Tuesday’s quotables: Players, coaches react to Madrid-Dortmund

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Top bites:

#1 –  -– Hans-Joachim Watzke, CEO, Borussia Dortmund, via @riedel_david

#2 – “(BVB coach) Klopp had booked a vacation, he’ll have to cancel it now because we’re in the Champions League final.” – Neven Subotic, central defender, Borussia Dortmund, via @rupert_fryer

#3 – “Mourinho? I don’t care about him. I care about Real Madrid and me.” — Cristiano Ronaldo, attacker, Real Madrid, via @JLSanchez78

The rest …

“(It’s) something we dreamed as a child [reaching the Champions League Final], some of us are still children.”— Jurgen Klopp, head coach, Borussia Dortmund, via @dominicvieira

“Real Madrid are crying, that’s how much it means.'” — Subotic, via @rupert_fryer

“Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, we’re going to Wembley” — Borussia Dortmund’s supporters section, after the final whistle, via @henrywinter

“I’m going to drink a beer at the the hotel, but Nuri knows the city so I think the lads might be going out for a night on the town!” — Klopp, via @JMThorogood

“We got the result we wanted in the end. We knew if they scored the crowd would get behind them. I felt we were in control, but it almost went the same way as our game against Málaga in the last round. Getting to a Champions League final is a dream come true for all of us, especially at a famous stadium like Wembley.” — Mats Hummels, central defender, Borussia Dortmund, via UEFA.com

“They put a lot of pressure on us and scored two late goals, but we are a great club and deserved to go through. I haven’t spent a thought about Wembley. Let’s celebrate now and think about the final tomorrow.” — Kevin Grosskreutz, winger, Borussia Dortmind, via UEFA.com

“It’s a shame. You can lose, this is football. If we lose it must be this way. We should have played like this in Dortmund. We have a lot of pain for the fans. It’s a shame to have been so close. The missed chances in the first half cost us.” — Sergio Ramos, central defender/captain, Real Madrid, to UEFA.com

“The first leg was key, but today we demonstrated we are a team that could have been in the final. We missed chances, we scored too late. I want to congratulate the fans for their support. We’re sad because we knew there was a final game. We have proven to be better than them, but the score in the first leg was key.”— Ronaldo

Arrigo Sacchi, to Jurgen Klopp: “Your Borussia Dortmund, simply a masterpiece.” Klopp: “I learnt it all from your Milan.”

“It was not a fright. It was just what we expected. We knew we had to react well, which is what we managed to do.” — Klopp, during his post-match press conference, via @dermotcorrigan

“At those (late) moments I thought if God wills we go to the final. If he does not want it, we will not.” — Klopp

“I thought Ramos could do with Lewandowski whatever he wanted. To stay cool in situations like this is absolutely great.” –Klopp

“He should have seen the seven yellows for Ramos marking on Lewandowski!” — Klopp, upon being informed of José Mourinho’s complaints of referee Howard Webb.

“Mats felt responsible in Dortmund. Now, surely, he is very happy that we have gone through, and I have a lot of respect for him.” — Klopp

“I have watched Wimbledon often. But going to Wembley will be one of the greatest moments of our lives.” — Klopp, on England

“In Wembley we will not be satisfied to be a finalist. We want to be the winner of this cup. We will see what will happen.” — Klopp

“We didn’t need luck because we played really well. To reach final you must suffer. But we deserved to go through.” — Klopp

“Bayern or Barça as opponent in the final? Don’t have any preference, they’re two of the best teams in the world. — Hummels

Championship Focus: Bluebirds flying, Villa second-last

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The wild 46-game slate that is the Football League Championship is already howling, with all 24 teams three matches deep into their campaigns toward Premier League promotion (or avoiding relegation to League One).

The three clubs relegated from the Premier League last season all sit within the Top 8 after three match days. Sunderland is unbeaten with a win and two draws, while Hull City is 1-1-1.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

Middlesbrough has two wins from three matches, three points behind three sides who’ve started a perfect 3-0.

Wolves and Ipswich Town are two of the three, and Cardiff City leads the way. Owner Vincent Tan has seen his club score six goals without conceding once in defeats of Burton Albion, Aston Villa, and Sheffield United.

Burton is 0-3, while Steve Bruce‘s Villa is just one point better and sits 23rd.

As for individual superlatives, Bristol City’s Bobby Reid has four goals to lead the league while familiar names Lewis Grabban (Sunderland) and Abel Hernandez (Hull City) are among a quartet of players to score thrice.

Meanwhile, PL transfer target Jota of Brentford continues to impress with three assists through three matches. Will he remain in the second tier by the close of the transfer window?

