WOW what a set of Champions League Quarterfinal results – first Ajax and their magical win over Juventus and then Tottenham with their huge defeat of Manchester City in what some are calling the greatest UCL game ever played with 7 goals and 3 VAR decisions and drama and excitement into stoppage time. It leaves us with Tottenham vs Ajax on one side and Barcelona vs Liverpool on the other. Most will consider the Liverpool vs Barca match as the true final – and I for one am looking forward to a 2 leg home and home series to decide the champion rather than a 1 game at a neutral site. I think like everyone else I just assumed Man City with their billions spent would advance vs Spurs – especially with Harry Kane out – but man did Son show he’s truly world class in leading Spurs to the win. As for the VAR decisions – I feel the ball to hand goal should have stood – as it was not 100% obvious it went off his hand and it certainly wasn’t a purposeful hand ball. I also think that last offsides call was mighty, mighty close against Man City. I still think the offsides rule should be relaxed somehow which would lead to more goals in games. Anyway – it sets up an exciting set of semi-final games. Oh and either the Spurs or Ajax is going to make the finals – who would have thought that could happen when this tourney started.
Indy 11 Goalkeeper Jordan Farr to Coach Carmel FC Goalkeepers
Jordan Farr has signed on to serve as Head Goalkeeping Coach for Carmel FC this season. Farr is in his 2nd season as a goalkeeper for the Indy 11. He also serves as GK coach for Indiana Wesleyan. Farr was a standout goalkeeper for the record-setting 2016 Corban University Warrior team that advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Round of 16 for the first time in program history. He ranks number two all-time in the NAIA with 44 career shutouts, tallying nine during his senior campaign and owns a career goals-against-average of 0.74. A Portland native, Farr also was all-conference for the Portland Timbers U-23s. Welcome Jordan!
Fresh off a win the Indy Eleven continue their April away swing in USL play this Saturday, April 20, when the Boys in Blue travel to the Philly area to take on Bethlehem Steel FC. The matinee kickoff from Talen Energy Stadium – the home of MLS side Philadelphia Union – in Chester, Penn., is set for 4:00 p.m., and the match can be seen exclusively via streaming video on ESPN+. Indy Eleven return to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday, May 1, at 7:00 p.m., followed three days later by another home game on Saturday, May 4, against North Carolina FC at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available for as low as $15 at IndyEleven.com/Tickets.
Huge announcement this week as MLS has announced they will add 2 more teams -probably Sacramento and St Louis and will plan to expand to 30 total teams in a few years. Of course Indy is on the list but I really don’t think we have the $200 million MLS is asking in expansion fees now. Sunday features a battle of the top 2 teams in MLS as LAFC will host the Seattle Sounders at 7 pm on FS1 before turning around and playing again next Sun at Seattle. Cincy has won 2 in a row and will host Real Salt Lake tonight on ESPN+ at 7:30 pm. Saturday former Carmel High defender Matt Hedges and Dallas travel to defending champs Atlanta United at 4 pm on ESPN while Sunday Wayne Rooney fans get national coverage as DC United, tops in the East, will host NYCFC on ESPN at 4 pm on Sunday.
With just over a month left in the EPL season – the battle for the top between and Liverpool and Man City and the top 4 between Tottenham, Chelsea, Man United, and Arsenal is heating up big-time. Man City hosts Tottenham this Saturday with a 7:30 am kickoff on NBCSN. Then they host Manchester United in a Manchester Derby on Wed at 2 pm on NBCSN. We get Americans at 12:30 on Saturday as Newcastle United and US Defender Deandre Yedlin will host Southampton at 12:30 on NBC, while on Fox Sports 1 Borussia MGladbach and midfielder Johnson will host RB Leipzig and American DMid Tyler Adams. Sunday we get Man United traveling to Everton and Liverpool traveling to Cardiff at 8:30 am and 11 am respectively.
Fri, Apr 19
7:30 pm ESPN+ Cincy vs Real Salt Lake
8 pm ESPN+ Toronto vs Minn United
11 pm Uni Desp LA Galaxy vs Houston
Sat, April 20
6:30 am ESPN2 Parma vs Milan (Italy)
7:30 am NBCSN Man City vs Tottenham
9:30 am Fox Sport 1 Bayern Munich vs Werder Bremen
10 am CNBC West Ham vs Leicester City
10:15 am beIN Sport Eibar vs Atletico Madrid
12:30 pm NBC NewCastle United (Yedlin) vs Southampton
12:30 pm Fox Sports 2 Borussia Mgladbach (Johnson) vs RB Leipzig (Adams)
1 pm ESPN+ Chicago Fire vs Colo
2:30 pm ESPN+ Inter vs Roma
2:45 pm beIn Sport Barcelona vs Real Sociedad
4 pm ESPN+ Bethlehem Steel vs Indy 11
4 pm ESPN Atlanta United vs Dallas (Matt Hedges)
7:30 pm ESPN+ Columbus Crew vs Portland Timbers
Sun, April 21
8;30 am NBCSN Everton vs Man United
9:30 am FS1 Freiburg vs Dortmund (Pulisic)
10:15 am beIN Sport Real Madrid vs Athletic Club
11 am NBCSN Cardiff City vs Liverpool
3 pm beIN sport PSG vs Monaco
4 pm ESPN DC United (Rooney) vs NYCFC
7 pm FS1 LAFC vs Seattle Sounders
Mon, Apr 22
3 pm NBCSN Chelsea vs Burnley
Tues, Apr 23
2:45 pm NBCSN Tottenham vs Brighton
Weds, Apr 24
2:45 pm ESPNDes, ESPN3 Werder Bremen vs Bayern Munich German Cup
2:45 pm ESPN+ Milan vs Lazio Italian Cup
3 pm NBCSN Manchester United vs Man City
Fri, Apr 26
3 pm NBCSN Liverpool vs Huddersfield Town
Sun, Apr 28
9 am NBCSN Burnley vs Man City
9:30 am FS1 Hoffenheim vs Wolfsburg
11:30 NBCSN Man United vs Chelsea
3:30 pm FS1 Seattle Sounders vs LAFC
5 pm ESPN+ NYRB vs Indy 11
Tues, April 30 Champions League SEMI-FINALS
3 pm TNT Barcelona vs Liverpool
Weds, May 1 Champions League
3 pm TNT Ajax vs Tottenham
7 pm ESPN+ Indy 11 vs Tampa Bay Rowdies (Lucas Oil)
Tues, May 7 Champions League SEMI-FINALS
3 pm TNT Liverpool vs Barcelona
Weds, May 8 Champions League
3 pm TNT Tottenham vs Ajax
Sat, June 1 Champions League Finals
Dortmund win again
Liverpool player ratings: Mane 9/10, Fabinho 8/10
Seven goals and VAR drama as Tottenham stun City. Was this greatest UCL game ever?
