Author Archives: Travis Clark

Written by Travis Clark

Left backs are a rare commodity in Major League Soccer, so every year teams crane their necks towards the college ranks, hoping to see a ripe prospect ready to man the flank.

Out at UC Riverside, Otis Earle has emerged as one of the top left backs in the college soccer ranks in 2014, and will be on his way to Ft. Lauderdale and the MLS combine next week. He also happens to have a green card, which could help him avoid slipping like other internationals may do on draft day.

Earle’s father Robbie is a known commodity to soccer fans for his role as an analyst on NBC’s Premier League coverage, not to mention his playing career in England and for the Jamaican national team.

TDS caught up with Otis as he preps for the combine and draft season. You can also check out his highlight reel above.

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Written by Travis Clark

The U.S. Women’s national team bounced back from its 3-2 loss against Brazil in emphatic style, putting seven past Argentina on Thursday in Brazil. Coupled with the hosts defeat of China, the U.S. gets a second shot at the Brazilians on Sunday in the four team tournament final.

Christen Press scored four times and Carli Lloyd had a hat trick in the win over an over-matched Argentina side. Hermann Trophy finalist Morgan Brian picked up two assists.

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Written by Travis Clark

In the wake of the New York Red Bulls’ loss in the Eastern Conference Championship, Thierry Henry announced he wouldn’t return to MLS in 2015. As it turns out, the defeat over two legs to New England would be the last of his storied career.

Early this morning Eastern Standard Time, Henry announced his retirement via his Facebook page.

He leaves behind a playing career that saw him capture Premier League titles, the 1998 World Cup, the 2000 European Championship and a slew of individual awards. Along with his stint at Arsenal and the Red Bulls, he turned up for Monaco, Juventus and Barcelona, scoring 284 goals in club soccer. Take a look at his top 25 goals from his Arsenal days, when he was at the height of his career.

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Written by Travis Clark

Up 2-0 on Sunday against Brazil in the game’s first ten minutes, it looked like the USWNT would cruise to a win against the tournament hosts.

Then the Marta show began.

With the Brazilians down, the team’s star roared into action, scoring all three goals leading Brazil to a come-from-behind 3-2 win. That, coupled with a disappointing 1-1 draw with China to open the tournament, should be of slight concern to USWNT fans ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

Check out the highlights, including a couple of appearances by recent college stars Morgan Brian and Sam Mewis.

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Written by Travis Clark

UEFA-champions-leagueEarly this morning on the East Coast (or mid-day in Europe), the head honchos that compromise UEFA held the draw for the Champions League Round of 16.

Some tasty matchups are on the way, including rematches of recent group or knockout games between Real Madrid-Schalke, PSG-Chelsea and Manchester City-Barcelona. There’s also a bonus rematch of the 1997 final between Juventus and Dortmund. Full draw results are listed below.

Paris St. Germain vs. Chelsea
Manchester City vs. Barcelona
Schalke vs. Real Madrid
Juventus vs. Dortmund
Atletico Madrid vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Shakhtar vs. Bayern
Arsenal vs. Monaco
FC Basel vs. Porto

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Written by Travis Clark

Sunday’s NCAA tournament title game features two storied and historic programs, as Virginia and UCLA are set to clash on Sunday at 12 p.m. EST to decide this year’s national champ.

The Cavaliers scored early then held off UMBC 1-0, while UCLA won in the second overtime against a plucky Providence side. Highlights of the second game after the jump.

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Written by Travis Clark

TommyThompsonSo USL Pro is the developmental wave of the immediate future.

That’s the message loud and clear from the past few months, as 12 franchises – seven which are owned and/or operated by MLS clubs – are set to join the league in 2015, serving as a feeder system to the parent teams.

As MLS tries to improve the playing opportunities and development curve for players between the ages of 18-22, team-run franchises are the immediate future, as Toronto, RSL, Montreal, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver will run teams in their own backyard with the aim in providing playing opportunities for those not logging MLS minutes.

But is it the right move? The system is in its infancy, as the USL Pro-MLS club affiliation idea was only put into place at the start of 2013. And outside of the LA Galaxy, which had its reserve team in USL Pro play this past season, it only entailed players spending time on loan at affiliated clubs, oftentimes a short (or lengthy) plane ride from their home club.

Below is a team-by-team look at appearances and time played by MLSers on loan to USL Pro clubs, and a few statistical conclusions to draw from the volume.

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Written by Travis Clark

RicheyThe initial MLS combine list is never the final one, so Thursday’s announcement of the 55 seniors invited to Florida leaves aspiring pros with lingering hope to get the call.

And while the omissions will be eventually brought back — combine rosters usually reach close to 70 once Generation adidas classes are signed and later additions made — below is a look at five seniors worthy of an invite to Florida.

GK Spencer Richey, Washington

While the former U.S. U17 Residency goalkeeper hasn’t been quite the same player since his gruesome leg break last fall against UConn, Richey’s form continued to improve towards the end of the campaign, suggesting that he’s close to rediscovering the form that made him one of the best goalkeepers in the nation. While he may not be at quite the level of Andrew Wolverton or Tyler Miller, he’s at the same if not better than Tomas Gomaz or Earl Edwards.

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Written by Travis Clark

A constant presence at the Duke men’s soccer program over the past four seasons, the news that Sean Davis signed a homegrown deal should come as relief to New York Red Bulls fans fretting over the potential loss of a top area talent.

Ranked as top five talent in the first edition of the TDS MLS Big Board for the 2015 draft, Davis is one of the few senior contributors available who should be able to compete for significant minutes in his rookie season.

He’s a central midfielder through and through, in the mold of what you’d expect from a classic No. 6 — he can sit in and protect the back four, win possession and distribute. A slightly more attack-minded role this season yielded 10 assists, although a lot of that came down to his set piece duty. Expect to see Davis enter next season behind Dax McCarty and Eric Alexander in the NYRB pecking order, but he’s a player eventually capable of challenging them for playing time.

Davis will need time to adjust to the speed of the game at the next level, but there’s every reason to believe he is capable. He has enough athleticism to cope with the frenetic nature of MLS, and he seems to have a good grasp of when to speed things up and when to slow things down when he has the ball at his feet.

As a bonus, he’s also able to do this close to goal:

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Written by Travis Clark

Episode 2 of Kicks, a look behind the scenes at the Marquette men’s soccer program, continues with a deep dive into the program’s 50 year history via a simple theme: family. Take a jog down memory lane with Marquette, as they welcome in alumni while also going through the 2014 season.

Be sure to check out the first episode right here.

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