19
Jul

Seattle Sounders made Xander Bailey’s wish come true and it’s beautiful

Xander Bailey had his Make-A-Wish dream come true in a big way on Saturday — and on his birthday, no less. The 19-year-old from West Virginia has been dealing with cystic fibrosis since he was a baby while also playing soccer for most of his life.

His dream? Meet his favorite soccer player, Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey.

His reality? Not only did Xander meet Dempsey, but he signed a contract with the Sounders, trained with the team and even spoke with the media. The Sounders pulled out all the stops.

But it didn’t stop there. As Seattle geared up for a pre-season friendly against Tottenham Hotspur, Xander was named to their active roster and started against the English club.

Hey, Brad Friedel, maybe give the kid a break and let that one slip through?

Even the fans got involved, creating a banner for their club’s newest signing. 

What an unbelievable few days for Xander and his family. Bravo, Seattle. Bravo.

19
Jul

Clint Dempsey earns spot on FIFA 15 Cover

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Seattle forward Clint Dempsey returned from the World Cup to find out he had landed another honor: a place on the cover of FIFA 2015.

Dempsey is the first American player to land on the cover of the game since Landon Donovan in 2011. He will share the duties with Lionel Messi when the game hits the shelves in September.

"It’s crazy," Dempsey said in a phone interview on Friday. "It’s really cool. I was a fan of the game growing up, playing with my friends. Going from playing the game with my friends to being able to play with my own player in the game and now being on the cover, it’s something that’s pretty special. It’s an honor."

It is also a sign of Dempsey’s cultural relevance in a World Cup year and the increasing influence of MLS on the whole. The popularity of the game — and the presence of the U.S. captain on the cover of it — offers yet another entry point for emerging fans. If Dempsey’s presence prompts more players to opt for MLS sides instead of Barcelona or Real Madrid, then it is exactly the sort of development that can help the league moving forward.

Those broader concerns matter in the long term for a league still seeking to expand its foothold among the general population, but the cachet afforded by Dempsey’s place on the cover reaps immediate benefits, too.  

"I’m super excited that Clint’s on the cover," Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin said. "I think the fans not only in Seattle, but throughout America will really like it and appreciate because Clint is such a familiar face in soccer, especially in America. I think everybody’s really going to like it. I’m excited to see the response."

Dempsey dons his Sounders FC alternate jersey on the XBox version of the cover (Seattle has the Xbox logo on the front of its kits) and wears his international jersey on the PS4 cover.

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Photos courtesy of EA Sports

19
Jul

Diego Valeri scores stunning goal for Portland Timbers

It’s been a tough year for the Portland Timbers. They’ve only won twice at home this season — one of which came last night. 

Portland had to come back after going down a goal early, but fought all the way back, with Diego Valeri sealing it in the 77th with this ridiculous strike.

Wait for the second angle. It gets even better than the first.

Even if the Timbers can’t manage to pull themselves into a playoff spot, this goal will live on highlight reels for quite some time.

16
Jul

Mike Magee stars in hilarious spoof of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

In this phenomenal short courtesy of KickTV and Major League Soccer, Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee channels his inner Ferris Bueller and decides to skip school — er, practice — and play hookie for a day.

The “trailer” to Mike Magee’s Day Off parodies many scenes from the classic 1980s flick “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and features a loaded cast; LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez stars as Magee’s best friend; United States women’s national team star Sydney Leroux plays Magee’s girlfriend; Hope Solo is the jealous sister.

And that’s not all.

"World Champion" Judah Friedlander acts as Bueller’s uber-dull economics teacher (very convincingly, too), while Thierry Henry is a host at a French restaurant. Plus, MLS standouts Michael Bradley, Dwayne De Rosario and LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena all make cameos as well.

The clip ends on the famous last line of the movie, with a slight tweak:

"Life moves pretty fast," Magee says. "If you don’t stop and watch a game once in a while, you might miss it.”

Brilliant!

H/T FTW

12
Jun

Skip work. Watch the World Cup…with Landon Donovan.

While the rest of the world is coming down with “football fever” and using up sick days (or manufacturing them), one person is stuck in the office.

The LA Galaxy have put Landon Donovan to work while the MLS is on World Cup break. 

Take a look at what happens when you leave Donovan alone in Los Angeles during the World Cup.

Nice wallpaper, Landon.

(H/T LA Galaxy. Thanks, guys!)

7
Jun

Julio Cesar gets emotional again, and it’s incredibly touching

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You’ll always know if Cesar happy, sad or mad (Image: USA Today).

It’s no secret that Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar is an emotional guy. He’s never hidden how he feels, whether it’s a happy moment — like joining QPR — or a sad one, like losing in the World Cup.

So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the accomplished keeper let the tears flow again, this time as he bid farewell to his Toronto FC teammates.

Sure, he’d only spent a few months with the club and played in just seven matches, but it’s clear the Canadian club made a huge impact on him. Before Cesar shipped off to Brazil for this summer’s World Cup, the team presented him with a touching gift, and the waterworks couldn’t be stopped:

You can see just how much his time at TFC meant to him. For a guy who’s won just about everything a player could dream of in his lengthy career, it’s sweet that even something as seemingly small as a framed photograph can make him break down.

But even with all of his accomplishments, Cesar still doesn’t have the elusive World Cup. If Brazil go all the way this summer, let’s hope someone’s got a box of extra-strength tissues close by.

(H/T 101GG)

1
Jun

Jermaine Defoe is still killing it for Toronto FC

Even if you’ve only paid marginal attention to Major League Soccer this season, you’ve probably heard of Jermaine Defoe’s stellar first campaign in Toronto.

Since his high-profile switch from Tottenham Hotspur, Defoe has lit up the league with six goals in seven starts, his last two coming in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Columbus. To bag his brace, Defoe provisionally tied the score at 2-2 with this magnificent left-footed screamer:

Who needs a first touch when you can just volley it?

31
May

Marco Pappa scores free kick golazo in Sounders win

imageHe loves it when you call him Big Pappa. (Image: USA Today)

Looks like we’ve found our goal of the weekend, folks.

It comes courtesy of Seattle Sounders midfielder Marco Pappa and in the form of a delicious free kick special. Watch how Pappa’s left-footed curler dips over the wall and leaves Real Salt Lake keeper Jeff Attinella with no chance:

Mmmmm, mmmm good!

Pappa’s goal briefly made it 2-0 for the Sounders, who went on to win 4-0 and bumped their lead atop the Western Conference to five points over second-placed RSL.

25
May

Erik Hurtado makes defenders look silly

imageBreaking ankles is a move generally reserved for the basketball court, but Vancouver Whitecaps forward Erik Hurtado did so on the soccer pitch Saturday night.

In a 2-2 draw with the Seattle Sounders, Hurtado briefly made it 1-1 on a superf finish from a tight angle, but not before twisting both Osvaldo Alonso and Djimi Traore into pretzels. Watch the goal below:

Ouch.