Major League Soccer’s all-newcomer team (early version)

1 Comment

In some years, a new MLS man who walked out onto a field without tripping over the white line as he debuted might have a fairly good chance of qualifying for an MLS All-New Man team.

Not in 2013. Major League Soccer’s opening weekend was stacked with promising performances from rookies or newly arrived names from lands beyond.

Here’s our All-MLS Newbie team from opening weekend. (Restricted to men brand new to the league; i.e., no MLS vets who changed addresses in the offseason allowed.)

GOALKEEPER:

  • FC Dallas’ Raul Fernandez

Why we like him: FC Dallas’ new Peruvian backstopper gets a little edge over LA Galaxy’s Carlo Cudicini, who didn’t have a busy day but still made one major mess of things.

BACK LINE

  • Columbus Crew’s Glauber
  • Portland Timbers’ Ryan Miller
  • Seattle Sounders’ DeAndre Yedlin

Why we like them: Glauber will have tougher tests ahead, but a shutout for the veteran  Brazlian and his back line mates against rebuilt Chivas USA was surely a worthy start. In the Rose City, Diego Valeri will grab up most of the new-guy buzz, but Ryan Miller’s determination to get forward and do damage along the right side was impressive. Yedlin also started at right back for his team, and the youngest man to ever start a league match for the Sounders more than held his own. (Doing so against MLS vet Justin Mapp.)

Oh, about the prominent name you might see missing: Don’t worry, Mikael Silvestre, you’ll get ’em next time!

MIDFIELD

  • Vancouver Whitecaps’ Nigel Reo-Coker
  • Portland Timbers’ Diego Valeri (pictured)
  • Toronto FC’s Kyle Bekker
  • Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kekuta Manneh

Why we like them: Valeri was a baaaaad man in his Jeld-Wen debut, as anyone there will tell you. We’re talking early (early, early!) candidate for MLS Newcomer of the Year stuff here. We talked about Reo-Coker’s big influence here. And then he talked about it here. Manneh, newly arrived from the Austin Aztex, was sometimes a handful along the Whitecaps’ right side. Bekker, working all the way, will be in Rookie of the Year conversations going forward.

FRONT LINE

  • Sporting Kansas City’s Claudio Bieler
  • Chivas USA’s Julio Morales
  • Colorado Rapids’ Deshorn Brown

Why we like them: About Brown, the Colorado Rapids’ rookie and No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft: The kid has got something. Same for Chivas USA’s Julio Morales, who showed he could be dangerous over 45 minutes with the rebuilt Goats. Bieler arranged one goal and scored a nice him for himself in his debut for Sporting KC.

LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

WATCH LIVE: Three Premier League matches

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Leave a comment

Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.

Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.

Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

FIFA bans Colombia midfielder Cardona 5 games for gesture

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.

FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.

Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”

Spurs’ Alderweireld won’t return until February

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Spurs finally got a bit of good news this weekend with a blowout of Stoke City.

That was a followed by a tough draw against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, and bad news on an old injury.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Center back Toby Alderweireld is going to be gone into February, extending his time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 1 against Real Madrid.

Spurs were 6-2-2 in league when Alderweireld went down, and are just 2-2-2 since the injury. The Belgian has missed losses at Arsenal and Leicester, draws against Watford and West Brom, and wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke.

Tottenham did win both of its UCL matches since the injury.