Fuel on the fire — Sporting KC’s Feilhaber says “I’ve never liked Real Salt Lake”

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Trust me, I’m well aware that this weekend’s marquee matchup in Major League Soccer is the Cascadia Cup clash between the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers (Sunday 9:30 pm ET) at CenturyLink Field.

[ MORE: Follow all of PST’s MLS coverage ]

While we give credit to the Seattle vs. Portland feud as one of MLS’s very best — if not the best —  rivalries, there’s quite the deep hatred brewing between another pair of MLS teams, this time in “flyover country,” and it reared its ugly head again on Thursday, for no real apparent reason.

Speaking to the media ahead of Sporting Kansas City’s meeting with the Houston Dynamo (Saturday, 8:30 pm ET), another of Sporting KC’s recent rivals in MLS Cup Playoffs gone by, Sporting midfielder Benny Feilhaber was asked, “What’s the team that stands out to you that causes you to say to yourself, ‘I hate those guys,'” with the assumed intention of garnering a half-interesting quote about the Dynamo.

But Feilhaber quickly diverted attention away from Saturday’s opponent and took aim at the club’s other, and his own personal favorite, rival, Real Salt Lake.

Feilhaber, from MLSsoccer.com:

“I’ve never liked Salt Lake. I think they’re…yeah, I don’t like them. I like playing against them. I like beating them, even though we haven’t been able to the last two years, but this year, we get to play them a couple more times.

“Salt Lake, I don’t know if it’s the game that I look forward to the most, but it’s the team that, like you said, I hate the most, I guess.”

Sure, the two teams met in that epic 2013 MLS Cup final, which required 10 rounds of penalty kicks to crown a champion, but the beef between Sporting and RSL is an animosity that goes back much further than that. Further than even Feilhaber’s time in Kansas City.

In 2011, a closed-door preseason game between the two teams was cut short after a series of hard tackles reportedly led to an all-out brawl between the two sides. More bad blood ensued later that season when Roger Espinoza was sent off for a hard tackle from behind on RSL captain Kyle Beckerman during a regular season meeting at Sporting Park.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings, Volume II — Two months into the season ]

In 2013, Feilhaber’s first season in Kansas City, then-RSL defender Chris Wingert leveled then-SKC winger Kei Kamara with a vicious shoulder to the head just six seconds into their league game at Rio Tinto Stadium. Later that year came the MLS Cup instant-classic.

2014’s lone matchup between SKC and RSL, just as their first meeting of 2015 two weeks ago, was an ugly, physical 0-0 draw played at Sporting Park. On the back of that, Feilhaber already had their next two encounters — June 21 and July 24 — on his mind and was more than happy to explain exactly from where his distaste for RSL comes.

“I just don’t like them. I’ll leave it at that.”

“Some individuals, I don’t hate. Some guys on the team, I like. But I guess, as a whole, I don’t like them too much.”

“I just think they’re…snobby, almost. They think they’re something special, when they’re not. So, that’s pretty much it.”

Living in Kansas City myself, I will assure anyone out there that everything in the above quotes conveys precisely the feelings that every SKC fan harbors for RSL.

This is a good feud, a strong feud, a real feud born out of high-quality, competitive play on the field; not from the marketing arm of a team or the league trying to drive interest in their product. Best of all, it looks set to burn white-hot for some time to come.

Get ready, June 21 is only 59 days away.

Champions League wrap: PSV strikes late to win thriller (video)

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Five first legs of the UEFA Champions League’s second qualifying round are in the books, including a thrilling back-and-forth with a show-stopping stoppage time winner.

[ MORE: Rodgers talks down Maguire sale ]


PSV Eindhoven 3-2 FC Basel

Bruma scored a debut opener for the Dutch hosts, who fell behind 2-1 in the 79th minute before Sam Lammers and Donyell Malen struck in the 89th minute and second minute of stoppage, respectively, to put PSV ahead.

Basel will be okay taken two away goals home via Albian Aljeti and Omar Alderete.

