Tracking MLS Coach of the Year: half a dozen names still in strong contention

5 Comments

With just five rounds of Major League Soccer play remaining, we might logically conclude that these races would begin sorting themselves out a bit more. The fringe candidates seem to be falling out of the Most Valuable Player sweepstakes, for instance.

Not so with Coach of the Year, where candidates seem to be adding their names to the list of potential candidates rather than tumbling off of it.

Here is a very loose ordering; the names here are widely interchangeable. That is, any of these names could move up quickly, depending on how things develop over the remaining five weeks of play.

1. Montreal’s Marco Schallibaum

The Impact is far from perfect under their first-year Swiss boss – as we all saw in last weeks’ surprising home loss to Columbus. But look how far they have come in less than one year under Schallibaum (pictured). Because while Jesse Marsch certainly did a credible job with last year’s expansion outfit in Canada, L’Impact sure wasn’t challenging for top spot in the East and even Supporters Shield in 2012.

2. Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis

Last week’s loss to Seattle was a set-back, but the fact remains that Kreis is getting the job done about a half-dozen youngsters that so many good MLS fans still know little about. Kreis said last week he is surprised at how quickly this group has come along. If they can bounce back at home this week against San Jose, they will remain right in the thick of Supporters Shield pursuit. (And don’t forget, they will be favored in next month’s U.S. Open Cup final.)

3. Colorado’s Oscar Pareja

It’s just so easy to overlook good things happening in markets that receive far, far less attention. And that’s Colorado, of course, the very opposite of a place like Seattle, where everything get so overstated. But how can you not respect how the Rapids, crunched by all those injuries early in 2013, kept such a steady course? Pareja has five top starters who are rookies officially, or just miss being officially designated so through MLS technicalities, and yet the club is third in the West. (And the West is the tougher conference this year.)

4. Portland’s Caleb Porter

His case looked significantly stronger a few weeks ago. Heck, we all might have handed him the doggone thing if we were deciding in June. But we’re not … and the Timbers just haven’t had the same edge over the last two months. Still, it shouldn’t diminish the bang-up job Porter has done, style-wise and results-wise – assuming the men of Stumptown hold things together and make the playoffs, which they should be able to manager.

5. New York’s Mike Petke

The team is brimming with talent, of course, so they should be challenging for top spot in the East. Still, doesn’t Petke deserve to be on the list just for managing Thierry Henry and his Red Bull Arena-sized ego. I mean, didn’t the manager – in his first year as a professional head coach, remember – show us something by benching Henry two weeks back? I mean, talk about guts!

6. Seattle’s Sigi Schmid

Yes, a team with Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey up front, plus the league’s standard bearer holding midfielder, should be challenging for MLS hardware. But the Sounders did have questions to answer coming into the season. And this business of incorporating Dempsey, Johnson and Obafemi Martins is no slam dunk. If the Sounders win Supporters Shield (and Schmid’s team has the pole position at the moment) then their veteran manager has to be considered, at least.

(MORE: Tracking MLS Most Valuable Player)

Cardiff City: “Poetic justice” that Etheridge stopped violent Kenedy

Leave a comment

Neil Etheridge is writing some nice chapters in the chronicle of Filipino footballers in the Premier League.

The first Philippines national teamer to play in England’s top flight has now stopped penalties in successive weeks, this time in stoppage time to give Cardiff City its first point of the season.

[ RECAP: Cardiff 0-0 Newcastle ]

It was aided by a dreadful effort from Newcastle United’s Kenedy, who should’ve been sent off anyway, but that won’t change how Etheridge and the Cardiff City Stadium feel about his save.

“We don’t want that to become a regular occurrence, but we deserved at least a point,” Etheridge said. “We knew we would have a chance at home and needed to get points on the board. … It is not easy to step up in the 90th minute and take a penalty, but today I came out victorious.”

His manager, Neil Warnock said Kenedy’s miss and Etheridge’s save were both befitting the occasion.

“Regarding the penalty miss, I thought it was poetic justice,” Warnock said. “Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. The lad Kenedy shouldn’t have been on the pitch. It was straight red, but I never saw it. Regarding the penalty, Morrison’s hand is outside the box and his body is inside.”

