2014

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City coach offers MLS Cup prediction and forecast on 2015 roster

The MLS Cup goes down this Sunday at 3 p.m. in Los Angeles between the Galaxy and New England Revolution. There’s plenty of star power involved in the matchup, led by Landon Donovan, perhaps the greatest American soccer player of all time, playing in his final professional game.

On Monday Major League Soccer teams will begin submitting their list of unprotected players for the upcoming Expansion Draft as the Orlando City Soccer Club and New York City FC are scheduled to pick through those leftovers on Wednesday.

I spoke with Orlando City coach Adrian Heath earlier this week about his impression of the MLS postseason, and what he’s been doing as of late to prepare for the upcoming MLS drafts and signing periods for the Lions.

(– Click here for J.C.’s story on Adrian Heath’s thoughts on MLS Cup for MLSSoccer.com –)

(– Click here for J.C.’s story on Heath scouting talent for 2015 roster for MLSSoccer.com –)

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club preps for Major League Soccer Expansion Draft

There’s so much to be done before the Orlando City Soccer Club even steps foot on the pitch as a Major League Soccer participant at the start of the 2015 season. Among the many obstacles to navigate is the MLS Expansion Draft on Dec. 10 as Orlando City joins New York City FC in each selecting 10 players from those made available by current clubs.

( – Click here to read J.C.s story for MLSSoccer.com about OCSC preparing for Expansion Draft – )

Orlando City currently has just 10 players under contract for 2015 after defender Luke Boden and midfielder Harrison Heath finalized contracts with the club on Monday. Boden has spent the past four seasons with the Lions while Heath joined Orlando City near the end of the 2014 USL PRO season.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story for MLSSoccer.com about Boden and Heath signing contracts – )

Carnahan Coverage: Aftermath of Orlando City Soccer Club Playoff Loss

The Orlando City Soccer Club is now entirely focused on a move to Major League Soccer in 2015 after suffering an upset loss in the opening round of the USL-PRO postseason Saturday.

Despite the impressive run over the past four years for the club, the way it all ended won’t soon be forgotten.

On Tuesday Orlando City released all but three players from the 2014 USL Pro roster. The Lions are currently in negotiations to retain defender Luke Boden, Adama Mbengue and Harrison Heath.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Kevin Molino reacting to loss for Orlando Sentinel – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Adrian Heath reacting to loss for Major League Soccer – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Orlando City’s 2015 roster for Major League Soccer – )

George O’Leary and UCF Still Having Trouble Filling Out Schedules

UCF football’s announcement last week that they’d agreed to a home-and-home series with Stanford of the Pac-12 drew modest interest from college football fans. UCF coach George O’Leary didn’t appear to be too excited about it either at his weekly press conference earlier this week at Bright House Networks Stadium.

O’Leary was asked Monday if the new agreement, which sends UCF to California in 2015 and Stanford to Florida in 2019, might mean the Knights have plans to expand recruiting coverage to the West coast.

“No. I don’t see us recruiting more on the West,” he said with a tone that matched his disinterest in the topic. “It’s obviously a great opponent, [but] I’d much rather see us get opportunities to play teams that have some relative to recruiting for us. There’s a lot of teams from the Midwest, to the East, to the South that would be great opponents.”

But O’Leary’s never been blind to the fact that mid-major’s such as UCF are in no position to avoid these types of match-ups, even if they do make for a grueling road trip for both players and fan base.

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Arena Football League is Dead to Me

Congrats goes out to the Arizona Rattlers for wrapping up an ArenaBowl three-peat on Saturday while simultaneously crushing the hearts of 18,404 rabid, title-hungry sports fans in Cleveland. In the first ArenaBowl I ever paid attention to (while at a laundromat in 2002, of all places) the Rattlers were badly beaten 52-14 by the rival San Jose SaberCats.

On Saturday, Arizona ravaged the Gladiators to the tune of 72-32 to claim their third ArenaBowl title in a row. It’s the fourth consecutive appearance in the ArenaBowl for the Rattlers since the AFL relaunched in 2010.

It’s partially why I’m pleading for someone (anyone!) to please save the Arena Football League.

Never mind the constant chatter alleging the abuse of the paltry salary structure by teams with kickbacks to players, or that an owner once told me he’d fix games so home teams won every time if he could. Forget about all of that, I’m just concerned with two particular tweaks that would help make the league feel a little more legit again.

