Are you ready for Rivalry Week?
That’s the new wrinkle on this year’s Major League Soccer schedule (just announced by the league office). During the third week of the season, eight of the nine scheduled matches will be waged between regional rivals, including …
- New York vs. D.C. United,**
- Montreal vs. Toronto,
- Seattle vs. Portland,*
- Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado,
- FC Dallas vs. Houston, and
- LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA.
* – to be aired on NBCSN; ** – to be aired on NBC
I love the idea, even if I have little idea if it will work. Rivalry games like the northwest’s Cascadia Cup are starting to draw significant attention, so why not build on (and promote) them? Have a whole week devoted to them early in the season, hopefully giving viewers and ticket buyers a reason to get hooked early?
There’s no downside to this. Even if it doesn’t work, it’s another idea tried and checked off the list.
It’s something that works for college football. Even the NFL is starting to strategically place some of their rivalry games (this season putting division battles on the last day of the season). It’s worth a shot in MLS.
Other schedule features highlighted by MLS:
- “More than 90 percent of this year’s regular season games are on weekends or holidays”
- “none will overlap directly with FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches”
- “During the summer months, most games will kick off no earlier than 4 p.m. local time”
- “All 323 matches will be televised live – 87 via national network partners ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Univision and UniMás in the United States. “
- “in Canada, at least 30 games featuring Canadian clubs will air on TSN/TSN2 in English and RDS/RDS2 in French”
Later in the day, we’ll try to get you more information on the nationally televised games in the States. For now, here’s the full schedule.
Play until you hear the referee’s whistle. In theory, so simple. In practice, it only takes a single second of concentration lapse to become an internet sensation for all the wrong reasons.
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Such is life for Karyn Forbes, member of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national soccer team. In the above video, you’ll observe Forbes, a 24-year-old midfielder, giving away perhaps the most bizarre penalty kick you’ll ever see. You’ll have to watch for yourself to believe it.
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Unfortunately for Forbes, though the whole of the ball might have crossed the whole of the end line, the referee did not blow her whistle… not until Forbes picked the ball up with her hands and carried it to her goalkeeper.
BERLIN (AP) The German Football League (DFL) has given the go-ahead for the possible testing of video replays in the Bundesliga over a two-year pilot phase.
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The DFL says it will be lodging an application with FIFA to take part if the pilot phase is approved by the International Football Association Board at its next annual general meeting on March 5.
The DFL says video replays could be used by a “team of impartial match officials for the purpose of avoiding any evidently incorrect decisions” and that the pilot phase would be preceded by “intensive preparations.”
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These would include the settlement of costs among FIFA, the IFAB, the DFL and German football federation, as well as training for the candidates.
West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.
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Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.
“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”
Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.
Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?
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How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.
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Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.