Bayern Munich 6-1 (7-4, agg.) FC Porto: Bayern obliterate Porto to reach UCL semifinal

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Bayern Munich pulverized Porto at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday as Pep Guardiola’s side scored five goals in 26 first half minutes to cancel out a 3-1 deficit from the first leg and secure a sensational 6-1 victory in their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg to advance to the final four 7-4 on aggregate.

Guardiola has now reached the UCL semifinals in every single season as a manager and Bayern were all over Porto from the first whistle as the Portuguese side crumbled in Bavaria.

[ RELATED: Champions League schedule ]

Thiago Alcantara headed home the opener for Bayern, then Jerome Boateng added a second as the home side led 2-0 after 22 minutes. Robert Lewandowski was twice to set up by Thomas Muller and Muller himself scored another in between Lewandowski’s strikes to make it 5-0 at half time. Porto looked shell-shocked but did pull a goal back in the second half through Jackson Martinez but Xabi Alonso curled in a wonderful free kick late on as Porto bowed out of the Champions League in embarrassing fashion.

[ VIDEO: Muller leads celebrations ]

Bayern made their intent to attack clear early on as Lewandowski hit the post, and less than 15 minutes in they had scored the opener to set them on their way. Bernat’s brilliant cross to the near post was powerfully headed home by Thiago after 14 minutes to send the home fans wild and put Bayern 1-0 up. Soon after it was 2-0 up as Boateng nodded home after Holger Badstuber’s header back across goal found him in the box with Porto’s defense all over the place.

[ VIDEO: Best second leg comebacks in UCL history ]

After 27 minutes it was 3-0 as Philipp Lahm whipped in a cross which Muller helped on to Lewandwoski and the Polish forward finished well to give Bayern a 4-3 aggregate lead. On 36 minutes it was 4-0 as Muller’s long-range shot deflected off Bruno Martins Indi and past Fabiano, with Porto’s goalkeeper looking to the heavens with their hopes of advancing to the UCL semifinals in ruins. The goals kept coming and five minutes before half time it was 5-0 as Muller cut the ball back to Lewandowksi and he fired across goal to grab his second of the match.

[ RELATED: Bale to miss Real Madrid’s clash with Atletico ]

Just before half time Badstuber lunged into an awful tackle on Ricardo Quaresma and was lucky to not be sent off by Martin Atkinson in what was the only negative moment in a sensational first half for Bayern.

In the second half Bayern passed the ball around and Porto were scared to push high as the dejected Portuguese outfit were in full damage limitation mode. Muller’s effort after 64 minutes was tipped over by Fabiano and Alonso also sent a free kick close with Bayern looking to extend their extraordinary lead further.

However Porto made things a little more interesting as Martinez headed home Hector Herrera’s cross to make it 5-1 on the night and 6-4 on aggregate with 17 minutes to go. Martinez then fired an effort inches wide of the post moments later as Porto gave it a real go late on but there were susceptible to a counter attack as Lewandowski flashed an effort just wide as he searched for  his hat trick.

Late on Porto were reduced to 10-men as Marcano was sent off for a second yellow after a rash challenge on Thiago, as Bayern poured on the misery with Alonso’s superb free kick making it 6-1 in the 88th minute and capping off a night to remember for Bayern Munich.

LINEUPS

Bayern Munich: Neuer; Rafinha (Rode, 72′), Boateng, Badstuber, Bernat; Lahm, Alonso, Thiago (Date, 90′), Muller, Lewandowski, Gotze (Weiser, 86′)

Goals Thiago, (14′), Boateng (22′), Lewandowski (27′, 40′), Muller (36′), Alonso (88′)

Porto: Fabiano; Reyes (Ricardo, 33′), Maicon, Marcano, Martins Indi; Herrera, Casemiro, Oliver, Quaresma (Neves, 45′); Martinez, Brahimi (Evandro, 67′)

Goal: Martinez (73′)
Red card: Marcano (87′)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says goodbye to the LA Galaxy

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has bid adieu to Major League Soccer, thanking the LA Galaxy for “making me feel alive again.”

The Swedish superstar averaged nearly a goal per game with the Galaxy, and was rumored to be in line for another two years at the club.

[ MORE: Columbus acquires Nagbe ]

Perhaps those reports, and maybe AC Milan’s struggles to score goals, have made more suitors come forward. Time will tell.

The Galaxy said the decision was a “mutual parting of ways” and thanked the player for his work both on and off the pitch.

