Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

La Liga: Griezmann shines as Atleti win to stay 8 back of Barca

Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Antoine Griezmann is keeping alive Atletico Madrid’s hopes of a Spanish league title challenge.

The France forward scored an impressive goal and helped set up two others as Atletico comfortably defeated Celta Vigo 3-0 on Sunday to keep pace with league leader Barcelona.

Victor “Vitolo” Machin and Angel Correa also scored for Atletico at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.

The team’s 10th win in 11 matches in all competitions kept second-place Atletico eight points behind Barcelona with 10 matches left. The Catalan club beat last-place Malaga 2-0 on Saturday despite playing without Lionel Messi because of the birth of his third son, Ciro.

Atletico’s only recent setback was a 1-0 loss at Barcelona in the previous round.

“There is still a lot of league left,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “We are focusing on each match. I want to reach the final five rounds with chances. Then we will see what happens.”

Griezmann has been decisive for Atletico. He scored his eighth goal in five matches after a neat move inside the area just before halftime. The Frenchman cleared two Celta players by faking a shot near the goal, then sent the ball into the top far corner to open the scoring at the Metropolitano.

Griezmann, who has previously been linked with a move to Barcelona or Manchester United, then set up Vitolo’s goal with a well-placed throughball inside the area in the 56th, and he also started the play that led to Correa’s final goal a few minutes later.

“The reality is that today Griezmann is with us and he has been playing fantastically,” Simeone said. “Tomorrow is another day.”

Real Madrid stayed in third place by defeating Eibar 2-1 on Saturday with a pair of goals by Cristiano Ronaldo, while fourth-place Valencia remained a point behind Madrid by winning 2-0 at Sevilla with two goals by striker Rodrigo.

Sevilla stayed fifth but 11 points behind Valencia in the fight for a Champions League spot next season. Sevilla plays at Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday in the last-16 second leg. The teams drew 0-0 in Sevilla in the first leg.

Celta stayed ninth with the loss, its second in three matches.

Villarreal took a step toward securing a Europa League spot by defeating Las Palmas 2-0 with second-half goals by Carlos Bacca and Nicola Sansone.

The win moved Villarreal to sixth place, one point behind Sevilla and a point ahead of Girona.

France veteran Malouda loses appeal in Gold Cup case

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
2 Comments

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Former France winger Florent Malouda has lost his appeal against being ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana at the 2017 Gold Cup.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its judges dismissed Malouda’s appeal against North American soccer body CONCACAF.

French Guiana fielded Malouda in a 0-0 draw against Honduras last July despite being told he was not eligible. CONCACAF awarded a 3-0 win to Honduras and suspended Malouda.

The Gold Cup uses FIFA eligibility rules which bar players from transferring allegiance after playing a competitive game for one country.

Malouda played 80 times for France including a 2006 World Cup final loss against Italy.

The French Guiana soccer federation hoped Malouda, now aged 37, could play in the Gold Cup because it is not a FIFA member.

Report: Bobby Wood unlikely to come to MLS this summer

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images
Leave a comment

A U.S. Men’s National Team forward will probably have to wait a bit longer to come to Major League Soccer if that is the path that he chooses.

Reports have recently surfaced linking Bobby Wood to MLS at the conclusion of the Bundesliga season, however, MLSSoccer.com is reporting that a move for the American likely won’t come in 2018.

Wood, who remains under contract for three more seasons at Hamburg, is currently fighting relegation in Germany with his club side.

Hamburg currently sits 17th in the German top flight, eight points buried in the relegation zone with four matches remaining.

The MLSSoccer.com report suggests that MLS clubs aren’t willing to compensate Wood at the current rate of his contract in Germany.

Currently, Wood is making “several million dollars” per season, and even if Hamburg is relegated in 2017/18 Wood’s contract wouldn’t decrease to a number that clubs are comfortable paying.

If Wood was to join MLS, he would be considered a Discovery signing as he is not currently on the MLS player allocation list. The Washington Post previously reported that an MLS club has Wood included on their Discovery list, although the team’s identity isn’t known.

Report: Fellaini eyes MLS, China after shooting down Man United terms

Clive Rose/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marouane Fellaini‘s time in Manchester looks to be numbered, and a move abroad could have the Belgian in line for one last payday during his career.

The Manchester United midfielder has rejected multiple offers to stay on at Old Trafford ahead of his contract expiring this summer, which would allow Fellaini to pursue other opportunities come June.

Fellaini is being linked to moves to Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League, as the veteran aims to secure a sizable contract upon leaving the Red Devils after over five-and-a-half years with the club.

The Daily Mail is also reporting that Fellaini would be open to hearing options that could keep him in the Premier League, although it is unclear if there is any serious interest from English sides at this time.

Since the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, Fellaini has struggled to find playing time under manager Jose Mourinho.

This season, the Belgium international has appeared in just 14 PL matches and 19 in all competitions. Fellaini has scored four goals in that span.

Chicago Fire venue to be renamed SeatGeek Stadium

Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Chicago Fire won’t be moving into a new stadium 2019, however, their venue will have a new name donned on the side of it.

For years, the Eastern Conference side has played its home matches at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, but starting next season the Fire’s home turf will be called SeatGeek Stadium as part of a rebrand.

SeatGeek is one of the largest online after-market ticket distributors, and was created back in 2009.

Toyota Park will undergo its transformation at the conclusion of the 2018 MLS season.

The venue is also home to the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.