Written by Will Parchman

If you’ve been following the progress of FIFA 15 (and really, why shouldn’t you be), it’s nearly on our doorsteps. It drops Sept. 23 in the States, which means The Vines Are Coming. This video is among the best of the early lot from the demo, which has been out about a week. Unsurprisingly, Messi is incredible in this game. How much do you wish you could do this?

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Written by Will Parchman

The TopDrawerSoccer.com College Goal of the Week has already enjoyed an unbelievable season of mind-bending goals, and we’re only halfway through September. This week is no exception. Picking a winner between these two beastly world class volleys will likely be as hard as its ever been.

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The MLS Grinder: Breathing room

Written by Will Parchman

morales

MLS is too physical.

Now let’s talk about how you feel. Are you mad at that stereotype? Frustrated that I used it? Think of me as lazy for leaning on it? Agree? Disagree? Partly, that trope – the league as a pendulous hatchet – has become so Narrativeized that it’s hard to look at without cringing in some way. So it’s a somewhat ridiculous way to start the conversation, but it proves a point. Yes, the league has its physical moments, but a simple comparison with the MLS of its first era (1996-2007) reveals a sea change in the way the league approaches physicality.

So yes, MLS is too physical. But maybe not in the way you’re thinking. Simply put, league defenses need to remove the collective boot from the throats of the league’s best attacking players. It’s cramping the league’s style.

This came to the fore again over the weekend when Jermaine Jones was routinely and dangerously accosted by Montreal Impact assassin Calum Mallace. Notably, this weird thing happened.

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Written by J.R. Eskilson

Score one for “if only the best athletes played soccer” crowd.

247sports.com reported on Friday that Drake Davis, the No. 10 wide receiver in the nation for the 2016 class, is forgoing high school football in order to concentrate on soccer.

“This is a decision he made in the spring and he’s stuck with it,” Davis’ high school football coach Brian Hurlocker told 247sports.com.

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Written by Will Parchman

TimLeiweke

I have to imagine a scene like this.

The day is Jan. 13, 2014, and just minutes earlier Tim Leiweke had been the smiliest man in Canada. On a dais representing a combined net worth of nearly $2.4 billion, with Jermain Defoe to his immediate left and Michael Bradley next to him, Leiweke’s Drake-fueled charm offensive had landed him here. Next to two immediate MLS behemoths, men who had yet to play an MLS game (in Bradley’s case not for nearly 10 years, anyway) and yet were part of the league’s biggest two-player splash in history.

After the popping cameras and the meaningless chatter and the Bloody Big Deal tropes had washed off the facade of the whole thing, Leiweke is alone in his dusk-lit office, a cigar clamped between teeth he’d spent the entire day baring. Two fingers of scotch on rocks is sweating on his desk, where his crossed feet rest. Contemplation now, and on some long-forgotten level Leiweke knows how Caesar felt with the Rubicon receding on the horizon and a war-hardened legion at his back. An irreversibly powerful march. It was a good day. It was an incredible day.

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Written by Will Parchman

Portland’s made a lot of lofty claims in the past about being Soccer City, USA. The Timbers are one of the best supported clubs in North America, and the Thorns’ game-by-game support is among the world’s best, but that Soccer City title goes beyond professional soccer. Or it should, anyway.

Then there are the Portland Pilots, the city’s well-supported college soccer program (both men’s and women’s). And boy are they well supported.

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Written by Will Parchman

You may not be familiar with Alexa Spaanstra or Ashley Sanchez, but it won’t take long before those two names invade the national soccer consciousness in a substantive way. Both scored goals (Sanchez had three) in a recent friendly against South Korea, which the U.S. won 4-1, to further drive home that point.

Mallory Pugh became one of the youngest ever U.S. players to feature at a U20 World Cup this past summer when the 16-year-old played a starring role for the quarterfinalist side. Is there another player of Pugh’s caliber climbing the ladder at her back? Spaanstra and Sanchez could be right there.

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Written by Will Parchman

Tab Ramos’ U20s are in Argentina this week for a mid-September camp, and they recently polished a 2-0 victory over Racing FC paced by a penalty from Zach Pfeffer (around the 40-second mark) and a cross-body poachers’ effort from Romain Gall (around 1:00), who only needed two touches to find the mark.

Special mention to Shaq Moore (No. 3 on his jersey, No. 1 in your hearts), who’s being fashioned into a right back at the YNT level. It’s brief, but he has a nice little interchange later in the video. A name to remember going forward.

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Written by Will Parchman

On Oct. 12, 2012, Canada beat Cuba 3-0 in a World Cup qualifying match in Toronto. Over the following two years, which spanned 16 games, Canada didn’t win again. Not once. The Canadians went 0-11-5 during a period of futility that started with a humiliating 8-1 loss to Honduras that knocked them out of World Cup contention. Canada was out-scored 29-4 over that stretch. Brutal.

Good news, though, ye mounties. Canada broke that streak to pieces on Tuesday with a resounding 3-1 win over Jamaica, which, ugh, guys. Take in all the glorious highlights above.

Perhaps the futility is turning around. Perhaps Canada is quietly building a WORLD POWER in some snow-covered bunker north of the border. But here’s what we do know – the Globe and Mail is now trumpeting a three-game unbeaten streak. Which includes draws against Moldova and Bulgaria. The excitement is real. Have to start… somewhere?

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Written by Will Parchman

The Columbus Crew are girding for a final playoff push, which means the end of the regular season is closer than a great many of us realize. To shore up a back line weakened by the departure of World Cup breakout star Giancarlo Gonzalez, who left for Palermo last month, the Crew signed Emanuel Pogatetz, an Austrian with the nickname “Mad Dog.” And whoever you are, he probably wants to break your leg.

That there is a horrific tackle on former Manchester United player Rodrigo Possebon, who’d just made his United debut a month before the Reds faced Middlesbrough. Pogotetz went in like that, Possebon was sent to the hospital and he only barely avoided snapping his leg in half.

He also has a somewhat contentious history with managers, and he became the first player in history to serve a ban through friendly matches, which FIFA instituted just as he had a falling out with coach Josef Hickersberger in 2007. He also has a history of, ahem, “fury.”

In any case, Pogatetz played 23 matches for Nuremberg last year and scored a goal. So we’ll see.

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