Americans Abroad Review: Bedoya buries one, Boyd bags brace

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How many Americans could find themselves in the UEFA Champions League or the Europa League next season?

Quite a few, and Everton’s Tim Howard is doing his best to get his name on the list. The Toffees blanked Manchester United 2-0 on Sunday, moving themselves within a point of No. 4 Arsenal for the last slot in the UCL. A Saturday date at St. Mary’s against Southampton is the next step for Everton.

Jozy Altidore won a penalty for Sunderland that, once converted by Fabio Borini, won the Black Cats crucial points in a 2-1 decision over Chelsea. Altidore slipped and fell down while running alongside Cesar Azpilicueta in the Chelsea box, and a penalty was awarded. The American forward will take them where he can get them these days.

Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan kept his first clean sheet in a month when the Villans drew Southampton 0-0. Guzan’s club is now five points ahead of the drop, while Geoff Cameron and Stoke City are making a late charge for ninth place. Even eighth isn’t out of the question for the Potters, who saw 90 minutes from Cameron in a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City.

Birmingham is still in relegation danger down in the Championship after failing to find a point against Nottingham Forest. Jonathan Spector again went 90 minutes in a 1-0 loss, while Will Packwood failed to appear off the bench.

Danny Williams was off after 55 minutes for Reading, but he did pick up a yellow card and was on the pitch for all three of Wigan’s goals in a 3-0 loss. Tim Ream went 90 for Bolton as the Wanderers drew 0-0 at Charlton, and Duane Holmes made the bench but didn’t play in Huddersfield Town’s 1-1 draw against Brighton.

Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday let 1-0 and 2-1 leads go before scoring twice between minutes 86 and 90 to top Bournemouth 4-2. Both goals came with Onyewu and the Owls down to 10-men for the game’s final half-hour.

Aron Johannsson, Juan Agudelo and Sacha Kljestan all had weekends free of soccer (but don’t fear: so did their clubs).

Terrence Boyd buried a brace before halftime in Rapid Wien’s 2-2 draw against SV Scholz Grodig. Video hasn’t arrived of one of his goals, but here’s a stadium end look at his penalty conversion that keeps Rapid point ahead of Austria Wien for the top flight’s Europa League bid:

Ale Bedoya was part of a Nantes goal parade, as the Canaries stomped Valenciennes 6-2. His goal in the 41st minute (VIDEO) made it five on the Ligue 1 season and two in his last three appearances.

A pregame injury to Fabian Lustenberger forced John Anthony Brooks into the starting XI for Hertha Berlin’s 0-0 draw at FC Augsburg. Fabian Johnson went 90 minutes for Hoffenheim in its 3-1 loss to Werder Bremen.

Wynalda named head coach, technical director of Las Vegas Lights

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Las Vegas Lights FC is staying very on-brand as it announces its new head coach and technical director.

After a season headlined by the lights, glitz and glamour off the field while fortunes on the field struggled, the Lights administration announced on Wednesday that it had hired Eric Wynalda to be its new manager. The former U.S. Men’s National Team striker takes over effective immediately, after Lights FC parted ways with Isidro Sanchez at the end of the 2018 USL regular season last Saturday.

[READ: Wenger could return to coaching in January]

Las Vegas made waves ahead of their expansion season by hiring controversial ex-Chivas USA manager Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, known affectionately as “Chelis.” However, just before the start of the season, Chelis was demoted in a way to technical director while his son, Isidro Sanchez, took over the reigns on the sideline. Chelis was eventually dismissed after a poor run of form and an altercation with a fan led him to receive an eight-game suspension.

However, the hiring of Wynalda perfectly fits within the ethos of the bright and loud club, trying to mimic the stereotype projected by Las Vegas. Wynalda’s comments and opinions on the sport in the U.S. have likely kept him from receiving MLS coaching offers, which is ridiculous because he’s proven to be a successful coach on the field. Not only a great scout of talent, Wynalda is the definition of a player’s manager, a coach that players want to run through walls for. He found success with Cal FC and in a short spell with the Atlanta Silverbacks, where he commuted back and forth from his home in Los Angeles.

