By IVES GALARCEP
The CONCACAF Champions League has long been a source of disappointment for Major League Soccer teams, and that same familiar storyline played out again on Thursday in Costa Rica with D.C. United’s destruction at the hands of Alajuelense.
Episode 193 of The SBI Show takes a look back at D.C. United’s 5-2 loss to the Costa Rican side, and digs into the continued issues MLS has with succeeding in CCL play. We also discuss Montreal’s impressive 2-2 tie with Pachuca.
Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss the MLS labor talks, and the likelihood of a strike, which is growing by the day as the two sides reach an apparent stalemate over free agency.
Give Episode 193 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:
By FRANCO PANIZO
Club Tijuana has gone 11 straight games across all competitions without tasting defeat, and will likely need to extend that streak to 12 if it wishes to keep its stranglehold on the top spot in Liga MX.
With Club America and Cruz Azul hot on their tails, the Xolos will be aiming to pick up maximum points at home when they host Pachuca on Friday night. Greg Garza should fill in at his regular starting spot for a Tijuana side that has not lost since the Clausura season opener, and will try to help his defense post a third straight league cleansheet against a Pachuca attack that has scored five goals in its last two games. The Xolos lead America and Cruz Azul by just two points in the standings, so anything less than a win could see them end up tied on points for the league lead after the weekend.
While Garza and Corona are hoping to earn another victory this weekend, Tim Ream will look to get back on the field. Ream sustained a back injury in Bolton Wanderers’ game last Saturday, and missed the club’s midweek clash with Middlesborough as a result. If Ream returns to the fold this Saturday, he will attempt to help Bolton snap a three-game losing streak against a Brighton & Hove Albion team that is just above it in the Championship standings.
Another player in one of Europe’s second divisions that could use a win is Alfredo Morales. The 24-year-old Morales and 2. Bundesliga leaders Ingolstadt have hit a minor bump in their season after failing to win either of their past two matches, but will try and get back on track in Monday’s home game against 1860 Munich on Monday. Ingolstadt is six points clear of second place, but will still want to come out victorious as it attempts to move one step closer to gaining automatic promotion.
Here is who the Americans Abroad tango with this weekend:
By ADAM TROXTELL
Chelsea’s clash with Tottenham in the English League Cup Final highlights a busy Sunday of soccer on TV.
It’s a rematch of the 2008 final, one that Blues fans will want to forget after their London rivals came back to win 2-1. That was Tottenham’s first, and so far only, trophy after a nine-year drought.
Prior to that game, in-form Liverpool hosts second-place Manchester City as both clubs chase down teams ahead of them in the standings. The Reds are trying to keep pace with Southampton, Arsenal and Manchester United in the race for UEFA Champions League spots, while Manchester City can cut the deficit at the top of the table to just two points with a victory Sunday. Man United hosts Sunderland on Saturday, and the Gunners face Everton on Sunday.
Similar clashes take place in Spain on Sunday, with fifth-place Sevilla playing third-place Atletico Madrid. First-place Real Madrid hosts sixth-place Villarreal, which is currently six points behind Valencia in the final Champions League spot.
In Mexico, Tijuana will try to maintain its spot at the top of Liga MX on Friday night with a win against Pachuca. Xolos took first place away from Cruz Azul, who will try to take advantage of any slip ups against Toluca on Sunday.
Here is this weekend’s soccer on TV (schedule after the jump):
By AARON CRANFORD
Atlanta won’t enter Major League Soccer for another two years, but fans are showing their excitement in a big way.
In a discussion with Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, Don Garber announced that Atlanta’s expansion franchise, set to enter the league in 2017, has surpassed 19,000 season ticket deposits sold.
In Aug. 2014, MLS Atlanta owner Arthur Blank said roughly 14,000 season tickets were sold, but with today’s update, less than 6,000 available season tickets are up for grabs before Georgia’s franchise kicks off in in two years.
In comparison, New York City FC announced Thursday that they had sold more than 14,000 season tickets for their inaugural MLS season in 2015.
Here are more notes from around MLS: Continue reading
By AYDIN REYHAN
After suffering losses in midweek European action, Liverpool and Manchester City can give their domestic campaigns a boost when they face off in Premier League play.
The reigning Premier League winners and runners-up collide Sunday, as Manchester City looks to rebound from a loss to Barcelona while Liverpool is fresh off Europa League elimination at the hands of Besiktas.
A victory by Liverpool could potentially lift the Reds into the top four, while Manchester City can close the gap atop the table to two points with a victory and Chelsea loss.
In other action, Borussia Dortmund welcomes Schalke in the Revierderby, Real Madrid looks to extend their lead in La Liga when they host Villarreal, and Roma hosts Juventus in a battle between Serie A’s top sides.
Here is a deeper look at the action in the top leagues this weekend: Continue reading
Photo by Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports
By DAN KARELL
Two weeks after criticizing U.S. Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann for his comments on player fitness, Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes made comments that sound eerily similar to the very kind of stance he criticized Klinsmann for taking.
Honduran international midfielder Jorge Claros was cut by Sporting KC last Wednesday as the two sides agreed to mutually part ways. Vermes, who had waited for more than a year for Claros to be available in the first place to sign him, said in a conference call that Claros wasn’t committed to working to achieve the team’s ideal fitness level, and that Vermes wasn’t willing to wait for him to get there after preseason.
“That wasn’t his choice. That was our choice,” Vermes told reporters. “He didn’t come into camp fit, after being here for six months – knowing what we expect – and just wasn’t good enough. We’re not waiting around for someone who couldn’t figure out what we’re trying to do, and so it was time for him to move on because he wasn’t the right fit for us.”
The comments come just two weeks after Vermes told the Kansas City Star that Klinsmann’s comments over a perceived lack of fitness of USMNT players in a recent preseason camp were “utterly ridiculous.”