Tag Archives: CONCACAF

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).

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MLS Expansion Draft, Border War!, and Nations League Deep Dive



Hello, soccer fans! Welcome to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Tonight, our hosts preview the eligible players in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Expansion Draft. Who will be the next group to join expansion sides Nashville SC and Inter Miami FC? Will your favorite players be protected? Tune in as Nick and Mike break down the current rosters of the expansion teams and their possible expansion draft picks.

Next, they review the biggest headlines from the MLS:

  • Thierry Henry is the new head coach of the Montreal Impact: How will he fare?
  • Brian Fernandez’ contract terminated, released from Portland Timbers roster: How does Portland replace him? Should they just rebuild?
  • Do these teams need to go big or slow build? Tune in and find out!

Finally, The Sons of a Pitch go international. Nick and Mike recap the second Nations League meeting between the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) and the Canadian Men’s National Team (CanMNT). After stunning the US 2-0 in Toronto, the Americans jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Zardes and Morris shined in a 4-1 victory, and the defense held. Then, they take a deep dive into the Concacaf Nations League. They analyze the current tournament, its impact on the confederation, and how it affects World Cup qualifying. They also provide a look at how the new FIFA ranking system works and the algorithm used to determine the points for each game. Is it fair? Are there still bugs? You’ll hear all about it in tonight’s episode.

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Disaster in Canada, Playing with Fire, and MLS Playoffs Preview



Welcome back, soccer fans! In this episode of the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast, our hosts give their immediate reactions to the United States Men’s National Team’s disastrous 2-0 loss to the Canadian Men’s National Team. With this result, Canada sits atop their Concacaf Nations League Group, and USA fans across the 50 states continue to question everything that US Soccer and Gregg Berhalter have done over the last two years.

In Major League Soccer Headlines, the Chicago Fire announce that they will part ways with Nemanja Nikolic, their former Golden Boot winner. If Nico Gaitan’s option isn’t picked up, the Fire will have 3 DP slots for new owner Joe Mansueto to fill. It could be a banner off-season for the Fire, especially as they move to Soldier Field for the 2020 season. In the NWSL, the Chicago Red Stars get set to host the Portland Thorns for the semi-finals. Led by Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr, Chicago looks to advance to the NWSL finals for the first time in team history.

In the Second Half of the show, our hosts revisit their pre-season playoff predictions (for better or worse), and give their complete breakdown for the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. Be sure to join their bracket challenge for a chance to win SOP swag from Redbubble and a $25 Amazon gift card, if there are enough entrants.

Thanks for listening, and be sure to join the conversation:


USMNT Embarrassment and Mediocrity, Nations League, and MLS League Roundup



Hello soccer fans, and welcome back! It’s great to have you as we recap the United States Men’s National Team’s embarrassing performance vs. Mexico and their mediocre outing vs. Uruguay. In the heat of the moment, most USMNT fans were through with the Berhalter experiment and his heavy use of MLS players. However after a 48hr cooling off period, Nick has talked himself off the ledge. Clearly, the USMNT was attempting to develop their new style, and unfortunately Mexico was the perfect team to destroy those attempts. In their next match-up vs. Uruguay, the USMNT controlled more of the game, but still could only muster a single goal. Has progress been made? When will games actually matter to Berhalter and the US Soccer Federation? Tune in to find out.

Next, the hosts give a brief update on what is the CONCACAF Nations League, how it impacts the development of soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, and what it means for World Cup Qualifying. We all love meaningful games, but could the new FIFA rankings based system end up hurting countries like the United States and Canada?

Finally, Nick and Mike recap the handful of Major League Soccer (MLS) games that took place this week. NYCFC is the new Eastern Conference leader, and could break their spell of early playoff exits. Meanwhile, Colorado surprises short-handed Seattle, and Portland defeats Sporting KC, despite not getting their share of referee’s whistles. Toronto FC and Orlando City pick up points to help their playoff push, but how will they fare as the season winds down?

All this and more from The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast! Be sure to join the conversation by subscribing to the podcast and joining in on social media.


Going International: Women’s World Cup-France 2019, US Open Cup (Cupsets!), and Gold Cup



There’s soccer around the world, and we’ve got your American perspective.

The Women’s World Cup is taking place in France, and favorite United States continues to dominate. After a convincing 3-0 victory over Chile, the USWNT have locked up a spot in the knock-out round. They’ll have their work cut out for them with possible opponents of Spain, France, Norway, and Australia … and that’s even before the finals! Still the favorite, this is the US Women’s tournament to lose. Also, Marta (Brazil) sets the all-time World Cup goal-scoring record, with her 17th career WC goal.

