A lot of things conspired to see Frank Yallop out of San Jose


Everybody will have their own explanation for why Frank Yallop’s second spell at San Jose abruptly ended after five-plus seasons; or, a more compelling way to put it, why the two-time MLS Cup-winner is out eight months after his team confirmed an unlikely Supporters’ Shield. On a number of levels, it doesn’t make sense. Go back to the beginning of 2012, and few were picking the Earthquakes to make the playoffs, let alone win silverware. Their finish atop the league won Yallop Coach of the Year honors, an award that now seems like part of a golden parachute.

Though people have reason to read the sides’ “mutual” agreement to part ways as code for termination, right now, I’m inclined to take it at face value. Famous last words, I know, and I may be bending too far backwards to see things how I want. But five-plus years in one place is a long time in the coaching world, far beyond Béla Guttman’s three-year rule. The iconic Hungarian coach took charge of 25 teams over a career that spanned from 1933 to 1973, only once staying as long as three seasons  (Benfica, 1959-1962, where he won two European Cups). His feeling: A coach can only be with a squad for so long before he becomes less effective and has to move on.

Colloquially, we’ve come to use terms like “stopped listening” or “tuning out” to describe a team growing apart from its coach. Closer to reality, it’s a matter of diminishing returns. A coach has methods, he employs them over a period of time, but as with most inter-personal relationships, things need to evolve. Often in the sports world, it’s too difficult for one coach to evolve with a squad’s worth of success-driven individual personalities.

Last season, everything fell into place. At least, during the regular season. Early in the campaign, Yallop figured out how to use the squad’s depth to drastically change his team’s in-game approach before full time. The combination to talent, belief, and tactics fueled the Goonies to a number of improbable wins, career years, and a Supporters’ Shield-winning season.

But that was a delicate amalgamation. An injury here, a departure there, a performance downturn elsewhere, and San Jose would be back fighting for its playoff life, unable to create that Goonie synergy that fueled their 2012 campaign. So when injuries happened (Steven Lenhart, Alan Gordon, Marvin Chavez, Steven Beitashour), the Earthquakes lost their luster. And when Rafa Baca had a downturn, they didn’t have the depth Khari Stephenson provided. When suspensions to Lenhart and Gordon came along, 2013 started to look like the perfect storm.

The biggest loss may have been one most of MLS has overlooked. In preseason, as I talked to Coach Yallop about the difficulties of preparing with an injury-riddled squad, the first name that came out of his mouth was Simon Dawkins. San Jose had lost the winger back to Tottenham, his loan not renewed. At the time, Yallop lamented not having a clear way to replace somebody who scored eight goals from wide in 2012. Now, as you see San Jose struggle to ind the same in-game adaptability that fueled 2012, their former boss looks prescient. Nothing like unknowingly predicting your downfall.

With Dawkins’ loss, the injuries, suspensions and the inevitable regression from a strong season, Yallop was going to be pressed to try every managerial trick in his book. Perhaps after five-plus seasons, he’d reached the last page. As he met with Dave Kaval and John Doyle to determine how 2013 could be salvaged, it may have became clear to everybody: Frank was no longer the right man for the job.

It seems the most likely scenario. At the beginning of the season, San Jose entering their new park without Yallop would have been inconceivable. It’s unlikely such a hasty move could have happened without Yallop, at some level, being on the same page. Not impossible. Just unlikely.

He’s been along enough to know when something’s working and when it’s not. And perhaps he thought he could get San Jose turned around. Maybe “mutual” is being use euphemistically. Regardless, with a résumé like Yallop’s, he won’t be on the sidelines for long.

When he feels recharged and wants back in, he’ll start getting calls. But for now, at San Jose, his time was up.

Europa League: Wolves knocked out by late Sevilla winner

Europa League Wolves
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Europa League: Wolves’ magical run through the Europa League came to an end on Tuesday, as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side was knocked out in the quarterfinals by UEL specialists Sevilla.

[ MORE: Lille sign $35-million Canadian star Jonathan David ]

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 Sevilla

Sevilla were quite comfortably the better side on the night, the side with the vast majority of the scoring chances, and thoroughly deserving semifinalists. Julen Lopetegui’s side will face Manchester United in the semis on Sunday.

It didn’t come easily for Sevilla, though. The game remained level at 0-0 for 87 minutes, until Lucas Ocampos rose above the crowd to head home his 16th goal of the season in the 88th minute.

Wolves had the game’s first — and virtually their only — chance to go ahead inside the first quarter-hour, but Raul Jimenez was denied from the penalty spot in the 12th minute. The real story here, however, is the ease with which Adama Traore left the pack behind and dribbled the ball 81 yards before Diego Carlos cut him down from behind.

Jimenez’s blunder from the spot was one of just two shots on target — both by Jimenez — that Wolves could muster in the game.

[ MORE: Transfer news: Havertz to Chelsea; Ramsey available ]

Sevilla began to ramp up the pressure after halftime and went dangerously close to breaking the deadlock just after the hour mark, as Youssef En-Nesyri weaved his way through traffic inside the penalty area before firing a low strike on goal. Fortunately for Wolves, Rui Patricio was all over and denied En-Nesyri his wondergoal.

Ever Banega forced Patricio to make a vital save of his curling free kick in the 77th minute, but again the Portuguese was up to the challenge. He scrambled across goal and rose high to get a hand on the ball and push it over the crossbar.

