Second half goals from Robert Huth and Cameron Jerome lead Stoke City to a 2-1 win on Saturday, with visiting Reading halving the Potters’ lead thanks to a late goal from Jamaican Adrian Mariappa.
While the win kept Stoke 10th in the English Premier League, the game may have been a disappointing one for U.S. Men’s National Team fans tuning in to see Americans abroad.
Geoff Cameron, a constant throughout the season for Tony Pulis, spent 84 minutes on Stoke’s bench before making a late cameo for Andy Wilkinson. The former Houston Dynamo defender started in the U.S.’s mid-week World Cup qualifier in Honduras but was held out in the Potters’ first match since his return. It was the first time this season the fullback/midfielder has come off the bench.
Stoke’s other U.S. international, the recently purchased Brek Shea, failed to make Stoke’s 18, the former FC Dallas winger having only joined the Potters mid-week.
Expect to see Cameron back in Stoke’s team as soon as possible. Though Pulis didn’t speak to it after the match, it’s assumed Cameron’s absence was travel-related. He should be back at fullback when Stoke visit Fulham in two weeks. (Out of the FA Cup, Stoke is off next weekend.)
Shea’s status is less certain. He’s 22, coming off an injury, and trying to break into a team that has established options at his position. He provides Pulis with a great change-of-pace option off the bench, but training will undoubtedly determine how quickly Shea plays.
Ultimately, it’s not really important whether Shea plays in two weeks or two months. His first days in Stoke-on-Trent should be about a young man adjusting to his new life. Given how important that adjustment will be to Shea’s long-term success, Stoke and their new charge would be best served to take it slow.
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.
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.
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.