photo by Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
NEW YORK — A day that was meant to be about the U.S. Women’s National Team and its preparations for the World Cup was largely overshadowed. The scandalous corruption charges against FIFA stole the majority of Wednesday’s headlines, and a good portion of the conversation during the U.S.’s Media Day in Manhattan was about that very topic.
Still, the Americans made sure to point out they are not letting anything on the outside distract them from the task at hand. No matter what it is.
Ten days are all that is left before the start of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. The summer tournament will showcase the very best that the women’s game has to offer, but will also likely include plenty of discussion about the sport’s governing body following a series of indictments on Wednesday against some of its top officials.
While a large shadow might be cast over the World Cup because of the situation, U.S. players maintained on Wednesday that they are staying focused on what happens on the field, not off of it. The Americans want to end a 16-year drought by winning their third world championship, and know that they will do themselves little favors if they preoccupy themselves with what’s going on with FIFA.
“I think it’s important to note that whatever happens in Switzerland or in Brazil or in Japan with their federations or even our own federation in FIFA, we have no idea what goes on and we have no control,” said veteran forward Abby Wambach during a press conference. “We’re really all just here because we want to talk about the Women’s World Cup, how we are preparing, what we are all doing. I want to talk about Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo and things that they’re doing on the pitch, because that’s why we’re all sitting here.
By AARON CRANFORD
Thanks to the brace by Carlos Bacca, Sevilla accomplished what no other team has, defending a European title for the second time.
Sevilla came back from a goal down to defeat Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk by a scoreline of 3-2 on Wednesday night in Warsaw, and with the win, Sevilla has now won UEFA’s second-tier competition back-to-back for the second time in a decade. The Spanish club will be entered into the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage as a result.
The Cinderella story that is Dnipro Dnipropretrovsk reached its ending on Wednesday night in Polish capital city, as the team from a war-torn Ukraine could not upset their Spanish counterpart in the final of the Europa League.
The Ukranian side were always underdogs against Sevilla, a side that scored twice as many European goals as Dnipro this season in the same number of games. Dnipro would put up a good fight, scoring two on the day, with the goals coming from Nikola Kalinic and Ruslan Rotan.
However, in the end, Bacca was the culprit of Dnipro’s demise, scoring his second almost 17 minutes from full time while his first came in the 21st minute of play. Grzegorz Krychowiak also found the back of the net in the first half.
Here are some more news and notes for your Wednesday evening: Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
The latest scandal involving the indictments of FIFA officials has sent shockwaves throughout the sport, and the game’s governing body are stepping up to address the issues at hand.
After seeing some of its top officials, including president Jeffery Webb, charged by U.S. authorities, CONCACAF has restated the federation’s desire to cooperate with authorities while continuing business as usual while the process follows its course.
“The Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) is deeply concerned by today’s developments, in the arrest of several international football officials including those belonging to our Confederation,” CONCACAF said in a statement. “The Confederation will continue to cooperate with the authorities to its fullest capacity. ”
“At present, CONCACAF is not in a position to comment further on the specific allegations, which have been referred to the appropriate legal counsel through the pertinent channels. CONCACAF continues to operate in the ordinary course of business, hosting all of its upcoming tournaments in a successful and timely manner, including the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.”
By RYAN TOLMICH
The U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team’s first taste of the 2015 Toulon Tournament turned out to be a bitter one.
Undone by a trio of goals in 11 minutes, the U.S. was thoroughly defeated by France, 3-1, in the first game of the Toulon Tournament group stage. Stanford forward Jordan Morris scored the lone goal for the U.S. in the second half.
The lone bright spot for the U.S. was Morris’ second-half finish, who darted past the France defense in the 66th minute before tapping a shot to the backpost to push the scoreline to 3-1.
France’s dominance was apparent from the opening whistle, culminating in back-to-back goals from Fares Bahlouli and Enzo Crivelli just one minute apart.
Bahlouli’s opener saw France take full advantage of a string of sloppy play from the U.S., kickstarted by a Dan Metzger turnover in the midfield. On the attack, U.S. goalkeeper Cody Cropper was forced into a save, but the defense’s inability to clear their lines saw Bahlouli place a shot just past the fingertips of Cropper, giving France a 1-0 lead. Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
In the wake of the recent FIFA indictments, the NASL has taken action against those involved.
The NASL announced Wednesday that the league’s Board of Governors has suspended Chairperson Aaron Davidson, while also suspending business activities with Traffic Sports, owners of the Carolina RailHawks.
“In light of the ongoing investigation announced by the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday, the North American Soccer League’s Board of Governors has suspended Chairperson Aaron Davidson, along with all business activities between the league and Traffic Sports, effective immediately,” the league said in a statement. “Commissioner Bill Peterson will serve as acting Chairperson.
“The Carolina RailHawks, the sole NASL club owned by Traffic Sports, will continue to operate in the ordinary course of business. The club’s management team will continue to manage the day-to-day operations.” Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
As criticism and investigations continue to mount against FIFA, the organization’s president says he will welcome up the cleansing of the federation.
Sepp Blatter released a statement Wednesday after several of FIFA’s top officials were arrested on corruption charges. Blatter insists that Wednesday’s events were kickstarted by FIFA’s submission of a dossier to authorities last year and that the organization will continue to welcome investigations going forward.
“This is a difficult time for football, the fans and for FIFA as an organization,” Blatter said. “We understand the disappointment that many have expressed and I know that the events of today will impact the way in which many people view us.
“As unfortunate as these events are, it should be clear that we welcome the actions and the investigations by the US and Swiss authorities and believe that it will help to reinforce measures that FIFA has already taken to root out any wrongdoing in football.” Continue reading
By IVES GALARCEP
With Olympic qualifying set for October, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will push preparations into full swing as it takes part in the Toulon Tournament.
The U.S. kicks things off today in France against the French Under-23 team (1pm, BeIN Sports).
SBI will be providing live commentary on today’s match so please feel free to follow the action here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Today’s live commentary is after the jump):
By MATT STYPULKOSKI
Though the Europe League is often sneered upon as a trap for ambitious clubs on the rise, it also provides the chance at a trophy, prize money and a coveted Champions League place.
All of that will be on the line when Sevilla and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk square off in the competition’s final on Wednesday in Warsaw (Fox Sports 1, 2:45 p.m.).
In addition, Sevilla has a chance to make a bit of history. After winning the Europa League in penalties against Benfica last year, the Spanish side could lift the trophy for the fourth time with a victory this afternoon. A win would make Sevilla, which also won the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007, the first club to ever win the competition – in any of its iterations – back-to-back on two separate occasions.
Of course, Dnipro still stands in the way of those accolades. Continue reading