Tag Archives: Zardes

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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Transfers, Firings, and Week 12 MLS Roundup



Hello again, soccer fans! And welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Thank you for joining us again as we look at all the moves from around Major League Soccer (MLS) and roundup the slew of games from Week 12.

But first, we want to wish all the soccer moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for waking up early, driving your kids to games and practices, and being their biggest supporters as they grow and learn the game. Without soccer moms, there is simply no soccer.

Transfers

  • Columbus Crew acquire David Accam and extend Gyasi Zardes, giving him a DP contract. Lalas Abubaker loaned to Colorado Rapids.
  • New York City transfers USMNT forward Jonathan Lewis to Colorado Rapids.
  • Sporting KC bring Benny Feilhaber back to shore up depleted defense.
  • Joevin Jones back in Seattle, in his prime, and ready to light up the stat sheet.

Firings

  • Hudson out at Colorado
  • Koch out at Cincinnati
  • Freidel out at New England
  • New England also fire GM Michael Burns

Teams on the Rise

  • Eastern Conference Regulars: Fire playing up to their talent, Atlanta win 3 straight, NYCFC found their offense.
  • LAFC: Points per game average is near record levels

Teams on the Fall

  • Toronto FC: No Jozy, no offense.
  • Colorado: It can’t get much worse. (And don’t tell me if it can.)
  • FC Cincinnati: What’s their identity and does it score goals?

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.


Pro/Rel for MLS? and Week 5 League Roundup



Greetings, soccer fans! Welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer podcast. This week in Major League Soccer saw a flood of goals, a couple hat-tricks, and a spectacular debut from TFC’s Pozuelo. But first, we turn to an issue that is never far from American soccer fans thoughts: Promotion and Relegation.

In a prior blog post, Nick put forth the arguments against Pro/Rel, and Mike agrees the league is not yet ready for such a system. Briefly, Pro/Rel is not suitable for the MLS or US Soccer because of the lack of:

  1. financials
  2. media coverage at all levels
  3. overall popularity
  4. de facto promotion via expansion franchises
  5. potential to drive away talent.

What are your thoughts on Pro/Rel for MLS? Should it be implemented? Can it work?

Next, the hosts break down the Week 5 action from around the MLS. With a weekend that saw 42 goals scored, the major headlines were from the offensive side of things. Specifically:

  1. TFC stays perfect; Pozuelo with a brace in his debut
  2. Sporting KC has an offense! Ties MLS single game scoring record with a 7-1 victory
  3. Gyasi Zardes scores again, despite the haters
  4. LAFC and Carlos Vela dominate the Quakes; Vela is early MVP favorite
  5. Pomykal leading FC Dallas’ “Play your kids” movement

 

Thanks for listening! Be sure to leave your comments below and follow us on twitter @SOPSoccer.


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 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!


USMNT vs. Costa Rica, and FC Dallas Preview



Welcome back, soccer fans, to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Once again winter storms have prevented us from getting to the recording studio, but once again we’ve been able to put together about 30min of soccer talk.

First, Nick breaks down the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) victory over fellow CONCACAF member Costa Rica. The United States controlled most of the game, but really dominated the last 15min or so after the Lletget’s entrance. The 2-0 victory showcased how Berhalter has his team disorganize opponents through possession, and Arriola, Lletget, Mihailovic, and others continued to impress.

Next, the hosts address a question from a listener about FC Dallas:

Mike gives his breakdown of the FC Dallas roster, noting that they have a lot of talent but have struggled to really establish themselves as a dominant team in the Western Conference. Nick thinks they can compete for the 1 or 2 seed, but will need to go on a significant point run given the depth in the West. What are your thoughts? Can FC Dallas win the conference? Do they have the right chemistry to win a trophy? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for listening, and stay tuned later in the week for another episode.


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.


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. 38 – Week 34 Round Up: Results, Playoff Predictions, and Storylines



Welcome back, soccer fans! Thank you for joining us at Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast.
This episode looks back at Week 34 and looks forward at Decision Day and the Major League Soccer playoff picture.

With only one week remaining in the MLS regular season, nearly all playoff spots are locked up. The remaining spot in the Eastern Conference will belong to either Columbus (who will clinch with a win) or Montreal (who need to win and have Columbus draw or lose). After spending much of the season in the 4th spot, the Crew’s complacency and lack of scoring have finally caught up with them. In the West, Real Salt Lake will await their fate, having played their full 34 game season. If the LA Galaxy win against the Houston Dynamo, RSL gets eliminated and the Galaxy qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs – one step closer to their rebuild.

Regardless of the outcome, goal scoring and goal differential favor Atlanta Untied, New York Red Bulls, and Sporting Kansas City. But we all know that luck has as much to do with a one-game outcome as does consistent play all season. What are your playoff predictions? Who will win their conference. Which team will raise the MLS Cup?

All this and more in SOP Episode 38. Thanks for listening. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and find us one twitter @SOPSoccer.