Sounders get first point and first goals in 2-2 draw at Sporting Kansas City

Seattle Sounders (0-3-1, 1 pt) registered their first point and goals of the 2018 campaign on Sunday in a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City (4-1-2, 14 pts) at Children’s Mercy Park. A late first-half equaliser from Will Bruin gave Seattle their first goal of the year and Cristian Roldan would give the visitors their first lead of the MLS season. Graham Zusi would bring the home side back level just five minutes later though and neither side would manage another breakthrough.

It was somewhat of a surprise to see Alex Roldan in the starting lineup just in front of Jordan McCrary but the rookie midfielder looked very good against the Western Conference leaders. The younger Roldan looked confident on the ball and helped to setup the attack that lead to Seattle’s second goal. Hopefully for Seattle this is not just a flash in the pan but a sign of things to come for the Seattle University alum.

Sounders fans were also treated to the return of Osvaldo Alonso from injury, coming on as a substitute in the 68th minute. With Alonso on the field for Handwalla Bwana, coach Brian Schmetzer pushed Cristian Roldan into an attacking position and brought Nicolas Lodeiro out wide which allowed Roldan to play more aggressively and ultimately lead to scoring the second goal. With Alonso on the field Seattle’s midfield looked more disciplined and structured defensively, something that was badly missing in their home loss to Montreal.

It was not such a great night for Nouhou who seemed to be a step slow all night, directly leading to both Sporting goals. The first goal came from a penalty kick conceded by a poor challenge from Nouhou while the second was due to him not getting back to stop Zusi.

The play starts with Nouhou making a long attacking run into space before hitting an ill-advised high shot from about 25 yards out. As Sporting restarted play, Nouhou doesn’t get back into position in time and leaves Zusi open on the wing. Even once Zusi receives the pass and is dribbling into the box, Nouhou doesn’t get back to mark his man and allows Zusi to walk in one-on-one against Frei and tie the match.

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Sporting controlled possession for the majority of the match and forced Stefan Frei into making six saves compared to Tim Melia’s one but made defensive mistakes to let Seattle on the board against the run of play. While Seattle does well to keep the play alive after Bruin’s first chance clanked off the crossbar, Jimmy Medranda gets caught watching the ball on the second chance and allows Bruin to score on a tap in.

Although Seattle was unable to hold on to the lead, the second goal showed the Sounders’ potential in attack. Alex Roldan out plays Zusi on a long clearance to get to the ball and then makes a perfectly weighted outside-of-the-foot pass around a defender to Bruin. With a defender on him, Bruin has the wherewithal to pull the ball back and find Christian Roldan at the top of the box for a shot. Roldan is able to hit the ball with power while also placing it in the far corner, past the stretching arm of Melia.

Seattle is going to want to see more possessions like this next weekend when they host Minnesota United FC (2-4-0, 6 pts) on Sunday at 1 PM as they look to record their first win of the season.

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MLS UK TV Schedule: May 2017 – 12 live games in four weeks

We’re nine weeks into the 2017 MLS season and it’s already proven to be as unpredictable as ever. The likes of Orlando City and Portland Timbers are flying, while LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union are in danger of being left behind after slow starts.

May will see a total of 52 MLS games played across the league and UK fans will be able to catch 12 of the games live on Sky Sports. Seattle, Atlanta and NYCFC fans will be able to watch their teams play three times each this month, with 14 of the league’s 22 sides live on Sky at least once over the next four weeks.

Saturday, May 6th

Seattle Sounders vs Toronto FC – 20:00 BST – Sky Sports Mix

DC United vs Montreal Impact – 23:00 BST – Sky Sports Mix

Sunday, May 7th

Minnesota United vs Sporting Kansas City – 18:30 BST – Sky Sports Mix

New York City FC vs Atlanta United – 21:00 BST – Sky Sports 3

Saturday, May 13th

Montreal Impact vs Columbus Crew – 22:00 BST – Sky Sports 5

Sunday, May 14th

Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United – 21:00 BST – Sky Sports 2

NY Red Bulls vs LA Galaxy – 23:00 BST – Sky Sports 2

Saturday, May 20th

Seattle Sounders vs Real Salt Lake – 22:00 BST – Sky Sports 2

Sunday, May 21st

Minnesota United vs LA Galaxy – 22:00 BST – Sky Sports 2

Orlando City vs New York City FC – 00:00* BST – Sky Sports 2

*This game is officially listed as Monday, May 22nd but will take place late on the Sunday evening.

