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Morning Ticker: DC wins U.S. Open Cup, Puerto Rico advances in CCL and USA up to 28th in FIFA rankings


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It took a dozen years but D.C. United finally added a second U.S. Open Cup trophy to its loaded trophy case.

The four-time MLS Cup champions downed USL side Charleston Battery 2-1 in the U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday night, giving D.C. its first championship trophy since 2004.

The win helped salvage some pride for MLS, which saw two of its teams eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday night while the USL Montreal Impact advanced to the group stages.

Here are some other stories to get your day going:

Islanders advance

The USL Puerto Rico Islanders pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament, scoring two late goals to pull out a 2-1 victory and 3-2 series aggregate victory against Costa Rican power Alajuense on Wednesday night in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

The Islanders trailed 1-0 in the 87th minute and looked to be on the way out before a pair of late goals helped them join Montreal in the CONCACAF Champions League group stages, the same number of teams MLS has after New England and Chivas USA were eliminated on Tuesday.

USA up to 28th in FIFA World Rankings

World Cup qualifying wins against Barbados and Guatemala have helped the U.S. men’s national team climb three spots to 28th in the latest FIFA World Rankings, released on Wednesday. The Americans sit four spots behind Mexico, which enjoyed an eight-place jump in the rankings to 24th. Mexico’s jump was the biggest in the top 50.

Spain held on to the top spot in the rankings, while Italy moved ahead of Germany for second place.

Belgium tumbled out of the Top 50, dropping nine spots to No. 55.

That’s all for now. I will be checking back in later this morning with the Fantasy MLS Corner as well as some other MLS-related posts so be sure to check in throughout the day.

So what do you think of D.C. winning the U.S. Open Cup? Shocked to see Puerto Rico advance in the Champions League? Stunned to see two USL teams advance out of the qualifying round while two MLS teams fell?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. No its the other way around walker ….I’m sure many people come to visit this site Because of MLS!! And AMERICAN soccer, and I am an argentinean !!! A nation that breathes futbol . I’ve been living here for 15 yrs I have an American daughter and I’ve come to love the soccer culture that I’ve witnesed its growth. Its a pleasure to see especially in this blog how knowledgeable Americans are and I love that.

    Ives if anything just do the opposite and cover More & more MLS!!

    because one criticism I can make of supporters in the US…. Is their fixation with all things EPL and European in general.

    Nothing annoys me more than to see people here on the street (that are clearly from the US wearing gerrards jersey, Barcelona jersey… I even see some wearing Arg Natl. Team jerseys with messi name in the back.

    I mean, come on!! Have a little pride in your own players!! They’re not as bad and soccer here gets better and better.

    Even if they weren’t that good you should be more supportive of them over other countries.

    You think argentineans or brazilians even care of following other leagues?? The only its because so many teams in Europe (practically all) have players from Arg. Even so , we only care about importannt champions league matches only. I guess that’s why we are sucessful throughout history. Because we believe in ourselves and we are never starstrucked even when we play the best countries!! In fact we always thinking we are the best even if its not true at times.. Its a mentality that has taken Argentina and brazil very far!!

    so stop whining stop showing off your EPL knowledge and stats, stop wearing Ryan giggs and Messi jersey (it looks stupid on you believe me) and start supporting the potentially great American jersey celebrate, embrace and be proud of your uniqueness!! You don’t realize what you have …it makes me so angry!! and the future is getting even better,

    Ives, great job and don’t listen to idiots like walker.. He represents the cancer in American soccer… The eternal EPL wannabes you know what?England sucks by the way, if it weren’t for the foreigners….

    Great job Ives… Tone it down on the intl. Soccer if anything and please more and more MLS!!!

    whenever I need my Argentinean soccer fix I just go to diario OLE. Have you seen their their intl. Section by the way? Its practically non existent!!

  2. Some people act like what is essentially-free content on the internet is a right and not a privilege. Try being grateful that the guy is busting his ass as a soccer reporter for you and it costs you nothing. It isn’t easy making a financial go off of a website, and you can guarantee it doesn’t pay all his bills, so lighten up, all right?

  3. This is the 12th major trophy DCU has gotten. What can I say? Execpt that we are amazing. No other team comes close to that.

    Go DCU!!!!!!

  4. Not going to write the same things that has already been written about the site. But what Ives does that beats others is his work ethic, his knowledge, and his analysis.

    Great stuff. Keep it up.

