Monthly Archives: September 2020

MLS Mega-Roundup!



Hey, soccer fans! Welcome to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast, covering all things American soccer. Tonight, our weekly Major League Soccer (MLS) roundup turns into a mega roundup of all 25 games played this past week. Tune in for our takes on:

  • Chicago Fire finally look like a playoff team
  • San Jose hits rock bottom
  • What’s up with the Western Conference?
  • Profile of Houston Dynamo forward Ariel Lassiter

We also review transfer news and league headlines from around the league, including the Roman Torres goes ‘home,’ Covid plagues Colorado, and MLS declines to release Conmebol players for World Cup qualifying. Stay tuned for all this and more, in tonight’s episode of SOP Soccer!

Be sure to subscribe on YouTube to join the next live broadcast and get in on the conversation.


MLS’ International Influence, Have Kei Will Travel, and League Roundup



Hey, soccer fans! Greetings once again from The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. We are back tonight talking everything around American soccer, including:

  • Major League Soccer’s international influence – players who cut their teeth in the MLS made starts in the biggest leagues around the world. Is the MLS is poised to add more influence abroad, and will MLS Next be the path?
  • Headlines – we discuss Kei Kamara’s 8th MLS club and comments from the father of Gonzalo and Federico Higuain on why the league and playing in the United States is so appealing.
  • League Roundup – what happened in last week’s games? Tune in for our take on scores, plays, coaching, and everything that happened during the 90 minutes of play for your club.

All this and more in tonight’s episode of The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast!

Be sure to subscribe on YouTube to join the next live broadcast and get in on the conversation.


Another Higuain, Hall of Fame Fiasco, and League Roundup



Hello once again, soccer fans! We are back with our takes on all the action happening across the American soccer landscape. In tonight’s episode, we discuss:

Transfers – just to name a few!

  • Reggie Cannon and Alberth Elis to Boavista in the Portuguese Primeira Liga
  • Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus to Inter Miami
  • Jhonder Cadiz on loan from Benfica to Nashville SC

National Soccer Hall of Fame

  • Carlos Bocanegra gets in; Hope Solo, Jaime Moreno, Steve Cherundolo snubbed
  • Other hopefuls on the ballot
  • Is the process fair?

League Roundup

  • Game scores and recaps; Trending teams and standout performances
  • One Hot Minute on the Chicago Fire

All this and more in tonight’s episode of The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast!

Be sure to subscribe on YouTube to join the next live broadcast and get in on the conversation.


Pity’s Transfer, Blanco’s Knee, and MLS League Roundup



Hey, soccer fans! Welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Thanks for tuning in as we talk everything around the American soccer landscape, including:

  • Pity Martinez sold to Saudi club Al Nassr FC: Did the investment payoff and what does it mean for future MLS transfers?
  • Diego Valeri joins the 80/80 Club – just where does he fall in pantheon of MLS greats?
  • Chris Armas out as Red Bulls manager – was it all his fault?
  • Weston McKennie joins Juventus – the first American to play at the historic club
  • Sebastian Blanco injures his knee – just how bad is the injury and Portland’s championship chances?
  • One Hot Minute – what’s going on in the world of the Chicago Fire?

In the second half of the show we roundup all the action from the past week. There were 21 games played since we last recorded, and all of them had excitement, action, and heartbreak. Stay tuned as we discuss such trends as:

  • Columbus as a title contender?
  • Is Toronto starting to slip?
  • Sporting KC can’t score
  • Houston is heating up!

Be sure to subscribe on YouTube to join the next live broadcast and get in on the conversation.


The Polarizing Play of Darlington Nagbe



In a recent outing, Darlington Nagbe banged home an absolute beauty of a goal to help elevate the Columbus Crew over the Chicago Fire. Immediately social media sang his praise and searched for reasons why Nagbe never starred for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) or made it big in Europe. The common refrain is he was played out of position, especially given his 2017 Gold Cup performance! Not too long after, the Nagbe detractors added their comments, which came down to the fact he just was not good enough.

While our regular listeners know I tend to fall in the second of those categories, I thought I owed it to the player and the fans to dive a little deeper than just my eye test and personal feelings. Let’s start with his Major League Soccer (MLS) career:

Nagbe is in his tenth season in the MLS. He is currently with the Columbus Crew after spending the last two seasons with Atlanta United, and the prior seven with the Portland Timbers. Per MLSsoccer.com, Nagbe’s career totals include 276 games played, 264 games started, 30 goals, and 38 assists. He’s never reached double digits in goals or assists in a single season, so from a points perspective, he hasn’t done much. For the USMNT, his point totals are even less appealing: 25 appearances, 1 goal, 2 assists.

In that 2017 Gold Cup, Nagbe did not play in the group stage, but was brought in for the knockout rounds. He played nearly every minute in the three knockout games. His stat lines were unimpressive, but he did draw the most fouls in the tournament (15). You can’t draw fouls if you don’t have the ball!

So what is the appeal for Darlington Nagbe?

The USMNT website describes him as a “confident and pacey midfielder,” and his fans point to his passion on the pitch, confidence on the ball, and ability to run at defenders. He is excellent with the ball at his feet and has a knack for getting his teammates involved in the attack. Critics point to the absence of these in international play and the lack of his stats. However, I haven’t been able to find measurable data in the areas in which Nagbe excels – passes and dribbles completed, progressive play, and other possession related categories.

So what can we conclude about Darlington Nagbe? Is anybody “right”?

Nagbe never lit up the score sheet, but no one ever quantitively measured how good he was on the ball. If you rely on “the eye test,” you can find great games and sub-par performances. Nagbe may be one of the best to ever play for Portland and was a solid USMNT call up. He seems pretty content with his career, and we as fans of the game in America should continue to enjoy him for as long as he laces up in MLS. Just don’t try to convince me he’s an American soccer legend that just never got his shot.

Nick Poteres
Host, Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast
@SOPSoccer