Archive for March 28th, 2011

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New NASL commish will help with optics, broadcasting

The North American Soccer League took a step towards stability with the hiring of an independent commissioner on Monday.

David Downs will take over as the head domo of the second-division league on April 4.

Downs has 30 years of broadcast experience as an executive with ABC Sports and Univision Communications. He negotiated U.S. broadcast rights for World Cups from USA ’94 to Brazil 2014. He was also the head of the U.S. bid committee for the 2022 World Cup, which lost out to Qatar in the voting.

“I’m excited to hit the ground running with the NASL as we work to elevate second division soccer in North America and play an active role in taking soccer to the next level in the region,” said Downs in a press release. “We plan to work closely with the fans, players, administrators, other leagues and everyone else involved in this beautiful game to build up the NASL at a league and local market level.”
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Manchester United… or the CONCACAF Champions League? You decide!

MLS confirmed that Manchester United, which thrashed the MLS All-Stars last season, will be back for more.

Manchester United will provide the opposition for the All-Stars July 27 at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, a year after the Red Devils dominated the best in MLS in Houston.

But, will the game resonate with Canadian fans? That’s up for debate. The CONCACAF Champions League’s first leg of qualifiers is scheduled to be played July 26-28. Not only are FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders scheduled to be playing in that three-day window, so is the winner of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. Betting people would place the two MLS clubs — Vancouver and Toronto FC — as the favourites.

Previously, MLS commissioner Don Garber pledged that all players selected to appear in the All-Star Game would be available for selection. But MLS has been tight-lipped on whether or not that means that they will work with CONCACAF to ensure its clubs play either on the 26th or 28th, or if it will make sure that no players from FC Dallas, the Sounders or an MLS-based Canadian champ would be on the ballot.
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Morales wins battle of the Javiers for MLS Player of the Week

Javier Morales’ performance was judged to be superior to that of Javier Martina.

The Real Salt Lake midfielder was named the MLS player of the week by the North American Soccer Reporters on Monday. Morales scored twice and set up another goal as RSL decimated the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-1, only adding to Rio Tinto’s reputation as being the toughest place for a road team to go in all of North American pro sports.

Yes, one of Morales’ goals came on a penalty. But his other marker was a screamer from outside the box. And, he simply dominated Los Angeles with penetrating pass after penetrating pass. Andy Williams got the opener off a cross from Paulo Jr.; but the whole move was started thanks to a quick no-look pass from Morales that pierced the Galaxy’s back four.

Toronto FC fans would champion the performance of Javier Martina, who scored twice in a 2-0 win over Portland. Martina’s second goal was a ridiculous volley that’s up for goal of the week.
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FC Edmonton signs Sam Lam, Matthijs injured in friendly

FC Edmonton announced that it has signed Sam Lam, the former University of Alberta standout — and brother of Matt Lam, who returned to Japan this weekend to resume training with JEF United.

Sam Lam spent the winter with the Edmonton Drillers of the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League. He was an FCE target — in fact, he was encouraged by FCE to play in the CMISL this season, as he retained his eligibility as an amateur.

Matt Lam was sent to JEF United on a one-year loan deal, after a standout 2010 season of friendlies with FCE, which makes its NASL debut April 9 against the Fort Lauderdale strikers.
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