Jose Adolfo Valencia, Adam Moffat

Sigi Schmid fumes at Portland’s tough-tackling as Seattle’s Clint Dempsey dislocates shoulder


On Sunday night at JELD-WEN Field, robust tackles and last-ditch defending was the name of the game, as Portland ground out a crucial 1-0 win over Cascadia rivals Seattle in a rambunctious affair in PDX.

And that’s putting it mildly.

From the first whistle Seattle and Portland went at it, big time, and that commitment boiled over into several over zealous challenges, one of which saw Timbers midfielder Diego Chara take out Clint Dempsey in the 19th minute. The USMNT captain hit the ground hard, with his left shoulder taking the bulk of the impact. Initially Dempsey dislocated the joint, but after getting it strapped up and playing on for 77 bruising minutes, the official diagnosis is a sprain on his AC joint.

(MORE: Alhassan goal, ‘let them play’ officiating defines ugly Portland-Seattle derby- Video)

Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid was not a happy man speaking to reporters after the game.

source: AP
Chara’s late challenge dislocates Dempsey’s shoulder, as a typically rambunctious Cascadia Cup clash played out

“He tried to play on, play through it and Chará commits four fouls in the first half and never gets carded,” Schmid said. “I think that’s a key turning point in the game. You look at the times Dempsey got fouled, that crap has got to stop. The referee has to protect him and they don’t. It doesn’t matter if a foul is early in the game or late in the game.”

He has a point.

Referee Hilario Grajeda let the game flow, but the fact that he didn’t call out plenty of hefty challenges lead to discrepancies escalating throughout the clash, which eventually led to Osvaldo Alonso sent off for a straight red card for elbowing Will Johnson in the face. That was a deserved red card, as the famous red mist descended on Alonso in the heat of the battle. And what a battle it was. Alonso will now face a lengthy suspension, while despite all his passion, Adam Moffat failed to get things going in Seattle’s engine room. The Timbers definitely won the battle in midfield.

Despite the Timbers prevailing, a draw was probably a fair result after the Sounders twice hit the crossbar through Dempsey and Steve Zakuani. Yet with Dempsey nursing yet another injury and possibly adding his name to Seattle’s long-list of absentees, the Sounders are limping towards the playoffs with a banged up squad and Sigi Schmid all fired up.

Expect more fiery affairs like Sunday nights clash in the postseason, Portland proved they have grinders like Johnson and Chara to win the battle and rattle the opponents. Can Seattle dig deep to grind out wins? Or will we hear more complaints from Schmid in yet another postseason collapse?

Chelsea: Conte expects warm reception for Mourinho; Terry is fit

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  A fan wears a Chelsea scarf with the image of the club's former manager, Jose Mourinho before the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge on December 26, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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The managers are meeting the media ahead of this week’s Premier League matches, and many eyes are trained on one specific match-up.

Chelsea and Manchester United meet on Sunday, the first time Jose Mourinho will manage against his old side since his unceremonious exit last winger.

[ USWNT: Holiday has tumor removed ]

Mourinho, of course, led Chelsea to the 2014-15 title only to see a miserable start to the following campaign. He was hired at Manchester United this summer, but Conte thinks Mourinho’s Chelsea laurels have earned him some love from Stamford Bridge.

“I have great respect for Mourinho. He deserves a good reception. He was an important man for Chelsea and wrote part of the club’s story.”

Conte also touched on Paul Pogba‘s decision to head back to Old Trafford. The manager guided the French midfielder during their time at Juventus.

“It was Paul Pogba’s dream was to return to Manchester United. I wish him well, but only after this game.”

Conte said John Terry is available to return for Chelsea, and that could be invaluable against a big, strong forward like United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With the Red Devils having played Thursday, Conte will like his chances a bit more than usual.

Canada vs. U.S. among top-notch CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JUNE 20:  Gershon Koffie #28 of the Vancouver Whitecaps brings the ball up field against Dax McCarty #11 of the New York Red Bulls at B.C. Place on June 20, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jessica Haydahl/Getty Images)
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The bracket is set for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and ensures that at least one MLS vs. Liga MX semifinal will happen next Spring.

No. 1 seed New York Red Bulls will cross the continent to meet No. 8 Vancouver Whitecaps, with the winner moving on to face the victor of Mexico’s Tigres UANL vs. Pumas UNAM.

[ VIDEO: Previewing all 10 PL matches ]

The possibility of an all-Liga MX or all-MLS final still exists, with Pachuca and FC Dallas on opposite sides of the bracket. Arabe Unido gives Panama hope for its first CCL semifinalist, while Saprissa can be Costa Rica’s first semifinalist since 2011.

Of the remaining teams, only Pachuca has won a title in the CCL era (2008-present). Tigres lost in the 2016 final, the only other team to make it that far.

Full schedule
New York Red Bulls (1) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (8)
Tigres UANL (4) vs. Pumas UNAM (5)
Arabe Unido (2) vs. FC Dallas (7)
Pachuca (3) vs. Saprissa (4)

The first legs will be played in late February, and the bright side to the intra-league quarters will be one MLS side waiting a round before facing a more in-form club playing a traditional season schedule (though that’s an overblown excuse at this point).

Some fans don’t care much for the tournament, while others — myself included — are extremely keen to see an MLS team win the CCL and represent North America in the Club World Cup, where it can get a high profile litmus test in a serious competition (Real Madrid beat Cruz Azul 4-0 in a 2014 semifinal).

Report: USWNT star Holiday has brain tumor removed

Costa Rica v United Staes: Final - 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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World Cup champion Lauren Holiday has had a brain tumor removed, one month after giving birth.

Holiday’s husband, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, announced that his pregnant wife was diagnosed with an operable tumor in September, and Lauren Holiday has publicly thanked fans for support while requesting prayers.

[ MORE: UCL Final in United States? ]

The Holidays welcomed their first child earlier this month, and Jrue left the Pelicans preseason to help his wife.

The BBC added this tidbit:

Unbelievably as a three-year-old, she had open-heart surgery to repair a defect and went on to become one of the world’s most respected football players.

Get well soon, Lauren.

WATCH: FC Dallas rocket goal sends Guatemalan rainwater flying off net

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Carlos Lizarazo #22 of FC Dallas looks on during the second half of an MLS soccer game against Toronto FC at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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Carlos Lizarazo’s ridiculous rocket shook rain off the net in an aesthetically pleasing CONCACAF Champions League goal on Thursday.

The Cruz Azul loanee struck a vicious shot for FC Dallas’ fifth goal, which boosted out of the No. 8 seed for the quarterfinals after a 5-2 win at Suchitepéquez in Guatemala.

[ MORE: PST talks with FCD’s Hedges, Zimmerman ]

Lizarazo, 25, had two goals in 10 appearances for FCD heading into the game, with both coming in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.