New England keeps playoff hopes alive with 1-0 win over Montreal (video)

Leave a comment

New England suffered a bad injury blow Saturday on what was otherwise a swell afternoon for Jay Heaps’ side, clinging desperately to hopes of bringing post-season soccer back to Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2009.

As of today, Heaps’ bunch is there – although the team’s hold on the fifth and final playoff spot is about as tenuous as it can be.

Still, the Revs do stand above the playoff red line at the moment, fifth for now thanks to a well-deserved 1-0 win at Montreal, a victory that was as gutsy as it was critical. Anything but three points at Stade Saputo would probably have erased the team’s post-season chances for good, especially considering the sudden pileup of injury and suspension.

(MORE: Revolution attacker Saer Sene breaks his ankle)

Jose Goncalves’ second goal this year was the difference, as the Revolution’s most valuable player this year (that’s unofficial – but who is kidding who here?) clinically cleaned up a bit of a mess in the Montreal penalty area. The wily center back was also in command in the back all afternoon, giving Golden Boot leader Marco Di Vaio precious few scoring chances.

Ahead of him, New England’s midfield was mostly in control against an Impact side that lacked much urgency.

Not much at all went right for Marco Schallibaum’s team, in fact; no real connections, little creativity, no looming danger on set pieces and that overall flagging commitment. New England looked like the more desperate team from the opening whistle.

While that’s understandable, somebody had better say something inside the Impact locker room to shake this funk. It’s not entirely implausible that Montreal could miss the playoffs. Next up is a difficult trip to Los Angeles (without center back Matteo Ferrari and captain Davy Arnaud, each of whom collected bookings Saturday.)

After that, the Impact plays at home against Philadelphia in a match that could be for a playoff spot, and then finishes away against Canadian rival Toronto.

Consider that Montreal was a very solid 10-5-5 after 22 rounds. There was talk of a Supporters Shield and chatter about Coach of the Year chances for Schallibaum. Well, none of that is arriving now.

Since then Montreal’s record of 3-6-2 bears all the marks of a sinking ship. Worst of all, Schallibaum’s team has lost three in a row at home, scoring just once in losses to Columbus, Vancouver and New England.

If Montreal does make the playoffs, the club is going the wrong way, getting worse at money time rather than better.

Highlights from Saturday at Stade Saputo:

.

Report: Chelsea line up Tuchel to replace Conte

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Reports in Germany claim Chelsea have met with Thomas Tuchel about replacing Antonio Conte as their manager.

[ MORE: 5 new stars in the PL ]

With relations said to be strained between Conte and Chelsea’s board following a summer of unrest regarding a lack of transfers, the Diego Costa situation and more for the reigning Premier League champions, losing to Arsenal in the Community Shield and then their Premier League opening to Burnley was far from an ideal start.

Still, Conte led Chelsea to the PL title last season, his first in England, with a record 30 wins from 38 games. How is he the bookies favorite to be the next PL manager to leave his job?

Tuchel, 43, has been out of work since leaving Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season and Sport Bild is reporting that Chelsea’s director Marina Granovskaia has approached Tuchel about replacing Conte, while it is also stated that former Barca boss Luis Enrique is a contender.

Could Tuchel succeed at Chelsea and in the Premier League? Of course he could.

At Borussia Dortmund he developed one of the finest attacking teams in Europe with talented youngsters playing in a fluid system. Tuchel didn’t leave Dortmund on good terms and although he was linked with plenty of vacant jobs across Europe, including the Arsenal job if Arsene Wenger stepped down, he remains without a club.

Tuchel is a very good coach but what Conte has done at Chelsea over the past 12 months is a borderline miracle.

The situation regarding Conte and Chelsea does appear to have been blown out of proportion, particularly with the Nemanja Matic situation as Conte was reportedly unwilling to lose his Serbian midfielder but the deal was sanctioned by those above him. Given the fact that Conte signed a new contract this summer but only for improved terms and not for an extended period of time past 2019 also raised alarm bells.

Chelsea fans have, understandably, not reacted too kindly to reports that a successor is being lined up for Conte. The Italian coach is adored by the Blues faithful after leading a rapid rebuild of their squad in his famed 3-4-3 formation last season. His passion on the sidelines is now a hallmark of Chelsea matchdays and if he does leave anytime soon due to issues behind-the-scenes, expect a mutiny from the fans.

Yes, managers have come and gone and frequently and success has remained under Roman Abramovich but hooking Conte may even be a step too far for the notoriously expectant owner.

Barcelona’s Twitter hacked to claim Di Maria signing

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Leave a comment

FC Barcelona had eyeballs popping across the Twitterverse for a solid 90 seconds there.

La Liga’s giants Tweeted out a welcome to Angel Di Maria, the current PSG and former Real Madrid star, with the hashtag #DiMariaFCB.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

It was an odd Tweet for 4 a.m. local time, as humourously pointed out by our Andy Edwards, and the hackers were quick to claim credit before any Tweets could be deleted.

So if someone tells you Angel Di Maria is the latest member of Barcelona, be sure to stop the spread of fake news.

On a day where Barca’s reportedly ready to up their bid for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, something tells us someone at the Camp Nou is turning over their keys to the club’s social media.

Rescheduled Yankees game moves NYCFC-Houston to Connecticut

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images
1 Comment

A rescheduled New York Yankees game is moving New York City FC to Connecticut.

Relax, it’s only for a day.

NYCFC will entertain the Houston Dynamo at Rentschler Field at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 instead of their regular home of Yankee Stadium.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

The club will offer tickets to another match to current ticket holders, and will also discount tickets to the game in East Hartford for fans who hold tickets to the Yankee Stadium game and want to travel for the Dynamo match (More info here, if you are in either of those camps).

This is the third of three scheduled seasons NYCFC will play at Yankee Stadium, and it doesn’t look like it’ll find a new home any time soon.

Given the everyday nature of Major League Baseball, it’s surprising there have not been more conflicts for NYCFC. We just remain hopeful for the day we can watch NYC’s star-studded roster play on a bigger home field.

“Injustice.” “Incomprehensible.” Ronaldo again protests suspension

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
3 Comments

The five-game suspension Cristiano Ronaldo received for making contact with an official is not sitting well with the forward.

Better put: it’s still not sitting well.

Six days ago, Ronaldo took to Instagram to say he was being persecuted after his red card in the Spanish Super Cup.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Tuesday afternoon, he kept up the strong words by saying the suspension is “incomprehensible” and “an injustice.”

Roughly translated, Ronaldo posted, “One more incomprehensible decision. From injustice to injustive, they will never overcome me. And as always I will come back stronger. Thank you to all who have supported me.”

We’ll say this: He’s a really good soccer player.