Tag Archives: CONCACAF

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.


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


CCL: A Reflection, MLS Moves



Hey, soccer fan! The Sons of a Pitch are back, reflecting on all things Concacaf Champions League. LAFC was so close to being the first MLS team to bring home the CCL trophy in it’s modern iteration, but ultimately fell short vs. a determined Tigres team. Tune in for our takes on:

  • How big is the loss for club and league?
  • Can we measure MLS by CCL standards?
  • What’s holding back MLS sides from winning CCL?

In the second half, we discuss the various moves from around Major League Soccer, including:

  • What Wondo’s extension means for the San Jose Quakes
  • How BWP can help the Columbus Crew repeat as MLS Cup Champs
  • New England Revs upgrade their midfield attack

We also touch on some USMNT news surrounding Ayo Akinola’s CanMNT call up and the rumored friendly vs. Serbia. Tune in for all this and more in tonight’s episode of the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast.

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


CCL Gone Wild!



Hey, soccer fans! You’ve heard of CCL fever, but this is full blown Mad CCL Disease! Theatrics and hard fouls, red cards and suspensions, coaches throwing punches…you’ve never witnessed anything like this before! (And if you have, where did you grow up?) In tonight’s episode we recap all the highlights and lowlights from LAFC’s stunning, come-from-behind-victory over Club America. We break down the aftermath of the game, and then look forward to the final: LAFC vs. Tigres.

Turning locally, we ask the question: do you want Miguel Herrera to coach in MLS? There are advantages to having an experienced coach with a winning pedigree, but certainly disadvantages to hiring someone like “El Piojo.” (Translation: louse) We conclude the show by discussing the latest moves from around the league, including:

  • Greg Vanney to LA Galaxy: A done deal?
  • The retirement of Kyle Beckerman: How much of an MLS legend is he?
  • FC Dallas sign CB Jose Antonio Martinez: Are Los Toros poised for playoff success?
  • Austin FC roster update: How are they building?

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


MLS Cup Recap, CCL Preview



Hey, soccer fans! And welcome to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Tonight, we recap the 2020 MLS Cup Final and congratulate the champions: the Columbus Crew. We recap what they did right and what Seattle did wrong. Would anyone have guessed that Etienne, Jr. and Aidan Morris would have played so well, or that Zelarayan would’ve bagged a brace?

Next, we examined the sustainability of each franchise. The Seattle Sounders dynasty is a near perfect model, and with Tim Bezbatchenko at the helm in Columbus, he could be building the next dynasty with the Crew. They’re already making moves! To close out the first half, we review the 2020 MLS season award winners and review our own picks from February (a lifetime ago).

In the second half, we preview the Concacaf Champions League with special guest Ryan Anderson. Stay tuned in for our picks and predictions, and hear our thoughts on how the adapted tournament format and the other factors that could finally favor an MLS club. Tune in to the end, as our final picks will not disappoint.

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


USMNT Expectations vs. El Salvador



Hey, soccer fans, we’ve got USMNT soccer! And we’ve got a young, MLS based roster for Gregg Berhalter and the red, white, and blue. 21 of 23 roster spots are filled by MLS-based players. The USMNT will also showcase young talent. Most of the roster has only a handful of caps, if any at all. Given those factors, the quickly scheduled game, and Covid, what should we expect? I want to see three things from this game:

1. Play the System

We know GGG implemented a very particular system when he took over as manager of the USMNT. He used it to perform better than his talent with the Columbus Crew, and he’s used it to some success at the international level. If the players on the roster want a future with the USMNT, they’ll need to demonstrate their understanding of GGG’s tactics.

What does this mean? On offense, the defenders will need to play with composure out of the back, the midfielders will need to control possession – and find those long, diagonal passes when able – and the strikers will need to link up to break down the El Salvador back line. Defensively: keep shape, disrupt passing lanes, and don’t give up set-piece goals..

2. Build Depth

This roster is not even close to the USMNT best eleven. The only player on it with a chance to start in World Cup Qualifying is Walker Zimmerman. This game is about building depth. I’ll be watching for Paul Arriola and Aaron Long to prove they belong or play themselves off of GGG’s roster.

The most open spot for a young player is striker. Altidore is no longer a viable starter (injury, attitude), so Zardes is the next best option (form, experience, system knowledge). Sargent still has some growing, so the spot is open for emerging MLS stars Ayo Akinola and Daryl Dike. Akinola’s finishing ability and Dike’s size and hold-up play stand out. The USMNT needs a pure striker, and these two could fill that role.

3. Win.

The USMNT needs to re-establish a winning culture, and to do that, they need to win. Despite this roster looking like the USMNT’s “C” team, they still have the talent to beat an El Salvador team ranked 70th by FIFA – the 6th best team in Concacaf as of the November rankings. They also need to consistently beat Concacaf opponents. There should be no doubt the USMNT will walk off the field with a victory when facing other confederation teams. Back-to-back wins vs. Panama and El Salvador would go a long way to re-establishing the USMNT as the premier Concacaf nation, especially with this roster.

Get excited, USMNT fans! We’ve got international soccer and a Concacaf opponent. As you watch, look out for which players fit the system, who can fill senior roster depth, and cheer for the win.

Nick
The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast

And be sure to tune in to The Sons of a Pitch YouTube channel for our USMNT vs. El Salvador watch-along, featuring live commentary and love chat. Coverage of USMNT vs. El Salvador begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN News, UniMás and TUDN.


Wrecking Crew and MLS Cup Final Preview



Hey, soccer fans! We’re back talking the latest results from the MLS Cup Playoffs. Tune in for our takes on:

  • Seattle def. Dallas 1-0: Despite their dominance, the Sounders only find the back of the net once. Dallas failed to capitalize on their opponents scoring drought, and on this night, one goal was all it took to advance.
  • Minnesota def. Sporting KC 3-0: On one of Minnesota’s best offensive nights, Kansas City played perhaps their worst game of the season. They were completely out of sync, and the Loons took full advantage.
  • Columbus def. New England 1-0: Columbus returned to their wrecking crew ways from the begging on the season, as they make the MLS Cup Finals for the third time in club history. They did just enough to edge an evenly matched Revolution squad.

We also discuss the latest USMNT news, including their December 9, 2020 friendly against El Salvador. With a young, MLS based line-up, there’s lots to discuss and lots of names to learn.

Tune in for all this and more in tonight’s episode!

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Decision Day Drama and USMNT Youth Movement



Hey, soccer fans, and welcome back! We’ve got all your American soccer talk from MLS to USMNT.

In Major League Soccer, the playoffs are set and Decision Day saw a lot of drama. The Chicago Fire flamed out, and the LA Galaxy fell like a falling star. But Sporting KC topped the Western Conference, and the Philadelphia Union brought home their first major trophy. We cover everything between and how it shaped the playoff picture.

In the second half, we get back to talking United States Men’s National Team. With upcoming friendlies against Wales and Panama, Nick gives his desired starting eleven, and Mike tells him where he’s wrong. Get excited, international soccer is back!

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


Haiti as World Cup Spoiler, MLS Recap, and Thoughts on Player Protests



Hey, soccer fans! Tonight we continue our discussion on USMNT World Cup Qualifying by breakdown down potential opponent Haiti. We recap all the action from around the MLS – and there was a lot of it to cover! We play a great pick-em game where the hosts pick whether they would have a current USMNT midfielder or Chris Mueller. The show concludes on a more somber topic, and we provide our thoughts on the player protests and how it could affect Major League Soccer. Tune in for all this and more in tonight’s episode!

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