Premier League on tour, Weds roundup: Five play, only Liverpool loses

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Liverpool’s opposition was the stiffest challenge for any of the five Premier League teams playing in North America on Wednesday night, and the Reds were the only team to fall.

[ RELATED: Schedule for PL teams on North American tours]

AS Roma 1, Liverpool 0

I Lupi’s Marco Borriello used a shot through traffic in the 90th minute to claim “Football at Fenway” over Brendan Rodgers’ bunch. The bigger story coming out of Boston was the shoulder injury to Fabio Borini, who was playing despite Liverpool having agreed to a fee with Sunderland for his transfer.

“It’s probably not as bad as first thought.  He’s had problems in the past with his shoulder, but he’s only bruised it.

“He’ll miss a few days of training. He won’t train now for the remainder of the trip here, but it’s only going to be a matter of days before he’s back training and playing again.”

Liverpool’s next match is 6pm ET Sunday against Olympiakos in Chicago.

[ RELATED — WATCH: Daniel Sturridge breaks down Liverpool expectations with NBCSN crew ]

Manchester City 4, Sporting KC 1

Four different Citizens tallied in a battle KC deemed the “Clash of the Champions”. Bruno Zuculini, 21, netted in the match, as did trialist Kelechi Iheanacho — the Golden Ball winner at the 2013 U-17 World Cup —  and more familiar names Dedryck Boyata and Aleksandar Kolarov.

City controlled the match, as new goalkeeper Wily Caballero was hardly troubled. CJ Sapong did manage to make things tight for a bit in the first half when he scored with help from Benny Feilhaber. Man City put nine shots on frame,while KC managed just two.

Manchester United 7, Los Angeles Galaxy 0

The Galaxy fielded a weakened lineup, and the Red Devils took great advantage in Louis van Gaal’s first match in charge. Los Angeles players used the term “embarrassing” after the game, and that’s no exaggeration.

The first goal came on a horrific giveaway, the second was a PK following a handball in the box and the third was an absolute mess, as Wayne Rooney tapped a ball over Jaime Pineda after a low, mediocre cross went through a defender’s legs.

It was a brutal match for the Galaxy, and not a good indication of where Major League Soccer stands.

[ RELATED: ‘Embarrassed in L.A.’, thrilled in Manchester; Reactions from a 7-0 blowout ]

[ RELATED: Louis van Gaal gives Antonio Valencia a shooting lesson (video) ]

United next plays Sunday in Denver against AS Roma.

Tottenham Hotspur 3, Toronto FC 2

BMO Field gave a warm welcome to Spurs, who opened up a two-goal lead on ex-teammate Jermain Defoe and the host Reds. Twenty-two-year-old Erik Lamela netted twice for Tottenham in the first frame.

But Toronto FC came back, poking holes in Tottenham’s much-changed second-half backline. First Andrew Wiedeman picked up a slick through ball from Daniel Lovitz to make to 2-1 before the scorer turned passer on a strong finish by 18-year-old Homegrown player Jordan Hamilton.

Alas, Andros Townsend pounced on an opportunity caused by a TFC giveaway to bend home a winner in the 85th minute.

Spurs finish their tour with a match in Chicago on Saturday.

Aston Villa 2, FC Dallas 0

Villa played two different formations and a boatload of players. Both were fit enough to easily handle the challenge for Dallas. Andreas Weimann and Charles N’Zogbia were your goal scorers in the match.

Dallas played the friendly game with a juggled lineup as well, with some youth getting experience and some injured players working back to fitness. Not much to be judged from either side here, so perhaps Aston Villa’s Saturday tilt in Houston can be a better indicator for Villa fans.

Three German organizers of 2006 World Cup indicted for tax evasion

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Three German organizers of the 2006 World Cup have been charged with tax evasion linked to a payment to FIFA.

German news agency dpa reported that Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst R. Schmidt confirmed Wednesday they are indicted by Frankfurt prosecutors in a long-running investigation.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

They are accused of falsifying tax returns on behalf of the Germany soccer federation (DFB) in 2006. The DFB has already paid 19.2 million euros ($22.4 million) in back taxes. All three deny the charges, which were first reported by German daily Bild

The allegations are also being investigated by Swiss federal prosecutors and FIFA’s ethics committee. They have targeted German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer, who led the 2006 tournament organizing committee.

Beckenbauer, Zwanziger and Niersbach were members of FIFA’s executive committee in turn from 2007 through 2016.

In 2016, the DFB published an inquiry report into a complex payments trail including 6.7 million euros ($7.8 million) to FIFA in April 2005. Zwanziger and the DFB claimed the money was for a World Cup opening gala and therefore tax-deductible.

