Report: Frank Lampard signs one-year extension at Chelsea

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According to reports out of England, Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who had been touted as a potential Designated Player signing by the LA Galaxy, will sign a one-year extension that will prolong his tenure at Stamford Bridge. The 34-year-old England international, who adorned the Blues’ armband as his side took the field in Amsterdam today for the Europa League final, recently became the club’s all-time leading scorer, a stature he’ll now carry into a 13th season at the club.

As much as this will be perceived as a blow to the Galaxy, it was the most-logical outcome for a player who has scored 17 goals in 48 all-competition appearances this season. Chelsea, who apparently wanted to firm-up their managerial picture before committing to the icon, were not going to be his only option. If he wanted to stay in England, there was always the likelihood Lampard would find another top team, with fits and Manchester City and (especially) United always making sense.

Ultimately, the most likely scenario played out. Lampard, giving his team little reason to move on, will stay in West London. His wages will be reduced, as will his playing time, but those never appeared to be major obstacles. As his role in the team has changed, Lampard seems to have become accustomed to his new place at Stamford Bridge. He’s doesn’t have a marquee role or the wages that come with it. He knows his best days are behind him.

That status lent many to believe he was on his way to Major League Soccer, but there perhaps should have been a bit more circumspection, even if some stars were beginning to line up. LA may have wanted Lampard, and the Chelsea star may have considered it a possibility, but he always had options. If the door was open at Old Trafford, he wasn’t going to LA. If Eastlands had a place for him, the Galaxy would have to wait. And if Chelsea changed course, Lampard was staying home. A number of things would have had to fall into place before Lampard landed at Home Depot Center. Not surprisingly, it looks like it hasn’t worked out.

That doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future. The reason this new deal was possible is because Lampard is still capable of contributing at the highest level. When that fades, he’ll be able to come and contribute in MLS, just as Robbie Keane has been a star after his EPL options faded.

It may not happen soon, but Lampard could still end up in MLS. Next year, however, he’ll be in West London.

Independiente and Flamengo meet for South American trophy

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SAO PAULO (AP) Independiente, relegated for the first time in its history in 2013, can complete a remarkable turnaround by winning the Copa Sudamericana at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday.

[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]

The Argentine team will go into the second leg of the final holding a 2-1 lead over Brazilian club Flamengo from the first leg.

Independiente, which has won multiple titles in South American tournaments, will be counting on 18-year-old midfielder Ezequiel Barco, one of the best players in this year’s competition.

Flamengo is also seeking to restore some pride in Rio de Janeiro. The big-spending Brazilian club, playing in its first Copa Sudamericana final, finished its domestic championship in a disappointing sixth place.

The Rio team will be without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, who is serving a one-year doping ban.

Instead, veteran midfielder Diego will be the key player as Flamengo looks to claim its first regional title since winning the now-defunct Copa Mercosur in 1999.

After Independiente won the first leg, the club posted on its social media channels a picture of its players celebrating at the Maracana in 1995 when the two teams played for the Supercopa.

If the Argentines lose 1-0 on Wednesday, there will be a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Last year, Brazilian club Chapecoense was awarded the title before the final after 19 players, plus club directors and several members of staff, died in an air crash.

The Copa Sudamericana is the continent’s second most prestigious tournament after the Copa Libertadores.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins in Stoger’s managerial debut

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For the first time since late September, Borussia Dortmund has won a league match, while Leipzig’s slip up opens the door for Bayern Munich to extend its lead in Germany’s top flight.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, level on points with Man United ]

Here’s a brief look at all of Tuesday’s Bundesliga action.

Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

10 points separates Dortmund from league leaders Bayern Munich, who also have a match in hand, but for the moment, the bleeding his stopped. BVB picked up a crucial win on Tuesday to end its domestic woes upon manager Peter Stoger’s debut. The side’s drought stretched over an eight-match winless period. Second-half goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa moved Dortmund into the top four, while Mainz remains 15th in the league table.

 

Wolfsburg 1-1 Red Bull Leipzig

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s form continues to slide downward after the second-place side dropped points in its fourth straight match across all competitions. The road side’s fortunes were dampened early on when Paul Verhaegh converted from the penalty spot, however, Marcel Halstenberg did manage to pull a goal back for Leipzig in the 52nd minute. Leipzig’s misfortunes carried on in stoppage time though when Dayot Upamecano was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the day.


The rest of Tuesday’s scores

Hamburg 1-2 Frankfurt
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Inter beats 3rd-division Pordenone 5-4 on penalties in Cup

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan scraped into the Italian Cup quarterfinals after the Serie A leader was taken to penalties by third-division Pordenone on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, moves level on points with Man United ]

Pordenone goalkeeper Simone Perilli pulled off several saves in regulation time to keep the game scoreless, and he almost proved to be the hero during the shootout, stopping two penalties.

But Inter prevailed 5-4, with Yuto Nagatomo tucking away the final spot kick.

Both sides hit the woodwork during the 120 minutes.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti rang the changes, and only Milan Skriniar and Matias Vecino remained in the starting 11 from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Juventus.

[ MORE: Burnley moves into top four after win over Stoke ]

However, he was forced by desperation to bring on Marcelo Brozovic at halftime as well as star forwards Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi.

Report: Cosmos coach Savarese to be named new Timbers manager

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In a time where NASL’s status moving forward is hanging in the balance, one of the league’s top managers is set to make the jump to Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan ]

According to ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese is set to be named the next Portland Timbers manager.

Savarese will take over for the recently departed Caleb Porter, who stepped down from his head coaching role with the Timbers in November.

The former professional player spent five seasons in MLS during his career, including stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), as well as the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 46-year-old has managed the Cosmos from 2013 to present, and guided the NASL side to three Soccer Bowl titles in that span.