6:35 PM ETMark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC
MANCHESTER, England — It was Pep Guardiola’s Jose Mourinho moment. A late, dramatic winner in a Champions League tie, followed by the victorious manager sprinting down the touchline to celebrate wildly with his players.But then, in the flash of a video screen, it wasn’t.The Etihad Stadium went from raucous noise to mournful silence as Raheem Sterling‘s 93rd-minute hat-trick goal, Manchester City’s fifth on the night, was ruled out — correctly — following a VAR review that ruled that Sergio Aguerohad been offside at the beginning of the move for the goal. It was a tight call, but it was the right one, and Guardiola was forced to sheepishly retreat to his bench, knowing that his team had just two more minutes to score to claim the crucial goal required to eliminate Tottenham and reach the semifinals. Back in 2004, there was no such pin-pricking of Mourinho’s balloon as he celebrated Porto’s late winner at Manchester United — a goal that propelled the Portuguese club to Champions League glory that season. But on this occasion, it was like Guardiola had been abruptly woken from a dream to find himself in a living nightmare. City could not score again and Spurs went through on away goals, with the score tied 4-4 on aggregate.”It is cruel,” Guardiola said. “But it is what it is and we have to accept it.”Once again, City had fallen short in the Champions League. Once again, Guardiola had failed to take his team to the final, having now not done so since guiding Barcelona to victory against Manchester United in the 2011 final at Wembley.But such was the drama of this quarterfinal second leg in Manchester that the events in stoppage time were only a small element of the story of the tie.The damage was done to City in the first leg, when Spurs won 1-0 after Aguero had missed a penalty — awarded by VAR — inside the first 10 minutes. It was also a night that saw Harry Kane — ranked No. 1 among the world’s strikers in the ESPN FC 100 — suffer the ankle injury that threatens to rule him out for the rest of the season and, potentially, the Champions League final.Yet what happened in the first leg was only a taste of what was to come at the Etihad on a night of football madness: a pulsating encounter that will go down as a Champions League classic.City went ahead inside four minutes, leveling the tie on aggregate, when Sterling curled past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from 12 yards. The Etihad erupted, but within five minutes the home side were 2-1 down with Son Heung-Min — scorer of the only goal in the first leg — netting twice on the counterattack.City now needed to score three more times without response to stay in the Champions League and keep their Quadruple dream alive. Bernardo Silvapulled one back within two minutes of Son’s second to make it 2-2, and it was then 3-2 on 21 minutes after Sterling converted Kevin De Bruyne‘s cross at the far post.Just let that sink in: 3-2 after 21 minutes. This was video-game football, attack versus defence, with attack winning every time. Sterling and Son were running riot, terrifying their direct opponents whenever they had the ball, while De Bruyne was also producing his best performance of the season.But at 3-2, City needed one more goal to go through, and nobody scores more late goals than Manchester City. And the loss of injured Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko on 41 minutes, which forced Mauricio Pochettino to change his formation by introducing Fernando Llorente as a lone striker, appeared to play into City’s hands.Spurs were now light in midfield and had lost their biggest strength — pace on the counter — and they began to ship water as the second half progressed. City pushed them deeper and deeper toward their own goal, and the pressure told when Aguero scored from De Bruyne’s pass on 59 minutes to put Guardiola’s team ahead for the first time in the tie.Rather than sit back and play the game out, City went for the kill. One more goal would surely finish Spurs off.But it didn’t come, and then came the first crucial VAR intervention, when Llorente deflected in Kieran Trippier’s corner before Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir was called to review it on the video screen by VAR. Cakir took an age, reviewing numerous angles before shrugging his shoulders and awarding the goal, judging that the ball went in off Llorente’s hip rather than his hand. It was the right call.But City still had 17 minutes plus stoppage time to tilt the pendulum back in their favour, and they pushed once again, pouring forward and targeting the byline. The clock ticked on, into stoppage time, until Christian Eriksen’s loss of possession gifted the ball to Aguero, who laid it off for Sterling to score.Guardiola sprinted to celebrate and the Etihad went wild, but VAR had one more card to play. Bernardo Silva’s outstretched leg had diverted the ball toward Aguero and the cold, emotionless VAR once again called a big decision correctly: Aguero was offside and the goal would not count.City would not win and the Quadruple dream was over, for another year at least. The Champions League, the biggest prize of all, continues to elude City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan. Perhaps Guardiola & Co. can take solace in knowing they will get another shot at Spurs on Saturday, in the Premier League.It is Spurs who march on, with a semifinal looming against Ajax — a tie they will expect to win, even without Kane and Son (the latter will miss the first leg through suspension). Pochettino is eyeing Champions League glory, not Guardiola, but the Spurs coach insisted it was all down to his players.”My players are heroes, making the semifinal, making history,” he said. “I am so proud of them. This team has such strong mentality that all is possible.”But to reach a semifinal in the Champions League, you need fate, good spirit, lots of preparation in preseason. It is a long time ago that we started to build this achievement.”UEFA have confirmed the dates for the Champions League semifinals, with Tottenham vs. Ajax first leg on April 30 and Barcelona vs. Liverpool on May 1. Liverpool vs. Barcelona in the second leg is set for May 7, while Ajax host Tottenham on May 8.
