Tuesday’s Field of Play: Champions League squared, and Copa Libertadores

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Yes, most eyes will be on Munich, and we can’t blame you. When two bottles come off the top shelf, you want to see what’s poured. Just know that there’s a lot of happening elsewhere in the soccer world. By the time you read this, Asian Champions League will have kicked off in Australia, South Korea and Japan, while the final round of two Copa Libertadores groups will be your night cap.

Nobody can watch them all, but hopefully they’ll stay on your radar. Here is your Tuesday Field of Play:

UEFA Champions League

  • Bayern Munich (Germany) vs. Real Madrid (Spain), 2:45 p.m. ET

Real Madrid’s played 10 Champions League games, winning nine and tying the other, but as Sid Lowe pointed out on this week’s Football Weekly, they’re yet to face a team from Europe’s top four leagues. It’s a peculiar implication – that they have somehow gone untested – given how many times we’ve seen Real Madrid matched against Barcelona. While they have yet to pass one of those tests, they’ve shown enough to make them the clear favorites. Bayern need to take advantage of their home leg.

Copa Libertadores

  • Deportivo Quito (Ecuador) vs. Chivas (Mexico), 7:15 p.m. ET
  • Vélez Sarsfield (Argentina) vs. Defensor Sporting (Uruguay), 7:15 p.m. ET
  • Bolívar (Bolivia) vs. Universidad Catolica (Chile), 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Junior (Colombia) vs. Unión Española (Chile), 9:30 p.m. ET

Group 7 plays the first set, with Vélez (group winners) and Guadalajara (last place) playing for nothing. Chivas is expected to lose at Deportivo, leaving Defensor Sporting in the unenviable position of having to win at Vélez to retain second place.

In the late kickoffs, unless there’s a lopsided result, the match in Bolivia’s the only one that matters. If Catolica wins, they jump Bolívar and go through in second place. Else, the Bolivian side advances with Union Española.

Asian Champions League

  • Brisbane Roar (Australia) vs. Ulsan (South Korea), 5:30 a.m. ET
  • Joenbuk Motors (South Korea) vs. Buriram United (Thailand), 6:00 a.m. ET
  • Tokyo (Japan) vs. Beijing Guoan (China), 6:30 am. ET
  • Guangzhou Evergrande (China) vs. Kashiwa Reysol (Japan), 7:30 a.m. ET
  • Persepolis (Iran) vs. Al Gharafa (Qatar), 8:30 a.m. ET
  • Bani Yas (UAE) vs. Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia), 11:05 a.m. ET
  • Al Arabi (Qatar) vs. Pakhtakor (Uzbekistan), 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia) vs. Al Shabab (UAE), 1:50 p.m. ET

Joenbuk Motors pulled a mild surprise last round, rebounding from their horrid group stage start to hand Buriran their tournament’s first. Their group, which includes that day’s headline act (Guangzou-Kashiwa) remains wide open, as does Group F (Tokyo, Ulsan, Beijing, Brisbane), where the last two rounds of matches have ended in draws.

In the western groups, Al-Ittihad will look to stay perfect. If they do, they’ll clinch a knockout round spot and give Pakhtakor a chance to seize second place. Likewise, Perspolis is through with a win, while an Al Hilal-Al Shabab winner would maintain the slim hope of winning Group D.

Report: Crystal Palace to build new stadium

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Crystal Palace may have a new home in the next few years.

That’s according to reports out of English, which state that Crystal Palace owner Steve Parish is set to make a major stadium announcement before Christmas.

Crystal Palace’s home stadium, Selhurst Park, is nearly 100 years old, and the club has looked over the last few years at either new locations for a stadium in South London or ways to renovate the current ground.

“When I came into this thing, the aim was to bring something for all of us to be proud of on the pitch and very importantly off the pitch,” Parish told the Croydon Advertiser. “We want to give everybody in Croydon a south London stadium that we can all be proud of and not lose our atmosphere and uniqueness.

“That’s a dream for me, a lifelong dream and one that hopefully everybody will share when they see what we’ve put together. It’s fantastically exciting times for us to look forward to.”

Unlike in America, where many sports owners demand a new stadium every 20-25 years or so, in England, there are many stadiums still in use across the Football League and Premier League that were initially built in the 1800s.

It’s unclear who would pay for a new Crystal Palace stadium, what it would look like and how many seats it would hold, but perhaps a new stadium and facility could help

FOLLOW LIVE – MLS Conference Finals, Leg 1

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There’s never been more on the line in the latest Trilliam Cup matchup.

For the first time, Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew will meet in the MLS Cup playoffs, kicking off at 8:00 p.m., with both teams taking different paths to the Eastern Conference finals.

Toronto FC battled the New York Red Bulls to win on away goals, after a 2-1 win in Red Bull Arena in the first leg, but tempers flared and the Supporters Shield winners will be without both Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore on Tuesday night. The Crew meanwhile survived an incredible 120 minutes at Atlanta United to win in a shootout, and then carried that momentum into a 4-3 aggregate victory over New York City FC.

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Now, with the Crew’s status in Columbus still up in the air, Crew fans have one chance to pack MAPFRE Stadium to support their team and prove to the league they can support an MLS franchise.

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the upstart Houston Dynamo host a sold-out crowd as the defending MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders visit, with kickoff set for 9:30 p.m.

The Dynamo stunned the injury-riddled Portland Timbers in the last round and the Dynamo has lost just once at home in MLS action this calendar year. On the other side, the Sounders are getting a major boost, with Osvaldo Alonso and Jordan Morris close to returning, either in this game or next week, and Clint Dempsey remains fit and raring to go back in his home state.

Follow all the action from tonight’s MLS Cup playoff matchups.

LAFC, Bradley add Egyptian international

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On it’s face, Los Angeles FC signing an Egyptian international may be strange.

But when you think about who’s calling the shots, it makes all the sense in the world.

LAFC coach Bob Bradley brought in a former player of his from his time with the Pharoahs, as Omar Gaber became the latest player to join the new MLS club. Gaber comes from FC Basel on a season-long loan. The 25-year-old right back has played just once for Basel in the 2017-2018 season in the league, finding himself on the outside looking in and looking for a new place to prove his fitness ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

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“I loved working with all the Egyptian players, and had a great opportunity to get to know Omar during that time,” Bradley said in a statement. “He’s always been admired by teammates and fans for his all-around contributions and willingness to give everything on the field. I am proud to welcome Omar Gaber to LAFC.”

Gaber is the fifth signing this offseason for LAFC.

 

 

Report: Lukaku avoids jail time for Beverly Hills complaint

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Romelu Lukaku doesn’t have to worry about having to serve time in a Beverly Hills, Calif. jail cell.

After being issued a citation this past July for multiple noise complaints at a residence, on Tuesday a Los Angeles court ordered that Lukaku pay $450 to the Beverly Hills Police Department to reimburse them for multiple responses to the residence. The decision by the court reduces the Manchester United striker’s offense from a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum of six months in jail, to a charge of disturbing the peace.

“They are reaching a disposition in this case that the first thing that must happen is the defendant must pay Beverly Hills Police Department $450 for multiple response calls.,” Jane Godfrey, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner said.

Of course, it was unlikely that Lukaku would ever face jail time for his offenses, but perhaps now with this out of the way, he can get back to doing what he does best; scoring goals.