By ADAM TROXTELL
All that’s at stake is local pride, but it’s all that is needed when AC Milan and Inter Milan lock horns.
A 1-1 draw the last time the teams met leaves them dead-even over the last 10 games, with both winning four and sharing a pair of ties. While the winner may not take any major steps toward securing a spot in Europe for next season — with Milan in ninth place and Inter in 10th — victory does go a long way toward ensuring one will finish the season higher than the other.
In England, Aston Villa and Liverpool meet in an FA Cup semifinal for the chance to meet Arsenal in the final in May. The teams split their league meetings this year, with Liverpool winning the most recent matchup 2-0 at Villa Park back in January.
Sevilla can climb even on points with fourth-place Valencia with a win on the road to Granada. In the Bundesliga, Schalke is also fighting for a European spot away from home against Wolfsburg.
If you will be watching any of today’s action, feel free to leave your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (today’s soccer on TV schedule after the jump):
Photo by Russell Isabella / USA Today Sports
By COLE KELLOGG
Real Salt Lake’s unbeaten start to the season ended on Saturday as the Vancouver Whitecaps exited Rio Tinto Stadium with all three points.
The match was decided in the final 15 minutes, with Darren Mattocks finishing off a Russell Teibert cross for a 1-0 win. The Whitecaps retain the top spot in the Western Conference with their fifth victory already this season.
The two teams were without star playmakers in Javier Morales and Pedro Morales, and the game was often missing the creativity that both have consistently showcased so far this season.
Red cards for RSL youngster Sebastian Saucedo and veteran Jámison Olave added to a lively final 15 minutes. Saucedo saw red just eleven minutes after entering the game for a studs-up challenge on Mauro Rosales just outside the RSL box. Jámison Olave received a second yellow for a foul on Mattocks in the 89th minute.
By ADAM TROXTELL
Facing a familiar opponent when it comes to locking up an English Premier League title, Chelsea took a big step toward claiming its fourth.
Though the margins aren’t as small as they have been in past seasons, it didn’t make Chelsea’s 1-0 win against Manchester United any less satisfying. With Arsenal on FA Cup semifinal duty, the Blues now lead by 10 points at the top of the standings.
Eden Hazard’s 13th league goal of the season wrapped up the three points for Chelsea in the 38th minute. Capitalizing on a John Terry tackle at midfield on Radamel Falcao, Hazard was easily played through down the left before sending a shot underneath David De Gea and in.
It was one of few chances for Chelsea, again without Diego Costa. At the other end, Manchester United was given plenty of time to score with 70 percent of the possession, but they only came close to scoring twice.
Wayne Rooney had a golden opportunity in the first five minutes, but his left-footed strike curled wide of the goal. In the second half, Falcao attempted a shot from almost the same place Hazard scored his, but the ball clanged off the outside of the post and out.
Arsenal needed extra time, but the Gunners will go on to defend their FA Cup trophy with a 2-1 win against Reading in the semifinal. Barcelona stayed top of La Liga with a win at home, and Borussia Dortmund climbed into the top half of the Bundesliga.
Here are more recaps from Saturday’s action across Europe’s top leagues.
Photo by Brad Mills / USA Today Sports
By CLIFF STARKEY
Andrew Dykstra didn’t know when he’d get to play again, but for his sake, it had to be soon.
While it could be said that that’s the life of a reserve goalkeeper — especially when you’re backing up MLS All-Star and U.S. Men’s National Team up-and-comer Bill Hamid — Dykstra needed to get first-team playing minutes.
But not for his ego, or his statistics page. Andrew Dykstra needed a solid start to put the last eight months behind him.
At the beginning of last season, Hamid picked up a toe injury that kept him out of action for most of April. Dykstra seized his opportunity, and led D.C. United to 2-0-1 record in Hamid’s absence, allowing just one goal in those three games. But once Hamid returned to fitness, Dykstra returned to the bench.
