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CONCACAF Champions League semifinals pairing set


Major League Soccer has two chances to get a team into the CONCACAF Champions League final, which would mark the second time such a thing has happened.

Champions League semifinals are now set, with the LA Galaxy taking on Monterrey in one semifinal, the Seattle Sounders clashing once again with Santos in the other.

The opening legs will be played April 2-4, with the return legs set for a week later, April 9-1.

Real Salt Lake is the only MLS side yet to fight its way into the regional tourney finals, falling in 2011 to Monterrey.

So now it’s on the Galaxy to battle Monterrey; Bruce Arena’s team looks good right now, with one big win to MLS play, a useful draw in Costa Rica to open its quarterfinal series against Herediano and then last night’s romp and stomp at the Home Depot Center.

A little more on the Galaxy semifinal matchup is here.

A bubbling little subplot here will be Landon Donovan’s potential availability … perhaps as a late sub in the second contest? That’s all about when, exactly, the LA Galaxy attacker rejoins practices and how quickly he gets his soccer legs about him.

The back story is thick on this Seattle-Santos series. These clubs met a year ago, and Seattle Sounders fans were rightly excited about a 2-1 win at CenturyLink Field. But, oh, how the air flew out of that balloon once the series returned to Torreon, Mexico. There, Sigi Schmid’s team took a mighty beating, falling 6-1.

The Sounders were down by two goals after 10 minutes, and that was that. So, redemption will be a theme as we talk about this one over the next two weeks.

Newcastle’s Krul on crutches after injury in Dutch win

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Tim Krul of Newcastle United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.

Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.

[ MORE: Ultimate guide to USMNT vs. Mexico ]

Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.

Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.

The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.

McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.