Category Archives: Football Fanatics.Com

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind | Soccer By Ives

By FRANCO PANIZO

Pachucas season may not have gone as well as expected, but forJose Torres, Herculez Gomez and Marco Vidal,that doesnt matter anymore as the club reached the Apertura playoffs.

Facing a must-win situation, Pachuca reached the Apertura Liguilla with a 2-1 road victory over Necaxa in the clubs season finale. Torres started and went the distance in the match while Vidal came off the bench to help preserve the lead with a 35-minute performance. Gomez did not play.

Another trio of Americans also enjoyed success this week in the form of goals. Stuart Holden (who also added an assist) netted his first Premier League goal, the winner in Bolton Wanderers 3-2 victory over Wolves. Michael Bradley scored the second in Borrussia Moenchengladbachs 4-0 rout of FC Cologne. Benny Feilhaber hit a game-winning penalty kick in stoppage time in AGF Aarhus 1-0 win against Viborg.

Here is how the Americans Abroad did this weekend:

England

PREMIERSHIP

Tim Howardstarted, played 90 minutes and and made three saves in Evertons 2-1 loss vs. Arsenal on Sunday.Clint Dempseystarted and played 90 minutes in Fulhams 0-0 draw vs. Newcastle United on Saturday.Eddie Johnsoncame off the bench and played 1 minute for Fulham.Brad Friedelstarted, played 90 minutes and made two saves in Aston Villas 2-2 draw vs. Manchester United on Saturday.Brad Guzandressed but did not play for Aston Villa.Eric Lichajcame off the bench and played 2 minutes for Aston Villa.Marcus Hahnemannstarted, played 90 minutes and made three saves in Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 loss vs. Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.Jonathan Spectordressed but did not play in West Ham Uniteds 0-0 draw vs. Blackpool on Saturday.Stuart Holdenstarted, played 90 minutes, had an ASSIST and scored a GOALin Bolton Wanderers 3-2 win vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

http://video.rutube.ru/ff2adf77a2f814d61974bda393491053

CHAMPIONSHIP

Conor Doylecame off the bench and played 5 minutes in Derby Countys 2-0 loss vs. Leicester City on Saturday.Zak Whitbreaddid not dress in Norwich Citys 3-3 draw vs. Reading on Saturday. He is recovering from a calf injury.

LEAGUE ONE

Frank Simekstarted and played 90 minutes in Carlisle Uniteds 3-2 win vs. Southampton on Saturday.Mike Grellastarted and played 90 minutes for Carlisle United.Anton Peterlindid not dress in Plymouth Argyles 1-0 loss vs. Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.Jemal Johnsondressed but did not play in Milton Keynes Dons 2-0 win vs. Brentford on Saturday.

Scotland

Maurice Edudid not dress in Rangers 2-0 win vs. Aberdeen on Saturday. He is recovering from a knee injury.Dominic Cervidid not dress in Celtics 1-0 win vs. St Mirren on Sunday.

Spain

Jozy Altidoredressed but did not play inVillarreals 3-1 loss vs. Barcelona on Saturday.

Italy

Oguchi Onyewudid not dress in AC Milans 1-0 win vs. Inter Milan on Sunday.

Germany

BUNDESLIGA

Steve Cherundolostarted, played 68 minutes and received two yellow cards in Hannover 96s 1-0 win vs. Mainz on Saturday.DaMarcus Beasleydressed but did not play for Hannover 96.Michael Bradleystarted, played 90 minutes and scored a GOALin Borussia Moenchengladbachs 4-0 win vs. FC Cologne on Saturday.

http://video.rutube.ru/01cc3b7bee492f4b8592c3529c80e997

Jermaine Jonesstarted and played 63 minutes in Schalke 04s 2-2 draw vs. VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.Ricardo Clarkdressed but did not play in Eintracht Frankfurts 0-0 draw vs. Werder Bremen on Saturday.Daniel Williamsdressed but did not play in SC Freiburgs 1-0 win vs. TSG Hoffenheim on Sunday.

