MLS clubs connecting with fans through SnapChat in revolutionary way

By Keave Tollington – Twitter: @KeaveT

Over the past six months many clubs have taken to the alternative but extremely popular social networking app, Snapchat. The application allows MLS clubs to connect with fans in a very unique way. Club supporters now have the opportunity to see what training is like from a player’s perspective, while also looking into what the team get up to together away from the sport. They can also get to see exclusive short interviews with their favourite stars.

For the past week, a different player on a different team has taken over Major League Soccer’s own Snapchat account each day. The players have documented the build up to preseason friendlies, conversations with teammates and given supporters a behind the scenes look at how the 2015 MLS preseason is shaping up. When LA Galaxy player, AJ DeLaGarza took over the league’s Snapchat last week, he sent personalised autograph ‘snaps’ to the many fans that put in requests, as shown below.

The Snapchat autograph AJ DeLaGarza sent to me

The Snapchat autograph AJ DeLaGarza sent to me

Not only does it allow the fans a rare chance to see how MLS teams operate away from the action on the field but it also creates a more personal bond between the club and their supporters. The trend of celebrities taking up Snapchat as a way of connecting with fans is increasing by the day but MLS is the first football league to use the app in a positive manner.

This new connection between fans and players is unlike anything that has been seen before. We now see footage that is taken of the team, by the team in short ten second clips. The ease and convenience of updating Snapchat means that teams are constantly adding new content for supporters and it will be interesting to see how many sports teams follow suit.

Major League Soccer Snapchat accounts:

Major League Soccer – ‘mls’

Columbus Crew SC – ‘columbuscrewsc’

Houston Dynamo – ‘houston.dynamo’

LA Galaxy – ‘lagalaxy’

New England Revolution – ‘nerevolution’

Orlando City SC – ‘orlandocity’

Philadelphia Union – ‘philaunion’

Seattle Sounders FC – ‘soundersfc’

Sporting Kansas City – ‘sportingkc’

New York Red Bulls – ‘redbullsnewyork’

New York City FC – ‘newyorkcityfc’

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Columbus Crew and Montreal Impact record enormous preseason wins

The Columbus Crew and the Montreal Impact got the biggest day of the MLS preseason underway in fine style as they won 7-0 and 6-0 respectively.

A total of 12 MLS sides are in action on Wednesday as the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic and Desert Diamond Cups get underway.

The Montreal Impact played their second game against Mexican opposition in as many days in the days early kickoff and they put in a fine display to win 6-0 against FC Cuautla in their final friendly before next week’s CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final clash with Liga MX side Pachuca.

Jack McInerney, who was sent off in yesterday’s 1-0 win against Cruz Azul, opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Blake Smith added a second just before halftime.

Cameron Porter came on at halftime and the 21-year-old third round MLS SuperDraft pick bagged himself a hat-trick, while McInerney added his second of the game to seal a comfortable 6-0 win against the Mexican third division side.

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Columbus Crew got the first game of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic underway against London United and were also in a goalscoring mood as they found the net seven times.

New signing Kei Kamara opened the scoring in just the third minute before Ethan Finlay scored a second on 19 minutes. Finlay then turned provider as he teed up new right-back Hernan Grana to make it three before Grana then grabbed an assist for Kamara’s second of the game, making it 4-0 after just half an hour.

Columbus weren’t prepared to see out the half four up though and added two more as Grana made it five with his second of the game from defence before he got his second assist of the game by setting up new left-back Chris Klute on the stroke of halftime, making it 6-0 at the break.

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Crew SC weren’t as devastating in the second-half but still added one more through second-round draft pick Sagi Lev-Ari in the final ten minutes. Lev-Ari was making his preseason debut for the Black and Gold but is not yet registered on the club’s roster for the 2015 season.

Kei Kamara may have bagged two but it was fellow new boy Hernan Grana who impressed most as he registered two goals and two assists from right-back in an impressive attacking display.

Both the Montreal Impact and Columbus Crew have lost just once this preseason and will be hoping they can take their goalscoring form from today’s friendlies into the new 2015 MLS season in the Eastern Conference.

