Jonah Freedman takes a look at next week’s CONCACAF U-20 Championship, arguing that it’s a big moment for the Major League Soccer Academy system. “The American and Canadian rosters feature a combined 13 players who have been groomed by MLS clubs in their academies or as Homegrown signings. And that’s unprecedented,” he writes. The U.S. team alone boasts four Homegrown Players: Columbus’ Wil Trapp, LA’s Jose Villarreal, and Colorado’s Dillon Serna and Shane O’Neill.
Freedman has a good point. (He’s so smart, that one.) This is the first cycle where we’ve seen the impact of MLS’s youth academy focus. I’d argue that it’s going to be another cycle or two before we’re fully aware of how successfully the academies are in changing the U.S. player pool, but this is a start and a good first test case. The roster Ramos called is mixed pretty evenly between academy products, college kids, and young men playing in Mexico and Germany.
The interesting thing will to see how much the system helps other national teams. I’ve argued before that MLS getting better could hurt the United States national team, and that could apply on a youth level as well. That said, I don’t think there’s as much of a chance of that happening as I do on the senior team.
When it comes to MLS and the academies, the vast majority of players they are training will end up playing for the American national youth team if they end up playing for any national team. At the youth level, it’s more the merrier since you never know how a 16-year-old teenager will do as he grows older. Next week in Mexico will provide a little window into the future.
While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.
[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]
Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.
Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.
Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.
Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.
Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic
City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.
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The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.
CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.
Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.
MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.
The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.
[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]
Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.
Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.
Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.
[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]
ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.
The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.
Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.
Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.
According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.