Colorado Rapids v Philadelphia Union

ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

Leave a comment

Here are Nos. 11-19 of ProSoccerTalk’s weekly countdown following nine rounds of regular season play.

(Nos. 1-10 are on deck …so check back)

19. D.C. United – Finally, a little spoonful of good news: Chris Pontius’ injury does not seem as bad as first feared. And, uh … no, that’s about it on the “good news” front. A 3-0 setback in Columbus is the latest brick in the wall of pressure mounting on the decides around RFK Stadium.

18. Chicago Fire – One step forward (last week’s win at home) and one step, well, not exactly backward. A loss in Montreal isn’t the worst thing, but it’s not what the Fire need to get out of this early season hole.

17. Seattle Sounders – That odd-duck MLS scheduling got the Sounders last week. Just when Sigi Schmid’s team was building a little momentum, Seattle had the weekend  off. They face the Union at PPL Park outside Philadelphia in Round 10.

16. Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen’s team was missing some zip in a 2-1 loss to New York at BMO Field. It’s not easy on the Reds (or the other teams from North of the border) with these important Canadian Championship matches sandwiched in between MLS weekends.

15. New England Revolution – Perhaps no MLS team needed a Week 9 result like the Revs. With Juan Toja back on the bench, Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen played closer to the middle in a 4-1-4-1, and it worked swimmingly in a 2-0 win over Philadelphia.

14. Colorado Rapids – The Rapids nearly did something special in Houston, leading the Dynamo for a spell before splitting the points on Giles Barnes’ second-half equalizer. Veteran center back Drew Moor (pictured above) is back in the starting lineup for Oscar Pareja.

13. Philadelphia Union – Might there finally be movement on Bakary Soumare’s trade request, which goes back to March? He does seem like surplus goods around Chester, PA.

12. Chivas USA – A 2-2 draw at home against San Jose left the Goats winless in April. A trip this week into Sporting Park to face an angry Kansas City bunch is hardly a recipe for a fast start to May.

11. Columbus – A home match against reeling D.C. United worked out about as you would expect, a fairly comfortable 3-0 result against the Black and Red. But who expects the scoreboard to catch on fire?

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

meninblazers
Leave a comment

In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]

European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Emre Can back in the Liverpool side ahead of Europa clash vs. Villarreal

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 14:  Emre Can of Liverpool battles for the ball with Idrissa Gana of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park on February 14, 2016 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Emre Can has recovered from an ankle injury and will be in Liverpool’s squad for their Europa League semifinal against Villarreal on Thursday night.

The German international has not played since April 14 when he was forced off in the Reds’ wild 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool prepping for Villarreal ]

Giving his team update on Wednesday, manager Jurgen Klopp said Can is back in the team, although captain Jordan Henderson is still out. The Reds enter the second leg trailing 1-0 on aggregate.

Another positive note out of Melwood was the return of Danny Ings to first-team training. The 23-year-old striker signed with Liverpool last summer, but managed just eight appearances before having his season end to a torn ACL in October. Ings is still far away from his full return, but it was a good sight to see him back on the pitch and making progress in his recovery.

Disappointed Pellegrini rues lack of offense in Man City’s loss to Real

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City reacts during the UEFA Champions League semi final, second leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester City FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 4, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images )
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester City put in an uninspired performance against Real Madrid on Wednesday, losing the match 1-0 and falling out of the UEFA Champions League.

[ RECAP: Real Madrid 1-0 Man City ]

The match was decided by just one goal, but the scoreline was flattering to City as they failed to create any kind of real chances at the Bernabeu. Over the two legs, City managed just two shots on target.

While City were wildly disappointing in the second leg, manager Manuel Pellegrini did not think the match was that one-sided, saying both teams struggled on the attack.

I am disappointed because I think that was a very close game with two teams who did not create many chances. The two teams were working with no-one making a difference.

It is not the best thing changing a defender very early but I don’t think we had any problems in defence, we had problems creating, same as Real Madrid. They did not create many chances.

Real Madrid was not in top form, but they still could have scored three or four goals on Wednesday. Joe Hart had to come up with some big saves to keep things close, as the England goalkeeper was by far City’s most valuable player throughout the tie.

[ MORE: Liverpool preparing for Europa League match vs. Villarreal ]

The absence of David Silva through injury certainly hurt City’s attack, but there was very little service moving forward from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure. The poor play in the midfield left Sergio Aguero stranded alone up top, nearly invisible in the second leg.

Without service, Aguero was forced to track back to try and find the ball himself, leaving City no options to hit on the counter. For a tie between two of the most expensive teams in the world, neither side was truly impressive, but City surely disappointing.