It’s getting to be that time of year when we start talking about the upcoming season in Europe. (Didn’t we just stop talking about the season in Europe? Well, yeah. It’s hard out there for a footballer who wants some rest.)
The good news is that with more and more Americans heading across the pond, we have an increasing amount to discuss. Today, we’ll tackle two guys on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
- Maurice Edu – Fox Soccer’s Ives Galarcep has a solid feature about the for-now Rangers midfielder. The upshot: The club has no money and while Edu won’t say if he’s on the move — he’s been linked to Turkish side Bursapor — it’s hard to see him (along with Carlos Bocanegra and Alejandro Bedoya) sticking around. Edu has just a year left on his contract and a transfer would make sense for the cash-strapped club. That said, he enjoyed his time: “Being able to play in Champions League, win trophies, win medals, win cups, win leagues. These are things that I have dreamt of doing, and I set as goals for myself when I came to this club.”
- Robbie Rogers – Greg Seltzer’s must-read MLSSoccer.com column, “Postcard from Europe,” features a man who’s spent the past few months training and rehabbing with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Rogers got hurt early in his Leeds career, but he sounds ready to help his club back into the EPL this coming season. “The manager is bringing me back,” said a content Rogers. “And [he’s] expecting me to help push this team to the Prem.” Best of luck with that goal.
A few quick hits, courtesy of Seltzer at No Short Corners:
- Geoff Cameron to Stoke City looks solid.
- We’re going to be waiting some time before Michael Bradley‘s future is decided.
And finally, a bit on Stuart Holden from Franco Panizo
- “It felt so good to strap some cleats on and do a little bit of jogging, but still just plugging along,” said Holden. “It’s been going slowly but it’s been going well. I’ve just been making sure I don’t have another relapse like I did last time, so my eyes (are) on the prize and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and looking forward to getting back on the field.”
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) Brazil’s Gremio has won the Recopa Sudamericana, beating Argentina’s Independiente 5-4 in a penalty shootout Wednesday night.
The two-legged final ended 1-1 on aggregate, with no goals scored after 120 minutes in the second.
The winners of last year’s Copa Libertadores overcame the holders of Copa Sudamericana after goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe stopped the last penalty of the series, taken by Independiente’s striker Martin Benitez.
The Recopa is played between the champions of South America’s two most important tournaments.
Independiente played most of the match down to 10 players after defender Fernando Amorebieta was sent off after 38 minutes.
The Brazilians made most of the pressure until the end of extra time, but failed to score.
Gremio also won the Recopa in 1996.
The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.
[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]
Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas
Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.
Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.
Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America
Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.
Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET
Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.
English Conference Premier side Dagenham and Redbridge has seen better days, and is getting a hand from a Premier League pal.
[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]
West Ham United will pay a visit to Dag & Red as part of the latter’s #SaveTheDaggers campaign, and the March 21 date will cost fans between $7 and $21 to see a top flight side at 6,000-seat Victoria Road.
Dagenham and Redbridge chairman Paul Gwinn said, “It really will help save our club.”
“So please come on down to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for an additional night of football. Bring a friend, or two, or more and we can use the gate takings to help get us back on track,” reads a press release.
Dag & Red was founded in 1992 and climbed as high as League One in 2011, and plays just 2.5 miles from West Ham United’s training ground. Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among Dag & Red alums in the Premier League.
It’s a terrific gesture from West Ham, and is even more impressive in the United States where the growing club game is increasingly cutthroat (especially between non-synced leagues).
AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco absolutely roasted his charges after i Lupi tossed aside a Cenzig Under-inspired lead to fall 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.
Di Francesco had praise for Edin Dzeko, who assisted Under’s goal, as well as goalkeeper Alisson, but was mostly enraged by his side.
[ MORE: Recap + Fred’s vicious free kick ]
Rather than construct a narrative, we’re going to point out our five favorite selections from Di Francesco’s post-match talk.
4) “The difference was that in the first half we tried to hurt them while in the second we were looking to hold on – to what? I don’t know.”
— “To what? I don’t know” is hilarious. Di Francesco’s side has posted some serious wins this season, including killing off Chelsea 3-0 at home and coming back from 2-0 to draw the Blues at Stamford Bridge. He doesn’t preach sitting back.
3) “There were far too many schoolboy errors – even by players with a wealth of international experience.”
— Schoolboy errors!
2) “I saw two completely different teams out there today. There were lots of players I should have taken off after we conceded the first goal.”
— Again, one mistake by a number of players on Facundo Ferreyra is enough for Di Francesco. He’s not just happy to be here.
1) “I can’t imagine we’d get arrogant just because we’re winning an important game. It’s not as if Roma are used to reaching the final every year.”
— When you’re willing to essentially rip an entire club’s history — Roma’s been to just two UCL quarterfinals since losing the final to Liverpool in 1984 — you’re putting your footprints in new cement.