Sides from Major League Soccer and Liga MX are about to lock horns once more.
With just over a month until the CONCACAF Champions League group stages begin — yes, you heard that right — the schedule for the five MLS sides in CCL action this year have been announced.
And plenty of focus will be on the all-MLS ties between the San Jose Earthquakes and Montreal Impact.
That tie is in fact the opener on August 7, as the Impact host San Jose at Stade Saputo. With the Earthquakes staying put in Canada for an extended period, as they play against Vancouver in MLS action three days later.
Like I said, get excited.
In seasons gone by, MLS fans have often sneered upon CCL matches. For a variety of reasons the continental cup competition hasn’t quite captured the imagination of US and Canadian fans. For the most part. We all remember Real Salt Lake’s fairytale run to the final back in 2010.
But with so many MLS teams involved this year, hopefully that tide of optimism will return. Major League Soccer should definitely focus on success in CCL before thinking about entering competitions such as the Copa Libertadores.
Some people think MLS should jump straight into South America’s premiere club competition. But until MLS conquers the CONCACAF Champions League, those plans should be placed well and truly on the back burner.
So here they are, check out the schedule and plan your CCL trips accordingly.
Sporting Kansas City
8/7 at Real Estelí FC; 10 pm ET, Estadio Independcia, Estelí, Nicaragua
8/27 at CD Olimpia; 10 pm ET, Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
9/17 vs. Real Estelí FC; 8 pm ET, Sporting Park
10/23 vs. CD Olimpia; 8 pm ET, Sporting Park
8/20 at W Connection; 8 pm ET, in Trinidad and Tobago
8/27 vs. Árabe Unido; 8 pm ET, BBVA Compass Stadium
9/25 vs. W Connection; 8 pm ET, BBVA Compass Stadium
10/24 at Árabe Unido; 8 pm ET, in Panama
8/7 vs. San Jose Earthquakes; 8 pm ET, Stade Saputo
8/21 at CD Heredia; 10 pm ET, in Guatemala
9/17 at San Jose Earthquakes; 10 pm ET, Buck Shaw Stadium
9/25 vs. CD Heredia; 8 pm ET, Stade Saputo
San Jose Earthquakes
8/7 at Montreal Impact; 8 pm ET, Stade Saputo
8/28 at CD Heredia; 10 pm ET, in Guatemala
9/17 vs. Montreal Impact; 10 pm ET, Buck Shaw Stadium
10/23 vs. CD Heredia; 10 pm ET, Buck Shaw Stadium
8/20 vs. Cartaginés; 10 pm ET, StubHub Center
9/18 vs. Isidro Metapán; 10 pm ET, StubHub Center
9/25 at Cartaginés; 10 pm ET, in Costa Rica
10/24 at Isidro Metapán; 10 pm ET, in El Salvador
Iranian woman “sneaks” into Persian League match dressed as a man
Mata, 28, has been a consistent performer for United, but will his reunion with Mourinho be short-lived? It’s easy to imagine both as ready to move on and Barcelona could be an option if that happens.
Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona could make a bid of close to $40 million in order to help the midfield continue to tick. Mata was a key part of United’s possession-based approach under Louis Van Gaal, and as a player really does fit the bill of a Mourinho-minded mid.
We’re just hoping that if Mata moves, he doesn’t switch anywhere that would change his English language blog posts.
PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier has been arrested following an argument with police after a night out in a Paris, a police official told The Associated Press on Monday.
The official said Aurier was arrested at 5:50 a.m. local time after he spent the night at a club with friends near the Champs-Elysees. The official said Aurier was put in a holding cell for “using violence on a police officer.”
The police official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly of the case.
The Copa America Centenario opens in California on Friday, as the stars of North, Central and South America take center stage in the United States.
Well, most of them.
Neymar is out of the tournament thanks to an agreement between Barcelona and Brazil that will allow the superstar to play in August’s Olympics in Rio. And Barca teammate Luis Suarez is expected to miss the group stage for Uruguay while recovering from a hamstring injury.
