By MICHAEL PENG
While the competition is sparse in the world of soccer on Thursday, the meeting between Juventus and Fiorentina will take center stage and serve as the marquee matchup in a series of cup matchups.
The two Serie A sides will square off in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semifinals in Turin. Juventus, the reigning league champions and current leaders, drew 0-0 with Fiorentina on the road in the two clubs’ only meeting this season on Dec. 5.
Elsewhere, Coupe de France will also be in action, featuring matches between Brest and Auxerre, as well as Concarneau and Guingamp.
Last but not least, renowned South American sides River Plate and Atletico Nacional are set to face Tigres UANL and Estudiantes, respectively, in Copa Libertadores.
If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Today’s soccer TV schedule is after the jump): Continue reading
By MIKE GRAMAJO
ORLANDO — When Orlando City SC announced earlier this week they officially filled the Citrus Bowl with 60,000 fans, that proved to be only a bluff of what their true potential was.
That potential was achieved on Wednesday during the teams media day when club president Phil Rawlins announced that 2,000 standing-room only seats will be added to accommodate Orlando City’s high demand of tickets for Sunday’s inaugural game vs. New York City FC.
“We’ve been able to work out a deal to add 2,000 more standing-room only tickets,” Rawlins told reporters. “They will be a first come, first serve base. So total capacity for our game on Sunday will be sold-out 62,000. That’s a testament to the interest in the team and our fan support. We’re delighted to have a great fan base and tremendous supporters to witness the event.”
With the Citrus Bowl being capped at 20,000 seats after the home opener, Rawlins also said the club is close to selling out its second game on March 21st when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps.
On the season ticket front, sources have confirmed with SBI that there are only handful of season tickets left before the club reaches its limit of 14,000.
Here are some more notes from Orlando City’s media day: Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
In a match-up involving two of the three Americans who regularly see the field in the English Premier L, it was Geoff Cameron who helped his team come out on top with a solid performance off the bench.
Stoke City defeated Everton, 2-0, on Wednesday to pick up its third straight league victory, and Cameron played a part in making it happen by turning in a 73-minute shift as a substitute. Cameron was thrust into duty in the early going after a teammate went down with an injury, and the versatile American slotted in at centerback. Cameron then helped Stoke record a second straight shutout while simultaneously handing Tim Howard and the Toffees their second successive 2-0 defeat.
Ventura Alvarado and Club America enjoyed the same kind of victory on Wednesday night. America finished off Costa Rican side Saprissa to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, grabbing a 2-0 victory in the return leg of the series at Estadio Azteca. Alvarado started and played 59 minutes for the Liga MX club, which trounced Saprissa by a 5-0 aggregate score.
Two other Americans contributed to their team’s respective victories, as Amando Moreno and Conor O’Brien both made plays that allowed for more breathing room. Moreno scored the insurance goal and second of his career in Club Tijuana’s 2-0 Copa MX victory against Universidad de Guadalajara on Tuesday, and O’Brien delivered the assist on the final goal in Wiener Neustadt’s 3-1 triumph over Grodig a day later.
Here is how the Americans Abroad did during the midweek action:
By DAN KARELL
Inter Milan may have to part with one of their prized assets this summer to achieve their transfer war chest.
Manager Roberto Mancini has already identified a number of summer signings, including chasing Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, Torino defender Matteo Darmian, Marseille forward Andre-Pierre Gignac, and AS Monaco midfielder Jeremy Toulalan, among others according to Gazzetta Dello Sport. But due to Financial Fair Play regulations and Inter’s reported debt of €180 million, they’re likely going to have to have an even balance sheet at the end of the transfer window.
In order to afford the numerous players Mancini has his eye on, Inter may be forced to sell Argentine forward Mauro Icardi. Gazzetta reports that Icardi is worth €40 million and despite reports recently that Inter are looking to sign Icardi to an extension, his sale could pave the way for some of the new signings to come in.
Losing Icardi would be a huge loss for the team though. He’s currently second in Serie A in scoring with 14 goals in 21 games, and he’s scored five other goals in cup competitions.
Inter are currently in ninth place in Serie A, and perhaps crucially, they’re seven points behind the final Europa League qualification place in the standings.
Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday:
By FRANCO PANIZO
As collective bargaining agreement talks dragged on, the MLS players union dug its heels and insisted that a deal wouldn’t get done without free agency. Though the agreement that was made Wednesday night still has a number of restrictions on player movement, a form of free agency was indeed acquired.
While the terms of the deal may have fallen well short for some players, MLS commissioner Don Garber said in the immediate aftermath of the agreement that the players are pleased because they have achieved something few thought possible back when the league started 20 years ago.
“I think anytime you have labor negotiations between players and management, there’s so many different issues — everybody’s trying to ensure you can create an agreement that allows everybody to feel good,” Garber told ESPN late Wednesday. “In this case, the players feel good. They’ve got more movement than they’ve had before — more than we probably thought we would provide when this league was launched.”