Highlights from MLS commissioner Don Garber’s preseason Q-and-A

7 Comments

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xasIyVLC1yE]

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber spent just under an hour answering media and fan questions on Tuesday – an interactive state-of-the-league ahead of this weekend’s opening to the MLS season. Here are the highlights from the session, embedded above.

(All responses listed in order they appear in the Q-and-A.)

Growth of Major League Soccer

“Our ultimate goal is to be a league of choice. If we become a league of choice for players and staff and fans, I think we will achieve that goal. A place where American and Canadian players want to play. A place where top international players want to play. A place where fans proudly say that they are a fan of this league, but more importantly a fan of their respective clubs …

“In order to be one of the top leagues in the world, you got to really be the top league in the region. In order to do that you have to have the top players in our country playing in our league.

On expansion, potential new markets

“There will be a time, and that time is probably sooner as opposed to later, where we won’t have expansion questions. The league will be fully expanded. That’s probably years from now … People care about it now because it’s part of the evolution of our league, of our business, but the time is going to come when this fully expanded.”

  • Atlanta: “Discussions with Arthur Blank and his family have been going on since 2008 … We’re getting close. There are ongoing discussions. There’s not a rush to finalize something there. The new stadium that they’re planning is not going to open up for a number of years.”
  • Texas – Austin and San Antonio:It’s premature for both markets … Expanding in Texas, that’s likely going to happen. Where that happens, when that happens, remains to be seen.”
  • Cleveland: “We need more teams in the Midwest … there haven’t been any discussions (about Cleveland) of late … Support the Crew.”
  • Detroit: “We knew there’s been some interest. There haven’t been any discussions. Not sure it’s on the short list, but you never know.”
  • Minnesota: “Minneapolis is on the short list. Lots of interest there. We’ve had a high level of activity with the current Minnesota United ownership group … We think they’re smart. We think they’re focused, and they’re great community citizens.”
  • North Carolina: “Even in my early days — back in [1999], 2000 — we’ve always looked around it, because it is a hotbed of soccer … We’ll monitor it. We’ve said we need to get south of Washington, D.C. Atlanta is a southern team. Florida … is south of D.C. … I’m not sure North Carolina is coming anytime soon.”
  • Sacramento: “I would encourage every fan in that market: support the Republic; get behind it; build that team; build that brand. Show that there’s a real appetite north of San Jose for professional, high-level soccer, and we’ll see what happens.”

Chivas USA

“We said a year ago we would come up [with] a solution to our challenges with our second team in L.A., and we have had challenges. When you’re running a young sports league, you’ve got to accept you’re not going to get [everything] right.u’ got to be bold enough to make tough decisions … and you have to be man enough to say ‘we didn’t make the right decision’ and come up with a plan to fix it. That’s where are with Chivas USA …

“Lots of interested parties. We have not set a price for it because we haven’t decided how we’re going to go about that process, because the first thing we need to do is get the ship back on path.

(Commissioner Garber also mention the University of Southern California as a potential site for a future Chivas USA venue. Answering a question about possible Chivas USA relocation out of Los Angeles, Garber said, “No.”)

On a potential stadium for New York City FC

“It’s tough to get stadium projects done in New York City, perhaps even more difficult than it was six months or a year ago … Short-term, sometime soon they’re going to make an announcement of where they’re going to play temporarily.”

On how the league has improved since he took over

“We are a stable, viable, and productive entity, where in 1999 or 2000, we were all trying to figure out what could this be and what would this be, and whether we can get through the next couple of years. We don’t really worry about that today …”

“We had a handful or owners, and today we have lots of them – more than I could mention … many of them are folks that have come into the league and this is their sole focus …”

“There was only one (soccer-specific) stadium at that time. Now we have 14 of our clubs playing in 15 buildings …”

“The infrastructure has changed dramatically … the big change that (U.S. Men’s National Team head coach) Jurgen Klinsmann sees today, even over a couple of years ago, is the training grounds are more professional, the opportunities for players from a nutrition and fitness perspective, the focus on medical testing — just overall sports medicine — has so dramatically changed because we have the capability to be able to do that.

