La Liga & Serie A roundup: Celta Vigo go top; Juve sit 14th

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A roundup of all the weekend’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:

Villarreal 1-2 Celta Vigo

Before last week, Villarreal hadn’t lost a league game all season and looked poised to run away with the La Liga title race (not really). Then they lost away to Levante — OK, fair enough. This week, it’s a home loss to new league leaders Celta Vigo(!!!) that sees El Submarino Amarillo tumble from the top spot, all the way down to fourth. Goals scored by Fabian Orellana and Denis Suarez had the two sides headed toward a 1-1, but Nolito scored the winner in the 90th minute to push Os Celticos level on points with Real Madrid and Barcelona, ahead on tiebreakers.

Real Sociedad 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann, who dominated La Liga in his first season for Atleti (22 goals) last year, is off to another fine start, as the Frenchman bagged his fourth goal of the still-young season to give Los Rojiblancos a 9th-minute lead. Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco provided the insurance goal very late on (91st minute) to seal all three points and keep Atleti (16 points) fifth in the league, two points off the three co-leaders at the top.

Elsewhere in La Liga action

Barcelona 5-2 Rayo Vallecano — MORE
Real Madrid 3-0 Levante — MORE
Eibar 1-1 Sevilla
Valencia 3-0 Malaga
Real Betis 1-3 Espanyol
Getafe 4-0 Las Palmas
Deportivo La Coruna 2-2 Athletic Bilbao


Napoli 2-1 Fiorentina

Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain scored for Napoli either side of Nikola Kalinic’s 73rd-minute equalizer to drop the Viola, current leaders in Serie A, three points closer to the chasing pack. The victory boosts Napoli (15 points) all the way up to fifth, three points off Fiorentina.

Roma 3-1 Empoli

Roma hammered Empoli to capitalize on Fiorentina’s defeat and move to within a single point of the league lead. Miralem Pjanic, Daniele De Rossi and Mohamed Salah provided the goals for Rudi Garcia’s side (17 points) to make it three wins in three league games. No side in Serie A has scored more goals than Roma’s 20 through eight games.

Inter Milan 0-0 Juventus

Juve currently sit 14th in the league, with nine points from eight games, nine points off the pace of Fiorentina.

Elsewhere in Serie A action

Torino 1-1 AC Milan
Bologna 0-1 Palermo
Atalanta 3-0 Capri
Frosinone 2-0 Sampdoria
Genoa 3-2 Chievo
Hellas Verona 1-1 Udinese
Sassuolo 2-1 Lazio

Reyna, Busio headline U.S. U-17 squad for CONCACAF Championships

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Two of the top teen-aged talents the U.S. has ever produced will be wearing the red, white, and blue next month at the 2019 CONCACAF Under-17 Men’s Championship.

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Raphael Wicky announced his 20-man squad for the upcoming tournament, set to take place at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. It’s a small irony, as this is the first year without the residency program that was housed on the IMG Academy property.

The U.S. squad is led by Sporting KC midfielder Gianluca Busio and the son of USMNT legend, Claudio Reyna, Giovanni, who is reportedly set to join Borussia Dortmund’s academy officially in the coming months. Also included in this squad is FC Dallas youngster Ricardo Pepi, who already has four goals in USL League One this season. Another forward, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez is coming into the camp in red-hot form, having scored a hat-trick and helped lead his Seattle Sounders to the GA Cup title.

Griffin Yow just made his full D.C. United debut, and Las, just 17, has already reportedly attracted attention from Europe.

Here’s a look at the U.S. roster.

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.; 13/0), 12-Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; Calgary, Alta.; 4/0)
DEFENDERS (7): 4-Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.; 14/0), 3-Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.; 11/0), 13-Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 2/0), 14-Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.; 10/0), 5-Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 14/1), 2-Joseph Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.; 14/1), 15-John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.; 7/2), 20-Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.; 13/0), 8-Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.; 0/0), 6-Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.; 0/0), 16-Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.; 17/1)
FORWARDS (6): 18-Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.; 0/0), 17-Tyler Freeman (Sporting Kansas City; Shawnee, Kan.; 3/1), 19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Tacoma Defiance; Kent, Wash.; 14/5), 9-Ricardo Pepi (North Texas SC; McKinney, Texas; 6/1), 10-Giovanni Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.; 8/1), 11-Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.; 6/3)

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Man City preparing $79 million bid this summer; Bale to leave Real Madrid

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Pep Guardiola has identified the successor to Fernandinho, and he’s convinced Manchester City to break the bank to acquire him.

[READ: JPW’s Premier League picks]

Per a report in The Telegraph, Manchester City is preparing a transfer bid of nearly $79 million to sign Atletico Madrid central midfielder Rodrigo Hernandez Cascante, better known as Rodri. In his first season in Madrid, the 22-year-old has made 28 La Liga starts along with six in the UEFA Champions League, anchoring the second-place Atletico Madrid midfield.

In addition to his defensive duties, he’s also scored a pair of goals this season.

If true, Rodri’s transfer will break Man City’s previous record when it signed Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for almost $78 million.

Fernandinho continues to be a world class holding midfielder, but coming up on 34-years old, he’s surely coming up on time when he won’t be able to cover as much ground as he used to. With Rodri in tow, Fernandinho can slowly take a reserve role in the team, or move to another club for one last big contract.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe:

(more…)

USMNT’s Brooks scores equalizer for Wolfsburg

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John Brooks is enjoying a career year for Wolfsburg, and he just added another highlight to his strong season.

Brooks, running up in the attack in a rare foray forward, tapped home into an empty net to save Wolfsburg a point at home in its 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt. It was Brooks’ third goal of the season and second in the last two months.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The U.S. Men’s National Team centerback has played and started 29 times this season for Wolfsburg, the most games he’s ever played in a single season in Germany’s top tier. Brooks started alongside Aaron Long in the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Ecuador in Orlando in late March, and could play a key role for the USMNT this summer at the Gold Cup, unless coach Gregg Berhalter decides to let him rest this summer.

Season over: Hudson-Odoi suffers suspected Achilles tear

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One incident on Monday showed why some players are so desperate to change clubs when given the chance. They may never get it again.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Callum Hudson-Odoi said on his Instagram post Monday evening that he had suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. If confirmed by the club, it’s usually a nine-month recovery process, with some players needing a full year to return to full fitness. Considering the timing of this, towards the end of the season, it means that Hudson-Odoi may miss an entire season of top-flight soccer, as well as possibly miss out on a chance to move to Bayern Munich this summer.

The injury is a huge blow to the 18-year-old, who had forced his way into the Chelsea side after strong performances in the UEFA Europa League, and now he’s making regular Premier League starts at the tender age of 18. Hudson-Odoi had started four-straight Premier League games including Monday, but now he faces a long layoff.

In Hudson-Odoi’s favor is his youth. While it can be a career-ending injury, hopefully Hudson-Odoi could retain his electric pace once he recovers and can return to the starting lineup for Chelsea.

But it’s a big disappointment to the young Englishman, who surely would have played for England youth national teams this summer and could have potentially made a big-money move abroad.