Shaun Maloney captains Chicago Fire in debut draw with Norwich

Shaun Maloney wore the captain’s armband on his Chicago Fire debut yesterday as he played 45 minutes in a goalless draw with Norwich City at the Championship club’s Colney Training Centre.

Head coach Frank Yallop changed all eleven players at halftime as 22 players got their first preseason action under their belt in the 0-0 draw.

The Fire have been one of Major League Soccer’s busiest clubs this offseason and 11 of the 13 players brought in this winter played on Thursday.

Two of the new Designated Players started in attack with Kennedy Igboananike and Shaun Maloney accompanied by Harry Shipp up top in a 4-3-3 system.

David Accam, the third DP signing, is still away at the African Cup of Nations with Ghana but he will join up with his teammates within the next week.

Maloney captained the Men in Red on his debut before being replaced by Quincy Amarikwa at halftime with usual captain Jeff Larentowicz ruled out with a knee injury.

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Frank Yallop was pleased with what he saw from his side in the draw and starting preseason with a clean-sheet against a Norwich side with a few first-team regulars is a major positive.

“It was very good,” Yallop told reporters after the game. “We had two completely different units starting the first half and the second, so 22 players got to play a 45-minute spell, which is always good to start with.

“I feel like some of the soccer we played and our continuity [was good], and after nine or 10 days of training I thought we were quite bright, played some good stuff, and getting a clean sheet is always important.”

The Chicago Fire now move on to London where they will train with Queens Park Rangers before playing the Premier League club in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Thursday.

Full list of 2015 MLS Preseason Schedules

The 2015 MLS season in almost upon us but clubs must first get through preseason in order to pick up match fitness in time for the season kickoff in March.

Most clubs have released full details of their preseason plans but some have yet to confirm their upcoming friendlies, while others will expect to announce more in upcoming weeks.

All the announced preseason fixtures ahead of the 2015 MLS season are as follows:

Chicago Fire

Thursday February 5: Norwich City vs. Chicago Fire – England

Thursday February 12: Queens Park Rangers vs. Chicago Fire – England

Sunday February 22: Chicago Fire vs. Stabaek – Providence Park, Portland (2015 Simple Invitational)

Wednesday February 25: Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire – Providence Park, Portland (2015 Simple Invitational)

Saturday February 28: Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – Providence Park, Portland (2015 Simple Invitational)

Colorado Rapids

Sunday February 15: Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Las Vegas

Wednesday February 18: Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 21: Colorado Rapids vs New England Revolution – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Wednesday February 25: FC Tucson vs. Colorado Rapids – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 28: Colorado Rapids vs. TBD – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup

Columbus Crew

Friday February 13: Columbus Crew vs. FC Dallas – ATX Pro Challenge, Texas

Sunday February 15: Columbus Crew vs. Austin Aztex/DC United – ATX Pro Challenge, Texas

DC United

Friday February 13: Austin Aztex vs. DC United – ATX Pro Challenge, Texas

Sunday February 15: DC United vs. Columbus Crew/FC Dallas – ATX Pro Challenge, Texas

Friday February 20: FC Dallas vs. DC United – Toyota Stadium, Texas

Thursday February 26: Alajuelense vs. DC United – CONCACAF Champions League, Costa Rica

Wednesday March 4: DC United vs. Alajuelense – CONCACAF Champions League, RFK Stadium

ATX Pro Challenge

FC Dallas

Friday February 13: FC Dallas vs. Columbus Crew – ATX Pro Challenge, Texas

Sunday February 15: FC Dallas vs. Austin Aztex/DC United – ATX Pro Challenge, Texas

Friday February 20: FC Dallas vs. DC United – Toyota Stadium, Texas

Houston Dynamo

Wednesday February 4: Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo – Arizona

Saturday February 7: Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers – Arizona

Saturday February 21: Charleston Battery vs. Houston Dynamo – Carolina Challenge Cup, South Carolina

Wednesday February 25: Houston Dynamo vs. New York City FC – Carolina Challenge Cup, South Carolina

Saturday February 28: Houston Dynamo vs. Orlando City SC – Carolina Challenge Cup, South Carolina

