MLS Week 13: Shutouts tell the story

minnesota-united-orlando-city-mls-freekick-soccer Week 13 of the 2017 MLS season continued over the Memorial Day weekend with losses raising more questions for struggling clubs. That started on Friday night with Toronto shutting out Columbus 5-0 at BMO Field. Victor Vazquez put Toronto up from the penalty spot in the 6th minute. Justin Morrow doubled the lead in the 39th with Vasquez scoring again in the 59th. Toronto went a man down in the 81st with a red card to Marco Delgado for a serious foul. Jonathan Osorio made it 4-0 in the 86th and Jordan Hamilton finished off the goals three minutes into stoppage time. Columbus took 11 shots but put none of them on target. "Yeah it was awesome," Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono said. "We talked before the game about no Jozy no sub doesn’t mean we take the foot off the gas. We came into the game expecting to make a Continue reading "MLS Week 13: Shutouts tell the story"

Atlanta United stops New York City FC, Villa remains at 49

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Atlanta (AFP) – Miguel Almiron scored two goals as the Atlanta United defeated the David Villa-led New York City FC 3-1 on Sunday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.  Reigning MLS MVP Villa had two shots on goal but failed to score, leaving him one goal shy of his 50th MLS goal. The former Barcelona striker has been red hot lately, scoring two goals in a 3-0 win over Orlando City last week. Almiron scored twice in the first half, and Hector Villalba added a goal for the United, who have won two in a row. Paraguay’s Almiron, who has five goals in his past two matches, opened the scoring in the 16th minute and then finished in the 23rd minute to put Atlanta in complete control. New York’s Jack Harrison capitalized on a Ben Sweat cross to cut the deficit to 3-1 in the 71st minute.  This
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USA opens football training camp in Colorado

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Chicago (AFP) – Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore highlight a group of 27 players invited to USA Soccer’s training camp as the national team prepares to play two World Cup qualifiers in June. Dempsey and Altidore are two of 11 players on the invite list who have played in 10 or more FIFA World Cup qualifiers. “I think we have a good group,” coach Bruce Arena said. “I’m still in the early goings with this team and I haven’t seen all of our players, so this camp gives me the opportunity to see six new faces we haven’t had in with the team yet.  “It’s also great that we’re able to bring back 21 players that have been in with our program already in 2017. We have a roster that has good balance all over, we have good young players and hopefully it’s a team we can put together Continue reading "USA opens football training camp in Colorado"

Juventus the final hurdle to history for Zidane’s Madrid

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Madrid (AFP) – Even for a man and a club synonymous with European Cup glory, Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid stand on the brink of history in Saturday’s Champions League final against Juventus in Cardiff. Since the European Cup was rebranded and expanded into the Champions League in 1992, no team has been capable of defending the trophy. However, just 18 months into his first senior managerial role, Zidane is one match away from joining a stellar cast as just the 20th coach to win the competition twice. Moreover, a 12th European crown for Madrid would reaffirm their status as self-proclaimed kings of Europe with a third Champions League in four seasons. “I am the coach which means I am doing something right, but everyone in this squad is doing a phenomenal job,” said Zidane after Real withstood an Atletico Madrid onslaught in the semi-finals. Zidane has had a hand in Continue reading "Juventus the final hurdle to history for Zidane’s Madrid"

Critics made me stronger says Mertesacker

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> London (AFP) – Per Mertesacker says his key role in Arsenal’s FA Cup final triumph was fuelled by the critics who claimed he was past his best. With Arsenal’s defence ravaged by injury and suspension, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger handed Mertesacker his first appearance in the starting line-up for 392 days in Saturday’s Wembley showpiece against Chelsea. A serious knee injury suffered last year led to a lengthy spell on the sidelines for Mertesacker and when the German returned to fitness he was unable to regain his place. The 32-year-old had played only 37 minutes all season after coming off the bench in last weekend’s win against Everton. But the absence of Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel and Shkodran Mustafi gave Wenger no option but to end Mertesacker’s exile. Against all expectations, the centre-back emerged as the towering foundation of Arsenal’s 2-1 triumph. And Mertesacker, who lifted the trophy as Arsenal captain, Continue reading "Critics made me stronger says Mertesacker"

Huddersfield vs. Reading Championship playoff final preview and TV times

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Huddersfield Town and Reading will do battle on Monday at Wembley Stadium for the right to take their place in the Premier League next season. The Championship Playoff Final has come to be known as the most lucrative game in football, with the latest estimates suggesting a success under the iconic arch could be worth as much as £200 million to the victors. But the supporters who make their way to this one won’t be too concerned about that. Indeed, Reading and Huddersfield fans will be dreaming of rubbing shoulders with some of the elite in world football in 2017-18. There’ll be a nervousness too, as losing at Wembley on this stage can be a bodyblow. That’s because these two sides have worked so hard to make it this far. Reading performed brilliantly over two legs to tame an excellent Fulham outfit; Huddersfield, meanwhile, edged past last year’s finalists Sheffield
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Gary Cahill rues ‘crazy’ offside rule in wake of Chelsea’s FA Cup final defeat

• Defender says ‘maddest rule I have ever seen’ led to Arsenal’s opener
• ‘If Ramsey is not there, I can run out and get the ball,’ says Thibaut CourtoisGary Cahill has described the current interpretation of the offside rule as “the maddest rule I have ever seen” as the Chelsea defender struggled to come to terms with the decision to award Alexis Sánchez’s opening goal in Saturday’s FA Cup final. Chelsea were also perplexed that the referee, Anthony Taylor, did not penalise the Arsenal forward for handball in the buildup. After that Aaron Ramsey’s initial movement towards the ball from an offside position prompted the assistant referee, Gary Beswick, to raise his flag. Yet while Ramsey’s presence may have been a distraction, the fact he did not touch the ball, directly interfere with an opponent or ensure his side gained an unfair advantage through his position meant Taylor eventually Continue reading "Gary Cahill rues ‘crazy’ offside rule in wake of Chelsea’s FA Cup final defeat"