“Name” schmame! Tim Cahill the perfect “get” for RBNY

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I keep hearing how Tim Cahill isn’t a big name. How he’s a signing less flashy and more ordinary.

And then I keep saying, “So stinkin’ what?”

Red Bull Arena is chalk full o’ the pretty, the preening and the preeminent. If there’s not sufficient star power in names like Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez, then I have no idea what people must think of the rosters in about 14 MLS markets.

Buncha snobs!

(MORE: Cahill set for MLS debut tonight in Houston)

Name recognition has always been oversold in MLS as a ticket driver. Yes, David Beckham moves the attendance needle. The big name Mexican stars can to a point.

After that? Name schmame. Soccer fans here are more sophisticated every day; talented players draw crowds (eventually), recognized name or not.

Besides, show me a team that wins and I’ll show you a team in position to score big at the gate.

That, in my mind, makes Cahill worth his weight in gold, simply because he’s such a good fit and can potentially be the proverbial “last piece” for the Red Bulls. He’s also the kind of player who thrives in MLS, an energetic midfielder with plenty of pace and strength, and lots of fire in the belly to match his experience and intuition.

Think, “Joel Lindpere, but with larger stores of skill and athleticism.”

But don’t take my word for it. Dig, if you will, what Henry said about Cahill after Tuesday’s friendly against Tottenham in Harrison:

You saw a little cameo of what he can do. He’s clever. You saw Teemu and Tim not running a lot, just putting yourself playing where you should be. Football is not only running, going up-and down without playing the ball…They were putting themselves in the pockets where they knew maybe Tottenham was going to hurt us. That’s what they were doing. He made one run: one penalty. You’ve got to be clever (to do that).’’

Cahill’s good work in the attacking half led to the Red Bulls only goal. He played just a half in the 2-1 loss. More from Henry:

You saw how he can jump, hold the ball, go into contact. Tim Cahill is going to be – you’ve got to let him get in shape, because this is his preseason – but especially in New York, people are going to love how he plays. He’s committed, gets in your face, great headers. He’s clever on the field…. I know people are expecting a big name, but you want somebody who is clever, adapts well to what you need on the field. You’re going to get that with Tim Cahill.’’

CONCACAF: USMNT, Trinidad & Tobago seek first points of Hexagonal

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Through two rounds of play in the Hexagonal, everything has gone according to plan for Mexico and Costa Rica.

Not so much though for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]

While Los Ticos and El Tri currently sit in the top two positions of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, the U.S. is left at the bottom and faces a difficult match against Honduras when play resumes on Friday night.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ahead of Honduras match ]

Mexico and Costa Rica will face off at the Estadio Azteca in the second of Friday’s three slated qualifiers, and while both nations surely expect to reach the World Cup in Russia, both CONCACAF heavyweights have the opportunity to put their stamp on the group.

For Costa Rica, a victory could potentially open up a five-point gap over El Tri, while a win for Mexico would bring Juan Carlos Osorio’s side the opportunity leap over their Central American foes.

Friday’s action will kick off at 7 p.m. though when third place Panama travels to Trinidad & Tobago, who seeks its first points of the Hex. Trinidad will be led by captain Kenwyne Jones of Atlanta United as well as Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino, with the duo scoring a combined 39 international goals for the Soca Warriors.

Below is the schedule and current table ahead of Friday’s CONCACAF matches as the region turns its attention to Matchday 3 of the Hexagonal.


Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama — 7 p.m. ET

Mexico vs. Costa Rica — 9:50 p.m. ET

USMNT vs. Honduras — 10:30 p.m. ET (PREVIEW)


1. Costa Rica — 2-0-0 — 6 pts.
2. Mexico — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
3. Panama — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
4. Honduras — 1-0-1 — 3 pts.
5. Trinidad & Tobago — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.
6. USMNT — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.

Spurs allowed to play all home matches at Wembley next season

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Tottenham was granted the right to play all of its home matches at Wembley Stadium for the 2017/18 season, but the club must now make a decision whether or not to remain at White Hart Lane for another year.

[ MORE: Man City weighing massive offer for Milan’s Donnarumma ]

The club’s application was granted on Thursday by Brent Council’s planning committee, giving Spurs the option to move into Wembley next season for all 27 home Premier League fixtures.

Spurs must decide if it will go ahead with that move though by March 31.

Tottenham continues to play at White Hart Lane while its new stadium, located next door to its current venue, is being constructed. The current plan is that the new venue will be open ahead of the 2019/2020 campaign, but the club is said to be weighing all of its options in the event that it could be ready for the 2018/19 season.

Prosecutors question Beckenbauer in World Cup fraud case

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BERN, Switzerland (AP) Swiss authorities say prosecutors have questioned Germany soccer great Franz Beckenbauer in their ongoing World Cup fraud case.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT looks to build momentum vs. Honduras ]

Criminal proceedings against Beckenbauer and three other German members of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee were opened in 2015. The four are suspected of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement, and misappropriation relating to a payment of 6.7 million euros ($7 million) to FIFA in 2005.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ahead of Honduras WCQ ]

The Swiss attorney general’s office said in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday that federal prosecutors questioned Beckenbauer earlier in the day in Bern, adding that “Beckenbauer was cooperative.”

Beckenbauer’s home in Austria was raided last year for evidence on behalf of Swiss federal prosecutors investigating corruption linked to FIFA.

Report: Man City launching massive bid for AC Milan’s Donnarumma

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Gianluigi Donnarumma has quickly established himself as the best young goalkeeper in European soccer, and AC Milan won’t be letting the 18-year-old go without a pretty penny in return.

[ MORE: Schedule, preview for UEFA World Cup qualifying ]

According to Sky Sport Italia, Manchester City is preparing a massive bid in the range of $130 to $160 million to acquire the AC Milan shot-stopper as the English side’s goalkeeping situation is still unsettled.

The Citizens have failed to hunker down at the goalkeeper position this season despite spending big to bring in Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo, who has underperformed. Willy Caballero has also been shaky at times for the English giants, while on-loan keeper Joe Hart will almost certainly move on from the club over the summer.

Donnarumma is currently second in Serie A in saves (110), trailing only Crotone’s Alex Cordaz, who has stopped two more shots.

Since turning professional in 2015, Donnarumma has quickly enjoyed his rise through Italian football for both AC Milan and with the national team. After previously featuring for the Under-15, U-17 and U-21 sides, Donnarumma has established himself as the surefire replacement for Gianluigi Buffon once he retires from the international game.