Chris Rolfe, Matt Besler

Sporting KC coach explains Matt Besler’s absence

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It wasn’t surprising, perhaps, that a motivated Sporting KC team could take down Chivas USA at home even without one of its best, U.S. international Matt Besler (pictured).

But Besler’s absence does deserve some exploration.

Injury, perhaps? That would be awful news for the guy, who will be on the upcoming U.S. roster for the important friendlies and World Cup qualifiers ahead or, at very least, will be leading the U.S. back line in the Gold Cup.

Nah. Not a serious one, at least. Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes explained that it just made sense to give the heady center back a little time off. SKC has a quick turn with a mid-week match Wednesday against Seattle. That means Besler gets to deal with fellow U.S. man Eddie Johnson, and possible with DP striker Obafemi Martins, if he’s healthy.

(MORE: Graham Zusi guides SKC’s romp-and-stomp over Chivas)

Then the bunch from Sporting Park travels to Houston for a Sunday match at BBVA Compass Stadium, where the Dynamo has yet to lose. Clearly, that one will be a bugger, too. Will Bruin and an in-form Giles Barnes need dealing with in that one.

Here’s what Vermes had to say about Besler’s day off:

He had a little bit of an issue the other day. We just felt that it wasn’t important to push it for this game being that we have three games in eight days. It was best to keep him out. It’s the same thing with Chance Myers. The decision is that we have three games in eight days and it’s a great exercise for us with these games because we’re going to start coming up on this situation quite often come summer. We have to be prepared to deal with that and the rotation of the roster.

Implied there, of course, is that Besler will be gone for a significant chunk of summer time. May as well get some of these other guys some time – because they will be up against tougher tests later. Clearly, it worked out OK on Sunday against the Goats, who managed not one shot on target in the 4-0 loss.

Contest to crown “Best American Bar” for Premier League fans

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For most of the weekend mornings, bars across the United States of America turn into places filled with jerseys of every color imaginable and either screams of despair or yelps of delight fill the air.

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Fans of the Premier League in the U.S. flock to plenty of pubs and bars across the nation to watch all the action and now NBC Sports wants to crown the “Best Premier League Bar in America” with your help.

Below are the details on how to get involved in the contest, as you can submit a nomination by visiting

Oh, and by the way, the winning bar will receive $50,000 and an exclusive viewing party hosted by NBC Sports, plus be featured in a national commercial.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT ] 

Also, hit play in the video above to get a flavor of the competition.

STAMFORD, Conn. – October, 2015 – This week, NBC Sports Group introduced a contest searching for the best Premier League bar in America.

From now through December 6, NBC Sports Group is asking fans to “show their pub some love” by submitting nominations  to help their bar take the throne at Additionally, fans can support their pub by:

  • Checking in on the NBC Sports Matchmaker App
  • Sharing stories, images and videos by tagging their bar and using #BestPLBarContest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Describing how much their Premier League pub means to them here.

The contest site also features a full list of participating bars, a list of trending bars, a social media feed with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts with the hashtag #BestPLBarContest, and a schedule of upcoming Premier League fixtures.

Following are the 10 bars currently trending:

  • The Londoner, Dallas, TX
  • Maggie McGarrys, San Francisco, CA
  • Irish Channel, Washington, DC
  • Carragher’s, New York, NY
  • Lucky Bar, Washington, DC
  • Boston Beer Garden, Boston, MA
  • 11th Street Bar, New York, NY
  • Beef & Barley, Chicago, Ill.
  • George and Dragon Pub, Seattle, WA
  • The Blind Pig, New York, NY

2015 MLS playoff scenarios heading into penultimate week

Michael Bradley, Toronto FC
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This is it, we have arrived at the penultimate week of the 2015 Major League Soccer season and there is still a lot to be decided.

[ MORE: Update on Beckham in MIA ]

Only five teams, the New York Red Bulls, D.C. United, FC Dallas, LA Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps have booked their spot in the postseason so far and the regular season Western and Eastern Conference titles are still up for grabs.

That, coupled with teams on the bubble (Orlando, Houston, Portland and RSL, I’m looking at you) for the playoffs is adding up to an enthralling final few games of the season as teams currently in the playoffs are only separated by a few points here and there.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ] 

Below, courtesy of the league office, are the scenarios for each MLS team to clinch a berth in the playoffs. Study. Worry. Repeat.

We will have an updated list of the scenarios later this week after the next batch of games are played on Wednesday.


Columbus Crew SC will clinch a berth in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Columbus Crew SC win or tie vs. Toronto FC on Saturday


  • Orlando City SC lose or tie vs. New York City FC on Friday

New England Revolution will clinch a berth in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • New England Revolution win or tie vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday


  • Orlando City SC lose or tie vs. New York City FC on Friday

Toronto FC will clinch a berth in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Toronto FC win or tie vs. New York Red Bulls on Wednesday


  • Orlando City SC lose or tie vs. New York City FC on Friday

Montreal Impact will clinch a berth in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Montreal Impact win vs. New England Revolution on Saturday


  • Orlando City SC lose or tie vs. New York City FC on Friday

New York Red Bulls will clinch first place in the Eastern Conference IF

  • New York Red Bulls win or tie vs. Toronto FC on Wednesday