Tag Archive for USMNT

Real Salt Lake vs Toronto FC – Despite missing stars a critical match for both teams

Perhaps no two established teams in MLS have more questions being asked of them this season than RSL and TFC, can RSL in the 2nd year of Jeff Cassars leadership continue to be a dominant force in the West?  Can RSL make the transition to the 4-3-3 work?  For TFC can they make the playoffs?  Will another year with huge signings and what is likely to be the highest payroll in MLS result in success or will the oft chaos in the organizations leadership lead them to the rocky shore yet again?

It is hard to believe that both of these teams are heading into just their 3rd match of the season but have so very much at stake, it is ridiculous that this match is being played this weekend at all.  See both teams had a bye week last week when both teams had full rosters, but no we get a match missing several key players on both side.  For RSL there will be no Nick Rimando, no Alvaro Saborio, no Luis Gil, and no Elias Vasquez, and for TFC there will be no Jozy Altidore, no Michael Bradley, no Marky Delgado, no Quillan Roberts, and no Chris Mannella, all on national team call ups.  Then add in the injuries to Joao Plata, and Pecka on the RSL side, and Steven Caldwell, Mark Bloom, Eriq Zavaleta, on the TFC side which will also deal with the suspension of Justin Morrow.  The reality is this match will be played with 11 combined likely starters missing between the two squads, and that is never a good thing and probably has the folks at Fox scratching their heads as this is their prestige national TV match for the weekend.

Still the match is going to be played, and the match is a hugely important one for both sides, as RSL are looking for their first win of the season after a pair of draws in their first two matches of the season.  Toronto will be looking to figure out which team they really are, the one that dominated in their opening match a 3-1 win over a improved Vancouver side or the one that got handled 2-0 at Columbus?

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What does 2015 hold for Real Salt Lake?

It came down to the wire, but a new CBA has been agreed to, so the MLS season can get under way.  What exactly does that mean for RSL heading into the 2015 season?

With some big off-season changes both in the front office as well as on the pitch, this clearly is now Dell Loy’s team with his choice for coach Jeff Cassar entering his second season and Craig Waibel as the Technical Director in place. So what are your expectations for RSL heading into the 2015 season? Remember this year we will see MLS action, CCL action, USOC action, as well as the addition of USL Pro side Real Monarchs, construction of a new stadium for them, the possible addition of a NWSL team, that is a whole lot of soccer (and yes we love it).

So let’s start with the bread and butter of RSL, the regular season, over the last 5 years 3 clubs in MLS have been the definition of regular season success, the LA Galaxy, the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake. For the last 5 years both LA and RSL have won at least 15 matches and ended with at least 50 points, Seattle has done it the last 4 seasons.  RSL has made the playoffs every season since 2008, the longest active streak in MLS.

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A new anthem for the USMNT – We Stand United by Branden Steineckert

So I am by no stretch of the imagination a huge music fan, but I have a huge respect for talented people who can make music that entertains.  Branden Steineckert (@801PUNX) is one of those guys, he was with The Used, he is with Rancid, but he is more than just a guy in a band, he is able to take his love and passion for soccer and use it to do amazing things.

First it was “Believe” his anthem for Real Salt Lake, which still gives fans like me chills every time I hear it live or watch the video for it, which has been viewed almost 1/4 of a million times. Branden is also a huge US Men’s National Team fan, and just like he applied his talent and passion for RSL to “Believe” we now have “We Stand United”, his anthem for the USMNT.

His ability to create chants that are easy to remember, have a catchy rhythm and still express his (our) passion for our teams is simply amazing.  I am proud to know Branden and far beyond his talent is a guy who is simply a great guy, always willing to say hi to fans, always willing to pose for a picture and whenever he is in Salt Lake City, I know where to find him when RSL is playing a home match, right in the front row of section 35 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

My advice to you is to watch the video, learn these lyrics:



because I expect they will be heard from now on in every stadium where the USMNT plays, at least if we as fans have any sense about us.

Oh and if you want to buy the song from itunes you can.

Thanks Branden for all that you do to support RSL, the USMNT, and the beautiful game in general.

