Eddie Johnson response to Brian Ching’s criticism? “Scoreboard”

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Brian Ching did a guest-hosting stint on a Houston podcast last week, and said Eddie Johnson is the sort of player who thrives in contract years.

On Thursday morning, Johnson responded by saying that Ching is just jealous and should look at the scoreboard.

Certainly Johnson is no stranger to controversy and Ching seems guilty of breaking something akin to hockey’s “code” in talking about an ex-teammate.

So what exactly did Ching say? And what was Johnson’s response? Does the latter make any sense?

First, Ching’s comments, thanks to the great Dynamo Theory:

“Played with him, you know, and he is one of those guys that every time he is getting close to playing for a contract or proving himself he goes out and he does his work and you’re like, ‘Wow okay!’

“But once he gets that contract or DP status he tends to disappear a little bit. It’s kind of like he is fighting so hard to prove that he’s good that when he gets there he just kind of stops doing the things that made him successful. That’s one of the things I’ve noticed about Eddie playing with him…

“If I was to sign him I would say ‘Hey here’s $10,000 a goal. You’re making $50,000 or you’re making $100,000 you want money score goals.’ He that kind of guy…He loses that drive, that mentality once he gets rewarded or gets his contract.”

EJ’s response:

The takeaway? A lot of hot air.

Say what you will about Ching’s choice to air his opinions (as a broadcaster), but it’s hard to find a lot of merit in Johnson’s jealousy argument. The only time the two were on the same team was with the United States — at times — from 2004-2010.

Ching scored 11 times in 45 matches, while Johnson has 19 goals in 63 matches. That gives EJ the advantage in goals-per-appearance at .30 to .24. Not a massive difference, but an edge nonetheless. Johnson is also correct that he has more caps than Ching.

But a lot of this is apples and oranges. Ching played nearly his entire career in Major League Soccer, while Johnson has bounced from team-to-team around the world in a journey that’s gone from the U.S. to England to Wales to Greece and back to the U.S. Both were snubbed from World Cup teams: Ching at 32 and Johnson at 30.

And how about the jealousy point? Who played more during their time on the national team before Ching’s cut from the 2010 roster (that Johnson made) effectively ended his time as an international?

2004:
Ching 4 apps, 2 goals
Johnson 3 apps, 5 goals

2005:
Johnson 6 apps, 3 goals
Ching 6 apps, 0 goals

2006:
Johnson 11 apps, 1 goal
Ching 9 apps, 2 goals

2007:
Johnson 11 apps, 2 goals
Ching 5 apps, 1 goal

2008:
Ching 7 apps, 4 goals
Johnson 6 apps, 1 goal

2009:
Ching 11 apps, 1 goal
Johnson 2 apps, 0 goals

2010:
Ching 2 apps, 1 goal
Johnson 3 apps, 0 goals

Totals (2004-2010):
Johnson 42 apps, 12 goals
Ching 44 apps, 11 goals

Not exactly margins for jealousy, though Johnson has probably had the more recognizable career. Still, isn’t this a case where Johnson is better off leaving well-enough alone, to rise above it? That’s not his reputation — and maybe Ching should’ve kept his opinions to himself — but bickering with Brian Ching? Yes, EJ’s three goals in three games is making his awful start to the season look a lot better — four goals in 17 matches total — but easy, big man.

As for the incentive-laden contract jab, that’s above my pay grade this morning.

CCL wrap: FC Dallas disappoints; Club America struts (video)

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The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas

Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.

Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.

Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America

Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.

Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET

Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.

West Ham to friendly neighbors Dag & Red: “Will help save our club”

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English Conference Premier side Dagenham and Redbridge has seen better days, and is getting a hand from a Premier League pal.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

West Ham United will pay a visit to Dag & Red as part of the latter’s #SaveTheDaggers campaign, and the March 21 date will cost fans between $7 and $21 to see a top flight side at 6,000-seat Victoria Road.