From LAGalaxy.com:

“We would like to thank Zlatan for his contributions to the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “Since his arrival in 2018, Zlatan has positively influenced the sport of soccer in Los Angeles. We are grateful for his work ethic and passion. We thank Zlatan for his professionalism and immeasurable impact on the Los Angeles community and the soccer community in North America as a whole.”

Zlatan’s full thoughts, below, were a bit more Zlatanny.

Klein will have his hands full in replacing Ibrahimovic, who scored 52 times in 53 matches, but the Galaxy have always managed to bring in big names.

Getting a star playmaker is even more important as El Trafico rivals LAFC have rewritten the MLS record book and snared plenty of attention in California and across the league.

Columbus acquires Nagbe from Atlanta for $1M in allocation

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Darlington Nagbe is headed for a reunion with old boss Caleb Porter.

Columbus has sent over $1 million in allocation money to Atlanta United in order to claim the influential midfielder.

[ MORE: Top 25 players in USMNT pool ]

Porter coached Nagbe at the University of Akron and the Portland Timbers, and has 25 USMNT caps but has turned down Gregg Berhalter’s requests for service.

Nagbe made 46 appearances across all competitions for the Five Stripes this season, scoring twice with five assists. He has 313 matches played between Portland and Atlanta.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“Darlington Nagbe is a proven winner and the type of player who can be a difference-maker in our team,” Crew SC president and GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. “In addition to his skill set, we believe that Darlington is someone whose character and values fit well within our organization. As we stated heading into this offseason, we continue to look both domestically and internationally for players that will make our team better, and we believe Darlington is an important part of those efforts.”

It’s a bold statement from Columbus, who had a reputation for getting the most of its talent under Berhalter but faded under Porter after a hot start. The Crew began 2019 with a 4-1-1 record but lost 13 of its next 15 matches.

Of course, being MLS, the Crew then only lost 2 of their final 13 matches. Shoulder shrug emoji.

NYCFC teen agrees move to Borussia Monchengladbach

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New York City FC’s impressive academy has earned one of the bigger transfer market payoffs in MLS Homegrown history, and will join the current Bundesliga leaders after next season.

Joe Scally, 16, is headed to Borussia Monchengladbach on a $2 million transfer with a sell-on clause, and will spend the 2020 MLS season with his boyhood club. Scally has played in the Open Cup, but has not debuted in an MLS match.

[ MORE: Top 25 players in USMNT pool ]

The $2 million figure is on the edge of Top 30 for departing MLS players, according to Transfermarkt, just behind Cyle Larin’s move from Orlando City to Besiktas.

Scally appeared 11 times for the U.S. U-17 national team, going 90 minutes in all three matches and assisting on the lone American goal at the World Cup in Brazil.

From Borussia.de:

“Joe Scally is a top American talent who we have been following for a long time. We see a lot of potential in Joe and we are looking forward to him joining up with us in January 2021. Until then, we will work together with New York City FC to prepare him for his move to Germany,” said Borussia’s sporting director, Max Eberl.

Not sure just how long they could’ve been following a 16-year-old, but we digress.

Scally will join U-17 teammates Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) and Maximilian Dietz (Freiburg) on the books at a Bundesliga club. Recent U-17 call-ups Pablo Soares (Gladbach) and Noah Jones (RB Leipzig) are also with clubs in Germany’s top flight.

Last month, NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna told me that Scally was the perfect example of a young player trusting a club’s preference of changing his position.

“The perfect example is Joe Scally on the U-17 World Cup team. He came to us from a club in Long Island as an athletic box-to-box midfielder. He was very strong, but we saw him as an outside back. The lesson that we now we share that with our players, don’t get upset if you move to a position, but Joe Scally understood, never complained, he played wherever he was told to do, and now he’s a right back now, 16 years old going to the World Cup after being in our academy for two and a half years.”

Looks like it’s worked out.

Spanish court to decide fate of Spanish league game in USA

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish court will decide whether the Spanish league will be allowed to play the Villarreal-Atletico Madrid game in the United States next month.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Madrid to hear arguments from the league and the Spanish soccer federation, which is against taking the regular-season match abroad.

The league has called for an injunction to force the federation to give its approval. It accuses the local soccer body of unfair competition.

The league also needs the approval of UEFA and American soccer bodies to be able to play the match, which is scheduled for Dec. 6 in Miami.

The commercial court hearing the case is expected to issue a ruling within the next few days.

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