Juventus have been in danger of collapse all season long. Against Ajax, it happened
1:19 PM ETGabriele MarcottiSenior Writer, ESPN FC
Imagine a warning light flashing on your dashboard as you speed down the highway. You know it’s there. You know it’s potentially important but no matter what you do, no matter what tweaks you make, it won’t go away.Welcome to Max Allegri’s view while driving Juve’s team bus. All season long he beat the same drum, even as the side were sailing through their Champions League group and establishing a record-setting pace
We need to play better. We need to dominate the opposition for longer stretches. We can’t be too reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo. We need to show more personality. We need to get out of our comfort zone. This was his message and on Tuesday, chickens came home to roost. Juventus were beaten and thoroughly outplayed at home by Ajax, particularly over the first 25 minutes of a stunning second half, in a 2-1 defeat that dumped them from the Champions League. What struck you most, perhaps, is that over the 180 minutes, Juve generally matched Ajax for the other 155. The problem is that at this level, it’s not about staying in the game and holding your own, waiting for a set-piece or an opponent’s mistake to strike. It’s about being able to raise your game for spells in which you dominate, creating chances repeatedly and snuffing out every reaction before it begins. That’s what Ajax did so well after half-time on Tuesday, with the crowd waiting for a home comeback that never came, and that’s what we’ve rarely seen from Juve this season, at least not against good sides.Think back over the campaign. How many times have Juve played well this season against good sides?
In the Champions League? Atletico Madrid and Valencia at home, Manchester United away. In Serie A? Roma at home, arguably Milan away and Napoli at home back in September. You’ll note that only one of those games took place after Christmas.I know that “playing well” is subjective but there’s still a “know-it-when-I-see-it” eye test. If you’re into something more “objective” how about the xG? Against Champions League opponents Valencia, Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Ajax — yes, I’m excluding Young Boys for obvious reasons — they managed 9.06 Expected Goals and conceded 7.23. Against Serie A’s top six, they fared even worse, with an xG of 9.54 and and an xG conceded of 10.84.Some of us who thought that Juventus could still go deep in the Champions League believed Allegri would fix this, that he’d make the light stop flashing by coming up with something brilliant in the second half of the season. Because let’s face it: it would have taken something brilliant to overcome the Ajax side seen on Tuesday night. This time, he wasn’t able to conjure up the magic.We can drive ourselves mad with microanalysis of the match, decisions made and not made, the impact of Giorgio Chiellini‘s absence and the sluggishness in midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo being too isolated and whatever else. But the bottom line is that Juve’s wage bill is five times that of Ajax. If the resources to perform better — not win, mind you, because Ajax were out-of-this-world, but at least react and not get battered for 25 minutes at home in the second half — are there (and they obviously are) there can be only one of two explanations: either Allegri got it wrong (not just last night, but all season long, given the performances) or this team is poorly constructed.Allegri bears plenty of responsibility, no question. But this is also a team with two right-backs, one of whom can’t attack consistently and one of whom can’t defend. (Put Mattia De Sciglio and Joao Cancelo into one of those machines from “The Fly” and that might do the trick). A midfield where, other than Miralem Pjanic, most players appear as if they’d rather not have the ball, given their tendency to either pass it sideways or simply run with it when they do get it. A frontline with a battle-scarred center-forward who turns 33 in May (Mario Mandzukic) and a would-be “No.10” whose confidence has been thoroughly destroyed over the past 18 months (Paulo Dybala).
People have pointed to Juve’s average age and yes, that’s a concern too. What we saw is pretty much their Best XI — bar Chiellini for Mattia Rugani (which would actually make them nearly a year older) or, possibly, Mandzukic for Dybala (which would also make them older) — and it borders on age 28.Juve president Andrea Agnelli said he disagreed that age was an issue, adding that “apart from Ronaldo, the team that faced Ajax were all young.” Given that nobody was younger than 24 and that six were 28 or older, you can only conclude he has his own definition of “young.” It’s easy to mock Agnelli (I just did) but the reality is that he can’t get too caught up in issues of age for the simple reason that this is no time for a rebuild.Tempting as it may be, and as many are wont to do after this most traumatic exit, to talk about clear-outs and rebuilds, Juve simply can’t do it. They made a very clear choice when they committed some $375 million in wages and fees over four years to Ronaldo. They need to win right now and they built their side accordingly, packing it with pricey veterans. (There’s another one on his way next year in the form of Aaron Ramsey, who turns 29 next season.) What’s more, they made a $22m loss in the 2017-18 financial year (the one before Ronaldo’as arrival) and while they did show a profit in their half-yearly statement this year ($9m), Financial Fair Play only gives you so much wiggle room.Agnelli understands this and that’s why he knows Juve have to stay the course. He left no doubt that Allegri would be back next season and that he had faith in this group of players. They’ve put a destination in their GPS and chosen a route to get there. It’s too late to find a different way of getting to where they want to be: supertankers don’t do U-turns particularly well.Allegri will still be driving because when you have a team of veterans, shocks to the system can be dangerous and counterproductive. He has six months to get that warning light to stop flashing.
Ajax’s ideals triumph over riches of Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo
6:55 PM ETJames HorncastleItaly writer
TURIN, Italy — It turns out Cristiano Ronaldo is not enough. The Portuguese scored in both legs of Juventus’ Champions League quarterfinal against Ajax. He put the Bianconeri in front at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday. They wouldn’t even be here without his face-saving hat trick against Atletico Madrid in the round of 16. The 34-year-old kept up his side of the bargain. Ultimately, though, Juventus came up short.What Ajax have achieved is stunning. As Erik ten Hag noted on the eve of the game, “it’s already a big deal to still be in Europe after winter.” Ajax had not reached the competition’s knockout stages in 13 years. They began the campaign in the second qualifying round. When Ajax played Sturm Graz at the end of July, they couldn’t have imagined they would be the first Eredivisie side to reach the Champions League semifinals since PSV in 2005. The game has become so economically stratified since then. Consider the wealth gap. The €112 million Juventus spent on acquiring Ronaldo is €20m more than Ajax’s annual revenues. The team’s wage bill is €4m short of what the five-time Ballon d’Or winner makes before tax.But sometimes ideas trump investment. Ajax deserved to win in Amsterdam a week ago and outplayed Juventus in the second half Tuesday for a 2-1 win and 3-2 aggregate edge. They remain unbeaten on the road in Europe despite going to Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and now Juventus. The feat of coming back from behind in the backyard of a team who are about to become the first in Europe’s top five leagues to win the title for eight straight years is jaw-dropping.
