Author: Richard Farley

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Mic check: Clint Dempsey takes the stage at FIFA15 event

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MLS and FIFA15 had a little get together on Thursday night in New York, one that looked like a typical promotional event. New brand for the league and a new product from Electronic Arts put synergy on the menu. It was all about two brands being brand buddies.

That is, it was all about the brands until the U.S. Men’s National Team captain took the stage for a few bars.

You know: Just Clint Dempsey things.

Taking a quick detour after winning U.S. Open Cup Tuesday in Philadelphia, the Sounders’ star emerged from backstage with mic in hand to show off his second most-renown talent, one made famous by “Don’t Tread.” The former Fulham star also released the single “It’s Poppin'” earlier this year off his album “The Redux.”

On Thursday, Dempsey appearance was brief, but although the emcee dropped some peavy hints before he took the stage, “Deuce” still drew a reaction from the crowd when he took his turn.

Check out the video, above.

CCL: Two goals from Toni push Sporting Kansas City past Saprissa

Sporting Kansas City logo

Two Toni Dovale goals later, Sporting Kansas City has control of its CONCACAF Champions League group. After MLS’s champions and visiting Deportivo Saprissa went into half time at 1-1, the Spanish winger scored twice in the span of seven minutes, giving the home side the 3-1 victory that vaulted it into a tie for first in Group 2.

Dom Dwyer opened the night’s scoring from the spot in the 13th minute only to see Saprissa’s Juan Bustos put his 28th minute equalizer into Andy Gruenebaum’s upper-left corner. In the middle of the second half, however, Toni pushed Sporting past its group’s toughest competition, scoring in the 69th and 76th minutes to give the home side its decisive result.

Still with a game in hand on Saprissa (Costa Rica) and Real Esteli (Nicaragua), Sporting will advance to Champions League’s quarterfinals with four points in its last two games. While Peter Vermes’ team must still venture to San José next month, a win at home over Esteli (Sept. 23) and a draw at Saprissa puts Sporting into the next round.

Sporting carried a home team’s energy out of the locker room, eventually earning a penalty kick in the 12th minute after Saprissa goalkeeper Danny Carvajal took down Benny Feilhaber. Finishing into the right of goal, Dwyer gave his team an early lead, albeit one Kansas City would eventually give back.

That moment came in the 28th minute, when a layoff from Saprissa’s Daniel Colindres found Bustos just inside the Sporting penalty box. The midfielder finished high into Gruenebaum’s net to spark Saprissa’s hopes of taking an edge out of Sporting Park.

Dwyer and Toni nearly combined to quell those hopes before halftime, barely missing a go-ahead goal in the 40th minute. Mid-way through the second half, however, Toni made amends for the close call.

In the 69th minute, Toni took a cross from right back Igor Juliao an volleyed home the game-winning goal, with an easy finish off a Dwyer ball seven minutes later giving the Spaniard his third goal of the competition. Whereas one moment the Costa Ricans had hope of seeing out a 1-1, the 77th minute arrived with the match decided.

That decision leaves Vermes’ team in prime position to move on. Two-goal winners over Group 2’s stiffest competition, Sporting has reason to think they can get at least a point at Saprissa. Couple that with a home win over Esteli, and MLS’s champions are back in CCL’s final eight.

MLS’s new logo: Reddit (yes, Reddit) may have a way to solve the league’s new problem


Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge MLS’s new logo. At least, Reddit readers are sure going a great job of making the best of a bad much-discussed situation. Instead of looking at the vast white space on the league’s new crest as a point of weakness, a number of users on the site’s MLS forum have decided to make lemonade.  Along the way, MLS may have crowd sourced its way into a solution.

[WATCH: MLS games this weekend]

That’s right, MLS fan – Reddit’s /r/MLS forum may turn out to be the caped crusader in this ready to save MLS’s new Gotham. These are the strange days created by this new logo.

Consider the Real Salt Lake logo user “oussan” created to start the thread:


After oussan challenged the subreddit to post their own, the idea took off.

The Philadelphia Union, from user Oshi Hidra:

The defending champions, Sporting Kansas City, via CTbeersnob:

The Houston Dynamo, from user nick188:

The Portland Timbers submission via atrain714, one that was as elegant as it was indecisive:

And the Columbus Crew? The whitespace becomes Zurangatang’s way to salvage the hard hats:

User onlynickleft took a crack at Toronto FC …

… while ctc23 was one of a number of users that offered a San Jose Earthquakes options:

User nimik uploaded two versions of the Montreal Impact’s potential crest. Here’s the first:

And here’s one take offered for the LA Galaxy, by user seantrowbridge:

User  zschi001 posted this for D.C. United:

And here’s TheFitzMonster’s attempt at New York Red Bulls’ crest – a great job of incorporating the parent company’s iconography:

From the Pacific Northwest, user eosrebel went with a classic landmark when offering the Seattle Sounders’:

And user b0bb3h kept is simple when it came to the Chicago Fire’s potential crest:

Finally, consider these offerings from MLS’s future (or, potentially future) teams: taylor314gh’s Orlando City,

ibpants’ New York City FC, …

aubrey83’s Sacramento Republic, …

and timberflynn’s San Antonio Scorpions:

Perhaps this is me feeling guilty about ripping the new logo apart, but some of these look amazing. And the whole concept of using the MLS’s crest as a framework? It’s sold me on the idea.

