CONCACAF Champions League: Montreal survives scare, advances to final

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The Montreal Impact has become the first Canadian team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Montreal entered the second leg of it’s matchup with Costa Rican side Alajuelense leading 2-0 on aggregate, which allowed the Impact to advance despite losing tonight’s match 4-2.

[ RELATED: MLS Team of the Week — Week 5 ]

Major League Soccer’s last representative in the tournament was outplayed the entire match and advances on away goals with the aggregate tied 4-4.

Alajuelense dominated the first half, with Montreal barely possessing the ball outside of their own half. The hosts nearly took the lead in the 30th minute when a quick throw-in caught Montreal off-guard. Referee Joel Aguilar was speaking with some Montreal players as Alajuelense took a quick restart, sending Armando Alonso in on goal. Alonso had his chip deflected by goalkeeper Evan Bush before being cleared off the line by Donny Toia.

[ RELATED: Philadelphia Union to bench struggling goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi ]

Against all the run of play, it was Montreal that opened the scoring on one of their first prolonged possessions in the Alajuelense half. Dominic Oduro played a quick one-two with Ignacio Piatti and sent a low cross into the box that found a streaking Jack McInerney. The 22-year-old finished neatly to give Montreal a rather undeserved lead heading into halftime.

Alajuelense continued to dominate in the second half and found an equalizer just two minutes after the break. Lining up for a free kick on the edge of the box, Pablo Gabas hit a left-footed shot that found the top corner to knot the score at one.

[ REPORT: Orlando City eyeing move for El Tri star Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez ]

Gabas got his second of the night in the 60th minute, another set piece foiling Montreal. Alajuelense swung in a corner kick that got the slightest of flicks in the box, finding Gabas on the back post. All it needed was a deflection as Gabas’s touch hit the underside of the bar and bounced in.

With Alajuelense pressing down 3-2 on aggregate, Montreal padded it’s lead with a goal from substitute Andres Romero.

Allen Guevara put the hosts ahead once again as Alajuelense continued to relentlessly press the Montreal defense. Jonathan McDonald scored in stoppage time to make the final score 4-2, but the Impact advance for the second straight round on away goals.

LINEUPS

Alajuelense: Lewis, Acosta, Lopez, Gutierrez, Matarrita, Rodriguez (Guevara 68′), Gabas, Venegas, Calvo (Ortiz 59′), Alonso (Sanchez 81′), McDonald

Goals: Gabas (47′, 60′), Guevara (79′), McDonald (90’+3′)

Montreal Impact: Bush, Toia, Ciman, Soumare, Cabrera, Mallace, Reo-Coker, Duka (Romero 61′), Piatti, Oduro (Tissot 82′), McInerney (Bernier 70′)

Goal: McInerney (42′), Romero (72′)

LIVE, Europa League: Group stage finale arrives

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The group stage finale of the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League campaign is here.

Everything is set up for an epic Thursday of action.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Arsenal need a point away at Standard Liege to reach the Round of 32, while Wolves and Man United are already safely through to the knockout rounds.

Wolves must win to stand a chance of winning Group K, while a point for Man United will be enough for them to win Group L.

Plenty of intrigue remains around Glasgow Rangers as any team from Group G can still reach the knockout round going into the final 90 minutes of action. If Steven Gerrard‘s men beat Young Boys at Ibrox then they will definitely be through as group winners.

Groups B, C and J are all so tough to call heading into the final games with giants such as Roma, Basel and Dynamo Kiev all in danger of being knocked out.

Below is the schedule in full for Thursday’s games, while you can click on the link above to follow all the action as it happens.


Full Europa League schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Vitoria
CFR Cluj v. Celtic
LASK v. Sporting Lisbon
Copenhagen v. Malmo
PSV Eindhoven v. Rosenborg
Qarabag v. Dudelange
Standard Liege v. Arsenal
Basel v. Trabzonspor
Dynamo Kiev v. Lugano
APOEL Nicosia v. Sevilla
Rennes v. Lazio
Getafe v. Krasnodar

3 p.m. ET
Rangers v. Young Boys
Wolves v. Besiktas
Espanyol v. CSKA Moscow
Gent v. Oleksandriya
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Istanbul Basaksehir
Porto v. Feyenoord
Ludogorets Razgrad v. Ferencvaros
Slovan Bratislava v. Braga
Roma v. Wolfsberg
Manchester United v. AZ Alkmaar
Wolfsburg v. Saint-Etienne
Partizan Belgrade v. Astana

Michael Bradley re-signs with Toronto FC

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Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley has re-signed with the Major League Soccer franchise.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

Bradley, 32, saw his previous contract run out at the end of the 2019 season but he has now agreed a new deal with the Canadian side and Toronto have squeezed him into their salary cap by using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).

During his six season stint so far in Toronto, Bradley has led the team to three MLS Cup finals as TFC stunned MLS with a run to the final against Seattle in 2019. They lost on that occasion but beat Seattle in 2017 and Bradley’s displays, along with that of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and now Alejandro Pozuelo have seen Toronto become one of the most consistent teams in MLS.

Explaining his reasons for signing a new deal in Toronto, Bradley revealed that he wants to take them onto bigger and better things.

“I feel so attached to the city of Toronto, the club, the team. I love it here and I am really proud of what we’ve been able to do over the past six years,” Bradley said. “Beyond the success, I am equally as proud of the mentality and identity this club has taken on. The relationship between the club and the city, the club and the fans are both very special and I’m proud to have played a part in that. What we have in Toronto doesn’t exist everywhere. My family and I are so happy to remain in Toronto and we’d like to thank everyone at Toronto FC for ensuring that this process was done quietly and professionally behind the scenes. I’m looking forward to continuing to play in the biggest games and competing for trophies every year.”

Bradley still has plenty left in the tank, as last season showed, and despite rumors that he would link up with his father, Bob Bradley, at LAFC, he is staying in Ontario.

That’s great news for Toronto FC as despite plenty of criticism from USMNT fans over recent years, Bradley has continued to deliver consistency and leadership at BMO Field.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings have landed.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Matchweek 16 followed a similar pattern to recent weeks as players from Liverpool, Leicester City, Spurs and Man United dominated our top 20 with so many games played over the last seven days.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1.  Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – Even
2. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Up 7
3. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Up 6
6. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) – New entry
7. Jonny Evans (Leicester) – New entry
8. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Down 4
9. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – New entry
10. Danny Ings (Southampton) – New entry
11. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United) – New entry
12. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 2
13. Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester) – Even
14. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – Down 11
15. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Down 10
16. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Down 3
17. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – Down 1
18. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
19. Diogo Jota (Wolves) – New entry
20. Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – New entry

Christian Pulisic named USMNT Player of the Year

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Who else could it be? Christian Pulisic has been named the USMNT player of the year for 2019.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The Chelsea star, 21, excelled for club and country over the past 12 months and after taking a few months to settle into life in England, he’s now taking the Premier League by storm on a weekly basis.

Pulisic has now won this award for a second time after first winning it in 2017 and he becomes the youngest player in U.S. men’s national team history to win the award twice.

His achievements over the last 12 months are numerous, as he dragged a struggling USMNT to the 2019 Gold Cup final and also became the youngest player to reach double figures in goals for the USMNT.