Don Garber: Klinsmann’s comments on MLS are ‘frustrating as hell’

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Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber called a press conference today to take a hardline stance against the recent comments made by US Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann regarding Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and the standard of play in Major League Soccer.

“Making that decision to go from Roma, a Champions League team, to Toronto, that now seems like they’re not even qualifying for the playoffs, it’s a huge disappointment,” Klinsmann said of Bradley on Monday.

The National Team coach went on to say that he believes the moves of Bradley and Dempsey back to MLS were financially motivated and contributed to a dip in form. “To say Dempsey and Bradley’s form have diminished, I don’t believe that’s true,” Garber said. “If our Technical Director for our country is basically saying, ‘you come home to MLS you’ll end up like Michael and Clint,’ that sends the wrong message. . . . If he wants to talk to Michael he should do so privately, but don’t use a global media platform to do that.”

[Related: Klinsmann criticizes MLS, Bradley move]

[Related: Twitter reacts to Garber’s press conference]

Citing the “indisputable contribution” that 10 MLS players had on last summer’s World Cup success, Garber described Klinsmann’s failure to believe in MLS as “frustrating as hell.” But the comments didn’t merely bother Garber, they were just plain “wrong.” Citing the league’s development of DeAndre Yedlin, Garber said Klinsmann’s conclusion that “if you play in MLS it will negatively impact your form” was “patently untrue.”

Garber also expressed concern that Klinsmann’s comments of Dempsey and Bradley could end putting them into a similar situation where Landon Donovan found himself this summer. “It’s concerning to me that it seems to be following a pattern that begun with Landon. . . . I believe that Landon should’ve been in Brazil. Not because he eared it but because his performance dictated it. . . . I have concerns that his criticism of Michael is following that pattern”

Bottom line, Garber said, was that the time had come for Klinsmann to “embrace the vision” that US Soccer and MLS remain “inextricably linked” in order to grow the game in the US. “We need deep alignment with everyone who is an influencer in the sport,” Garber said. “I not only ask this but I insist that everyone who is paid to work in this sport that they align with the vision… And I don’t think the comments from Klinsmann did this. . . . I believe his comments are at odds with what we collectively believe what we’re trying to achieve together.”

When asked whether the time had come for Klinsmann to reconsider his position as Technical Director and coach, Garber stopped short of calling for the axe. “For the future of the sport, Jurgen needs to embrace the vision and for him to publicly state issues he has with MLS is not something that will allow him to effectively serve the role as coach or Technical Director. I am by no way saying what Sunil should be doing with Jurgen. That’s between Sunil and Jurgen.”

 

Dortmund hammer Freiburg but gain no ground on Bayern

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Borussia Dortmund moved back within one point of Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich with a 4-0 win against Freiburg on Sunday.

[ LA LIGA: Real Madrid win to stay within striking distance of 2nd ]

Dortmund went ahead in the 11th minute when 19-year-old Jadon Sancho scored from the six-yard box after a run by Marco Reus. It was Sancho’s 11th Bundesliga goal this season.

Dortmund added three after the interval with goals from Reus, Mario Gotze and Paco Alcacer with a penalty.

[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]

In the day’s other game, Hertha Berlin was held 0-0 at home by bottom side Hannover, which ended an eight-game losing streak.

On Saturday, Bayern beat Werder Bremen 1-0.

With four rounds left, Bayern leads with 70 points, Dortmund has 69 and Leipzig is third with 61.

La Liga: Real Madrid win to stay within striking distance of 2nd

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]

Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao

Karim Benzema bagged a hat trick (WATCH HERE) — his 19th, 20th and 21st goals of the league season (second-most, 12 behind Lionel Messi) — to send Real Madrid to a comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu. The result also keeps Los Blancos within four points of capital rivals Atletico Madrid in something of a battle for second place behind runaway leaders Barcelona.

Benzema has scored 10 goals in his last seven La Liga appearances, a run in which Madrid have complied a 5W-1D-1L record. Benzema failed to score in Zinedine Zidane’s re-debut as Madrid manager, but has scored eight goals in five games since.

Sunday’s game marked the 300th league appearance for midfielder and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in a Real Madrid shirt.

Getafe 3-0 SevillaWATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Sevilla’s hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League following a one-year hiatus took a serious hit on Sunday, as Pablo Machin’s side was hammered by Getafe, the side which now occupies fourth place, two points ahead of them. Getafe continue to enjoy their meteoric rise through the Spanish ranks, as they were competing in the second division this time two years ago.

Two of the three goals the scored on Sunday came from the penalty spot, as Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina converted in the 35th and 45th+4′, respectively. Molina completed the scoring eight minutes into the second half.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-2 Valencia
Levante 2-2 Espanyol
Villarreal 2-1 Leganes

PSG wins French league after 2nd-place Lille fails to win

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PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain clinched the French league title without kicking a ball as second-place Lille could only draw 0-0 at Toulouse on Sunday.

Lille had to win to have any chance of catching PSG, but PSG is now 16 points ahead of its only rival with five matches left after this weekend.

After failing to clinch the title in the past three matches, drawing one and losing two, PSG can celebrate the eighth title in its history ahead of its home game against Monaco later Sunday.

It is PSG’s sixth title in the last seven seasons, with only Monaco in 2017 breaking PSG’s dominance.

Although the title was long expected from a side scoring 92 goals in 32 games so far, it took longer than it should have.

PSG could have won it three games ago, but drew 2-2 at home to Strasbourg when a win would have clinched it.

Then PSG needed a draw at Lille last Sunday, only to lose 5-1 in the club’s heaviest defeat since Qatari investors QSI took charge of the club in June 2011.

A win away to Nantes would have sufficed, too, on Wednesday night only for PSG to lose 3-2 .

The 10 goals conceded in those three games made for PSG’s worst defensive record during a three-game spell since 1985.

Also Sunday, striker Kalifa Coulibaly scored twice as 13th-place Nantes beat 17th-place Amiens 3-2.

Later, Saint-Etienne needed a draw at Reims to move above Marseille and into fourth place.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Klopp hails Liverpool mettle in face of “proper banana skin”

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Jurgen Klopp knows that more than a few clubs would’ve slipped up Sunday at Cardiff City, given the hosts’ desperation and the visitors’ midweek triumph, but his Reds stood up to the test.

[ RECAP: Cardiff 0-2 Liverpool ]

Liverpool beat Cardiff City 2-0, scoring a pair of second half goals to go back atop the Premier League before Manchester City plays its final match-in-hand of the season in a midweek Manchester Derby.

“It was prepared to be a proper banana skin and we knew that, the boys were unbelievable,” Klopp said after his team kept a second consecutive clean sheet.

He insists that he’s not feeling pressure as Liverpool may need to win every one of its matches and get help to capture its first Premier League crown.

“I only know about me and I didn’t feel it (the pressure) we have to do it like we do it. We cannot change it. The boys try really with all they have, we only speak about the things we have to do. Their attitude is outstanding and it’s a tough season but a very positive one as well.”

Liverpool has two banana skins left, a visit from Huddersfield and trip to Newcastle, closing out the league slate with Wolves at Anfield.