How the MLS Cup penalty kick shootout went

8 Comments

KANSAS CITY — Round-by-round as Sporting Kansas City wins MLS Cup 2013 in a 10-round penalty kick tiebreaker.

(Check back for much, much more from Sporting Park in Kansas City.)

Sporting Kansas City: Claudio Bieler, fires very hard left, with no problem.

Real Salt Lake: Alvaro Saborio, approaches slowly and goes well high. 1-0 to Sporting KC after one round.

Sporting Kansas City: Paulo Nagamura, chips softly to the right, sending Rimando the wrong way.

Real Salt Lake: Ned Grabavoy stutter-steps up and shoots rather tamely to the left, Nielsen chooses correctly and parries. SKC has a 2-0 lead after two rounds.

Sporting Kansas City: Matt Besler, takes the tiniest of approaches and sees his shot to the right saved.

Real Salt Lake: Kyle Beckerman, sends Nielsen the wrong way and scores RSL’s first high and to the left. 3-1 for SKC after three rounds.

Sporting Kansas City: Benny Feilhaber shoots high and just to Rimando’s left.

Real Salt Lake: Joao Plata, the sub hits hard and high to the left, scoring comfortably.

Sporting Kansas City: Graham Zusi, approaches comfortably but pulls a “Saborio,” going high. Well, maybe not as high as Sabo, but high.

Real Salt Lake: Javier Morales, long run-up, then a slow approach … very coolly goes left as Nielsen goes the wrong way. Score tied 3-3 after five rounds,

Sporting Kansas City: Seth Sinovic, aims low and left and puts it in the right spot.

Real Salt Lake: Chris Schuler, First one to go straight down the middle! And it works. Score tied 4-4 after six rounds.

Sporting Kansas City: C.J. Sapong, not the very best spot shot ever, low and slow to the left, but successful.

Real Salt Lake: Tony Beltran, Oh! … Just off the inside of the post. 5-5 after seven rounds.

Sporting Kansas City: Lawrence Olum, sends Rimando the wrong way, but pushes his low shot wide to the left.

Real Salt Lake: Sebastien Velasquez, the youngster approaches tentatively and puts the ball into a diving Nielsen’s gut!  Touch spot for him. Score tied 5-5 after eight rounds.

Sporting Kansas City: Chance Myers, his softly but high and the right, well placed.

Real Salt Lake: Nat Borchers, very hard and straight up the middle, the second RSL center back to do so. 6-6 after nine rounds.

Sporting Kansas City: Aurelien Collin, one of the best shots yet! High and left and unreachable.

Real Salt Lake: Lovel Palmer, blasts his shot off the cross bar. Kansas City wins the penalty kick tiebreaker, 7-6 after 10 rounds.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images
Leave a comment

PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.

Conte praises Hazard’s style, wouldn’t want him to be “more selfish”

Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Antonio Conte made two bold decisions on Saturday afternoon as his Chelsea side prepared to take on Tottenham in their FA Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu shines with Saints as he prepares for Chelsea return ]

The Italian manager has been known for his innovation and risk-taking in the past, but many were critical of the 47-year-old when his team sheet came out ahead of the match.

Conte left key attacking duo Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench, allowing out-of-favor striker Michy Batshuayi and Pedro to get the starting nod.

Although Hazard nor Costa saw the field for the opening hour, the former made his presence known when he was summoned by Conte in the second half.

Often times Hazard has been known as a facilitator, someone that can pick apart defenses with his tremendous foot skills and clever passing. But the Belgian international has also shown his capabilities of scoring on a regular basis as well, which has prompted great interest from other giant clubs around Europe.

When Conte was asked about Hazard and if his attacker should be more selfish, the Italian gave an emphatic “NO” as his response.

“No, no, no, absolutely not,” Conte said. “I don’t think that a player like Messi is a selfish player. The first target for every great champion is to play for the team and to put your talent into the team. If you do this, the team [increases] your talent.

“The best players in the world don’t exist without a team. For me, it’s sad to listen to this, that a player must ‘be more selfish’ to reach the top level. That’s very sad. It’s not my idea of football and I will never understand this. Never, never. In my team, I don’t want selfish players.

“I prefer to lose a game than to have a selfish player. For me, I don’t want this and I can’t accept this. I don’t want my club to buy me a selfish player one day. Never. No.”

Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League

Stu Forster/Getty Images
1 Comment

Two sides have now booked their trips to England’s top flight after Newcastle United rattled off its 27th win of the season.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu — The perfectly poised destroyer ]

The Magpies earned a decisive 4-1 victory over Preston North End on Monday afternoon at St. James’ Park as the second-place side ensured its finish inside the top two in the English Championship.

Newcastle joins already-promoted club Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently sit atop the Championship on 92 points.

Ayoze Perez paced the hosts with goals on both sides of halftime, while Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie also converted for Newcastle.

U.S. Men’s National Team defender DeAndre Yedlin was on the bench for the Magpies but didn’t feature in Monday’s match.

The third and final team to be promoted from the Championship will be decided by the league’s annual promotion playoff, which is held at the end of the season and contested by four sides that finish third through sixth position.

As it stands, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Fulham occupy the four playoff positions.