Champions League heats back up with Elite 8 Final leg action on Tues/Wed on Fox Sports. Can Leicester City scrap back a goal at home with Atletico on FS 2 Tues at 2:45 pm? Will the holders Real Madrid hold on at home with a 3-2 aggregate lead heading home on Tuesday vs a fully recovered Bayern returning their star striker? Can Barca work another miracle at home down 3-0 to Juve on Wednesday? Can Dortmund regain their composure from last week’s bombing and take a point down 3-2 traveling to the hot young French side Monaco? Tune in to find out Tues/Wed.
GAMES ON TV
Tues –Apr 18 Champions League
2:45 pm FoxSport2 Leicester City vs Atletico (0-1)
2:45 pm FoxSport1 Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich (3-2)
Weds Apr 19 –Champions League
2:45 pm FoxSport1 Barcelona vs Juventus (0-3)
2:45 pm FoxSport2 Monaco vs Dortmund (3-2)
Thur, Apr 20 – Europa League
3 pm Fox Sport1 Man United vs Anderlect (1-1)
3 pm FS2 Schalke 04 vs Ajax
Sat Apr 22
9:15 am NBCSN Burnley vs Man U
12:15 pm Fox Sport1? Chelsea vs Tottenham FA CUP Semi’s
12:30 pm Fox Sport2 B Mgladbach vs Dortmund (US Johnson vs US Pulisic)
3 pm myindy TV Indy 11 vs San Fran Deltas
Sun Apr 23
9:15 am NBCSN Burnley vs Man U
10 am Fox Sport1 Arsenal vs Man City FA CUP Semi’s
11:30 am NBCSN Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
11:30 am Fox Sport2 Schlake vs RB Leipzig
1:30 pm Fox Sport 1 NYCFC vs Orlando City
2:45 pm beIN Sport Real Madrid vs Barcelona -El Classico –
4 pm ESPN LA vs Seattle
Things to Ponder after Week 7 –Arm Chair Analyst Doyle
Leicester relish underdog billing, eye unthinkable UCL upset as goals flow
Leicester City are on the verge of the unthinkable: a place in the semifinals of the Champions League. They host Atletico Madrid trailing 1-0 from the first leg with the knowledge that they are very much in the tie, especially given that they have won every game at home since Craig Shakespeare replaced Claudio Ranieri.City will be delighted with a slender loss from the Vincente Calderon, even if they couldn’t steal an away goal like they did against Sevilla in the previous round. They proved they weren’t over-awed and that bodes well ahead of a crucial return leg.Atleti are still very much the favourites, especially when you consider they haven’t lost away since a 3-0 defeat at Villarreal in early December. Leicester, though, are suddenly scoring goals for fun and will thus expect — at the very worst — to get on the scoresheet.Leicester’s biggest concern could be fatigue. Shakespeare boldly chose to field his stars in the 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday. The point might prove a vital one, since a tally of 37 could be enough to stay up, but if Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez look tired and the Foxes go out the manager could well come under a bit of criticism.City also have issues at the back. Robert Huth picked up a yellow card in Madrid and is suspended, while captain Wes Morgan could still be sidelined or forced to play at less than 100 percent.Yohan Benalouane also limped off at Palace, leaving Leicester very short of centre-backs and putting significant pressure on Wilfred Ndidi to protect them in what may be closer to a 4-1-4-1 formation than a 4-4-2.Marcin Wasilewski or Daniel Amartey may have to come into the side and both would be targeted by Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres. Leicester have looked extremely susceptible at the back when their regular defence is disrupted. This was arguably most apparent in a 5-0 drubbing at Porto in the group stage of the Champions League, though that was a game where City had nothing to play for.Atleti won’t care about scoring five. It won’t even be on their minds. As one of Spain’s top defensive outfits they will simply look for an early away goal, forcing the Foxes to score three to progress.The other thing perhaps working somewhat against Leicester is the second leg against Sevilla. Diego Simeone would be wise to play parts of it to his squad ahead of kickoff to ensure they avoid complacency and get an idea of the cauldron-like atmosphere at the King Power Stadium. A visit to the east Midlands shouldn’t be a surprise or culture shock to any of Atleti’s stars, even those who remember watching on television the more modest surroundings of Filbert Street around 20 years ago.Irrespective of their current purple patch, Leicester are huge underdogs with very little to lose and they will relish that billing. Mahrez and Marc Albrighton are in excellent form and Vardy suddenly looks sharp, hungry and most importantly clinical. If he can fire in the opening goal the Foxes will smell an upset.It might not be the biggest game in Leicester’s history, although some will certainly call it that — and that argument can be made. But the run-in to win the Premier League title surely had more significance and, unless Leicester win the Champions League, will live longer in the memory. However, this is easily the most prestigious individual fixture Leicester have ever played and there is a real sense around the city that the fairytale won’t end on Tuesday.Ben Jacobs is ESPN FC’s Leicester City blogger. Follow him on Twitter @JacobsBen.
