Written by Will Parchman

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The GA Cup is an annual competition essentially on the map to give MLS academies a general mid-season measuring stick. It’s a U17 tournament with a qualifying round, group stages and knockout rounds ranging from the Championship Division to the mid-tier Premier Division down to the more speculative U12 group.

The Development Academy is in the final third of its 2015-16 throes, and the figurative wheat and chaff have separated. Or so you’d think.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Back in January, Japanese international Keisuke Honda made ripples in the American soccer fabric when he made his way to Southern California to begin the process of establishing a youth academy in its fertile climes.

It seemed almost random, as if it had to be coupled with something else. Speaking on the topic of MLS, Honda qualified himself as “very interested” in the league in the future. A contributing factor was no doubt his unsettled status at AC Milan, which had seemingly turned its back on him since Sinisa Mihajlovic took over last year.

Well. You might want to squash those thoughts of the first great Japanese megastar in MLS. Because it sure as heck looks as though Honda is doing just fine.

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Written by Will Parchman

MLS only just recently entered its 20s, and thanks to the glories of modernity we can look back on its first ever MLS match and marvel. Phil Schoen on the call, Eric Wynalda on the goal, the clock on the countdown (whywhywhy). All here.

It helps every once and again to remind yourself from whence the league had to come in this country, notably in terms of its aesthetic. Look at those Clash unis. Bad.

The other thing I’d forgotten? Jeff Agoos got nutmegged into the fourth century en route to giving up the first goal in MLS history. You’ll always have that glory, Jeff.

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Written by Will Parchman

maxresdefault Tim Howard is back in MLS and I wonder like fury if he understands what den he’ll find when he returns.

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Written by Travis Clark

Quincy_Top10
Another week of MLS action, another edition of the good, the bad and the ugly to sift through on a Monday morning.

My colleague Will Parchman takes you through what went down at Yankee Stadium on Sunday between NYCFC and Toronto, a fairly entertaining 2-2 draw featuring an amazing formation from head coach Patrick Vieira.

That was the tip of the iceberg when it comes to another weekend of MLS madness. Let’s get to it.

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Written by Will Parchman

Patrick Vieira

A fish.

Giovinco scored and I saw a great fish, sounding and receding into the deep as Patrick Vieira slipped over the gunwale with his gaff glinting in the sun and then slipping from his hands. Then there was a splash and the fish had gone.

There are some battles that you have won by losing them. Let me explain what I mean.

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Written by Will Parchman

ez

Before he joined Toronto FC in 2013 as the front office’s youthful ball of energy, TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko was MLS’s contracts czar. In addition to overseeing the complex budgets of each franchise’s intricately webbed first team, Bezbatchenko oversaw the nuts and bolts of the league’s popular Homegrown Rule. At the end of the day, contracts and rules flowed through his office.

When Bezbatchenko joined Toronto FC, he was aware the club had just completed work on the KIA Training Ground, a $21 million palace that houses Toronto FC’s academy sides. It’s arguably the finest standalone academy facility for an MLS team, and it was part of the allure that drew Bezbatchenko north of the border. It became immediately clear that MLSE’s pockets ran deeper than perhaps he even thought.

In fact, when Bezbatchenko was first brought to the club’s campus by Tim Leiweke on a recruiting trip, he could hardly believe his eyes.

“My jaw hit the floor when I saw KIA Training Ground,” Bezbatchenko says.

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Written by Will Parchman

HGs

The difference between jingoism and a nationalism that borders on the ethically dubious is a blurred line. In matters that expand beyond the personal, there is no particularly easy way to walk the beam between promoting the diverse universe of thought that comes with an open-arms immigration policy while also promoting the best interests of its citizens.

If there is any proof we have that the hand drawing this line is often palsied, look no further than the 2016 American presidential debates. Or yellings, maybe. We should call them yellings.

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Written by Travis Clark

mcnamara

MLS is back.

Serving up almost 12 hours of soccer on Sunday, there were plenty of memorable moments from the first day of Major League Soccer.

Here’s a look at the good, bad and the ugly from the opening day of action.

The Good

Higuain!

Perhaps the best match of opening day took place in Portland, as Columbus Crew SC paid a visit to the Timbers to rehash the 2015 MLS Cup. Portland emerged as 2-1 winners on the day (and honestly it should’ve been more) but Federico Higuain’s bicycle kick was a beauty.

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Written by The 91st

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The MLS season. It is here.

After a massively disappointing start to 2016 via a CONCACAF Champions League bloodbath at the hands of Liga MX, MLS plunges headlong into the blessed retreat of the 2016 season this weekend. No expansion teams, no excuses. Or, you know, something.

We here at TopDrawerSoccer pay close attention to the young guns, so our MLS preview is a mite different than the rest. In addition to brief breakdowns, we’ll run you through the top U21 players, unsigned Homegrowns, rookies and more for every MLS team. Some need the reinforcement more than others.

Without any more hemming and hawing, let’s dive in.

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