Was Saturday’s win at Sporting Kansas City the best win in Portland Timbers history?
The have certainly been more emotional achievements, like the club’s debut MLS win and some noted victories over Pacific Northwest rivals. Those were sweet, eh, ye Timbers Army?
But the first road win in Caleb Porter’s still-young tenure as Timbers manager is certainly a signature achievement for the Oregon club.
Sporting Kansas City led the Eastern Conference coming into Saturday’s contest in the Midwest, one of the highlight matches of Major League’s Soccer’s 9th Round of matches. Porter’s Timbers had come close to grabbing that first road win, but did find their way to draws in the last three tests away from Jeld-Wen Field.
Porter and the Timbers billed this one as a test of how far the team had come this year – light years, surely, ahead of last year’s disheveled state. Then again, you need results to prove it.
That’s why Saturday’s 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City must feel phenomenal. Not only was Sporting Kansas City an Eastern Conference favorite and current leader, winning inside Sporting Park has never been an easy thing. This is just the sixth time in 38 matches that Sporting KC has lost inside its gleaming, high-tech facility.
Said Timbers forward Rodney Wallace of the road accomplishment: “It finally came, and it’s really good. Everybody came out and put in a good shift. … It proves we can go into any field and play the same game as we play at home.”
With RSL’s loss Saturday (and pending the late Chivas USA result), Portland finds itself in third place in the West. Not bad for a team yet to make the MLS playoffs.
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.