  5. Yankiboy,

    Since you appear to be Mr. Islander supporter, maybe you can help me out. I have been trying to buy/find an Islanders jersey for 6 months. I have attempted to contact the team’s fine marketing and sales department numerous times but I have yet to receive even the simple courtesy of a response. I even tried contacting the league office in hopes of having them sell me a freakin’ jersey. Even they could not get a hold of their marketing department.

    After a few weeks the league’s sales guy emailed me back saying that he had finally reached the Islanders and someone would contact me shortly. That was 6 weeks ago.

    I was in Puerto Rico in May and noone I spoke to knew they existed. They’re not going to be around much longer with crap marketing and refusing to respond to consumers.

    Posted by: guillermo | September 04, 2008 at 12:40 PM


    Guillermo, So sorry to hear about the problems trying to get the jersey. I would like to say that I am shocked by the experience but I would be lying (which isn’t a knock on the Islanders but a statement about Puerto Rico in general, especially when it comes to getting sports merchandise and responses when you are trying to spend your money–I’ve had the same thing happend with baseball and basketball teams down there, so I can really relate. It’s frustrating).

    Islanders merchandise was available online the first season but since then it has not been. Down on the Island, the club has a club shop @ Loubriel. They also sell them @ soccergol and at one of the airport kiosks. If you look me up on (I’m always there) and shoot me private message with your contact info then I will help you get one if you are still interested. I will phone or email the front office or have one of my people make it happen if your aren’t so turned off that you have changed your mind.

    Thanks for caring enough to be frustrated.

  6. United does it AGAIN! What else is new? The sun rises in the East (like United) and sets in the West (like all the poor western conf teams). United wins another trophy! Yay!!

  7. Hey folks, sorry for catching on late to the discussion in here about SBI. All I can tell you is that I try every single day to provide balanced coverage of all things soccer, both American and international. Are there times when there is less breaking news? Of course there is. Scoops don’t happen all the time and the inside info isn’t always there. Are there days when the selection of posts isn’t as good as others? I will admit that, but there are also days when non-writing responsibilities take up my time or when travel makes posting difficult to impossible.

    What I try and provide is news, whether original or from other sources, with some analysis that you can’t find other places. I also want this to be a place where people can discuss these topics in a more reasonable setting than some other sites.

    As far as Red Bulls coverage go, I will readily admit that I don’t cover it as much as I used to, but something has to give when I start covering other things more. That said, when I have the time to do it I still think I do a good job with it. I can’t get every single scoop on that beat, but I still like my track record.

    SBI is a work in progress and still isn’t nearly the site I envision it being. If you like what you see so far then please keep visiting. If you’re not enjoying it then I’m not sure what else to tell you except I’m trying to get it there. I know some of you are enjoying it because we just broke the million page-view mark in August, the first time SBI has done that since launching.

    Thanks for all the support, and all the constructive criticism. I certainly don’t mind that. It helps me and the site get better.

  8. For crying out loud, people it’s a blog. If legitimate criticism of Ives is silenced and/or the quality of other blogs proves to be better than more of his traffic will go elsewhere. Simple as that. Personally, I really enjoy Ives’ blog and also visit frequently. Without sucking up I can honestly say he’s one of the hardest-working, knowledgeable, and even-handed soccer writers in this country. The amount and diversity of both domestic and international soccer content he puts up, especially hard to find and/or original content, is at times staggering. I’ll go through the blog and find days where he’s reported on 5 or 6 different stories at once and gotten scoops on 2 of them while later still doing running commentary on a USMNT match or particular MLS game. I’ve looked up many other blogs and sportswriters and few even come close to putting in the time or having the depth of analysis he does. I don’t agree with all of Ives’ analysis all the time and there are times his tone can be a bit prickly (probably a Jersey thing as well as having to deal with the occasional online bozo ;)) but if you’re looking for consistent and quality soccer reporting and writing in the U.S. this is as good as I’ve found.

  9. Certainly not, and I cited the Kandji story as a piece of reporting that I thought was really good, even if it eventually devolved into a he said/he said situation.

  10. Fair enough, but original reporting includes the Mac Kandji story which was such a good piece of reporting it got Garber and co. to do what they are best at doing: stretch the truth. That certainly wasn’t simply cutting and pasting, was it?

  11. To all the whinners about the site, give us all a break. Ives does a great job considering he has a real job.

    One of the reasons I visit this site 3-5 times a day is becuase of the MLS news. You know, that pro league in the US. The one that has brought life back to the sport we all love.

