MLS exit interviews: Waving goodbye to 9 teams (one forever); how did they do in 2014?

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After Chivas USA’s permanent exit from Major League Soccer was confirmed on Monday, this feature has taken a whole new twist.

With Chivas’ time in MLS up forever, as the team will be relaunched and rebranded in LA in 2017, we say goodbye to the Goats as they misses the playoffs for a fifth-straight season in 2014.

Seven other MLS franchises are also done, but just for this season, as we take a quick glance at the teams who didn’t make the 2014 postseason.

Here are PST’s exit interviews. 

WEST

Portland Timbers

Final position: 6th
Points out of the playoffs: 1
Record: 12-9-13
Verdict: A porous defense, a shocking start and damaging injuries proved to be too much for Caleb Porter’s men to handle. Even the midseason arrival of center back and DP Liam Ridgewell couldn’t halt the issues. The defending Western Conference champions stumbled time and time again just when it looked like they were back on track and crashed out of the CCL too. Disappointing season in the Rose City.

Chivas USA

Final position: 7th
Points out of the playoffs: 17
Record: 9-19-6
Verdict: Well, what do we say? It’s all over for the Goats after 10 years in MLS. Great times and playoff runs under Bob Bradley and Preki have given way to scandal, distress and pain for fans of LA’s second team over the past five years. A new team will rise in downtown LA in their place, as Chivas USA are no more. Winning 1-0 in their final game of the franchise shot them up to 7th in the West and gave their long-suffering fans one last thing to celebrate before the lights were turned off for the final time.

Colorado Rapids

Final position: 8th
Points out of the playoffs: 18
Record: 8-18-8
Verdict: After Oscar Pareja jumped ship over the offseason it was always going to be hard to rebuild and rookie coach Pablo Mastroeni has found it very hard in Commerce City, Col. Injuries weren’t kind to the Rapids, but they didn’t exactly help themselves with several heavy defeats along the way. The league’s worst defense conceded 62 goals. Plenty of work to do up in the Rocky Mountains.

San Jose Earthquakes

Final position: 9th
Points out of the playoffs: 7
Record: 10-12-12
Verdict: The second worst season in MLS history for San Jose (ouch) as they begin a brave new era in their new stadium in 2015. Dominic Kinnear will return to coach them after leaving Houston, as Mark Watson struggled massively in his first full season in charge. The ‘Quakes suffered a record breaking 15-game winless streak. Losing Chris Wondolwoski and Victor Bernandez during the World Cup hit them hard and both players looked exhausted after returning from Brazil.

source: AP
A terrible year in Toronto after so much promise.

EAST

Philadelphia Union

Final position: 6th
Points out of the playoffs: 7
Record: 10-12-12
Verdict: An up and down year for the Union who parted company with John Hackworth. They made the Open Cup final but lost to the Seattle Sounders on home soil in over time. Heartbreaker. That loss seemed to carry over to the final months of MLS, as interim boss Jim Curtin saw his side slip out of the playoff race with damaging defeats late in the season after they led the way. Not bad, not great, would be the assessment.

Toronto FC

Final position: 7th
Points out of the playoffs: 8
Record: 11-15-8
Verdict: Where do we start? What a mess. A public spat between young GM Tim Bezbatchenko and head coach Ryan Nelsen led to the latter losing his job in August, then Jermain Defoe looked to be on his way back to the Premier League after falling out with CEO Tim Lieweke but is sticking around… for now. Defoe and Bradley suffered injuries and TFC’s form took a nosedive towards the end of the season with Greg Vanney stepping in. Eight-straight seasons without a playoff appearances for the Reds. Who will clean this mess up?

Houston Dynamo

Final position: 8th
Points out of the playoffs: 10
Record: 11-17-6
Verdict: A poor season for Houston as Dominic Kinnear moves on to San Jose after being the only coach in Dynamo history. Having the worst defensive record in MLS is very “un-Houston” and the new man who comes in will have to rectify that. Big changes at BBVA on the horizon after a forgetful season in Texas. At least they will be in the Western Conference next season and get three games vs. FC Dallas.

Chicago Fire

Final position: 9th
Points out of the playoffs: 13
Record: 6-10-18
Verdict: Ah, the draw specialists. Frank Yallop’s men showed plenty of promise early in the season as rookie Harry Shipp tore teams apart. Losing reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee to injury hit the Fire hard and they never recovered. All in all, a poor season. Will Yallop be around next year?

