Chicago Fire streaking striker Mike Magee would not let a weekend come and go without yet another strike.
He went without a goal in the Fire’s mid-week win over San Jose, although Magee did arrange Chris Rolfe’s 84th minute game-winning goal (which you can watch here if you like.) But the recently relocated LA Galaxy forward did supply his team’s only goal Sunday in a loss to Sporting Kansas City. (Watch that one down below.)
So the numbers look like this:
- He remains tied for the league lead in goals with 11. Montreal’s Marco di Vaio had a goal over the weekend to keep pace.
- Magee has five goals and two assists in six matches since joining the Fire. That’s why he was just named MLS Player of the Month for June.
- The man that has recently achieved “nickname status” around Toyota Park, now being referred to as Magic Mike, has eight goals in nine matches for Chicago including U.S. Open Cup contests. The Fire remain alive in the Open Cup, now in the 100-year-old tournament’s semifinals.
On Sunday’s ESPN broadcast, analyst Taylor Twellman introduced this element into the ongoing Magee narrative: he suggested that Magee was Major League Soccer’s unquestioned Most Valuable Player if Chicago makes the playoffs.
Chicago is currently eighth – and they are going to struggle to climb much higher if they cannot get better in the back. Bakary Soumare and Austin Berry aren’t cutting it.
Then again, Columbus doesn’t look to have the horsepower at present either, now missing Eddie Gaven and Brazilian center back Glauber for the season. Houston has forgotten how to score and even Montreal is showing too many signs lately of slippage.
So … as long as Magee stays anywhere close to this form – it’s unrealistic to expect this current rate of about a goal a game all season, but anything close is still fantastic – there’s always a chance. And if so, at least one man who knows Major League Soccer as well as anyone says the MVP race has been decided!
Here is No. 11 on his ongoing season of goal-scoring wonder:
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]
However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.
Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.
They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.
The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.
Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.
[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]
Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.
The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.
[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]
Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0
Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.
[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]
Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw
Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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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.