Not least because Ajax did not look themselves in the first half. Six fouls in the first 15 minutes stopped either team getting into a rhythm. Frenkie De Jong‘s influence was initially more limited than it had been in the first leg, perhaps because of the muscle injury he sustained at the weekend, and the early loss of Noussair Mazraoui to injury meant Ajax were without either of their first-choice full-backs with Nicolas Tagliafico also missing the game through suspension.Ronaldo’s goal came just as Ajax were beginning to build some pressure, too. Teams of lesser character would have resigned themselves to their fate, thinking this is just the way it is. Ronaldo has scored 65 goals in 78 knockout games. He has wn this trophy four times in the past five years. This is what Madrid were missing when Ajax dumped the holders out of the competition last month.But Ten Hag’s players never let any doubt creep into their minds. That in itself is astonishing. Ajax are the youngest side in the competition. Legs are supposed to tremble under this kind of pressure. But this team didn’t waver an inch. Before kickoff, Juventus’ vice president Pavel Nedved was asked what stood out to him about their opponents in Amsterdam. “I was surprised by the
That composure came to the fore again Tuesday. Ajax got back level within six minutes of going behind. A deflected Hakim Ziyech shot found its way to Donny van de Beek, who didn’t look up to check whether he was onside or not, focusing solely on beating Wojciech Szczesny. The flag stayed down, as it should in today’s VAR era, correctly too because Federico Bernardeschi, late to step up, played the Dutchman onside.A different Ajax emerged after the interval, the one we’ve become accustomed to over the course of this season. It was as if they’d overcome whatever had been inhibiting them in the first half. It was as if they realised there ws nothing to be afraid of.They proceeded to cut Juventus to shreds. Were it not for Szczesny, the Old Lady’s man of the match, the defeat would have been heavier. The Poland international needed a strong left hand to repel a Ziyech shot and then tipped a Van der Beek curler over the bar with his right. Like Ronaldo, he cannot be blamed for Juventus’ elimination.In the moments before Matthijs de Ligt‘s towering header, it looked as if Ajax might be found guilty of attempting to walk it in. Dusan Tadicand Ziyech both passed when they had ample time to shoot, letting Juventus’ defenders off the hook. But their 19-year-old captain — just let that sink in for a moment — ensured Ajax left with no regrets, emulating Gerrie Muhren, who scored the decisive goal in the Dutch side’s last win over Juventus 45 years ago.And so the dream lives on. Ajax are in the semis for the first time since 1997.This wasn’t supposed to happen. The best team they’d had in years was picked apart two seasons ago. Just the Europa League final in Stockholm felt like a fairy tale in the modern game. No one thought Ajax would be back and do even better. Davinson Sanchez and Davy Klaassen left for the Premier League. Last summer, Justin Kluivert decided it was time for him to go to Serie A.The rest made a pact to stay together one more year, curious to see what might happen if they realised their potential. It’s fair to say they have exceeded all expectations. In the next round Ajax will play Spurs — a team consisting of alumni like Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Sanchez and Christian Eriksen— or Manchester City, whose coach Pep Guardiola learned everything he knows under Johan Cruyff.Whatever happens, Ajax will have great cause to be proud. It is the triumph of their idea.
Premier League sprint to the finish: Title race, Champions League chase, relegation battles in focus
Apr 16, 2019Dale Johnson Mark Ogden
The Premier League season is set for a frantic conclusion at both ends of the table, with the battles for the title, top four and relegation set to go down to the wire.With permutations updated after each game, we run through what is left to play for and ESPN FC senior writer Mark Ogden offers his thoughts and predictions.- Premier League table
RACE FOR THE TITLE
Still to play: Cardiff (a), Huddersfield (h), Newcastle (a), Wolves (h)
The late victory over Southampton sent Liverpool back to the top of the table, though with a game extra played. The home match against Chelsea, which turned into a 2-0 home win with a brilliant Mohamed Salah goal, was their toughest test remaining but Jurgen Klopp’s men must remain perfect from here on out in order to be top of the pile on May 12.
Ogden: Liverpool are beginning to display the never-say-die spirit that could take them all the way to the title. Having dispatched Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday in what could have been a real nightmare, Klopp’s team look set to win all their remaining games to turn the screw on Manchester City.
- MAN CITY(83 points from 33 games)
Still to play: Tottenham (h), Man United (a), Burnley (a), Leicester (h), Brighton (a)
After a good win away at Palace, the title is still City’s to lose, and the key would seem to be the back-to-back matches at home to Spurs and away to Man United — which is their game in hand — later this month. But will their attempt to win all four trophies take its toll?
Ogden: City are looking strong in their bid to achieve the Quadruple, but they now face a crucial stretch of league games. Spurs (home) and Manchester United (both away) are dangerous fixtures, and dropped points in any of them will hand Liverpool the initiative. Expect a slip against United.
RACE FOR THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
The top four in the Champions League will qualify direct to the group stage, with fifth and sixth into the Europa League.
Still to play: Man City (a), Brighton (h), West Ham (h), Bournemouth (a), Everton (h)
Three of Tottenham’s remaining five games are at home at their brand-new stadium, with Brighton among the visitors, so Mauricio Pochettino’s men are still very much favourites to book a Champions League place.
Ogden: Tottenham’s run of games in their new home should be enough to see them finish in the top four, particularly with rivals United and Arsenal losing in recent games. Four more league wins should be enough to secure a top-four spot, so it’s a simple equation: collect maximum points from the remaining home fixtures.
Still to play: Crystal Palace (h), Wolves (a), Leicester (a), Brighton (h), Burnley (a)
Arsenal are in a decent position and do not have to face any of the top six, but three of their remaining five fixtures are away and they have only two wins on the road since Nov. 25. A tough Europa League quarterfinal tie against Napoli means the Gunners cannot take their eye off the ball in the Premier League.
Ogden: Arsenal’s poor away form could cost them a top-four finish. They won narrowly at 10-man Watford, but still have to visit Europa League-chasing Wolves and Leicester, as well as Burnley on the final day of the season.
