MLS's requirements for expansion clubs evolving with each addition

Posted by Jeff Carlisle

Kevin Liles/USA TODAY SportsWhile there is plenty of uncertainty in Atlanta as a soccer market, Arthur Blank appears to be committed to his new MLS franchise.

Only in MLS does an expansion announcement like Wednesday’s event in Atlanta invite so much scrutiny from outside the locale in question.

The stream of inquiries from fans around the league seems never-ending, which is understandable given soccer’s long slog toward having a higher profile in North America. Is the move good for MLS? Will the new organization remain faithful to the sport’s culture? Just how soccer-crazy is the market?

Given some of the recent expansion moves, observers of MLS have a right to be inquisitive. Continue Reading...

MLS W2W4: Donovan's form, Portland's struggles and Dempsey's on fire...

Posted by ESPN Staff

Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY SportsLandon Donovan's 135th goal in MLS has eluded him all season.

A selection of intriguing storylines to watch this weekend:

Can Donovan get back into form?

Jurgen Klinsmann has made it clear more than once: If Landon Donovan isn’t at his best when the World Cup rolls around this June, he won’t be on the field in Brazil.

The U.S. coach backed it up when he left Donovan home for three qualifiers last summer, following Donovan’s self-imposed early 2013 hiatus. Klinsmann did it again five months later when he yanked the national team’s all-time top scorer halfway through a home qualifier against Jamaica. Continue Reading...

Dempsey's MVP form, Revs on the rise and debutants shine

Posted by Jason Davis

Eric Bolte/USA TODAY SportsJack McInerney celebrates his first Impact goal.

There’s no time to dally because Clint Dempsey might score again before we get through the major happenings in Week 6 of the 2014 MLS season, and that just won’t do.

Dempsey doubles down

It’s cliche to paraphrase Mark Twain in regards to the demise of anything anymore, but in light of Clint Dempsey's two-goal performance in Dallas a week after his hat trick in Portland, it seems appropriate: Rumors regarding Clint Dempsey have been greatly exaggerated. Continue Reading...

Evaluating MLS salaries isn't as easy as it appears

Posted by Jason Davis

AllsportClint Dempsey's salary is larger than the payroll of 15 MLS teams.

A couple of times a year, the American soccer community goes through a very odd exercise involving numbers that claim to represent the salaries of every player in MLS, as distributed via a handy PDF by the union that represents those players.

What follows is analysis, dissection and obsession over said numbers in a bid to better understand a league whose base setting is obfuscation. While a worthwhile exercise, though, it is important to note that any understanding that's possible is imperfect at best. Continue Reading...

MLS W2W4: McInerney's Montreal debut, Wondo peaking, Torres' future

Posted by ESPN staff

AllsportMcInerney scored 25 goals in 95 regular season games for Philadelphia before being traded.

A selection of intriguing storylines to watch this weekend:

McInerney’s Montreal bow

Jack McInerney’s first game for the Montreal Impact since being traded from the Philadelphia Union will definitely be worth watching and for a few reasons.

The first is to see how his partnership with goal scorer extraordinaire Marco Di Vaio develops. Montreal manager Frank Klopas indicated that he would pair the two up top together sooner or later, and Saturday’s match against Chicago -- which also marks the first time Klopas will coach against his former club -- should provide a first glimpse of how the two jell. Continue Reading...

Goncalves trying to move past New England Revs contract controversy

Posted by Jeff Carlisle

Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY SportsJose Goncalves is upset about his pay cut from a season ago but is trying to focus on the Revs season.

Jose Goncalves’ soccer career has been all about adaptation.

The New England Revolution defender has played in five countries during a professional career that has lasted more than a decade, and he speaks six languages. In 2013, Goncalves’ acclimatization to MLS was wildly successful, as he claimed the MLS Defender of the Year award.

But this season, the Lisbon-born defender has had to confront a very different challenge, as an undercurrent of discontent has followed him this campaign. Continue Reading...