BUNDESLIGA 2

Kenny Cooperdid not dress in TSV 1860 Munichs 0-0 draw vs. Energie Cottbus on Sunday. He is recovering from an ankle injury.David Yeldellstarted, played 90 minutes and made five saves in MSV Duisburgs 2-2 draw vs. Alemania Aachen on Sunday.Luis Roblesstarted, played 90 minutes and made four saves in Karlsruhes 1-1 draw vs. FC Erzgebirge Aue on Friday.Amaechi Igwedid not dress in FC Ingolstadt 04s 2-1 loss vs. SC Paderborn 07 on Sunday. He is recovering from a knee injury.

France

LIGUE 1

Carlos Bocanegraand St Etiennes match vs. Valenciennes on Saturday was postponed.Charlie Daviesdid not dress in Sochauxs 1-1 draw vs. Brest on Saturday.

LIGUE 2

Quentin Westbergdressed but did not play in Evian Thonon Gaillards 3-1 win vs. Le Mans on Friday.

Greece

Freddy Aduand Aris Salonika play Iraklis on Monday.

Belgium

Sacha Kljestancame off the bench, played 1 minute and received a yellow card in RSC Anderlechts 2-1 win vs. Gent on Sunday.

Denmark

SUPERLIGA

Michael Parkhurststarted and played 90 minutes in FC Nordsjaellands 2-1 win vs. Lyngby on Sunday.Marcus Tracydid not dress in Aalborg BKs 2-2 draw vs. Midtjylland on Saturday. He is recovering from a knee injury.Chris Rolfedid not dress for Aalborg BK. He is recovering from a hamstring injury.

VIASAT DIVISION

Benny Feilhaberstarted, played 90 minutes and scored a penalty kickGOALin AGF Aarhuss 1-0 win vs. Viborg on Sunday. You can see the goal here.

Norway

Steve Clarkdressed but did not play Honefoss BKs 2-1 extra time win vs. Ranheim in the promotion/relegation playoff on Sunday.

Mexico

Jose Torresstarted and played 90 minutes in Pachucas 2-1 win vs. Necaxa on Friday.Herculez Gomezdressed but did not play for Pachuca.Marco Vidalcame off the bench, played 35 minutes and received a yellow card for Pachuca.Edgar Castillodressed but did not play in San Luis 1-0 loss vs. Cruz Azul on Saturday.Sammy Ochoacame off the bench and played 7 minutesin Estudiantes Tecos U.A. de G.s 1-0 loss vs. Santos on Saturday.Sonny Guadarramastarted and played 72 minutes in Atlantes 1-1 draw vs. Toluca on Sunday.

How do you see Torres, Vidal, Gomez and Pachuca faring in the LIguilla? How much confidence do you think Holden is playing with right now? Do you think Bradley should get a new goal celebration? Impressed by Feilhabers clutch goal?

Share your thoughts below.

Advertisements

FC Dallas clinches spot in MLS Cup Final with a convincing 3-0 victory over Galaxy | Soccer By Ives

Photo by David Bernal/ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

In the end, it wasnt that close at all.

A match that was billed as the true final by many, ended with more of a whimper than a bang.

FC Dallas earned its first trip to MLS Cup with a convincing 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy. The victory clinched the first MLS Cup Final appearance for the FC Dallas franchise and gave MLS its second straight final without the Supporters Shield winner.

FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman stole the show against his old club with six saves on the night to propel Dallas into the Final. After contemplating retirement when he was cut by the Kansas City Wizards before the start of the season, to sit one win away from MLS Cup means the world to Hartman.

We showed a great amount of fortitude against a pretty good team to get a pretty convincing win, said Hartman. When youre contemplating retirement and then youre able to get into the MLS Cup Final, its pretty rewarding.

It was a physical game throughout the first half with referee Jair Marrufo allowing much of the contact between the two teams to slide. In the early part of the match, the Galaxy dominated possession and began to pressure Hartman, who routinelypreservedthe stalemate. FCD used their explosive counter attack to take the lead in the 26th minute when Marvin Chavez found David Ferriera, who froze the Galaxy defense and beat Donovan Ricketts with a right-footed strike.

Dallas doubled their lead in the 54th minute of play. Brek Shea streaked down the left side and played in a ball that trickled past the Galaxy defense to George John, who slammed it in for a 2-0 lead. FC Dallas would add a third in the 73rd minute when a Marvin Chavez goal firmly placed FCD into the MLS Cup Final.

