Union, Dynamo fail to break through, end deadlocked at PPL Park (video)

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Two teams looking to bounce back from recent losses were left deadlocked in Chester, Penn., with a game of two halves ending in neither Philadelphia nor Houston’s favor. Despite holding the Union without a shot on target, Houston was unable to break through at the other end, leaving the teams scoreless at PPL Park.

Houston’s best chance came in the 38th minute when a near-post blast from Will Bruin in the left of Zac MacMath’s area rattled the keeper’s woodwork. Philadelphia, however, may have had the match’s best chance overall, with Andrew Wenger going over the bar in stoppage time with an uncontested volley from just short of the penalty spot.

Left with 10-men after perceived time-wasting earned Kofie Sarkodie a second yellow card, Houston was able to survive six minutes of added time to end the teams three game’s losing streak. Philadelphia, on the other hand, was unable to fully rebound from mid-week disappointment at Red Bull Arena, held to the team’s fourth draw of the season.

For the Dynamo, the result ends a three-match losing streak, but the performance may brings back unwelcome memories of from last summer. Now 239 minutes without a goal, Houston saw Bruin and Gilles Barnes (pictured) fail to convert the team’s strong first half into significant tests of MacMath. If one of the team’s worries coming into 2014 was the poor finishing that plagued last season, only two shots on target on top of a prolonged scoreless run may renew doubts.

For the home side, an improved second half helped put a poor first in perspective, but leaving the field without putting a shot on target, Philadelphia is facing its own doubts in the attack. Starting Wenger with Conor Casey for the first time, the Union played out a benign first half before asserting more control in the second, and while that control produced a number of strong chances (including a counterattack that Casey failed to convert from just outside the six-yard box), the question surrounding the team remains the same. For all the prowess they’ve shown keeping the ball, can Philadelphia do anything with it?

Coming in having scored five in three games, the Union almost put those questions behind them. Instead, thanks in part to a strong performance from David Horst, they’re back to searching for somebody to score goals.

Ancelotti rules himself out of Liverpool job

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid CF
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Carlo Ancelotti will not be the next manager of Liverpool, if you’re not so cynical that you don’t believe Mr. Ancelotti himself, that is.

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Ancelotti, who this summer was fired one season after winning the UEFA Champions League at Real Madrid, has been widely reported a top-two candidate for the Premier League club’s vacant managerial position ever since Brendan Rodgers was fired on Sunday.

While he may very well have been one of Liverpool’s top choices, to hear Ancelotti tell it, he’s not interested in taking the job, nor any other job anywhere in the world this year.

[ MORE: “Super computer” predicts final Premier League standings ]

Ancelotti, speaking at the National History Museum in London on Tuesday — quotes from the Guardian:

“I enjoy my time now but, of course, I want to come back to manage – to work – because it is my passion. I want to take my time to rest, but next season I am ready.”

“Why not [return to Paris Saint-Germain]? I have very good memories of Paris, PSG, I have good relations with everyone, with Nasser [al-Khelaifi, the PSG president].

“But I’m thinking about other things and PSG has a very good coach in Laurent Blanc. I hope he will continue and shine in the Champions League.”

Of course, with Jurgen Klopp reportedly all but officially announced as Liverpool’s new manager, Ancelotti is probably doing two things by ruling himself out until next season: 1) saving a bit of face, given that he was pretty clearly not Liverpool’s first-choice candidate; 2) letting every Ancelotti-sized club know that he’ll be available come this spring and summer, just in case they’re considering firing their current manager and need a bit of assurance an elite candidate will be available.

[ MORE: Klopp expected to be named new Liverpool manager this week ]

For instance, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG and Juventus immediately come to mind. A manager of Ancelotti’s quality will always have options and offers, and that’s something he clearly understands. Ancelotti has earned the right to enjoy a year-long sabbatical and to be picky when choosing his next job.

Report: FIFA provisionally suspends Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president

Sepp Blatter could, finally, be frozen out by FIFA.

The 17-year leader of world soccer’s governing body has reportedly been suspended for 90 days after FIFA’s ethics committee met on Wednesday to discuss allegations against both Blatter and his close ally Michel Platini.

[ MORE: Chung to sue Blatter ]

Reports suggest that the decision to suspend the Swiss official still needs to be formally ratified by the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee, but it is highly likely that Blatter will be suspended until January 2016.

Blatter, 79, has been at FIFA for over 40 years but under his stewardship the organization has been riddled with allegations of corruption as current investigations from both the U.S. and Swiss authorities continue. The longtime FIFA official is suspected of “criminal mismanagement or misappropriation” by the Swiss authorities after a payment of over $1.9 million is linked to Blatter and the current president of UEFA, and FIFA presidential candidate, Platini.

[ MORE: How will USA line up vs. Mexico? ]

Klaus Stoehlker, who formerly advised Blatter, has told Sky News that the ethics committee “made the ruling pending further investigations by the Swiss attorney general” and the verdict was “pending”  but that “no negative finding had been made against the head of world football’s governing body.” It is believed that the 90-day suspension is the maximum amount of time the ethics committee can suspend any individuals while an investigation is ongoing.

It has been reported that the head of FIFA’s ethics committee, Judge Hans Joachim-Eckert, has told Blatter of his suspension.

The leader of FIFA, who will stand down following the next presidential elections on Feb. 26, 2016, has been defiant in recent weeks despite growing pressure from corporate sponsors of FIFA for him to resign.

On Wednesday he spoke out and denied he will quit, while at the Leaders’ in Sport Summit in London another presidential candidate ,Chung Mong-joon, declared that he will sue Blatter for “at least $100 million” and believes the FIFA president and his “cronies” are deliberately sabotaging his own presidential campaign.