Saturday, May 27th

Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers – 20:00 BST – Sky Sports 5

Sunday, May 28th

Atlanta United vs New York City FC – 22:00 BST – Sky Sports 2

MLS UK TV Schedule: April 2017 – 14 games to be shown live over next 5 weeks

The 2017 MLS season has got off to a flyer, with 99 goals scored in the first 35 games of the new season – an average of 2.83 per game. Atlanta United have taken to the league without any real struggle, while fellow expansion side Minnesota United have been conceding goals for fun. They have shipped 18 in just four matches, accounting for 18% of the league’s goals in March.

April is now upon us and with some form now in the books, plenty of teams will be heading into the first full month of the season with varying degrees of optimism. There are 55 MLS games to enjoy over the next five weeks and UK viewers will be able to enjoy 14 of them live on Sky Sports. More games could be added to the TV listings as the month goes on and they will be added to the list below when confirmed.

 

17 of the league’s 22 sides will play at least once on UK television in April, with Orlando City fans set to see their team play all five of their fixtures on Sky Sports over the next month.

Saturday, April 1st

New York City FC vs San Jose Earthquakes – 19:00 BST – Sky Sports 3

Columbus Crew SC vs Orlando City – 21:00 BST – Sky Sports 3

Saturday, April 8th

Toronto FC vs Atlanta United – *00:30 BST – Sky Sports 3

*This game is officially listed as Sunday, April 9th but will take place late on the Saturday evening.

Sunday, April 9th

Orlando City vs New York Red Bulls – 21:00 BST – Sky Sports 5

Saturday, April 15th

Orlando City vs LA Galaxy – 20:00 BST – Sky Sports 5

Chicago Fire vs New England Revolution – 22:00 BST – Sky Sports 5

Saturday, April 22nd

Philadelphia Union vs Montreal Impact – 18:00 BST – Sky Sports 3

Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps – 21:00 BST – Sky Sports 3

Sunday, April 23rd

New York City FC vs Orlando City – 18:30 BST – Sky Sports 3

LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders – 21:00 BST – Sky Sports 3

Saturday, April 29th

Orlando City vs Colorado Rapids – 21:00 BST – Sky Sports Mix

New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire – *00:30 BST – Sky Sports 2

*This game officially takes place on Sunday, April 30th but will be played late on the Saturday evening.

Sunday, April 30th

Atlanta United vs DC United – 20:00 BST – Sky Sports 2

MLS Fantasy Focus: Time to sell the NYCFC defenders ahead of Week 3?

By Jamie Dawe & Sam Martin

The second week of the 2016 MLS season didn’t quite provide the insane quantity of goals, red cards and all round excitement as Week 1, but it was the first week that we could see which teams were settled – and which teams were far from decided on a strongest lineup. Highlights of the week included the 5-0 drubbing of FC Dallas by Houston Dynamo in the Texas Derby and the magic of Sebastian Giovinco once again saving Toronto FC in their 2-2 draw with New York City FC.

Week 2 Review:

The Good:

Ignacio Piatti ($10.4) was at it again this week with a goal and an assist in the Impact’s 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. Throw in a shot bonus and some defending bonuses – as well as clean sheet points – and this left him with a grand total of 14 points for the week. However, unlike last week, two players managed to outscore Piatti in the shape of David Villa ($11.1) and Andrew Wenger ($7.3). Villa scored two early goals, including one from the penalty spot against Toronto FC before Sebastian Giovinco ($11.8) hauled Toronto back to a 2-2 draw. Wenger created two and finished one off himself to score a terrific 16 points in the Dynamo’s 5-0 win over Dallas, throwing down his credentials for the 2016 season in the process.