    Congrats to PR and Montreal. I hope they do well in the group stage.

  12. Kartik, I love Ives’ blog and I still visit several times a day. It’s just like a little more in the way of original reporting and fewer paste-ups of other media stories. I’m sure Ives can take a little constructive criticism. I’m not bashing him by any means.

  13. The criticism of Ives is idiotic. What some of you people want is beyond any comprehension.

    How is Mexico ahead of us? Beating Brazil as often as they do no doubt helps?

  14. if you look at the past 12 months, Mexico has had the better results, including beating Brazil 2-0 and Paraguay 6-0 at Copa America.

    Their record since the end of July ’07 is 10W 5L 3T.

    The U.S. record during the same time period is 7W 7L 2T (and no big scalps).

    The only time the U.S. played Mexico in this time period was the 2-2 tie in Houston.

  15. You know how many more readers he gets because he has expanded his outreach? There’s only so much you can write about one team.

    In case you forgot:

    I am leaving the Herald News after 10 years at the paper in order to devote myself to launching and running a soccer news website that readers from all over the country, and American soccer fans all over the world, can come to for the best mix of news and analysis around. will be that site.

  16. Aljarov said:

    My point is MLS teams/owners are chasing the money, not trophies, which is what is most important to fans and this discord needs to be bridged.


    I know a couple of West Ham supporters who are having a pissy discussion about the same issue. Doubt the dilemma of ‘money or cup’ will be resolved by MLS – let alone any other league.

  17. it’s just not as updated as much anymore and when it is, it’s details about MLS. please stop posting so much about MLS. there should be an MLS penalty. when an MLS team can beat a club team from T+T, THEN you can post about MLS again.

    and you wonder why a player would rather play in Denmark.

  18. DCBird nailed it – the issues are inter-related.

    And for those who don’t think USL is out-bidding MLS for talent, have a chat with DCU’s FO about mid-level and development-level players who were unloaded to USL teams SOLELY due to roster restrictions. Best example: DCU’s top draft pick – Jay Needham – declined to sign with MLS/DCU and chose to sign with Puerto Rico right out of college for tens of thousands of dollars more than what DCU was able to offer. USL can’t compete with MLS’s top talent but many of their mid-level guys could slide right into supporting roles on decent MLS sides.

  19. Yankiboy,

    Since you appear to be Mr. Islander supporter, maybe you can help me out. I have been trying to buy/find an Islanders jersey for 6 months. I have attempted to contact the team’s fine marketing and sales department numerous times but I have yet to receive even the simple courtesy of a response. I even tried contacting the league office in hopes of having them sell me a freakin’ jersey. Even they could not get a hold of their marketing department.

    After a few weeks the league’s sales guy emailed me back saying that he had finally reached the Islanders and someone would contact me shortly. That was 6 weeks ago.

    I was in Puerto Rico in May and noone I spoke to knew they existed. They’re not going to be around much longer with crap marketing and refusing to respond to consumers.

  20. PS…

    My point is MLS teams/owners are chasing the money, not trophies, which is what is most important to fans and this discord needs to be bridged.

  21. I don’t think Nicol/NE gave a crap about the CCL, just like the USOC and got out what they put in. I’m sure they didn’t care they lost, though I doubt the humiliation at the hands of JP was scripted.

    It’s sad that two tournaments that should be big priorities for clubs like NE are considered a waste of time and effort and a liabililty to their league aspirations.

    Until the balance in scheduling, squad size, salary cap and monetary compensation is found then teams will continue to put a half arsed effort in. Would this have happened with Liberatadores (and it’s huge $$$$)? Hell no. Did NE look lively in SuperLiga with $1m on the line – absolutely. But the USOC, in which they had already amde the semi finals at a canter they fielded a reserve side. Why? Congestion? Perhaps…but more liekly that it was only a $100k purse for winning and not worth the effort/fatgue on players.

  22. Re Ives criticism: Think it’s ok to miss his RB coverage, easy to miss great coverage of your favorite team. But be happy we have the # of reporters we have covering RB in depth, period. Seems like comparable intelligent local coverage for other teams is severely lacking in comparison. Plus, iirc this is his main gig now, gotta be able to expand and appeal to a larger soccer audience, man’s gotta eat.

