May 31 – Champions League Final Juve vs Real Madrid Sat 2:45 pm FOX, US U20 WC Elite 8 game Sun 1:45 am on FS2, US teams return to action, Games on TV

So Champions League – the World’s Best Club competition arrives at the Finale this Saturday 2:45 pm on FOX in Cardiff with Real Madrid looking to become the first back-to-back winner in the modern competition vs Italian Champion Juventus and their legendary goalkeeper Gigi Buffon.  The story lines are too numerous to count – will Buffon add the only trophy he does not have after World & European Cups, Europa and multiple Serie A titles?  Will Real Madrid’s Bale who is from Wales recover from injury in time to play in his home country?  Can Renaldo complete his audition for another BallonD Or with another hat trick in UCL play?  Can the Juve defense hold Real scoreless after an almost record setting # of minutes without giving a goal in this competition?  Should make for a great game on Saturday!

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL: JUVENTUS VS. REAL MADRID

– Bandini: Is this finally Buffon’s year?
– Tale of the tape: Juve hold an edge over Real?
– Lowe: Secret of Ronaldo’s success?
– WATCH: ESPN FC visits the CL final venue
– Ogden: Bale at a crossroads
– Corrigan: Real fans’ struggle for tickets
– Yokhin: Allegri’s journey to Juventus

The US U20s coached by Tab Ramos will face Venezuela in the Quarterfinals on Fox Sports 2 Sunday morning at 2 am (set the DVRs & see full schedules below).  They walloped New Zealand 6-0 on Thurs AM to advance.  The US Men and Women have games starting this Saturday at 10 pm on Fox Sport 1 as the men face Venezuela before their huge WC qualifier at Mexico on Sunday June 11 8:30 on FS1.

Huge Congrats to former Indy 11 forward Ben Spencer who not only started this weekend for Toronto FC but also notched an assist in the 5-0 shallacking of Columbus.Get your Indy 11 Discounted Tickets  and don’t forgot the next home game on June 10th vs Jacksonville features $1 day with $1 hot dogs, pretzels, popcorns, chips, drinks and assorted merchandise.

cfcu17s_prezcup.jpg

Good luck to coach Jeff Oberndorfer and the Carmel FC U18 Boys who advance to the President’s Cup Finals this weekend at Grand Park vs Fort Wayne Sport.  Winner advances to the Regionals in KC.  Carmel FC had 2 teams advance last season.

Carmel FC Travel Soccer Tryouts for 2017-2018 teams begin June 6th!  CLICK HERE for Free Registration   

Tuesday June 6th – 8U – 10U – 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm – Badger Field   

Mon/Tues June 12 &13  11U-13U Tryouts – 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm//14U-19U Tryouts – 7:15 pm- 8:30 pm      Shelborne Field

GAMES ON TV  

Thur, June 1

FIFA U-20 World Cup

4:00am       Mexico U20 vs Senegal U20  Fox Sport1

7:00am       France vs Italy U20   Fox Sport 2

7 am       USA U20 vs New Zealand Fox Sport 1

Sat, June 3

11 am beIN Sports     Portugal vs Cypress  (Friendly)

2:30 pm  FOX       Juventus vs Real Madrid       Champions League Final

5 pm ESPN                       Sporting KC vs Minn United

10 pm Fox Sports 1 USMNT vs Venezuela (Friendly)

Sun, June 4

FIFA U-20 World Cup Quarterfinals

2 am Fox Sport 2 Venezuela vs USA U20s 

5 am  Fox Sport 1       Portugal vs Uruguay

1:30 pm beIN Sport  Netherlands vs Cote d’Ivoire

7:30 pm Fox Sport1  Orlando City vs Chicago Fire

Mon, June 5

FIFA U-20 World Cup Quarterfinals

4 am Fox Sport 1       Italy vs Zambia

7 am  Fox Sport 1     Mexico vs England

Thur, June 8

FIFA U-20 World Cup Semi-Finals

4 am Fox Sport 1

7 am  Fox Sport 1

1:30 pm FS1 ?               Sweden vs US Ladies

8 pm Fox Sports 1 USMNT vs Trinidad and Tobago

Fri, June 9

6:05 am Fox Sport2 Brazil vs Argentina (friendly)

2:45 pm FS1                   Sweden vs France WCQ

Sat, June 10

12noon Fox Sport2    Scotland vs England WCQ

2:45 pm FS2                   Germany vs San Marino WCQ

7:30 pm ESPN3 My Indy TV  Indy 11 vs Jacksonville Armada  

Sun, June 11

FIFA U-20 World Cup

3rd place 2:30 am FS1

Finals  6 am  FS1

12 noon FS2                   Finland vs Ukriane

1 pm FOX              USA Ladies vs Norway

2:45 pm FS2                   Serbia vs Wales  WCQ

2:45 pm ESPN3            Macedonia vs Spain WCQ

8:30 pm Fox Sport 1 Mexico vs USA WCQ

Tues June 13

3 pm ESPN                       France vs England (friendly)

Sat, June 17

11 am Fox Sport1       Russia vs New Zealand  Confederations Cup

Sun, June 18

11 am Fox Sport1       Portugal vs Mexico  – Confederations Cup

2 pm Fox Sport1          Cameron vs Chile – Confederations Cup

Mon, June 19

11 am Fox Sport1       Australia vs Gemany – Confederations Cup

Thurs, June 22

2 pm Fox Sport1          Chile vs Gemany – Confederations Cup

U20 – WORLD CUP Schedule on Fox

Confederations Cup Schedule June

Full MLS Schedule

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Gold Cup Schedule In July

International Champions Cup July  Games in Nashville and Detroit

Carmel Dad’s Offers co-ed Alumni/College age soccer in June/July on Tues Nights.

