Spain Roundup: Barca-oh-no! Madrid clubs seize breathing room

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Valladolid climbed out of the drop zone with a stunning home win over out-of-sorts Barcelona, leaving the Blaugrana to wonder whether they can chase down Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid in the race for La Liga’s title.

Fausto Rossi played hero in the 17th minute with a goal for Valladolid, which then bore Barca’s attack for the remainder of the match. There were chances for Lionel Messi and company, who took 13 shots, but even a trio of substitutions that introduced Alexis Sanchez, Cristian Tello and Sergi Roberto to the match couldn’t propel Barca to an equalizer.

It was Valladolid’s first win over Barcelona since October 2012, and “boosted” their record in the rivalry to 4W-5D-23L.

Meanwhile, both Madrid squads cruised to victories. Real Madrid took a 2-0 lead on Levante with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo. Then Levante helped out with a red card for David Navarro and an own goal from Nikos Karabelas to reach full time at 3-0.

David Villa did everything Atletico Madrid needed to seize a 2-0 win at Celta de Vigo, scoring goals in the 62nd and 64th minutes.

So Barca may have the best goal differential in La Liga, but it’s staring up at its rivals after Sunday. Atletico is one point ahead of Barca, while Real Madrid has a four-point lead in the standings.

Wow.

Elsewhere

  • Granada 2-0 Villarreal – Two goals by the 33rd minute had Granada on cruise control at home. Fran Rico and Youssef El Arabi with the goals.
  • Real Betis 2-0 Getafe – Break up Betis! Four points in two weeks for the bottom dwellers, who still sit eight points away from safety.
  • Valencia 1-1 Bilbao – Aritz Aduriz’s penalty in the 53rd minute equalized in a match fit to divide the spoils.
  • Almeria 1-3 Sevilla  – Kevin Gameiro struck again, this time an insurance goal, as Sevilla moved to within two points of sixth-place Sociedad and three points of Villarreal.
  • Espanyol 3-1 Elche – Three different goal scorers helped Espanyol keep its European dreams alive.
  • Real Sociedad vs. Rayo Vallecano – Monday
  • Osasuna vs. Malaga – Monday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Real Madrid 27 21 4 2 76 26 50 12-0-1 9-4-1 67
Atlético Madrid 27 20 4 3 63 21 42 11-3-0 9-1-3 64
Barcelona 27 20 3 4 74 22 52 12-0-1 8-3-3 63
Athletic 26 15 5 6 49 30 19 10-3-1 5-2-5 50
Villarreal 27 13 5 9 47 33 14 7-4-3 6-1-6 44
Real Sociedad 26 12 7 7 46 36 10 8-3-1 4-4-6 43
Sevilla 27 11 8 8 47 42 5 6-3-4 5-5-4 41
Espanyol 27 10 6 11 32 33 -1 7-2-5 3-4-6 36
Levante 27 9 9 9 26 34 -8 5-5-3 4-4-6 36
Valencia 26 10 5 11 38 37 1 7-2-4 3-3-7 35
Celta Vigo 27 8 6 13 32 39 -7 3-6-5 5-0-8 30
Granada 27 9 3 15 24 36 -12 5-1-8 4-2-7 30
Osasuna 26 8 5 13 24 39 -15 5-2-5 3-3-8 29
Elche 27 7 8 12 24 40 -16 5-4-5 2-4-7 29
Getafe 27 7 6 14 23 42 -19 4-5-5 3-1-9 27
Málaga 26 6 8 12 24 35 -11 5-2-6 1-6-6 26
Valladolid 27 5 11 11 29 44 -15 4-6-3 1-5-8 26
Almería 27 7 5 15 26 49 -23 4-4-5 3-1-10 26
Rayo Vallecano 26 7 2 17 26 59 -33 4-0-9 3-2-8 23
Betis 27 4 6 17 23 56 -33 4-3-7 0-3-10 18

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

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Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

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The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

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“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

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This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

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And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”