San Jose Earthquakes hammer Montreal, Sporting KC tie Real Esteli in CCL play

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On Tuesday night CONCACAF Champions League action was back on the slate.

Three MLS teams were in action as they tried to reach the quarterfinals set for next March, some have it harder than others and that’s still the case after the latest batch of results.

The San Jose Earthquakes are pushing hard to try and make it to the quarters, following their total domination of the Montreal Impact at Buck Shaw Stadium in a 3-0 win.

Elsewhere, Sporting Kansas City are sitting pretty at the top of CCL Group 2, with seven points from their three games so far following their slightly disappointing 1-1 tie with Nicaraguan outfit Real Esteli at Sporting Park on Tuesday.

One other MLS team is in midweek CCL action, as the LA Galaxy face Isidro Metrapan on Wednesday in just their second CCL outing. Bruce Arena’s men have three games to play, with two tricky away trips on the way. Can LA make it to the quarters?

San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 Montreal Impact – Recap

In California two Major League Soccer sides squared off with big CCL implications on the line and it was the home side who started off brighter, with striker Chris Wondolowski opening the scoring and Marvin Chavez and Shea Salinas adding two more in the second half.

This result all keeps San Jose’s slim chances of making the quarters alive, but they have to beat current table toppers Heredia on October 23 to stand any chance of qualifying. However Montreal must beat Heredia on September 24 in order for San Jose to qualify.

It’s complicated, but with last night’s result in Cali, both MLS teams are struggling to qualify.

Sporting KC 1-1 Real Esteli – Recap

But the situation for Peter Vermes’ SKC side is looking a lot brighter, as Sporting only need a point in their final group game at home to Olimpia to seal their spot in the knockout stages.

On Tuesday Esteli grabbed a shock lead against the run of play as Rudel Calero headed home in the 54th minute. However Sporting’s Jacob Peterson scored in the second half to seal a vital point that keeps SKC’s fate in their own hands.

To watch the highlights from this CCL matchup, turn your attention to the video below. Enjoy.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.