Also this reminder to All Seniors this year and current folks in College –gather a team or sign up as an individual just $95.  Please click here for the registration form Register – May 10- June 1 Commissioner: Alex Scott  scottaf2@gmail.com

Champions League Final – Real vs Juve June 6 2:45 pm FOX

Bale not 100% for Final

Keys to Victory for Both Teams – Goal.com

Gigi Buffon should win Ballon d’Or says Cheillini if Juve Win

Juve’s coach Allegri says Real are Favorites in Final

Zidane unfazed by Bale vs Isco discussion

Isco or Bale – that’s the Question for Zidane – SI

Bale Works Double Sessions to get back for Final in home Town

Real looks to Continue Dominance over Buffon

What will happen if Real Madrid wins

USA

US Hammers New Zealand 6-0 to Advance to Elite 8 vs Venezuela on Sun 1:50 am on Fox Sport 1 or 2

Bruce Goes with Veteran Core for June Qualifiers and Trip to Mexico June 11 – Armchair Analyst Matt Doyel

Bruce Arena Answers questions on Roster for Qualifiers – US Soccer

US Roster Breakdown – Brian Straus SI

Timmy Howard is #1 Keeper for Now

US Woods hopes to Help Us with his Back Feeling Better

Tim Chandler leaves camp with Injury – thank God!!

John Brooks set for US Record Transfer Fee in trade to Wolfsburg

Pulisic becomes youngest US player to Win League Cup for Dortmund

FulHamerica – A look at the US line of Players to Craven Cottage

 

US Hammers New Zealand 6-0 to Advance to Elite 8 vs Venezuela on Sun 1:50 am on Fox Sport 1 or 2

US U20s ready for Knock Out Round vs New Zealand – US soccer

US ties Saudi’s 1-1 despite only 10 men

5 things to know about US U20 Luca De La Torre

 

US Ladies head to Sweden/Norway for Friendlies June 8 + 11

Morgan Brian injured out for Qualifiers – new US Roster Released

Indy 11

Indy 11 fall on road 2-1 to Edmonton

Indy 11 losses weigh heavy on Campatin Falvey– Kevin Johnson – soctakes.com

Indy 11 Dollar Night – June 10th vs Jacksonville Armada FC

Indy 11 Discounted Tickets

MLS

MLS Power Rankings

Top US Ref battles Huntington’s Disease

Chicago Fire’s Bastian Schweinsteiger named to ESPN World of Fame 100

Vote Save of the Week

Seattle outlast Rivals 1-0 at home

WORLD

Can new Barca Coach Ernesto Valverde Handle Pressure? Sid Lowe ESPNFC

Marcotti’s Musings from closing weekend in World League Play ESPNFC

Dortmund Coach Thomas Tuchel out – who’s next?

Juventus vs. Real Madrid: The Tale of the Tape

BWRAO sizes up each unit of the Champions League finalists against each other.Sam Lopresti  May 29, 2017, 8:05am CEST

The Coppa Italia and the Scudetto have been secured. It’s finally time for Juventus to start turning their eyes to Cardiff, and the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday, June 3.The Bianconeri are in the Champions League final for the second time in three years. Their opponents have made UEFA’s showpiece event two straight seasons and three times in the last four years. Both Juve and Real are champions of their respective leagues, and Juventus have the chance to do something special if they win the cup with the big ears for the first time in 21 years**.(**I refuse to use the “T” word until late in the afternoon — New York time — on June 3. I firmly believe in not tempting Fate, and to speak so would be to invite the wrath of the Whatever from high atop the Thing.)With the final closing in upon us at last, it’s time to take a look at how these teams actually stack up against each other. In order to do that, we’re going to divide each team into units and compare each of them to their opposite numbers.To give each group the detail it deserves, the units will be divided by position. I may mention how different players fit into different tactical systems, but this article isn’t meant to predict what tactics Massimiliano Allegri and Zinedine Zidane will choose 10 days from now. We will simply look at the players in all position groups and give an edge to the stronger unit.Another thing to note: After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided to interpret Paulo Dybala’s role less as a trequartista and more as a seconda punta, so he will be included with the striker group and not the midfield group.With all that said, let’s take a look at how these two giants of the game stack up.

GOALKEEPERS

Keylor Navas is not a bad goalkeeper. In fact, he’s very good. His performances for Costa Rica in international competition, particularly the World Cup in 2014, garnered im a lot of attention, and he was eventually signed from Levante when Los blancos triggered his buyout clause.Navas spent his first year in Madrid as backup to the legendary Iker Casillas. Casillas left the club that summer, but Navas was not the first choice to be the successor. Real president had his heart set on Manchester United star and Spain starter David De Gea and even intended to use Navas as part of the deal, both as a makeweight and to make United more secure in the fact that they would have a high-quality replacement. The deal was agreed upon, but the proper documentation wasn’t submitted to FIFA in time, and both players stayed where they were.Navas took over the No. 1 shirt and has played in 83 games between La Liga and the Champions League in the last two seasons. He’s garnered criticism for some mistakes he’s made this year, but he’s also bailed his team out in big ways. He was immense in the semifinal against Atletico Madrid, winning a one-on-one battle in the first leg and denying both Yannick Carrasco and Kevin Gameiro on a fantastic double save in the second.

But Keylor Navas is not Gianluigi Buffon.

