Soccer Experts

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Weekend Soccer TV Listings: What to Watch

Weekend Soccer TV Listings: What to Watch
Another weekend of club soccer is here, and we've rounded up all of the televised action. Also, don't forget to...

Earthquakes Rebranding Offers New Crest, Uniforms

Earthquakes Rebranding Offers New Crest, Uniforms

After 40 years of professional soccer in the Bay Area, the San Jose Earthquakes announced a club rebranding that draws heavily upon the franchise's 1974 founding.

In addition to new kits--including an all-red away number that the team hasn't worn since its inaugural season--the club received an all-new crest complete with an emphasis on "Quakes," a stylized "impact pattern," and the organization's founding year.

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Athletic Bilbao - Real Madrid Preview: Madrid Look for Statement Victory Against Upstart Athletic

Athletic Bilbao - Real Madrid Preview: Madrid Look for Statement Victory Against Upstart Athletic

After briefly climbing to the La Liga summit last weekend, Real Madrid will have another chance to go top when they visit fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. Of course, Carlo Ancelotti's side will need both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to drop points while taking three against los Leones, who have made a surprising charge for the final Champions League place behind one of the league's most balanced attacks.

In fact, Athletic have six players with four or more goals on the campaign while the duo of Ibai Gomez and Aritz Aduriz have combined for 13 strikes and eight assists in league play. But even a strong offensive display might not be enough to top Madrid--who defeated Bilbao 3-1 early in the season--and Athletic boss Ernesto Valverde will surely prepare his back line for an afternoon of constant pressure. Athletic aren't strangers to taking down Spain's elite, though--in December, the underdogs shocked Barcelona 1-0 at home behind a resolute defensive display.

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Arsenal Officially Announce New Puma Kit Deal

Arsenal Officially Announce New Puma Kit Deal
After 20 years of Nike-sponsored kits, Arsenal will make the switch to Puma following the conclusion of the current campaign...

Tottenham - Manchester City Preview: Confident Spurs Look for Revenge Against High-Flying Citizens

Tottenham - Manchester City Preview: Confident Spurs Look for Revenge Against High-Flying Citizens

If anything, tomorrow's meeting between Tottenham and Manchester City at White Hart Lane will be much different than the Sky Blues' 6-0 rout in late November. Since that fateful day--which set the gears in motion for the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas--Spurs have used a new-found resilience to go 7-1-2 and climb back into Champions League contention. However, it will be difficult for Tim Sherwood's side to slow down the second-placed Citizens, who have won seven consecutive league matches while smashing the century mark for goals scored in all competitions.

Quite simply, it would be an understatement to call Manuel Pellegrini's attack the best in the top flight. Together, Sergio Aguero, newcomer Alvaro Negredo, and Edin Dzeko have combined for 31 league strikes on the campaign while midfielders Yaya Toure and David Silva are having hugely-successful seasons. Even defenders like Paulo Zabaleta and Aleksander Kolarov have gotten in on the scoring with nine assists between them, perhaps an indication of the Sky Blues' vulnerabilities in defense. Most recently, City were forced to fight back in their FA Cup tie against Watford after shipping two early goals--per usual, the offense led the comeback as Aguero netted a second-half hat-trick, but the Citizens' shaky back line could be a potential stumbling block against stronger sides like Spurs.

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Liverpool - Everton Preview: Nothing to Separate Them

Liverpool - Everton Preview: Nothing to Separate Them

With Liverpool and Everton currently separated by just one point--and having drawn their last three meetings--it's fair to say tomorrow's Merseyside Derby could be one of the season's most tightly-contested fixtures. There's plenty on the line, too, given both sides' Champions League ambitions and decent form of late.

