Fire

How Michael de Leeuw is being valuable to the Fire without scoring goals

How Michael de Leeuw is being valuable to the Fire without scoring goals

Goal scorers want to score goals and Michael de Leeuw is a goal scorer who is not scoring goals right now.

De Leeuw scored seven goals in 18 games after joining the Chicago Fire in the middle of last season. This season he has not scored yet in 14 games.

However, the Chicago Fire’s Dutch forward is still happy because the team is winning.

“Of course, I’m a player who scores,” de Leeuw said after the 2-0 win against Atlanta. “That’s what gives me confidence. That’s how you grow in a season and at this point I didn’t score a goal. Sometimes I think about it and I think (damn) I didn’t score for 14, 15 games. Sometimes it’s eating inside. On the other hand I know I’m important in other things at this moment. We’re playing as a team, we’re playing good and everybody is taking his role.”

After being played as either an all-out striker or a supporting striker, de Leeuw has often played as one of the three attacking players supporting main striker Nemanja Nikolic. Nikolic leads the league with 12 goals. De Leeuw has played wide right, a new position to him, and, more recently, in a central attacking midfielder type role.

De Leeuw was named the Fire’s man of the match despite not factoring into either goal on Saturday. His work rate, willingness to make plays defensively and challenge to win balls in midfield has helped the team, even if he is further from the goal.

“Michael is so generous in his effort for the team and working for the team and for his teammates,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “At the same time he is dangerous. He had opportunities to score in the games before, but when you have that approach and you are working the way he does, it helps the team.”

Paunovic is convinced de Leeuw remains a key part of the team.

“He has to be on the field,” Paunovic said. “It’s just that. On the side where he’s not scoring goals, he’s helping other score goals, he’s helping the team win. That also counts. I know he is a little bit upset with not scoring. Be patient, it’s going to come. You’re going to surprise yourself when you score two or three goals in one game and say I have it, finally.”

De Leeuw said he is adjusting to not being in front of goal so much. He also admitted that he wasn’t playing well earlier in the season, but thinks that has changed.

"Now we have some other players who are stepping up,” de Leeuw said. “I think in the end the goals will come, I know that the goals will come. The most important thing is that we’re winning and that the team is playing good and that’s the most important thing. Then your personal things come in.”

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

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USA Today

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

MLS soccer is coming back this summer.

The league announced a plan to have all 26 MLS clubs resume play on July 8 with a league-wide “MLS is Back Tournament.”

The games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, without fans in the stands.

Here’s how it will work:

Clubs can arrive in Orlando to begin training on June 24. Then a group stage will begin July 8 followed by a knockout stage, starting July 25.

There will be six groups, three for each the Western and Eastern Conferences. The group stage draw will occur on June 11 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Each team will play three group stage matches, and the results from those games will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings.

Then the top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-place finishers will advance to the knockout stage. That stage starts with a round-of-16, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and then the championship game. The championship game will be played on August 11.

In case of a tie at the end of regulation in the knockout stage, games will proceed directly to a penalty kick shootout.

The winner of the tournament will earn a berth in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

At the conclusion of the tournament, MLS will resume its regular season followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.

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MLS cancels three marquee events in wake of coronavirus, reschedules for 2021

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USA TODAY

MLS cancels three marquee events in wake of coronavirus, reschedules for 2021

Major League Soccer announced Tuesday the cancelation of three marquee 2020 events in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 MLS All-Star Game, Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup have all been canceled, the league announced Tuesday. Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. was set to host the All-Star game on July 29, and MLS said the 2021 event is now expected to take place at the same venue. 

MLS will resume negotiations with LIGA MX with hopes of squaring off in the 2021 exhibition match.

The second annual Leagues Cup tournament was set to occur between July and September, featuring top MLS and LIGA MX teams. The two leagues canceled the event in a joint decision and plan to play the tournament next year.

Similarly, MLS and LIGA MX jointly canceled the Campeones Cup, which features the reigning MLS champion against the LIGA MX's Campeón de Campeones winner. The 2020 event was scheduled for Aug. 12 at CenturyLink field, home of Seattle Sounders FC. It will return in 2021.