Montreal Impact

Final position: 10th
Points out of the playoffs: 21
Record: 6-18-10
Verdict: The Frank Klopas experiment has so far been a bit of a nightmare at Stade Saputo. The Impact put up the lowest points tally in MLS and wholesale changes are needed to move the Black and Blue back in the right direction. It took them eight games to get a win in 2014 and losing veterans Davy Arnaud and Alessandro Nesta hit them hard. Work to do in Quebec.

Manchester City – Newcastle preview: How to watch, start time, stream, odds, prediction

Manchester City - Newcastle preview
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Manchester City – Newcastle preview: Man City looks to take another step toward sealing second place on the table as plucky Newcastle United visits the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday (Watch live at 1 pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

The nine losses Pep Guardiola’s overseen this season are the most in a single league season over his celebrated career, but City’s still second and the advanced stats say they’re playing the best football in the league.

STREAM MANCHESTER CITY – NEWCASTLE LIVE

It’s a funny game, and the same wisdom can be applied to Steve Bruce’s strong season at Newcastle. The well-traveled and well-liked boss has led the Magpies to a better season that Rafa Benitez did in 2018-19, though it’s pivotal to note that Bruce has been blessed with much better transfer outlay.


Team news

Sergio Aguero remains out for Man City after undergoing knee surgery, while Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker face late fitness tests.

Newcastle star Allan Saint-Maximin was dinged up in a weekend draw with West Ham but could play, while Florian Lejeune, Ciaran Clark, Isaac Hayden, and Sean Longstaff are unlikely to play.


What they’re saying

Man City’s Pep Guardiola on bouncing back from Southampton: “Of course we have confidence in the players and we are the same guys. We’ve done it in previous seasons. The way we played is similar, but we have to win the games. Next season will be next season. We will try to score more goals and avoid conceding chances. The control is there, the way we play is there. We need to try to increase these kind of things.”

Magpies boss Steve Bruce on leading scorer Jonjo Shelvey“It becomes easy, the game of football, like a game of golf, to him. He’s blessed with a natural ability. He can see a pass that other people can’t. He can deliver a pass. He can score a goal. Physically and mentally, he’s bought into everything we’ve tried to put over to him and fair play to him. At the minute, he’s reaping the benefits of how good he looks, and of course he’s playing at the top of his game, which is always good to see because he has been outstanding in the last few games.”


Odds and ends (Full matchweek odds)

DraftKings’ heads will explode if Newcastle gets this one done, +2000 being attached to the Magpies as opposed to Man City’s -835.

Newcastle and Man City have been twice already this season, both at St. James’ Park. The Magpies drew City 2-2 in league play via Jonjo Shelvey’s late goal before losing 2-0 to City in an FA Cup quarterfinal in late June.


Prediction

Gabriel Jesus is due for a goal, presuming he starts again. The 23-year-old has been sitting on 10 PL goals since February 22, and we suspect he finds a way past Martin Dubravka in a 3-0 win.


How to watch Man City – Newcastle United stream, start time

Kickoff: 1 pm ET Wednesday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Serie A: Top 2 both lose as Lazio player bites opponent (video)

Lazio player bites opponent
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Juventus had a chance to effectively put another scudetto race to bed after chasers Lazio lost to relegation-threatened Lecce on Tuesday, a Lazio player biting an opponent to get a late red card to add insult to injury.

But Juve blew a 2-0 second-half lead at AC Milan in remarkable fashion, conceding four times at the San Siro.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Juve leads Lazio by seven points with seven matches to play for both teams and they meet July 20 in Turin. Inter Milan is third with 64 points and Atalanta fourth with 63, both with a match-in-hand on the top two.


Lecce 2-1 Lazio

The latest manner in which Lazio threw away a chance to dethrone Juventus definitely leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Lazio lost Tuesday for the third time in five post-coronavirus pause outings, seeing a defender sent off for a biting incident in a 2-1 loss to previously-bottom three Lecce.

Patric did not like Giulio Donati’s arms boxing him out of a set piece situation, and clearly latches onto the Lecce man’s left arm.

It was already 2-1 when the red card was shown, Lazio frustrated when Felipe Caicedo’s early goal was countered by goals from Khouma Babacar and Fabio Lucioni.

AC Milan 4-2 Juventus

Milan pulls into fifth in the race for a Europa League place that will leave either Roma, Napoli, or Tuesday’s victors out of Europe.

It was nil-nil at halftime when the game really found its footing.

Adrien Rabiot scored a stunner just after the break and Juan Cuadrado cued up Cristiano Ronaldo for an insurance goal six minutes later.

Ronaldo’s 26th of the season puts him three back of league leader Ciro Immobile of Lazio.

