By AYDIN REYHAN
EURO 2016 Qualifying returned this weekend with some memorable action as most nations took part in their fifth game thus far.
Controversy highlighted the weekend, as Friday’s matchup between Russia and Montenegro was abandoned after numerous incidents of home fans throwing objects at the visiting Russian players, prompting a brawl in the second half.
Elsewhere, Harry Kane scored a debut goal for England, while Wales managed to blank Israel, who was previously unbeaten, 3-0, on the road courtesy of a double from Gareth Bale.
In addition, Spain edged past Ukraine in a battle for second thanks to Alvaro Morata’s debut strike for his country, while, Slovenia and Switzerland both recorded victories to reach nine points in group E, sitting second and third respectively.
Here is all that occurred in EURO qualifying this weekend: Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
Brazilian star Neymar is widely recognized as one of the game’s top players, and that status has left him as a major target for persistent fouling and general rough play.
The Barcelona forward was most recently the victim of a stomp by Chile’s Gary Medel that was missed by the referee, Martin Atkinso, in a 1-0 victory for Brazil. Also injured in last summer’s World Cup, Neymar hopes that referees can start to keep a better grasp on those fouling him, as he cannot do anything himself in retaliation.
“I hope [Copa America referees will be more aware], because I cannot defend myself, I cannot fight back, I cannot do anything,” Neymar said. “[If] we have a referee on the pitch that is there to punish them, then they have to keep an eye on it. I have to congratulate the referee [Atkinson] for the match, but I think he missed in this incident.
“That wasn’t part of the game because if it was, then the sport name had to be UFC and not football,” he said. “But the referee didn’t see that. He’s there to see everything but he [is] just not seeing. Has four referees on the pitch and nobody saw anything. But I know it happens, someone has to pay and I suffer the pain.”
Here are some more news and notes to kick off your Monday morning: Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
Down 3-1 entering Sunday night’s second leg, Honduras was going to have to put together a special performance to rekindle the country’s hopes of appearing in this summer’s Gold Cup.
On the back of Andy Najar, a special performance is exactly what Los Catrachos put forth.
Honduras topped French Guiana, 3-0, Sunday and 4-3 on aggregate to claim the 12th and final spot in July’s Gold Cup.
Najar led the way for Los Carachos, who were topped 2-1 in the opening leg in French Guiana. The former D.C. United midfielder scored a pair of goals in a little over two minutes, the first of which came in the 30th minute via a spectacularly hit volley from outside the box. Continue reading
Photo by Jeff Swinger/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
After conceding an equalizer in the 88th minute of play, it would have been easy for Real Salt Lake to hang heads and accept the fate of just one point.
Jordan Allen did no such thing.
The 19-year-old defender, just five games into his MLS career, scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute, leading RSL to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Toronto FC.
Moments after Olmes Garcia had a chance to push the original lead to two, substitute Jackson brought Toronto FC the goal they so despearately needed with a finish in the 88th minute. That scoreline lasted just over one minute as Allen lit up Rio Tinto with his first professional goal to earn his side all three points.
After conceding a hard-earned lead, Allen provided the spark, as the defender got on the end of a Morales cross to head home from close range. Continue reading
Photo by Mike Dinovo / USA Today Sports
By ADAM TROXTELL
A big sigh of relief breathed out of the cold at Toyota Park.
The Chicago Fire emerged from a clash of winless teams against Philadelphia Union with their first victory of the season, 1-0 on a frigid spring afternoon. Harrison Shipp was again in the middle of the action, leaving only the question of how only one goal was scored in a lively match.
After scoring the Fire’s first goal of the season last weekend against San Jose, Shipp provided the eventual winner in the first half with a cross that was steered home by Adailton. The goal came after a steady build-up by the Fire, who out-shot the Union 16-7 and held the visitors to zero shots on goal.
Philadelphia’s effort was held back by several factors, not least a red card to Fred in the 73rd minute for hitting Shipp in the face. It came just as the Union appeared to be organizing for an equalizer, but they remain winless through four games this season.
By ADAM TROXTELL
In the buildup to this summer’s Copa America, Chile also might have revenge on the mind when facing Brazil in London.
The match held at the Emirates Stadium is the first meeting between the two sides since Brazil’s win on penalty kicks in the round of 16 at last year’s World Cup. Both teams called up the big guns for this friendly match, with Neymar and Alexis Sanchez expected to play.
Qualification continues for next summer’s European Championships, with Germany trying to retake first place in their group against Georgia. It should be an easy time for the Germans, who are currently staring up at Poland in a close Group D.
Ireland hosts Poland later in the day, with just three points separating first from fourth. Third place Scotland plays bottom dwellers Gibraltar.
Portugal can take top spot in Group I with a win against Serbia. Denmark, who currently tops the group, plays France in a friendly match this round.
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):
BY MICHAEL PENG
NEW YORK — David Villa had been fighting through it week after week, but the pain from a groin injury that has been nagging him since the preseason finally became too unbearable, forcing the Spanish star to sit out of New York City FC’s match Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.
Without his presence up top, as well as the likes of Khiry Shelton and Adam Nemec, who were both called away on their respective international duties, NYCFC suffered their first loss in club history, dropping the match 1-0 on an early Ike Opara header on a chilly, snowy night at Yankee Stadium.
Patrick Mullins and Javier Calle got the nods to start for NYCFC, and substitute Tony Taylor came on late, but none of them were able to find the goal NYCFC needed to salvage the loss, as the team had just three shots on target on 12 tries.
The club cited “a slight adductor issue” in a statement released just prior to the match and afterward, head coach Jason Kreis admitted this is an issue the team has been monitoring for quite some time. Continue reading