Despite draws in two of their last three league matches, sixth-placed Everton will be full of confidence after a 4-0 hammering of Stevenage in the FA Cup. The Toffees have already proven their attacking prowess through front men Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas--the pair has combined for 13 goals and 10 assists in league play--but the key factor in tomorrow's derby will be the strength of Roberto Martinez's back line. Tied for the second-best defensive unit in the top flight, the Toffees boast the likes of ever-consistent Leighton Baines and Sylvain Distin while new signing Lacina Traore could play a part in maintaining Everton's solidarity at the back. Meanwhile, midfielders Seamus Coleman and Gerard Deulofeu will hope to return from short injury layoffs.

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Weekend Review: Bayern Win Again, Aguero Saves City

Weekend Review: Bayern Win Again, Aguero Saves City

Bayern Mark Bundesliga Return with a Familiar Victory

Picking up right where they left off, Bayern Munich rung in the return of Bundesliga action with a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. Goals from Mario Goetze and Thomas Mueller did the damage as the champions, who have now gone unbeaten in 42 consecutive league games,  extended their lead over Bayer Leverkusen to ten points. Even with 11 saves from Monchengladbach goalkeeper and Barcelona target Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the Bavarian side were simply too strong for the hosts on the night.

Spanish Title-Hunters Keep Pace

After slowly gaining ground on the front-runners and even jumping to the top of the table for 24 hours, Real Madrid were shifted back to third after wins for both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. The Catalans' 3-0 victory over Malaga saw goals from Girard Pique, Pedro, and Alexis Sanchez keep them one point ahead of Madrid, who coasted to 2-0 win--complete with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema--a day earlier. As for Atletico, los Colchoneros stayed level on points with Barcelona thanks to a 4-2 rout of Rayo Vallecano as Arda Turan (two), David Villa, and Diego Costa all found the scoresheet.

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NYC Professional Soccer Update: NYCFC Stadium Stalls, Red Bulls Re-Shape Defense

NYC Professional Soccer Update: NYCFC Stadium Stalls, Red Bulls Re-Shape Defense

Stadiums, signings, and even some national team action for several members of the Red Bulls--here's an update with the biggest items from the past week of New York professional soccer.

New York City Football Club

NYCFC needs a home--this much is clear. After reports of a potential stadium in the Bronx emerged at the end of last year, the club's brass have reiterated that they're still considering other sites and haven't settled on a spot adjacent to Yankee Stadium just yet. However, director of soccer Claudio Reyna did hint at a January announcement regarding the team's training facility, which could very well be located outside of the city.

Amid the ongoing discussions, it's also important to remember the influence of the city's municipal administration. Mayor Bill De Blasio, who replaced NYCFC supporter Michael Bloomberg on Jan. 1, has been purported to oppose a stadium in the Bronx and could certainly have an effect on where the city's new club will call home.

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Adidas Releases Colorful Copa Mundial Collection

Adidas Releases Colorful Copa Mundial Collection

The world's top-selling boot is back with a lot more flash as Adidas looks to celebrate a Brazilian World Cup in style.

To mark the exotic colors that will surely be a fixture of this summer's tournament, the company launched the limited-edition Copa Mundial Collection, a group of five different colorways that are sure to catch the eye. The boot itself--featuring the ever-present molded studs, folded tongue, and soft kangaroo leather--hasn't changed, but the new color selections of Solar Zest, Blue, Purple, Berry, and Slime are a stark departure from the traditional black-and-white look.

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Chelsea - Stoke City Preview: An Unconventional Clash

Chelsea - Stoke City Preview: An Unconventional Clash

Certain matchups can elicit certain images, but all is not what it seems for tomorrow's FA Cup meeting between Chelsea and Stoke City. Typically, one might picture a blustery night at the Britannia Stadium, a deluge of balls lofted across the middle of the park, and even Jonathan Walters leaving the pitch multiple times to redress his head bandage after yet another mid-air collision.

But this time, tomorrow's crowd at Stamford Bridge will likely be in for something different. Under new boss Mark Hughes, the Potters have looked to move away from their brash playing style of years past and adopt a balanced passing game. While it hasn't exactly worked out so far--Stoke are winless in their last five games against top-flight competition and squeaked past Leicester City in the last round of cup play--there have been glimmers of a potent attack behind the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Oussama Assaidi.

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