Photo by NASL
By COLE KELLOG
A goal of the season candidate from Indy Eleven’s Sergio Peña helped push Indy Eleven to an away win over the defending champions.
Peña’s late long-distance strike helped Indy Eleven snatch a 2-1 away win at the San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday at Toyota Field.
After exchanging goals early in the second half, the deadlock remained until the 88th minute, when Pena scored with a brilliant strike from 40 yards out. Pena, a former Real Sociedad player, beat San Antonio’s goalkeeper Jon Kempin from distance to earn his side all three points in spectacular fashion.
Former MLS star Omar Cummings got on the scoresheet for the hosts right after half, but a fantastic Kristian Nicht performance kept Indy Eleven in the game. Indy’s Erick Norales scored off of a free kick from Dylan Mares after the hour mark, and the world-class strike from Peña sealed the win for the Eleven.
San Antonio had the better of the attacking play in this first meeting between the two NASL sides. Continue reading
Photo by Rob Kinnan/Carolina RailHawks
By AARON CRANFORD
CARY, N.C. — The Atlanta Silverbacks came into WakeMed Soccer Park on the wrong foot, but a tale of two halves saw the Atlanta side through with a 2-1 win against the Carolina RailHawks.
In front of approximately 4,500 fans, the first half belonged to Carolina, with many chances going just wide of Silverbacks goalkeeper C.J. Cochran’s goal.
But Atlanta would come out in the second half with guns blazing. Shaka Bangura rocketed a shot that bounced around the box in the 49th minute past a diving Hunter Gilstrap for the opener. And approximately 20 minutes later Jonathan Okafor gave the visiting side the 2-0 lead.
“Halftime comes, and certainly Carolina looked the better side in possession while chances were few and far between for both sides,” head coach Gary Smith told reporters after the match. “I think in the second period, halftime, I just said to the guys, ‘you’ve got to try to relax and show a little bit more composure in possession.’ We’ve got a good format; we’ve got a nice shape; we’ve got a way we can play. We are effective in certain areas, as you have seen tonight.”
One of those players who was effective scored the game-winning goal. Okafor was active all night, combining well with his teammates and stretching the field in attack. RailHawks midfielder Mark Anderson had some of the best attempts for the Cary side. He came the closest to netting in the first half, hitting the post on one attempt and missing just wide with a right-footed curling effort on another.
But it was Blake Wagner’s shot that made things interesting late on. Continue reading
Photo by NASL/Ottawa Fury FC
By AARON CRANFORD
Ottawa Fury FC had a tough two-game road test to begin the year, only grabbing one point in the process, but Marc Dos Santos’ men demonstrated why there’s no place like home.
The Canadian side took down Minnesota United FC, 1-0, in front of more than 5,000 Fury fans on Saturday. United had little going for them all match due to Fury FC’s high pressure and offensive bombardment.
Last year’s Spring Season winner Minnesota United looked a shadow of their former selves against Ottawa, especially in the first half. Forwards Tom Heinemann and Paulo Junior combined well and forced United goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock into five saves within the first 45 minutes alone.
And Heinemann was the man to break the deadlock in the second half, beating Tiago Calvano in the lead-up to the goal with a nifty cut inside. Continue reading
Photo by Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports
By ADAM TROXTELL
Omar Gonzalez didn’t start in LA Galaxy’s win at home against Sporting Kansas City, but he certainly finished it.
The defender provided the game winner with virtually the last kick of the game, resulting in a dramatic 2-1 victory for the Galaxy. After putting SKC under pressure for much of the second half, it was just about deserved for the MLS Cup holders.
But the visitors had plenty to say about it. After Baggio Husidic’s opener inside 10 minutes, Krisztian Nemeth brought SKC back into the game while connecting with his attacking partners in the 22nd minute.
Jaime Penedo was forced into action a few times in the Galaxy goal ahead of halftime, but it was LA that carried momentum throughout the second half. The introduction of Gyasi Zardes re-ignited the Galaxy attack, contributing to the team’s six shots on target.