Tag Archives: CCL

CCL is Back! and Big Money and Big Signings around MLS



Greetings, soccer fans, and welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. In this episode, your hosts review the draw for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) and give their picks and preliminary positions. Tune in to hear about the favorites, the dark horses, and the teams that could surprise. If you’re not familiar with the tournament, this episode will give you all the knowledge to confidently rant about the games on social media.

In the second half of the show, Nick and Mike discuss the latest headlines from around Major League Soccer (MLS). Tonight, they focus on big names and big money as Sporting KC, Toronto FC, LA Galaxy, and San Jose Earthquakes all made recent headlines. Quickly:

  • SKC sign Alan Pulido
  • TFC sign Michael Bradley
  • LA Galaxy sign Sacha Kljestan
  • San Jose Earthquakes sign Cristian Espinoza
  • Barcelona (rumored to) sign Carlos Vela

These teams have broken the bank to get these players. Will it pay off? Let Nick and Mike give you their unfiltered opinion on the signings … along with which teams have missed out so far (ahem … Chicago).

Be sure to join the conversation and keep up with our social media:


Goal Scorer Trivia and MLS Week 6 Round Up



Greetings soccer fans! Welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Thanks for checking out the website and for listening in.

In this episode we welcome Kei Kamara to the Top 5 All Time MLS Goal Scorers list. This striker has played for 7 MLS teams and 2 English Championship teams, and has consistently scored goals at every stop. Congrats to Kei!  Around the league, the hosts recap all the action and give their takes on the teams going forward.

TEAMS ON THE RISE

  • LAFC – Can’t get any higher than the top.
  • Philadelphia Union – 3 straight wins, 4th in the East.
  • Chicago Fire – Draw vs. a surging TFC, and we’ve yet to see Gaitan at his best
  • San Jose Quakes – Technically, when you win your’re first game of the season, you’re on the rise.
  • Orlando City – Goals are coming, and so are points!

TEAMS ON THE FALL

  • DC United – Rooney sees red in a blowout loss to LAFC, and a draw to Montreal have people scratching heads.
  • Sporting KC – Tired legs and a 5-0 thumping in Concacaf Champions League.
  • Portland Timbers – Has the championship window closed?
  • Red Bulls New York – 3 straight losses. This hasn’t happened since May 2017.

Thanks for listening! Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, follow us on twitter and facebook, and join the conversation in the comments below.


Pro/Rel for MLS? and Week 5 League Roundup



Greetings, soccer fans! Welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer podcast. This week in Major League Soccer saw a flood of goals, a couple hat-tricks, and a spectacular debut from TFC’s Pozuelo. But first, we turn to an issue that is never far from American soccer fans thoughts: Promotion and Relegation.

In a prior blog post, Nick put forth the arguments against Pro/Rel, and Mike agrees the league is not yet ready for such a system. Briefly, Pro/Rel is not suitable for the MLS or US Soccer because of the lack of:

  1. financials
  2. media coverage at all levels
  3. overall popularity
  4. de facto promotion via expansion franchises
  5. potential to drive away talent.

What are your thoughts on Pro/Rel for MLS? Should it be implemented? Can it work?

Next, the hosts break down the Week 5 action from around the MLS. With a weekend that saw 42 goals scored, the major headlines were from the offensive side of things. Specifically:

  1. TFC stays perfect; Pozuelo with a brace in his debut
  2. Sporting KC has an offense! Ties MLS single game scoring record with a 7-1 victory
  3. Gyasi Zardes scores again, despite the haters
  4. LAFC and Carlos Vela dominate the Quakes; Vela is early MVP favorite
  5. Pomykal leading FC Dallas’ “Play your kids” movement

 

Thanks for listening! Be sure to leave your comments below and follow us on twitter @SOPSoccer.


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.


Sapong, CCL, and More 2019 Team Previews



Hello soccer fans! We are back with a full hour of MLS and CCL news and entertainment (Nick even works in a Robert Kraft joke amidst his usual puns). With so much going on around Major League Soccer, we dive right in: CJ Sapong was traded to Chicago and no one is impressed. Real Salt Lake signs USL player Portillo to add depth to their midfield, and FC Cincinnati introduces their new mascot – Gary the Lion – who is the soccer equivalent of a scary clown.