  23. All you folks talking about fixture congestion vs. salary cap, I really see them as two sides of the same coin. With so many games, the starters get tired, hurt, and lose their passion. The reserves fill in, and just can make up the difference in quality play on the pitch. Sure, you could reduce the number of games by eliminating some tournaments, but the international exposure is crucial for growth of MLS (albeit, that only works if teams are successful).

    I’d much rather see the maximum roster size expanded and the salary cap raised. Expanding the roster size to, say, 35 would allow coaches to manage minutes more easily, and give everyone a little more rest. Of course, you’d need 35 quality players, and right not, most MLS teams don’t have 28 quality players, since the guys at the bottom of the roster make next to nothing. A higher cap would allow for higher quality near the bottom of the roster, helping teams to stay competitive during intense stretches of multiple league matches and tourney games.

    Of course, that assumes that managers would pull a Lalas and blow through their cap on three superstars, forcing them to play with what amounts to a pub team…

  24. I don’t know Matt, I don’t see BAS having much of anything anymore and Brian Lewis seems to feast on little stories that aren’t exactly big news. Wake me up when either of those sites breaks a big story.

  25. Hmmm. Croatia at 5, Turkey at 10, Russia at 12, SCOTLAND at 16, Israel, Greece, Egypt blah blah blah all ahead of us. Very accurate rankings. In games that matter outside of the world cup we rarely lose. These teams get their asses handed to them regularly. But none of that matters when you pick the rankings out of a hat.

    Posted by: kpugs | September 04, 2008 at 10:53 AM


    In games that matter, the U.S. would lose to teams like Russia, Turkey, and Croatia.

  26. Keep up the good work Ives. There can’t be “scoops” every week. I love this site and visit every single day (usually multiple times : )

    As a non-RedBull fan, I love the fact that the site seems to have expanded. You write about all the stuff I am interested in and care about.

    Keep it up!!!!

  27. Have to agree with walker and Matt, I love this site just as much as anybody else but I have been recently disappointed with the lack of Red Bulls and MLS “breaking stories”, in many ways the site has shifted towards more generic news stories. Maybe it just expanded to quickly…

  28. I have to agree with Walter to an extent. Ives doesn’t really break as much news as he used to. With the Red Bulls especially he gets regularly scooped by Brian Lewis and BAS. Maybe it’s just that he’s trying to open it up to a broader, less NJ-centric focus, but a lot of this stuff is regurgitation of other media stories.

    To Ives’ credit, the Kandji thing was interesting, but it sort of went nowhere after Gazidis denied it.

  29. MLS, why not stick out your “competitive fairness” philosophy necks now? What, no comments from your “competition committees” regarding DC’s win just b/c it isn’t an MLS only matter? When it came to all of the eventual MLS winner’s US Open Cup games, they were all played on their official home field or near home venue (Maryland Soccerplex) as opposed to a neutral site. Why not point it out to the US Open Cup organizers now so it doesn’t happen again if you’re so interested & big on competitive balance? Hypocrites…

    (Not taking anything away from DC’s tenacity to win or Charlotte’s heart in defeat.)

  30. I stand corrected on Montreal. 4 games in 6 days! Yet they advanced. MLS doesn’t have that kind of fixture congestion ever and the Impact had to travel down to Central America for that final match after playing 3 times in less than a week. Yet they got the result.

    MLS excuses are wearing thin. I’ve said it on my blog this morning: USL teams play a better possession game- i’ve noticed that since Miami FC came into being three years ago and I started following USL the way I’ve followed MLs since 1996. MLS has more individually talented players, but the team game and organization/shape of USL sides is generally much better than the average MLs side. I hate to say it but a lot of that is coaching. Colin Clark got fired after winning the Western Conference by Hitchcock. Holw silly does that look now with the Islanders advancing to the group stage largely because of Clark’s tactics?

  31. Fixture congestion can not be the excuse for MLS failure when the USL teams were playing 4 games in 7 days. Stop making excuses. Get better.

  32. New Caledonia up 21 spots to #96 — from #188 in June 2006 — despite only playing Vanuatu twice this year.

    New Caledonia? Who? They are above Guatemala??? And they rise without playing a game since June?

    MLS power rankings are more useful 😉

  33. Oh the FIFA rankings still exist? Or more aptly, the random list of international soccer teams pulled out of a hat?

    Hmmm. Croatia at 5, Turkey at 10, Russia at 12, SCOTLAND at 16, Israel, Greece, Egypt blah blah blah all ahead of us. Very accurate rankings. In games that matter outside of the world cup we rarely lose. These teams get their asses handed to them regularly. But none of that matters when you pick the rankings out of a hat.

