All posts by sonsofapitch

Nick’s Final Episode (and some CCL talk)



Hey, soccer fans! Sadly, that is the last time I great you as a host and producer for The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. After three years of podcasts and videos recorded in garages, basements, and campers, I am stepping away. The show is going in a new direction, and I can no longer be a part of it.

What I will say is this has been an incredible three years. I’ve met people from around the Chicago suburbs and around the world. I’ve been inspired by other shows and stories. I’ve truly found what others have already known: the soccer community is one of the best and most supportive. I cannot thank you all enough for choosing to take your precious time and listen to me talk all things American soccer on a weekly basis. It’s humbling, and I’ll never forget it.

Thank you to my co-host and good friend, Mike, to my family, to John Donovan (our first and greatest sponsor), and most of all to the viewers and listeners who’ve tuned in over the years. You’ve been amazing, and this whole experience is unforgettable.

Thank you, and keep growing the game of soccer.
-Nick

…and to fulfill my SEO and blogging duties, this episode also contains a breakdown of the Concacaf Champions League draw, along with our takes on the latest transfers from around Major League Soccer. How will our MLS clubs fare vs. regional competition:

  • Toronto FC or Forge FC vs. Leon
  • Columbus Crew vs. Real Esteli
  • Philadelphia Union vs. Saprissa
  • Atlanta United vs. Alajuelense
  • Portland Timbers vs. Marathon

Be sure to check out our LinkTree to find us on social media, support us with donations, and purchase your custom SOP swag.

 

 


We Have a CBA!



Great news, soccer fans! The MLS and MLSPA have ratified a new CBA, and the season looks to be on schedule to start April 3, 2021. In tonight’s episode, Nick and Mike give their takes on the negotiations, including what it means to have avoided a lockout/strike, what are the key provisions, and how does this set up future negotiations.

Next, the hosts dive into the latest transfers and loans from around the league, including:

  • Portland Timbers extend midfielder Eryk Williamson
  • DC United sign defender Michael DeShields
  • Austin FC sign striker Aaron Schoenfeld
  • Montreal acquire Ahmed Hamdi, Joaquin Torres, and Bjorn Johnsen
  • Atlanta United re-sign forward Cubo Torres
  • Orlando City sign defender Jonathan Suarez
  • Sporting KC sign defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin

We close this episode discussion the latest USMNT roster news. Head Coach Gregg Berhalter gave a hint at which players will line up for Gold Cup action, Nations League matches, and World Cup qualifiers. Tune in for how we think the rosters will beak down.

Be sure to check out our LinkTree to find us on social media, support us with donations, and purchase your custom SOP swag.


American Soccer Headlines and Reactions



Hey, soccer fans! Here are the latest headlines from around the American soccer landscape and my quick reactions. Make sure to follow all our social media content via Linktree and join the conversation: 

Pulisic reveals his new position for Tuchel at Chelsea

As much as I liked Pulisic as an attacking winger, his development as a ‘kind of false striker’ his going to make him more effective: more touches, more time in dangerous positions, and more versatility. This could also ripple to the USMNT.

Philadelphia Union unveil 2021 secondary jersey – designed by fans

Why do clubs even hire graphic designers anymore? Just outsource it to fans. Seems to have worked for Philly with their “electric” secondary jersey, and it would’ve worked for the Chicago Fire.

Will MLS owners lock players out?

No one wants a lockout. The league might not survive a lockout. Both sides are making concessions, a compromise is needed. As a fan, I’m angry this once again comes down to the wire. Deadlines make deals, but both sides have known about this for over six months. Continue reading American Soccer Headlines and Reactions


MLS Transfer Special! Review of USMNT vs. T&T



Clubs are making moves and we are discussing the biggest transfers and impactful signings around Major League Soccer. From Aaron Long staying put, Paul Arriola loaned out, and Frankie Amaya’s true worth, we’ve got it all. In the 2H we recap the USMNT’s victory vs. Trinidad & Tobago and what we can learn from the match.

Tune in for in-depth discussions on:

  • Bryan Reynolds signs with Roma
  • Atlanta waive striker Adam Jahn
  • Dike on loan from Orlando to Barnsley
  • LAFC loan out Rodriguez to Almeira
  • NYCFC’s Castellanos linked to a move in Brazil
  • Minnesota brings back quartet of core players
  • Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders add depth to their goalkeeping

Nick and Mike also recap the USMNT’s lopsided 7-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago. The goals are nice, the win is great, but the hunger and competition of the USA players is back. …not to mention the spectacular save by Matt Turner on T&T’s only shot on goal, a PK.

Be sure to check out our LinkTree to find us on social media, support us with donations, and purchase your custom SOP swag.


USMNT Headlines and Reactions



Here are the latest USMNT headlines, and here are my reactions:

1. Julian Green’s USMNT plan: ‘Keep kicking butt’ until he gets another call

Soccer pundits and USMNT Twitter: “Stop calling up MLS players!”
Those same people: “That 2.Bundesliga player needs another chance!”

Irony aside, I’ve always been in favor of adding competition, and bringing back Julian Green would definitely mix things up in the midfield. Call him up and let’s see how he fits in!

2. Inside the mysterious catfishing scandal that shocked the American soccer community

Didn’t know if I should go with “People are the worst” or “Go figure. Twitter.”

3. Transfer news: USMNT’s Yedlin to join Galatasaray

Wish he was going to MLS, but I can understand his desire to stay in Europe and play top flight soccer (even though the Turskish Super League is second tier, at best). I hope Yedlin gets the chance to play in Champions League or Europa League. He is still in the mix for the USMNT roster, though depth at right back has grown.

4. Jozy Altidore is Still Here

We know, alright, we know!