Meanwhile in the US Open Cup … CUPSETS! Mike’s new favorite word (though annoying when overused, and the MLS is sure trying to overuse it) is appropriate to describe the victories of New Mexico United over Colorado Rapids and Saint Louis FC over Chicago Fire. And the Cupsets could continue with Saint Louis facing FC Cincinnati. Nick and Mike still think this is LAFC’s tournament to lose, but they’ll have to get through Portland and the Galaxy to do it. Meanwhile, Atlanta has found their rhythm, despite going down early to Chattanooga, and the Five Stripes are the favorite on the other side of the bracket.

Finally, Gold Cup 2019 is underway. Favorites Mexico and Costa Rica started with convincing wins vs. Cuba and Nicaragua, and Canada impressed vs. Martinique. Panama topped Trinidad and Tobago, and the USMNT defeated debutante Guyana. Mike is picking Mexico over the USA in the final, while Nick thinks that Costa Rica is destined to win.

Stay tuned every week to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast for all your tournament recaps. Join the conversation on twitter @SOPSoccer or in the comments below, subscribe to the podcast in the links in the banner, and please share the word of our show!


USA! USA! USA! – National Team Recaps, US Open Cup Features, and MLS Roundup



Hello soccer fans! Welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. And our show starts with American soccer at it’s highest levels. The USYNT was knocked out of the U-20 World Cup in Poland after a tough game vs. South American champion Ecuador. While they didn’t advance further, Tab Ramos’ team once again proved the United States is developing talent on an international level. The USMNT also had a disappointing week, with losses to Jamaica and Venezuela in international friendlies. These Gold Cup tune-up games are certainly disappointments, but Berhalter wasn’t playing his “A” team, and his tactics needs time to implement. That being said, Nick and Mike have picked against the US in the tournament, choosing Costa Rica and Mexico, respectively.

The bright spot for US Soccer has always been the USWNT, and they did not disappoint in their Women’s World Cup opener vs. Thailand. A thorough 13-0 drubbing of the Asian squad set a record for largest margin of victory and most goals in a WWC game. Alex Morgan also tied the WWC single game scoring record by netting 5 goals in a superb performance. This team has reminded the world that they are the favorites.

Meanwhile at home, the US Open Cup saw Major League Soccer teams enter the tournament. The Chicago Fire embarrassed themselves against St. Louis FC, losing the game 2-1 and losing their cool. Other MLS sides fared much better with Columbus, New England, LAFC, and Houston advancing. Chattanooga and Atlanta were postponed due to bad field conditions, and San Jose vs. Sacramento is ongoing as of time of posting.

Finally in MLS action, we saw the Union assert their dominance over the Eastern Conference with a thrilling come-back win over RBNY. The other games went as expected and all the results are up at www.mlssoccer.com. Thanks for listening, and be sure to comment below and follow us @SOPSoccer.

 


Gold Cup Preview, MLS Week 7 Roundup, and the Legal Case vs. Kaku



Hello once again, soccer fans! Thanks for returning to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. In this episode, the hosts explore the draw for the Gold Cup, recap all the Week 7 MLS action, and even make a case for a fan’s possible lawsuit vs. RBNY and Kaku.

As for the Gold Cup, the four groups are drawn, and the United States Men’s National Team will face Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, and Panama. If you like story lines, this is the group for you! As you know T&T knocked the USMNT out of World Cup qualifying in 2018, and the USMNT has already faced Panama in a January friendly. How will these teams come out during the Gold Cup tournament? The US needs to be prepared for anything.

In Week 7 of Major League Soccer, we saw some movement in the Eastern Conference while the top teams in the Western Conference continued their domination. Here’s how things stack up at the top of the table:

Eastern Conference

  1. DC United – Regaining its form, DC is once again top of the conference. Can anyone knock it down?
  2. Columbus Crew – Despite the loss, the Crew remain a contender. Their margin for error is very slim, but so far have been able to overcome it.
  3. Montreal Impact – Montreal in 3rd place!? Enjoy it while it lasts, as this team has the tendency to yo-yo up and down the standings.
  4. Toronto FC – Even after their loss to Seattle, TFC have the best points per game in the conference, suggesting last year was a fluke. Watch out for the men in red.

Western Conference

  1. LAFC – Best team, best player, best coach. LAFC have a goal differential of +16 over 7 games, and they still are improving.
  2. Seattle Sounders – Finally, a strong start. Can they sustain it throughout the entire season? They way Jordan Morris is playing, Seattle just might.
  3. LA Galaxy – Zlatan keeps scoring, the Galaxy keep winning. Just imagine how good they could be when their role players start thriving.
  4. Houston Dynamo – As Nick put it, Houston is “The other contender in the West.” They haven’t lost, have a talented attack, and have a coach who has been around the league. Houston could surprise come playoff time.

 

Thanks for listening! Join the conversation in the comments below, on twitter @SOPSoccer, on facebook, or via email: podcast@sonsofapitchsoccer.com.

Thank you to our sponsors: Donovan Food Brokerage and Nice! Pure Icelandic Spring Water.


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!