  34. CACuzcatlan, I think that’s exactly right.

    No one will say that MLS’s salary cap (and roster size) doesn’t need to increase. But New England’s monumental (and never before seen in the history of MLS’s small cap and roster size) flop is a also a product of a lack of passion and international experience.

    The Revs (and Goats) were absolutely decimated by injuries, but I’d wager that the teams they through out there would still be decent by USL standards. But they weren’t battle hardened, by any stretch, and they simply lacked motivation.

  35. My beloved Puerto Rico Islanders-

    We freaking made history!!!

    We had to play a lot of CFU qualifiers to get to this point (around 8). Our management sunk a LOT of money into the club. They promised us big things and have thought big.

    The mayor & the city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico and our sponsors have supported us when many haterz said that trying pro soccer again in Puerto Rico was a waste of time, that it had no future was a big waste of money. One reporter predicted that the team would fold after 7 games like the last USL attempt back in ’95.

    The faithful group of supporters, BatallonS10, OSU and others…

    All of the players who have worn our jesersy, the previous coaches and current and previous operations staff–So many people contributed to the historic result.

    Puerto Rico Islanders advance!!!

    3-2 on aggregate.

    Second leg result from Bayamon, Puerto Rico:

    Islanders 2

    Alajuelense 1

    Islanders gave up a goal in the first few minutes of the game and battled back.

    Puerto Rico Islanders. Reprezenting the USL.

    General Colin Clarke does it again. our boys do it again. the win now complicates our USL1 playoff Championship run but those are the breaks. We just gotta live with that. If you want to be an elite club in your division you just have to learn to deal with the challenges. We played 4 games in less than a week and came out with freaking excellent results. No matter what happens in CCL group play, we got there. The rest is just “gravy”

    People don’t know what sort of team we have. They don’t know what we are capable of. Haterz hate.

    We reprezented ourselves and the USL very well and we reprezented. Thanks to all of the USL rivals who have expressed their support during this non-league run.

    Thanks to all of the MLS supporters and foreign support that we have received.

    Much respect to LSA and the Ticos and all of the Caribbean competitors that we had to face to get to this point in the tournament.

    Thank you to General Colin Clarke and our ownership group and management team.

    Vamos Islanders!!!

    Isleño hasta la muerte.

  36. If PR and Montreal can win against Central American sides I think its safe to say that salary cap isn’t the issue here. How many of you really think that these USL teams spend more on salary than NE and Chivas USA? Its more about fixture congestion and passion. It didn’t even look like NE were trying out there.

  37. Walker? What are you looking for? All the normal stuff is here. Daily tickers, MLS match reports, Transfer News, USMNT updates.

    Just a trolling post or is there something you WANT to see?

  38. That’s tough on Belgium falling out of the top 50 especially after their young team did pretty well in the olympics. At least their future looks a little brighter with the likes of Kompany, Van Den Borre, De Mul and Dembele.

  39. Good for the USL teams!

    As for MLS the gauntlet has been thrown down. Now you have a choice to make since Plan A crashed.

    1) Either you open up the agreemnt with the players and raise the cap in an effective manner that prevents the idiots at your ‘superclub’ from sinking all they’re money into a couple of players.

    (Can you imagine how embarassing LA would have been if this was all New England could do? And you know they thought about getting LA into this tourney.)

    And since you won’t do that you can opt for chocie 2):

    More evenly disperse your 8 regional Cup berths, admitting that SuperLiga is not the important one. CONCACAF Champions Cup berths to Supporters Shield, US Open Cup, MLS Cup and next best regular season records. SuperLiga berths to the next 4 best teams after the above (and maybe the MLS Cup runner-up if you want).

    It’s that simple. You don’t see ManU and Chelsea in both the Champs League and UEFA CUp do you?

    This ain’t rocket science.

  40. Just got done watching the PR-Alajuense game which FSC decided to show after we all went to bed and PR used superior possession play and a little luck to get through.

    Now considering PR has played 4 games in 7 days, USL-1 needs to come to its senses much like we’ve been calling MLS to do. The Islanders did well for you at this stage but like MLS sides they will dead later in this tournament if your league much like MLS does not learn how to schedule more efficiently and help your teams out. I don’t follow Montreal closely but I think they may have played 4 games in 7 days also.


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