Hopefully this call up is the nice send off Jozy deserves. Thanks for the memories, but for World Cup Qualifying, time to move on. Keep him in the mix for a depth piece on those Gold Cup squads. Still love seeing Jozy bag a few against Concacaf opponents.

5. USMNT keeper’s journey includes an atypical ascent, a ‘SportsCenter’ lowlight — and maybe a 2022 World Cup spot

Go get ‘em, Matt! Great back story and a bright future. With so many people (myself included) penciling in Zack Steffen as the de facto No. 1 GK for the US, I’m excited to see Turner compete for the No. 2 spot and, in a congested schedule for the USMNT in 2021, get his first start for the red, white, and blue.

What do you think about all the headlines and news from around the American soccer landscape?

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


MLS is Back! USMNT is Back!



Hey, soccer fans! The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast is back…and so is the MLS (almost). We were excited to hear the announcement and are hopeful for a new CBA and a smooth start to the MLS’ 26th season. In this episode, we also talk about:

  • MLS Opening Day and Potential Issues
  • Collective Bargaining and Negotiations between MLSPA and MLS owners
  • SuperDraft Recap
  • Moves and Transfers
    • Nelson Rodriguez steps down for Fire
    • Jordan Morris to Swansea
    • Caden Clark to RB Leipzig
    • Lisandro Lopez to ATLUTD

And if the MLS announcement wasn’t excitement enough, the USMNT have announced a friendly to end their January camp. On the 31st, the Yanks will take on Trinidad & Tobago. We cover the rosters, the game plans, and what to expect as the US looks towards World Cup qualifying and other international competition.

Be sure to check out our LinkTree to find us on social media, support us with donations, and purchase your custom SOP swag.


Armas to TFC: A New Era Begins



Chris Armas is the new head coach of Toronto FC. The same coaching carousel that took Greg Vanney to LA has brought another familiar MLS face north of the border. While the MLS Cup still eluded the Red Bulls under Armas, Vanney managed TFC to historic heights. Will Armas be able to meet the expectations Vanney set?

What kind of coach is TFC getting in Armas? First and foremost, Armas knows the MLS. As a player, he spent twelve seasons in the league (‘96-’97, Galaxy; ‘98-’07, Fire), with a lengthy list of accomplishments. As coach of the Red Bulls for three seasons, he put together a resume of 29 wins, 21 losses, and 11 draws – a near .500 record. However, his best season came in his first season (2018), where the Red Bulls went 22-7-5, winning the Eastern Conference, but bowing out in the MLS Cup Semi-Finals.

Tactically, Chris Armas followed the typical Red Bulls style – high press. They relied on turnovers, speed, and counter-attacking. It worked for a time, but the MLS rapidly changed. Defenses have improved in talent and tactics, and the quality of offenses has improved, partly nullifying the press’ reliance on turnovers. Armas tried changing his tactics and adapting, but the Red Bulls just didn’t have the talent to make it work.

Toronto, however, has a much more talented roster, at least on paper. Armas gets to turn loose the potential of Ayo Akinola and Tsubasa Endoh, and help mold the careers of homegrowns Jayden Nelson, Jordan Perruzza, and Jacob Shaffelburg. He can lean on the experience of MLS veterans Michael Bradley, Nick DeLeon, and Jonathan Osario. And he has the playmaking of reigning MVP Alejandro Pozuelo and Auro Jr.

So what can we expect from Armas’ version of TFC? First, results will be tied to the talent. All indications are that sporting director Ali Curtis will keep the bank account open to bring in the best talent available – and he’s already looking at a new defender to shore up the back-line. Next, given the experience already on the roster, Armas will only need to groom the young players and make a few tactical tweaks to get good results for the club. It’s entirely possible to see Toronto as a top-four club in the East. However given everything the club already has and will be doing from a talent perspective, it’s entirely possible to see Armas without a job if the squad starts the season flat and the organization falls into old habits of quickly kicking coaches to the curb.

On a personal note, having watched Armas for so many seasons in Chicago, I really want to see him succeed. I also caught an autographed soccer ball from him at a bar during a World Cup 2010 watch party…but we’ll save that story for the podcast. So to the fans, organization, and new head coach himself, we at the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast wish you best of luck.

Nick
Host, The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast


Do Something, USMNT! and Fire Youth Movement



Hey, soccer fans! Welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. We’ve got a real treat tonight as we continue talking USMNT. We look at their January camp roster, possible friendly vs. Serbia, and what we expect with a possible competitions they’ll play during 2021. We also get to know Matthew Hoppe, the young American taking Schalke 04 and the Bundesliga by storm.

In the second half, we look local, breaking down the Chicago Fire’s latest signings of four players 21 years old and under. We keep up with the Crew’s moves, and discuss the latest striker to join LAFC. Stay tuned for all this and more in tonight’s episode!

Be sure to check out our LinkTree to find us on social media, support us with donations, and purchase your custom SOP swag.


I’ve Got Your Force Majeure!



Hey, soccer fans! The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast is back talking all things Major League Soccer (MLS). It’s the offseason, but the MLS is never off, we bring you all the latest transfer news, including:

  • Mark McKenzie from Philadelphia Union to KRC Genk
  • Brendan Aaronson from Philadelphia Union to RB Salzburg
  • Joe Scally from NYCFC to Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Tanner Tessman of FC Dallas training with Bayern Munich
  • Greg Vanney to manage LA Galaxy

In the second half of the show, we look at the potentially huge impact of the the MLS invoking the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s force majeure clause. In short, this could kill the CBA. Stay tuned for our takes and what this means for the future of the league.

Be sure to check out our LinkTree to find us on social media, support us with donations, and purchase your swag.