That’s How I See It

Official Press Release on new Major League Soccer deal

Straight from MLS:

TV deal logos

For Immediate Release    

Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer Sign Landmark Television and Media Rights
Partnerships with ESPN, FOX and Univision Deportes

  • Eight-year Agreements Begin in 2015
  • Nationally-televised Matches will be Anchored on Friday and Sunday
  • Univision Becomes First Spanish-language Network to have Exclusive Night with U.S.-based Major Professional Sports League  


NEW YORK (May 12, 2014) – Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer have signed new television and media rights partnerships with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes, reaching eight-year agreements with the networks to televise MLS and U.S. Soccer matches in the United States through the end of 2022.  The announcement was made today by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, U.S. Soccer CEO/General Secretary Dan Flynn, ESPN, Inc. President and Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman John Skipper, President, COO and Executive Producer for FOX Sports Eric Shanks and Univision Deportes President Juan Carlos Rodriguez.

For the first time in Major League Soccer’s history, all three television partners will feature an exclusive MLS Match of the Week, providing soccer fans throughout the country with a destination day and time for each network.  The Univision family of networks will televise a game of the week on Friday evenings — primarily on UniMás — and a wrap-up show on Sundays.  The Friday night match on the Univision family of networks will be the first time a Spanish-language television network will have its own exclusive night with a major professional sports league based in the United States.

Soccer fans will be able to enjoy a doubleheader of MLS action every Sunday, as ESPN and FOX Sports 1 will televise back-to-back MLS matches on Sundays at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET, respectively.  More than 125 MLS matches will be televised annually on the three networks.

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ESPN, Fox and Univision show MLS the money, now what?

An estimated $90 million dollars a year is what the deal will be worth according to reports out this morning, that is a huge bump from the current $18-20 million a year and could be just the game changer that MLS needs to become one of the top leagues in the world, or is it?

Here are the details as provided by SBJ/SBD:

New TV

Now I have been more than a little critical of the level of commitment over the past decade by both ESPN and Fox, and you only have to look at the fact that not a single MLS match has been shown on ESPN/2 yet this year to know why.  The new plan calls for both to broadcast 34 matches a year, yes that is one each week (or equivalent of), and another one each week on Univision and now you have almost 100 matches being carried on a national level.  Now before you get too excited that actually isn’t a big move forward, this year NBC/S will have 40 MLS matches on, there are 48 on UniMas and/or Univision Dep. and 14 more on ESPN/2.  The big new will be the regular time spots, Univision on Friday nights, and both Fox and ESPN on Sundays, fans have asked for a regular time slot and they will now have it.  For me the big upside is that now national matches aren’t trying to compete with all the matches that are played on Saturdays, which I think will help ratings out a lot.

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Real Salt Lake dismantle Toronto FC 3-0

So in my match preview post, I pointed out how the passing and possession style of RSL would cause issues for TFC who often look to force a mistake or counter and attack, on Saturday night RSL had 434 passes completed at a 80% rate, while TFC had just 265 and a completion rate of 73%.  That resulted in RSL dominating the possession by a 60.5% to 39.5%, and RSL was much more effective with their possession.

I thought the absence of Jonathan Osorio would be huge as he was the main link for TFC between their defense and Michael Bradley, the result was the Bradley often found himself having to come further back to get the ball and that limited his effectiveness as a playmaker and provider.  The TFC midfield simply couldn’t match up with RSL’s on Saturday, despite the play of Bradley, only 7 passes found their way to Jermain Defoe who only got 2 shots off and neither was on target.  Gilberto took 5 shots with a couple forcing saves by Nick Rimando but on the night the RSL defense was very solid and despite some good attempts by TFC, they simply never were able to find the back of the net.

I will say that I got mighty lucky with my preview picks on the scoring Saturday night, I predicted a 3-1 RSL win with Sabo getting the brace (check), and Luis Gil getting one (check), I did pick Bradley to get a goal for TFC and he came within a couple of inches with a shot from distance that froze Rimando but bounced off the frame.  Not a bad round of predictions.