However, the payment went through FIFA and ended in a Swiss account belonging to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who died in 2009.

The inquiry report did not rule out, but could not prove, that votes were bought when Germany beat a Nelson Mandela-supported South Africa bid for the hosting rights in a 12-11 vote of FIFA executive committee members in 2000.

Swiss prosecutors said in 2016 they had opened a criminal proceeding against the four German officials the previous year, on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation. That case spun off from a wider Swiss investigation of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup hosting votes that is ongoing.

Niersbach lost his seat on FIFA’s ruling committee when he was banned for one year for failing to disclose possible unethical conduct.

The various investigations have tarnished the reputation of the 2006 World Cup that was a popular success in the host nation, which called it the “Summer Fairytale.”

Would Real three-peat be most impressive feat in UCL history?

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When Franz Roth’s 57th minute goal gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over Saint-Etienne in Glasgow on May 12, 1976, it marked the last time a club won three-consecutive European Cups.

Oddly enough, Ajax turned the trick in the previous three seasons to Bayern’s run, and Real Madrid won the first five from 1955-60 when the tournament required a side of its ilk win only four ties. By 1976, the tournament began with the Round of 32.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

While there were certainly reasons the tournament was more difficult, consider that travel was far more taxing on the body and officiating far less advanced if even impartial, what Real Madrid would do this weekend would be an incredible achievement.

Winning three-straight competitions in any of the elite league is insane, and the UEFA Champions Leagues is especially bonkers.

Yes, an injury to Neymar made the PSG defeat a little less impressive, but consider that Real has advanced to the final while playing a murderer’s row (especially in relation to their opponents). Juventus was next, and then Bayern Munich. Now, Liverpool.

While no one, maybe ever, should cry for Real Madrid, this third run is more impressive than the first two in that the club simply isn’t as strong as previous iterations. That’s evidenced by their relatively poor performance in La Liga play, finishing almost 20 points back of rivals Barcelona and three behind Atleti.

Real sold nearly $100 million worth of players this offseason than it bought, with Theo Hernandez and Dani Ceballos the biggest names through the door while Alvaro Morata, Danilo, and James Rodriguez skipped town.

Who knows what’s in the water in Real, but its veteran squad continues to produce big results. Cristiano Ronaldo is 33. Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric 32. Marcelo and Benzema 30.

If Real holds off Liverpool, there will be some myopic notes about how it should’ve been expected to win the match, but that ignores that in a competition as deep as ever, Real took on all comers and triumphed for the third-straight year.

In doing so, they are likely achieving the most impressive feat in modern UCL history, certainly at least since Porto won the 2003-04 tournament under Jose Mourinho… and that was a one-off.

Report: Earnie Stewart in negotiations for U.S. Soccer GM job

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Philadelphia Union sporting director and USMNT centurion Earnie Stewart is reportedly in negotiations to become the United States men’s national team general manager.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

The report, from Metro NY reporter Kristian Dyer, says the Netherlands-born executive has the proverbial ball in his court.

Stewart, 49, racked up 103 caps and 18 goals for the Yanks and had a glittering playing career spent between Willem II, NAC Breda, and DC United.

He later had high-ranking positions with NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar.

Here’s Dyer, quoting a source:

The source, speaking to Metro on the condition of anonymity, said that Stewart is believed to be the frontrunner and is in negotiations for the position following an impressive showing during the interview process.

The club, when asked for a comment, told Metro that “Since Earnie’s first interview with U.S. Soccer, we have respected their process, and as such, we will decline further comment until a final decision has been made.”

Stewart scored against Colombia in the 1994 World Cup and added markers in qualifying for the 1998 and 2002 tournaments.

His familiarity with both MLS and European leagues would be a boon for the U.S., and Stewart’s Union has brought along a number of promising young players including Auston Trusty and Keegan Rosenberry (the latter drafted out of Georgetown).

Carrick: Haven’t entertained possibility of Pogba leaving Man Utd

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Michael Carrick is hammering the idea of a Paul Pogba exit from Manchester United.

Pogba’s had his problems with manager Jose Mourinho, but recently praised the boss for the season’s education.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

But is an exit is just not going to happen, says Carrick as he heads toward a coaching role at Old Trafford.

From Sky Sports:

“Of course he’s got a future, he’s a big player for us, he’s a great age, he’s got his peak years ahead of him. It’s not even something I’d give a second thought to, to be honest.”

The retired midfielder also said he’s looking forward to working under Jose Mourinho, whom he calls “the best man to learn from.”

He also said United’s trophy-less season wasn’t ideal, but it’s more about them their competition.

“We’re not looking at City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, anyone. We’re looking at ourselves to improve, we believe we’re capable of improving a lot and we’ll see where that takes us.”