Xavier, UMBC and UC-Irvine record major upsets to reach NCAA Round of 16

The NCAA Tournament suffered a major shakeup on Sunday, with a handful of top seeds suffering stunning second round upsets.

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Monday kickoff: Liverpool’s Rodgers understands job is at risk; Reus out until January; and more

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers understands that his job is on the line following a recent string of losses.

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Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Terrence Boyd opened his 2. Bundesliga scoring account with a brace, Aron Johannsson ended his goal drought, and more in this past weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

Must-See Goal: Luciano Slagveer

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Xavier, UMBC and UC-Irvine record major upsets to reach NCAA Round of 16

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Photo by Xavier Athletics

By AARON CRANFORD

Xavier had never won a NCAA Tournament home match until defeating Monmouth, and now, they are heading to the third round of the tournament for the first time ever after shocking No. 5 Indiana, 2-1, in Bloomington.

The Musketeers took the lead in the 29th minute after Matt Vasquenza beat the keeper for his 7th goal of the year. Hoosiers defender Grant Lillard quickly equalized in the 34th. But Musketeers senior Will Walker converted the game-winning penalty kick in the 74th minute to give the team its 15th win, a program record.

UMBC produced one of the best results in university history after knocking out No. 4 Maryland, 1-0. Retrievers midfielder Malcolm Harris netted the game-winner in the 70th minute to send his side into the third round, which is the farthest any UMBC athletic program has advanced in NCAA Tournament history.

No. 2 UCLA star midfielder Leo Stolz scored a golden goal in overtime to lift the Bruins over San Diego, 2-1. Toreros defender Parker Price put the away side up in the 20th, but Stolz netted his first of two in the 55th with a spectacular free kick.

While UC Irvine midfielder Michael Sperber eliminated Pac-12 powerhouse No. 6 Stanford, 1-0, in overtime, all five ACC teams, including No. 1 Notre Dame, and all four Big East teams won Sunday to advance into the round of 16; No. 7 Clemson could make it six for the ACC Monday.

Meanwhile, in one of the intriguing intrastate battles, North Carolina forward Tyler Engel scored in the 89th minute to give the Tar Heels a 2-1 upset victory over No. 10 Charlotte. Engel scored his first of the afternoon in the 27th, but the Tar Heels conceded an own goal in the 52nd minute.

Here is a rundown of Sunday’s results: Continue reading »

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Monday kickoff: Liverpool’s Rodgers understands job is at risk; Reus out until January; and more

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Photo by Guy Rhodes/ USA TODAY SPORTS

 

By RYAN TOLMICH

The world of soccer is an extremely results-driven business, and Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool have struggled to get results.

After sputtering to a fourth consecutive defeat this weekend, Rodgers admitted that he understands that his job is on the line as Liverpool continue their decline all the way to 12th in the Premier League.

“I’m not arrogant enough to think that I will be in a job through anything,” Rodgers said. “Any manager will tell you that you have to win games and you have to get results, especially after how we’ve been developing as a football club. But I have a great communication line with the owners. We’ve been honest enough with each other but ultimately you have to get results. You have to perform. In my first year when we weren’t maybe getting the results we were performing well.

“Owners and directors and chairmen and chief executives have to see development on the field. Barring this period, our development has been very good and fast. But there’s no doubt as a manager you have to get results. That will support the confidence to the owners, and you take it from there. I will only ever do my best. The best has seen us develop well. Now I need to fight even harder. And take the responsibility because as manager full responsibility comes down to me. Any pressure comes on to me.”

Here are more news and notes to kickoff your Monday morning:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, FIFA, International Soccer | 4 Comments

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Terrence Boyd RB Leipzig 1By FRANCO PANIZO

On the scoresheet and in the headlines. That was where Terrence Boyd was this weekend.

Boyd helped push RB Leipzig to victory on Sunday, bagging a brace that opened his scoring account in the 2. Bundesliga and included the winner in a 4-1 triumph over St. Pauli. Both of Boyd’s goals came in impressive fashion, as he first headed a powerful header home from a difficult angle in the opening half before firing in a rocket of a shot in the second stanza. The goals gave the 23-year-old Boyd three across all competitions, and gave Leipzig their first win in three matches.

Not to be too outdone, fellow forward Aron Johannsson also netted his first of the season to lift AZ Alkmaar to a win in the Eredivisie. Johannsson scored via a snap header on Saturday, giving AZ a 1-0 victory that extended their league unbeaten streak to four games. Johannsson’s 14th-minute goal was his first since last April.

While the goal-scorers shone brightest this weekend, a pair of young centerbacks also made some noise. John Brooks earned his first Bundesliga start since Sept. 19 for Hertha Berlin in Saturday’s 2-1 win against FC Cologne, and Ventura Alvarado earned a rare nod for Club America in a 2-1 defeat to Edgar Castillo and Atlas that same day.

Here is how the Americans Abroad fared this weekend:

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Sunday European Rewind: Milan-Inter battle to draw; Liverpool falter at Crystal Palace; and more

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By ADAM TROXTELL

Neither side picked up a win, but the first Milan Derby of the season lived up to its billing.