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 3-0 Chicago Fire

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The game in 100 words (or less)Ignacio Piatti is very good at soccer, and Chicago backstop Matt Lampson is going to see him deep into his dreams. Piatti beat Lampson up close on a turnover and then, with Montreal ahead 2-0 off a PK, the Argentine curled a surprise shot from distance around the keeper. Game, set, match, and it wasn’t even halftime. The loss keeps Chicago from using its match-in-hand to catch second place New York City FC, while the three points move Montreal to within two points of the East’s final playoff position.

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Piatti starts the party — Gifted a chance with the keeper by a sloppy missed clearing attempt, the Argentine deftly pops the ball over Fire keeper Matt Lampson.

36′ — Lampson hurts his cause — Chicago’s backstop wasn’t at fault on the opening goal, but he was for the second. After chopping down Matteo Mancosu in the box, Lampson guessed wrong on the striker’s penalty kick and the Fire went down 2-0.

38′ — It’s not your night, Lamps — Pretty sure you can anyone named Lampson, Lamps. Anyway, this time it was one of MLS’ top newcomers who set up Piatti for a goal. “Nacho” has his 12th of the season thanks to Blerim Dzemaili, and my goodness did Piatti do well here.

Man of the Match: Piatti.

Forbes ranks the top supporters in Major League Soccer

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Forbes claims the shared honor will give two Cascadia Cup rivals one less thing to argue about, but we completely disagree.

The celebrated magazine says their metrics show the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders tied for the honor of who has the best fans in Major League Soccer.

The post says the determination was made through four factors: attendance, local TV ratings, merchandise sales, and social media followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Attendance was weighted heaviest, which certainly gives Atlanta United hope to go charging up the rankings in the future. For now, the “Five Stripes” are not included in the list.

The Galaxy finish third in the rankings, while the sixth-place New York Red Bulls edge New York City FC by one spot.

For the report and full explanation, head here.

Europa League preview: Everton, Milan, Marseille take next steps

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The UEFA Europa League playoff round takes full flight Thursday, a day after Utrecht struck a blow for the Eredivisie with a 1-0 win over Zenit Saint-Petersburg in a Wednesday first leg.

Premier League participants Everton will be seeking a result at home against Hajduk Split, the third-place team from Croatia’s top flight.

Gylfi Sigurdsson passed his medical at Goodison Park but will not be available for Everton on Thursday.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

As for the match, manager Ronald Koeman knows the Thursday matchdays for the UEL will try his club’s endurance and depth. From EvertonFC.com:

“We know English teams have some problems. I think it is more mental than physical because if you play in the Champions League – so Wednesday and Saturday – you have the same amount of days to recover. I try to put out the strongest team to start the game. That will take into account the tactical aspects of each game. That will mean different players start and different options in terms of substitutions.”

Captained by Zoran Nizic and managed by Joan Carrillo, Hajduk has a young star in the making in the form of 19-year-old attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic, but Everton is heavily favored at home with Hajduk given 12:1 odds by bookmakers.

[ MORE: Barca GM says Coutinho, Dembele “close” ]

Those numbers are a relative sure thing compared to AC Milan’s visitors. Macedonia club Shkendija are a 33:1 underdog for its trip to Italy.

Elsewhere, Slovenian side Domzale is a longshot at home to visiting Marseille.

Speaking of bookmakers, Arsenal won’t enter the competition until the group stage but is considered the favorite to win the UEL by a hair over Milan. Everton, Villarreal, and Athletic Bilbao are level with third-best odds.

UEFA Europa League playoff first legs
Utrecht 1-0 Zenit — Weds.
BATE Borisov vs. Oleksandriya — 1 p.m. ET Thursday
Apollon Limassol vs. Midtjylland — 1 p.m.
Krasnodar vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m.
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Skenderbeu — 1 p.m.
FH vs. Braga — 1:45 p.m. ET Thursday
PAOK vs. Ostersund — 2 p.m. ET Thursday
Vardar vs. Fenerbahce — 2 p.m.
Plzen vs. AEK Lamaca — 2:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Altach vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Suduva — 2:30 p.m.
Panathinaikos vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:30 p.m.
Domzale vs. Marseille — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Osijek vs. Austria Wien — 2:45 p.m.
Viitorul vs. Red Bull Salzburg — 2:45 p.m.
Ajax vs. Rosenborg — 2:45 p.m.
Legia Warsaw vs. Sheriff — 2:45 p.m.
AC Milan vs. Shkendija — 2:45 p.m.
Club Brugge vs. AEK — 2:45 p.m.
Partizan vs. Videoton — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Everton vs. Hajduk Split — 3:05 p.m. ET Thursday
Maritimo vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday