Sounders coach Sigi Schmid sounds a bit defensive

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Seattle Sounders manager let the sarcasm and snark fly Tuesday as he defended his team – and presumably himself.

Thanks to The Seattle Times writer/blogger Joshua Mayers for Tweeting out Schmid’s remarks. Mayers remarked that Schmid didn’t even allow the first question to be asked by a gathering of reporters before launching his defense:

I want to apologize that we didn’t win five in a row at the end of the season to make the playoffs. I know [you are] only considered a playoff team if you win five in a row, but I’d rather be in the playoffs than be in San Jose’s shoes, where they win a lot of games at the end and they don’t make the playoffs. To make the playoffs, you have to get points at some point in the season. We got our points in the middle of the season. We didn’t start off well early, we haven’t so far finished well. But at the end of the day, we got enough points to get into the playoffs.”

Schmid  is clearly feeling the proverbial hot stuff. And there’s more going on here than just Seattle’s late-season collapse itself; the team has lost four in a row and is winless in its last six.

Schmid’s remarks come a day after owner Joe Roth’s odd, uh, “defense” of his manager. On the one hand, Roth made it quite clear to SI.com’s Grant Wahl that he wasn’t happy about the team’s surprising conk out toward regular season’s end. “No excuses,” Roth told Wahl. “Every team has injuries and national team call-ups. We haven’t got it done.”

But then he said it wasn’t Schmid’s fault.

So … it’s … uh … I dunno … the beer vendors’ fault? Or is it Drew Carey’s fault?

Just having some fun here.

Again, courtesy of Mayers – that dude is seriously on the ball – Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer offered a slightly more detailed spin of the blame wheel:  “I do agree with Joe. If we’re placing blame, there’s plenty to go around, from Joe and Adrian as owners — I gave you the list — to Adrian as general manager and his team of scouts and getting the players, coaching, medical, sports science, players, staff, business side. We can go down the list, and everybody can do a little bit better. And again, in the offseason, that’s our job — to figure out where we can optimize and tweak and get better and hopefully avoid some of the inconsistencies.”

So, back to Schmid’s sarcastic rant … one that, if we’re being honest, fans probably don’t want to hear. While he correct about points being points, he sounds a bit tone deaf and even dismissive of fans’ legitimate concern here.

Tunisian player who collapsed in Spain regains consciousness

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MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.

The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.

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They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.

Nouioui collapsed on April 14.

The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.