Dutch Eredivisie - FC Utrecht v Vitesse Arnhem

Americans Abroad Review: Agudelo, Boyd score; Ream honored by Bolton

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So let’s start with the positive, since there weren’t a heck of a lot of highlights involving Americans on the pitch in Europe and south of the border this weekend.

Juan Agudelo was the Man of the Match in his final match on loan for FC Utrecht in a 2-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem on Saturday, scoring a goal and “setting up” the otherHe registered six shots, three on frame, burying the match-winner in the 78th minute. While Steve de Ridder simply picked up a rough first touch from Agudelo slot home for the first goal, Agudelo’s marker came from a strong run and deft finish.

Juan Agudelo by goalsandmore

Terrence Boyd scored again for Rapid Wien, his 34th minute tally holding up as the match-winner in a 2-0 win over relegated FC Wacker Innsbruck. Rapid has a six-point lead on Austria Wien for second in the table after Boyd went 80 minutes in the win.

Ale Bedoya went 90 minutes for Nantes as they picked up a point but couldn’t catch Toulouse, drawing the club 1-1.

In Norway, Mix Diskerud went all 90 for Rosenborg, but his club wasted a chance to make an early-season charge for the top of the table. Molde won 2-0 and now has a four-point lead on No. 4 Rosenborg. Bob Bradley‘s Stabaek will look to get back in the win column with a victory on Monday, which would boost them level with Diskerud’s squad.

Sacha Kljestan didn’t play for Anderlecht in Belgium (they beat Club Brugge 1-0), while Aron Johannsson didn’t appear for AZ Alkmaar.

The Premier League was kind to Yanks as well, save for the No.1 goalkeeper. Tim Howard was beaten thrice, at least once regrettably, as Everton fell 3-2 to Manchester City.

Geoff Cameron had a nice day with another 90 minutes as Stoke City stomped Fulham 4-1 to send the Cottagers into the Championship. Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan finally got some support in front of him as the Villans topped Hull 3-1 to give them almost certain PL status for another year. Jozy Altidore played the final 25 minutes as Sunderland shocked Manchester United 1-0.

Jonathan Spector and Tim Ream dueled in the Championship, with the latter’s Birmingham City club earning safety in the 2-2 with the former’s Bolton club. It was quite a week for Ream, who was voted as Player of the Year by both Bolton’s team and supporters.

Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday lost 2-1 at Yeovil Town, but “Gooch” was solid on the whole in 90 minutes of play.

Danny Williams didn’t play for Reading due to injury as the club missed out on the final playoff spot, while Zak Whitbread finally got some playing time for Derby County on the final day in a 1-1 draw against Leeds United.

In Germany, Fabian Johnson proved versatile at left back for Hoffenheim again in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund, while John Anthony Brooks played 90 — picking up a yellow card — as Hertha Berlin fell to Werder Bremen 2-0.

VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

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The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

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Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast

Kroenke: “Very high” on Wenger who is “very hard” to replace

Jeff Fisher
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LONDON — Arsenal remains “very high” on Arsene Wenger and it will be “very hard” replacing the manager who is in the final year of his contract, owner Stan Kroenke told The Associated Press on Monday.

Wenger this month celebrated 20 years in charge of Arsenal and has offered no indication whether he wants to sign a new deal into next season.

The 67-year-old Frenchman became the Premier League’s longest serving manager when Alex Ferguson retired from Manchester United in 2013. United is now on its third manager in three years and has not competed for the Premier League title since Ferguson’s departure.

In a rare interview about Arsenal, Kroenke noted the tricky post-Ferguson succession at United while discussing the challenge of eventually replacing Wenger.

“You see it (at United), you bring up a comment like that,” Kroenke told the AP after Arsenal’s annual general meeting. “It’s very hard. He’s a great manager.”

Wenger signed his last three-year contract extension in 2014.

“We will sit down and discuss the future at the appropriate time,” Arsenal chairman Chips Keswick told shareholders at a meeting where Wenger didn’t address his contract situation in his speech.

Although Wenger has won the Premier League three times, the last success came in 2004 – a drought which frustrates fans.

“He’s been a wonderful influence on the club,” Kroenke said. “We are all very high on Arsene. We are (joint) top of the table right now.”

Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are only separated on goal difference at the summit. Despite Wenger only winning the FA Cup twice since 2004, the team is in the lucrative Champions League for the 19th successive year thanks to its runner-up finish last season. Wenger is yet to win European football’s top prize.

“I know a number of (sports team) owners that are very successful that say the same thing – the hardest thing to do is be consistently competitive at the top of the league,” said Kroenke, who also owns the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. “Arsene has always done that and Arsenal has always been in that position. We have always been competitive.

“We may not always win the things we want to win. We are very focused on winning for sure the league. Arsene’s been consistently at the top and I will tell you – it’s very, very hard to do if you look around sports.”


2016 MLS Cup playoffs bracket in full

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Michael Bradley #4 and Jozy Altidore #17 of Toronto FC celebrate a goal by teammate Tsubasa Endoh #9 during the first half of an MLS soccer game against FC Dallas at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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With Major League Soccer’s Decision Day 2016 in the books, we now know who will battle it out for MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Who will win MLS Cup? ]

Up first on Wednesday and Thursday are the four knockout round games, then the Conference semifinal first legs kick off this weekend.

We get into it thick and fast.

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The PST crew already selected their picks for the postseason and filled out their bracket. You can see that by clicking on the link above. FWIW, I have Toronto FC beating the Seattle Sounders in MLS Cup…

[ MORE: Ranking MLS playoff teams ]

Below is the MLS playoff bracket in full so you can make your picks and let us know who you went for in the comments section below.


MLS Playoff bracket, 2016

MLS Playoff bracket, 2016
Source: MLSSoccer.com