Written by Will Parchman

MLS is getting another Ireland striker this summer. Wolves man Kevin Doyle is joining up with the Colorado Rapids July 1, apparently because he’s never heard of the Colorado Rapids. In any case, he’s not worried MLS will ruin his hopes for future national team call-ups. He should probably be more worried that he’s 31 and played 59 minutes in the Championship this year. But I digress.

Sky took the opportunity to quiz Doyle on some Americanisms. Like wall pass. And douchebag. Which coincidentally are the only two words he’ll need to know when he gets to Denver.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Seven goals allowed in the last 10 minutes of its last seven games.

The USMNT took its late defensive futility to new lows on Wednesday in a dour 3-2 loss to Denmark in rainy, blustery Aarhus. The U.S. conceded the middle of the field to the Danes for much of the match and got both its goals off long balls. The first of those from Jozy Altidore was speculative, but the second was a beauty from Michael Bradley than Aron Johannsson bundled in from four yards.

But that old finishing trope bucked up like a wild stallion and threw the Americans to the ground. Again. Two goals in the final 10 minutes Wednesday doomed the U.S., but it wasn’t exactly undeserved, either. The defense routinely crossed over itself, the midfield wasn’t built to possess the ball for more than a few touches and the strikers were stranded. Not good.

Keep in mind my scale may look harsher than others. For me, 5.0 is average. Anything above that and I liked at least something you did. Needless to say, I was stingier than normal with those today.

GK Nick Rimando, 5.5: This was hardly Rimando’s worst game, and his constantly shifting back line probably owes him a dinner at some point. But he didn’t look particularly sharp off his line, which isn’t something you’re used to seeing from Rimando, who’s typically so cat-like and agile jetting out into the box. But again, some more help from his back line would’ve been nice.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Every golden generation is relative. Tethered to history as we are, judgment is only siphoned through the distinctive lenses of the past. Argentinians of the mid-80′s, for instance, can now be excused for assuming they’d never again produce a single class the likes of Passarella and Burruchaga and Valdano and the inimitable, almost vague figure of Maradona. To this day, Passarella is one of just five non-Brazilians to have won the World Cup more than once.

Argentina did not win the 2014 World Cup, but there is little argument that the golden generation of Aguero and Mascherano and Di Maria and the atomic Messi is at least as good individually as their title-winning predecessors from nearly 30 years ago. At least. And so that sits on the weather-beaten Argentinian wood grain like a fresh coat of varnish, awaiting the next coat in some far off decade. Every golden generation is relative, and every one is judged on the merits of its predecessors.

In that sense, the American golden generation exists because all things exist on their own relative plane, but only here, on these shores. There has yet to be a clustered grouping of Americans concentrated enough in pure talent to grab the attention of the world at large and make its way onto some ubiquitous listicle on a Moroccan blog or onto an infographic in La Gazetta dello Sport. Would Spain, for instance, recognize our High Era as one befitting the English of the 60′s or the West Germany of the 70′s or the Italians of the 80′s or the French of the 90′s or their own Spain from the late aughts? Probably not. If they even know what it looks like (they should – 2009 knocks from afar).

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Written by Will Parchman

When we talk about high level development in the U.S., you can hear the crackling static when we talk about the 18-22 age bracket. At least in recent history, nobody’s quite sure where to go from there.

The Development Academy is nowhere near where it needs to be, but at just eight years old it’s made significant strides since it kicked off its first match in 2007. And for all its confusing rules, MLS is slowly attracting and generating more talent from the nutrient-rich waters abroad and off its own shores.

But there still isn’t an easy fix for that 18-22 age range. The college season is too short. The academy doesn’t have U19 or U20 or U23 divisions. And other leagues have fizzled without enough support. That’s why USL’s increasingly large footprint in development is moving the needle significantly. As more MLS teams pop online with USL franchises, the pathway between U18 and pro soccer becomes slightly smoother.

The Sounders were one of those clubs this offseason, and their new USL franchise S2 fired up with its first match last weekend. A smashing 4-2 win over defending league champs Sacramento Republic signaled the league’s MLS debutants (all of Cascadia is now on board) will probably shake things up this season.

And now we come to Pablo Rossi. The good folks at Sounder At Heart know plenty about Rossi, who has his own Seattle-based hype train running up and down the Puget Sound. Over the weekend, he got his first real life game action just days after he triumphantly inked an official contract with S2. And the result was that lovely (SUPER SLO-MO) free kick that won him bonus points for pinging off the back of the keeper.

We here at TDS love our Hype Trains. Rossi’s is one we can hop on.

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Written by Stacey Rodwell

van gaalAs we close in on what could be a critical weekend in what Sir Alex Ferguson referred to as the “squeaky bum” time of the season. United, Arsenal and Liverpool fans all fall asleep with renewed hope in their hearts.

