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Dortmund struggles to come to terms with bomb attack on bus

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MUNICH (AP) Sometimes, it’s hard to focus on a soccer game.

Borussia Dortmund players had to, though, less than 24 hours after a bomb attack on their team bus. And they will have to do so again on Saturday, when Eintracht Frankfurt visits in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin made it clear that his thoughts were far from the field in the rescheduled Champions League quarterfinal match against Monaco on Wednesday – a game Dortmund lost 3-2 after an uncharacteristically hesitant start.

“Until I was on the pitch in the second half, I didn’t think about football, to be honest. Because last night I didn’t realize what happened, and when I was at home and my wife and my son were waiting in front of the door, there I felt how lucky we were,” the visibly shaken Sahin told former Norway international Jan Aage Fjortoft, now a journalist.

“I know football is very important. We love football. We suffer with football. We love football. I know we earn a lot of money, we have a privileged life, but we are human beings. There’s so much more than football in this world. Last night we felt it.”

Dortmund defender Marc Bartra was hit by shrapnel as three explosions hit the bus. The Spaniard was taken to the hospital and had surgery on a broken bone in his wrist.

A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors, Frauke Koehler, said metal from one of the bombs lodged in a headrest. It could easily have been a lot worse.

“I can’t forget the faces,” Sahin said of his teammates, who ducked for cover when the explosions hit. “I will never forget these faces in my life for sure. Oh yeah, when I saw Marc there and I saw Schmelle (Marcel Schmelzer), I sat next to Schmelle and I will never forget Schmelle’s face. It was unbelievable.”

Schmelzer also highlighted the impact of the attack on his side.

“We have to function like puppets,” the Dortmund captain said. “You read the whole time of an attack on our bus. But you shouldn’t forget there were 30 people sitting in it, so it’s an attack on us as people. It makes us incredibly sad but also incredibly fortunate to be standing here today, especially when you hear the details that are coming out (from the investigation). We’re just incredibly lucky no one else besides Marc was seriously injured.”

Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel was stinging in his criticism of UEFA for going ahead with the Champions League game so soon after the attack.

“We had the feeling that we were being treated as if a beer can had hit our bus,” said Tuchel, who claimed he wasn’t asked about whether to proceed with the game.

But Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said Tuesday that a congested calendar meant there was little option for postponing the game further. UEFA spokesman Pedro Pinto told The Associated Press the governing body was in touch with all parties.

Tuchel may have been trying to protect his players but it’s clear that the attack had an effect on his side.

“Most players hardly slept, myself included,” Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl said. “I tried to come to terms with it with my family, tried to wind down and switch off. In the end in the game we made the best we could of it.”

Amid increased security and while the investigations continue, Dortmund will have to make the best of it again Saturday as it seeks to improve upon its fourth place to secure automatic Champions League qualification. Fourth only brings a playoff.

Apart from Bartra, who would have been suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards anyway, Dortmund is struggling with injuries – there was one spot free on the bench against Monaco because of a lack of available players.

Dortmund is unbeaten in a club-record 34 league games at home. It has scored in its last 19 games, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang second behind Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski in the scoring chart. Lewandowski has 26 goals in 28 games. Aubameyang, who played two games less, has 25.

Frankfurt, which was previously third, has lost its last four games away and it hasn’t won any of its last nine.

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

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Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

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The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

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“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

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This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

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And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”