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.

Guardiola: ‘We’re here to win the Champions League’

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Pep Guardiola has put down a marker as Manchester City beat Real Madrid to reach the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

He now wants his Manchester City side to go on and reach the holy grail and win the Champions League, the trophy their Abu Dhabi owners crave above all others.

Man City beat Real Madrid 2-1 in their Round of 16 second leg, and 4-2 on aggregate, as Guradiola outwitted Zinedine Zidane over two legs to set up a winnable quarterfinal against Lyon in Lisbon, Portugal next Saturday.

Asked by BT Sport after the game what this win against Real Madrid means for Man City and their mentality, Guardiola did not play down their chances.

“For us, it is of course important, we beat them twice. Zizou never lost one knockout game. You see the calm and personality they play with, they are good,” Guardiola said. “But we are here to try and win the Champions League. It is just one step. If we think that is enough, we will show how small of a team we are. To win the Champions League you have to beat the big clubs.”

Man City will face one of those big clubs, likely Bayern Munich or Barcelona, in the semifinal stage of the Champions League but first they have to get past underdogs Lyon, who stunned Juventus as Memphis Depay has led the Ligue 1 side to the last eight.

“I spoke to the scouting department and they told me ‘be alert’ and we have eight days, we will enjoy this tonight and tomorrow, then we will start to think about Lyon,” Guardiola said when asked about their quarterfinal opponents.

Man City are the heavy favorites to beat Lyon and they are the bookies’ favorites to win the Champions League overall.

Pep Guardiola has now piled the pressure on his team to prove just how good they are and even without the injured Sergio Aguero, and with Fernandinho playing at center back, they eased past Real Madrid.

Manchester City have fallen at the quarterfinal stage when favorites in each of the last two seasons and Guardiola knows this is their best chance to win their first-ever Champions League trophy as Bayern Munich or Barcelona are very good, but not unbeatable, if they get past Lyon.

Guardiola looks hungry and he badly wants to win the Champions League for the first time since 2011 as he failed to win the trophy at Bayern Munich and in his first three seasons at Man City.

The stars are aligning for Man City to deliver the one trophy Guardiola hasn’t won since he arrived in Manchester in 2016 and the one trophy the club hasn’t won since their Abu Dhabi owners took over in 2008.

In this year, just a month after they overturned UEFA’s decision to ban them from the Champions League for two seasons, success would surely taste even sweeter for everyone connected with Man City.

Lyon shock Juventus, reach Champions League quarterfinal

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Juventus – Lyon was mean to be a straightforward comeback win for the home side to reach yet another UEFA Champions League quarterfinal.

It was anything but as Lyon shocked Juventus to dump Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. out of Europe as Maurizio Sarri’s side continued their poor form since the restart.

[ MORE: Champions League predictions

Juventus won 2-1 on the night, as Ronaldo scored twice but Juve came up one goal short and for the second season running Ronaldo has failed in his quest to lead the Italian giants to the Champions League title.

As for Lyon, who haven’t played in over 5 months as the French league was cancelled in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, they put in a heroic display as they now face Manchester City in Lisbon, Portugal in the last eight on Aug. 15.

[ LIVE: Champions League schedule ]

Lyon got off to the perfect start in Turin, but it was fortunate, as Houssem Aouar won a very dubious penalty kick as VAR checked the decision but somehow it stood.

Memphis clipped home a delicious panenka to put Lyon 1-0 up and leave Juventus needing to score three goals on the night to advance.

Federico Bernardeschi went close and Anthony Lopes saved well from Ronaldo’s free kick as Lyon sat back and soaked up pressure.

Juventus won a penalty kick before half time, as Memphis handled Miralem Pjanic’s free kick but it look harsh as his arm wasn’t in an unnatural position.

Ronaldo slotted home the spot kick to make it 1-1. Game on.

At the start of the second half Ronaldo smashed home a beauty to make it 2-1 as Juve needed one more goal to advance to the last eight.

Ronaldo was everywhere and he then set up Gonzalo Higuain to head home, but his effort was off target from close range.

And Juve couldn’t find one more goal to send them through as Lyon advanced on the away goals rule and shocked everyone by dumping the Italian champions out of Europe.

3 things learned: Man City v. Real Madrid

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Manchester City – Real Madrid was a fairly straightforward win for the hosts, as they reached the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals by beating the 13-time European champions 2-1 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.