Quite simply the best goalkeeper the world has ever known, Buffon is still playing at the very highest level of the position at the age of 39. Anyone who thinks different should be introduced to the save he pulled on Andres Iniesta in the first leg of the quarterfinal tie against Barcelona. The one-handed parry denied the Blaugrana a crucial away goal and allowed Juve to run away with the tie. Also submitted for your consideration: the instant-reaction block to Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe’s tight-angled volley early in the first leg of the semifinal, a stop that kept the game goalless and opened the door for the team’s eventual 2-0 win in Monte Carlo.While he may not be the pure shot-stopper he was 11 years ago when he helped lead Italy to its fourth World Cup, he is supreme in the other, less appreciated aspects of goalkeeping. He’s a commanding presence on crosses, and his ability to marshal a defense — perhaps the least tangible but most important skill of a keeper — is still unmatched.Navas may be an upper echelon goalkeeper, but you can only count the goalkeepers better than Buffon at this moment on one hand, even at his age. The GOAT has the clear edge for Juve.

FULLBACKS

This is a tricky group to judge, because a lot hinges on the health of one man.That man is Dani Carvajal, who hasn’t played since suffering a hamstring injury just before halftime of the first leg of the semifinal against Atletico Madrid.Real’s back line is already underpowered for a team at this level, but if Carvajal can’t play it will become a genuine weakness in this contest. Zidane’s options to replace him would be either to make a straight swap with the mistake-prone Danilo — who was abused by Atleti in the second leg of the semis — or to move natural center-half Nacho to the right side. Either option would make Juve’s left-sided tandem of Mario Mandzukic and Alex Sandro lick their chops. Nacho would compensate for the physical mismatch Mandzukic tends to create but would be vulnerable to the agile Sandro, while Danilo would simply be an all-around nightmare.

So much is riding on Carvajal’s play because the rest of the fullbacks are all top class. Sandro is in the running for best man in the world at left back, a title his Real counterpart Marcelo is also in the running for.The duel between Marcelo on Real’s left and Dani Alves on Juve’s right is going to be something special. Both have been in excellent form in the latter stages of the Champions League. Alves in particular has been on fire since the end of April, scoring three goals and notching two assists in his last six games. In the semifinals against Monaco he was imperious, assisting both goals in the first leg—one on an outrageous backheel—before sealing the tie just before the half of the second leg with an incredible volleyed goal.Carvajal is the key to this matchup. According to Marca, he passed a fitness test on Wednesday and is back in training. That would put him on track to play. The possibility of a relapse in training or the early stages of the game is there, and if he does make the XI there’s no guarantee he’ll be as effective as usual. For our purposes, we’ll assume he will be until proven otherwise. If Carvajal plays, this is a push. If he doesn’t, or if he’s forced off the field early, it’s a clear advantage to Juve.

CENTER BACKS

Real Madrid’s defensive record in this tournament is curious, considering how talented their top central defenders are.

Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are, on paper, a top-level pairing. But Real have only kept a clean sheet once in Champions League play this season and have let in 17 goals overall. Both can tackle — they average 1.8 and 1.5 per match, respectively, between La Liga and the Champions League — and Ramos is also adept at reading passing lanes and coming up with interceptions.The defensive issues aren’t isolated to Europe either. The Spanish champions gave up 41 goals in league play — more than three of the next four teams behind them.This has to come down to a lack of chemistry. Varane has been plagued by injuries this year, necessitating the rotation of Nacho and Pepe into the side. There hasn’t been as much time to develop a rhythm this year, and it’s showed when this team has bent.There are no such concerns for the Bianconeri. Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, and Giorgio Chiellini have been playing together for six years, and at times they almost seem to communicate telepathically. With Buffon pulling the strings from the goal, they have formed the best defense in Europe over the last six years. In the quarterfinal they became only the third team in history to hold Barcelona scoreless over a two-legged tie, and they have only allowed three goals all season, at one point putting together a 689-minute scoreless streak.Whether Allegri decides to play with three in the back or four, this group is one of the most tight-knit and stingy in history. Hopefully the three all stay healthy—the fourth man in the rotation, Medhi Benatia, has largely been a disaster this year. But regardless of what combination of the top three ends up on the field, they will give Juventus a clear edge in the back.

MIDFIELD

This is where Real finds some footing.If the two teams play as expected, they will outnumber Juve in the midfield three men to two — and the quality of those three men is outstanding.Casemiro, whose career at the Bernabeu has been revitalized since Zinedine Zidane took over the team, has developed into one of the top holding midfielders in the game. He averages 5.1 tackles per match in the Champions League and another four in La Liga, and he contributes with the ball, too, completing just over 85 percent of his passes and scoring five goals over all competitions, including a screamer against Napoli in the round of 16. He will provide an edge to the midfield that Real didn’t have in the semifinals two years ago.

Another presence who missed out on the last meeting between these clubs is Luka Modric. The Croatian was injured during that tie, and his absence left their midfield — and the team, really — sightly unbalanced. Here, he could be an X factor. Good at clogging up passing lanes defensively and at creating offensively, allowing him the space to work could mean death. The same is the case with Toni Kroos, a true box-to-box player who registered a whopping 12 assists in La Liga this year, second behind Barcelona’s Luis Suarez.

Juve certainly has the quality to compete. Former Real Madrid man Sami Khedira has been the fulcrum of Allegri’s 4-2-3-1 since its inception in January, and he’s finally stayed healthy for a full year. He scored five times in Serie A, and his presence has balanced the squad. His chemistry with Miralem Pjanic, the second man in Juve’s double-pivot midfield, has been phenomenal. The Bosnian has been able to pull the strings far more effectively beside Khedira than he had earlier in the season when Allegri attempted to use him as a box-to-box player or trequartista. He led the team with eight assists, and the danger he poses on free kicks is Pirlo-esque.

