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La Liga & Serie A: Barca blasts five past Las Palmas and more

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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Barcelona 5-0 Las Palmas

The visitors never stood a chance on Saturday, and Barcelona showed once again just how dangerous they can be when firing on all cylinders. The Blaugrana saw goals from four different goalscorers pace Luis Enrique’s side, including a brace from Luis Suarez.

Despite only going into the halftime break with a 1-0 lead, Barcelona immediately expanded its advantage to 4-0 in the second stanza after finding the back of the net three times in a span of seven minutes. Lionel Messi, Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal all scored for Barca, who now sit two points behind league leaders Real Madrid.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Real Betis

Nicolas Gaitan scored the game’s lone goal as Atletico solidified its spot in the top four against Betis. The visitors managed twice as many shots on target (6), however, it wasn’t enough for Betis to break past goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya. Diego Simeone’s Atleti are six points behind Real at the top of La Liga, while Real Betis currently sits 14th on 21 points.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 0-0 Athletic Bilbao
Deportivo La Coruna 0-0 Villareal

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Valencia vs. Espanyol (6 a.m. ET)
Celta Vigo vs. Alaves (10:15 a.m. ET)
Granada vs. Osasuna (12:30 a.m. ET)
Sporting Gijon vs. Eibar (12:30 a.m. ET)
Sevilla vs. Real Madrid (2:45 p.m. ET)

Inter Milan 3-1 Chievo Verona

The hosts needed a strong second half performance to mount a comeback and Inter managed to get just that on Saturday. After falling behind 1-0 in the first half by way of a Sergio Pellissier finish, Inter stormed back after the break on three separate occasions. Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic and Eder all scored inside of the final 21 minutes to move the Milan side into seventh place. Stefano Pioli’s side currently sits 13 points behind league leaders Juventus.

Crotone 0-1 Bologna

Crotone remains at the bottom of Italy’s top flight courtesy of Blerim Dzemaili’s second-half strike. Bologna moved up to 14th in the table on 23 points while Crotone sits on nine points through 19 Serie A matches. Bologna has now won four of the last five meetings against Crotone in all competitions.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Cagliari vs. Genoa (6:30 a.m. ET)
Lazio vs. Atalanta (9 a.m. ET)
Napoli vs. Pescara (9 a.m. ET)
Sampdoria vs. Empoli (9 a.m. ET)
Sassuolo vs. Palermo (9 a.m. ET)
Udinese vs. Roma (9 a.m. ET)
Fiorentina vs. Juventus (2:45 p.m. ET)

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

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Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]

Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

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Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

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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