As usual the focus will be on Lionel Messi and Argentina, whose powerful roster has finished runners-up at the 2014 World Cup and three of the last four Copa America tournaments. Opening with Chile before matches against Bolivia and Panama, Argentina will be expected to make a deep run. Critics know Messi is one of the best players in recent memory, but his failure to land a title outside of the Olympics with a squad that often includes Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano and Gonzalo Higuain has haunted him, in a sense, at the international level.
Chile won’t be feeling much pressure after winning the 2015 Copa, albeit in controversial fashion that included whispers of home-cooking and a dirty incident from Gonzalo Jara that pained Uruguay physically and competitively. Still, Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) and Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich) will put on a show on American soil in an attempt to repeat. And keep an eye out for Eduardo Vargas, whose production with Chile far exceeds what he’s done at clubs Hoffenheim, QPR, Valencia and Napoli.
Uruguay may be without Suarez for a while — nothing new given his suspension for biting at the World Cup — but Edinson Cavani will look to make amends for his wrongly-given red card in last year’s tournament. Abel Hernandez was dynamite in lifting Hull City back into the Premier League this season, while Uruguay boasts one of the world’s most complete backs in Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin.
Andres Guardado of Mexico is criminally underrated and one of the best playmakers on the planet. The PSV man is joined on a solid El Tri roster that includes Bayer Leverkusen star striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
The USMNT will have to contend with Colombia’s star men, highlighted by James Rodriguez, the Real Madrid forward and star of the 2014 World Cup. Carlos Bacca can also dominate stretches of action for Los Cafeteros.
Neymar is out for Brazil, but holy smoke that roster is terrific. Group B’s favorites will roll out Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, Chelsea’s Willian, Zenit’s Hulk and Real Madrid’s Casemiro.
Other Premier League players on Copa America rosters
Major League Soccer players on Copa America rosters
Kaka (Brazil / Orlando City)
Kendall Waston (Costa Rica / Vancouver Whitecaps)
Ronald Matarrita (Costa Rica / NYCFC)
Johan Venegas (Costa Rica / Montreal Impact)
Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica / DC United)
Christian Bolanos (Costa Rica / Vancouver Whitecaps) Tim Howard (USMNT / Colorado Rapids)
Matt Besler (USMNT / Sporting KC)
Graham Zusi (USMNT / Sporting KC)
Kyle Beckerman (USMNT / Real Salt Lake)
Michael Bradley (USMNT / Toronto FC) Clint Dempsey (USMNT / Seattle Sounders)
Gyasi Zardes (USMNT / L.A. Galaxy)
Chris Wondolowski (USMNT / San Jose Earthquakes)
Jermaine Jones (USMNT / Colorado Rapids)
Darlington Nagbe (USMNT / Portland Timbers)
Steve Birnbaum (USMNT / DC United)
Nelson Valdez (Paraguay / Seattle Sounders)
Carlos Gruezo (Ecuador / FC Dallas)
Soni Mustivar (Haiti / Sporting KC)
Andre Blake (Jamaica / Philadelphia Union)
Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica / New York Red Bulls)
Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica / Portland Timbers)
Je-Vaughn Waton (Jamaica / New England Revolution)
Giles Barnes (Jamaica / Houston Dynamo)
Simon Dawkins (Jamaica / San Jose Earthquakes)
Anibal Godoy (Panama / San Jose Earthquakes)
Blas Perez (Panama / Vancouver Whitecaps)
Alberto Quintero (Panama / San Jose Earthquakes)
NASL players on Copa America rosters Yasmani Duk (Bolivia / New York Cosmos)
Pascal Millien (Haiti / Jacksonville Armada)
James Marcelin (Haiti / Carolina Railhawks)
Jean Marc Alexandre (Haiti / Fort Lauderdale Strikers)
Jerome Mechack (Haiti / Jacksonville Armada)
USL players on Copa America rosters Ryan Thompson (Jamaica / Saint Louis FC)