Milan took one back through Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 62nd, and the Swede then set up Franck Kessie for an equalizer before departing in the 67th minute.

Rafael Leao scored right after restart, stunning Juventus. Giacomo Bonaventura, who’d come on for Ibrahimovic, then set up Ante Rebic for the fourth goal of the match.

The Rabiot goal, though…

Aubameyang, Vardy score in Arsenal-Leicester draw

Arsenal - Leicester City recap
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Premier League Golden Boot leaders Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jamie Vardy both scored as 10-man Arsenal held on to draw Leicester City 1-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Eddie Nketiah was sent off with 15 minutes to play for Arsenal, giving the Foxes a chance to fight back after Aubameyang scored his 20th of the PL season.

Vardy poked home his 22nd with five minutes to play, giving Leicester 59 points and keeping them a point back of third-place Chelsea.

The Foxes have a four-point lead on fifth-place Manchester United and are six clear of Wolves, but have played one more match than both.


Three things we learned

1. Aubameyang, Vardy pace league: Aubameyang’s first-half goal was his 20th of the season and moved him within one Jamie Vardy’s Premier League lead only to see the Leicester City hit man regain his 2-goal advantage late.

For those wondering the ways home for both players, Arsenal finishes with Spurs, Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Watford. Leicester will finish the season with Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Tottenham, and Manchester United. It’s going to be tight.

2. Schmeichel remains underpraised: Remember those years ago when Leicester made its big charge and it was simply a fun note that its goalkeeper was the son of Premier League royalty? Well, Kasper might not have the EURO title or collection of PL crowns his father amassed, but he’s an incredible goalkeeper. The Dane made five stops before halftime and another great move to thwart a David Luiz free kick after the break.

Leicester can count its lucky stars he’s been there to bail them out a few times this season. His 12 clean sheets are one off the Golden Glove race and his 86 saves tops amongst top four contenders.

3. Vardy equalizer defies offside: VAR did the right thing when it comes to super fine margins. Vardy wasn’t onside when he started his run to meet the late equalizer, but he was a shade off if Ayoze Perez’s flailing boot got a piece of the ball. The cameras couldn’t tell for sure, and the call rightly stood.

Man of the Match

Schmeichel — Arsenal’s subbing all of its stars at the hour mark if the Dane doesn’t stand on his head in the first half.


Arsenal – Leicester City recap

Emiliano Martinez was busy early and made no better play than his leg save on a Kelechi Iheanacho shot that came through a sea of bodies and Shkrodan Mustafi’s legs.

The Gunners went ahead when Dani Ceballos played an exquisite long pass to Bukayo Saka behind the line, the teenager sweeping across for Aubameyang to finish. The term “inch-perfect” comes to mind.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Schmeichel made a tremendous point-blank save on Alexandre Lacazette to keep it 1-0 before impressing with another stop on Hector Bellerin within 30 seconds.

Both teams had goals ruled offside by the linesman, Lacazette’s 69th minute hit one that could’ve put the rain-drenched tie to bed.

The Gunners looked prepared to outduel Leicester but handed a chance back to the Foxes when Eddie Nketiah’s dangerous high challenge was reviewed by VAR.

Vardy was offside when he fired into the outside of the net in the 80th minute but he got his goal four minutes later when he charged over a sliding Shkrodan Mustafi to score his 22nd of the season.

Former Nottingham Forest, Xavier U player mourned before kickoff

Nottingham Forest player mourned
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Former Nottingham Forest player and Xavier University graduate Derrick Otim is being mourned on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean after reportedly drowning this weekend in South Carolina.

The Championship side honored Otim with a moment of silence as both Fulham and Forest gathered around the center circle before Forest’s 1-0 loss to Fulham on Tuesday.

Otim scored seven times with nine assists in 70 college games, twice earning All-Big East honors. He also played for current NISA side Detroit City during its time in the NPSL.

It’s clear that Otim’s positive attitude and upbeat personality made huge impacts on both his college teammates and Forest peers.

Here is Otim’s college teammate Sam Sergi, now with USL side New Mexico United, from Cincinnati.com:

“Over the last 24 hours of me having some time to process this, the one thing that keeps coming into my heart is, one, how tragic it is that he passed and the mourning and the grief so many people that he touched are facing, but also the joy that we have in our hearts to have had those moments with him,” said Sergi, a teammate and friend of Otim’s for four years at Xavier. “As terrible as this is, how grateful are we to have had an experience with another human being that has that kind of an impact on your life.

Here’s a selection of memories shared of Otim following his passing.