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.

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

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Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET