Tag Archives: Kansas City

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.


S2Ep22 – World Cup Triumph, Gold Cup Heartbreak, and MLS Roundup



The United States is World Cup Champions!
How nice that sounds!

One day we’ll say it about the men, but for now, enjoy the USWNT once again asserting their dominance over the rest of the world of women’s soccer. After taking a comfortable 2-0 lead, the US Women were content to play more defensively and see the game out. Congrats to Jill Ellis on her game plan, the players for their performances, and to the fans who traveled to France.

Meanwhile on home soil, the USMNT advanced to the Gold Cup Final after defeating Jamaica in a solid performance. Sadly, they were plagued by an inability to score and atrocious 2nd half coaching, which included three terrible substitutions. The US is improving, but is nowhere near Mexico or the rest of the top soccer nations around the world.

Major League Soccer also had a slate of games between the international competitions, which featured a number of Western Conference vs. Eastern Conference match-ups. The West dominated in those games, and is dominating the East in most statistical categories.

Thanks for listening and be sure to follow along on twitter @SOPSoccer or in the comments below!


U-20 World Cup, Zack Steffen, and MLS League Roundup



USA! USA! USA!

Hello soccer fans! The USYNT/U-20 team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Poland. This is a record-tying, third straight trip to the round of eight for the U-20s. After finishing 2nd in their group (Loss to Ukraine, Wins over Qatar, Nigeria), the US stunned France 3-2. Their next opponent is South American champion Ecuador. Despite the great run, the favorites in the tournament still are on the opposite side of the bracket, with Italy and Colombia. We’ll see how far the US can go. Their next match is June 8.

As we move to the senior team, it’s been announced that GK Zack Steffen will be loaned to Bundesliga team Fortuna Dusseldorf. A loan was expected, and Steffen is sure to get minutes with a Dusseldorf side that finished 10th in the league. This is a great loan for Steffen who will be exposed to a new and faster style of play.

Finally, Nick and Mike round up all the games from around Major League Soccer. Notably, Atlanta United continues their ascent in the Eastern Conference while LAFC maintain dominance out West. Here are our trending teams:

Teams on the Rise

  • Atlanta United: They figured out how to play deBoer’s style and are thriving. The Five Stripes are now sitting 3rd in the East with games in hand.
  • San Jose Earthquakes: Almeyda keeps riding the hot hand …er, foot … and Chris Wondolowski has 7 goals in 3 games. The Quakes are 1 point below the playoff line, but have a game in hand.
  • Colorado Rapids: Despite the 2nd worst record in the league, worst in the West, the Rapids have 3 wins, 1 draw in their last four.

Teams on the Fall

  • Columbus Crew: 1-3-1 in their last 5, Higuain tears and ACL, Steffen played his last game – management is blowing this up with loans and trades. Time for manager Caleb Porter to institute his culture and style.
  • Minnesota United: Giving up 6 goals in their last 2 games, the Loons need to shore up the defense quickly as games vs. hot Colorado and desperate SKC are looming.

Teams who can’t get up

  • Sporting Kansas City and FC Cincinnati: Let’s be honest. Watching these two teams has been rough.

Thanks for listening, and be sure to join the conversation on twitter @SOPSoccer, on facebook, or in the comments below. See you next week!

 


Week 10 Roundup – Transfers, Trades, Firings – New IFAB Rules



Hello again, soccer fans! Welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. This week, we review the latest slate of Major League Soccer (MLS) games and talk about a surprising team on top of the Eastern Conference – Philadelphia Union, and a surprising team near the bottom of the Western Conference – Sporting KC.

The hosts also discuss the latest moves from around the league:

  • Chicago Fire acquire Francisco Calvo from Minnesota United
  • Portland Timbers sign Brian Fernandez from Necaxa
  • FC Cincinnati fire coach Alan Koch
  • Justin Meram traded from Columbus Crew to Atlanta United

Finally, Nick and Mike review new IFAB rules that are forthcoming. While not a major impact in any one area of the game, they will make a noticeable difference. The rules are:

  • Any goal scored by the hand/arm is disallowed (even if accidental)
  • Attacking players can’t be within 1 meter of the wall
  • Ball need not exit the goal box on a goal kick before being touched
  • Substituting player must exit at the nearest touchline
  • Goalkeeper need only keep one foot on the goal line before a penalty kick

Thanks for listening, and be sure to follow along on twitter @SOPSoccer, on facebook, or 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.