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Michael Bradley comes to MLS, what it could mean to the rest of the league

A lot of us have roommates, some because they are friends and others to divide up living costs.  A lot of us carpool or take public transit, some because it is environmentally good and others to save money.  For the 25% plus of MLS players who reportedly made under $50,000 last year I imagine it was a lot of the second, most don’t play in cities where their parents live so crashing in their basement isn’t an option.   Now when compared to the league minimums of other professional sports leagues in the US this number will either make you laugh or cry:

So at the low end of the list is the NFL, a bit of a surprise to me, but consider that just 18 players in all of MLS in 2013 made more than the league minimum of what a NFL player would make, 501 made less.

Now it is kinda unfair to compare MLS which is a very young league with those who have been around a lot longer, but clearly if you want to compete for the very best athletes in the US you have to be able to offer them something closer to what they can make in other leagues.

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Welcome back, a bit of catch up and house cleaning

So I owe all of you a bit on an apology, the last month has been a very long one for me.  I was excited to be able to really enjoy being a fan for the World Cup Qualifier, that was followed by a rough fight with a nasty round of being sick, and then a huge week at work with several projects coming due at once.  So I am sorry for the lack of posts over the last month, but now I am back and have a whole lot to say over the next few days and weeks.

However I must first put in this plug for Saturday, we beyond lucky that we got both a World Cup Qualifier and the Gold Cup (with the USMNT).  It wasn’t Seattle, New York, LA, Dallas, or any other market that was selected for both, it was Salt Lake City, and I get there was some friction between some of our local supporter groups and the American Outlaws last time around, but I really hope that everyone comes out in great numbers and great voice on Saturday.  Our boys deserve the level of support that we are known for in MLS, and as you watch this video clip you can understand how important this match is to our players (Kyle, Nick, and Tony) and how proud they are to be able to play at their home stadium:

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Time for Real Salt Lake and US Soccer fans to have some fun

Oh I know it is the start of the week, and many of us may be at work today, but that is no excuse not to enjoy the next 48 hours.  As soccer fans, the chance to host a World Cup qualifier is a rare event, and we in Salt Lake City are lucky as the US is back in town and a win on Tuesday will all but ensure their spot in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

So before the actual match, are some fun events, both official and unofficial, so lets take a look at what is going on today:

First up the official list of events from US Soccer:


Monday, June 17
U.S. Soccer Fan Headquarters 
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: The Depot (400 W. South Temple)

U.S. Soccer Pep Rally 
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: The Depot

U.S. Soccer is holding a free Pep Rally at The Depot in Salt Lake City at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 17to energize fans the night before the U.S. Men’s National Team hosts Honduras in a crucial World Cup Qualifier on June 18 at Rio Tinto Stadium in nearby Sandy, Utah. U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and select players will be on hand to interact with fans in attendance.

The Depot (400 W. South Temple) is one of Salt Lake City’s most unique music venues and is conveniently located on the TRAX light rail system (exit at the Arena station on South Temple).

Leading into the Pep Rally, fans can come out to U.S. Soccer’s Fan Headquarters (#FanHQ) at The Depot at 5 p.m. to take part in other activities. Fans can participate in a EA Sports FIFA 13 video game competition, which will be displayed on a giant screen, play small-sided street soccer, answer trivia questions to win prizes and pick up giveaways, such as a small version of the game-specific poster for USA-Honduras designed by Eric Elms.

Of course there are some other events as well

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Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman talks USMNT, RSL and more.

It was just about two years that I had a chance to spend some time talking with RSL’s Kyle Beckerman, you can read that interview on my old blog rslsoapbox.com, on Friday I was able to ask Kyle a couple of questions after RSL practice.  I am impressed with how consistent Kyle is in his maturity about the USMNT and RSL, and it is clear that you can tell that he is a player who is really enjoying his time both with his club and representing the US.  I have a feeling that as good as Kyle has been over the years, that the best is yet to come.  Here is the video of his interview:

I suggest making it out to as many RSL matches as you can to see Kyle in action, and don’t forget that you will also have two chances this summer to likely see Kyle with the USMNT as they play at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 18th in a World Cup Qualifying match against Honduras, and then on July 13th when the US will take on Cuba in Gold Cup action, which is part of a double header that will also feature Costa Rica (likely with Alvaro Saborio) that will take on Belize.

That’s How I See It