New England Revolution v New York Red Bulls

Starry nights: MLS Team of the Week – Round 11

Leave a comment

Goalkeeper:

Portland’s Troy Perkins

Rationale, motive and intent: Seven saves in a scoreless draw at Houston was Perkins’ best work of the week, but more good work in a weekend win over Chicago was a fine encore for the Timber’s backstopper.

Back line:

Chivas USA’s Danny Califf

New York’s Markus Holgersson (pictured)

Portland’s Hanyer Mosquera

Rationale, motive and intent: Regarding Califf: Quite a debut for the former Philly man, who looks motivated in his effort to show Chivas USA that a Goat’s gain is a Union loss. Holgersson continues to gain the steadiness he lacked early, and in Saturday’s win at Montreal – the Red Bull’s fifth in a row – he had the added duty of breaking in newly arrived Heath Pearce as a central partner along New York’s back line.

Midfield:

Portland’s Diego Chara

New York’s Joel Lindpere

Colorado’s Martin Rivero

D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario

Rationale, motive and intent: Lindpere and Chara were workhorses in their matches, covering ground, shutting down the opposition danger men, interrupting passing lanes, that kind of stuff. Important stuff, for sure. Rivero’s steady work and creativity helped the Rapids’ rally from a 2-0 deficit to salvage a tie at home against Sporting Kansas City.

De Rosario keeps putting on shows, finding goals once in mid-week and then twice more in a weekend victory over Toronto. His versatility continues be a major asset, too, as manager Ben Olsen used “De Ro” at attacking midfield once and at forward once.

Forwards:

Seattle’s Fredy Montero

New England’s Saer Sene

Sporting Kansas City’s Teal Bunbury

Rationale, motive and intent: A little Montero magic was all it took for Seattle to earn a draw at Vancouver.

Bunbury has slipped beyond the U.S. national team conversations, lapped by the likes of Herculez Gomez, Chris Wondolowski and a couple of others. With two goals at Colorado on Saturday, he reminded everyone that he’s not exactly washed up at the old age of 22.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

meninblazers
Leave a comment

In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]

European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.

Emre Can back in the Liverpool side ahead of Europa clash vs. Villarreal

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 14:  Emre Can of Liverpool battles for the ball with Idrissa Gana of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park on February 14, 2016 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Emre Can has recovered from an ankle injury and will be in Liverpool’s squad for their Europa League semifinal against Villarreal on Thursday night.

The German international has not played since April 14 when he was forced off in the Reds’ wild 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool prepping for Villarreal ]

Giving his team update on Wednesday, manager Jurgen Klopp said Can is back in the team, although captain Jordan Henderson is still out. The Reds enter the second leg trailing 1-0 on aggregate.

Another positive note out of Melwood was the return of Danny Ings to first-team training. The 23-year-old striker signed with Liverpool last summer, but managed just eight appearances before having his season end to a torn ACL in October. Ings is still far away from his full return, but it was a good sight to see him back on the pitch and making progress in his recovery.

Disappointed Pellegrini rues lack of offense in Man City’s loss to Real

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City reacts during the UEFA Champions League semi final, second leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester City FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 4, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images )
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester City put in an uninspired performance against Real Madrid on Wednesday, losing the match 1-0 and falling out of the UEFA Champions League.

[ RECAP: Real Madrid 1-0 Man City ]

The match was decided by just one goal, but the scoreline was flattering to City as they failed to create any kind of real chances at the Bernabeu. Over the two legs, City managed just two shots on target.

While City were wildly disappointing in the second leg, manager Manuel Pellegrini did not think the match was that one-sided, saying both teams struggled on the attack.

I am disappointed because I think that was a very close game with two teams who did not create many chances. The two teams were working with no-one making a difference.

It is not the best thing changing a defender very early but I don’t think we had any problems in defence, we had problems creating, same as Real Madrid. They did not create many chances.

Real Madrid was not in top form, but they still could have scored three or four goals on Wednesday. Joe Hart had to come up with some big saves to keep things close, as the England goalkeeper was by far City’s most valuable player throughout the tie.

[ MORE: Liverpool preparing for Europa League match vs. Villarreal ]

The absence of David Silva through injury certainly hurt City’s attack, but there was very little service moving forward from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure. The poor play in the midfield left Sergio Aguero stranded alone up top, nearly invisible in the second leg.

Without service, Aguero was forced to track back to try and find the ball himself, leaving City no options to hit on the counter. For a tie between two of the most expensive teams in the world, neither side was truly impressive, but City surely disappointing.