • Portland is in trouble, the window may have closed a year early
  • Minnesota got a reality check
  • NYCFC’s Mitrita got his first goal, but needs a reality check of his own
  • FC Cincinnati’s home opener was just perfect

Nick and Mike also recap the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League, seeing three Liga MX teams (Monterrey, Tigres, Santos Laguna) and one MLS team (Sporting KC) advance. Mike thinks SKC will advance past Monterrey to face Tigres in the finals, but Nick isn’t sharing his optimism. While we all want an MLS team to win the tournament for the first time, this most likely isn’t the year.

Thanks to everyone for listening, tweeting, emailing, and joining in the conversation. Be on the look out for a short episode previewing the USMNT roster for upcoming international friendlies. And a special thanks to our sponsors: Donovan Food Brokerage and Nice! Icelandic Spring Water.


MLS Week 2 Roundup and CCL Woes



Hello soccer fans, and welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast! Major League Soccer is in full swing as Week 2 of league play is in the books. We saw the rise of LAFC and MNUFC in the West, and the continued solid play of DC United and Columbus in the East. There are still questions around Atlanta United and LA Galaxy, but thankfully for them, the season is young.

Here are a few hot takes from tonight’s episode:

  • Paunovic and the Fire make the same coaching mistakes every game
  • Gyasi Zardes is the best American striker in MLS
  • Atlanta fans need to chill
  • MNUFC is a lock to make the playoffs
  • Sporting KC will win a trophy this season

We next turn to Concacaf Champions League, where the MLS teams have fallen far behind their Liga MX counterparts. Red Bulls have been eliminated after what may have been the worst 9 minutes of soccer in the tournament’s history, giving up 4 goals between the 72′ and 81′ to Santos Laguna. Houston needs a miracle to advance past Tigres, already down 2-0 and with only the 2H to play (at time of posting). Atlanta is down 3-0 to Monterrey, but returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium where the Five Stripes pulled off a first-round comeback against Herediano. Is there more magic to be had? The MLS’ best hope for a deep run in CCL is now Sporting KC, who are down 2-1 but return home against Independiente.

While Nick’s pick (RBNY) to win it all has been eliminated, and things look bleak for the remainder of the league’s teams, the talent gap between MLS and Liga MX is slowly shrinking. But for about 10-15 minutes of each game, MLS teams have gone toe-to-toe with their Mexican counterparts, even dominating at times. But as we all know, moral victories count for nothing, and results are all that matter.

 

What are your thoughts on Week 2? What can MLS teams do to catch up with Liga MX? Tweet at us or leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for listening!


MLS is Back! Week 1 Roundup, Headlines, and CCL Recap



#MLSisBack and so are the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast! Thanks for joining us as we provide a roundup of all the Major League Soccer action . We also look at the latest headlines and review the first round of the Concacaf Champions League.

In Week 1, we saw an abundance of goals and expansion team woes. LAFC and Sporting KC gave us an early preview of Western Conference title contendors, while DC United and Atlanta United provided a glimpse into the Eastern Conference playoffs. Though only one game in, Seattle and Minnesota impressed, San Jose struggled, and the LA Galaxy debuted their 16 year-old rising star. Listen in for all our takes on these games.

Off the pitch, headlines are still being made, with the LA Galaxy buying out Gio dos Santos’ contract, the Chicago Fire looking to sign Nico Gaitan, and Toronto FC finalizing the deal for Alejandro Pozuelo. Nick and Mike break down what these deals mean for the respective clubs, and project that Chicago and Toronto could add enough talent to put themselves firmly in playoff contention. Finally, the hosts recap the first round of CCL, and are disappointed with Red Bulls’ quarterfinal performance against Santos Laguna. This still could be the year an MLS team wins the tournament for the first time, but Sporting KC will have to overcome some tired legs, and Atlanta United will have to get out to a better start than their opening game.

 

Thank you all for listening, and be sure to join the conversation on twitter @SOPSoccer or in the comments below. Additional thanks to our new sponsor and avid soccer supporter: Donovan Food Brokerage.


2019 MLS Team Previews: RSL, San Jose, Seattle, Sporting KC, Toronto FC, and Vancouver



The 2019 Major League Soccer season is less than one day away, and The Sons of a Pitch have completed their previews of all the teams competing for the MLS Cup. In this final preview episode, Nick and Mike break down teams with mixed success in 2018. Tune in and listen to transaction moves, roster recaps, players to watch, and the floors and ceilings for Real Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle, Sporting KC, Toronto, and Vancouver.

While the hosts remain skeptical about RSL and San Jose, they feel that Sporting KC can compete for trophies while TFC and Vancouver look to improve on their 2018 campaigns. If Seattle can actually get off to a fast start and keep up their usual dominance in the second half of the season, then the Sounders could also be MLS Cup contenders.

With the previews finalized and the predictions in, here is how our hosts think the season will shake out:

Eastern Conference

Mike Nick
1 Atlanta United Red Bulls
2 Red Bulls Atlanta United
3 DC United DC United
4 Toronto FC NYCFC
5 NYCFC Columbus Crew
6 Chicago Philadelphia
7 Columbus Chicago

Western Conference

Mike Nick
1 LAFC Sporting KC
2 Sporting KC LAFC
3 Portland LA Galaxy
4 LA Galaxy Portland
5 Seattle Seattle
6 FC Dallas Houston
7 Minnesota United Minnesota United

MLS Conference Finals and Champion

Mike Nick
East Atlanta vs. RBNY RBNY vs. Atlanta
West Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy Sporting KC vs. LAFC
Champion Sporting KC Sporting KC

What are your predictions? How far will your team go? Let us know in the comments below!