Terrence Boyd has sweet debut with RB Leipzig, impresses Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Sure, it was just a friendly in pre-season. But we’re pretty sure USA striker Terrence Boyd won’t forget this match for a while.

First of all, he scored his first goal for RB Leipzig in his debut with the club. Oh, and it was against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and PSG:

Not only did Boyd get his name on the scoresheet in his first match for his new club, he got one of the most coveted possessions in the world: Zlatan’s game-worn jersey.


Special moment: PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic gives Terrence Boyd his kit at halftime. (Photo: Getty Images).

Just look at his teammate’s face, he can’t hide his jealousy. Terrence, make sure you keep that magical piece of cloth under lock and key.


Nike Soccer launches new app, route into the professional arena

As the football world directs its attention to the domestic season after a successful 2014 World Cup, fans of all walks of life can now chat with friends, create matches and access exclusive Nike products all through the power of Nike Football’s new app.

Nike Football’s app allows users to create micro-communities with the “Crew” option, giving them the chance to play pick-up games with friends and teammates to improve their skills. In turn, users can also set up a time and location for their rendezvous with the “Play” section thanks to its geo-tracking technology that allows members to set up matches around the world.

Per Nike’s official press release:

“A player’s community will increase in size as they connect with players in their area. This enables them to find more games, more often, against new opponents. It’s the ultimate way to play more and play better,” said Davide Grasso, Chief Marketing Officer for Nike said in a statement. “The Nike Football app puts players behind-the-scenes with Nike and their heroes. The app will deliver premium content, access to limited product and events before any of our other channels.”

And the fun doesn’t stop there.

The new app will also be the only way to earn a place at the Nike Academy — the U.K. based academy for young players, based at St. George’s Park National Football Center — like previous academy players such as Tom Rogic (Australia), Abdul Waris and David Accam (both Ghana).

The Nike Football app is available now on iOS and Android.

(H/T Nike)


CR7’s new haircut reportedly matches scar of a young fan who’d just undergone surgery

You may recall that Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo quietly donated over $85K to pay for 10-month old Erik Ortiz Cruz to undergo brain surgery in March.

Sunday, Ronaldo was seen sporting a fresh zig-zag cut in his hair during the USA and Portugal game — reportedly cut in to match the scar young Erik has been left with after his surgery.

Unfortunately, the official World Cup account on Instagram described the haircut instead as showing the number seven — which of course is the number Ronaldo wears:

The tagline for the Instagram picture was: “7: a shirt number, but also the number of games @cristiano wants to play at this #WorldCup. Barbers will be asked for this around the world tomorrow! #Portugal #Copa2014″.

Maybe. But after hearing about CR7’s kind act, we’d rather believe it’s a show of solidarity with brave young Erik.

(H/T: 101GG)


Check out who’s showing their Team USA pride

Team USA makes their World Cup debut against Ghana and they’ve got fans far and wide.

Take a look at who’s rooting for the USA.


Jozy Altidore finally breaks his scoring drought, right in time for World Cup

It’s been a long, frustrating six months for Jozy Altidore. The USA and Sunderland striker hadn’t scored since December 4th, 2013.

With the World Cup just around the corner, Altidore was in desperate need of a goal to get the weight off of his shoulders. Finally, in the USA’s final tune-up match before leaving for Brazil, he broke through:

Sure, it wasn’t anything particularly special from Altidore — the build-up from his teammates was far more impressive — but at this point, even the simple tap-in will do the American striker.

Now Altidore can head to the World Cup without the scoring drought hanging over his head — but the pressure to score in Brazil will certainly still be there.

UPDATE: Jozy scored again. It was much, much prettier this time.


USA fail to impress in 2-0 exhibition loss to Ukraine


The United States men’s national team slumped to the occasion in their 2-0 loss to Ukraine in a friendly marred by circumstances on Wednesday. Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Devic dealt Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad a harsh blow in a wholly deserved loss. It was the final game in which Klinsmann had his European-based players at his disposal before convening his World Cup camp in mid-May, and he cannot have been pleased with what he saw.