What allows Real to pull ahead here is depth. Juve can call on Claudio Marchisio to back up either of their mids, but it’s clear he’s still not all the way back from the catastrophic knee injury he suffered just over a year ago. He has looked better lately, but he’s pretty much it. Behind him is Tomas Rincon, a spare part if there ever was one, and then Mario Lemina and Stefano Sturaro, both of whom are young and capable but haven’t played enough to really develop rhythms on the field.

Zidane, on the other hand, can call on the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Isco, Marco Asensio and even James Rodriguez to fill in, all of whom can change the game if they’re on point. He simply has more options, and that depth gives Real Madrid the advantage.

WINGERS

The fact that Gareth Bale is struggling for fitness since leaving the Classico against Barca in late April would normally be a huge blow for a team. Fortunately for Real Madrid, Isco’s form since taking over for him has cushioned the blow.Bale has never regained full fitness since injuring himself in a Champions League game against Sporting Lisbon in November. His performances after his premature return were lackluster, in stark contrast with Isco, who has registered two goals and three assists in the six games since Bale’s latest setback. An attacking midfielder by trade, the Spain international has taken a sort of hybrid role, part winger, part roaming attacking mid, and in doing so has greatly strengthened the connection between the midfield and forwards.There will be debate as to whether Bale or Isco should play up until the lineups are announced. As for the other wing, that seems more settled. Some dude named Cristiano Ronaldo plays there.Juve’s wing situation is far more complex. On the right, Allegri could either go with a standard winger in Juan Cuadrado or could push up Dani Alves and use Andrea Barzagli in the back, either as a shotgun right back or as part of the 3-4-2-1 that Juve used against Monaco in the semis.You can’t go wrong with either. Cuadrado’s decision making can be frustrating — OK, sometimes it’s downright infuriating — but his speed could be a huge factor in counterattacking against Real’s weak back line. Alves is a better choice if Allegri chooses to try to break Real down from possession. Leaving Cuadrado on the bench would also give Allegri an option up front if he needed to change the game, something he hasn’t had much of since the Marko Pjaca tore his ACL and was shelved for the rest of the season.On the left, the stone-cold lead-pipe lock is Mandzukic. The big Croatian’s wing play is atypical, exploiting the physical mismatches his size usually creates against full-backs rather than the blistering pace of someone like Cuadrado. Against the 5’8” Carvajal, he would be able to exploit that advantage with ease.Juve’s wingers are good, if somewhat unconventional. But regardless of whether Bale or Isco play, an on-form Cristiano Ronaldo gives Real the edge on the wings regardless of anything.

STRIKERS

Real play a single striker in their 4-4-3, but Karim Benzema isn’t having his best year. He’s only scored 11 times in La Liga, and while he’s augmented that record with five in the Champions League, the weakest link of the Real’s BBC has simply not fired on all cylinders this year.His backup, on the other hand, has outscored him by four in La Liga in nearly 600 fewer minutes. You might remember his name — Alvaro Morata.Returning to Real Madrid after his boyhood club exercised the buyback option included in his deal, Morata has scored 20 times in all competitions and a well known knack for scoring goals in huge situations — including the temporary equalizer for Juve in the final against Barcelona in 2015.However, in two games against Italy for Spain, his former Juve teammates Barzagli, Bonucci, and Chiellini have kept him well in their pocket. Whether that’s because they know him so well from two years of training together or simply the right games on the right days is yet to be determined.Juve’s strike force is consisted of a pair of Argentinians, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.For all Higuain’s goalscoring in Italy — he’s scored 24 times in his debut season with Juve — he’s been relatively quiet in the Champions League this season. His double against Monaco in the semifinal were his first goals in Europe since November, and he’s only tallied five all year. That said, he remains one of the deadliest poachers in Europe, and he could finally approach being worthy of his astronomical fee if he helps Juve to a win here.Behind him is Dybala. Since moving into the hole right behind his compatriot, he has had license to roam the free in the attacking third, particularly to the right, where he has dovetailed nicely with Alves. His set-piece prowess is almost the equal of Pjanic, and he can pull incredible goals nowhere.Benzema isn’t a slouch, but he’s had an off year. Higuain and Dybala have been much better.They give Juve the edge.

Gianluigi Buffon’s form, not reputation, should win him Ballon d’Or – Chiellini

Giorgio Chiellini reckons Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon should win the Ballon d’Or based on his current form, not his reputation.The 39-year-old is a game away from winning his first Champions League title should Juve beat Real Madrid on Saturday in Cardiff.His performances along the way have remained at his usually high level, with the Bianconeri posting one of the best defensive records in Europe this season. And teammate Chiellini believes the longtime Italy No. 1 should be rewarded for his play, not the past.”I don’t agree with people claiming Buffon should win the Ballon d’Or for what he’s achieved — he deserves it for the level he’s showing now,” Chiellini said on Monday.”I’ve been fortunate to play in front of him for almost the entirety of my career and I can’t even remember what it’s like not to have him behind me making the hardest saves look easy.”Buffon, Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli have combined to form one of the world’s top rearguards despite all being in their 30s, and Chiellini hopes their time together will continue into the future.”I don’t foresee wholesale changes coming, at least in the short term,” he added.”Obviously, over the years, the odd player will come and go, but change is part and parcel of football.”

Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale ‘not 100%’ fit for Champions League final

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale has said that he is not yet 100 percent over a troublesome ankle injury but is happy to help the team in whatever way coach Zinedine Zidane decides in Saturday’s Champions League final against Juventus in Cardiff.Bale first suffered the right ankle tendon injury at Sporting Lisbon in November, derailing his campaign, and a decision rush back from a relatively minor calf problem in time for April’s Clasico against Barcelona backfired when he limped off before half-time.The Wales international has returned to full training with his teammates in recent days, but he said at Madrid’s Media Open Day ahead of the weekend’s game that the ankle injury had been more troublesome than previously revealed and had not yet completely healed.”I am not 100 percent, I haven’t played for six or seven weeks,” Bale said. “I obviously had my operation which still really hasn’t recovered. I have been playing with a lot of pain, even when I came back I was taking tablets to get through games and training.”The last six or seven weeks have enabled me to rest my ankle a bit and really try to get it a bit better, and obviously recover from the [calf muscle] injury which it caused. I am not 100 percent, but I have been working hard, double sessions the last few weeks, to get myself as ready as I can, whether to start, or to be involved at some point.”We had a practice game on Saturday so I come through it all unscathed. I feel strong, feel fit, obviously match fitness is a different thing. I obviously have battled hard to get fit for this. Now I feel finally it is healing, it is right there, almost at 100 percent.”During Bale’s absence Isco has come into the starting XI and impressed hugely as the team saw off Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semifinals and closed out a first La Liga title in five seasons, raising a debate over whether Bale should return to the team even if fit.Bale admitted that he was unlikely to last 90 minutes given he has been out such a while.”If I’m called upon to start, I will start, obviously,” he said. “But to last 90 minutes, I haven’t played a lot of football this year since my operation, so that would be difficult. Obviously Isco has been playing fantastically well for us, in the end of the season, so whatever the manager requires of me I will be there to do it. The most important is to lift that Champions League trophy at the end of the game.”Bale said that there have been times when he had grown frustrated at the progress of his recovery following the ankle injury late last year, and had made a mistake in forcing the issue to try and get back too quickly.”I’ve been very unlucky with my ankle to require surgery, so it has been very frustrating,” he said. “There have been moments when I have had to consider other things with my ankle. I have had to work tirelessly hard, double sessions, being away from my family a lot working hard on it. It has been difficult, physically and mentally.Obviously any surgery is difficult, but in the middle of a season is always that bit more difficult. You want to come back as soon as possible. In hindsight I should have stayed out a bit longer and let it heal and strengthen. But obviously that wasn’t the case, I’ll live and I’ll learn.”Playing a Champions League final in his home city of Cardiff would be particularly special, Bale said.”It is massively special for me personally, as it is where I was born, where I grew up,” he said. “Any Champions League final is special, but obviously this is a little bit extra special. I always dreamed I’d play a Champions League final, but never in my home town. At the time there was not a stadium big enough I don’t think.”Ahead of Madrid’s third final in four years, Bale said he expected a similarly tight contest to the games against Atletico Madrid, which Los Blancos both won after extra-time.”You never expect to win two finals, never mind three,” he said. “I came to this club to play in finals, to win trophies. Hopefully we can add another one now on Saturday. [Although] it is a different team [from the last two finals]. We know it will be a very difficult match, a tight cagey affair as all Champions League finals are. I think there will not be too many chances, but the team who takes their chances will win.”

R. Madrid vs Juventus: CR7 looking to extend dominance over Buffon

 

The Portuguese striker has some impressive numbers against the legendary shot-stopper. Who’ll come out on top this Saturday?

When it comes to scoring goals, Cristiano Ronaldo is the king in UEFA Champions League history. In order to win the title, Gianluigi Buffon will have to find a way to stop him.

These football titans have clashed against each other four times, with each of them winning once while conceding two draws. The Portuguese ace has always found the back of Buffon’s net, scoring five goals in those four matches. Here’s a quick recap of how things have gone down between them.

Real Madrid 2-1 Juventus (Group stage, 2013-14 season)

CR7 dominated La Vecchia Signora with a brace in the opening match of the UCL 2013-14 campaing, which would end up with Los Blancos winning the title. His first goal against Buffon had Ronaldo showing off his dribbling skills, by leaving Buffon helpless laying on the ground before scoring a tap in.

Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid (Group stage, 2013-14 season)

Los Blancos continued their run in the competition by securing a draw against the Bianconeri in a tough match held in Turin. CR7 scored after a through ball by Karim Benzema, who set his team-mate up in such way that the approaching Buffon couldn’t come close.

Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid (Semi-finals, 2014-15 season)

La Vecchia Signora managed to walk away from their home ground with a crucial advantage, which would eventually send them to their most recent UCL final. Nevertheless, Buffon’s hoodoo against CR7 continued, as the Italian goalie wasn’t able to defend a close-range header by Cristiano, that gave Los Blancos hope for the return leg.

Real Madrid 1-1 Juventus (semi-finals, 2014-15 season)

In what will be remembered as Iker Casillas’ final European game with Los Blancos, the Spanish giants weren’t able to hold on to a one-goal provided by Cristiano Ronaldo’s early penalty against Buffon, his fifth gol against the Italian shot-stopper. That goal would give CR7 one more UCL scoring title, which he had to share with Neymar and Messi.

Juventus’ hopes of winning their third UCL title of all time will rely heavily on Buffon’s skills. But his defense will have to be on their top form to keep the Portuguese player out of range when he tries to hurt them. Will Bonucci, Chiellini and Alves make it happen?

Zidane’s big Champions League final call: Creative Isco or overpowering Bale?