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The Bad:

Last season’s finalists FC Dallas had a nightmare start in their first away game, being battered 5-0 at Houston Dynamo. Matt Hedges ($8.9) didn’t look at all worthy of his high price tag, scoring an own goal and putting in an all-round poor performance as the 2015 Western Conference champions were humiliated by a side who hadn’t beaten Dallas in seven games before Sunday. Chicago Fire’s Michael Harrington ($5.2) picked up a red card during his side’s tough 1-1 draw at Orlando as both sides continued their winless starts to the season. The only other red card of the week was given to Vancouver Whitecaps’ Jordan Smith ($6.1). The defender was sent off in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Sporting Kansas City, meaning a score of -3 and of course the customary suspension will follow.

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Week 3 Preview:

Must Buy:

We start at the back. With Houston and LA Galaxy’s first choice ‘keepers both injured, the chance has arrived for backup ‘keepers Brian Rowe ($4.7) and Joe Willis ($4.6) to deliver. They are both cheap options who are now both in the top three point-scoring goalkeepers in MLS Fantasy. They are certainly both making a statement as to why they should hold on to their place in future weeks and deserve consideration. At the opposite end of the pitch, Dominic Oduro ($7.7) of Montreal Impact has made an impressive start to the season, netting two goals and an assist in his opening two games, showing that Montreal at not missing Drogba’s absence. Up next for Montreal is a clash against a leaky FC Dallas side, who conceded five goals at Houston Dynamo. Oduro will see this as an opportunity to continue his solid start, as will Montreal who will be looking to make it three wins from three. Drogba is in line to start but Oduro should continue to be a high point-scorer for the next three weeks. In the centre of the park, Philadelphia’s Chris Pontius ($7.1) is a cheap midfielder who has certainly been worth his value so far. Two goals at the weekend away to Columbus show he is capable of getting on the scoresheet and with the New England Revolution game fast approaching, Pontius may be one of the best bets in fantasy for a budget attacking midfield option.

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Must Sell:

With the first set of international fixtures coming in Week 4, it’s time to be preparing which international call-ups to maybe sell. One definite call-up is Fanendo Adi ($10.0), who is heading to Africa to represent Nigeria in African Nations Cup qualifying. However, a home game against Real Salt Lake may mean managers will want to hang on to him for just one more week. MLS may be incredibly unpredictable but we seem to know one thing for certain at this stage – the NYCFC defence is far from settled and is very leaky. Especially with Vieira deciding to line up with three at the back against Toronto. As a result, it’s difficult to predict any starters in the NYCFC defence or whether they will ever actually gain a clean sheet this season. So, if you’ve got Frederic Brilliant ($8.0) or Jason Hernandez ($6.4), I’d recommend selling sooner rather than later.

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Freddie Shires’ side Jozy and the Pussycats banked an incredible 102 points this week, shooting him up to second in the MLSGB Fantasy League leaderboard. This tally’s primary creators were double-digit scorers Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa and Ignacio Piatti. However, at the top of the leaderboard is still Mack’s team Mack Legend with a grand total of 182 points after two weekends.

Who will you be bringing in for Week 3 in MLS Fantasy Soccer?

Should MLS feel threatened by the big-spending Chinese Super League?

The Chinese Super League has continued to send shockwaves across the football world over the past month, with huge amounts of money being spent on big-name players from Europe – something MLS has become popular for doing in recent years – but should the North American soccer market be threatened by the size of investments being made in China?

Well, to put it simply, yes. The CSL is fully committed to making its mark on the game and has no shortage of money at its disposal.

The Chinese government, headed by president Xi Jinping, has financially backed the growth of the CSL, with huge football fan Jinping claiming he wants to see China invest hundreds of billions into sport, with the overriding goal to host and win a World Cup, according to The International Business Times.

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‘China’s president Xi Jinping announced a goal to create a domestic sport economy worth $850bn by 2025. At the heart of this goal and the accompanying plan is the aim of hosting and winning the World Cup,’ claims the report.