Revamping what looked like a half-finished product, Reddit readers have solved MLS’s new problem, improving on the league’s desire for team-centric logos (above) in the process. While there are a few teams unaccounted for, the idea has still cast MLS’s partial product in a different, more favorable light. Is it possible /r/MLS can solve the league’s new problem?

[RELATED: Another solution for the new MLS logo]

Edit: After posting this piece, there were a lot of people noting that MLS may have intended the white space to be used in this way. Of course, that’s possible, even probable (Brian Straus has something on it). Still, the only time the word “space” appears in MLS’s “Next” explanation is the describing the crest’s divide, and it doesn’t change the face there’s a vacant half to the stand alone logos:

“FIRST HALF AND SECOND HALF: The first half contains MLS and the three stars. The second half is an open white space that brings you in and out of the MLS world.”

I’m more inclined to give MLS the benefit of the doubt than I was this morning (it wouldn’t be the first time something flew over my head), but it sure does appear the white space was supposed to be at least as symbolic as functional. Or, perhaps better phrased, it’s symbolic and functional. Regardless, the stand alone logos were still designed with a void in that second 45.

MLS Preview: Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids

Portland Timbers v Real Salt Lake
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  • Real Salt Lake has already won this year’s Rocky Mountain Cup
  • Colorado snapped its seven-game losing streak with a draw against Portland on Saturday
  • Match is available via NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra tomorrow, 10:00 p.m. Eastern

Last Friday’s disappointment in Seattle could easily turn into a positive for Real Salt Lake. Though the team lost 3-2 on Andy Rose’s late stoppage time goal, RSL enjoyed a strong start against its talented hosts, and while the team needed a fluke goal to pull even in the second half, the Claret and Cobalt nearly overcame its man disadvantage to take a draw out of CenturyLink.

Ultimately, and against one of the league’s most talented teams, RSL played fairly well. If that’s the type of performance the team offers on the road in the playoffs, RSL has a chance to make another MLS Cup.

Compared to that showdown, tomorrow’s game at Rio Tinto looks like a reprieve. From another point-of-view, it could be a trap. Colorado may be in the midst of an eight-game winless run, but the Rapids are still rivals – ones who have not beaten their Rocky Mountain counterparts this year. They also showed life last week against Portland. They may be fading from the playoff race, but the Rapids aren’t quite ready to roll over.

Their task is much more difficult this week, and not only because they’re back on the road. Colorado is facing a team that’s starting to get all its pieces in place. Over the last two weeks, forwards Alvaro Saborio (above), Joao Plata, and Sebastian Jaime have come into the team, rounding out Cassar’s options in attack. As the first-year coach gets used to using his vast selection of forwards, RSL will be able to adapt to almost any type of defense.

It’s the main reason Salt Lake should be seen as big favorites tomorrow. Not only have they been better throughout the season, but the options RSL has in attack should offset any small improvements that Rapids are making at the back. If Robbie Findley isn’t breaking down Shane O’Neill, Cassar can make an early move for Saborio. If the team wants to try to pull Marvell Wynne out of position, if can pair Jaime with Joao Plata. If Colorado has early success against RSL’s starters, the team can switch to a different set of threats, with Olmes Garcia giving Cassar yet another option with his two forward positions.

The one worry for RSL is the absence of Nat Borchers, who will sit out after taking a red card against Seattle. Against Colorado, however, Carlos Salcedo may prove a welcome addition. Whereas Deshorn Brown’s speed could be a major problem for borders, Salcedo may stand a better chance of keeping up.

That’s not to say he can stop Brown, who got back onto the scoresheet against Portland. It’s just to say one man’s absence need to define RSL’s chances. With a capable replacement on hand, RSL will survive at the back. The game’s defining question could be how much damage the team’s emboldened attack can do going forward.

Prediction: Real Salt Lake, 3-0.

FA chairman: England “might well bid for” Euro 2028

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Fourteen years is enough time for every star in our soccer skies to fade into retirement. In terms of major tournaments, however, it’s the horizon. Given the scope of World Cups and European Championships, the timelines get a little more drawn out, with bidding countries needing more and more time to execute their extravagant visions.

That’s why England’s Football Association chairman is already talking about Euro 2028; or, more specifically, England’s hopes of hosting the tournament. According to Greg Dyke, the nation which last hosted a major competition in 1996 is hoping to bring UEFA’s championship back to English soil.

From The Guardian, with Dyke noting England is already vying to host the 2020 final:

“I think if we get the final for 2020 it is unlikely we would be awarded 2024, so we won’t bid for that if we get the final,” Dyke said. “We might well bid for 2028.

“We will bid again for the World Cup at some stage but I wouldn’t be as optimistic of our chances as I would be for the Euros.”

The only other time England hosted the European Championship, the Three Lions reached the semifinals in 1996. England also hosted the 1966 World Cup, defeating West Germany 4-2 in the final to claim its only World Cup.

As for 2028, we’re a long way from a decision. UEFA is still determining host cities for some games in 2020 (a pan-Europe tournament). Presumably that will happen before deciding 2024’s hosts. Then comes 2028.

But England, hungry to get another major, is already making plans. And some town in Greater Manchester, there may an 11-year-old set to become the next Geoff Hurst. The stars of 2028 are still on the playground.