Written by Will Parchman

For the first time ever, the Goal of the Week expanded by one. Out of necessity more than anything.

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Written by Will Parchman

bacca

The USMNT couldn’t hold on in a 2-1 loss to Colombia that the Cafeteros snatched late. In their last nine games, the USMNT has given up eight goals beyond the 80th minute. Something to think about. Here’s a look at individual player analysis from Craven Cottage.

GK Brad Guzan, 6.0: Quiet night for Guzan, who, despite the near constant stream of pressure from the Colombian attack, didn’t have a proportional amount of work to do. He did make a few strong-wristed stops

LB Greg Garza, 6.5: The brightest spot on the entire back line? Probably Garza, who had to deal with waves from both Cuadrado and Rodriguez and did as well as could’ve been expected. When going forward he had a tendency to lose himself in space, which is something that young fullbacks often have coached out of them as they develop, but overall a very competent night from a player who may honestly be DaMarcus Beasley’s heir apparent.

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Written by Will Parchman

Sometimes these highlight videos can be a bit bland, but not here. The U.S. U20 side topped Russia 4-3 despite being down to 10 men in its first match in a Spain tournament on Nov. 12. Pay special attention to the U.S.’s second at around the 1:15 mark. The falling-down assist from Junior Flores was insane, and then Andrija Novakovich’s finish impossibly one-ups it. Nails.

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Written by Will Parchman

villa

The lights went out on Chivas USA in the muted hush of a board room. Less than 24 hours after Chivas USA played its last game, team staff were herded into a room and told the franchise as it had been known was halting operations permanently. Their jobs no longer existed.

This kind of quiet sword-work was a fitting end to a franchise that skimmed so close to the water’s icy depths that in nine years even most local radars failed to find its blinking pulse. A sparse crowd of 5,571 showed for the Goats’ final game, a 1-0 win over San Jose played on a pristine SoCal fall day in late October. It was a sign, a referendum for MLS’ decision-makers, even. This kind of franchising doesn’t work in MLS. Not in this way, anyway. Plastic clubs melt. Absentee ownerships fail. Top-down disconnects turn into rifts turn into canyons turn into total systemic shutdowns.

Chivas USA’s crash landing was sad, but in no way was it unexpected.

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Written by Will Parchman

Bailey Spade plays for Frankfort High School in Kentucky, and he recently found himself in a bit of trouble during his side’s district battle last month. Trailing 2-0 and needing inspiration, Spade delivered this thunderbolt to cut into the lead. Forty yards. Upper 90. Golazo. Don’t see that every day.

Here’s the caveat. The keeper should’ve gotten a hand (two?) to this. Look at this.

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Written by Will Parchman

Colombian keeper Rene Higuaita owns arguably the most famous save of all time. Simply whisper “scorpion kick” and you’ll get a shower of memories about Higuaita’s famed effort 20 years ago. Recently, Higuaita said the only reason he attempted the kick at all was because he thought Jamie Redknapp was offside. But Redknapp wasn’t offside, meaning Higuaita, whether he realized it or not, pulled off a real life scorpion in the run of play.

Argentinean keeper Matias Cano may not have a scorpion to his name, but this bike puts him on the same comet. Cano, who plays for Buenos Aires-area side UAI Urquiza, was pushed up just as his team lost possession around midfield. In came a smashing effort from deep, forcing Cano into a frantic backtrack to find its trajectory.

It may have been a scramble, but the result was fantastic. A last-second bike to keep out a goal on the line. Higuaita would be proud.

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Written by Will Parchman

camiloGOAL

The Puskas Award is a yearly international “Best Goal” honor doled out by FIFA to – you guessed it – the year’s best goal. Zlatan won it last year for a 30-yard bike with the keeper pulled off his line. So a lot to live up to this year.

In any case, this is what the 2014 list looks like. And there’s an MLS goal on the list (albeit from a player who no longer inhabits MLS).

camilo

What would the 91st Minute be if we didn’t bring you ALL THE GOALZ. So here they are, starting with Camilo’s scissor. Fair warning: if you don’t vote for either Kasami or van Persie here, you may be a communist.

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The 2014 MLS All-U23 Team

Written by Will Parchman

torres

The #PlayYourKids initiative has varied support in different MLS coaching circles. Bound by expectation and a raft of big-money players, about half of Seattle’s choice XI is on the north side of 30. San Jose’s only signed one Homegrown in its history, and it took a near act of God to get him on the field. The Red Bulls keep all their academy alumni locked in a dungeon with Hans Backe.

But there are pockets of successful young players carving niches in MLS and forcing the issue with bountiful performances stretched over time. This represents formal recognition of those players.

This is the All-U23 MLS team based on performance in 2014. The only caveat is that to make this list, the player needs to be U23 eligible right now (read: Olympics if it started tomorrow), which means they’re all at least ’91s.

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Written by Will Parchman

ozz

SEATTLE — Nervy days, but the job is done. And now MLS gets the matchup everyone wanted.

Dempsey vs. Donovan. Keane vs. Martins. Galaxy vs. Sounders.

The Sounders, expected by just about everyone to cut through FC Dallas and set up a dream two-legged meeting with the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference finals in two weeks, got it done. But barely. Through a grim, determined effort at the back and just enough panache going forward, the Sounders managed to pick their way to a scoreless draw Monday night at CenturyLink Field.

That advanced Seattle on away goals after Osvaldo Alonso booted one home to secure a 1-1 draw in Dallas last week. Here are a handful of takeaways from one of the wildest scoreless draws you’re likely to see any time soon.

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Written by Will Parchman

mewis

The most exciting time of the year for women’s college soccer is upon us. The NCAA women’s tournament bracket is now set, which gives us a chance to take a gander at some of the best story lines from Monday’s reveal. From intriguing matchups to in-form players, here’s a sneak peek at what lies ahead.

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