MLS Season Preview: Chivas USA

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This will be the final season of Chivas USA’s existence as Major League Soccer purchased the club from Chivas Guadalajara owners Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes. The team will stay in L.A. but be re-branded for next season and move into their own soccer specific stadium in the near future. With former Colorado Rapids assistant coach Wilmer Cabrera in charge, MLS will appoint a club president and give the team a budget but apart from that we don’t know an awful lot. We do know that Stan Kroenke won’t be buying the team as MLS Commissioner Don Garber confirmed.

Since they entered the league in 2005, early promise has succumbed to seeing Chivas not make the playoffs since 2009 and they’ve finished bottom of the West in three of the last four seasons. The only way is up. Once again the Goats’ nearest rivals are LA Galaxy who they share the StubHub Center with as their home stadium. Expect some fiery SuperClasico’s this season as this rivalry is about to take on a whole different spin.


Players In: Mauro Rosales (Trade with Seattle for Tristan Bowen and allocation spot), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Trade with Portland for Jorge Villafana and Re-Entry draft pick), Adolfo Bautista (Free agent), Luke Moore (Undisclosed, Elazığspor), Agustín Pelletieri (Undisclosed, Racing Club), Tony Lochhead (Undisclosed, Wellington Phoenix), Andrew Riberio (Free, Charlotte Eagles), Donny Toia (Free, Phoenix FC) Fejiro Okiomah (Free, Charlotte Eagles)

Players Out: Tristan Bowen (Trade with Seattle for Mauro Rosales and allocation spot), Jorge Villafana (Trade with Seattle for Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Re-Entry draft pick), Gabriel Farfan (Loan, Chiapas)

Key Player: Mauro Rosales

Can Rosales stay fit and dazzle with Chivas?

The Argentine playmaker has been in sensational form in preseason, banging in some stunning free kicks and looks to have rolled back the years. After some good seasons at Seattle, fitness issues got the best of Mauro up in the Emerald City in the end, so a change of scenery should do him good. Coupled with goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and central defender Carlos Bocanegra, those three make up a spine full of MLS experience. If Rosales can stay fit, Chivas need to get him on the ball as much as possible in the central area and watch him slot things together. His partnership with fellow Argentine Agustín Pelletieri in the center of the pitch will be crucial if Chivas can have a good season.

Manager: Cabrera is well respected within MLS and helped Oscar Pareja build a squad full of young players at Colorado as an assistant coach since 2012. He’s also had vast experience with the U.S. soccer youth system after coaching both the U-17 and U-18 sides, and this is a big chance for him to prove he can be a successful head coach in MLS. Not much is expected from Cabrera, and he will likely set his team up in an attacking formation. This could be fun.

Outlook: Chivas have made some good player acquisitions but with so much up in the air it’s difficult to predict how this season will plan out. It will certainly be a strange situation, but the league owned team still have plenty to play for. Chivas’ squad will be playing for pride and having a bit of fun in 2014. They’ll also be hoping to impress potential buyers to keep them around in 2015. Things are looking a lot brighter for L.A.’s second franchise, but don’t expect a playoff spot this season. But some fluid attacking soccer should liven things up.

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MLS Cup Playoffs: Toronto FC 3-1 Philadelphia Union (video)

Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC
Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): 10 years later, Toronto FC are MLS Cup Playoffs victors. For eight seasons, the playoffs eluded them altogether. Last year, they were one-and-done in embarrassing fashion at the hands of their local rivals. In 2016, it was  their year — a proclamation we’d heard plenty times before — and so far, they’ve lived up to the hype. Wednesday’s 3-1 home victory over the Philadelphia Union in the knockout round gets the monkey off the Reds’ back, but more importantly, afforded Sebastian Giovinco, who bagged a goal and an assist on the night (his second straight game with such a line), 90 more minutes of game time after missing more than a month through injuries as the regular season wound down. After 270 minutes of action, the Atomic Ant looks sharp as ever, and destined to terrorize New York City FC, whom TFC will face in the conference semifinals, beginning Sunday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

15′ — Atlidore feeds Giovinco for 1-0 — The first playoff goal in TFC’s 10-year history. Poor goalkeeping, ball-watching defending, terrible touches, an overhead cross, and a strike off the crossbar. There’s a lot going on here. Watch it all right here.

49′ — Osorio slams home from the corner for 2-0 — The Union have been bad at defending set pieces all season, so is it at all surprising a set-piece gaffe effectively ended their season? No, it’s not.

73′ — Bedoya puts the loose ball home for 2-1 — Speaking of failing to effectively clear a corner kick, the Union were gifted a lifeline 15 minutes before full-time.

85′ — Altidore puts it out of reach, seals it for TFC — Ken Tribbet did not have the best night a center back has ever seen. His final blunder resulted in Jozy Altidore reclaiming TFC’s two-goal lead, and ending the Union’s 2016 season.

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Men of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Giovinco (15′), Osorio (49′), Bedoya (73′), Altidore (85′)

Men In Blazers podcast: Mourinho’s Chelsea return; Bradley’s 1st point

Men In Blazers
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Rog and Davo break down Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea with Manchester United, another stumble for Manchester City and Bob Bradley’s first Premier League point.

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VIDEO: Altidore, Giovinco combine for TFC’s first-ever playoff goal

Sebastian Giovinco
Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP
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It’s been 10 years in the making, and Toronto FC finally have their first-ever goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

After failing to qualify for the playoffs in each of their first eight seasons, 2015 saw the Reds venture into the postseason for the first time ever, only to be thumped in the knockout round, 3-0, by their 401 derby rival Montreal Impact, of all sides.

This is the year, though, or so we’ve said and been told all season long. While it remains to be seen how deep of a run TFC can muster in 2016, they’ll always have the Jozy Altidore‘s terrible first touch; Altidore’s wayward second and third touches; Altidore’s overhead cross; and Sebastian Giovinco’s strike, all of which you can watch in all its hilarity glory below.

[ MORE: Power rankings — Playoffs edition | MLS Cup predictions ]

Julian Green’s historic first start, goal for Bayern Munich

Julian Green, Bayern Munich (Photo credit: Bundesliga / Twitter)
Photo credit: Bundesliga / Twitter
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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) United States international Julian Green scored in his first official start as title holder Bayern Munich eased to a 3-1 win over Augsburg to reach the third round of the German Cup on Wednesday.

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Green’s first goal in a competition match for Bayern came in the 42nd minute with a header off a cross by Thomas Mueller.

The 21-year-old American winger played in the previous German Cup round, coming off the bench in a 5-0 win over Carl-Zeiss Jena. Green has been in coach Carlo Ancelotti’s squad several times this season but this was his first start.

Green made headlines by scoring a hat trick against Inter Milan in a pre-season tour of the United States, then scored in back-to-back matches for the United States against Cuba and New Zealand.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Going to the playoffs edition ]

Ancelotti left many of his regulars on the bench against Augsburg and Green got his chance.

Another player made a comeback with defender Holger Badstuber coming off the bench late in the match. Badstuber had not played since an ankle injury in February.

Bayern, an 18-time German Cup winner, went ahead through Philipp Lahm in the second minute and David Alaba completed the victory in injury time.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

Ji Dong-won had cut Augusburg’s deficit with fine angled shot above Manuel Neuer’s arms into the roof of the net in the 69th.

Both teams missed penalties, with Mueller shooting high for Bayern and Neuer saving the spot-kick taken by Koo Ja-cheol.