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Upsets abound in U.S. Open Cup second round

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The second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup didn’t need more than a quarter of its slate to provide genuine upsets.

Or, as they #USOC crowd likes to call them, Cupsets.

[ MORE: Huddersfield Town to Wembley ]

USL side Richmond Kickers and NASL clubs Indy Eleven and New York Cosmos were knocked out of the Open Cup by lower tier sides on Wednesday, with the Kickers bowing out at the hands (and feet) of fifth-tier Christos FC.

Richmond Kickers 0-1 Christos FC

Not that Christos are pushovers, but overseas they’d be called a Sunday League side. Champions of the Amateur Open Cup and the National Cup, Christos FC got a goal from one of its many UMBC grads, Geaton Caltabiano, to knock out Richmond.

Consider that Christos traveled to Western New York last week for a Werner Fricker Cup quarterfinal and won 1-0 with nine men, and it’s somewhat less surprising. But this is a major moment for both the Sunday Leaguers and this year’s tournament.

Reading United 3-2 New York Cosmos

This one’s nearly as surprising, considering the Cosmos have been the darlings of this tournament in years past. The NASL side has handled its business against several MLS sides, but ran into a problem with Reading United (one of the better programs in the fourth-tier PDL and an affiliate of the Philadelphia Union).

Paul Marie, Marco Micaletto, and Frantzdy Pierrot scored for Reading, while Kalif Alhassan and ex-USMNT midfielder Danny Szetela scored for the Cosmos.

Michigan Bucks 1-0 Indy Eleven

University of Michigan star Francis Atuahene scored the lone goal, assisted by Jordan Snell, as the PDL champs knocked the NASL visitors out of the tournament.

FC Cincinnati 0-0 AFC Cleveland

It took extra time to separate the USL hosts and the visiting champions of the fourth-tier NPSL, thanks mainly to AFCC keeper Alex Ivanov, but former Randers and Molde striker Baye Djiby Fall scored in the 115th minute to save Cincy blushes.

Elsewhere
Rochester Rhinos
3-0 Motown FC
Tartan Devils 0-9 Louisville City
Boston City 1-2 GPS Omens
Carolina Dynamo 1-6 North Carolina FC
Miami United 1-2 Jacksonville Armada
Atlanta Silverbacks 1-2 Charleston Battery
Miami FC 3-2 South Florida Surf
Ocean City 0-1 Harrisburg City Islanders
Chicago United 3-1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Houston Dutch Lions 1-2 San Antonio
Oklahoma City Energy 5-1 Moreno Valley
Tulsa Roughnecks 5-3 Oklahoma City Energy U23
Wichita 3-4 Saint Louis FC
Colorado Springs 2-0 FC Tucson

Later
Fuego – Phoenix Rising
San Francisco Deltas  – Burlingame
Golden State Force – Orange County SC
LA Wolves – Chula Vista
OSA FC – Reno
Sacramento Republic – Anahuac

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.