Real Madrid announced as 2017 MLS All-Star Game opponent
April 15, 20172:41PM EDTMLSsoccer staffMLSsoccer.comThe most decorated club in European history will face off against the best of MLS this summer.The league announced Saturday that reigning UEFA Champions League winner Real Madrid will face the MLS All-Stars in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on August 2 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The game will be broadcast live at 9 pm ET on FS1, UniMás, TSN and TVA Sports in the US and Canada, as well as in 170 other countries around the world.Real Madrid is one of the most successful clubs in the history of the sport, having won a record 32 La Liga championships and 11 UEFA Champions League titles, as well as capturing the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup on multiple occasions. Managed by legendary French midfielder Zinedine Zidane and headlined by stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid currently sit atop the La Liga table and hold a lead over Bayern Munich heading into the home leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal series.This will mark the first time that the MLS All-Stars will play a team from Spain’s La Liga. The MLS All-Stars have previously faced clubs from the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, Mexico’s Liga MX and Scottish Premier League, posting a 9-4-1 record against some of the world’s most renowned clubs.MLS lost the 2016 All-Star Game, falling 2-1 to English side Arsenal at Avaya Stadium in San Jose. MLS had won the two previous All-Star Games, beating Bayern Munich in 2014 before downing EPL club Tottenham in 2015.The MLS All-Stars will be managed by Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic, who spent over a decade playing in Spain and made 87 appearances for Real Madrid’s crosstown rivals, Atletico Madrid.“It is an honor to represent Major League Soccer and to work with our league’s great players in a match against one of the top clubs in the word,” Paunovic said in a statement released by the league. “I know how special it is to compete against Real Madrid and I think our players and fans will also enjoy the experience.”Soldier Field, with a capacity of 61,500, has played host to some of the most exciting sporting and entertainment events in the world including CONCACAF Gold Cup matches, World Cup Qualifiers, 1994 FIFA World Cup matches, and last summer’s Copa America Centenario. The home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, Soldier Field also has a rich MLS legacy, as it was home to the Chicago Fire for seven total seasons. The Fire owned a 62-23-10 record (.705 winning percentage) in their home games at Soldier Field, a span which also includes the club’s three appearances in MLS Cup.
Register for an All-Star Game presale code for an opportunity to purchase tickets ahead of the public sale. Tickets start at just $35!
US, Canada and Mexico launch joint World Cup bid for 2026
April 10, 20172:34PM EDT
Steve BrisendineContributorIn an unprecedented show of continental unity, the United States, Canada and Mexico on Monday launched a joint bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.If approved, it would be the first World Cup hosted by three nations and the first jointly hosted World Cup since Korea/Japan 2002. It would also be the first finals held in North America since the US hosted the 1994 tournament. Mexico would host matches for the first time since 1986, and Canada would host men’s World Cup matches for the first time in history after hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2015.The tournament would primarily be played in the United States, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said during the announcement event in New York, with the US hosting 60 matches – including all matches after the quarterfinal round – and 10 matches each to be played in Canada and Mexico.”This is a milestone day for U.S. Soccer and for CONCACAF,” Gulati said. “We gave careful consideration to the prospect of bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and ultimately feel strongly this is the right thing for our region and for our sport. Along with our partners from the Canadian Soccer Association and the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol, we are confident that we will submit an exemplary bid worthy of bringing the FIFA World Cup back to North America. The United States, Mexico and Canada have individually demonstrated their exceptional abilities to host world-class events.”When our nations come together as one, as we will for 2026, there is no question the United States, Mexico and Canada will deliver an experience that will celebrate the game and serve players, supporters and partners alike.”And despite any international tensions arising from last November’s US presidential elections, US soccer president Sunil Gulati tweeted that the bid has the full backing of President Trump.Gulati was joined in the announcement by CONCACAF and Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani and Federación Mexicana de Fútbol president Decio de Maria.”For the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol, and the entire Mexican soccer family, it is a source of pride to be candidates, along with the United States and Canada, to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026,” said de Maria, whose country also hosted the 1970 World Cup. “We have a unique opportunity to be the first country to host three World Cups.”As such we are filled with pride and committed to make it the best ever. Mexico has been recognized for being a magnificent host of past FIFA events, such as the 1970 and 1986 World Cups, the 1999 Confederations Cup, the 2011 Under-17 World Cup, and most recently the 2016 FIFA Congress. If we are selected to host, it will be an honor to welcome everyone with open arms.”In addition to the 2015 women’s Final, Canada has a successful history of hosting FIFA youth tournaments, including the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.”Canada Soccer is honored to partner with fellow CONCACAF member associations USA and Mexico to bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” said Montagliani. “Canada is the only remaining G-8 nation to have not hosted a FIFA World Cup despite our history of success in raising the bar for youth and women’s FIFA tournaments.”We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with fellow CONCACAF member associations U.S. Soccer and Federación Mexicana de Fútbol under the FIFA Council principles for joint bids and to continue our tradition of hosting record-breaking international events.”Gulati told reporters that the memorandum of understanding between the three countries called for all of them to receive automatic qualification to the final – the first to be played under an expanded 48-team format – but that the FIFA Council will have final say on that matter.
