Over the weekend two massive milestones were reached in Major League Soccer.
Take a bow Mr. Schmid and Mr. Rimando.
Both men were record breakers as Sigi Schmid celebrated his 200th win as an MLS coach on Sunday, while Nick Rimando kept his 113th clean sheet in MLS play, as RSL beat D.C. United 3-0, to break Kevin Hartman’s record on Saturday.
So, Schmid becomes the first MLS coach to break the 200 win barrier and he is a coach who has thrived and succeeded wherever he has gone. With the LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders, Schmid has won silverware and many deemed this season as his biggest test yet. Overhauling Seattle’s roster, no problem. Schmid has used his vast knowledge of the league to bring in experienced MLS players who are getting the job done with the Sounders sitting pretty atop the Western Conference past the midway point.
The 61-year-old legendary coach began his journey in MLS in 1998 has never looked back after creating UCLA into a College Soccer powerhouse and being involved in the U.S. national team setup at youth level before turning to the pros. The German born coach has set the bar so high for others to follow and there’s no end in sight.
After racking up a record-breaking 113 shutouts in 361 games, Rimando has been one of the best ‘keepers in MLS, week in, week out, for 15 years. The U.S. national team goalkeeper provides highlight reel saves and the fact that he has never won the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award is somewhat of a travesty. His MLS career began with the Miami Fusion back in 2000 and after a four-year stint with D.C. United, it is with current club Real Salt Lake were he has shone. Despite his small size for a ‘keeper, just 5 foot 9 tall, Rimando is a menace between the posts and he kept Bayern Munich at bay with several fine stops in the 2014 MLS All-Star Game.
A hidden gem of MLS has his name in the history books and many more accolades will be heading his way in due course. The four-time MLS All-Star and 2009 MLS Cup MVP is only 35 and has at least another four to five seasons left in him.
Congrats to Sigi and Nick on their remarkable achievements in MLS from everyone at ProSoccerTalk.
The council voted 12-0 Friday to move forward with a 22,000-seat stadium on the site of the old Sports Arena next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and USC.
The 15-acre complex is also slated to include a conference center, restaurants, 140,000 square feet of plazas and streetscapes, and a soccer museum.
At its center would be the home to the new MLS team when it makes its debut in 2018.
LAFC is owned by Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan, American venture capitalist Henry Nguyen and a celebrity-studded list of investors including Magic Johnson, Tony Robbins, Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra.
Barcelona reportedly seeking out Nice winger Hatem Ben Afra
Rivere told France 3 he wouldn’t mind Ben Afra exiting the club:
“I would be very happy for him and for Nice if this move comes off,” Rivère said. “You do not reject Barcelona, but it is up to him to decide. If I was a player and Barcelona was offered to me I would not ask questions, I would go! But it is not yet done according to what I am told.”
In 32 appearances this season for Nice, Ben Afra has notched 17 goals and added five assists. He ranks third in goals, only behind PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon.
Barcelona could very well be the frontrunners to acquire the talented attacker, but several European sides have also expressed interest in Ben Afra. Premier League clubs Chelsea and Liverpool, as well as AC Milan have also been named as potential suitors.
Ben Afra’s age may be a bit of a concern for the Blaugrana though, in addition to the fact that this current season is the only time in his career that he has tallied double-digit goals. The Lyon academy product could provide solid depth to Barcelona’s attack should a deal get finalized.
Leicester City host Everton on Saturday from the King Power Stadium (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on USA and online via Live Extra) in hopes of providing its fans with a season-capping victory, after winning the Premier League title on Monday.
By now everyone has seen Christian Fuchs‘ video of the Leicester players in celebration mode, but there are still two games left to play. The match against Everton may be more about pride than anything else, but it can still represent an important feat for the club and serve as a true celebration in front of their home supporters.
Jamie Vardy‘s return will provide the fans with yet another moment to applaud and you’d expect the Leicester forward to want to add to his 22 PL goals.
The Foxes will be met by an Everton side that don’t really have anything to play for either. Toffees manager Roberto Martinez will surely be looking for a win with his job on the line, however, it’s left to be seen whether or not he can actually maintain his position. Everton has finished in the PL top 10 each of the last eight seasons, and a finish outside of that mark would be a huge setback for the club.
What they’re saying…
Ranieri on his team competing: “Inside me there are two people. One is a very aggressive, I want to win, I won the Premier League but now I want to win on Saturday.”
Martinez on Leicester not letting up: “I’m sure any sort of celebration could affect you in the long term if you had to face a difficult month. In a 90-minute game where the stadium is going to be an historic environment, I’m sure that can only be positive for the home team.”
The title is already theirs but why wouldn’t Leicester win this match? The KP Stadium will be rocking into the night and the Foxes will come away with a convincing 3-0 win against Everton.
With their season on the line, Norwich is facing desperation as they meet Manchester United. The Canaries posted just one win in four matches in April, leaving them 19th in the PL. While neither Newcastle nor Sunderland were able to create separation between themselves and Norwich, a win against United is a necessity with three games left to play.
Goals have come at a minimum this season for the Canaries, leaving Nathan Redmond and Dieumerci Mbokani in need of a big game. Each player has notched five goals this season for the side.
Disappointment has surrounded United for much of the 2015-16 season, however, the Red Devils still have important matches to play down the stretch. That starts with Norwich. Sitting four points behind fourth place Manchester City and holding a game in hand, Louis Van Gaal‘s club can close the gap on the Citizens with a strong performance on Saturday.
What they’re saying…
Neil on match’s importance: “Everybody knows the situation, so I don’t think it is going to have massive difference in terms of how we would approach the game or they (relegation rivals) would approach the game. What it does do is apply pressure to their game, but there will be pressure on that anyway. They will recognise and we recognise that all the teams need to win games to stay in the division.”
Van Gaal on injury struggles: “I always talk about facts, not about hypothetical circumstance and activities. I can only say that in the end of November we had first position, after that we had a big decline.”
Despite playing in front of a feisty home crowd at Carrow Road and picking up a 2-1 victory early this season against United, the Canaries chances aren’t too optimistic. Norwich hasn’t scored in three straight matches, all of which were losses. With United still playing for something I don’t expect the Red Devils to drop this match. Give United the points on the road, 3-1, leaving Norwich to rely on Aston Villa and Chelsea to pick up wins.