LA Galaxy

Monday February 16: Hammarby vs. LA Galaxy – Stockholm, Sweden

Saturday February 21: Shamrock Rovers vs. LA Galaxy – Ireland

Montreal Impact

Tuesday February 24: Pachuca vs. Montreal Impact – CONCACAF Champions League, Mexico

Tuesday March 3: Montreal Impact vs. Pachuca – CONCACAF Champions League, Olympic Stadium

New England Revolution

Wednesday February 18: New England Revolution vs. Real Salt Lake – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 21: New England Revolution vs. Colorado Rapids – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Wednesday February 25: New England Revolution vs. Seattle Sounders – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 28: New England Revolution vs. TBD – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

New York City FC

Tuesday February 10: New York City FC vs. St. Mirren – Manchester

Sunday February 15: New York City FC vs. Brondby – Manchester

Saturday February 21: New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC – Carolina Challenge Cup, South Carolina

Wednesday February 25: New York City FC vs. Houston Dynamo – Carolina Challenge Cup, South Carolina

Saturday February 28: Charleston Battery vs. New York City FC – Carolina Challenge Cup, South Carolina

New York City FC and Orlando City SC

New York Red Bulls

Sunday February 1: New York Red Bulls vs. USF – Behind closer doors, Orlando

Thursday February 5: New York Red Bulls vs. Jacksonville Armada FC – Behind closed doors, Florida

Wednesday February 18: New York Red Bulls vs. HB Koge – IMG Tournament, Florida

Saturday February 21: New York Red Bulls vs. Oklahoma City Energy – IMG Tournament, Florida

Wednesday February 25:New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC – IMG Tournament, Florida

Saturday February 28: New York Red Bulls vs. TBD – IMG Tournament, Florida

Orlando City SC

Saturday February 21: Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC – Carolina Challenge Cup, South Carolina

Wednesday February 25: Charleston Battery vs. Orlando City SC – Carolina Challenge Cup, South Carolina

Saturday February 28: Orlando City SC vs. Houston Dynamo – Carolina Challenge Cup, South Carolina

Philadelphia Union

Friday February 7: Jacksonville Armada FC vs. Philadelphia Union – Florida

Portland Timbers

Saturday January 31: Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City – Arizona

Saturday February 7: Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo – Arizona

Sunday February 22: Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – Providence Park (2015 Simple Invitational)

Wednesday February 25: Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire – Providence Park (2015 Simple Invitational)

Saturday February 28: Portland Timbers vs. Stabaek – Providence Park (2015 Simple Invitational)

2015 Simple Invitational Portland

Real Salt Lake

Thursday February 12: Real Salt Lake vs. TBD – California

Wednesday February 18: Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 21: Real Salt Lake vs. Montreal Impact – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Wednesday February 25: Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 28: Real Salt Lake vs. TBD – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

San Jose Earthquakes

Saturday February 7: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – Arizona

Sunday February 15: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids – Las Vegas

Saturday February 21: Sacramento Republic vs. San Jose Earthquakes – California

Seattle Sounders

Wednesday February 18: FC Tucson vs. Seattle Sounders – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 21: Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Wednesday February 25: Seattle Sounders vs. New England Revolution – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 28: Seattle Sounders vs. TBD – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Sporting Kansas City

Saturday January 31: Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers – Arizona

Wednesday February 4: Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo – Arizona

Monday February 9: Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Arizona

Wednesday February 18: Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 21: Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Wednesday February 25: Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Saturday February 28: Sporting Kansas City vs. TBD – FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, Arizona

Toronto FC

Wednesday February 18: Toronto FC vs. Oklahoma City Energy FC – IMG Tournament, Florida

Saturday February 21: Toronto FCvs. HB Koge – IMG Tournament, Florida

Wednesday February 25: Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls – IMG Tournament, Florida

Saturday February 28: Toronto FC vs. TBD – IMG Tournament, Florida

Vancouver Whitecaps

Wednesday February 4: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. New England Revolution – Arizona

Saturday February 7: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Arizona

Tuesday February 10: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Houston Dynamo – Arizona

Sunday February 22: Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – Providence Park (2015 Simple Invitational)

Wednesday February 25: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Stabaek – Providence Park (2015 Simple Invitational)

Saturday February 28: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Chicago Fire – Providence Park (2015 Simple Invitational)