Wealthy businessman are pumping money into the game alongside the government, partly to improve their political relations, and partly to make profit themselves.

The impacts have been seen over the past few years, but the last few weeks has seen the Chinese transfer record broken four times in a very short space of time.

Alex Teixeira, who was a January target for Liverpool, has just moved to Jiangsu Suning for £38 million, smashing the £31 million Guangzhou Evergrande paid for Jackson Martinez days earlier.

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Chelsea sold Brazilian midfielder Ramires to Jiangsu for £21 million before that, with Shanghai SIPG’s £13.9 million move for Elkeson initially breaking the record before being eclipsed three more times over the course of the winter transfer window.

In fact, so much money has been spent by CSL clubs over the last month (£194.2 million) that the league beat the Premier League (£175 million) in terms of January spending, with three more weeks of the Chinese Super League’s transfer window still left to run.

These are figures MLS clubs could only dream of spending on players, with the North American transfer system more complex. Transfers are more of a rarity in MLS, with most big-name signings joining on free transfers, with the money being invested in contracts as opposed to transfer fees, although the CSL isn’t worried about throwing money at both.

Major League Soccer’s Designated Player rule still means clubs can have just three players on their squad whose salaries don’t count towards the club’s salary cap – a rule that was created after David Beckham’s famous move to LA Galaxy in 2007.

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Star MLS players such as Steven Gerrard, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, David Villa and Kaka are just some of the league’s most renowned Designated Players.

CSL clubs don’t have any such restriction, however. They are free to spend what they want, on who they want and can offer whatever they want.

This is where the threat to MLS comes in. Big-name players from Europe’s top leagues have been moving to MLS over the past few years, although most of them in the latter stages of their careers.

Still, Sebastian Giovinco (29) and Giovani Dos Santos (26) both joined MLS in 2015 – two players in the peak of their careers, and this gave the league a huge boost. Similar moves could take place over the next month or so, with Major League Soccer’s first transfer window not yet open.

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But the CSL has brought in several players supposedly in, or approaching their peaks in recent times. Gervinho (28) made the move last month, while the aforementioned trio of Jackson Martinez (29), Ramires (28) and Alex Teixeira (26) have also made headlines across the world.

They have joined other famous names in Demba Ba (30) and Paulinho (27) in making the move to Asia and more are expected to follow.

CSL clubs are reportedly chasing the likes of Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, both of whom have been linked with an MLS move after they decide to quit their respective European adventures. The competition between the two leagues is likely to be dominated by how much is on offer financially.

Rooney has reportedly been offered £25 million per year if he decides to join the CSL – an amount MLS would baulk at, given the fact the highest paid player in MLS is former Ballon d’Or winner Kaka, who earns over $7 million (approximately £5 million) per season.

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Aside from the money, attendances, high-profile managers and even the timing of a season are all key factors that are helping the Chinese Super League to grow at a rapid rate.

MLS boasted an impressive average attendance of 21,574 fans per game over the course of the 2015 season – a rise of 12.5% from 2014. The CSL, though, saw its average attendance rise 16.8% in 2015, with 22,193 fans attending games on average.

The regular season in Major League Soccer runs from March to October – something that makes the league an attractive watch for those who need their football fix over the course of summer’s without international competitions. But the CSL runs over the same period, giving MLS something else to seriously think about.

MLS currently outperforms the CSL as far as international TV exposure is concerned, but this is something Chinese officials will be looking to change quickly, especially with several big names now plying their trade in the world’s most populated country.

There are currently 16 teams in China’s major league – four less than the 20 clubs who compete in MLS, although the Chinese football system allows promotion and relegation – something MLS does not offer.

It’s clear that the CSL is making lots of noise. Many are sceptical that the league can sustain its huge spending sprees on talented players from across the world, but for now MLS officials needs to ensure it doesn’t fall behind China in the race to become the world’s most attractive football league outside of Europe.

Should MLS be worried about the CSL’s plans to dominate world football?