With City and Chelsea dropping precious points last weekend, the title race door has opened slightly ajar. With that being said a draw at Anfield Sunday would surely leave United behind and most definitely Liverpool, if they both weren’t already.

So how will it fair? Who will finish top four? Who will be crowned Kings of England? Lets take a look at each teams run ins, form and our predictions.

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Written by Travis Clark

Over the past two seasons, the Virginia women’s soccer team has been one of North America’s most entertaining sides — regardless of the level. With head coach Steve Swanson emphasizing possession-based, attacking soccer and U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Morgan Brian at the hub of it, the Cavaliers scored 88 goals in 2014 and 78 in 2013.

The downside? Virginia reached the College Cup both seasons, only to come up short against both eventual champions (UCLA and Florida State respectively).

Relive some of the best of those 88 goals from last fall in the above compilation. It’s worth the time.

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Written by Travis Clark

This Sunday serves up another edition of El Clasico, as Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in one of, if not the best rivalry in world soccer.

To commemorate the upcoming game where past editions have featured great goals, amazing skill and epic hissy fits and brouhahas, scope out some of the best goals from meetings over the years, from the likes of Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Roberto Carlos and Lionel Messi.

Barcelona is currently in first place in La Liga, a point ahead of Real Madrid, adding even more gravitas to Sunday’s encounter. Some fun preview reads include a web chat with Guardian’s Spain expert Sid Lowe, Paste Soccer’s 25 most memorable moments from the rivalry and a tactical preview.

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Written by Travis Clark

Fun fact: Bayern Munich has a basketball team. Like other major European clubs, other sports are heavily featured under the same brand, like Barcelona, Real Madrid — the list goes on.

But Bayern’s soccer team decided it’d be a good idea to shoot a second video of soccer players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller, Jordan Alaba, Robert Lewandowski and Holger Badstuber playing basketball, and it’s even more awkward than one might imagine.

A few things jump to mind. Does Pep know about this? Does he approve? Why spend so much time creating “intros” and graphics for a five-minute video of bad pickup basketball? Badstuber’s inclusion is baffling, as he suffered ACL tears in 2012 and 2013 respectively. What if he (or anyone of them) gets hurt?

Enough of the questions. Enjoy Müller somehow looking even more awkward in another sport.

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Written by Will Parchman

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These are sad days for English soccer in Europe. Days after Manchester City and Arsenal were booted from the Champions League and a week after Chelsea got the axe from 10-man PSG, Everton was left holding the bag in the prestigious Europa League. A second leg against Dynamo Kiev awaited this week in a tie they led 2-1. All to play for.

Or not. Kiev put in five goals on Thursday and thrashed Everton’s helpless defense for a 6-4 aggregate victory. At least Everton and universally-beloved-and-most-certainly-never-derided manager Roberto Martinez have the Premier League! Wh… what’s that you say? Everton are 14th in the Premier League and just six points clear of the drop zone with nine matches left? Never mind, then. As you were.

From an American perspective, one of the saddest things about Everton’s soul-crushing season is the relative decline of Tim Howard. He’s never quite looked the same since he cured the common cold against Belgium in the World Cup last summer. Everton’s defense in front of him has been putrid this season, which certainly plays its part. According to Squawka, the Toffees lead the Premier League in defensive errors with 30, four more than anyone else in the league. Unfortunately, a couple of those have been Howard’s.

Thursday was a typically morose day for Howard, who doesn’t have the national team to fall back on for some time due to his self-imposed hiatus. Two reasons why his Thursday sucked worse than yours.

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Written by Will Parchman

It happened again. The Impact won another CONCACAF Champions League match.

After brushing aside Pachuca in the quarters thanks to the Thrust Heard ‘Round The World (and a goal or something from rookie Cameron Porter), the Impact smashed Alajuelense 2-0 at home on Wednesday night in the first leg of the semifinals. It should’ve been even more. As you’ll notice from the highlights, Montreal wasted a couple prime opportunities to make it 3-0 (or even 4-0) and put the tie to sleep. Because the Impact still have to play in Costa Rica. And nobody wants to play in Costa Rica. It’s the MLS/USMNT Thunderdome.

Perhaps the most bizarre thing about all this is that the Impact gave absolutely no indication they’d be even half this good in a spot where MLS teams have been historically terrible. Only one MLS side has ever made it to the CCL final, Real Salt Lake in 2011. And it didn’t win.

If suddenly in-form Ignacio Piatti manages to lead Impact into the final at all, let alone to a title, it’ll rank as the most surprising championship run in the tournament’s history after the Great Montreal Dumpster Fire of 2014. I speak for all neutrals, Montreal, when I say: “Wreck this damn thing.”

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