Three hours. That’s all that separates two fierce rivals.
The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers have been playing each other for 40 years in four different leagues in what has become the best and most intense rivalry in Major League Soccer. And on April 26, the two clubs met for the latest round on a chilly but clear night in Seattle.
Members of the Timbers Army (an independent fan group) had traveled 175 miles up Interstate 5 to see their team knock off their bitter rivals on the road, while the Emerald City Supporters (the Army’s counterpart) were chanting and singing, defending their turf. In a chippy and physical game in which a total of four yellow cards were handed out, the Sounders battled to a 1-0 win.
Driving toward the Alamodome before the soccer game between Mexico and the U.S. on Wednesday, still miles from the stadium and hours away from the match, I began to feel the rivalry. Flags of both countries proudly waved, and swarms of fans decked out in their team’s colors eagerly approached the sold-out Alamodome.
As soon as it was announced that these two teams would play a “friendly” here in San Antonio (meaning a game that wouldn’t count in any standings), I knew that it would be a huge sporting event for a city hoping to welcome a Major League Soccer franchise. It was also an important game to me, personally.
Talk about cutting it close! With something like 36 hours before the first game of the year, MLS owners and players reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that will save the 2015 season.
“We are pleased to finalize the framework for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with our players,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “This agreement will provide a platform for our players, ownership and management to work together to help build Major League Soccer into one of the great soccer leagues in the world.”
If you pick up our March issue (and if you haven't you should!), you'll find a preview of the 2015 Major League Soccer season. But it's more than just another year of soccer. This is MLS' 20th birthday, and the league-wide celebration begins Friday when defending champs the LA Galaxy host the Chicago Fire.
Or, it's supposed to. Right now, things aren't looking so good for the league, its players, or its fans.
As of February 1, there is no collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between players and owners expired. Even before the deal expired, both sides had worked to resolve a bunch of really big issues with the goal of entering the season with a new agreement. But on Tuesday, word from both camps makes it sound like a players strike is all but inevitable.
Hollis Belger’s soccer ball rarely hits the turf. The nine-year-old is an expert at soccer juggling, or keeping the ball in the air by whatever means necessary (though Belger only uses her feet for added difficulty). The native of Larkspur, Calif., worked hard to become the best juggler on her U9 team. And now she's used her unique skill to help raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. This summer donors pledged money per kick as as a part of Hollis's "Juggling for Jude" initiative.
Whenever an American sports team wins a major championship, its victory tour usually runs through the White House. But yesterday was a rare twofer celebration at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. President Barack Obama welcomed both 2014 MLS champs the Los Angeles Galaxy and 2014 Stanley Cup winners the LA Kings to congratulate them on their titles.
As a Chicago fan, I’m a little resentful,” Obama said to laughter. “You guys have an embarrassment of riches.”
The US Women's National Soccer Team is deep into preparing for the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada. But that doesn't mean players are focused solely on the pitch.
On Saturday, superstar Alex Morgan drops in on the Nickelodeon show Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn to to help Dawn best Ricky in a contest. The prize? A month with no chores! (In case you've never seen the show, it's centered on 10-year-old quadruplets who take sibling rivalry to a whole new level.) It's Morgan's first time on a kids' TV show, and she says she loved the experience.