Americans Abroad Review: Howard and Cameron keep it clean

1 Comment

It was offense in the Netherlands, defense in England for Americans in the headlines abroad this week.

Juan Agudelo hasn’t played much for the US under Jurgen Klinsmann, especially not lately, but perhaps a second goal for FC Utrecht will stir the emotions of the USMNT boss. Agudelo latched onto a cross and nodded home in Utrecht’s 2-1 win over the weekend, and video of the goal is here.

Aron Johannsson also produced offense in the Dutch league, though his earned-penalty for AZ Alkmaar was converted by a teammate give Johannsson’s recent struggles from the spot. He has one goal in his last nine games after a setting a remarkable pace with 16 goals through mid-March. AZ drew NEC Breda 1-1.

Anderlecht pulled off a 2-0 win over Lokeren, with Sacha Kljestan getting all 90 minutes in the midfield during the victory. Terrence Boyd played under a half-hour in Rapid Wien’s 0-0 draw with Admira Wacker Modling.

Jermaine Jones would’ve earned a second assist if it were MLS or hockey, but had to settle for playmaker status in Besiktas’ 1-1 draw with Konyaspor on Friday. Ale Bedoya couldn’t repeat his goal-scoring magic for a second consecutive week but did play all 90 minutes and register four shots in Nantes’ 1-0 win over Guingamp.

In England, Danny Williams played 60 minutes as Reading kept hold of its playoff spot for now. The Royals are in sixth place after a 1-1 draw with already-promoted Leicester City on Monday. Oguchi Onyewu‘s Sheffield Wednesday is in a fight for Championship survival, and he played the full match in a 3-3 draw that brought the club that much closer to securing safety.

Bolton posted a clean sheet with Tim Ream running the middle of the defense, while Duane Holmes was an unused sub for Huddersfield Town. That’s likely not his fault, as his club picked up two red cards in a 3-1 loss to Derby County.

The Premier League was relatively kind to Americans, and on a large scale to Tim Howard. The keeper continues to shine for the Toffees as they make their push for the Champions League. He helped blank Sunderland 1-0 on Saturday as they maintain control of fourth place.

Geoff Cameron was strong for Stoke, clearing out a listless Newcastle attack and making a number of strong attacking plays as the Potters bested the Magpies 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium. But Jozy Altidore missed Sunderland duty with a minor injury and Brad Guzan‘s Aston Villa lost to Crystal Palace as the Villans again failed to put their stamp on Premier League safety.

Puebla’s nightmare season continued with a 1-0 home loss to Club America, though DaMarcus Beasley was receiving plenty of credit as a positive note in the match. Edgar Castillo went 90 minutes for Tijuana as the club drew a Jose Torres-less (red card suspension) Tigres 1-1.

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.

Aguero involved in clash with Wigan fan after FA Cupset

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/winter-2016-hair-color/
1 Comment

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Sergio Aguero was involved in a confrontation with a Wigan fan as ugly scenes marred the end of the third-division side’s shock FA Cup win over Manchester City on Monday.

[ MORE: Wigan shock Man City, the world and themselves ]

Fans spilled on to the pitch at DW Stadium as the host celebrated its 1-0 fifth-round win against the runaway English Premier League leader.

Supporters from both clubs were involved in disturbances, while television pictures appeared to show a home supporter and striker Aguero involved in a physical exchange.

Aguero appeared to hit the supporter after the fan said something to the player, and Aguero had to be held back by his City teammates.

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Advertising hoardings were also ripped out and thrown as a pitch invasion by Wigan fans got out of hand while the defeated City players were being escorted off the pitch.

Footage also appeared to show objects, including an advertising board, being thrown at police officers by fans in the City end.

Wigan shock themselves: “Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet”

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wigan Athletic didn’t just shock Manchester City with their FA Cup fifth-round slaying of the runaway Premier League leaders; nor did they merely shock the rest of the footballing world; they also shocked themselves into disbelief, according to defender Dan Burn.

[ MORE: Goodbye, quadruple! Wigan bounce 10-man City from FA Cup ]

Speaking following Monday’s triumph over Pep Guardiola‘s quadruple-chasing side at the DW Stadium, Burn admitted he himself didn’t know what to make of the night that would undoubtedly highlight and change his own professional career — quotes from the BBC:

“Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet. It was a really tough game. The belief was always there. We’ve got Will Grigg, who does what he keeps doing.

“We pride ourselves on our clean sheets. We had a couple bad results before, so we wanted to prove ourselves, so a clean sheet against the best team in England is great.

“Once we scored, the fans really got behind us, just knew we needed to hang on. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.”

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Manager Paul Cook was able to articulate his happiness and pride only slightly better — “It feels great” — but offered the highest of praises to his players, whom “had to ride [their] luck at times” during the game, and gave everything they had to the cause, because that’s the only way you beat a team like Man City:

“It feels great. It’s such a severe test. They’re such a strong side and move the ball so well. We had to ride our luck at times and the sending off is always a big incident.

“Our lads deserve credit for their work and some of the blocks they made were outstanding, and to beat Man City you have to do that.”