Still to play: Burnley (h), Man United (a), Watford (h), Leicester (a)
Chelsea had virtually been written off in the top-four race after defeat at Everton, but three wins on the spin elevated them into third — though the loss at Liverpool ended that run, and they have played a game more than their rivals. The dip in form suffered by Man United and Tottenham in recent weeks opened the door, although the trip Man United later this month will test a side that has shipped 26 goals away from home and lost more matches on the road than Arsenal.
Ogden: Chelsea had at one stage regained a measure of control in their top-four destiny with back-to-back home wins against Brighton and West Ham, but a tough away trip at Manchester United will be huge. The clash with United looks like a top-four eliminator.
Still to play: Everton (a), Man City (h), Chelsea (h), Huddersfield (a), Cardiff (h)
United have three home games left, but back-to-back fixtures against City and Chelsea, after the Champions League exit to Barcelona, could be key. Playing two of the current bottom three in their final matches provides a favourable finale, but their form has gone through the floor.
Ogden: United are playing catch-up after a dip in form, but tough fixtures ahead for Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal give them a chance to reach the top four. They simply have to beat Chelsea at Old Trafford and avoid defeat against Man City, while a trip to Everton will also be very tricky for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.
WEEK 7 – PART 2 | “STEELING” ANOTHER THREE POINTS?
Boys in Blue, Steel FC to face off in second Week 7 matchup
Two of anything is typically better than one. Two beers are better than one. Two corn dogs are better than one. Two Indy Eleven games in one week are better than one. Indiana’s Team faces Bethlehem Steel FC on the road in its second Week 7 match this Saturday afternoon, in what will be the first of two meetings in the 2019 USL Championship season, the return date in Indy coming on Sept. 14.Indy Eleven (3W-1L-0D, 9 pts.) extended its winning streak to three after defeating Swope Park Rangers 3-1 in the first Week 7 matchup on Monday. Forward Dane Kelly had the break out game he’s been striving towards, having his hand (errrrr, feet) in all three goals the last time out, netting twice and assisting on the other for strike partner Thomas Enevoldsen. Kelly’s two goals see him knotted atop the Eleven scoring chart alongside Enevoldsen, and brought his league-career-leading total to 69. The three tallies on the evening brought Indy’s aggregate goals scored to eight in 2019, while the three points earned has the Indiana’s Team resting at a deceptive seventh place in the Eastern Conference table, sitting just three points off the pace of the second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies (12 pts.).Bethlehem Steel FC (3W-3L-1D) looks to return to winning ways after a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Charlotte Independence in their first of two Week 7 matchups on Tuesday, an 80th minute goal from midfielder Chavany Willis not doing enough to plug the holes in the sinking Steel ship. The fixture was the third time in 2019 that the second-highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference was held to one goal or less in its seven games, showing that, when Bethlehem scores it does so in lumps. Meanwhile, the two goals conceded brings the team’s total to 10 goals allowed thus far in 2019. Leading goal scorer Kacper Przybylko (3 goals) did not appear for Bethlehem on Tuesday, but the team’s second highest scorer, Faris Pemi Moumbagna (2 goals), played the full 90 minutes without impacting the game. The loss sees Bethlehem one point ahead of Indy, sitting in fifth place with 10 points.Previous meetings between the sides indicate the matchup should be tightly contested, as the 2018 three-game series resulted in a win for each team followed by a draw in the final meeting.
PLAYER TO WATCH: INDY ELEVEN FW DANE KELLY
In basketball, there’s the hot hand. In soccer, there’s the hot foot? Maybe? Either way, Indy Eleven forward Dane Kelly is certainly heating up after netting twice in the previous match against Swope Park Rangers and creating a goal for Thomas “The Engine” Enevoldsen. The brace is the first pair of goals of 2019 for the 28-year-old after fighting through a difficult start to the season, which included hitting the post four times in his first three appearances.Despite the rough start, the look of relief after the Jamaican striker’s somewhat lucky and skillful first goal and the smirk of confidence after the stunning strike for the second indicate the 2017 USL Most Valuable Player has his swagger back. Cut the guy a little slack for not starting out hot – he went from 27 appearances and 18 goals in 2017 with the Western Conference’s Reno 1868 to one appearance and no goals with Major League Soccer’s D.C. United in 2018 before being loaned to now-USL League One Richmond Kickers, where he made four appearances and scored once. But the form displayed against Swope Park is what Kelly in his prime looks like, a form that the Eleven faithful – and coach Martin Rennie – hope to rely on.
PLAYER TO WATCH: BETHLEHEM DF BEN OFEIMU
One man has played every minute of every match in 2019 for Bethlehem Steel FC. A veteran of course, right? Wrong. Eighteen-year-old Ben Ofeimu, a Steel FC central defender, leads the team in minutes played and most defensive categories, as well. The Philadelphia Union youth product is in his first year on a professional contract, which he signed just four months ago.The rookie has been worth the money, too. The Michigan native leads the backline in clearances, blocks and interceptions, and has only lost one tackle so far in seven games. The lengthy 6-foot-3-inch defender uses his height to his advantage as well, as he’s won exactly half of his aerial challenges. If that wasn’t enough, he’s both scored and assisted this season, too.
MATCHUP TO MARK: INDY ELEVEN DEFENSE VS. BETHLEHEM STEEL OFFENSE
Want to know who scores a lot of goals in the Eastern Conference? Bethlehem Steel FC scores a lot of goals, at least in the Eastern Conference. That number is 12 goals (for those of you wondering), which is the second-most goals scored in the Eastern Conference through Week 7, behind only New York Red Bulls II’s 13 tallies.Time to crunch some numbers. Statistically, Indy Eleven are going head-to-head against the strongest offense in the Eastern Conference. Steel have taken 57 shots, put 26 on target and converted 12 into goals. Having nearly one out of every two of shots on target go in can’t be the most frustrating aspect of the game for Bethlehem Head Coach Brendan Burke. Bethlehem’s offense also plays unselfish soccer, as the side has assisted on seven goals in 2019. Forwards Kacper Przybylko and Faris Pemi Moumbagna will most likely lead the charge up front, as the two are the leading goal scorers on the team with three and two goals respectively.Indy Eleven’s backline, tasked with keeping the two forwards at bay, has conceded five goals in four matches during the 2019 season. The back third has helped ‘keeper Evan Newton keep one clean sheet while technically running a three-back system (although the wingers certainly pitch in on that side of the ball). Indy has enforced a high press to try and keep opponents in check when on the ball and created turnovers in the opposition’s half. It’s hard to give up chances on goal when the other team struggles to keep consistent possession and string passes together in your final third. Neveal Hackshaw, Paddy Barret, Karl Ouimette and Alex Crognale have been the consistent faces featured in Coach Rennie’s back line and can be expected to martial the back third of the pitch come Saturday’s matinee fixture on the banks of the Delaware River. Just because you’re not traveling with the team doesn’t mean you should miss any of the action! All USL Championship 2019 regular season matches are available at your fingertips on ESPN+. New users can click here to start a free seven-day free trial.
