Canada v Unted States

Solo’s club will allow her to play while legal process unfolds

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If Hope Solo’s legal problems are going to lead to a professional hit, it won’t come until after the courtroom drama plays out. At least, that’s what the Seattle Reign said today, confirming the National Women’s Soccer League club’s concern won’t lead to action until the state of Washington has drawn its conclusions.

U.S. Soccer, Solo’s main employeer, could decide to go in another direction, but with World Cup qualifying taking place in October, the federation can take a wait-and-see approach pending Solo’s August trial.

The Reign were in a tougher situation, with the team scheduled to host Sky Blue FC on Saturday. According to a statement posted to the team’s Facebook, Solo will be available for selection when the NWSL leaders go for their 12th win in 14 games.

From the team’s Facebook:

Like many of you, last Saturday we awoke to the news that a member of our team, Hope Solo, had been arrested. Since that time we have been gathering information about the situation and have engaged in many discussions in an effort to determine the best path forward.

This investigation, which has included multiple conversations with Hope, made it clear that there are differing perspectives on the events that led up to Hope’s arrest. As such, we feel it is fair and prudent to await the outcome of the legal process before making a final judgment about the incident.

That being said, it should be understood that we hold all of our players, coaches, and employees to the highest ethical and moral standard. In the event any Seattle Reign FC player is convicted of a serious crime the consequences will be significant and swift.

At first blush, it’s the obvious move. It’d be unfair to suspend Solo when there’s a chance her two domestic assault charges won’t hold up. As strong as some people feel about what her arrest implies, those feelings could yet prove ill-founded.

Seattle, however, has made it clear. If Solo’s found guilty, she’ll likely be suspended, a decision that could result in couple of potential twists:

  • Seattle’s regular season ends on August 17. The league’s championship game is August 31. Would the Reign be prepared to suspend Solo for the post season, if she’s found guilty?
  • Solo turns 33 on July 30. There’s already talk she might walk away if the U.S. wins the World Cup next summer. If she is handed a significant suspension by the Reign, what’s her incentive to continue her club career? Particularly if the U.S. calls an early camp next spring?

If Solo ends up being found not guilty, she plays in this year’s playoffs, perhaps wins a title, and stays on a normal course for next year’s World Cup. If she’s found guilty, a few other dominoes could fall.

 

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

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In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.