By AARON CRANFORD
For the third time in history, and first time on home soil, Chile will play in the Copa America final.
Taking advantage of an early red card to Peru and a pair of goals from Eduardo Vargas, including a firecracker in the second half to re-take the lead, Chile held on at the Estadio Nacional to defeat Peru, 2-1, on Monday evening.
The intensity was present from the very beginning, as Arturo Vidal and Carlos Zambrano got into a small scuffle early on. The Peruvian defender was shown a yellow card in the 7th minute for a takedown of Alexis Sanchez just outside of the penalty area on the right wing.
On the other end, Paulo Guerrero chased down the ball in the 9th minute and swung in a dangerous cross after beating Vidal, but to the agony of Peru, Jefferson Farfan’s header hit the left post and bounced back into play.
Photo by Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
With some of the league’s biggest rivalries on full display, several MLS teams made major moves this week in dispatching some of their most loathed opposition.
The New York Red Bulls emerged from a month-long funk with a pair of wins, topping Real Salt Lake midweek before overcoming NYCFC on Sunday for their second-straight derby win. Meanwhile, the San Jose Earthquakes made a major statement in dispatching the LA Galaxy, who were forced to settle for just three points in a double gameweek.
The week was much less kind to the Seattle Sounders, who fell to the Philadelphia Union and the rival Portland Timbers, shaking up both the top of the Western Conference and this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings.
The busy mid-week slate last week left us with plenty of teams having played two matches, which also led to some sizable jumps and drops in the rankings.
Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 17, as voted on by SBI’s editorial staff:
By DAN KARELL
The U.S. Men’s National Team have apparently lined up their first opponent for after the Gold Cup, and it’s a team that’s looking like a much tougher challenge than when it was first rumored to be playing the Americans.
According to a Washington Post report, the USMNT will host Peru at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. on Sept. 4. The report comes a month after Sports Illustrated first identified Peru as the frontrunner to play the U.S. in September.
If true, it would only be the sixth time that the USMNT and Peru have faced each other, and first time in 15 years. A formal announcement is expected this week.
U.S. Soccer has not commented yet on the report.
The match date falls within FIFA’s official international window from Aug. 31-Sept. 8 for national teams to hold official or friendly matches. According to the Washington Post report, U.S. Soccer also spoke with Uruguay and Ghana to host a friendly in the USA.
By AARON CRANFORD
One side enters tonight’s Copa America semifinal clash as a two-time champion looking for a third, the other is the host of this year’s tournament.
Chile is one of three South American countries that as not lifted the Copa America trophy, but a win vs. Peru tonight (7:30 pm) in Santiago, Chile can put the hosts within arm’s reach of that goal.
Led by a Paolo Guerrero hat-trick, Peru topped Bolivia, 3-1, en route to reach this stage of the tournament, while Chile looked the better side in a 1-0 win against Uruguay to move on to the semifinals.
However, the host would not move on without some controversy, as defender Gonzalo Jara’s ugly actions in the quarterfinal against Ecuador resulted in a three-game suspension, meaning he will be unavailable for the remainder of the tournament. Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
Andrea Pirlo was spotted at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night, and it appears that New York City FC is close to making the presence of the Italian legend a much more common occurrence.
Goal USA is reporting that talks between Pirlo and NYCFC have reached the final stages, with the club potentially announcing Pirlo’s signing as soon as next week. Pirlo, who was shown to be in attendance alongside future NYCFC midfielder Frank Lampard, has now returned to Europe and does not plan to return until late July.
Should the signing of Pirlo be completed, NYCFC could debut their new signing as soon as July 26 for a home matchup with Orlando City.
Pirlo has been connected with NYCFC throughout the year, with his appearances in Manhattan in recent weeks only furthering speculation of his imminent signing.
While the team will have to wait another month or so to see Pirlo don the team’s jersey, NYCFC will see Lampard suit up much sooner, as the Englishman is set to begin training on Wednesday and is expected to feature July 12 against Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium.
In addition to Lampard and Pirlo, NYCFC are set to debut a pair of defenders in the coming weeks in the form of longtime Athletic Bilbao defender Andoni Iraola and Manchester City loanee Angelino.
What do you think of the Pirlo move? How will Pirlo and Lampard impact NYCFC?
Photo by Garrett Cleverly/SBI Soccer
By DAN KARELL
Former Real Salt Lake academy member Brooks Lennon looks set to become the latest to American to make the move to Anfield.
According to a report by Goal.com, Liverpool is expected to complete the signing of Lennon by the end of this week. Lennon has spent extensive time with Liverpool’s youth academy over the past few years, and he’s done enough to earn a professional contract.
The 17-year-old forward is expected to receive his Irish passport soon, which will help pave the way for him to eventually play for the first team if he progresses well at Liverpool.
Lennon, who is registered to RSL’s Arizona-based academy, is a current member of the U.S. Under-18 National Team. He started for the U.S. U-18s last April in a pair of friendly matches at Bosnia and Herzegovina. Lennon is eligible to play for the U.S. U-20 team in the upcoming 2017 Under-20 World Cup cycle.
What do you think of this development? Do you see Lennon making it into the Liverpool first team down the road? Think this is the right move for him?
Share your thoughts below.
Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports
BY MICHAEL PENG
NEW YORK — In what has been a bit of a roller coaster season for New York City FC thus far there have been more lows than highs for the expansion club up until this point.
The team, after its latest 3-1 loss to crosstown rivals New York Red Bulls, currently possesses just 17 points through 17 contests on the season and sits in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
However, the cavalry is on the way to perhaps help this club climb out of its current predicament.
Frank Lampard, for one, will officially begin his tenure with NYCFC beginning July 1 and is expected to train with his newest club this week.
photo by Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
Scoring a goal can be emotionally overwhelming, but sometimes, whether by design or impulse, the celebrations that follow can be just as special as the finish.
Week 17 in MLS saw not one, but two players execute fun goal celebrations that will not soon be forgotten. The first came in the New York Red Bulls’ 3-1 road win over New York City FC on Sunday, as Matt Miazga did the long overdue gesture of swinging for the fences at Yankee Stadium.
Fanendo Adi followed that up later in the day with an impersonation of Timber Joey, grabbing the Portland Timbers’ mascot’s chainsaw and pretending to cut a slab of wood in the club’s 4-1 triumph over the Seattle Sounders.