A look at what the US Open Cup means as MLS sides change focus

By Drew Farmer – Twitter: @CalcioFarmer

The Major League Soccer season took a backseat to domestic cup matches this week in the USA. Ten MLS teams took to the field on Tuesday night in the fourth round of US Open Cup action, with seven more playing on Wednesday.

Although no real upsets were recorded Tuesday night, three MLS teams were pushed by lower league sides to extra-time or penalties.

In a match that pitted eternal rivals, Portland and Seattle, in an all-MLS fixture; the Timbers knocked out the defending champions in extra-time. All in all, an exciting night of domestic cup action. Wednesday night should be just as good, with the juiciest fixture seeing New York City FC battle New York Cosmos.

Don’t miss: Sounders end game with 7 players as Portland beat reigning champion in US Open Cup thriller

And while the general US soccer fan may not quite understand the idea behind watching lower league opposition play the USA’s top-flight teams in a cup tournament, there were some positives the Open Cup may increase in popularity.

Sporting KC welcomed 19,298 fans to Sporting Park to see the 2012 cup winners defeat St. Louis FC. With Sporting’s stadium now located on the Kansas side of the border, this can’t be called an intra-Missouri rival. But the game still held enough significance amongst fans to see them turnout in droves.

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For those that say US soccer doesn’t have any history, the Open Cup is a perfect example that they are wrong. The tournament began in 1913/14 and was based on English football’s FA Cup competition. Due to the high immigrant populations in the northeast of the country and the creation of soccer teams influenced by their homelands, the trophy resided its first seven years in that region. As a matter of fact, three teams traded the cup amongst themselves during that time: Brooklyn Field Club, Bethlehem Steel and Fall River Rovers.

It wasn’t until the 1919/20 Open Cup that the trophy found a home away from the east coast. That season, Ben Millers of St. Louis won the tournament, bringing the cup to the Gateway city.

Like numerous soccer teams and even semi-professional baseball teams of the time, Ben Millers received its name as a company team. Ben Millers, a local hat company, was the sponsors of the club.

While soccer has hit peaks and valleys in the US over the years, the tournament lived in obscurity for much of its history. The North American Soccer League, which seemingly had no interest in being a traditional soccer league, chose to ignore the domestic cup. Until the advent of MLS, “professional” teams in the US didn’t participate regularly.

Since the arrival of MLS teams, only one season has seen a lower league side take the cup. That year, 1999, the Rochester Rhinos defeated Colorado Rapids in front of an estimated 4,555.

Rochester Rhinos lift the 1999 US Open Cup (Photo: TheCup.us)

Rochester Rhinos lift the 1999 US Open Cup (Photo: TheCup.us)

What is the draw of the Open Cup? Of course, there is the opportunity to see a semi-professional team take on MLS quality stars. In addition, like England’s FA Cup, the big stars may very well be out of their elements; playing on a soccer pitch typically used by universities, high schools or for training. Which is the equivalent of seeing an arena rock band like the Foo Fighters in a small dingy club.

This season could be the coming out party of the US Open Cup into the American soccer mainstream. The game is currently on a high, continually rising; and the appeal is there for the American fan. Meanwhile, the cup’s uniqueness could endear it to American sports.

With teams taking it seriously, lower league soccer clubs popping up all over the country and record MLS crowds, there’s no reason the cup can’t become an even bigger prize than it already is seen as.

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The US Open Cup has already endured 102 years since its inception in 1913. It has battled disinterest and low attendance, but now after all these years, a new set of fans and teams have found its appeal.

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that has writes for MLSGB and World Soccer Talk. Drew has also been read on Forza Italian Football and Soccerly. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, English football and USA soccer.

Analysis: Vancouver Whitecaps’ approach is aggressive but effective

The Vancouver Whitecaps currently sit at the top of the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings after five weeks of the regular season and their aggressive approach is working to great effect so far.

Saturday night’s 2-0 win against reigning champions, LA Galaxy, was their fourth in a row and that opening weekend defeat to Toronto seems like a long time ago already.

Carl Robinson has watched his side concede just one goal since the loss against their Canadian rivals and the Whitecaps have now scored seven in five – the tied most in MLS.