RECAP | DANE KELLY BRACE GIVES INDY ELEVEN 3-1 WIN AT SWOPE PARK RANGERS
By IndyEleven.com, 04/16/19, 12:00AM EDT
USL Championship’s All-time Goal Leader Opens His Indy Account with Pair of Tallies
Indy Eleven (3W-1L-0D) returned to USL Championship play in spectacular fashion after a 15-day break with a 3-1 win on the road against Swope Park Rangers (0W-3L-1D). A brace and an assist from Eleven forward Dane Kelly helped extend the winning streak fo Indiana’s Team to three games, resulting in nine points from the team’s first four fixtures of 2019. “Overall, I think it was a very good team performance and a really good night for us,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “It is really hard for us to go to a team like Swope Park Rangers, who have had a lot of success in the USL [Championship], and have a game like that.”It took only 67 seconds for Indy Eleven to climb on top, Kelly taking advantage of a failed back pass by Swope Park defender Camden Riley to give the visitors a lightning fast lead. Kelly swooped in and rounded Rangers (and ex-Butler Bulldog) goalkeeper Eric Dick with his first touch and with his second rolled home from a tough angle, the Jamaican opening his account with equal hustle and ease.The Boys in Blue doubled their lead not five minutes later, left back Ayoze creating the opportunity with a 30-yard run into the final third and a perfectly-weighted chip to Kelly, who deftly one-touched into the path of Thomas Enevoldsen. Dick got a hand on the Danish striker’s low shot, but not enough of one to keep it from crossing the goal line, the 2-0 Indy advantage within seven minutes quickly putting the home side on its heels. Kelly nearly had a quick brace 11 minutes in, but his chance from 15 yards was sent right to the Rangers ‘keeper.The one-way traffic by Indy would even out around the quarter-hour mark, and Swope Park would earn their first quality chance in the 23rd minute on a set-piece just outside the Eleven area – one that was easily corralled by Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton.Rangers would get one back in the 26th minute with midfielder Alexsander doing the heavy lifting, his 50-yard run straight up the center of the field ending with a ball that put Wilson Harris behind the Indy back line. One-on-one with Newton, Harris slotted home from left of goal to cut the Indy advantage in half, and it could have been evened up in the 29th minute had Macauley “Macca” King not have swooped across the penalty area to knock away a squared ball headed towards Felipe Hernandez.“We were a little bit late on our pressure a couple of times and they opened up,” Rennie said. “We could’ve reacted a little bit better once that happened, but it was really about one of the only shots they had on goal. Overall, we can’t be too disappointed in that, but there were a couple of things we can learn from.”Indy Eleven would take the momentum back at the half hour, Ayoze again creating havoc in the 31st minute with a ball to the six that Kelly had poked away before he could redirect. Seconds later, Indy midfielder Tyler Pasher lashed a shot inside the area that forced Dick into a save. Swope Park would see the last dangerous chance of the opening half in the 36th minute, but Newton made his finest save of the evening by punching away the in-swinger that found its way to the Indy netminder through traffic.The second half came to life in the 51st minute with Riley trying to atone for his early mistake with a shot from distance that missed a couple of feet past the right post. Two minutes later it was Ayoze helping to put Indy Eleven on the board once again, the Spanish maestro springing a 70-yard ball over the top that put Enevoldsen free on the left end line. The Dane’s cross to the penalty spot was deflected but still found Kelly, who turned and fired home a left-footed rocket to again give Indy a two-goal cushion.“It helps a lot with Dane’s confidence, especially having two goals and an assist on Thomas’ goal,” Rennie commented. “Thomas also scored, so two attackers got three goals between them. It definitely builds confidence and that’s really important for a striker. It nice to see them rewarded for the hard work they’re putting in.”In the 61st minute, Eleven defender Alex Crognale nearly increased the lead with a strong header off a corner, but Dick made a one-handed save, pushing the ball over the bar from point-blank range. The rest of the half saw Indy largely content to drop numbers and keep Swope Park at bay – which largely worked other than shots from distance that Newton had covered regardless. Kelly would have a few chances to finish off his hat trick on counter attacks, most notably in the 85th minute when Dick thwarted the USL Championship’s all-time goal king with a kick save after cutting off the angle.Indy Eleven’s April away swing continues this Saturday, April 20, when the Boys in Blue travel to the Philly area to take on Bethlehem Steel FC. The matinee kickoff from Talen Energy Stadium – the home of MLS side Philadelphia Union – in Chester, Penn., is set for 4:00 p.m., and the match can be seen exclusively via streaming video on ESPN+. Indy Eleven return to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday, May 1, at 7:00 p.m., followed by a second home match three days later against North Carolina FC at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available for as low as $15 at IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.