2019 MLS Team Previews: RSL, San Jose, Seattle, Sporting KC, Toronto FC, and Vancouver



The 2019 Major League Soccer season is less than one day away, and The Sons of a Pitch have completed their previews of all the teams competing for the MLS Cup. In this final preview episode, Nick and Mike break down teams with mixed success in 2018. Tune in and listen to transaction moves, roster recaps, players to watch, and the floors and ceilings for Real Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle, Sporting KC, Toronto, and Vancouver.

While the hosts remain skeptical about RSL and San Jose, they feel that Sporting KC can compete for trophies while TFC and Vancouver look to improve on their 2018 campaigns. If Seattle can actually get off to a fast start and keep up their usual dominance in the second half of the season, then the Sounders could also be MLS Cup contenders.

With the previews finalized and the predictions in, here is how our hosts think the season will shake out:

Eastern Conference

Mike Nick
1 Atlanta United Red Bulls
2 Red Bulls Atlanta United
3 DC United DC United
4 Toronto FC NYCFC
5 NYCFC Columbus Crew
6 Chicago Philadelphia
7 Columbus Chicago

Western Conference

Mike Nick
1 LAFC Sporting KC
2 Sporting KC LAFC
3 Portland LA Galaxy
4 LA Galaxy Portland
5 Seattle Seattle
6 FC Dallas Houston
7 Minnesota United Minnesota United

MLS Conference Finals and Champion

Mike Nick
East Atlanta vs. RBNY RBNY vs. Atlanta
West Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy Sporting KC vs. LAFC
Champion Sporting KC Sporting KC

What are your predictions? How far will your team go? Let us know in the comments below!


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!


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.


USMNT vs. Panama, Giovinco Rumors, and 3 Big Transfers



Greetings soccer fans from the soon-to-be coldest place on Earth: the Chicago suburbs. Post-apocalyptic and extreme freezing temperatures have shut down much of the Midwest, including our recording studio, but the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast is still bringing you the latest in Major League Soccer (MLS) and United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) news.

This episode starts off with Nick recapping the USMNT friendly matchup against Panama, the first game under new head coach Gregg Berhalter. The US arrived with an all-MLS based squad and employed a rarely seen 4-3-3 formation. However, the attacking depth of the roster and the tactics employed by Berhalter necessitated such a formation. With a result of 3-0, who can argue!?

Next our resident Toronto FC (and all things Canada) expert, Mike gives his take on the Giovinco trade rumors. Will he stay at TFC, and will it be a DP or TAM deal? Will the Atomic Ant end up in Asia? Be sure to listen to find out details.

Finally, Nick discussed three big transfers and their impact on the league:
1. Almiron to Newcastle United
Where does the MLS now stand in the world marketplace?
2. Opara to Minnesota United FC
Did MNUFC overpay? And if so, who cares!?
3. Ousted to Chicago Fire
An improvement over Sanchez, but what wouldn’t have been?

 

Thanks for listening! Join the conversation on twitter @SOPSoccer or in the comments section below.


MLS Headlines and Conference Championship Leg 1 Recap



Welcome, soccer fans, and thanks for listening to the Sons of a Pitch Podcast!

In this episode we bring you all the latest headlines around Major League Soccer (MLS), including:

  • Zack Steffen’s transfer to Manchester City: what it means for him, the USMNT, and the league
  • Coaching moves: Pareja to Tijuana, Berhalter to USMNT, Tata to El Tri – Is this the next phase of the league growth?
  • Player options exercised: Urena out at LAFC, Ricketts out at TFC, Quioto in at Houston, Abubaker in at Columbus – what it means for the teams
  • FC Cincinnati not signing 3rd Designated Player (DP) – Is Fanendo Adi enough? Is this the way to build a team?

Mike and Nick also recap Leg 1 of the Conference Championships

 

Shout out to Mark Fangmeier, HeathOut, and David Sterling for providing great MNUFC fan insight. And condolences to our resident Red Bulls fan Stephen J. Phillips. Someone please hide the sharp objects from him.