Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Off The Bench 103 & 104: DC United's Josh Wolff, MLS Standings and NASL Drama

In episode 103 Luke Lohr and Pedro Gomes discuss the latest in MLS and NASL results. Drama with supporters groups, frustrations with referees and playoff standings all make the difference this past weekend. That and aspiring filmmaker Sebastian Podesta joins to talk about his new movie "Going Pro: American Soccer" in which he tracked the players of the PDL's Brooklyn Knights as they pursue full-professional status.

Download episode 103 on BuzzSprout

In episode 104 Josh Wolf joins Luke to talk about DC United's win in the US Open Cup and the frustrating season that United has had. Discussing the past, present and future of the franchise, Wolff offers his insight into what DC United represents. Enjoy Off The Bench 104.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Off The Bench Episode 100: "The Next Step of MLS" roundtable discussion with Garth Lagerwey (RSL), Brian Straus (SI.com) and Kyle Martino (NBC)

In this very special 100th episode of Off The Bench, Luke Lohr moderates a panel of experts discussing the Next Step of MLS or "MLS 3.0" and what it may entail. Joining us from all aspects of the professional game we have Real Salt Lake GM Garth Lagerwey, SI.com writer and league expert Brian Straus, Kyle Martino of NBC and of course our own Pedro Gomes. With representatives of management, print media and broadcasting on hand, Off The Bench explores the new direction of Major League Soccer.

To the Listeners,
It's been a fantastic journey to 100 episodes and MLSR has changed a great deal. Thanks to the readers and listeners here, I have a regular column with MLSSoccer.com this year covering the MLS players on loan in the NASL and USLPRO. MLS On Loan has become a source of great pride and education for me in 2013. My great thanks goes out to my MLSR partner and podcast co-host Pedro Gomes who dedicates his time to discuss the beautiful game with me week in and week out. What a ride to 100 right? More great debates to come, I'm sure. Take care everybody. - Luke

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Off The Bench Episode 98: Guests Adam Serrano (LA Galaxy Insider) and Richard Sanchez (FC Dallas/Ft. Lauderdale)

Luke Lohr and Pedro Gomes discuss the US Men's National Team roster released for the World Cup Qualifiers. Adam Serrano (LA Galaxy Insider) joins the show to shed light on Landon Donovan's new contract and FC Dallas Homegrown player Richard Sanchez checks in to talk about his loan to Fort Lauderdale. Off The Bench, check yes for awesome.

Got two minutes? Check out this video of all the best highlights in MLS from Week 26.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

USL Pro Spotlight - No Strangers to Victory

Article By: Pedro Gomes

Photo Credit: Orlando Sentinel

The Charleston Battery and Orlando City are no strangers to winning the USL Pro Championship; in fact they are the only two teams to have done so since the league formed in 2011*.

Orlando City won the 2011 Championship game in penalty kicks against the Harrisburg City Islanders, while the Battery beat the Wilmington Hammerheads last season to earn their crown. And in a season where both teams finished 2nd and 3rd in the league it is sure to be a quality match-up of two dangerous opponents.

During the regular season, Charleston and Orlando played two matches with Orlando City holding the better record with 1 Win and 1 Draw. At first it might look as though Orlando holds the clear advantage over the battery but the games were fiercely contested and Orlando City pulled off the victory with a late penalty kick. 
Nicki Patterson being presented with 2012 BAttery MVP Award (CharlestonBattery.com)

Nicki Patterson, Midfielder for the Battery added his thoughts on the matchup in the latest edition of Off The Bench and had this to say about the upcoming game:

“I don’t think they are invincible “This year twice we have been right in the game, we tied the first one and we lost the second by a penalty kick… personally I think we should have taken the 4 points instead of the 1, so I think we are absolutely ready for the game”

Orlando City Head Coach, Adrian Heath shared his own thoughts on the upcoming match”

“It is lose or go home, Charleston has enough weapons on their team to make it difficult for us. But as I’ve said on numerous occasions, I’m more concerned with how we approach the game.”

Although both sides seem confident of their abilities to handle their opposition there are a couple of interesting tidbits heading into the matchup that lend a bit of intrigue to the contest.