Villa, NYCFC shoot up MLS Power Rankings, L.A. plummets, Dallas No. 1
David Villa’s wonder goal capped a win for New York City FC that pushed them up the latest MLS Power Rankings, while the LA Galaxy plummet and FC Dallas stays No. 1.
- FC Dallas(no change)
FC Dallas was on its way to a win that would have lifted it to the top of the Western Conference, but a late goal changed things and the team settled for a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes. Nevertheless, the Texas club holds on to the top spot thanks in large part to the slew of losses for other contenders to the throne.
- Columbus Crew SC(+5)
Crew SC followed up a loss at the Chicago Fire with an impressive 2-1 home win over defending Eastern Conference champ Toronto FC. Niko Hansen was impressive in his first start. The win is good for a big boost up the rankings to go with Columbus’ spot at the top of the standings.
- Orlando City SC(+5)
The Lions leap up the rankings on the back of a yet another home win. It’s now four out of four at the new stadium after a 2-1 victory against the LA Galaxy, a record start for an MLS club in a brand-new building. It’s also worth pointing out that Orlando is winning despite the absence of Kaka, who should be back on the field in a few weeks’ time.
The Timbers’ attack ran up against the best defense in the league on Saturday and dropped two places after a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City as a result. The goalless performance against Sporting was Portland’s first of the year and shouldn’t be taken as a troubling sign of things to come. Slightly more worrying is the lack of a win in the past two home games.
- Sporting Kansas City(+4)
Peter Vermes’ team benefited from the aforementioned win against Portland, moving into the top five on the back of that stifling performance at Providence Park and a lovely goal scored by Dom Dwyer. Sporting is making a habit of shutting down opposing attacks and then putting together expert moves that result in goals on the other end. It’s a good look.
- New York City FC(+5)
New York City FC dominated possession, chances and the run of play at the Philadelphia Union in a 2-0 win and are rewarded with a move into the top 10. How good is David Villa? Jack Harrison’s goal was the game-winner, but it was the former Spain striker’s chip from midfield that stole the show and put an exclamation point on the win.
- New York Red Bulls(+3)
The NYRB broke a four-game winless run with a 2-0 victory over rival D.C. United and get a push up the rankings for the effort. There are still questions about the attack, but Bradley Wright-Phillips’s nutmeg finish on Bill Hamid — from a perfect Felipe pass — is just the kind of thing Red Bulls fans want to see.
- Toronto FC(-5)
TFC has a single win on the year and tumbles down the rankings after the 2-1 loss at Columbus. Jozy Altidore is scoring goals, but the Reds are dealing with a strange ineffective period from star Sebastian Giovinco. He is taking as many shots as you’d expect, but they just aren’t going in.
- Seattle Sounders(-5)
A bit of bad luck and the head of Fredy Montero did the Sounders in up at the Vancouver Whitecaps. Seattle controlled the game from the outset and pushed hard to get back into it late, but neither was enough in the 2-1 loss.
- Atlanta United(-5)
The rough three-game road trip that took Atlanta to Seattle, Toronto and Montreal netted the club two points and a slip down to 10th in the rankings. Facing the Impact didn’t look like the toughest task on paper, but a questionable penalty and red card on Leandro Gonzalez Pirez put the visitors in a difficult spot in a 2-1 loss.
- Chicago Fire(+2)
Bastian Schweinsteiger scored again in a comprehensive 3-0 win over the New England Revolution, the latest bit of evidence that Chicago is improving on last year’s dismal campaign. But it’s still unclear just how good the team is, and the Revs did abet the win by going down a man early in the match. Chicago hangs just outside the top 10 with a chance of moving up.
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