A couple of signs things around Chivas USA aren’t getting better: First, the surprise news last week the Johan Cruyff, the man who was supposed to be engineering all things Chivas soccer, is gone; and second, the team still doesn’t have a coach. Granted, Chivas isn’t the only team without a boss. Still, their situation just seems more chaotic, with the team undergoing an organization reset after a deflating 2012.
More than a month after Chivas’s last competitive match, candidates are starting to emerge to replace Robin Fraser. Team blog The Goat Parade aggregates a number of reports to spotlight three main contenders.
Ramon Ramirez played for Chivas USA for three seasons (2005-07) after a long career in the Mexican league (which included two spells with Chivas Guadalajara). With 121 Mexican national team caps on his playing record, the former midfielder brings a lot of on-the-field credibility to the position. A one-time captain in Carson, Ramirez is more than a drop-in option and may actually bring some history and organizational pride to a team that has always had a transient quality to it.
That’s why Jose Luis Sanchez Sola (“Chelis”) seems like a less attractive option. Spanish-language reports claim Chelis has had contract with Jorge Vergara, but he’s also been linked with a return to Puebla, where he help restore that club to competitiveness late last decade. Over the last couple of seasons, he’s had a disappointing spell at Estudiantes Tecos and a short stint at second division side Correcaminos. While the job he did at Puebla (resurrecting a dormant team) recommends itself for Chivas USA, it’s hard to see how this would be something other than just another job to Chelis.
For Steve Sampson, however, the Chivas USA job would be a break. It would be a chance for the former MLS Cup-winner and U.S. men’s national team coach to get back in a game he’s been out of since 2006. He’s a fluent Spanish speaker, has experience in Latin America (a head coaching stint with Costa Rica), and can assumed to be hungry to prove his firing by the Galaxy in the wake of a MLS Cup-U.S. Open Cup double was premature.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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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.
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.
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.