Sporting Gijon

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Sounders hope to sign Rodriguez; Jones will go to Darmstadt

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TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) Spanish midfielder Victor Rodriguez is training with the Seattle Sounders in the hopes the club can sign the 28-year-old later this week.

Seattle general manager Garth Lagerwey said Monday that the club is hopeful it can complete the transaction before the close of the summer transfer window next week. Rodriguez most recently played for Sporting Gijon in La Liga 2, the Spanish second division. Rodriguez spent time as a youth in the FC Barcelona academy.

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Lagerwey said the club has scouted Rodriguez extensively and jumped at the opportunity to try to add him to Seattle’s roster for the second half of the MLS season.

Lagerwey also confirmed that defender Joevin Jones will join German club Darmstadt following the conclusion of the MLS season. Lagerwey said the club tried to lock up Jones to a long-term contract but Jones’ desire was to play overseas.

Real Madrid could be without Bale for UCL second leg

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Real Madrid completed their first task in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, and while the Spanish side will have the benefit of playing in front of its home crowd in four days, Zinedine Zidane and his club have their work cut out.

[ MORE: “Excited” Eric Dier, Spurs ready to take their chance ]

The former French international confirmed on Friday that Real will be without Gareth Bale for the team’s weekend match against Sporting Gijon and could potentially miss out on the second leg clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Bale has picked up a calf injury during Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Bayern, but the setback is a concerning one for the Welshman — who has previously had issues with his calf.

“Bale will not be with us tomorrow, that’s clear,” Zidane said. “Then we will see for Tuesday. For sure he has something, a bit of a bruise in his calf. It’s a muscle injury, where he has had problems before.

“And we will take no risks with Gareth. We will go game by game and make decisions that way. We hope to have him back soon. Of course I am worried as I don’t like to have players injured, even more towards the end of the season.”

With Bale potentially unable to go when the tie shifts to the Santiago Bernabeu, Marco Asensio and outcast James Rodriguez could be in line to start for Los Blancos.

Rodriguez has long been linked with a move away from the Spanish capital, but perhaps a strong performance in the UCL could change that narrative… or at least temporarily.

La Liga roundup: Barcelona earns crazy win, Atletico keeps pace

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Barcelona faced adversity against Valencia at the Nou Camp, but they fended off pesky Valencia 4-2 on a pair from Lionel Messi and one each by Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes.

The first half was wild. Eliaquim Mangala headed home a corner to put Valencia ahead inside the opening half-hour, but it wasn’t long before Suarez hit back to draw back level. It appeared to be crumbling for the visitors when Mangala picked up his second yellow card for a pull-back Suarez in the box, both earning Barcelona a penalty and seeing Valencia down a man. Messi bagged the penalty before the break for a 2-1 lead, but Valencia struck back not a minute later as Munir El Haddadi scored on the stroke of halftime to make it 2-2 at the break.

The pivotal moment came in the 52nd minute as Neymar was clean through, but Diego Alves made an incredible save to keep the game level. Moments later, Messi put Barcelona in front with his 25th La Liga goal, skirting two defenders and beating Alves to his near post. That put Barcelona 3-2 up, and they finished it off against the tiring visitors with one from Andre Gomes with two minutes to go.

Atletico Madrid scored a massive victory by beating Sevilla at home 3-1. Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann, and Koke all scored to give the home side all three points, a huge win that closed the gap with Sevilla in third at just two points. Griezmann’s goal was especially pretty, a left-footed rocket on a free-kick just outside the box that clipped the underside of the bar and cannoned in.

The loss likely shuts the book on any outside shot Sevilla may have had at the La Liga title, now sitting eight points back of Real Madrid, who also has a game in hand.

Elsewhere, Celta Vigo had struggled to translate its solid Europa League performances into sustained league form, but they managed to this weekend with a 1-0 win over Deportivo. Iago Aspas in particular is on a roll, and he scored the lone goal in the game, his sixth goal in his last nine games across all competitions. Aspas managed to slip by three defenders unnoticed at the back post, and Claudio Beauvue met him with a cross for the 74th minute goal.

Sporting Gijon got a big win in a huge relegation matchup, winning 3-1 to move onto 18 points, just one back of their opponents. They’re still seven points off safety, but they now have some life in the fight. All three of Sporting’s goals came in a seven-minute span just past the hour mark.

Finally, Malaga continued to struggle, finishing with a scoreless draw against 17th placed Leganes. Malaga has won just one league match since November 26th.

La Liga roundup: Valencia loses again, Sporting Gijon continues strong start

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The La Liga season is just three matches old, but already one Spanish team is in a deep dark place, while the other has surged to new heights.

Valencia remains without a single point after falling at the death to Real Betis at home. Pako Ayestaran’s squad fell two goals and a man down just after halftime, but completed a stunning comeback with goals from Rodrigo and Ezequiel Garay to even things up. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t hold as Ruben Castro found himself inexplicably wide open at the far post and grabbed his second of the game two minutes into stoppage time to give Betis the 3-2 road win.

After finishing a disappointing 12th last year, Valencia fans would have thought that was rock bottom, but the club continues to slide deeper into the depths of La Liga. They will take on Athletic Bilbao next weekend, another club without a point thus far.

While Valencia struggles, Sporting Gijon continued its strong start with a 2-1 home win over newly promoted Leganes thanks to a pair of first-half goals from Nacho Cases and Duje Cop. Sporting narrowly avoided relegation last season, finishing 17th, but are unbeaten through three matches this season and sit on seven points.

Elsewhere, Eibar defeated Granada 2-1 despite falling to 10 men after just a half-hour. Eibar goalkeeper Asier Riesgo was sent off in the 32nd minute, but Pedro Leon opened the scoring just 11 minutes later, and Sergi Enrich hit the winner in the 93rd minute, beating Guillermo Ochoa one-on-one from a tight angle to earn all three points. The win gives Eibar six points through three matches, while Granada has just a single point thus far.

Spain: referee stops match because of racist chants

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MADRID (AP) A referee briefly stopped Sunday’s Spanish league match between Sporting Gijon and visiting Athletic Bilbao because of racist chants aimed at Bilbao player Inaki Williams.

Referee Clos Gomez wrote in his match report that he suspended play for a minute in the first half when he heard racist chants imitating what he said were “monkey calls” from one section of El Molinon Stadium directed at Williams.

Gomez says that a warning was then given by the public announcer and that the abusive insults stopped.