MADRID (AP) – Zinedine Zidane has one last dilemma to solve before Real Madrid takes on Juventus in the Champions League final on Saturday.Will he go with the overpowering Gareth Bale in attack or keep the creative Francisco ”Isco” Alarcon in midfield?”It’s going to be a difficult decision,” Zidane said. ”They are two very good players who have been important for us. Bale has played less minutes but he has recovered from his injury. And we already know what kind of player Isco is.”Bale was a regular starter for Zidane until a right ankle injury sidelined the Wales forward for nearly three months earlier this season. Isco successfully took over Bale’s place in the squad and quickly became an important member in Zidane’s team.”Whatever decision (Zidane) makes, that’s final. I completely understand it,” Bale said. ”I think Isco has been fantastic. He has been playing very well the last few weeks. He has helped the team.”The 27-year-old Bale has the disadvantage of limited playing time in the latter stages of the season. He missed the second leg of the quarterfinal against Bayern Munich and both semifinal matches against Atletico Madrid because of problems stemming from the ankle injury.On Tuesday, he said he has recovered but still wasn’t at ”100 percent.”Zidane said Bale is ready to play, but didn’t give any hints on whether he would include him in the starting lineup or keep him on the bench.Even Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri weighed into the debate, saying the characteristics of the Madrid team change significantly depending on which player is in the lineup.”With Bale, they gain more depth,” Allegri said. ”If Isco plays, he is a lot more technical.”Zidane said there was even a chance that both Bale and Isco would make it to the final.”They can play together as well,” Zidane said. ”It happened in other 16 matches this season and maybe it can happen again in the final.”If Zidane makes that decision, he would likely take Karim Benzema out of the lineup.If only Bale plays, Madrid would have three men in the attack along with Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.But if Zidane goes with Isco, the Spanish national would play between the midfielders and the forwards. Isco thrived in that position, becoming one of the team’s best players late in the season.”With the 4-3-3 you can play more from the sides, with two players on the wings in the front,” midfielder Toni Kroos said. ”And with the 4-4-2 you have two strikers in the middle, of course it changes the way we play, not only on offense, also defense. The coach will tell us what is best against this team on Saturday.”Bale scored a goal when Madrid defeated city rival Atletico Madrid in the 2014 final. He also was a starter in last season’s final. Isco was a second-half substitute in both finals.

USMNT roster announced for pair of World Cup qualifiers

Kyle Bonn,NBC Sports Sun, May 28 4:43 PM EDT

The regulars are all aboard as Bruce Arena has announced a mostly full-strength roster for the World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Trinidad & TobagoThe only true regular missing from the 27-man list is midfielder Jermaine Jones, who is recovering from a knee injury suffered back in early May.Leading the line are Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey up front, with Jordan Morris and Bobby Wood alongside. Fabian Johnson, Michael Bradley, and Christian Pulisic headline the midfield, along with Alejandro Bedoya and Darlington Nagbe. Kellyn Acosta is called up as a like-for-like replacement for Jermaine Jones.Along the back, Geoff Cameron is available for selection after navigating a few injuries this past season. John Brooks is back as well after his muscle tear suffered in late April. DeAndre Yedlin is back as well after missing the last pair of qualifiers with an injury and winning the Championship with Newcastle. Fulham’s Tim Ream is called in after showing improvement all season at the club level. Jorge Villafana returns at the thin left-back position, as is DaMarcus Beasley, who is listed as a midfielder.In goal, Brad GuzanTim Howard, and Nick Rimando present an experienced trio, also supported by 21-year-old Ethan Horvath.The US takes on Venezuela in a friendly on June 3rd in a warm-up to the pair of qualifiers. First, they’ll host Trinidad & Tobago in Denver on June 8th. Then, on just a three day turnaround, they head to the Azteca to play Mexico.After earning four points in the last international break, the United States sits in 4th position in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. The top three teams advance automatically to the 2018 World Cup, while the 4th placed team can qualify via a two-legged playoff against a team from the Asian confederation.

GKs: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFs:DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo),Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).

MIDs:Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas),Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana),Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)

FWDs:Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Hamburg).

Armchair Analyst: Arena goes with the veteran core for USMNT roster

May 28, 20174:00PM EDTMatthew DoyleSenior Writer

Bruce Arena’s approach to team-building is predictable. He identifies a veteran core of guys who he thinks he can win with, and then sloooowly adds and subtracts pieces from the group. Sometimes he waits a little too long to get those new faces into the mix. More often in the past, he’s held on too long to the “loyal, energetic gamer” types who keep their mouths shut, do the dirty work and don’t get overawed by big moments.Arena is probably a better coach now than he was 11 years ago, when he last managed the USMNT. But he is still Bruce, and trust goes a long way, and if you thought that the USMNT squad for the upcoming qualifiers would be anything but “veteran laden,” you were comically mistaken. Arena was not about to leave qualification in the hands (at the feet?) of a group of relative neophytes, no matter how talented.This squad has 16 holdovers from the 2014 World Cup, and the other 11 members are all – with one exception(*) – guys who’ve been through CONCACAF battles with either club or country. Nobody’s going to go out there against Trinidad & Tobago, or go down to the Azteca and be surprised by the intensity, the officiating, the challenges, the crowd, the diving, the pressure, etc. etc. etc.(*)The one exception is Ethan Horvath, who’s either the third or fourth ‘keeper with this group, and will be along for the trip to get some experience just as Tim Howard and Brad Guzan did last decade.

A Few Notes:

The inclusion of Horvath and Nick Rimando doesn’t mean that Bill Hamid or David Bingham or any of the other young-ish ‘keepers who’ve gotten cups of coffee with the US before are on the outs. If Hamid plays in the coming months as he’s played in the last two weeks, he’ll be in every discussion henceforth, and Bingham has bounced back after a miserable start to his 2017 season.

But it doesn’t make sense to tear either of those guys away from their MLS clubs for this extended camp when none of them stands a chance of playing. Horvath’s season is over in Belgium, so bringing him instead makes sense.

Four guys I thought might’ve been on this roster but weren’t are Walker ZimmermanGreg Garza, Eric Lichaj and Danny Williams.

