Kelyn Rowe

Rounding up Major League Soccer in U.S. Open Cup

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This is looking like it’s just not the San Jose Earthquakes’ year. Just a few months after capturing Major League Soccer’s Supporters Shield for best regular season record, the ‘Quakes are two spots out of playoff spot. And …

Tuesday they became a “quick out” in the Lamar Hunt U.S. OpenCup.

The Charleston Battery on the USL Pro League (U.S. soccer’s third tier) eliminated San Jose in a third round Open Cup contest Tuesday at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C., 1-0.  The Battery’s Colin Falvey supplied the game-winner in the 73rd minute, not long after Earthquakes defender Brad Ring was sent for a second yellow card.

Major League Soccer’s other upset came in Orlando, where Orlando City SC prevailed in its third round match over Colorado. Dom Dwyer, who spent last year with Sporting Kansas City, scored twice in the 3-1 win at Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

Rapids manager Oscar Pareja played a strong lineup, using most of the same regulars who have seen his team go unbeaten over their last five MLS matches. The Rapids were down a goal (2-1) when goalkeeper Stew Ceus was shown a red card in the 56th minute.

D.C. United, Philadelphia, FC Dallas, New England, Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA all survived to move into the fourth round.

United, desperate for something good to happen with things going so poorly in league play, needed penalty kicks to squeeze past Richmond after 120 minutes of scoreless soccer.

Goalkeeper Joe Willis saved two of the Kickers efforts from the 12-yard spot, moving United into a fourth-round contest against Philadelphia. Jack McInerney opened the scoring for Philly, which rolled out its top lineup for a 2-1 win over USL-PDL side Ocean City.

League-leading Dallas got past the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 2-0, on goals by Blas Perez and Matt Hedges.

Kelyn Rowe (pictured) had two goals and an assist as New England comfortably advanced, 5-1, over the Rochester Rhinos.

A largely second-choice lineup was enough for Sporting Kansas City to get past the Des Moines Menace of soccer’s fourth tier. Even though Peter Vermes used mostly reservists, Claudio Bieler and Kei Kamara were around to supply the goals in the 2-0 win at Sporting Park.

Real Salt Lake needed extra time to survive a challenge from Atlanta, the current leaders in soccer’s second division, the North American Soccer League. Manager Jason Kreis chose a mostly first-team lineup for the 3-2 win in Utah.

Finally, Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy went forward to convert a second-half penalty kick in a 2-1 win over the third-tier LA Blues.

Six MLS teams are in Open Cup action Wednesday night; the full schedule and complete results are here.

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

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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:

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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)
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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.

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)
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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 )
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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.