We controlled the game a bit more after that first goal and became more confident, said FC Dallas Captain Daniel Hernandez. When that second goal fell for us, I felt that we dominated the whole second half. I have a great deal of respect for LA because they had a great year, but after that first goal, we were able to dominate them.

The Galaxy dominated the chances early as they sought to put FC Dallas on their heels early. Time and time again however, former Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman proved too difficult to beat. His best save came in the 21st minute off a save from Galaxy midfielder Juninho, who broke free of the defense and fired a rocket that Hartman stopped.Throughout the match, Los Angeles struggled time and time again to find its greatest weapon, MLS MVP candidate Edson Buddle. Buddle found contact with every touch of the ball as the FCD defense closed in on Buddle with every opportunity.

In addition to Buddles inability to perform, David Beckham, who was soinfluentialagainst the Sounders struggled to make an impact on the night. Beckhams struggled to connect as FC Dallas defense was able to outwork the Galaxy to eachopportunity and clear any chances. Following the match, the Galaxy announced that Beckham was nearly pulled from the match at the half with anabductorstrain. With screams of joy easily heard from FC Dallas celebrating next door, Bruce Arena spoke of a season that ended due to missed opportunities.

We have no excuses, Arena said. We were outplayed. but maybe a couple of calls didnt go our way, but thats part of it. We were beaten on most matchups on the field, and we were out-coached. Dallas deserved the victory.

FC Dallas now sets their sights on MLS Cup Final against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday November 21st at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada. Dallas enters the final having knocked off the defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake in the first round and then the 2010 Supporters Shield winners in the Conference Final.

For a club that was not tabbed by many to be a legitimate threat for MLS Cup, confidence is brimming.

Were a bunch of hardworking guys, Schellas brought in the right guys and we play to our system. I dont think were under dogs and we showed that tonight, said McCarthy. We are going to be ready because we know that its going to be a dogfight up in Toronto.

European Weekend Rewind: Chelsea stunned, Milan tops Inter and more | Soccer By Ives

By IAN HOLLIDAY

Chelsea almost never loses at Stamford Bridge, so a 3-0 home defeat to a mid-table team is big news, particularly since the three goals scored by Sunderland Sunday were the first three the Blues had allowed at the Bridge all season. Chelsea remains the team to beat in the Premier League, but with only two points separating them from second-placed Arsenal, the Blues need to work that much harder to hold on to the title.

Chelseas loss was easily the weekends biggest surprise, but the weekends biggest match-up came in Italy, where the Milan derby pitted Zlatan Ibrahimovic against the club where he built his reputation. So when AC Milan was awarded a fifth-minute penalty, there was little doubt who would step up to take it. Ibrahimovic buried the spot kick, providing the difference in the 1-0 victory, as Inter failed to create quality chances, even after Milan went down a man in the 6oth minute.

In Spain, Barcelona created some separation at the top of La Liga with its 3-1 defeat of third-placed Villarreal on Saturday. But the Catalan club remain one point behind Real Madrid, which pulled out a 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

One of the weekends more entertaining matches came in Germany, where Kaiserslautern rallied from 3-0 down in the 50th minute to earn a 3-3 draw with VfB Stuttgart. Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund extended its Bundesliga lead to seven points, and Brest continued to top the Ligue 1 standings despite its 1-1 draw with Sochaux in France.

Here is a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europes top leagues:

ENGLAND

Chelseas surprise loss opens up the race at the top of the Premier League. With their 2-1 win over Everton, Arsenal take sole possession of second place, just two points off the pace with 26 points. Behind them is Manchester United, which needed goals from Federico Macheda and Nemanja Vidic in the last nine minutes of the match just to earn a draw at Aston Villa. Still, the result was a welcome change for the Red Devils, who have grown accustomed to surrendering, not scoring, in the last 15 minutes of matches this season. Those three clubs are clearly the class of the league at the moment, with everyone else clumping together behind them. Leading the pack is Manchester City, which limped to its second consecutive 0-0 home draw on Saturday against Birmingham City.