Lammers came in for Mexican star Hirving Lozano in the 79th minute to score the leveler within 10 minutes before Malen, who went the full 90, kept his focus to deliver this clever winner.

The New Saints 0-2 Copenhagen

Pieros Sotiriou and Robert Skov scored on either side of halftime to give the Danish powers a healthy advantage heading into the second leg.

Elsewhere
FK Sutjeska 0-1 APOEL Nicosia
Saburtalo 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Olympiacos

Wednesday
BATE Borisov v. Rosenborg — 1 p.m. ET
Ferencvaros v. Valletta — 2 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2 p.m. ET
Maribor v. AIK — 2:15 p.m. ET
Red Star Belgrade v. HJK Helsinki — 2:45 p.m. ET
Dundalk v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Nomme Kalju — 2:45 p.m. ET

Rodgers says no close bids for Maguire

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Those tired of seeing Harry Maguire‘s name in the headlines, hoping his transfer saga had concluded with weekend reports that Manchester United agreed to a fee with Leicester City, well, they are going to be sorely disappointed.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers credited Maguire for his professionalism — the center back scored in a friendly win on Tuesday — and said that the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha has not received a fitting bid for the 26 year old’s services.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“There’s no big pressure to sell any player. If a player does leave Leicester City, then the player would need to be met because we have a top-level player, coveted by top-level clubs and I respect that,” Rodgers said. “Harry is on a long contract here and there’s been no valuation or near to that which would make Top have a look.”

Nooooooooooo.

Look, we’ve still got a few weeks until the close of the window, and every supporter has a target they want their club to acquire and some have some assets they hope stay in the same shirt at the deadline.

The Maguire story is getting a bit tedious now. He wants to go to Manchester United, but Rodgers is happy to keep him at Leicester. Maguire’s not the player who will quit on the club if he’s not sold, and Leicester’s hope of landing a replacement will dip as the deadline draws nearer and clubs like Burnley (James Tarkowski) realize their replacements options have been lessened by the wait.

Janssen leaves Spurs for Liga MX in $8M deal

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Vincent Janssen‘s less-than-ideal tenure with Tottenham Hotspur has come to its end, and he’s moving his way to this side of the Atlantic.

Liga MX side Monterrey has agreed to buy Janssen, Spurs announced Tuesday. The deal is for a reported $8 million.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

The Dutchman turned 25 this summer. He played just 42 times for Spurs after arriving from AZ Alkmaar for around $25 million in 2016, scoring six times, but did manage five goals and four assists in a half-year loan to Fenerbahce in 2017-18.

Janssen saw his time with the Netherlands national team peter out during his tenure at Spurs. After a red-hot start, he has not been capped since 2017. Janssen has seven goals in 17 caps.

His time at Spurs cannot be labeled as anything but a gigantic bust, but Janssen is still pretty young and has a chance to recapture his career momentum.

And he looks pretty happy about it.

Transfer gossip: Newcastle eyes 2nd Brazilian, USMNT’s Arriola on move

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Two players from the Western hemisphere may be heading across the Atlantic, one of whom is very familiar to American eyes.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

DC United winger Paul Arriola could be leaving Major League Soccer in a return to Liga MX or a move abroad to Europe.

CBS’ Roger Gonzalez says some of the big boys in Mexico are after the former LA Galaxy youth product who got his start at Club Tijuana.

Arriola, 24, has 28 caps with five goals and five assists for the USMNT, blooded by Jurgen Klinsmann in 2016. He has 12 goals and 10 assists in 57 matches for DC United since arriving from Tijuana.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Next up: Newcastle United may be in for another Brazilian attacker.

Marrony is the name, and Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol says the Magpies were alerted to his potential by the same source who claimed they were after Joelinton (who signed today after a $50 million deal).

The 20-year-old has a reported $37 million release clause, a left winger has a goal and an assist in two seasons with Vasco da Gama in Brazil. He also scored five times in 15 appearances for the club in the state league.

It feels a bit like a red herring or straight-up agent speak, but the Joelinton deal seemed unusual as well (albeit in a different way).