Johannsson of the U.S. celebrates with his team mates after scoring a goal against Panama during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Panama City

Americans Abroad review: Johannsson, Boyd and Bedoya all on the scoresheet

7 Comments

Goals, goals, goals… Americans overseas just couldn’t stop hitting the back of the onion net over the weekend, with plenty of U.S. national team stars on target for their club sides across the globe.

And the man who stole the show, once again, was Aron Johannsson as the Icelandic-American scored twice and assisted on the third as AZ Alkmaar beat Cambuur 3-1 in the Dutch Eredivisie.

The USMNT forward, who got his first international goal last week against Panama, is in fine form this season with 12 goals in all competitions. His charge towards the U.S. squad for the 2014 World Cup is well underway.

Johannsson’s U.S. strike partner late on against Panama was Terrence Boyd, who came off the bench to score a penalty for Rapid Vienna in a 2-2 draw with Sturm Graz. Whilst another man appearing as a shoe in for Klinsmann’s WC squad is Nantes midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who came off the bench late on to score his first goal in Ligue 1 to hand the Canaries a 1-0 win at Ajaccio.

Tim Howard and Everton held on for a crucial win against Hull City, with the USMNT ‘keeper having no chance on Yannick Sagbo’s equalizer for the Tigers, Everton are now joint-fifth in the PL. Jozy Altidore came on a late substitute for Sunderland in their 4-0 loss at Swansea, as the Black Cats sit rock bottom of the PL.

Brad Guzan played the full 90 minutes as Aston Villa lost 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur at home, with the Villans now sitting 13th and three points above the drop zone.

Plenty of other USMNT players weren’t in action this weekend, due to long trips on international duty, but in the Championship Tim Ream played a full 90 in Bolton’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday, Zak Whitbread played 32 minutes as Derby beat Watford late on and Duane Holmes looked exciting after coming on for Huddersfield in their 2-1 loss to Leicester City.

In Mexico, Paul Arriola, Herculez Gomez, Greg Garza and Edgar Castillo all played in Club Tijuana’s 0-0 draw with Toluca, while Michael Orozco played in Puebla 2-0 win over Atlas.

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

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

meninblazers
Leave a comment

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:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]

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)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.