In front of more than 79,000 fans inside an electrified San Siro, AC Milan and Inter Milan battled to a gritty 1-1 draw that leaves little separating them in Serie A.

Brief moments of quality that included goals from Milan’s Jeremy Menez and Inter’s Joel Obi were diamonds in the rough of a tight Milan Derby. Inter grew into the game after their opponents just edged the first half, though both left plenty of chances to take all three points on the field.

In the Barclays Premier League, Selhurst Park has become a house of horrors for Liverpool who fell, 3-1 to an efficient, counter-attacking Crystal Palace. The Reds’ struggles in front of goal continued, with Rickie Lambert’s first goal at Liverpool in the second minute only an isolated moment of attacking prowess.

Yannick Bolasie’s play provided both the equalizer and the winner for Palace, leaving the Reds with just two wins in the last nine league outings.

In similar fashion, Levante got a surprise 2-1 win against Valencia at home in La Liga. Hamburg won the battle of the bottom dwellers, 2-0 over Werder Bremen, to climb out of the relegation zone in the Bundesliga. Meanwhile, Marseille took back top spot in Ligue 1 thanks to an 85th minute winner from Andre-Pierre Gignac.

Here’s a closer look at all of Sunday’s action in the top European leagues:

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Galaxy deny Sounders, take one-goal lead into second leg

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Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

By MARK EDWARD HORNISH

CARSON, Calif. – It’s always the question after the opening match of a two-game aggregate series: “will it be enough?”

The LA Galaxy held serve in the first leg of the Western Conference finals, downing the Seattle Sounders at home, 1-0, before a sold out crowd of 27,000 on a cool and sunny afternoon at the Stub Hub Center.

Marcelo Sarvas found joy when he collected an A.J. DeLaGarza back pass just inside the area and fired a shot at the far side netting. The ball took a slight deflection off the foot of Seattle center back Chad Marshall, and it was enough to wrong-foot Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei and give the Galaxy the lead.

“It puts us in a good position,” Galaxy captain Robbie Keane said after the match. “I think the most important thing today was not to concede a goal, and we did that. And we managed to get one. So overall, not a bad day.”

The Galaxy dominated possession and the stat sheet on the day, holding the ball for 61 percent of the match, and firing off 20 shots to the Sounders ten.

“Keeping that team scoreless is not easy,” Landon Donovan after the match. “Getting the goal was important. We were a little unlucky, and not quite sharp enough to get the second. But we’re confident.”

Despite the dominance on paper, the Galaxy had to rely on several quality saves from their goalkeeper, Panamanian international Jaime Penedo, to maintain the advantage.  Penedo’s most sparkling sequence came in the 20th minute, when first Martins, then Dempsey, both had quick clean looks at the Galaxy goal from inside the six yard box, and both of which were stuffed by a sprawling Penedo.

“Jaime’s been terrific,” said Donovan, when asked about his keeper’s performance. “At the end of the year, he gave up two or three goals that were relatively similar in the way they were created, and the way they played out. He and Matt Reis, the goalkeeper coach, have done a lot of work over the past three weeks on how to do better with those chances.

“Ironically, the chances we gave up today were very similar. Guys slipped in at angles, and he’s come out and made really good saves. He’s been very solid, and when we’ve needed him to make a big save, he has, and that’s how you win championships.”

That said, it was the Galaxy that consistently found time and space in the attacking third, breaking down the usually stalwart Seattle defense with their trademark short-passing game.  Finishing, however, was once again a concern for the Galaxy, failing to put away multiple opportunities, including a Stephan Ishizaki direct free kick that utterly fooled goalkeeper Frei but bounced off the crossbar and went uncollected but the Galaxy.

The match became increasingly chippy as it progressed, and referee Kevin Stott remained reluctant throughout the day to reach for his pockets.  Seattle captain Clint Dempsey found himself on the ground often in the first fifteen minutes, and despite earning an early yellow card, Seattle center back Zack Scott was whistled four more times for fouls involving blows to the back of the head of his opponent, without ever receiving anything more than a talking-to from Stott.

“As you can see, the officiating is important too,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “In these games, I don’t think we quite understand how to deal with this competition with the rules, with cards and everything. It’s been crazy. But it is what it is. Now we’ll have two teams going into the game Sunday with no one suspended, which I guess was the premise behind some of the decisions today.”

“The officials have made it clear that no one’s getting sent off,” added Donovan. “We have to make sure we’re aware of that next weekend, and we’ll play with that in mind, and I’m sure they will too.”

The Western Conference championship now switches to Seattle for the second leg, where the Sounders will have no less than 40,000 fans awaiting.  The Galaxy will bring to CenturyLink Field their legend, Landon Donovan, for what may be the last time ever, and a one-goal lead.  It remains to be seen if that will be enough.

“We’re confident,” Donovan stated. “We’ve been up there (Seattle) twice this year. We were thoroughly dominant in the first game, and we were the much better team for eighty six minutes in the second game. We’re full of confidence this year. We know they’re going to give it their best shot, and we look forward to it.”

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS Playoffs, MLS- LA Galaxy, MLS- Seattle Sounders | 17 Comments