Tag Archives: Steffan

USMNT Roster Analysis, TFC Roster Departures, and the Viability of Austin FC and MLS Expansion



Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, soccer fans! Welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. It’s cold and icy outside, but we’ve got our supporter scarves to keep us warm. Mike is obviously sporting the TFC tribute to the Sebastian Giovinco “The Atomic Ant” while Nick is paying tribute to the Fire’s signing of Marcelo with his Sporting Portugal scarf.

In the episode, the hosts break down Gregg Berhalter’s first United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) roster for upcoming friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica. The all MLS-based roster has a few surprises with Sean Johnson as the backup goalkeeper, Jeremy Ebobisse one of three strikers, and Daniel Lovitz as a potential starting defender. Nick and Mike get into a lively discussion on how much winning these games means to Berhalter and the American fan-base, as opposed to simply gaining experience and finding players who fit his style.

Next, Mike dives in to breaking news out of Toronto. TSN Live reporter Kristian Jack reports that Toronto FC (TFC) have traded defender Nick Hagglund to FC Cincinnati and that TFC is parting ways with Gregory van der Wiel after an altercation with head coach Greg Vanney. As Mike states, van der Wiel has had issues in the past and things have gotten to the point where the two sides can no longer work together. Meanwhile, the trade of Hagglund gives TFC greater salary cap space while FCC gets a proven defender to help guide their expansion franchise. It looks like TFC has started their rebuild a year sooner than expected.

Finally, the hosts give their impressions on the league’s latest expansion franchise: Austin FC. Logo jokes aside, the hosts agree that more soccer is always welcome. However, the history of soccer in the city of Austin is spotty at best (see Austin Aztex x2). Can Major League Soccer (MLS) survive in Austin? Only time will tell.

 

Thanks for listening, and be sure to spread the word! Let us know your thoughts on all things USMNT and MLS 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.

 


Ep 40 – Knockout Round Recap, Next Round Preview



It’s a Saturday special here at the Sons of a Pitch podcast!

The MLS Cup Playoffs have begun, and the knockout round is complete. NYCFC defeated the Union, Columbus upset DC United, Portland held on vs. FC Dallas, and LAFC fell to Real Salt Lake in a late night shocker. Nick and Mike recap the games, the goals, and what surprised them most in the early stages of the playoffs.

Also, Sons of a Pitch is hosting their own MLS Bracket Challenge group, and after the first round of games, only one entry is perfect. Congrats to Gary, the Dynamo fan and apparent Western Conference expert, who successfully predicted the knockout round. We’ll keep you updated as all the picks come in throughout the playoffs.

Looking ahead, there are some great playoff match-ups around the league:

NYCFC vs. Atlanta United
It’s offense vs. offense as this series could be decided by the goals scored at Yankee stadium. Expect a high scoring 1st leg. SOP Pick: Atlanta

Columbus vs. Red Bulls
#SavedtheCrew vs. #SupportersShield. Can Berhalter’s team figure out the high press and stymie BWP? If not, they could be in for a long series. SOP Pick: RBNY

Timbers vs. Sounders
A rivalry match-up early in the playoffs? Thank the soccer gods! This should be an exciting affair, and I expect players’ emotion to be as important as goals scored. Nick’s pick: Timbers, Mike’s pick: Sounders

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
If RSL’s strikers continue their form, SKC’s defense is going to be put to the test. But there’s a reason SKC is best in the West. SOP Pick: SKC

 

How does your bracket look? Is your team still in? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out to us on twitter @SOPSoccer.


Ep 32 – USMNT vs. Mexico: No such thing as a friendly



Welcome back to SOP Soccer and our special USMNT live recording!

In this special episode, Nick and Mike recorded their conversations during the broadcast of the US Men’s National Team vs. Mexico. Listen to their reactions, analysis, and Nick’s #soccerracist rants. Join the conversations on twitter @SOPSoccer and in the comments below.

Also, the halftime thoughts include the news of Sigi Schmid stepping down as LA Galaxy head coach, the direction of US Soccer in their coaching search, and the future of the US vs. Mexico rivalry.

It’s a longer, free-flowing type of episode, so get comfy and get ready to be entertained.


Ep. 31 – Roster Review: USMNT Fall Friendlies



The United States Men’s National Team has some big games coming up, and the roster has been released. Big names are making way for developing talent, and we break down the pool of players selected for each position. For a full roster listing, check out US Soccer.

  • Who would you rather see starting as goalkeeper: Bono or Steffan or Horvath?
  • Is a European based back-line better situated to compete internationally?
  • Should Bobby Wood get another chance?

These questions and more are answered by our hosts. Thanks for tuning in!

 

And apologies to Andrija Novakovich for mis-pronouncing his name … badly.


Ep 17 – USMNT vs. Ireland, France Recap



The USMNT finished their pre-World Cup friendlies against a solid UEFA opponent in Ireland and a World Cup favorite in France. Oddly, they lose to Ireland 2-1 and draw France 1-1 The hosts break down the goals and the line-ups, and discuss the future of the USMNT players and coaches. Wil Trapp captained the team amid speculation of a move from Columbus to Europe. Bill Hamid and Zack Steffen started in goal, and the hosts discuss how Steffen and Alex Bono are the keepers of the future.

Also, the United Bid of Canada, USA, and Mexico won the right to host World Cup 2026. The news came the morning after our recording, and we at Sons of a Pitch are very excited to watch the greatest players in the world in our backyard (albeit in 8yrs or so).

What are your thoughts on the USMNT roster and coaching candidates? Are you done seeing Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood, like Nick? Do you want a European style coach, like Mike? Let us know in the comments below.


Ep 13 – USMNT Roster Review and Bolivia Recap



The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) hosted Bolivia with a young roster and came back with a 3-0 victory! The hosts break down the game, the goals, and take an in depth look at the US roster and who they would like to see earn minutes in upcoming friendlies. Mike gives his projected Starting XI for the next World Cup qualifying cycle, Nick reviews each player’s current club, and he adds a few names to keep an eye on in Major League Soccer (MLS).

 

Speaking of names, the hosts can barely pronounce a single one. (Special apologies to Eric Lichaj.)