Next, our hosts recap the 1st leg of the Concacaf Champions League. Toronto FC falls flat against Panamanian side Independiente for the second time, Atlanta gets upset by Herediano of Costa Rica, but Sporting Kansas City, Houston Dynamo, and Red Bulls New York all come away with wins. Nick still thinks RBNY will be the first MLS team to win the tournament, but Sporting KC may have the easiest path to the finals.

Mike and Nick also continue their MLS 2019 Team Previews. In this episode, they break down the roster moves and potential for New England Revolution, New York City FC, Red Bulls New York, Philadelphia Union, and the Portland Timbers. These teams span from league cellar-dwellers to MLS Cup Contenders, but all have entertaining story lines to follow as the season gets underway.

Finally, we want to put in a plug for new friend of the show Christopher Sweeney. This author recently released Mad Dog Gravesen: The Last of the Modern Footballing Mavericks, about the footballing spectacle that was Thomas Gravesen. Order online if you’re a fan of European football or great soccer stories.

Thanks for listening, and please join the conversation on twitter @SOPSoccer or on facebook @sonsofapitchsoccer. Stay tuned for our final team preview episode later this week, but in the meantime, enjoy all the soccer action!


MLS 2019 Season Previews: LAFC, LA Galaxy, MNUFC, and Montreal



Hello soccer fans! Anyone have a CCL hangover yet?
We’ll cover that (and possible remedies) in our next episode, but right now we turn our attention to the 2019 Major League Soccer season as we preview the next four teams in the league, alphabetically:

LAFC – This team has MLS Cup aspirations, and they have the talent on the roster to do it. They won’t take anyone by surprise like they did in their expansion season, but with the likes of Vela and Rossi, and new signing Zelaya, LAFC are poised to win the West and the Cup.

LA Galaxy – Coming off a season of dysfunction and failing to make the playoffs, Zlatan & Co. are primed to elevate their games. However, they still have too many Designated Players (DPs) on the roster and a new coach trying to implement a new system. With the Western Conference growing ever-stronger, where does this original MLS club fit in today’s league?

MNUFC – Minnesota United have declared they are ready to compete for trophies, not just points. They’ve got intstant defense by transferring in Ike Opara from Sporting KC and have solidified the midfield with international signing Jan Gregus. Now, can they link everything together to keep Ibarra and Quintero scoring goals?

Montreal Impact – A team that flies under the radar until Ignacio Piatti does something spectacular, Montreal is looking to get back to the playoffs after nearly missing out in 2018. Whether or not the roster has been reworked enough to get there remains to be seen. Our hosts don’t think they’re quite at that level, and the Impact will likely be watching the 2019 MLS playoffs from home.

 

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


Nani, Nagbe, & Long – Jersey Fashion – CCL Preview and Picks



Welcome back soccer fans! The terrible, winter weather has held off just long enough for our hosts to get back to the studio and give you a full length episode of analysis and entertainment.

To begin, Nick and Mike break down Orlando City’s latest Designated Player (DP) signing in Nani. The Portugese international and former Manchester United star may be 32 years old, but can bring a certain quality to the Orlando roster. Look for him to work the wing, creating opportunities for Dwyer and get the rest of the Orlando squad involved in the attack. Next, Mike gives his take on Darlington Nagbe wanting a trade to reunite with Caleb Porter in Columbus. Mike calls Nagbe overrated, and Nick doesn’t disagree. Finally, Aaron Long signs a three year deal with Red Bulls New York, who now can focus on rebuilding their attack after locking down the 2018 MLS Defender of the Year

To lighten the mood, the hosts take a look at the new jerseys released by MLS teams this year. The LA Galaxy disappoint, expansion side FC Cincinnati start off solid, and Minnesota United’s away jersey has a classic look. Also, Toronto FC’s new red, home jersey looks just as terrible as they played in their CCL opener.

Speaking of the Concacaf Champions League, TFC and Independiente kicked things off with a 4-0 result in favor of the Panamania home side. Nick appreciated a home team playing aggressively while Mike could barely stand to watch his beloved Reds play like garbage. TFC had no structure, formation, or attacking threat, but at least they can now focus on the regular season. The other MLS teams should fare a better fate with Houston, Red Bulls, Sporting KC, and Atlanta all the favorites to win their first round matchup. In a bold prediction, Nick picks RBNY to win the tournament, while Mike thinks that Liga MX teams will dominate and have all four semi-final spots.

What are your thoughts on the transfer news around Major League Soccer? Who’s your pick to win the CCL? Let us know on twitter @SOPSoccer and in the comment section below. Thanks for listening, and enjoy all the soccer action this week.