[ MORE: Champions League predictions ]

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for Man City after a bad mistake from Raphael Varane was ruthlessly punished. Real’s Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema combined well at times and although Ederson denied them early on, Benzema pulled one back in the first half as Rodrygo’s cross was nodded home by the French striker.

Benzema and Jesus both went close for either team in the second half and the latter made the most of another big mistake from Varane to make it 2-1 and seal Man City’s spot in the quarterfinals for the third-straight season with relative ease.

[ LIVE: Champions League schedule ]

Here’s a look at what we learned from the Etihad, as Manchester City – Real Madrid was an open affair but the hosts always looked in control.


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DREAM ALIVE FOR MAN CITY

Pep Guardiola is like Indiana Jones entering the desert on his way to reaching the holy grail. Lisbon is now his ‘Canyon of the Crescent Moon’ as Man City have a quarterfinal, semifinal and final between them and footballing immortality. Man City have longed for Champions League glory and given their successful appeal against their two-season UEFA ban, they will now stride into Lisbon, Portugal as the favorites to be crowned champions of Europe. They strolled past Real Madrid and even without the injured Sergio Aguero, you’d fancy them to sweep all before them to reach the promised land. Man City have always found a way to mess things up in the Champions League but this season feels different. They gave up their Premier League trophy easily to Liverpool but it seemed like the Champions League was always the main focus this season. They now face Lyon in the quarterfinals and then their toughest test, likely either Barcelona or Napoli in the semifinals. Guardiola knows the holy grail is within reach as he is closer than ever to finally delivering the trophy Man City’s Abu Dhabi owners have built this whole project to win.


SLOPPY REAL MADRID EXIT WITH A WHIMPER

Missing captain and legendary Sergio Ramos through suspension from the first leg, Real Madrid needed young defender Edgar Militao to step up in is place. They did not need silky smooth defender Raphael Varane to give the ball away early on to give up a cheap and avoidable goal. Although Real recovered from that early error, they failed to get Luka Modric on the ball as much as they wanted to and Eden Hazard and Benzema only showed flashes of promise. Just when it seemed like Real would push hard for a second goal which would have taken the game to extra time, Varane made another big mistake. And that was that. After impressing in La Liga since the restart and winning the Spanish title, Real Madrid looked remarkably subdued as perhaps a few weeks off before this game impacted them. The Kings of Europe will have to wait another year to add another crown to their collection. Manchester City – Real Madrid was historic, as it marked the first time Zinedine Zidane has ever lost a Champions League game in the knockout rounds. The way his team limped out of Europe was surprising and disappointing for Real Madrid.


PEP BEATS ZIZOU, BUT FALSE NINE FAILS

It was a surprise to see Phil Foden start ahead of David Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva in a game of this magnitude but there’s always a method to Pep’s madness. And it isn’t madness, is it? It’s genius. Just like he did in the first leg at Real Madrid, Pep raised eyebrows as he started a central midfielder (Foden this time, Kevin de Bruyne in the first leg) as a false nine. Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling were rampant from each flank early on, putting defenders under pressure in their own box, and that was how they opened the scoring. But Man City then failed to build on that lead and let Real back into the game. Pep changed things around at half time and Jesus looked more comfortable centrally and so too did Foden. It was a small tweak but it got Man City back on track and Guardiola’s tactical nous made the difference, even though Man City were handed the win on a platter thanks to Real Madrid’s shaky defensive display.

VIDEO: Cristiano Ronaldo scores stunning goal for Juventus v. Lyon

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Cristiano Ronaldo amazing goal video? Cristiano Ronaldo amazing goal video.

Yep, we’ve all been here before.

Ronaldo, 35, smashed home an unstoppable shot to put Juventus ahead on the night and level on aggregate against Lyon ini the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg, as the Portuguese superstar scored his second of the game in style.

Season after season, Ronaldo does this time and time again as he’s now scored 37 goals in all competitions for Juventus this season. He’s 35. This just isn’t normal and all of those who doubted Ronaldo’s move to Juventus should watch him deliver week in, week out and be made to eat their words.

As for this game, he turned it on its head as things did not start well for Juventus at all.

After Memphis Depay scored an early penalty kick to put Lyon ahead in Turin, that meant Juventus had to win at least 3-1 on the night to reach the Champions League quarterfinals.

Ronaldo scored a penalty just before half time to make it 1-1 and the comeback was on, then this stunning strike made it 2-1 on the night to Juventus and set up a grand finale.

Watch on in awe as Ronaldo cut in from the right and smashed home with his ‘weaker’ left foot. Safe to say that Ronaldo will have a sore back after carrying Juventus.