On a future promotion/relegation system

“No.”

On a single-table competition format

“Now that all the questions are more expansion-oriented, the single-table jockeys have gone quiet over the last year. I think we have a single-table competition with our Supporters’ Shield.”

West Ham vs Southampton: How to watch live, stream link, team news

0 Comments

West Ham and Southampton clash in a huge relegation six-pointer at London Stadium on Sunday, with the Hammers and Saints separated by just one point.

STREAM LIVE WEST HAM v SOUTHAMPTON

How are the Hammers in this situation? Well, they’ve won just two of their last 14 Premier League games and the pressure is mounting on David Moyes as his side sit in the relegation zone with 12 games of the season to go following their 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa last time out in the league. They have won all eight of their UEFA Conference League games as they’ve reached the quarterfinal (they play Belgian side Gent in the last eight) but their league form has suffered badly. Five of their six Premier League wins this season have come at home though, so they will be hoping the home fans get behind them early on in this one.

As for Southampton, well, they are scrapping. Interim head coach Ruben Selles saw his side fight back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 late on against Tottenham last time out and that draw felt like a win. Can Saints keep the positive momentum going? They have become better defensively but time is running out and although they are just two points from safety they have played at least one more game than all of the teams around them. They have a tough remaining schedule but have fared well against the big boys this season and they drew with West Ham in the return game back in October as this looks like a very even matchup.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for West Ham vs Southampton.


How to watch West Ham vs Southampton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Declan Rice is the main man for West Ham and he is doing his best to dig in and drive them forward. Other than that, Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen, Gianluca Scamacca and Danny Ings all need to find some form, and fast, if they’re going to drag West Ham up the table and away from this relegation battle they were never supposed to be anywhere near.

Southampton’s main man James Ward-Prowse is also dragging Saints through games and an unlikely resurgence from the fit-again Theo Walcott has played a big role in them picking up plenty of points since Selles took charge. The young duo of Romeo Lavia and Armel Bella-Kotchap continue to progress nicely in midfield and defense respectively and Saints now feel like they have a chance of getting out of the bottom three.


West Ham team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Lukasz Fabianski (face), Michail Antonio (calf), Vladimir Coufal (foot), Emerson (illness), Nayef Aguerd (hip), Gianluca Scamacca (knee)

Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Juan Larios (thigh), Armel Bella-Kotchap (shoulder), Valentino Livramento (hamstring) | QUESTIONABLE: Che Adams (calf), Mohammed Salisu (knock)



Arsenal title tracker – What do Gunners need to win the Premier League?

0 Comments

Eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table with nine games to go, what do Arsenal need to win their first Premier League title in 19 years?

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Mikel Arteta has his young side on the cusp of a pretty remarkable and very unexpected Premier League title win.

With a solid defensive unit, perfectly balanced midfield and the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard having fine campaigns in the final third, there is so much to love about this Arsenal team.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League table for 2022-23 season ]

But how, and when, can Arsenal seal the Premier League title they crave? How many points do they need to gain? What are the scenarios based on their huge game against Manchester City in April?


How many points do Arsenal need to win the Premier League title?

With nine games remaining, there are many different ways the Gunners can win the Premier League title.

In its simplest form: if Arsenal win eight of their final nine games they will be crowned Premier League games.

The magic number for Arsenal to reach is 95 points. If they reach 95 points, Manchester City cannot catch them.

But if Man City beat Arsenal in their huge game at the Etihad on April 26 and win their game in-hand, Arsenal will need to win all of their other remaining game to be sure of the title. That would give them 96 points and Man City could only finish on 94.

If Arsenal drew against Man City then Man City could only finish on a maximum of 92 points. That means Arsenal would need to reach 94 points to win the title.