Cascadia chaos, understudies step up, pivotal red cards

Posted by Jason Davis

Dempsey and DonovanOther / ESPN FCA strong line is led by Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan up front in Week 5.

The opening game of the MLS weekend set an impossible standard for the rest of the schedule but it didn't mean there wasn't entertainment to come. Great goals and big performances, even in the absence of a host of stars, trickled out from across the league's nine matches.

A spate of game-changing red cards, and the beginning of the end for one of the league's most oddly named rivalries also marked Week 5.

Game of the Century

The best MLS has to offer is not characterized by its world-class level of play or the fame (or bankrolls) of the men patrolling the field. Continue Reading...

MLS W2W4: McInerney trade, MLS Cup rematch, Clint's return

Posted by ESPN Staff

A selection of intriguing storylines to watch this weekend:

Promising McInerney traded to Montreal, can he have an Impact (pun intended)?

Marco Di Vaio, the Montreal Impact’s All-Star striker, is finally getting the help he needs. That's the immediate takeaway from Friday's blockbuster trade that sent hardworking but goal-shy Impact forward Andrew Wenger to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for proven scorer Jack McInerney.

Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY SportsPromising young goal scorer Jack McInerney heads up north to Montreal after being traded by the Philadelphia Union.

McInerney is one of the top young players in MLS, a poacher who pops up in good spots to the tune of 25 goals in 95 games over five MLS seasons. Continue Reading...

FC Dallas and Columbus Crew top MLS, TFC stunned, Rapids PK luck

Posted by Jason Davis

MLS Team of the WeekOther / ESPN FCESPN FC's MLS Team of the Week.

There were several ongoing themes in Week 4 of MLS.

Penalties, red cards and late goals ruled the full slate of nine games, most of which entertained or told us something about the early form of teams across what is shaping up to be a very competitive season.

Look at who is topping the table

If either FC Dallas or the Columbus Crew are leading their respective conferences when the regular season ends, it will be one of the bigger surprises in recent MLS memory. Continue Reading...

MLS W2W4: KC on the rebound, Dallas' latest test, Portland's struggles

Posted by ESPN Staff

Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsMauro Diaz is driving FC Dallas forward but will it last?

A selection of intriguing storylines to watch this weekend:

Sporting KC hopes to get on track

Is this the week that defending MLS Cup titlist Sporting Kansas City finally shakes off its post-championship hangover?

In Colorado on Saturday, SKC will be looking for consecutive victories for the first time in 2014. The visitors have yet to win away from Sporting Park this year, and although they rebounded from a humiliating CONCACAF Champions League elimination vs. Continue Reading...

Bradley taking charge, Pareja's FC Dallas on fire, Revs struggling

Posted by Jason Davis

MLS Team of the WeekOther / ESPN FCESPN FC's MLS Team of the Week

One gets the sense, for no particular reason, that things are settling down a bit in the 2014 MLS season. After three weeks, with every team having played at least twice, clubs are beginning to take on characteristics they’ll carry with them through the entirety of the campaign.

That doesn’t mean the winners will keep winning or the losers will remain losers, of course. This is MLS.

Field generals taking charge

MLS is rich in holding midfielders, players who help their teams break up opposing attacks, transition into attacks of their own and serve as the calm center at the eye of a swirling storm. Continue Reading...

MLS W2W4: Galaxy rebounding, Toronto FC, EJ and are the Crew legit?

Posted by ESPN Staff

Getty Images, USA TODAY SportsThere will be plenty of interest in how Los Angeles, Toronto FC and DC United fare this weekend.

A selection of intriguing storylines to watch this weekend:

Galaxy hope to rebound from Champions League disappointment

The best possible way for the L.A. Galaxy to recover from the disappointment of their disturbing collapse against Tijuana in the Champions League is to get their league campaign on track against Real Salt Lake on Saturday in Utah. Because the Galaxy sat idle last weekend because of their Champions League involvement after opening with RSL at home in Week 1, Bruce Arena's team will have the odd experience of playing the same team in back-to-back league games. Continue Reading...