Aston Villa 2, Manchester United 2

Manchester City 0, Birmingham City 0

Newcastle United 0, Fulham 0

Tottenham 4, Blackburn 2

West Ham United 0, Blackpool 0

Wolverhampton 2, Bolton 3

Wigan Athletic 1, West Bromwich Albion 0

Stoke City 2, Liverpool 0

Everton 1, Arsenal 2

Chelsea 0, Sunderland 3

SPAIN

If there was any doubt that the La Liga title race would be contested between Barcelona and Real Madrid, it was put to rest this weekend when Barca defeated its closest rival Villareal handily 3-1. A second-half brace from Lionel Messi proved to be the difference in a match that the visitors never looked like winning. The result puts Barca one point behind Real Madrid, which needed an 82nd-minute goal from Gonzalo Higuain to defeat Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

Athletic Bilbao 1, Almeria 0

Atletico Madrid 3, Osasuna 0

Barcelona 3, Villarreal 1

Malaga 1, Levante 0

Mallorca 0, Deportivo la Coruna 0

Racing Santander 0, Espanyol 0

Real Zaragoza 1, Sevilla 2

Hercules 2, Real Sociedad 1

Sporting Gijon 0, Real Madrid 1

Valencia 2, Getafe 0

ITALY

The Milan derby got the headlines, but the more important result may have been Lazios 2-0 defeat of Napoli. With the victory, the club ended its 2-match losing streak and kept pace with AC Milan at the top of the table. Lazio now trails the Rossoneri by just one point at the top of the Serie A table, and lead third-placed Napoli by four. Lazio wasnt the only Roman club to play a big match this weekend, as AS Roma earned a 1-1 draw at Juventus. After a dismal start to the season, Roma has quietly climbed to sixth place, just one point behind Juve for Italys final Champions League spot.

Fiorentina 1, Cesena 0

Juventus 1, AS Roma 1

Lazio 2, Napoli 0

Bari 0, Parma 1

Udinese 4, Lecce 0

Sampdoria 0, Chievo 0

Palermo 3, Catania 1

Cagliari 0, Genoa 1

Inter Milan 0, AC Milan 1

GERMANY

All of a sudden, Borussia Dortmund has a seven point lead in the Bundesliga. Since defeating then-unbeaten Mainz on Halloween, Dortmund has won two in a row, while Mainz has been going in the opposite direction, dropping two in a row. Now, Dortmund is all alone at the top with 31 points, while Mainz is still stuck on 24, and has fallen to third place behind Bayer Leverkusen. Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Michael Bradleys Borussia Moenchengladbach got a much-needed victory on Saturday, defeating FC Cologne 4-0 to climb within one point of safety. Bradley got the second goal in the rout.

Borussia Dortmund 2, Hamburg 0

Werder Bremen 0, Eintracht Frankfurt 0

Kaiserslautern 3, VfB Stuttgart 3

FC Cologne 0, Borussia Moenchengladbach 4

VfL Wolfsburg 2, Schalke 04 2

St. Pauli 0, Bayer Leverkusen 1

Mainz 05 0, Hannover 96 1

Hoffenheim 0, SC Freiburg 1

Bayern Munich 3, Nurnberg 0

FRANCE

The most impressive result of the weekend was certainly Lilles 5-2 defeat of Caen, which pulled the club within a point of Brest for the Ligue 1 lead. Lille showed composure after surrendering a late goal that reduced its lead to 3-2, slotting home two stoppage-time goals to pad their lead. Meanwhile, seven-time champions Lyon is slowly climbing up the table. After a slow start, the club has 19 points through 13 matches, good for eighth place in the league on goal differential, but still three points off the pace in the wide open French table.

Monaco 0, Arles 0

Montpellier 1, Toulouse 0

Marseille 1, Lens 1

Brest 1, Sochaux 1

Valenciennes v. St. Etienne (postponed)

Bordeaux 2, AS Nancy Lorraine 1

Caen 2, Lille 5

AJ Auxerre 2, Stade Rennes 1

Lorient 1, Paris St. Germain 1

Lyon 1, Nice 0

What did you think of this weeks matches? Surprised by Chelseas loss? Impressed by Barca, Real Madrid, or AC Milan? Think anyone can catch Dortmund?

Share your thoughts below.

College conference tournament roundup | Soccer By Ives

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Champions were crowned all around the country as conference tournaments drew to a close on Sunday.For some, a conference victory was their only chance to punch a ticket to the Big Dance while others simply secured a higher seed in tonights NCAA selection.