  • Zimmerman’s been part of two camps already this year, and would’ve been fifth on the depth chart at CB for the US this time around. It looks like he’s been replaced here by his club teammate,Matt Hedges, who left the January camp early due to injury and wasn’t called for the March qualifiers (Zimmerman was). This is smart from Arena, who’s getting both guys used to being around the team to varying degrees, and will hopefully call them both in for the Gold Cup.
  • It appears thatDaMarcus Beasley beat Garza out for the backup left back spot behind Jorge Villafaña. I’m fine with that, since Beasley’s a guy you are 100 percent certain you can throw into the cauldron without fear of him being overwhelmed by the moment.
  • Lichaj’s omission – he’s an in-his-prime fullback who’s equally adept on either side, and who has a ton of top flight experience – but Arena, for whatever reason, preferred Timmy Chandler as (presumably) DeAndre Yedlin’s backup. I disagree, but fair enough. It’s a fair bet Williams gets a featured role with the Gold Cup team this summer. But for the time being it looks like Arena preferred Dax McCarty for the backup d-mid spot.

There is depth everywhere except for the No. 10 position, which is all Christian Pulisic’s. Between him and Clint Dempsey and Fabian Johnson and Darlington Nagbe, there should be enough creativity to go around – with or without Pulisic, there’s more attacking talent here than Arena’s predecessor, Jurgen Klinsmann, habitually called in.  Still, if Pulisic picks up a knock, I’d be more comfortable seeing one of Sacha KljestanBenny Feilhaber or Lee Nguyen available.

Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris have both been slowed by injury over the last several months, but I can’t profess to being any kind of shocked that they’re both on this roster. I am, though, slightly surprised that the forward pool is only four deep at this time. I could happily have talked myself into a C.J. Sapong or Christian Ramirez invite.

Paul Arriola wasn’t great during the second half of the Clausura, but he’s one of just a few guys on this roster who are comfortable as true, wide midfielders (Pulisic and Johnson are the others). He has a very specific role, and let’s give the kid credit: He’s been very good at filling that role when called upon in Red, White and Blue.

Kellyn Acosta and Alejandro Bedoya are both here to be varying types of No. 8s. Either would be comfortable as a shuttler if Arena opts for the 4-1-3-2 he deployed in that huge win over Honduras, and either would be comfortable as Michael Bradley‘s central midfield partner should Arena opt for the flatter 4-4-2 – with, say, Pulisic and Johnson cutting inside from the wings – that he tried with less success at Panama.

This is the role Jermaine Jones has played for the vast majority of his USMNT career. It’ll be interesting to see how the US go about filling that spot now that Jones is, for the time being, unavailable. (Note from Shane – honestly – Jones being out is good (he won’t be here for World Cup)  +  he can’t play with Bradley as the #6 – they just don’t mesh.  Bradley needs a Nagbe or someone in there to help him relieve pressure- I would put Nagbe in for Bedoya below – I am also missing Eric Lichaj at left or right back as a backup. He’s better than Zusi or Beasley)

Here’s his Best Guess XI vs. T&T:

Altidore/Dempsey

Pulisic

Johnson/Bedoya

Bradley

Villafana /Brooks/Cameron/Yedlin

Howard

Against Mexico, sub in Omar Gonzalez for John Brooks and Wood for Jozy Altidore.

MNT Q&A: ARENA DISCUSSES PLAYER SELECTION FOR CRUCIAL QUALIFIERS

May 28, 2017

ussoccer.com: What are your thoughts on the overall roster that you’ve assembled for this camp?

Bruce Arena: “I think we have a good group, and in my case I’m still in the early goings with this team and I haven’t seen all of our players. This camp gives me the opportunity to see six new faces we haven’t had in with the team yet – Brad Guzan, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Ethan Horvath, Bobby Wood and DeAndre Yedlin – which is good. It’s also great that we’re able to bring back 21 players that have been in with our program already in 2017. There’s some continuity there as well as the fact that we’re getting to see some new faces, which is important.”

ussoccer.com: The World Cup Qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico occur in the span of four days. How do you plan on managing the tight turnaround?

BA: “That’s certainly going to be challenging. The reason for that was Mexico’s participation in the FIFA Confederations Cup. It was proposed to us, and as difficult as it is I think it’s a level playing field for both teams. As part of the agreement to switch the day, we have the opportunity to play at night as opposed to the afternoon so I think that’s a plus for us, but it will require that we have a number of players ready to play. I can guarantee we will not be playing the same team from game one to game two. There will be a number of changes for the game in Mexico, so we’ve built a strong roster to allow us to do that.”

ussoccer.com: How will you be utilizing the Venezuela game on June 3 to get ready for the pair of World Cup Qualifying matches?

BA: “It’s part of our preparation for the games against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, and we get to play a South American opponent with some very good players. They’re bringing in a number of their first team players, so it should be a real plus. We get a little bit of a taste of playing a game in altitude, and no question about it, it’s low altitude in comparison to Denver and Mexico City, but it’s a starting point. It’s one where we can take advantage of the friendly rules and play up to 16 field players, so it’ll be a real plus in getting our team prepared for the two World Cup Qualifiers.”

ussoccer.com: FC Dallas center back Matt Hedges has earned his first call-up to a World Cup Qualifying Camp. What has he done to impress you and your coaching staff this year?