USL Championship Regular Season
Swope Park Rangers 1:3 Indy Eleven
Monday, April 15, 2019 – 8:00 p.m. ET
Children’s Mercy Park – Kansas City, Kansas
Scoring Summary:IND – Dane Kelly (unassisted) 2’
IND – Thomas Enevoldsen (Dane Kelly) 6’
SPR – Wilson Harris (Alexsander) 26’
IND – Dane Kelly (unassised) 53’
SPR – Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal (Yellow card) 30′
IND – Dane Kelly (Yellow card) 33’
IND – Alex Crognagle (Yellow card) 41’
SPR – Jerome Ngom Mbekeli (Yellow card) 61’
Indy Eleven lineup (5-3-1-1, L–>R): Evan Newton (GK); Ayoze Garcia, Neveal Hackshaw, Alex Crognale, Paddy Barrett (C), Macauley King; Tyler Gibson, Nico Matern (Do-Heon Kim 77’), Tyler Pasher (Matt Watson 60’); Thomas Enevoldsen; Dane Klly (Alioune Diakhate 88’)Indy Eleven Substitutes: Jordan Farr (GK), Lucas Farias, Mitch Osmond, Karl Ouimette
Swope Park Rangers lineup (4-1-4-1, L–>R): Eric Dick; Alexsander, Camden Riley, Graham Smith (C), Mark Segbers; Wan Kuzain (Ayyoub Allach 78’); Jerome Ngom Mbekeli, Gedion Zelalem, Felipe Hernandez, Killian Colombie (Will Little 68’); Wilson Harris (Sean Karani 45+1’)Swope Park Rangers Substitutes: John Pulskamp (GK), Mohammed Abualnadi, Kaveh Rad; Rassambek Akhmatov
Indy Eleven to host USOC match at Sellick Butler Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS — After hitting the road and losing to vastly inferior competition in the past couple editions of the U.S. Open Cup, the Indy Eleven have decided it’s time to take one of the oldest soccer competitions on the planet a little more seriously.The Eleven will host a 2019 U.S. Open Cup second-round match at the Sellick Bowl on the campus of Butler University, the team announced Wednesday. The winner of the May 8 first-round clash between NPSL side AFC Ann Arbor and Lansing Ignite of USL League One will visit Indy either May 14 or 15 at a to-be-determined time.
It’s unclear if the Eleven, should they win their second-round game, will attempt to host their third-round match in Indianapolis as well. Such a scenario seems plausible, though the team’s Wednesday release didn’t state such.The 22 clubs that advance to the third round will all play May 29. MLS teams enter in the fourth round.If history is any indicator, Indy supporters should welcome the return to the club’s past USOC mindset, one in which spending a few extra bucks almost always turned out more positively than being a miser.In 2017-18, Indy — unwilling to take on the additional costs associated with hosting a USOC match — settled for away dates for its USOC entry-round matches. The results were utterly embarrassing.Indy flamed out on the road against the Michigan Bucks 1-0 in the second round of the 2017 tourney. And in 2018, Indy again fell 1-0 to an amateur side in the second round, this time venturing south to get eliminated by Mississippi Brilla FC.Things have generally gone far, far better for the Eleven in the USOC when hosting through the third round. They lost at home 2-nil to Louisville City FC in the third round of the 2015 tournament, but advanced to give MLS sides a run for their money in their own buildings in the fourth round on two other occasions after hosting and winning home matches to get there.In 2014, Indy lost 2-1 in the fourth round at Columbus Crew SC. Two years later, the Chicago Fire had to go to penalties to sneak by the Eleven after their fourth-round matchup yielded a 1-1 scoreline after 90 plus extra time.The moral of the story: Mostly good things occur when the Indy Eleven host mid-round USOC matches, and rather humiliating things tend to happen when they don’t. The Eleven will certainly hope for the former when they take the pitch May 14 or 15 at the Sellick Bowl.Stay tuned for more information on Indy’s opponent, the exact date and kickoff time in the second round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup.
MLS to expand to 30 teams; St. Louis, Sacramento to make formal bids
8:43 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
LOS ANGELES — MLS intends to expand to 30 teams, with teams 28 and 29 requiring an expansion fee of $200 million, commissioner Don Garber announced Thursday following a Board of Governors meeting.Garber said the board had authorized his office to advance into exclusive discussions with St. Louis and Sacramento with an eye toward those two cities being the 28th and 29th teams.MLS currently has 24 teams and has already confirmed expansion teams in Austin, Miami and Nashville to join the league in the coming years.”In the last 10 years we’ve been experiencing unprecedented growth for a major league in North America,” Garber said. “Expansion has been a key driver of that growth, and it really is a great measure of the enormous enthusiasm and the commitment that our fans have in markets both new and old to support our league and our players and to see the sport grow.”Garber said the ownership groups from both cities will make formal presentations to the league’s expansion committee in the coming weeks. Part of the process will involve getting to know the respective ownership groups, both of which have investors who are relatively new to the process. Garber hopes a final decision on both cities would be made before the All-Star Game in Orlando in late July.”We’ll be asking them for their formal and final plans for a commitment of corporate support, the final composition of their ownership group, and detailed economics on their funding of both their team operations and their stadium plans,” Garber said.While the league has said at times that it would stop expanding at 28 teams, the announcement was not a surprise. Garber said the strength of the Sacramento and St. Louis bids was part of what drove the Board to decide to expand to 30 teams.Sacramento’s hopes of landing a team were boosted in January when billionaire Ron Burkle became the new lead investor in the Sacramento Republic soccer team. The team currently plays in the second-tier United Soccer League.Burkle is a co-owner of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins with a net worth estimated at $2 billion by Forbes magazine.The St. Louis group includes World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh and the Taylor family, owners of the rental car company Enterprise Holdings.In a statement released Thursday, the Sacramento Republic said: “Today is a monumental step in the process and we are closer than ever to reaching our goal of bringing Major League Soccer to Sacramento. There isn’t a better fit for MLS than our city, and today’s announcement is a testament to the strength of Sacramento’s bid, and most importantly, to the faith and devotion of Republic FC fans. We will continue our ongoing communication with the Commissioner and with MLS and look forward to finalizing all next steps to deliver MLS to Sacramento.”In terms of the number of teams at which the league will stop expanding, Garber didn’t commit to a definitive number.”I don’t know that we have a firm handle yet on what the final number of teams in the league ought to be,” Garber said. “We have a lot of work to do to determine what the future state of MLS is in 10 years and in 20 years. We continue to believe that there are many, many cities across the country that could support an MLS team, with a great stadium and a great fan base and great local ownership that will invest in the sport in their community.”Garber added that MLS will “take our time” on team 30, though it remains in discussions with the likes of Phoenix, Las Vegas, Detroit and Charlotte.”We don’t want to be unbalanced, but at the same time I think we do need to take a bit of a deep breath and onboard the teams that are going to be coming in over the next number of years,” he said.Garber lauded the bids of Sacramento and St. Louis but also stressed that both ownership groups still had work to do. Garber said that Sacramento needed to finalize its corporate sponsorship as well as some elements of the stadium plan. St. Louis needs to finalize its stadium plan as well, but Garber’s expectation is that both cities will get their respective bids over the line.”I’ve got confidence in both markets,” Garber said. “We wouldn’t be here today without the confidence of our ownership group to try to put all the elements in place to give them the opportunity to finalize the deal.”
