Keep calm

ProSoccerTalk’s weekly Panic Quotient

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ProSoccerTalk’s weekly soccer Panic Quotient (®) takes the temperature of stress and distress in the streets of Major League Soccer and along the boulevards of the global game, and since I’ve kicked Steve off this beat for a week, we’re making this a Southern California inspired PQ in honor of my visit for tonight’s LA Galaxy-Real Madrid friendly:

Real Salt Lake: Jason Kreis and company talked big ahead of their trip to Costa Rica. CONCACAF Champions League was a priority. Two days and 3,500 miles later, RSL flew home with no points. Slows starts, lack of possession, red cards – it happens – but with four group stage games instead of six in this year’s tournament, you can’t afford multiple slips. RSL used their pass in game one.

Panic quotient = pretty low, along the lines of: Alarm goes off for dawn patrol, you decide to sleep in and deal with being dogged by your friends when you meet them for breakfast burritos.

Shalrie Joseph: Speaking of wake up calls, there’s nothing like a cold handshake and a plane ticket cross country to tell you we weren’t getting the job done. When you’re 34 years old, the subtext of that message is a challenge: Can you still get it done? At least one team says no, and who knows. They might be right.

New team, new city, new life – Shalrie’s going to get a chance to prove them wrong. It may also be his last stop in the league.

Panic quotient = moderate-to-high, along the lines of: You’re in Santa Monica, your flight takes off in 90 minutes, and you forgot there’s construction on Lincoln as you go through Marina del Rey.

How do you know so much about Marina del Rey?

Most Eastern Conference teams: Most of the year, there’s been a nice convivial attitude at the top of the conference. Kansas City, D.C. United, New York have all had their turns. Houston’s been allowed to lurk. Then Erik Soler convinces Vancouver that the Seba Le Toux era has run its course. And then he adds Tim Cahill. The rest of the East has to love this.

Teams usually espouse a “you’ve got to beat the best” attitude about these types of things. Not-so-deep down? Nobody outside of Harrison can be thrilled about a stacked New York.

Panic quotient = high, along the lines of: You’re stuck on the 405, nothing’s moving, you smell something from the engine and notice your temperature gauge is trying to find a letter to the right of H. And your cell died 10 minutes ago.

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

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

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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:

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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)
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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.