Dagenham and Redbridge chairman Paul Gwinn said, “It really will help save our club.”

“So please come on down to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for an additional night of football. Bring a friend, or two, or more and we can use the gate takings to help get us back on track,” reads a press release.

Dag & Red was founded in 1992 and climbed as high as League One in 2011, and plays just 2.5 miles from West Ham United’s training ground. Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among Dag & Red alums in the Premier League.

It’s a terrific gesture from West Ham, and is even more impressive in the United States where the growing club game is increasingly cutthroat (especially between non-synced leagues).

Angry Di Francesco extremely quotable after Roma loss

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AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco absolutely roasted his charges after i Lupi tossed aside a Cenzig Under-inspired lead to fall 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Di Francesco had praise for Edin Dzeko, who assisted Under’s goal, as well as goalkeeper Alisson, but was mostly enraged by his side.

[ MORE: Recap + Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Rather than construct a narrative, we’re going to point out our five favorite selections from Di Francesco’s post-match talk.

4) “The difference was that in the first half we tried to hurt them while in the second we were looking to hold on – to what? I don’t know.”

— “To what? I don’t know” is hilarious. Di Francesco’s side has posted some serious wins this season, including killing off Chelsea 3-0 at home and coming back from 2-0 to draw the Blues at Stamford Bridge. He doesn’t preach sitting back.

3) “There were far too many schoolboy errors – even by players with a wealth of international experience.”

— Schoolboy errors!

2) “I saw two completely different teams out there today. There were lots of players I should have taken off after we conceded the first goal.”

— Again, one mistake by a number of players on Facundo Ferreyra is enough for Di Francesco. He’s not just happy to be here.

1) “I can’t imagine we’d get arrogant just because we’re winning an important game. It’s not as if Roma are used to reaching the final every year.”

— When you’re willing to essentially rip an entire club’s history — Roma’s been to just two UCL quarterfinals since losing the final to Liverpool in 1984 — you’re putting your footprints in new cement.

Europa League preview: Rating every second leg

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Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund are one of many teams with their UEFA Europa League fates realistically in the balance come Thursday’s second legs of the Round of 32.

[ MORE: Sevilla 0-1 Man Utd | Mourinho reacts ]

Aside from a sextet of big teams posting blowouts, there’s still hope for the Round of 16 and a step closer to an automatic berth in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League.

Basically done

Atletico Madrid 4-1 Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Sporting Lisbon 3-1 Astana — 1 p.m. ET
Arsenal 3-0 Ostersund — 3:05 p.m. ET
Milan 3-0 Ludogorets Razgrad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Spartak Moscow — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga 0-3 Marseille — 3:05 p.m. ET

In four of these cases, the heavy favorites emerged with multiple goal leads and at least three away goals.

Actually done

CSKA Moscow beat Red Star Belgrade 1-0 on Wednesday to win 1-0 on aggregate.

Unlikely, but big club lurks

RB Leipzig 3-1 Napoli — 1 p.m. ET
Villarreal 1-3 Lyon — 1 p.m. ET

In the case of Napoli, their 3-1 home loss to Leipzig was stunning but it’s impossible to rule out a club with such firepower. Villarreal trails by two to Lyon, but is home and dangerous.

Advantage one side, but anyone’s guess

Lokomotiv Moscow 3-2 Nice — 11 a.m. ET
Lazio 0-1 FCSB — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit Saint-Petersburg 0-1 Celtic — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg 2-2 Real Sociedad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Atalanta 2-3 Borussia Dortmund — 3:05 p.m. ET

Salzburg’s two away goals in a draw feels like a one-goal lead, and the one-goal matches are especially interesting. In the case of Atalanta, 1-0 to the Serie A side could undo Michy Batshuayi‘s first leg heroics for BVB.

Wide open

Plzen 1-1 Partizan Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 AEK Athens — 1 p.m. ET

Yes, nil-nil will get it done for the hosts, but there wasn’t a 0-0 in the entire group of first legs.