MLS clubs to receive solidarity payments after league agrees to follow FIFA rule
7:55 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
Major League Soccer clubs will be compensated for the costs of developing players from its youth academies who opt to sign their first professional contract with foreign clubs after the league announced on Thursday it will begin complying with FIFA regulations relating to training compensation and solidarity payments.The decision means MLS clubs will now receive compensation for players they develop, which could reach well into six figures. They will also receive a cut of transfer fees when those players are transferred to clubs in a different country. Conversely, MLS clubs will have to pay these fees to foreign clubs when it pays a transfer fee for incoming players.”We have been making increasing investments in youth development, and that investment has accelerated over the past few years,” said MLS executive vice-president of player relations and competition Todd Durbin of the announcement. “We intend on continuing to make that investment and we want to grow that investment. But in the event that a player that we developed decides to sign overseas, we believe that we should be able to recoup the value of that investment.” Solidarity payments are paid whenever a player is transferred to another club prior to the end of their contract, and that transfer involved moving to another country — a “change of association” in FIFA, according to world soccer’s governing body.Five percent of the transfer fee is paid to the youth clubs responsible for the player’s development between the ages of 12 and 23. The rules also stipulate that when a player signs their first professional contract with a club in a foreign country, or is transferred to a club in a different association, the professional club is obligated to pay training compensation to the youth clubs that developed the player between the ages of 12 and 21. Training compensation is also due when a player is transferred to a club in another country up until the season of his 23rd birthday.
Not everyone is happy with the move by MLS, however. The MLS Players Association, as well as the players’ agents, view training compensation and solidarity payments as a glorified tax whose amounts have the potential to kill deals.In a statement provided to ESPN FC, the MLS Players Association said the league’s announcement was “a step backward for the development of soccer in the United States and Canada” and called it an effort by MLS to inhibit player choice.”Despite claims to the contrary, this move is not about improving youth development,” the MLSPA said. “Rather, it is simply about trying to force players to sign with MLS by limiting opportunities abroad.”The MLSPA added: “The fact that training compensation and solidarity payments are paid elsewhere in the world under applicable FIFA regulations is an indefensible justification for MLS’s change in position on these issues. The league routinely ignores regulations that protect players under contract with MLS — like those requiring guaranteed contracts, prohibiting unilateral options and limiting the length of contracts — yet is now attempting to rely upon these same regulations to limit opportunities for players in youth academies.
“We will review these changes, including the Consent Decree entered into by the U.S. Federation on this subject, and will explore all of our options with other stakeholders.”The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) had forbidden the implementation of training compensation and solidarity payments, which FIFA introduced within its Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) in the aftermath of the 1995 Bosman decision that granted free agency to players at the end of their contracts.Among their reasons were fears that RSTP violated child labor laws or would result in litigation on anti-trust grounds by various stakeholders, including the MLS Players Association. The USSF had also in the past contended that a consent decree contained in the court case Fraser vs. MLS — which stipulated that MLS would not require a transfer fee to be paid for out-of-contract players — prevented it from enforcing RSTP.The USSF contends that at a meeting of stakeholders in 2015, opposing viewpoints among youth clubs, professional leagues, and players’ unions left the organization caught in the middle.”Since that time, U.S. Soccer has maintained a position of neutrality on the issue of training compensation and solidarity payments and, accordingly, will not be a party to enforcement of those regulations,” a USSF spokesperson told ESPN FC.The spokesperson added, “We will, however, continue to pass through any claims made by clubs as required by FIFA regulations. This position remains the same regardless of the affiliation of the club making the claim.”The decision is a philosophical shift for MLS and could amount to a considerable financial benefit for its clubs. MLS has never paid or received training compensation and solidarity payments. But as the league’s clubs began developing their own youth academies — investing tens of millions of dollars annually — it ran into situations where academy products were signing their first professional contracts with foreign clubs. Elsewhere in the world, the academy would have been compensated, but because RSTP was not adhered to in the U.S., the MLS clubs received nothing in return.One example came in 2016 when current U.S. international Weston McKenniespurned his youth club, FC Dallas, to sign with Bundesliga side Schalke 04. The money invested in McKennie’s development was never recovered and the deal removed some incentives for Dallas to make investments in youth development, leaving some clubs questioning MLS’s overall commitment to youth development.Deals like McKennie’s will not be reexamined by MLS, but if McKennie is transferred to a team outside of Germany, Dallas — and not MLS — would be eligible to receive the entire solidarity payment as a return on player development.t while MLS is set move forward in the area of training compensation and solidarity payments, the future is less certain for U.S. youth clubs that operate outside of MLS.In recent years, some clubs had taken the matter of solidarity payments to FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC). A case involving the 2014 transfer of U.S. international DeAndre Yedlin from the Seattle Sounders to Tottenham Hotspur sparked a filing from one of Yedlin’s youth clubs, Crossfire Premier. A decision on the case is expected in the coming days.Two other cases — one filed by the Dallas Texans regarding Clint Dempsey‘s 2013 transfer from Tottenham to the Seattle Sounders, and another from Sockers FC Chicago regarding Michael Bradley‘s transfer from Roma to Toronto FC in 2014 — were denied by FIFA’s DRC last month, for reasons that weren’t made public.
Summer Camps –
Indy 11 Soccer Camp – Carmel Dad’s Club Badger Field June 17-20 9-12 noon.ages 6-14 $135
CHS Boys Soccer Skills Camp – Murray Stadium July 15-18 8:30-10:30 am ages 8-14 $85
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