CONCACAF Gold Cup venues announced

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CONCACAF has announced the venues for this summer’s Gold Cup, with five returning venues joined by eight new locations for the 2013 tournament:

“With a mix of historic venues and brand new state of the art soccer facilities that average 57,000 spectators, the 2013 edition of the Gold Cup promises to provide fans both in stadium and at home with unforgettable atmospheres in world class venues.”

Well, as long as they’re promising.

Five Major League Soccer venues will host games, with most of the other facilities the type of big capacity, gridiron-friendly stadiums we usually see sprinkled throughout this tournament.

Here’s the full list:

•  Atlanta – Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA)
•  Baltimore – M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)
•  Chicago – Soldier Field (Chicago, IL)
•  Dallas – Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, TX)
•  Denver – Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver, CO)
•  Hartford – Rentschler Field (East Hartford, CT)
•  Houston – BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)
•  Los Angeles – Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)
•  Miami – Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, FL)
•  New York- Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ)
•  Portland – JELD-WEN Field (Portland, OR)
•  Salt Lake City – Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, UT)
•  Seattle – CenturyLink Field (Seattle, WA)

Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Hartford, Portland and Salt Lake City are first time Gold Cup hosts, and although the tournament’s been in Houston before, this is the first time BBVA Compass Stadium will host the event.

Venues who had games in 2011 who are not on this list: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte), FIU Stadium (Miami), Ford Field (Detroit), Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.), Livestrong Park (Kansas City), New Meadowlands Stadium (East Rutherford), Raymond James Stadium (Tampa), Reliant Stadium (Houston), RFK Stadium (Washington D.C.).

With the tournament field not yet set, no specific dates and matchups have been set. In all likelihood, we’ll see the Rose Bowl get the final. Expect Cowboy Stadium to get strong consideration for the semifinals (Reliant Stadium hosted them in 2011), and if the competition replicates the east-to-west nature of 2011’s knockout round, Sun Life Stadium, the Georgia Dome, and M&T Bank Stadium would be among the likely quarterfinal spots.

Eleven nations have qualified for the 12-team tournament: Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States. Guatemala and Panama meet Friday to determine the tournament’s final entrant.

LIVE – Champions League playoff: Nice-Napoli headlines action

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With Celtic (just about) booking their spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, four more teams will join them.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Napoli, Olympiacos, Sevilla and Hapoel Be’er Sheva all have narrow leads heading into the second legs which sets things up rather nicely for the winner takes all second legs. Olympiacos and Be’er Sheva will be feeling particularly nervous after conceding at home in the first leg.

On Wednesday five more ties takes place across Europe with Liverpool looking to book their spot in the UCL group stage against Hoffenheim.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET, while you can click on the link above to follow live commentary on all four matches.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff second legs

Nice vs. Napoli (Napoli lead 2-0 on aggregate)
Astana 4-3 Celtic (Celtic advance 8-4 on aggregate)
Rijeka vs. Olympiacos (Olympiacos leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Sevilla vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Sevilla leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Maribor vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Hapoel Be’er Sheva lead 2-1 on aggregate)

LIVE – Premier League clubs enter League Cup

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Seven Premier League teams enter the League Cup second round on Tuesday with plenty of potential upsets lined up.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

All 13 PL clubs (six more are in action on Wednesday) face teams from the lower leagues with the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth and Swansea City all on upset alert.

U.S. national team players to watch out for include Lynden Gooch who starts for Sunderland and Emerson Hyndman who is on the bench for Bournemouth.

Below is the schedule for the League Cup games on Tuesday with all games to kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 2:30pm
Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
Leeds United vs. Newport County
Middlesbrough vs. Scunthorpe United
Norwich City vs. Charlton Athletic
QPR vs. Brentford
Fulham vs. Bristol Rovers
Cardiff City vs. Burton Albion
Carlisle United vs. Sunderland
Doncaster vs. Hull City
Grimsby Town vs. Derby County
Brighton vs. Barnet
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth
Watford vs. Bristol City
MK Dons vs. Swansea City
Reading vs. Millwall – 3pm
Bolton vs. Sheffield Wednesday – 3pm

Celtic qualify for UEFA Champions League group stage

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Celtic survived a scare in Kazakhstan to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second season on the trot.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Brendan Rodgers‘ side beat FC Astana 5-0 in the first leg of their playoff last week at Celtic Park but the trip to Kazakhstan proved much trickier with Astana leading 4-1 late in the game which had pulled the score back to 6-4 on aggregate.

However, Scott Sinclair had scored a priceless away goal to make it 1-1 at half time and despite a late flurry of goals for the hosts Olivier Ntcham scored a deflected effort and Leigh Griffiths wrapped things up late on as Celtic lost 4-3 on the night but went through 8-4 on aggregate.

Last season the Scottish champions went out in the UCL group stage after being drawn with Manchester City, Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach and will be hoping for a kinder draw this time around.

Premier League clubs on League Cup upset alert

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The second round of the League Cup (known as the Carabao Cup in 2017-18 for sponsorship reasons) kicks off on Tuesday with 13 Premier League clubs in action.

[ MORE: League Cup scores live ]

All 13 have been drawn against lower-league opposition and those klaxons you can hear signify upset alerts.

Below is a look at how each Premier League club will get on as they enter the competition on Tuesday and Wednesday with a ranking on each game out of 10, with 10 being the most likely for an upset to occur.

Remember: the seven PL teams in European competition will enter the League Cup in the third round.


Upset alert ranking for PL clubs

Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 8/10
Brighton vs. Barnet – 4/10
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom – 7/10
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City – 6/10
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth – 7/10
Watford vs. Bristol City – 5/10
MK Dons vs. Swansea City – 5/10

Wednesday
Newcastle United vs. Nottingham Forest – 6/10
Southampton vs. Wolves – 7/10
Huddersfield Town vs. Rotherham United – 7/10
Cheltenham vs. West Ham United – 8/10
Stoke City vs. Rochdale – 6/10
Blackburn Rovers vs. Burnley – 6/10