MLS Preview: New York Red Bulls at Toronto FC

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  • The Red Bulls are 9-4-3 all-time against TFC and undefeated in their last eight games (6-0-2) of the series
  • Toronto has been shut out in seven of its last 11 matches
  • New York is coming off a high quality 4-0 win over Montreal

For New York and first year head coach MikePetke, the ingredients are there. Here and there, the flashes of something great have arrived, as with last week’s dominant 4-0 win over Montreal.

What remains missing around Red Bull Arena is the consistency. Still led nobly by Thierry Henry and his penchant for the spectacular, and by Jamison Olave’s formidable presence in the back, the Red Bulls win and then the Red Bulls lose. They mix in a draw and so it goes – but where is the big run?

New York’s one little stretch of high-caliber success came in late April and early May, when Petke’s bunch won four in a row. But that one served only to pull the Red Bulls back even with the pack, helping to mitigate an opening eight-game stretch that included just two wins and seemed to threaten Petke’s coaching career before it ever really achieved liftoff.

Things have stabilized now, and such a run would do much more than just pull the team level with the field; It would go a long way to securing the Red Bulls playoff positioning in a packed Eastern Conference Field, where five teams are jostling for positioning and three others are within reach of elbowing someone out.

Last time the Red Bulls went on a run, it started with a big win at home (4-1 over New England) and then a trip into BMO Field. So …

Can Petke’s team stir up the memories and do the same following last week’s signature win over Montreal, which is being chased by the season’s second trip into Toronto’s home ground?

Tim Cahill (pictured above) scored twice in the teams’ previous meeting around Exhibition Place in Toronto. That was his long-awaited Red Bulls’ breakthrough, his first goal of 2013 and just his second since arriving last summer from Everton. The longtime Aussie international now has five goals, including some important ones for one of the Eastern Conference favorites.

The opportunity will certainly be there today when the team kick off at 4 p.m. ET (’s official match preview is here). Toronto has been shut out in seven of its last 11 matches, with just seven total goals in that very dry stretch. Further, the team’s rebuilding efforts (it’s latest rebuilding, that is) appears to be going slow under manager Ryan Nelsen, whose choices sometimes seem at odds with management’s larger personnel plan.

Toronto was blanked last weekend at Sporting Kansas City (3-0) and then again during the week at Chivas USA (1-0).

“It is a learning experience for the young guys,” Nelsen told of the match in California. “I thought they did well and worked really hard. If we could have got that one goal, it would probably have led to a comfortable two or three goals for us. They would have had to come out of their shell and play and we would have been fine. We just couldn’t get the goal.”

MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:


Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

[ MORE: Bundesliga scores ]

“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]

USMNT centerback Carter-Vickers heads to Ipswich Town on loan

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Cameron Carter-Vickers has a new club to call home for the next five months or so after a rough first half of the season.

Tottenham announced Friday morning that it had loaned the U.S. Men’s National Team centerback to Championship club Ipswich Town for the rest of the season. Carter-Vickers spent the first five months of the season at fellow Championship side Sheffield United, starting 17 times though he struggled recently as Sheffield won just one game he played in during the month of December, losing three and drawing one.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Carter-Vickers was then recalled earlier this week and now has a new home with a mid-table Championship club, with a new chance to impress. Hopefully Carter-Vickers can recover his form and continue to grow, potentially latching on to another Premier League side next year or breaking into the Tottenham first team.

There’s another interesting American tie-in to this. Carter-Vickers appears to be a short-term replacement for Ipswich Town’s Tommy Smith, who the club states is headed to join the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2018 MLS season.