There has been one American in UEFA’s Champions League final. Probably. Depending a bit on how you look at it, that is.
There has yet to be a full U.S. international in the Champions League final, but Borussia Dortmund’s Nevin Subotić now becomes the first American to play in the championship match of the globe’s grandest club tournament.
Subotic, whose family is Serbian, moved to the United States in 1999, settling into Salt Lake City.
They soon relocated to Bradenton, Fla., where Subotic’s sister attended the Bollettieri Tennis Academy. He was spotted there by U.S. Soccer staffers, eventually played for the U.S. under-17 team and the U.S. under-20s and then … well, there’s a lot of fouled water under that bridge. Let’s just say it didn’t work out, he chose to play for Serbia and not everyone on our side of the soccer world is all that happy about it.
Point is, the big and nimble center back was eligible to play for the United States national team; today, he’s in the worldwide UEFA spotlight.
So … no U.S. internationals have appeared in a UCL final. One did appear in a Champions League semifinal, however:
That was DaMarcus Beasley, who was with PSV in 2005 when the Dutch club could not quite squeeze by Italian power AC Milan in the UEFA semis.
PSV lost the first leg at the San Siro, 2–0. The Dutch club won 3-1 at the Philips Stadion but failed to advance due to the away goals rule.
He remains the highest scoring American player in UEFA Champions League history – and will probably hold that title for a while, seeing as Clint Dempsey’s Spurs missed out on their attempts to get into Europe’s top competition for the 2013-14 season.
AT THE HALF: Manchester derby scoreless after 45 minutes
After 45 minutes, the final Manchester derby of the 2016-17 Premier League season — the one that’ll go a long, long way toward deciding which of the city’s sides will finish in the top-four — is scoreless, but not without incident.
The game’s best chances thus far fell Manchester City’s way, as Sergio Aguero missed a clear-cut chance after 10 minutes — Kevin De Bruyne whipped in the perfect ball to the back post, and Aguero put it wrong side of David De Gea‘s post.
Ander Herrera has, once again, be Manchester United’s danger man, combining well with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Claudio Bravo made the one save he was forced into during the first half. One thing to keep an eye on during the final 45 minutes: Rashford picked up a knock very early on, and struggled to move around the field after that.
The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.
There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.
Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).
The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…
“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”
We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.
Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.
Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”
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