MLS teams to compete in 2015 Copa Libertadores?

8 Comments

Reports from Brazil this morning suggest that MLS teams could be invited to participate in the Copa Libertadores in 2015.

Lancenet are suggesting that meetings are scheduled by South America’s CONMEBOL during the upcoming Confederations Cup in June, to see if MLS teams can be admitted into the prestigious club tournament.

It has been mused in the past that MLS teams could join the tournament, but this seems like the biggest indication yet that it could get the go ahead. However reportedly the biggest stumbling block would be with finances.

That said, would MLS gain much from competing in Libertadores and leaving the CONCACAF Champions League? In terms of quality, the former is undoubtedly superior and would push MLS’ elite to new limits on the international stage. So in terms of player development, MLS would be taken much more seriously if it could compete with powerhouses from Argentina and Brazil on a regular basis. And the level in MLS could rise and some of the best talent in South America would look at a move to MLS more favorably, if teams were competing in the Libertadores.

But on the flip side, the travel times would be a hindrance. Some trips to Uruguay, southern Argentina, Chile and Peru would be arduous and would demand plenty of rescheduling in MLS fixtures. But as we saw with the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders run to the CONCACAF semifinals this season, MLS officials are willing to reschedule games to give the leagues teams a better chance of winning on the international stage. So it might work.

MLS joining the Copa Libertadores would be a huge step up from CCL, but would it be worth it financially? I suspect once those numbers are crunched, we will hear a lot more about the possibility of the Galaxy and Seattle taking on the likes of Boca Juniors and Corinthians. That sounds pretty awesome. Club Tijuana has proven Liga MX sides can cut it in Libertadores, so why can’t the best teams in MLS follow their lead?

VIDEO: Celtic’s 1st minute goal breaches PSG

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Celtic still have hope of advancing to the UEFA Europa League, but have a new feather in its cap regardless of whether they hold their table advantage on Anderlecht.

Moussa Dembele became the first UEFA Champions League player to score against Paris Saint-Germain, when he side-footed a first minute corner kick off PSG backstop Alphonse Aréola.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Neymar would score just eight minutes later to level the score at the Parc des Princes, but Celtic had its moment and PSG is no longer unbreached despite entering the match with 17 goals scored, conceding zero.

2017 CONCACAF Awards shortlist revealed

AP Photo/John Raoux
Leave a comment

The 2017 CONCACAF Awards shortlist is up, and fan voting counts.

Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, and Christian Pulisic are among the nominees for Men’s Player of the Year. Philadelphia Union’s Jamaican backstop, Andre Blake, is also on the list along with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and others.

[ MORE: Big American Soccer Survey results ]

The Female Player of the Year is predictably American-heavy, with Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Ertz, Megan Rapinoe, Sam Mewis, and Tobin Heath competing with a trio of international players.

Tim Howard is the only American up for Male Goalkeeper of the Year, though Blake is again in the running. The female side has American backstops Adrianna Franch, Alyssa Naeher, Ashlyn Harris, Jane Campbell, and Nicole Barnhart.

The full ballot, including Best XI, coaches, referees, and goals, is up for your votes here.

UCL: Chelsea advances vs. 10-man Qarabag (video)

AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin
Leave a comment
  • Chelsea into knockout rounds
  • Willian draws two penalties, scores two more
  • Hazard, Fabregas score

Willian scored two goals from the run of play and drew a pair of penalties in Azerbaijan, as Chelsea beat 10-man Qarabag 4-0 on Wednesday.

His second goal was a fantastic thump from atop the arc, and further iced the result in the 85th minute.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Qarabag hung tough for the first 20 minutes, but saw its odds of getting a point take a hit with a penalty and red card.

Rashad Sadygov made contact with Willian inside the 18, and Portuguese referee Manuel de Sousa awarded a penalty. That was understandable, but surprisingly he produced his red card to send Qarabag down a man.

Eden Hazard converted his low penalty, wrong footing keeper Ibrahim Sehic, and Chelsea took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute.

Willian would score a goal of his own in the 36th, part of a terrific team goal with Hazard and Pedro.

The Blues were largely content to let Qarabag have the ball early in the second half, but resumed control around the hour mark and Sehic made an outstanding stop on Hazard before substitute Alvaro Morata dragged a shot wide of the far post.

Willian drew a second penalty in the 71st minute, as Maksim Medvedev tugged on the Brazilian’s jersey on a dribble into the 18. Yellow card for this foul.

Cesc Fabregas scored but two Chelsea players infringed on the 18 thanks to the shooter’s stuttering — and stopping — PK. He finished the second as well as the first. 3-0.

Willian added the fourth with a vicious strike five minutes from the end of scheduled play.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia fires coach Edgardo Bauza

Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia has fired coach Edgardo Bauza nine days before the draw.

The Saudi Arabia Football Federation announced the Argentine coach’s exit after only five friendlies in charge. The team lost to Portugal and Bulgaria this month.

[ MORE: Big American Soccer Survey results ]

Bauza has been fired twice this year by teams in the World Cup lineup. He lost the Argentina job in April, after eight months in charge, when the two-time World Cup champions risked missing out on qualification.

In September, Bauza was appointed by Saudi Arabia to replace Bert van Marwijk, who was fired despite leading the team to its first World Cup since 2006.

Saudi Arabia joins Australia without a coach for the World Cup draw in Moscow on Dec. 1.