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Michael Cuddyer Hits For the Cycle For Second Time in MLB Career

It’s hard enough for players to hit for the cycle at least once in their Major League Baseball careers, never mind becoming just one of three big-leaguers ever to do so in both the American and National leagues. What makes the only cycle of the 2014 season so interesting is the familiarity involving a couple players and a pair of games.

Late Sunday night Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer accomplished the feat with a huge grin on his face when he belted a double down the third base line off of Manny Parra in the eighth inning of a 10-5 win at home over the Cincinnati Reds.

While with the Brewers on May 22, 2009, Parra gave up three of the hits Cuddyer would need for his first cycle (while with the Minnesota Twins) before going on to finish it off at the Metrodome with a triple off of Jorge Julio, who had played for the Rockies two years earlier.

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Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club Pulls Scoreless Draw with Brazil’s Sao Paulo FC

Was it any coincidence the reports of Ricardo Kaka retuning to Sao Paulo FC, where he’ll play the remainder of the year before joining Orlando City Soccer Club in Major League Soccer in 2015, came out the same week the clubs were scheduled for an international friendly?

( – Click here to read my MLS story on Kaka comments from Orlando City coach – )

While Kaka was back home in Brazil, Orlando City and Sao Paulo played to a scoreless draw. The match came down to Orlando City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, who made a save in the 90th minute off the foot of Alexandre Pato from the top of the box. It felt anything but routine despite the one-timer being offered up to his chest.

If you’ve been watching the World Cup this month you may remember the impressive day turned in by Mexican goalie Guillermo Ochoa against Brazil during a 0-0 draw in group play. Gallardo, who is of Mexican decent, was asked about the coincidence.

“I’m just happy that Brazilians couldn’t score on Mexicans,” he said with a laugh.

( – Click here to read my recap of Orlando City-Sao Paulo for Orlando Sentinel – )

( – Click here to read my preview of Orlando City-Sao Paulo for Orlando Sentinel – )

Carnahan Coverage: Pittsburgh Beats Orlando on Final Play

I’ve kept up with the Arena Football League ever since attending my first game during the 2001 season. I would soon go on to work for one of its teams on multiple occasions and later cover the league in some form or another, all while remaining a fan that genuinely enjoyed the sport.

I can’t say I feel that way about the AFL today. Maybe one day I’ll write more about why I’ve lost faith for those who don’t know how far the league has fallen since its relaunch in 2010.

But I must admit that on Saturday, when I made it out to my first game of the 2014 season while on duty for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in Orlando, I was lucky enough to cover a nail-biter that came down to the final play of the game. It was one of those classic AFL finishes.

(– Click here to read my recap of Pittsburgh at Orlando for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review –)

It almost made me forget how shady the people running the league have been in recent years and how terrible they’ve treated players during that time. At least for a few hours. Good luck, AFL.

State of Florida Produces 9 Former Prep Players In NFL Draft

That brief moment of excitement I feel each year when preparing to watch the NFL Draft doesn’t linger for too long. I’m usually ready to channel surf or dip in and out of the room by the eighth pick. But this year I realized it’s all in the way you approach it.

I spent much of the draft last night in a recliner with a laptop, smartphone and remote control nearby. First thing I realized was that ESPN has been ruining this event for me for years. It wasn’t until I committed to the NFL Network’s broadcast that I no longer had the urge to throw my television through a wall due to the rabid jaw-flapping.

Then I got caught up in the information overload world of Twitter and Facebook, reading and responding to online posts about fan’s draft triumphs and despair, with plenty of doses of humor thrown in at each other’s expense.

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Album Review: Johnny Cash – Out Among The Stars (2014)

Disclaimer: Back in the early 1990s I learned that I share the same birthday as that of iconic musician Johnny Cash. Through the years I’ve connected in different ways with the contradictions of such a personality, but I’ve also remained unbiased when it comes to critiquing his body of recorded work.

I’m not much of a country music fan, but I do consider myself a bit of a Johnny Cash aficionado when it comes to the Man In Black’s discography. Though I plan to write more about the subject down the road, the most urgent matter of today is this week’s release of a once-shelved Cash studio album dating back to the mid-1980s.

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