Most recently, Wynalda has been out of a job since running for U.S. Soccer president, in which he was defeated early on during the election last February.

There’s likely to be a big overhaul of players this offseason at Las Vegas, but considering Wynalda’s eye for talent, there’s a good chance that the Llamas/Lights should be a more competitive side in 2019.

Mane undergoes hand surgery

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The “FIFA virus” is hitting Liverpool hard this month.

Sadio Mane, who reportedly broke his left thumb on international duty for Senegal, underwent surgery on Wednesday, Liverpool confirmed. The club did not include a timetable for Mane’s return in its press release, only saying, “Mane’s recovery will be monitored over the next couple of days ahead of the Reds’ return to action at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.”

With the injury, Mane joins Mo Salah, Naby Keita and Virgil Van Dijk as Reds to be injured during the international break.

As an attacker, it’s unlikely Mane really needs the use of his left hand other than to protect himself on aerial challenges on bumps from defenders, but depending on the recovery, it may just be a decision of how much pain Mane could tolerate. With matches against Huddersfield, Red Star Belgrade and Cardiff City to come, maybe this is a good time for Jurgen Klopp to rest some of his starters, including the walking wounded like Mane.

Fulham owner withdraws offer to purchase Wembley Stadium

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Wembley Stadium is set to stay in the FA’s hands.

[READ: USMNT 1-1 Peru: Player Ratings]

The FA announced in a press release Wednesday that Fulham owner Shahid Kahn had withdrawn his offer of $790 million to purchase Wembley Stadium. Kahn first became interested in buying the stadium in February 2017, when he and FA CEO Martin Glenn met at the Superbowl. What followed was an informal offer to the FA Board of Directors before a formal offer was made.

The offer has been valued at anywhere from nearly $800 million to nearly $1.2 billion. In a statement, Kahn said that his goal to purchase the stadium was to provide the FA with a large amount of capital which it could use to improve grassroots soccer around the country.

“The intent of my efforts was, and is, to do right by everyone in a manner that strengthens the English game and brings people together, not divides them,” Khan said. “Unfortunately, given where we are today, I’ve concluded that the outcome of a vote next week would be far from sufficient in expressing the broad support favored by the FA chairman to sell Wembley Stadium.”

The FA council was set to vote on the sale next week.

Although it cost the FA and British government more than $1.4 billion (adjusted for inflation) to renovate and rebuild Wembley Stadium, the arena hosted 33 events between July 2016 and June 2017 and in its latest published financial records, the FA recorded an after-tax profit of $21 million. So it seems that along with the sponsorships and broadcast deals, Wembley Stadium is a money maker, which makes it important for the FA to hold on to.

That being said, it’s hard to turn down a deal worth close to $1 billion, even if that’s a lump sum and they won’t receive further investments from stadium revenues in the future. In the future, maybe Kahn or another owner may make another offer, one that the FA council could accept.

Report: La Liga chief going to court to compel U.S. based games to happen

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The head of La Liga is considering taking extraordinary action to ensure that a planned match this year in the U.S. goes off as expected.

[READ: What did we learn about the USMNT?]

According to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, La Liga president Javier Tebas is set to bring a lawsuit against the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and its chief, Luis Rubiales to compel the federation to approve Barcelona’s match against Girona on January 26, which has been scheduled to be moved to Miami, Fla.’s Hard Rock Stadium.

In a way, it makes sense that Tebas and the Spanish league is considering every possible avenue to ensure that their 15-year marketing rights agreement with Relevant Sports, including league matches played abroad, can move forward as expected. However, it was clear after the announcement in August that all parties involved – especially La Liga, had not thought this through. FIFA, the RFEF, local fans and the Spanish league’s player’s union have all opposed the news, and on Wednesday Real Madrid formally sent a letter of it’s disapproval in moving La Liga matches abroad.

Tebas and La Liga would prefer for this to be resolved legally sooner rather than later, so they can market the Barcelona match in Miami and begin negotiating with the other federations that need to approve. But there’s a decent chance that the other parties – FIFA, and U.S. Soccer – could fail to rubber stamp what would be a first-of-its-kind event. In any case, watch this space.