In the Big 10, Michigan claimed its first-ever conference title with a 4-1 victory over hosts Penn State. Freshman Soony Saad became the nations leading scorer with his 18th goal of the season just four minutes into the match. Justin Meram followed with a brace of his own before Hamoody Saad added a second-half penalty kick. Drew Cost netted a goal for the Nittany Lions before the half but it was little more than a consolation. Unranked in the most recent top 25, Michigan moves off the bubble and into the NCAA tournament while Penn State, who recieved votes but remained unranked, will have to wait for the committees decision.

In the Big East, Louisville remained undefeated with a penalty kick shootout victory over Providence. It remained scoreless until the 83rd minute when Colin Rolfes bullet from 20 yards out seemingly secured the title for Louisville. But the Friars had other plans. In the 88th minute, Matt Marcin converted a penalty kick and the game went to overtime. Neither team could manage a golden goal and Louisville goalkeeper produced two fine saves in the shootout to give Louisville its first-ever Big East tournament title.

Akron ended its season on a high note by capturing the Zips fourth-consecutive MAC title with a 4-0 rout of Western Michigan. All four goals came in the second half. Darlington Nagbe opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a shot into the upper right hand corner from just inside the 18-yard box. Scott Caldwell doubled Akrons lead by slotting it into the right-hand side of the goal after receiving a cross from Ben Speas. Darren Mattocks continued to show why hes one of the best freshman in the country with his 14th and 15th goals of the season in the 55th and 69th minute respectively.

Butler needed penalty kicks but the Bulldogs won the Horizon League title and kept their undefeated season intact with a shootout victory over Green Bay. Austin Oldham opened the scoring for the Bulldogs in the 36th minute with a shot from 15 yards out. Green Bay netted an equalizer in dramatic fashion when David Bernhardsson scored in the 89th minute. After a scoreless overtime period, Butler goalkeeper Fabian Knoppler saved three consecutive penalty kicks to give Butler the victory.

Here is the full list of conference champions. All 22 schools secured automatic berths to the NCAA tournament

America East: UMBCAtlantic Coast: MarylandAtlantic Sun: ETSUBig East: LouisvilleBig South: Coastal CarolinaBig 10: MichiganBig West: UC-Santa BarbaraColonial Athletic: William MaryConference USA: South CarolinaHorizon League: ButlerIvy League: Pinceton*Metro Atlantic: St. PetersMid-American: AkronMissouri Valley: BradleyMountain Pacific: Sacramento StateNortheast: MonmouthPac-10: California*Patriot: BucknellSouthern: UNC-GreensboroSummit: OaklandWest Coast: Santa Clara*

*Conference champion was chosen by conference record instead of conference tournament

SBI’s 2010 MLS Best XI | Soccer By Ives

Selecting the eleven best players in Major League Soccer this season was arguably tougher than in any season before it. Along with the fact that the league has more teams than ever, teams have done much better at bringing in true impact players.

Were not just talking about Designated Players, but players who can come to MLS as relative unknowns and flourish. Players like David Ferreira, Sebastien LeToux and Jamison Olave.

As a matter of fact, the true measure of the improved quality of MLS talent can be found not just in the SBI MLST Best XI first team, but in the second and third teams, where the talent is just as strong.

MLS will unveil its selections for MLS Best XI on Tuesday. SBI will unveil its selections, as voted on by me, Avi Creditor, Adam Serrano, Travis Clark, Michael Nastri and Jose Romero, today.

Here is SBIs MLS Best XI:

SBI MLS BEST XI

GK- Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake

D- Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake

D- Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles Galaxy

D- Heath Pearce, FC Dallas

M- David Ferreira, FC Dallas

M- Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy

M- Sebastien LeToux, Philadelphia Union

M- Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake

M- Dwayne DeRosario, Toronto FC

F- Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes

F- Edson Buddle, Los Angeles Galaxy

2nd TEAM

GK- Kevin Hartman, FC Dallas

D- Chad Marshall, Columbus Crew

D-Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake

D- Tim Ream, New York Red Bulls

M- Steve Zakuani, Seattle Sounders

M- Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Columbus Crew

M- Joel Lindpere, New York Red Bulls

M- Bobby Convey, San Jose Earthquakes

M-Pablo Mastroeni, Colorado Rapids

F- Freddy Montero, Seattle Sounders

F- Omar Cummings, Colorado Rapids

3rd TEAM

GK- Donovan Ricketts, Los Angeles Galaxy

D- Drew Moor, Colorado Rapids

D-Jeff Parke, Seattle Sounders

D-Brandon McDonald, San Jose Earthquakes

M- Daniel Hernandez, FC Dallas

M- Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo

M- Jeff Larentowicz, Colorado Rapids

M- Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders

M-Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake

F-Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake

F- Juan Pablo Angel, New York Red Bulls

What did you think of the selections? Who didnt make the first team that you felt deserved a place? Who is missing from our teams that you feel deserved a spot?

Share your thoughts below.

NCAA Tournament field set: Louisville top seed, UC-Irvine left out | Soccer By Ives

By JOHN BOSCHINI

The map to Santa Barbara was drawn today when the NCAA announced the 48 teams that will compete in this years mens soccer NCAA tournament.

Louisville, Maryland, Akron and North Carolina were named seeds one through four, meaning that if all four advance to the final four on Dec. 10, Louisville will face off against North Carolina and Maryland will take on Akron.

More than a few teams had their bubbles burst on Monday. The biggest surprise was the exclusion of UC-Irvine, which was ranked in the top 10 going into the selection show. A lowly RPI ranking of 62, along with a Big West semifinal loss, seem to be the reasons behind the Anteaters demise.

Among the surprise inclusions was College of Charleston, whioch snuck into the field despite playing in a mid-major conference and falling out of the NSCAA rankings. South Florida was another surprise team that appeared set to miss the cut after bowing out of the Big East tournament to West Virginia. Also barely making it into the tournament were West Virginia and Michigan State.

Charlotte was ranked No. 15 heading into the Atlantic 10 conference tournament but a loss to Xavier, combined with an RPI ranking of 51, was enough for the committee to leave the 49ers out of the tournament altogether. Wisconsin-Green Bay had been hanging around the fringes of the NSCAA rankings all season and took undefeated Butler to a penalty shootout in the Horizon League title game, but it wasnt enough to earn the Phoenix an at-large bid.

The Big East has a large showing in this years field, with seven teams participating, the most of any conference. The ACC and Big 10 had five schools selected.

The 16 seeded teams will receive first-round byes and await the winner of the 16 play-in games to take place starting midweek. A strong conference tournament helped a previously unranked Michigan break into the top 16, landing at No. 10 after its Big 10 championship. The most surprising inclusion in the top 16 was Indiana, which was unranked heading into the conference tournament where the Hoosiers fell to Penn State in the semifinals. The Hoosiers secured a first-round bye with the No. 14 seed thanks to an RPI ranking of eight.

On the outside of the top 16 looking in is Creighton, which was upset in the MVC tournament final by Bradley. Joining the Blue Jays in the first round is Princeton, which was relegated to a Thursday matchup with UMBC despite a perfect Ivy League record and a 12-game winning streak to end the season.

Heres the bracket for the 2010 NCAA Tournament, an interactive bracket can be found here.

Louisvilles bracket

First round- East Tennessee State at College of CharlestonSecond round- winner at No. 1 Louisville

First round- St. Peters at ProvidenceSecond round- Winner at No. 16 Ohio State

First round- Dartmouth at MonmouthSecond round- Winner at No. 9 Notre Dame

First round- Santa Clara at Sacramento StateSecond round- Winner at No. 8 UCLA

North Carolinas bracket

First round- New Mexico at CreightonSecond round- Winner at No. 5 Southern Methodist

First round- UMBC at PrincetonSecond round- Winner at No. 12 William Mary

First round- Oakland at Michigan StateSecond round- Winner at No. 13 Butler

First round- UNC Greensboro at GeorgetownSecond round- Winner at No. 4 North Carolina

Akrons bracket

First round- Xavier at West VirginiaSecond round- Winner at No. 3 Akron

First round- Bradley at TulsaSecond round – Winner at No. 14 Indiana

First round – Boston College at BrownSecond round – Winner at No. 11 Connecticut

First round – Denver at UC Santa BarbaraSecond round – Winner at No. 6 California