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Their attacking play has been good. Not great yet, but the signs are there that if everything clicks, the Whitecaps could be a dominant force.

Pedro Morales is the playmaker and makes everything tick. He already has the tied-most assists in MLS with three in five matches and is averaging two key passes per game.

In front of Morales is fellow Designated Player Octavio Rivero, who has already scored four in five and scooped the March Player of the Month award.

The South American pair have formed a good partnership early on in Vancouver colours and the duo are at the forefront of all the Whitecaps’ attacking play.

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Going forward, Vancouver play an aggressive, fast-paced game and look to hit teams on the counter attack. That is proved by their average possession statistic of 43.5% – the lowest in MLS after five weeks.

Despite seeing less of the ball than any other side, the Whitecaps have registered more shots on target (5.8) than any other team, proving that possession is not everything.

Vancouver Whitecaps statistics after five game

Vancouver Whitecaps’ team statistics after five games (stats via WhoScored.com)

Robinson deserves great credit for setting his team up in a system that keeps them solid at the back, but devastating on the counter.

It is an approach that could lead to low-scoring games as the Whitecaps will have to soak up pressure before attacking. But they have already scored three goals in the 86th minute or later to win matches against Chicago, Orlando and Portland.

Defensively, they have been good but that aggressive approach has seen them pick up more yellow cards (16) than any other side and they have made the second-highest number of fouls in MLS (80).

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The Vancouver Whitecaps have won four in a row for the first time ever as an MLS franchise and Saturday’s win against the LA Galaxy saw them put in their most complete performance this year.

They face Columbus Crew on Wednesday night at home, before a trip to San Jose to take on the Earthquakes next Saturday, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep up the aggression with two games in four days.

What have you made of the Vancouver Whitecaps so far this season? Do they deserve to be at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings?

Don Garber: MLS has ‘total belief’ in latest expansion franchise Minnesota United FC

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber strongly believes that the latest expansion franchise to be revealed, Minnesota United FC, will succeed as they represent everything that is spurring the growth of MLS.

Minnesota United FC were officially announced as the league’s 23rd expansion franchise on Wednesday afternoon and will enter the league by 2018 at the latest.

It’s a fascinating turnaround of fortunes for Minnesota United, who currently play in the NASL, as the club almost ceased from existence two years ago.

Uncertainty had surrounded soccer in Minnesota for years and after changing team names, league’s and ownership several times, Dr. Bill McGuire came in to save the club in November 2012.

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“[The owners] are totally committed,” Garber said at Wednesday’s expansion announcement from Target Field. “They love this game, they love this city and they’ve got a great plan for a building.

“They represent exactly what we want and what we need to continue this momentum that we have, that’s really stimulating the growth of our league.”

Don’t Miss: EXCLUSIVE: Minnesota United’s ‘Dark Clouds’ on MLS dream

Garber and the people at the top of the MLS pyramid chose Minnesota as the 23rd expansion franchise despite solid bids from Sacramento Republic, Las Vegas and a second one from Minnesota headed by the NFL’s Vikings ownership.

And the decision to award the latest MLS expansion slot to Minnesota United FC is something the MLS Commissioner thinks will go down as a great one.

“We have total belief in the Twin Cities. This is a market that is young, that is diverse, that has more people riding their bicycles around than they do in Brooklyn, and Brooklyn is a pretty hip place.

“It has an incredible international flair too. It is a city that represents all of the things that we have been able to capitalize on that are allowing our league to be a sport for a new America. It’s diverse, it’s young and it is empowered by people who are the next generation of great sports fans.”

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United are set to enter MLS in time for the start of the 2018 season but could come in a year earlier, depending on developments with LAFC and their stadium plans, though Garber admitted that the date of entry had nothing to do with David Beckham’s proposed Miami franchise.

“It could be as early as 2017. We have a number of moving pieces. That’s part of the dynamic with a young sports league. The target is no later than ‘18 and it could be as early as 2017.

