Written by Will Parchman

clint

In 2012, Tim Cahill played in 12 regular season matches for the New York Red Bulls, racked up 1,080 minutes on the field and scored one goal. By most accounts, his initial transfer-shortened MLS season was underwhelming. He often struggled to get involved and entered the 2012-2013 offseason with uncertainty clipping at his heels. Would NYRB’s latest DP be another mild disappointment? The following season was a mystery.

In 2013, Clint Dempsey played in nine regular season matches for the Seattle Sounders, put in a grand total of 651 minutes in an MLS uniform and scored one goal. By most objective measures, Dempsey’s initial blast of MLS air was a bit stale. Unlike Cahill, his form hadn’t suffered in the EPL on the eve of his transfer, and monstrous expectation had been heaped on his shoulders after his historic and somewhat controversial transfer.

Now, Dempsey is mired in an offseason much like the one Cahill had last year. Big player, grand expectations and a sudden and immediate need to meet them.

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Written by Will Parchman

Over here, it’s easy digest TFC’s exuberance over landing former Spurs striker Jermain Defoe. He’s still got plenty of good years left in his legs, and he could have easily extended his stay in the EPL with another team. But Drake and YOLO and whatnot, so MLS it is.

Anyway, Spurs manager Tim Sherwood seems pretty sad about all this. Maybe we should get him something?

 

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Written by Will Parchman

shipppp

In another world, Harry Shipp might’ve been one of the first players off the board in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Luckily for the Fire, the Homegrown player will never leave the upper midwest.

The Fire announced Shipp as the team’s third Homegrown signing on Thursday after Victor Peneda and Kellen Gulley. It follows on the heels of Shipp’s national title-winning senior campaign, during which he scored 12 goals and added 10 assists for Notre Dame. Now, he’s on his way up the road to Chicago, where he spent much of his developmental career.

Here’s what he had to say about the decision.

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Written by Travis Clark

MunozNot a single player in the upcoming MLS combine brings the same kind of pedigree that UCLA midfielder Victor Munoz does to Florida.

The former Spanish youth international and Real Madrid Academy product came to the United States to play college soccer for Iona, before transferring to UCLA ahead of the 2011 season.

Now, after completing his eligibility in Westwood, the midfielder has eyes on MLS and next week’s draft. We recently caught up with the Spaniard who discussed what the last four years have been like playing in the USA.

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Written by Will Parchman

beckie

The 91st Minute is admittedly a little late on this one, but sometimes the best things simply need a little time to marinate. Or, in this case, develop some raging dreds, bra.

These are Kyle Beckerman’s engagement photos from October. They are everything you’d hope for from MLS’ No. 1 Rasta. He poses with soccer balls on the Rio Tinto turf. He languidly lounges, seeming to tousle his rock-hard dreds in one finger with a gaze toward his mate deeper than Keanu Reeves’ theology. Then he dons a strange, celestial round hat no doubt fabricated entirely out of his brain power, from the melding of Keats and a single thought of the curvature of our very planet. Kyle Beckerman is a very powerful man.

Also, he’s got this utility fishing vest on. Imagine Ms. Frizzle’s Magic School Bus, but put, like, adult things in it. That’s Kyle Beckerman’s fishing vest.

KatePappas-KyleBeckerman-river

 

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Written by Will Parchman

CAL Men's Soccer vs Maryland

MLS came out with its list of Generation adidas prospects on Thursday. The list itself wasn’t a total surprise, and the fact that MLS didn’t let Andre Blake leave North America for Europe was a tremendous get for the league. Blake is the undisputed gem of this class and could be the best keeper to emerge from the college ranks in some time.

For the most part, it was a safe if somewhat short list of names (Leo Stolz’s late decision to return to UCLA undoubtedly robbed MLS of a fifth).  The only one that looked a bit out of the box was Tshuma, who wasn’t good down the stretch this past season and will have to snap out of his sophomore slump from 2013 in a hurry. But zippy wingers are always in high demand in MLS, which clearly swayed his selection.

