Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Signings around the MLS, Thoughts on the CBA, and the Future Structure of the League



Hello once again, soccer fans! Tonight, our hosts answer listener questions on trades and signings from around Major League Soccer (MLS). What are the key points and what makes them different from other American leagues? While they bargaining and goals are the same (get the best players for the best value) there are a lot more bargaining chips in the MLS – TAM, GAM, and international roster spots, to name a few. Also, MLS franchises can scout the entire world for soccer talent, where other American leagues have a much more limited player pool.

Specifically, our hosts address the signings of:

  • Lucas Cavallini, Vancouver Whitecaps
  • Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers
  • Francisco Ginella, Los Angeles FC
  • Adam Buksa, New England Revolution

In the 2nd half of the show, Nick and Mike give their thoughts on the upcoming CBA negotiations and the anticipated issues between the MLSPA and the league. The focus of the negotiations will likely revolve around free agency, salaries, and … chartered flights!? Yes, with increased revenue, the league is going to have a much more difficult time not raising the salary cap, minimum salaries, or allowing chartered flights.

The show wraps up with thoughts on further expansion and what the future structure of the league might look like. With Charlotte being just announced as the MLS’ 30th franchise, the Major League Soccer is at the size of most other American sports leagues, but much larger than any other soccer league in the world. Are they at a breaking point? Or is a restructure on the horizon? Tune in for some scenarios that Nick and Mike think could happen.

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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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Episode 100! MLS Headlines and Coaching Moves, Cup Final Preview



Welcome back, soccer fans, to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. In our 100th episode spectacular, Nick and Mike discuss the various headlines from around Major League Soccer (MLS), including:

    • Possible strategies for new Chicago Fire owner Joe Mansueto
    • Adam Lallana rumored to MLS
    • Should Toronto FC get a CCL berth if they win the MLS Cup?
    • Nashville acquires McCarty (CHI) and Romney (LAG)
    • Tab Ramos adds Namazi, Mastroeni to Houston Dynamo coaching staff
    • Reports of Dome Torrent resigning as NYCFC head coach

In the Second Half of the show, the hosts break down the playoff runs of MLS Cup Finalists Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders and just how amazing these post-seasons have been. They also give their expectations of the final, and both hosts predict that Seattle will end up raising the cup.

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Fan Feedback, USOC Final Recap, and MLS League Roundup



Greetings again, soccer fans! Welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. In this week’s episode, our hosts respond to fan feedback, recap the US Open Cup Final, and give their roundup of all the MLS action from the prior week.

To kick things off, listeners Studs Up Report and Michael Hobert ask which teams need to play desperately and has Dallas turned their season around? In the Eastern Conference, our hosts argue that DC Untied, the Montreal Impact, and Orlando City need to play desperately if they’re too realize their playoff potential, and in the Western Conference, the Portland Timbers, Sporting KC, and FC Dallas need to do the same. Dallas currently sits 7th in the West, and should win 4 of their final 8 matches to solidify a playoff spot.

In US Open Cup action, Atlanta United defeats Minnesota United 2-1, in a game dominated by the Five Stripes. The Loons made it a game, but ultimately fell short to an Atlanta team that is playing its best soccer. There’s also the questions of why Minnesota coach Adrian Heath didn’t start Darwin Quintero and how Vito Mannone, MNUFC’s keeper, mis-read a play that lead to a goal. But in the end, the better team is going home with the trophy. Finally, Nick and Mike round up all the action from MLS Rivalry Week. Nick still years for the days when Chicago vs. New England and DC vs. Red Bulls/Metro Stars were torrid affairs, but he’ll settle for LA Galaxy vs. LAFC and Portland vs. Seattle.

If you’re in Miami next month, be sure to check out the Futsal All-Star Tournament, featuring teams from the USA, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Tickets are going fast, and the games take place September 23 and 24. You could witness the next Messi or Neymar honing their skills on the futsal court.
WHERE: Marlins Park, Miami, FL
WHEN: September 23rd & 24th, 2019
TIME: Matches start at 7 p.m. EDT
TICKET PRICES: Start at $20 per day for doubleheader

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Week 11 Roundup: Zlatan’s Trash Talk, SKC/Revs Shootout, and What’s Wrong with the East?



Welcome back, soccer fans! Thanks for returning to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast for all your Major League Soccer news. In this episode, the hosts recap Week 11 and all the goals, drama, and story-lines that accompanied it. Tune in for:

  • Houston and Dallas keep taking points
  • LAFC – Seattle rematch not live up to the hype
  • Zlatan’s talking trash and the league is letting him

The hosts also discuss what’s going on in the Eastern Conference. With no team looking like a favorite, the conference is up for grabs. Listen to Nick and Mike break down how:

  • Columbus is slumping, Chicago is under-performing
  • Atlanta is the most talented team, but only on paper
  • DC can’t string together wins
  • Is TFC the favorite? Based on PPG, they sure are

And to round out the discussion, we take a glimpse at the newly formed Canadian Premier League (CPL). With seven teams in Canada’s top flight, Mike discusses the influence of Toronto on the league and the league’s focus on developing young, Canadian talent. Nick is optimistic about the experience coaches, organizations, and owners will get and how they can apply that to the future of soccer in North America.