“Los Angeles is coming into our league and they are either ’17 or ’18 and Minnesota will be either ’17 or ’18. It’s not related to Miami.”

Will Minnesota United FC take MLS by storm when they enter the league in the next three years?

Top 10 British footballers to play in America

Football, or soccer depending on what you prefer to call it, is quickly becoming one of the more recognised sports in the United States as Major League Soccer continues to grow and develop as a league. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will both head stateside this summer but here is a list of the ten best British players to play in America so far.

10. Dom Dwyer

Dom Dwyer celebrates after scoring for Sporting Kansas City last season (Photo: SportingKC.com)

Dom Dwyer celebrates after scoring for Sporting Kansas City last season (Photo: SportingKC.com)

He might not be the most recognisable name on this list but he’s made a splash since heading stateside. Dwyer played for Norwich at youth level but moved to America aged 19. He won the 2013 MLS Cup with Sporting Kansas City and scored 22 times in 33 appearances for the club last season. Dwyer recently made headlines as he married U.S. Women’s international footballer Sydney Leroux on Valentines Day.

9. Trevor Francis

Trevor Francis playing for the Detroit Express (Photo: NASLJerseys.com)

Trevor Francis playing for the Detroit Express (Photo: NASLJerseys.com)

Francis joined the Detroit Express in the North American Soccer League (NASL) on loan from Birmingham City in 1978. He scored an impressive 39 goals in 38 games in his only season in America before becoming the first British player to be transferred for £1 million when Nigel Clough signed him for Nottingham Forest in 1979.

8. Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne playing for England

Paul Gascoigne playing for England

Although he never actually signed for a club across the pond, Gascoigne spent a summer on trial with MLS side DC United in 2002 as a 33 year old. He rejected a contract with DC and his next career move saw him move to China with Gansu Tianma in a role that saw him fulfil both player and coaching roles.

7. Rodney Marsh

Rodney Marsh in action for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers against Franz Beckenbauer (Photo: NASLJerseys.com)

Rodney Marsh in action for the Tampa Bay Rowdies against Franz Beckenbauer (Photo: NASLJerseys.com)

Marsh joined the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 1976 and famously announced, “Pele is the black Rodney Marsh” after being labelled as the “White Pele” by the club’s owner upon his arrival. He went on to score 48 goals in 94 appearances for the Rowdies and stayed in America after retiring, filling various roles as a coach and CEO.

6. Peter Beardsley

Peter Beardsley playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps (Photo: VancouverWhitecaps.com)

Peter Beardsley playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps (Photo: VancouverWhitecaps.com)

Beardsley spent two short spells with Canadian-based club, the Vancouver Whitecaps in the early stages of his career, scoring 28 goals in 73 appearances. He first joined from Carlisle in September 1982 but was signed by Ron Atkinson at Manchester United just weeks after moving to North America. Beardsley returned to Vancouver in March 1983 in another short spell as he was then signed by Newcastle six months later.

5. Bradley Wright-Phillips

Bradley Wright-Phillips playing for the New York Red Bulls last season (Photo: NewYorkRedBulls.com)

Bradley Wright-Phillips playing for the New York Red Bulls last season (Photo: NewYorkRedBulls.com)

Wright-Phillips moved to the New York Red Bulls in July 2013 and the move across the Atlantic has rejuvenated his career. The former Southampton and Manchester City striker has scored 33 goals in 43 appearances and equalled the MLS single-season goal scoring record last year with 27. He won the MLS Supporters’ Shield with the Red Bulls in 2013 and scored against Bayern Munich in last season’s MLS All-Star game.

4. Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks (Photo: NASLJerseys.com)

Gordon Banks during his time in America (Photo: NASLJerseys.com)

The legendary England goalkeeper first moved to America in the summer of 1968, two years after winning the World Cup with England, to join the Cleveland Stokers on loan. He played seven of the club’s 12 games in their short-lived history. He returned to America in 1977 to join the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL, where he made 37 appearances before retiring.