Cardiff City is off to Huddersfield Town next week before facing Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City in successive weeks. This point was big, but getting one or three next week is imperative to their early season mindset.

Hopefully Etheridge won’t need to stop another penalty to do it, but at least the Bluebirds would know he’s in the heads of the taker.

Watch Live: Premier League games, 10am ET

AP
Leave a comment

Four Premier League games are coming your way at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday in the 2018-19 season.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Fulham head to play Spurs at Wembley, Everton welcome Southampton to Goodison, there is a Midlands derby as Leicester host Wolves and Bournemouth head to West Ham.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for all four games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


10 a.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Fulham – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Everton vs. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Wolves – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham United v. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Newcastle miss late penalty, draw at Cardiff

Leave a comment
  • Hayden sent off in second half
  • Zohore, Perez go close
  • First point of season for both clubs
  • Etheridge saves last-gasp penalty kick

Cardiff City and 10-man Newcastle United played out a tight, tense draw at the Cardiff City stadium on Saturday.

Kenneth Zohore had Cardiff’s best chances, while Newcastle battled hard after going down to 10-men in the second half but failed to create many clear-cut chances.

Newcastle had a glorious chance to grab all three points late on but Kenedy‘s penalty kick was saved by Cardiff’s Neil Etheridge in the 96th minute.

Both teams are off and running with their first point on the board for the season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Cardiff started brightly and Bamba had an effort bundled away by Newcastle and at the other end Ayoze Perez had a decent effort on goal.

Zohore was a handful in the first half as he nodded wide and created plenty of mayhem in the box.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

A major flashpoint arrived before half time as Kenedy kicked out at Camarasa and could have been in plenty of trouble had referee Craig Pawson seen the incident.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Cardiff threatened on the break as Zohore headed wide and Jonjo Shelvey made a great last-ditch clearance to deny the home side taking the lead.

Issac Hayden, a half time sub, then caught Josh Murphy and was shown a straight red card. Harry Arter was lucky to stay on the pitch after a late kick as the game heated up.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Zohore then had a header cleared away at the near post as Cardiff pushed for a late winner but Newcastle were given a great chance to snatch all three points.

Muto’s cross from the left struck Sean Morrison in the arm and a penalty kick was awarded.

But Kenedy’s tame free kick was saved by Etheridge and Cardiff grabbed a point as Newcastle were dejected.

Usain Bolt arrives for trial in Australian A-League

Getty Images
Leave a comment

SYDNEY (AP) Usain Bolt has arrived in Australia for his try out with Central Coast Mariners, saying his goal of playing professional football is “for real.”

The eight-time Olympic sprint champion wore a Mariners scarf after landing in Sydney on Saturday following a 14-hour flight from Los Angeles.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

He was welcomed by a small group of Central Coast fans and told reporters he was looking forward to hitting the practice field on Tuesday, which is his 32nd birthday.

Bolt will train for several weeks with the Mariners – based at Gosford, north of Sydney – in the hope of winning a contract to play in the A-League from October.

He has previously trialed unsuccessfully with teams in Germany, Norway and South Africa.

Mariners officials say Bolt will train with them for an “indefinite” period, allowing the 31-year-old Jamaican every chance to prove he has the ability to play football professionally.

The club, which won the A-League in 2013 but finished in last place of 10 teams last season, said Bolt would be treated as any other player and would not be offered a contract if he did not make the grade

Bolt has accepted that challenge.

“I’ve said all along this is for real and I’m here to show what I can do,” he said. “I know what I’m capable of and I know what I can do, so this is the opportunity.

“I’m here forever. That’s the plan. I’m really going to push myself. I’m going to work hard and I’m looking forward to putting my best foot forward.”

Mark Leadbetter, chairman of the Mariners’ official supporters club, made the one hour drive to Sydney to greet Bolt and determine for himself if he thought the sprinting great’s A-League bid is genuine.

“I was certainly interested when I first heard the news,” he said. “It’s out of the box and the more I’ve heard about it, the more I’ve come to embrace it

“Nothing’s impossible. As long as it’s based on football principles, why not? I get the impression that he’s been genuine about this and so has the club.”