Shakhtar Donetsk thrashed Basel 4-1 in Tuesday’s other quarterfinal. They will face Inter Milan in the second semifinal next Monday.

Other Europa League scores

Shakhtar Donetsk 4-1 Basel
Man United 1-0 Copenhagen (Monday)
Inter Milan 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Monday)

Lille sign $35-million Canadian star Jonathan David

Lille sign Jonathan David
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Lille sign Jonathan David: Lille announced on Tuesday their signing of Canadian star Jonathan David from Belgian side Gent for a reported transfer fee of $35 million.

[ MORE: Transfer news: Havertz to Chelsea; Ramsey available ]

The fee paid is a record not only for a Canadian player, but also makes David Lille’s club-record signing and the most expensive player ever sold by a Belgian club.

David had been linked with a move to dozens of clubs across Europe, including a handful of Premier League sides, in recent weeks but it would appear that Lille’s recent success with young players starring in the first team, before selling them to those bigger European sides for massive profits, was an important factor in David’s decision to move to Ligue 1.

[ MORE: Spurs sign Hojbjerg from Southampton; Walker-Peters to Saints ]

The 20-year-old operates predominantly as a center forward but has, on rare occasions, played as a second striker underneath the main man. David racked up 48 goals and 20 assists in his two seasons at Gent, including a number of standout performances in the Europa League.

Wolves – Sevilla: How to watch, start time, prediction

Wolves - Sevilla
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Wolves – Sevilla should be an epic UEFA Europa League quarterfinal on Tuesday (start time, 3pm ET) in Duisburg, Germany as both teams will fancy their chances of winning the trophy if they advance.

Remember: these ties are one-legged encounters so the winner on the night will advance to the semifinal.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

Nuno Espirito Santo and Wolves have come through the qualifying rounds to get this far as the Premier League side have been in the 2019-20 Europa League for over a year, while Sevilla are the unofficial top dogs in the competition having won it more times than any team in history.

The La Liga side finished fourth this season in Spain under Julen Lopetegui, while Wolves finished seventh in the Premier League and know the only way they will be playing in Europe next season is if they win this competition and there qualify for the Champions League.

Ahead of a huge night for Wolves, below is a look at how to watch Wolves – Sevilla in the USA, the betting odds, prediction and much more.

Team news

What they’re saying

Nuno Espirito Santo praised Sevilla and knows his team have a big challenge ahead, while he backed his team to take the next step on their three-year journey together:

“It’s been a long journey, not only this season. A long journey that started three seasons ago in the Championship. It’s basically the same group of players. It was about trying to build a team, creating an identity, and we look forward to tomorrow to compete well and play a good game. We’ve been able to create an identity. It’s one of the most precious things in football – having an identity, based on a style of play and how we deal and socialize with our rules and tasks, how we deal with problems that happen. Trying to create a team, recruiting players, some take time, some not, but this is what it’s all about. We have to manage the result and I’m very proud of how we’ve done things and now I can say we have our own identity. It’s based on strong foundations of respect and hard work, and this is what we want to show tomorrow – a good team, with an identity, committed to the challenge.”

Sevilla star Lucas Ocamps on the threat Wolves possess: “Anyone who watches a little football has already seen them play. I feel like they are very competitive and physical. They have great players and they come here hungry for glory to beat us. I think it will be evenly matched because we’ll have the same desire and it’s going to be tough.”

Odds for Wolves – Sevilla – Full Europa League, Champions League odds

Wolves are the underdogs (pardon the pun) as they are +235 to beat Sevilla who are +120, but the tie at +230 is interesting. We can see this going to extra time and maybe even penalty kicks.

Prediction for Wolves – Sevilla

Wolves love upsetting the odds and Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore will be looking to exploit Sevilla on the counter, but Sevilla are a savvy team and are third favorites to win the Europa League yet again. Wolves are dangerous but I’m going for a Sevilla win after extra time. 2-1.

How to watch, stream Champions League and Europa League

Dates: August 5-23
Location: Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon/Germany
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com

Spurs sign Hojbjerg from Southampton; Walker-Peters to Saints

Spurs sign Hojbjerg
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Spurs sign Hojbjerg: Tottenham Hotspur announced on Tuesday their capture of midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Southampton, who will reportedly receive a small cash fee plus right back Kyle Walker-Peters in return.

[ MORE: Premier League transfers: Every deal from all 20 clubs ]

Hojbjerg, 25, had been heavily linked with a transfer to Tottenham in recent weeks as Jose Mourinho rebuilds after finishing sixth in his first (partial) season at the club. He joins Spurs after four seasons at Southampton, where he proved himself to be a reliable ball-winner — something Spurs have desperately needed for quite some time.

The fit of Hojbjerg sitting deep in midfield should offer the likes of Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele — provided the latter remains at the club through the summer transfer window — all the defensive cover required to better affect games in the opposition half of the field. Too many times in 2019-20, Spurs lacked a player like Hojbjerg to break up play and make the simple pass to a pair of star midfielders and let them be on their merry way.

[ MORE: Transfer news: Havertz to Chelsea; Ramsey available ]

Walker-Peters spent the second half of the 2019-20 season on loan to Saints from Spurs, and clearly he impressed Ralph Hasenhuttl and convinced everyone at St. Mary’s Stadium he is a Premier League-caliber starting right back. He made a dozen PL appearances for Spurs over the last three years, but never managed to break all the way into the first team as Mauricio Pochettino’s side rose higher and higher into PL and European ranks.