"This game helped us a lot to see where individual players are, collectively where we stand with this group of players," Klinsmann said on ESPN after the match. "Obviously we had to form a couple of new things there, starting from the back line — and you could see that, that they never played together that much."

His motley USA side, comprised of a few regulars and a slew of players on the bubble, were outsmarted by a cunning Ukrainian side. Knowing full-well where the Americans were weak, Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka tore their flanks to shreds while the high defensive line was pelted with through balls.

The tentative American defense let the Ukrainians stroll through its line several times early on. In the 12th minute, a simple ball over the top caught the central defensive pairing of Oguchi Onyewu and John Brooks well out of position. That put Denys Harmash through on Tim Howard’s goal by himself. The American goalkeeper made a fine stop on his attempt, but Harmash coolly collected the rebound and laid it wide for Yarmolenko for him to pass the ball into the net.

Just a few minutes later, the Americans were caught out again on a clever play off a Ukrainian corner, but they were saved by a possibly erroneous offside call that time – Alejandro Bedoya actually appeared to keep the play onside. Sloppy and unimaginative in possession, the Yanks produced just two attacks of note in the entire first half. On the first, goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov alertly picked off the cross; on the second, Edgar Castillo’s cross wasn’t quite right and cleared. And they would give away several more fat chances, which a more incisive opponent might have punished, before the halftime whistle brought a respite.

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MLS SuperDraft: Chaos emerges from uncertainty


PHILADELPHIA — It was quiet the night before the MLS SuperDraft. Just a little too quiet. Uncertainty about this draft class hung over the crowd.

The deadlock broke right around midday on Thursday. A timeout before the first pick set the stage for a frenetic draft with five trades in the first 11 picks as teams jostled for position to purloin their players of choice.

“I should have realized it last night because, in my time doing this, it was the quietest night before the draft of any night I can remember,” New England general manager Michael Burns said. “Half the teams weren’t trying to do anything. You couldn’t find them. But then today, when we went in the back and did the trade with Colorado, all of the league officials were like, ‘you’re kidding me, another trade?’”

D.C. United sparked the fracas by finally choosing a winner in what had been a  languid sweepstakes for the first pick. A handful of teams — including eventual winners Philadelphia — chased the top overall pick over the past few days, but none of packages prompted United to pull the trigger prior to the proceedings.

Union manager John Hackworth eventually enticed United to move down one spot in exchange for an undisclosed amount of allocation money. Both teams got their men — University of Connecticut goalkeeper Andre Blake to the Union, California defender Steven Birnbaum to United — without  disrupting their plans for the rest of the day. Hackworth explained he decided to flip the picks to secure Blake and ward off any potential interlopers.

“We knew for a fact that he wouldn’t be there,” Hackworth said. “There were a couple of deals on the table. We had to make that decision at the last minute. It worked out.”


Philadelphia even managed to recoup its allocation outlay and secure a little extra money for two further trades, but other sides focused on sliding into position first and foremost. Montreal jumped five spots to claim Creighton fullback Eric Miller. FCD reaped the benefits of the Impact’s decision by stockpiling allocation money and an international slot in addition to the 10th overall pick and then used them to climb back to six to take Colorado School of Mines forward Tesho Akindele. Toronto FC then swiped number 10 away from the Union for allocation money and the 15th pick to take Xavier defender Nick Hagglund. New England and Colorado swapped spots at 11 and 12 — and the Rapids scooped the 19th pick for their troubles — to send MAC Hermann Trophy winner Patrick Mullins to New England and stop the carousel.

Recounting the craziness may undersell its lingering impact. Clubs acted decisively to secure their preferred options, particularly with a spate of Homegrown Player signings depleting the pool across the board. The uptick in movement inspired Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey to wonder whether those quiet nights will disappear over the next few years.

“It was a little busy,” Lagerwey said. “It’s interesting — and I’m speculating now — but I wonder if we’re in for more of this going forward in first round stuff. There is a smaller number of good players. A lot of times, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We saw a lot of one-spot moves, which you had never seen. I have to attribute that to teams wanting very, very specific players, having only that one guy left and being willing to pay for them. That’s exciting and new.”

Images by USA Today Sports Images