New England Revolution v Philadelphia Phillies

Top matches on MLS Saturday: Philadelphia at New York

Leave a comment

Major League Soccer’s fifth round is an all-Saturday affair, with eight matches set for kickoff over about nine hours later today. Among the top matches … :

Philadelphia Union at New York Red Bulls (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC SN):

By Week 5 in MLS, we should have some reasonable hold on all 19 league sides, on what they are all about.

But, truly, does anyone know what to make of Philadelphia and New York at this point?

The Red Bulls and that pancake-stacked roster have certainly looked like a strong team during points of this young season. Like when they took it to D.C. United over 90 minutes earlier this month at Red Bull Arena. Gave the visitors from down the coast a proper dressing down, the Red Bulls did – in every way possible except in the final result, which finished as a scoreless draw.

Very strange, that one.

Bottom line, it’s getting harder to see New York as a strong team, as an Eastern Conference contender, when they sit winless after four matches. Mike Petke seems to be doing things right, but geez, fellows, win a game already!

Not having Thierry Henry or Fabian Espindola for this one isn’t going to help the team’s efforts to climb out of ninth place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings.

On the other hand, this match has “get right” stamped all over it for Petke’s club, which has dominated the I-95 series since Philly clambered aboard the Good Ship MLS in 2010. The Red Bulls won all three matches over the Union in 2012 and stand 5-2-0 all time in the series.

Philadelphia is equally as mysterious in 2012, a young club on the rise, one that has checked off some nice results despite being obviously flawed in some spots.

John Hackworth’s team stunk up the joint for about 60 minutes in a season opening loss at home to Sporting Kansas City. They didn’t look very good a week later in Colorado – but earned a great result in a 2-1 road win. Very strange, that one

Jack McInerney scored in the victory at Colorado, and that kid has got something. Still fairly raw at 20 years old but blessed with tremendous strikers’ instincts, McInerney (pictured above) already has 14 MLS strikes.

Hackworth will have new signing Jose Kleberson available – but the Brazilian veteran will not start in this one.

Of course, there’s also Sebastien Le Toux, who would love nothing more than to stick it in the Red Bulls ears; he’s happy to be back in Philly, site of Le Toux’s best years, but cannot have been thrilled to have been jettisoned from Red Bull Arena in the off-season.

(MORE: Other top MLS matches – Galaxy at Toronto)

Atleti’s Torres ready for “game of his life” in UEFA Champions League final

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 21: Atletico de Madrid players Saul Niguez (L) and Fernando Torres (R) stretch during the training session during the Club Atletico de Madrid Open Media Day ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final match against Real Madrid CF on May 21, 2016 in Majadahonda, Spain.
Getty Images Sport
Leave a comment

Fernando Torres has won the UEFA Champions League before, but a victory on Saturday would ring as true as ever.

Calling it the game of his life, the Atletico Madrid striker spoke about this year’s final against Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Three battles that could determined UCL final ]

A lot has changed since the 2012 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, when Torres subbed into Chelsea’s comeback win.

His decline at Chelsea found him on loan to Milan, where he transferred before finding another loan back home to Atleti. Now 32, Torres has his most goals since 2013 and is preparing for a Madrid Derby final.

From Sky Sports:

“Tomorrow [Saturday] is the game of my life, without doubt,” said Torres. “To me it means everything. Everything you dream when you’re a kid, I have the chance tomorrow to make this dream come true.

“I’ve played for great teams, and won many things, but this one is special, it is different, it’s what I wanted when I was a kid.”

Later lauding Atleti for giving him the chance “to come back and fight for what I wanted”, Torres is clearly hungry for a bit of redemption. And if his side comes out on top, he’ll likely be a big part of it.

Costa injury sends Kaka into Brazil’s Copa America squad

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 06:  Kaka (R) is seen on the field prior to a MLS soccer match between Real Salt Lake and the Orlando City SC at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on March 6, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Kaka will not start the season opener due to injury. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Orlando City is losing its wizard for a bit.

Kaka, 34, has been called into Dunga’s Brazil squad for this summer’s Copa America Centenario.

The move was made after Bayern Munich star Douglas Costa picked up an injury that will cause him to miss the tournament.

[ COPA AMERICA PREVIEWS: Group A | B | C | D ]

The 2007 Ballon D’Or winner didn’t play in that year’s Copa America, which Brazil won.

Kaka has two goals and five assists in 7 MLS matches this season, a year after netting nine times with six assists in 28 matches.

Evans to face new rape trial in October

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MARCH 28:  Sheffield United player Ched Evans in action during the npower League One game between Sheffield United and Chesterfield at Bramall Lane on March 28, 2012 in Sheffield, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) A former Premier League player whose rape conviction was overturned will face a new trial in October.

Ched Evans, a Wales international who has played for Manchester City and Sheffield United, appeared in court in Cardiff on Friday and pleaded not guilty to raping a woman at a hotel in May 2011.

[ MORE: Mourinho confirmed | Speaks more ]

Evans had already served half of a five-year sentence before being released from prison and getting the conviction overturned in April following an appeal.

Evans only spoke briefly to confirm his identity before entering his plea.

The new trial will start on Oct. 4 in Cardiff.

Mourinho: “I prefer to forget the last three years” of Manchester United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho is asked for his autograph by fans prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on October 26, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has immediately begun courting the fans of his new club.

The 53-year-old Portuguese manager may’ve run rivals Chelsea on two occasions, but claims he’s always had empathy with United even when defeating the Old Trafford club.

[ MORE: United hires Mourinho | Things he must do ]

In an interview with Manchester United TV, Mourinho issues some high praise of the club while also managing a bit of classic “The Special One” ego in saying, “Giant clubs must be for the best managers.”

As for the disappointing trio of years between David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal, Mourinho says he’d rather consider his tenure in line with the run of Alex Ferguson.

From the BBC:

“I think we can look at our club in two perspectives – one is the past three years and another is the history. I prefer to forget the last three years. I prefer to focus on the giant club I have in my hands now. “

Mourinho has had some time to calculate the best way to endear himself to United supporters, and playing to their belief as the most historic club in the world sure pushes the right buttons.

Now comes the task of delivering titles in a climate more competitive than any other time in modern history.