Marylands Bracket

First round – Coastal Carolina at DukeSecond round – Winner at No. 7 South Carolina

First round – South Florida at UCFSecond round – Winner at No. 10 Michigan

First round – Old Dominion at VirginiaSecond round – Winner at No. 15 Penn State

First round – Bucknell at PennsylvaniaSecond round – Winner at No. 2 Maryland

What do you think of the bracket?DisappointedAkron and Maryland cant meet in the final? Which seeded team is most primed for an upset? Who do you think got robbed of an NCAA berth? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

MLS names Best XI | Soccer By Ives

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

MLS announced its Best XI on Tuesday and made one slightly surprising move in selecting the team.

Landon Donovan was listed as a forward on the ballot, but was listed as a midfielder on the Best XI announced by the league, a change which allowed for him, Edson Buddle and Chris Wondolowski to all make the team. It is also a change SBI made when selecting its own Best XI.

Here is the squad:

GK- Donovan Ricketts,D- Jamison Olave,D- Omar Gonzalez,D- Nat Borchers,M- David Ferreira,M- Dwayne DeRosario,M- Sebastien LeToux,M- Javier Morales,M- Landon Donovan,F- Edson Buddle,F- Chris Wondolowski

This Best XI had nine of the 11 players on the SBI Best XI, with Ricketts and Borchers edging out SBI selections Nick Rimando and Heath Pearce.

What do you think of the Best XI? Which player would you add to the list?

Share your thoughts below.

NCAA Tournament Preview | Soccer By Ives

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Despite the controversy surrounding Mondays selection show, 48 teams begin their quest for the College Cup tonight as the 2010 NCAA Tournament kicks off around the country.

There is little argument as to who the favorites to reach the semifinals in Santa Barbara are. Louisville, Maryland, Akron and North Carolina have been the top four teams in the country by nearly every measuring stick since the middle of October. Louisville is one of only two undefeated teams in the country but the Cardinals were less than impressive in their Big East title run.

Maryland is arguably the hottest team in the country. During a 14-game winning streak, the Terrapins have outscored their opponents 36-4 while keeper Zac MacMath has kept 13 clean sheets this season.

Minus a blip on the radar called Cleveland State, Akron has shown over the course of the season that it is poised to take home a national title. Victories over then top-five opponenets Wake Forest, Tulsa, North Carolina are coupled with other quality wins against Michigan, Creighton, Michigan State and Penn State.

The Zips lineup is loaded with professional-calibar talent. The midfield is led by Darlington Nagbe while Jamaican freshman Darren Mattocks has banged in 15 goals this season.

North Carolina had its 13-game unbeaten streaksnappedunder controversial circumstances in the ACC title game but the return of Michael Farfan makes the Tar Heels legitimate contenders. If UNC is going to make a run its defense will have to be up to its regular-season form which had 10 shutouts. All four of the top seeds enjoy home field advantage until the semifinals.

Behind the frontrunners are more than a few dark horses looking to stake claim to the national title. Butler were hard done by dropping the 13th seed despite breaking into the NSCAA top 10 and finishing the season undefeated. Southern Methodist has quietly been hanging around in the top seven since Oct. 12 and should not be underestimated. Both teams could face each other in the round of 16, with the winner taking on North Carolina.

Michigan rocketed into a seed on the back of its conference title and the committees high regard for the Big 10. The Wolverines position might be elevated but an absolutely dominating conference tournament has forced the nation to take notice and if freshman Soony Saad can keep up his form Michigan can surprise some people.

Lurking in the first round are a few teams with more than enough talent to get past some of their seeded competition. Three ACC teams, Duke, Virginia and Boston College, have fallen out of form in the past few weeks but possess a ton of talent but their inconsistency could mean a first-round upset.

Ryan Kinne and Monmouth were in the top 5 early in the season but a few disapointing losses in the soft Northeast leave relegated the Hawks to a first-round matchup with Dartmouth. It will be interesting to see how Monmouth reacts to the pressure of the NCAA tournament. Also, be on the lookout for Princeton, who are riding a 12-game winning streak after a perfect Ivy League campaign.

Players to watch

Darlington Nagbe, M/F, Akron- Regarded by many experts as the top pro prospect in college soccer, Nagbe is a versatily and speedy attacking who can go at defenses from midfield or forward.