Last season, Orlando City was knocked out of the USL Pro Semi-Finals at home by the visiting Wilmington Hammerheads in a wild 4-3 shootout. Orlando went down 3 goals to none by the 30’ before they scrapped back to score a couple of stoppage time goals to make the last few minutes wildly entertaining.

This season, the Charleston Battery will be traveling to Orlando City in hopes of playing spoiler for the second year in a row for the Home team of their Semi-Final match. Last year they traveled to Rochester and played to a 1-1 Draw in regular time before pulling out the 4-3 penalty shootout victory.

Who scored the first goal in the penalty shootout last year? Nicki Patterson, of course. And as Patterson alluded to in the interview, things seem to be lining up just like they had last season, so you would have to think that the Battery are feeling a bit confident they can pull out the same result again this season.

However, good Charleston may be feeling heading into this road matchup, they will still have to face one of the most potent offenses in USL Pro. They scored a total of 55 goals during Regular season play and 5 goals against the Riverhounds in the Quarterfinal matchup. 

Photo Credit: Orlando Sentinel

And although they are without a couple of keys pieces that made them a true dominant force in USL earlier in the season, they seem to be finding their scoring groove behind Long Tan and last year’s Scoring Champion, Dennis Chin.

Regardless of the outcome, this is definitely going to be an exciting match up with some serious potential for a ton of goals. Add in the sizzling atmosphere created by the over 10,000 fans and supporters in attendance and it is setting up to be the USL Pro game you don’t want to miss.

So sit back, switch on USLNation.com and turn your Friday evening into something special.

*Note: USL Pro came into existence in 2011 after its predecessors the USL First Division and A-League dissolved. Many of the teams currently in USL Pro have long histories in both leagues.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Off The Bench Episode 97: Guest Nicki Paterson (Charleston Battery)

Luke Lohr and Pedro Gomes back again to talk about the more notable results from the weekend of MLS, NASL and USLPRO action. Nicki Paterson of the Charleston Battery joins us to talk about the upcoming semi-final match with Orlando City and how they plan to take home the trophy. Off The Bench, best enjoyed by a warm fire and hot drink... or ice cream.

This is the article written by Pedro highlighting the Charlotte Eagles and their unique approach to the game. 

Check out these incredible goals from Week 26 of MLS Action. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

MLS Weekly: Week 26

Article by Leanne Elston

As we move closer to September, this MLS season starts to shift more and more to the playoffs. Three teams grabbed three wins this weekend that aided their playoff ambitions and confirmed that they have every intention of being in the running come the end of the season.

The Games

Houston Dynamo 3-1 Seattle Sounders

Two rockets from Giles Barnes propelled the Houston Dynamo to a 3-1 win over the Seattle Sounders, keeping them in the playoff race for now. Barnes got things started in the 17th minute when he caught keeper Michael Gspurning out of position and rifled a shot from inside the 18 into the top corner. Four minutes later, Barnes added another to his tally, this time unleashing a stunning strike from 30 yards that sailed past a leaping Gspurning. Seattle pushed for a goal of their own in the second half and got one on 65 minutes with a header from Shalrie Joseph off a Marc Burch free kick.

Off The Bench Episode 96: Guests Alecko Eskandarian (New York Cosmos) and Jose Angulo (Pittsburgh Riverhounds)

In this episode Luke Lohr and Pedro Gomes are joined by Alecko Eskandarian to talk about the New York Cosmos, Jose Angulo to talk about his USLPRO co-Golden Boot award and MLS soccer talk.

Here is a link to the article Pedro referenced regarding retention funds. No, it does not explain a darn thing. 

It's hard not to think of this moment when remembering Alecko Eskandarian. We loved it and imagine you would too. Spitting Red Bull out, adding fuel to the fire. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Off The Bench Episode 95: Guest Leigh Cowlishaw (Richmond Kickers), Omar is a DP and the USMNT defeat Bosnia

In this episode Luke and Pedro debate the finer implications of Omar Gonzalez as a Designated Player, what the Bosnia match means to the future and where MLS is confusing. Also, Richmond Kickers' head coach Leigh Cowlishaw joins us to discuss his team clinching the Regular Season Championship for USLPRO. Also, if you like NASL and USLPRO coverage, give NASLCast and PROCast a follow. Two shows that are looking to expand their audience. Off The Bench, best served with brunch.

Your video today of the fantastic highlights from the US Men's National Team victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Incredible.