As always, though, there’s an intriguing clutch of players who are still waiting to hear their names called as MLS parses through the rest of their options. The league is expected to sign at least one or two more players to GA contracts in the coming days, which leaves a few players still on the block for MLS duty.

Who could those remaining players be? A few suggestions here.

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Written by The 91st

Who doesn’t love a good tifo? We at the 91st minute enjoy the lengths that fans go to salute their teams, whether it’s the fourth division or national team. This video montage takes a look at some of the best tifos 2013 had to offer.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

indy3d-640x360

America is brimming with lower-tier clubs willing to do things the sensible way. The tiered way. In our soccer terms anyway, the American way. Build from the bottom with promotional events, low-cost stadium rentals, minimized overheads, low risk signings. Do things within your means in hopes of someday earning the coveted gaze of MLS, the salve for the eternal American soccer wound: continual cash flow at the gates.

This is the way it’s always been on these shores, anyway. The U.S. is not a haven for billionaires looking to spend a chunk of their ill-begotten gains on a money-sump of a venture for the sheer thrill of soccer ownership. It wouldn’t make any sense. Soccer ownership is largely a losing venture anyway, even on the best of terms.

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Written by Will Parchman

calfc

You may remember Cal FC from such feature-length operatics as “The 2012 U.S. Open Cup,” and, “That time that amateur team beat the Portland Timbers in 2012.” Yes, that same Cal FC team is doing things again.

On Saturday, Cal FC scored a goal in the final minute of the second overtime to beat Manhattan Beach outfit Doxa Italia 3-2 in a U.S. Open Cup play-in game out of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association. That win-and-you’re-in game paved Cal FC’s way back into the tournament for the first time since the team’s magical run in 2012.

Cal FC’s 1-0 win over the Timbers in the third round of the ’12 USOC was undoubtedly the biggest upset in the event’s history in the MLS era. Plenty’s been written about that team, which was coached by Eric Wynalda, who’s since moved on to greener pastures. According to every document I can dredge up, the team is now coached by Nick Webster, the assistant to Wynalda in ’12 and a former Fox Soccer commentary man. Which follows, since his former British Fox Soccer buddy Keith Costigan only recently ended a stint as an academy coach in the Chivas USA system.

In any case, all this means is a former land mine is back in the field for 2014. Don’t worry, Timbers fans. Artur Aghasyan, the man who scored the game-winner in overtime in 2012, is now with the Ventura County Fusion. Rest easy. Or don’t. The latter is probably safer.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

zlatan-ibrahimovic-style

Zlatan Ibrahimovic hopped on a conference call with English-speaking, (mostly) American journalists on Friday to bob and weave through topics as only Zlatan can. It was everything you’ve come to expect from the oddest ball on the international pool table. In between copious references to himself in the third person and making the tie between his aging and a bottle of wine (yeah), he took the time to address some MLS-related topics.

Is MLS something he might be interested in, either now or a couple years down the road?

“I don’t know. Of course it can be interesting. I get the questions before that. I’m not nominated for the Golden Ball, so I don’t know, maybe in America nobody knows who I am there. So maybe I should come over and play some seasons so people get to know me.”

So what will it take to get a player of Zlatan’s stature to play in MLS going forward?

“I don’t know. It depends from the individual, from the person himself, what kind of interest he has in going to America and playing in the MLS. I mean, I don’t know. I can only speak for myself, and like I said before, it could be interesting to go over to America and try the football there. But today is not interesting. Let’s see what happens in the future. I still have another three years to play in Paris, and I will fulfill my contract. After that I will be 34 or 35. I mean, I want to play football, yes, but I want to give results if I can give. I don’t know if I’m 35 and can bring any results in MLS, maybe I will be too old or something. This, I don’t know about. For sure I want to enjoy football.”

 

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