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Europa League Rewind: Besiktas eliminates Liverpool; Everton wins big against Young Boys; and more

Liverpool bows out of Europa League after missed penalty, Everton eases into the next round, and Tottenham also falls.

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Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind

Tim Howard and Everton advanced in the UEFA Europa League, Fabian Johnson and Borussia Moenchengladbach did not, and more in the Americans Abroad’s midweek action.

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RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen labels free agency a “waste-of-time discussion”

Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen has called free agency a “waste-of-time discussion” as Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations reach crunch time with a week before the scheduled start of the 2015 season.

Sources: Benji Joya on trial with Rapids, has interest from other MLS teams, clubs abroad

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Photo by Mike Dinovo/USA Today Sports

 

By DAN KARELL

Coming off a frustrating stint with the Chicago Fire in 2014, Benji Joya has found himself in soccer limbo.

With his contract out at Santos Laguna, the former U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team midfielder has been on the trial circuit, trying to earn an MLS contract for the upcoming season. Following a brief stint with the Seattle Sounders, Joya has joined up with the Colorado Rapids in the hopes of securing a roster spot.

Sources told SBI though that if the Rapids don’t offer the 21-year-old a contract, he has options else where. The sources said that there was interest from both the New England Revolution and D.C. United, as well as possible options in Colombia or Switzerland.

In the mean time, Joya is playing games for the Rapids. He featured in their 1-0 victory in the Desert Diamond Cup against Real Salt Lake, coming off the bench in the 64th minute.

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Europa League Rewind: Besiktas eliminates Liverpool; Everton wins big against Young Boys; and more

Besiktas-v-Liverpool-Feb26-Getty

By ADAM TROXTELL

Only league position will keep Liverpool in Europe now.

The Reds were knocked out by Besiktas on penalties, 5-4, after the Turkish side tied up the round of 32 match 1-1 on aggregate in Thursday’s second leg. Dejan Lovren missed the final penalty for Liverpool when he sent his shot over the bar.

Entering the second leg with a 1-0 lead, Liverpool was aware of the need to take quick advantage away from home. All nine of the Reds’ shots on goal were sent away by Cenk Gonen in goal as Besiktas worked toward a lead.

Tolgay Arslan gave it to them in the 73rd minute. Demba Ba picked up a loose ball in the Liverpool box before setting up Arslan to finish inside the left post.

Ba hit the bar with under 10 minutes to go, and extra time became imminent. When 120 minutes wasn’t enough, the former Chelsea man, along with Gokhan Tore, Veli Kavlak, Atiba Hutchinson and Tolgay Arslan put away their penalties.

Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Joe Allen kept pace for Liverpool, but Lovren skied his shot. Now the Reds have to fight for fourth place in the English Premier League to qualify for the UEFA Champions League once again.

Here is a full recap of Thursday’s Europa League action:

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Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Only one American remains in the UEFA Europa League, and he is the same player who was receiving his share of criticism earlier this week.

Tim Howard helped Everton move into the tournament’s Round of 16 on Thursday, as the Toffees picked up a 3-1 victory in the second leg of their series against Swiss side Young Boys. Howard started in goal for Everton on Wednesday despite struggling over the weekend, and the veteran goalkeeper came up with one save in the match at Goodison Park. The Premiership club received offensive contributions from Belgian duo Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas on the day, and advanced via an impressive 7-2 aggregate score.

Fabian Johnson and Borussia Moenchengladbach were not as fortunate. Johnson and Moenchengladbach entered the day needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit after falling in the first leg of their series with Sevilla, but the Spanish club once again got the better of the Bundesliga outfit with a 3-1 win. Johnson, who continues to struggle to earn a consistent workload at Moenchengladbach, contributed off the bench by playing the final 12 minutes.

Herculez Gomez was also involved in a cup competition in recent days, and he delivered by scoring two goals for Puebla in a narrow defeat to Toluca. Gomez bagged his third and fourth goals of the Copa MX on Tuesday, but his notable showing was for naught as the Camoteros suffered their first defeat in the tournament. Puebla lost the Group 5 match, 4-3.

Here is how the Americans Abroad performed during the midweek action:

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RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen labels free agency a “waste-of-time discussion”

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Photo by Chris Nicoll/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

Free agency has been a main sticking point for MLS players throughout their Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations with the league, but there’s at least one team owner that thinks those conversations are pointless.

Real Salt Lake’s Dell Loy Hansen came out and issued some strong words as to why he thinks free agency will not come to MLS in 2015, telling radio station ESPN 700 on Wednesday that the single-entity structure of the league does not make it feasible.

“There’s some great agreement that everyone can reach, but every time I read, ‘We’re going to work on free agency,’ well, that’s kind of one of those real waste-of-time conversations,” Hansen told the RSL-owned station. “I think everyone’s very intense on (agreeing to a deal). I know that the league and the owners are seriously looking at that.”

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Real Salt Lake | 62 Comments

This Weekend’s Soccer On TV

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By ADAM TROXTELL

Chelsea’s clash with Tottenham in the English League Cup Final highlights a busy Sunday of soccer on TV.

It’s a rematch of the 2008 final, one that Blues fans will want to forget after London-rivals Spurs came back to win 2-1. That was Tottenham’s first, and so far only, trophy after a nine year drought.

Prior to that game, in-form Liverpool hosts second-place Manchester City as both clubs chase down teams ahead of them in the standings. The Reds are trying to keep pace with Southampton, Arsenal and Manchester United in the race for UEFA Champions League spots, while Manchester City can cut the deficit at the top of the table to just two points with a victory Sunday. Man United hosts Sunderland on Saturday, and the Gunners face Everton on Sunday.

Similar clashes take place in Spain on Sunday, with fifth-place Sevilla playing third-place Atletico Madrid. First place holders Real Madrid host sixth place Villarreal, who is currently six points behind Valencia in the final Champions League spot.

In Mexico, Tijuana will try to maintain its spot at the top of Liga MX on Friday night with a win against Pachuca. Xolos took first place away from Cruz Azul, who will try to take advantage of any slip ups against Toluca on Sunday.

Here is this weekend’s soccer on TV (schedule after the jump):

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Mexican Football Federation backs San Antonio for MLS expansion

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By RYAN TOLMICH

San Antonio’s efforts to become the latest of MLS’s expansion franchises has received a major backer, one from outside the borders of the United States.

The San Antonio Express-News reported Thursday that Mexican Football Federation president Justino Compean has written to MLS commissioner Don Garber to advocate for expansion into San Antonio. Compean, who oversees Mexico’s national team, also sent copies of his letter to San Antonio Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman and members of the San Antonio City Council.

“The city has the infrastructure, resources and diversity that makes San Antonio the ideal place for MLS expansion,” Compean wrote, according to the San Antonio Express-News . “I am very pleased that these local leaders have initiated the effort to bring professional soccer to San Antonio and I look forward to having them as my partner.”

The league has plans to expand to 24 teams by 2020, with 20 teams set for play as of 2015. Miami, Los Angeles and Atlanta account for three of the open slots currently set for expansion, while San Antonio, Minnesota and Sacramento have been battling for the 24th and final spot.

As of 2015, the city is represented by the NASL’s Scorpions, who captured last season’s Soccer Bowl title.

What do you think of Compean’s comments? Do you expect San Antonio to join the MLS ranks in the near future?

Share your thoughts below.

 

Posted in Featured, MLS- Expansion | 44 Comments