Tag Archives: Concacaf Champions League

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.


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!


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.


ATL in the CCL, the Importance of the Combine and SuperDraft, LA’s DPs, and Nick Rants Against the Fire



Welcome back to another edition of the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast! Tonight, we put listener @eric_turner7 in the driver seat, answering his questions and discussing the latest news from around the league.

With Atlanta United coming off an MLS Cup victory, undergoing a lot of roster changes, and matching up against Liga MX club Monterrey or Sporting KC in the 2nd round of the Concacaf Champions League, the odds are definitely against the Five Stripes making a deep run. Mike shares how Atlanta can learn from Toronto FC’s run in 2018 and why they might be able to overcome the challenges that await.

Next, Nick dives into the MLS Combine and SuperDraft, sharing different philosophies. FC Cincinnati, needing to fill a new MLS roster, traded to acquire draft picks, for a total of 7. They’re building through the draft. Philadelphia Union, who traded 5 picks to FCC, needs the money to build through signings, while the Red Bulls and FC Dallas are known to build through their academies. In other player news, Mike breaks down how the LA Galaxy can get out of having 4 Designated Players on their roster (rules mandate no more than 3). While Gio dos Santos is the likely move, having grossly under-performed, the Galaxy could most easily move Romain Alessandrini, who has been the brightest star for the Galaxy over the last several seasons.

Finally and after listening to an interview with GM Nelson Rodriguez, Nick goes on a rant against the Chicago Fire. Not only is Rodriguez a terrible interview, he offered no concrete plan for the future, no evidence of future signings, and supports a coach who players have been fleeing from. Mike breaks down the current Fire roster and isn’t optimistic either. With only weeks to go before training camp, Chicago only has 4 defenders and 2 goalkeepers on their roster – and neither GK should be starting in the MLS. Keep your eyes open for more underwhelming moves by the Fire.

 

Thanks again for listening, be sure to follow us on twitter @SOPSoccer, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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.