Will Bruin, F, Indiana- While the Hoosiers have been battling inconsistancy problems all season the junior forward has anything but inconsistant. Bruin has banged in 16 goals for an Indiana squad that rose from unranked in the NSCAA rankings to the eighth seed in the NCAA tournament. A dominating figure at 62 and 194 pounds, Bruin doesnt have the speed or finesse of a typical striker but will be a force for any undersized defender.

Zac MacMath, GK, Maryland- The USMNT youth keeper has been nothing short of dominant this season for the ACC powerhouse. The junior has recorded 13 shutouts and was named the ACC tournament most valuable player after shutting out Virginia, which included a penalty save, and North Carolina.

Darren Mattocks, F, Akron- The Jamaican forward has made a name for himself under Caleb Porter thanks to his quickness and a finishing touch almost unheard of at the college level. With one of the nations best midfields backing him up, expect Mattocks offensive output to continue.

Michael Farfan, M, North Carolina- One of the nations premier playmakers, Farfan will be key to UNCs chances of winning its region and reaching the Final Four. Farfan will be looking to make up for his ACC Final nightmare (he was issued a first-half red card in UNCs loss to Maryland), while also boosting his status a projected MLS first-round draft pick.

Soony Saad, F, Michigan-The 2009 National High School Player of the Year lived up to thehype this season, scoringa nation-leading 18 goals to help the Wolverines win the Big Ten championship. Look for him to continue his stellar run of form in postseason play.

Prediction: As boring as a selection as this is, it would be a huge surprise for anyone outside of the top four to make it to Santa Barbara. Once there, the matchup between Maryland and Akron is as much a national championship game as the one being played on Dec. 12.

Akron simply has too much talent and big-game experience to be ignored and should be crowned national champions. The Zips should beat Maryland in the semifinals and North Carolina in the final to win its first

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary | Soccer By Ives

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By TRAVIS CLARK

As 2010 nears an end, and the memories of the World Cup in South Africa grow more distant, international teams around the world are gathering together for one final run out this year. Forty-seven friendlies are on the schedule, including the U.S. national teams clash against South Africa (2pm, ESPN2).

Perhaps no other game has a higher profile than Brazil and Argentina, as the two sides meet in Doha, Qatar (12pm, ESPN2). Brazils side is light on players from the failed World Cup campaign, and features the likes of Ronaldinho, Coutinho and Neymar. Theyll go up against Argentine stars suchs as Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Diego Milito.

Two sets of European rivals will also clash, with England hosts France at Wembley. Fabio Capello is set to go with a very experimental lineup against Les Bleus. World Cup winner Spain travels to Lisbon to face Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal, while Sweden takes on Germany.

If you are watching todays action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below (Todays TV Schedule is after the jump):

TODAYS SOCCER ON TV

11am- FoxSoccer.tv- Russia vs. Belgium

11am- FoxSoccer.tv- Slovakia vs. Bosnia

11:30am- ESPN3.com- Croatia vs. Malta

11:30am- FoxSoccer.tv- Finland vs. San Marino

12pm- FoxSoccer.tv- Bulgaria vs. Serbia

12pm- FoxSoccer.tv- Hungary vs. Lithuania

12pm- ESPN2/ESPN3.com- Brazil vs. Argentina

2pm- ESPN2/ESPN3.com- South Africa vs. USA

2:30pm- FoxSoccer.tv- Switzerland vs. Ukraine

2:30pm- FoxSoccer.tv- Luxembourg vs. Algeria

2:30pm- FoxSoccer.tv- Poland vs. Ivory Coast

2:30pm- FoxSoccer.tv- Romania vs. Italy

2:30pm- ESPN3.com- Sweden vs. Germany

2:30pm- ESPN3.com- Netherlands vs. Turkey

2:30pm- ESPN3.com- Austria vs. Greece

2:45pm- ESPN3.com- Ireland vs. Norway

2:45pm- FoxSoccer.tv- Northern Ireland vs. Morocco

2:45pm- FoxSoccer.tv- Slovenia vs. Georgia

3pm- Fox Soccer Channel- England vs. France

4pm- ESPN3.com- Portugal vs. Spain

8:30pm- GolTV- Panama vs. Honduras