Finally, the hosts gives some early US Open Cup picks. The US Open Cup gets underway next week, and while MLS teams are favored to win (Mike likes Seattle, Nick likes Houston or Sporting KC), don’t be surprised is USL Championship sides like Louisville City or Saint Louis FC make a run.

 

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


USMNT Friendlies vs. Ecuador and Chile and MLS Week 4 Roundup



Hello again, soccer fans! We hope you enjoyed the USMNT action to offset the short MLS schedule this weekend. We at the Sons of a Pitch certainly enjoyed seeing all the names and faces of the future of US Soccer this week.

In their 3rd game under coach Gregg Berhalter, the United States Men’s National Team played a controlling game against Ecuador, but only had a 1-0 victory to show for it. In the next game against Chile, the USMNT had a difficult time beating the high press and were on the back-foot most of the game. Despite that, they held on for a 1-1 draw. Our biggest takeaways are the continued implementation of Coach GGG’s system and the integration of the European based players, and the building of a winning culture. We really say was Adams, McKennie, and Pulisic can do together, but we also saw the flaws in letting wing-backs push too far up the field.

Rising Stock: Zardes-1 goal, 1 assist in last 2 games; Trapp-the smartest guy on the field;

Falling Stock: Baird-who was non-existent; Lovitz-who looked lost; Ream-who still makes that one, dumb play every game

Meanwhile in a less than full slate of Major League Soccer games, the headlines could read:

  • FC Dallas keeps taking points
  • Orlando City finally get a win
  • LAFC get another stoppage time victory – this time courtesy of some Walker Zimmerman brilliance
  • FC Cincinnati win again, turning critics into bandwagon fans
  • At least one New England is terrible: the Revolution are in complete disarray

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


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.


More Transfers, International Roster Rules, and Imagine No Salary Cap



Greetings, soccer fans! We hope you all survived the polar vortex and are enjoying warmer temperatures. At Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer podcast, we keep things heated with a fiery discussion on the future of the league.

First, transfers and moves keep happening all around Major League Soccer (MLS). Vancouver and LAFC sign Hwang In-beom and Rodolfo Zelaya. NYCFC gets striker Alex Mitrita from Romania. Toronto FC sign Terrance Boyd to offset the loss of Toussaint Rickets, and Luciano Acosta’s deal with Paris St. Germain (PSG) falls through in the 11th hour. Acosta returns to DC United, but with what mentality?

Speaking of Rodolfo Zelaya, host Mike takes exception to the rule allowing Zelaya to occupy a domestic roster spot. As an El Salvadoran, he should take up an international roster spot, right? Not according to league rules allowing green card holders to be considered domestic players. Nick gives a reading of the rules, and the two debate the topic.

From there, an even lively debate was sparked. Both Mike and Nick address the future of the league, with Mike advocating for an open-market style with no salary caps or roster restrictions. Nick vehemently disagrees, advocating for the current system with steady changes. They might agree on where the league is going, but definitely not on how to get there.

Join the conversation @SOPSoccer or in the comments below. Thanks for listening, and be sure to spread the word of the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast.


Episode 50! SuperDraft Reflections, Chicago Fire Picks, and ATL DPs



Hello soccer fans, and welcome to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Today we mark a milestone in SOP history as we hit 50 episodes! Thanks to our hosts, listeners, followers, and everyone who helps make soccer in America the great sport it is.

In this episode, we had a lot to say about the future of the MLS SuperDraft, and whether it even has a future. Is it worth teams spending time and resources on the draft? Should it be left to USL affiliates, development projects, and academies? Some think so, but Nick believes this uniquely American device has a place in the league and the soccer landscape.

In follow up to last week’s Chicago Fire discussion, Nick breaks down #cf97’s draft picks: $150k in GAM, Amando Reyeno, Ebenezer Ackon, Grant Stoneman, and Mark Forrest. While definitely not immediate 1st-teamers, these are solid picks in their own right. Each excelled in their respective college conferences, and Stoneman’s local roots are worth cheering for. However, the Fire still have yet to make that one significant signing and are leaving fans with a lot to be desired.

In other league news, Atlanta United has a similar problem to the LA Galaxy: 4 DPs and one needs to move. With Almiron, Josef, Barco, and Pity Martinez, one of the players has to be sold or loaned to comply with Major League Soccer’s roster rules. All the speculation is that Almiron will be sold, but so far Atlanta has yet to agree on a price. It remains to be seen how the reigning MLS Cup Champions deal with their roster while preparing their title defense. Meanwhile north of the border, Toronto FC has agreed to sell Victor Vazquez to a club in Qatar for an undisclosed amount. While a vital piece to TFC’s recent success, Vazquez has become injury prone and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to possibly coach overseas at the conclusion of his playing career.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to cover the announcement in Austin and the new career path for standout referee Mark Geiger, but tune-in next week for all the additional coverage. Thanks for listening, thanks for 50 episodes, and thanks for supporting American soccer!