Bayern Munich laid down an early claim to the Bundesliga title with a win against Bayer Leverkusen.
Thomas Muller scored twice in a 3-0 victory at home against Leverkusen in an early season battle of unbeaten teams. A converted penalty for Arjen Robben, the Dutchman’s first goal of this season, sealed the win in the 71st minute.
Bayern took a 1-o lead into halftime thanks to Muller. The German attacker leapt in front of his marker to turn in Douglas Costa’s cross in the 26th minute for the lead.
The hosts dominated possession up to that point, but the teams went into the break with the same amount of opportunities. Life became more difficult for the Leverkusen attack in the second half, and Bayern pounced.
Muller converted a penalty kick in the 60th minute, slotting the ball right down the middle after Roberto Hilbert was called for pushing down Arturo Vidal in the box. Robben scored his own 11 minutes later, with Hilbert again involved by handling the ball in the box to grant Bayern a spot kick.
Elsewhere in Europe, both Chelsea and Liverpool suffered surprise defeats in front of home fans. Lyon picked up an overwhelming win in Ligue 1 play.
Both Everton and Tottenham started the season with modest, if ambitious, hopes of vying for a top four place in the English Premier League. Three weeks into the season has seen both teams drop points as they head into their showdown at White Hart Lane.
Everton will look to rebound off last week’s loss to Manchester City, while Tottenham is still looking for its first win of the season.
In Germany, Bayern Munich has already begun to assert its dominance, but Bayer Leverkusen will look to provide a stiff test in a battle of UEFA Champions League teams.
In MLS, Toronto FC will play host to a Didier Drogba-less Montreal Impact squad desperate for a win after last week’s surprise loss to Philadelphia.
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As if they needed any more motivation to be great, the UCLA Bruins now understand the pain that comes with getting oh so close.
Having stormed through the NCAA tournament with a trio of three-goal performances, UCLA was tasked with taking on Virginia in the national championship game. Outshooting the Cavaliers 15-6 in the game’s opening 90 minutes, the Bruins looked well on their way to the school’s first national title until 2002.
But then, penalty kicks.
Defeated, 4-2, from the spot, UCLA was unceremoniously knocked out with a title within grasp, just one step away from reaching college soccer’s ultimate goal.
Now, a year older, a year wiser and with a major chip on their shoulder, UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo says the pain of last year’s final is still felt with this year’s group, although the lesson’s learned radiate just as much.
“It was very difficult to lose in the manner that we did,” Salcedo told SBI. “I think every soccer player that has played the game has played in matches where they were the better team and lost. Players have played in matches where they weren’t the better team and won.
That was all that stood between Georgetown and a berth in the NCAA semifinals, but up a goal with time ticking, things just didn’t work out.
A goal from Virginia’s Todd Wharton sent the game to overtime, a period that saw Georgetown earn plenty of chances to snag a late win. Alas, it wasn’t to be, as the Hoyas fell on penalties in the quarterfinals, one step further than they had reached the year before.
For head coach Brian Wiese, the sting of last year’s loss has certainly not gone away. Yet, the pride that came with the performance remains, too, helping educate and motivate the Hoyas heading into a 2015 season that could prove to be the one.
“These were really hard lessons for the guys. They were doing everything right, and it just didn’t work out,” Wiese told SBI. “Last year was really tough, and we did a lot of things in that five-minute stretch in that UVA game. We had done things right for 85 minutes, and then we were sitting there saying that we weren’t doing what we should be doing right now and that ended up costing us the game.
The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish found out last year one of college soccer’s unwritten truths.
These days, it’s nearly impossible to repeat as a champion.
After winning its first national title in program history in 2013 over the Maryland Terrapins, the Fighting Irish’s hopes at a repeat championship were dashed by the eventual winners, the Virginia Cavaliers, as the No. 1 seeded Irish fell, 1-0 at home. Virginia soon became the tenth different winner in the last ten years, which is the longest stretch in NCAA Tournament history.
Six starters from last year’s squad are gone, and only four starters remain from the title-winning team that included the likes of Harry Shipp, Luke Mishu, Patrick Wall, Nick Besler, and Grant Van de Casteele.
With plenty of players trying to fit into new spots, Fighting Irish head coach Bobby Clark understands that it will take time for the team’s new starters to gel together.
Selecting his squad for the first time, interim Mexico coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti left some notable names off his roster for upcoming friendlies.
Giovani Dos Santos, Jonathan Dos Santos and Guillermo Ochoa have all been omitted from Mexico’s roster for a pair of friendlies against Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina in the U.S. on September 4 and 8, respectively.
In Ochoa’s stead, Ferretti selected Club America’s Moises Munoz and Toluca’s Alfredo Talavera as the team’s goalkeepers.
The rest of Ferretti’s squad, though, is littered with regulars, including Rafa Marquez, Carlos Vela and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.