If Arsenal win at Man City then Man City would only be able to reach 91 points. So, Arsenal would only have to win six of their other seven remaining games to seal the title.

All of this proves just how massive the Manchester City vs Arsenal game on April 26 is in deciding the title winner.


When did Arsenal last win the Premier League?

They last won the Premier League title in the 2003-04 season, the famous ‘Invincibles’ campaign as they didn’t lose any of their 38 games that season.

Think Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg, Sol Campbell and Robert Pires in full flow and Arsene Wenger with a huge smile on his face on the sidelines. Magnificent.


When did Arsenal last win a trophy?

The last trophy Arsenal won was the FA Cup in the 2019-20 season, they also won the FA Community Shield in 2020.

Both of those trophies were won by current boss Mikel Arteta.


Which trophies have Arsenal won?

Here are the list of trophies the Gunners have won in their history:

  • FA Cup (14 – Record)
  • Premier League/First Division titles (13)
  • League Cup (2)
  • FA Community Shield (16)
  • European Cup Winners’ Cup (1)
  • Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1)

Premier League table, 2022-23 season

1 Comment

If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League returned with a bang and the start to 2023 has delivered plenty of fun.

Now we are approaching the final few months of the campaign, it is so tight up and down the Premier League table.


Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

As we head into the final months of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest and although Manchester United briefly surged into the picture, they look more likely to cement their spot as the third best team in the Premier League.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.


What about the top four and European places?

Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle and for the moment have hunted down Newcastle, while Liverpool is back in the Champions League picture after their return to form and Chelsea looks like a top six finish is their ceiling. For now.

Surprising Fulham, Brentford, and Brighton are all hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns. Can one of them surprise and qualify for Europe?


Who are the candidates for relegation?

Southampton, West Ham, and Leicester City currently occupy the relegation places but that keeps changing all the time and it is so tight at the bottom of the table.

Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, Wolves, Leeds, and Everton all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three as the race to stay in the Premier League intensifies. This could be the craziest relegation scrap in Premier League history.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – April 1

Premier League standings

NBC Sports’ standings and scoreboard



Follow @AndyEdMLS

Newcastle vs Manchester United: How to watch live, stream link, team news

0 Comments

No, you didn’t turn back the hands of time; We’ve got a proper top-four battle between Manchester United and Newcastle United at the latter’s St. James’ Park on Sunday (watch live, 11am ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).

There are significant injury or absence concerns for both teams as Casemiro and Joelinton are both suspended, Miguel Almiron out, and Raphael Varane, Marcus Rashford, and Christian Eriksen in question.

STREAM LIVE NEWCASTLE vs MANCHESTER UNITED

Man United will enter the match in third place, three points clear of fifth-place Newcastle. Both have played 26 matches this Premier League season, two fewer than fourth-place Tottenham.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle vs Manchester United.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Newcastle vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Newcastle vs Manchester United video preview, predictions


Key storylines & star players

So we know the stars: Bruno Fernandes, Bruno Guimaraes, Antony, Alekander Isak. But who’s going to step up if Botman or Pope can’t go for Newcastle? Will Fred and Scott McTominay be able to pull off a top performance should Sabitzer join Casemiro on the shelf? Is Harry Maguire going to deliver the goods if Varane cannot go?

Injuries, man. They cause so many questions!


Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Sven Botman (other), Nick Pope (thigh), Allan Saint-Maximin (thigh), Joelinton (suspension) Anthony Gordon (ankle). OUT: Emil Krafth (knee), Ryan Fraser (other), Miguel Almiron (thigh).

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Christian Eriksen (ankle), Marcel Sabitzer (knee), Anthony Martial (groin), Raphael Varane (other), Marcus Rashford (ankle). OUT: Donny van de Beek (knee), Casemiro (suspension), Alejandro Garnacho (ankle), Mason Greenwood (other).