3. Bobby Moore

Bobby Moore in action for the Seattle Sounders (Photo: NASLJerseys.com)

Bobby Moore during his time stateside (Photo: NASLJerseys.com)

Even Bobby Moore, one of England’s great footballing icons, made the trip west to play the game in North America. He joined the San Antonio Thunder on loan from Fulham in 1976, making 27 appearances, before moving to the Seattle Sounders in 1978 where he played just seven times as a 36 year old.

2. George Best

George Best with Pele during his time in the United States (Photo: Duncan Raban/EMPICS Entertainment)

George Best with Pele during his time in the United States (Photo: Duncan Raban/EMPICS Entertainment)

Best played for three different American clubs after leaving Manchester United in 1974. He spent two brief spells with the Los Angeles Aztecs either side of a season with Fulham before joining the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1978, where he played with Gordon Banks. The Northern Irishman then spent two years with the San Jose Earthquakes from 1980, netting 54 goals in 77 appearances for their indoor and outdoor teams.

1. David Beckham

David Beckham while with the LA Galaxy (Photo: MLSSoccer.com)

David Beckham while with the LA Galaxy (Photo: MLSSoccer.com)

Beckham is the man who changed the perception of U.S. soccer when he joined the LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007. ‘Becks’ spent five-and-a-half years with the Galaxy, winning the MLS Cup in each of his last two seasons. His mere presence helped to boost the image of the beautiful game in America and he is now on the cusp of securing his very own Miami MLS franchise.

Who do you think is the best British player to have played in America?

International Preview and Prediction: USA vs Panama

USA vs Panama – International Friendly

Venue: StubHub Center – Sunday, February 8 – 9:00PM GMT (4:00PM ET)

Match Odds: USA 4/7 – Draw 11/4 – Panama 5/1

The US Men’s National Team take on Panama in their second friendly of the year and will look to record their first win in six after last week’s 3-2 loss to Chile made it three defeats on the bounce.

Jurgen Klinsmann tried a 3-5-2 system in that game but there was a lot to work on in terms of the formation and it will be interesting to see if he is bold enough to start with that against Panama on Sunday.

Late goals continue to haunt the USA and they conceded twice in the final 25 minutes against Chile to lose the match, despite leading 2-1 at halftime. They have taken the lead in four of their last five but have not won in any of those matches.

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Fitness is a valid excuse at this stage of the year with Major League Soccer players only just returning to action, and 20 of the 23 players in the squad play in MLS now so they are yet to reach full match fitness.

Klinsmann has hinted that the 3-5-2 system will be used again by saying: “Definitely, we want to keep developing it, because we want to use it when the moment is there and maybe we have the players for it. And therefore, it’s a card to keep working on.”

USA Predicted Lineup vs Panama

Possible USMNT lineup vs Panama (via Lineupbuilder.com)

A friendly means substitutions can help things though and Klinsmann will expect to see his side get back to winning ways against a Panama side that is set to play their first game of 2015.

The CONCACAF side are 28 places lower than the USA in the FIFA World Rankings but will be looking to kickstart 2015 in the same form as they ended last year as they only lost one of their last seven in 2014.

USA vs Panama head-to-head record: Played 14 – USA 11 – Draws 2 – Panama 1

Three MLS players have been called up to the squad for the game against the USMNT as LA Galaxy’s Jaime Penedo, FC Dallas striker Blas Perez and Colorado Rapids forward Gabriel Torres will all expect to feature.

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If he starts, Penedo will be playing in a familiar environment as LA Galaxy’s StubHub Center will host the game.

Another Galaxy player hoping to feature will be Gyasi Zardes and the young striker will hope to start after looking sharp when coming off the bench against Chile last week.

USA’s last five: D/D/L/L/L

Panama’s last five: W/W/L/W/D

Key Stat: Panama have only beaten the USA once in 14 previous meetings – a 2-1 win in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011.

Key Player: Gyasi Zardes – The LA Galaxy striker showed promise on his debut against Chile and will be pushing for a start. Expect him to make a difference if he is given the time.

Score Prediction: USA 3–1 Panama The USMNT to get back to winning ways with an improved performance back on home soil.