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Ex-England women’s coach Sampson threatened ref with pole

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Former England women’s soccer team coach Mark Sampson was being investigated for intimidating a female UEFA official with a metal pole at the 2017 European Championship before he was fired.

A review by The Associated Press of UEFA disciplinary cases uncovered details of the investigation that led to Sampson being banned for three games for “insulting, aggressive and insistent actions,” including profane abuse.

UEFA concluded its case on Sept. 21, the day after the English Football Association fired him for “inappropriate and unacceptable behavior” in a separate case focusing on relations with female players in a previous managerial job.

The UEFA investigation into “insulting or molesting acts” by Sampson at the Euro 2017 semifinal has never previously been mentioned in public. The FA declined to comment Friday and its leaders did not mention the UEFA case when they were questioned at a British parliamentary hearing in October about controversies during Sampson’s reign.

Sampson provided statements to UEFA on Sept. 1 about the incidents after England’s 3-0 loss to the Netherlands in the semifinals on Aug. 3.

The UEFA report included multiple expletives that Sampson is said to have used.

An hour into the match, UEFA said Sampson was “verbally abusive” toward the venue director, telling her: “You better sit down.”

Sampson was then accused of confronting referee liaison officer Fijke Hoogendijk after the game outside the referee changing room. Sampson “approached her and shouted aggressively at her and with aggressive body language,” UEFA said.

Summarizing details of the case, UEFA said Sampson was shouting at Hoogendijk and calling her a “disgrace.”

The disciplinary report continued: “He then picked up a metal pillar raising it above his head aggressively before throwing it down hard against the floor. Fijke was concerned he was going to strike her. … Fijke felt intimidated and offended by his actions.”

The FA denied that Sampson lifted the pole above his head, telling UEFA that it would have been impossible given its weight. Sampson apologized for his use of inappropriate language but denied saying he would shut the door in Hoogendijk’s face.

According to UEFA, the FA claimed that “the build-up to the game had been particularly stressful with travel to the stadium disrupted and preparation time considerably reduced.”

But UEFA’s disciplinary body concluded that Sampson’s conduct was of “great concern” as he “threatened the integrity” of an official.

“The language he used and his attitude grossly violated the basic rules of decent conduct and his behavior was insulting,” UEFA said.

The seven-person panel was headed by Partl Thomas of Austria.

“It is without hesitation a cause of sorrow that persons deployed at matches who have no relation to the football performance of the teams are attacked in such an aggressive manner by team’s officials,” the panel said.

“Even accepting the statements of the coach in full it can’t be permitted that UEFA officials like the venue director and the referee liaison officer endure the aggressive manners of others present at the match, let alone the head coach of one of the teams.”

In October, the FA concluded its own investigation into Sampson’s conduct while he was coaching the team and found that he had directed racially discriminating remarks at two of his players. Part of that case centered on a $105,000 financial settlement secretly struck by the FA with striker Eni Aluko to halt her grievance complaint against Sampson ahead of Euro 2017.

Sampson, who led the team to the 2015 Women’s World Cup semifinals, was replaced as England coach by former Manchester United player Phil Neville.

Liga MX wrap: Xolos beats Chivas as Apertura begins

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Liga MX’s Apertura season is off and running with all 18 clubs partaking in a match this weekend.

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Club Tijuana 2-1 Chivas Guadalajara

Scoreless at the half, the weekend’s marquee match sprang to life in the final 45. Juan Martin Lucero gave TJ a 54th minute lead before Jose Van Rankin knotted it up five minutes later.

Lucero assisted Jose Rivero’s 75th minute winner, which was helped in its status when Michael Perez took a red card in the 80th.

Cruz Azul 3-0 Puebla

Elias Hernandez scored a goal and added an assist, and Milton Caraglio put one of his five shots on goal into the net. Andres Renteria also scored in the win.

Tigres 2-0 Leon

Andre-Pierre Gignac scored, and Lucas Zelarayan marked a goal and an assist in the win.

Necaxa 2-1 Club America
Toluca 2-0 Morelia
Santos Laguna 2-1 Lobos BUAP
Pachuca 0-1 Monterrey
Veracruz 0-2 Pumas UNAM
Atlas 0-0 Queretaro

Report: Colorado acquires USMNT mid Acosta for Badji

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The West’s first place team is switching it up in a big way.

FC Dallas is sending Homegrown Player and USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta to Western foes Colorado Rapids in exchange for striker Dominique Badji, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.

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Acosta, 22, has 17 caps and a goal for the U.S., and is primarily a defensive midfielder. He’s also played right and left back.

He’s appeared 139 times for Dallas, scoring 13 times with nine assists, but had fallen out with head coach Oscar Pareja. He’s also struggled mightily on the field, according to WhoScored.

Badji, 25, has seven goals and three assists in 16 matches for the Rapids this season, building on an eight-goal, five-assist campaign last season.

FCD has gotten six goals out of forward Maxi Urruti, and there’s been little production from anyone else. Cristian Colman is out with an ankle injury and managed just a pair of goals in 399 minutes.

The risk of trading Acosta is mitigated by the continued speculation that he may test the waters of European soccer. Badji’s a quality player, but Colorado may’ve gotten a bargain in its push to escape the dregs of the West.

Quintero, Loons pick LAFC apart in five-star win (video)

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Minnesota United throttled LAFC on Sunday, using a Christian Ramirez brace to batter the hot expansion team 5-1 in Minnesota.

Darwin Quintero had a goal and two assists for the Loons, who took advantage of LAFC’s decision not to start dominant forward Adama Diomande and center back Walker Zimmerman.

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Quintero ripped off seven shots, putting five on goal. He now has 10 goals and five assists since joining the Loons after scoring two and eight in 29 matches for Club America last year.

Miguel Ibarra recorded a goal and an assist, while Rasmus Schuller also scored. LAFC’s goal came courtesy Benny Feilhaber.

Minnesota’s Bobby Shuttleworth and LA’s Tyler Miller each made six saves in their goals.

LAFC fails in a bid to make up points on Western Conference first seed FC Dallas, while the Loons now can eye a playoff spot in the West.

Already-thin Liverpool center back corps loses Matip to quad injury

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Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund featured an injury to a position with very little depth.

The Reds lost Joel Matip to what Jurgen Klopp said could possibly be a “small tear” in one of his quads.

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If Matip, 26, needs any significant time to heal up, he’ll put a major question mark into Liverpool’s opening day center back pairing.

Virgil Van Dijk, who scored against BVB on Sunday, already won’t have Dejan Lovren as a partner thanks to a post-World Cup vacation.

That leaves Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan as options next to Van Dijk.

Matches at Crystal Palace and home to Brighton and Hove Albion follow the Aug. 12 visit from West Ham.