BA: “Matt has arguably been one of the best defenders in Major League Soccer over the last couple of years. It was unfortunate that he suffered an injury in January Camp and wasn’t able to play in the friendlies against Serbia and Jamaica, but we’ve continued to follow him. He was a consideration for the camp in March, but we decided to go with a couple of defenders that have had a little bit more experience with us. We can’t ignore the fact that Matt’s been a good player and he needs an opportunity with the National Team. Bringing him in is a plus, it’ll get him a foot in the door and hopefully allow him to move forward with a bigger role in the U.S. team.”

ussoccer.com: In Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando, you’ve called back the MNT’s veteran pool of goalkeepers along with bringing in Ethan Horvath. What do you see with their form coming into camp? 

BA: “Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando are certainly very experienced goalkeepers and have proven that they can play well for the U.S. team. They’re all doing well. Obviously, Brad had an opportunity to play a number of games at the end of the season with Middlesbrough. Playing on a team that got relegated, it’s not surprising to see that his goalkeeping statistics might not be that impressive. I thought in those games he played well and it’s good experience for him. Rimando is back from an injury and played well over the last week, and Tim Howard has had a good start in MLS. Coming off a suspension has played well of late. I think we’re going to camp with three good, experienced goalkeepers. In Ethan Horvath’s case, he’s one of our young, promising goalkeepers that we need to see. We won’t have the opportunity to see him for the Gold Cup, so we wanted to see him in this camp and he’s also from Denver so it worked out pretty well.”

ussoccer.com: With the European season coming to an end and MLS well into their campaign, is it a good time to bring the entire pool together for this camp?

BA: “I think so. The issue with the players from Europe is they’re completing a long season that started last July or August depending on their club team. They’re at the end and they’re probably a little bit beat up, but I know they have another two weeks left in them. It’s no secret that we won’t be using many of them during the Gold Cup because they need to have some rest before they start for the new season. The MLS players are at a point where they’re getting pretty fit and sharp, so I think it’s a good time. We have a roster that has good balance all over, we have good young players and hopefully it’s a team we can put together to get us points in both games.”

ussoccer.com: DaMarcus Beasley continues to stay in the National Team picture. As the person that gave him his first National Team appearance in 2001, talk about his career longevity and the potential for him to become the first U.S. player to appear in qualifiers for five different World Cups.

BA: “I think he’s had a great career and the longevity speaks for itself. He’s still been a good player in Major League Soccer, and that’s why we still have him on the roster. We haven’t found any players that can push DaMarcus out of the position he has right now with the National Team. He’s not only a good player, he’s a good teammate and he’s going to do whatever is necessary to make our team successful. It’s a real plus to have him, and it would be a fabulous accomplishment if he becomes the first U.S. player to appear in qualifiers for five different World Cups. Looking down the road, it would be incredible if he played in another World Cup. My hat is off to DaMarcus. He’s had a terrific career.”

2017 USMNT Schedule

Date Opponent Venue Time Television
06/03/2017 Venezuela Sandy, UT – Rio Tinto Stadium 10pm FS1
06/09/2017 Trinidad & Tobago Commerce City – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park 7:50pm FS1
06/13/2017 Mexico Mexico City – Estadio Azteca 8:30pm FS1
07/01/2017 Ghana E Hartford – Pratt & Whitney Stadium 4pm ESPN
07/08/2017 Panama Nashville – Nissan Stadium 4:30pm Fox Sports  GOLD CUP
07/12/2017 Martinique Tampa – Raymond James Stadium 9pm Fox Sports GOLD CUP
07/15/2017 Nicaragua Cleveland – FirstEnergy Stadium 7pm Fox Sports GOLD CUP

 

U-20 WORLD CUP: USMNT 1 – SAUDI ARABIA 1

MAY 28, 2017

The USMNT won Group F at the U-20 World Cup, finishing off group play with a 1-1 draw with Saudi Arabia. The USMNT advances to play New Zealand in the round of 16 on June 1 (7am ET – FS1). In the other Group F finale, Senegal and Ecuador drew 0-0.Brooks Lennon put the USMNT up in the 40th minute. The USMNT played a man down with a second yellow card to Cameron Carter-Vickers. Abdulelah Almari equalized in the 74th.The USMNT faces a player shortage in their round of 16 game against New Zealand. Carter-Vickers is out with his red card suspension. Joining him are Aaron Herrera and Derrick Jones doe to yellow card accumulation.

GAME REPORT

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Saudi Arabia
Date: May 28, 2017
Competition: 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup – Group F
Venue: Daejeon World Cup Stadium; Daejeon, Korea Republic
Kickoff: 5 a.m. ET (6 p.m. local time)
Attendance: 5,460
Weather: 83 degrees; Sunny

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F 
USA 1 0 1 
KSA 0 1 1

USA – Brooks Lennon 40th minute
KSA – Abdulelah Alamri (Sami Alnaji) 74

Lineups: 
USA: 1-Jonathan Klinsmann; 3-Danny Acosta, 5-Erik Palmer-Brown (capt.), 16-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 14-Aaron Herrera; 20-Luca de la Torre (7-Eryk Williamson, 89), 18-Derrick Jones, 8-Tyler Adams; 11-Sebastian Saucedo (6-Justen Glad, 46), 19-Josh Sargent (9-Emmanuel Sabbi, 70), 17-Brooks Lennon   Subs not used: 2-Auston Trusty, 4-Tommy Redding, 12-James Marcinkowski, 13-Lagos Kunga, 15-Jeremy Ebobisse, 21-Brady Scott 
Not available: 10-Gedion Zelalem 
  Head coach: Tab Ramos

KSA : 1-Amin Albukhari; 2-Anas Zabbani (20-Mansour Almuwallad, 73), 5-Abdulelah Alamri, 6-Sami Alnaji (capt.), 7-Khalid Alsamiri (19-Fahad Alrashidi, 58), 10-Ayman Alkhulaif, 11-Abdulrahman Alyami, 13-Hassan Altambakti, 14-Ali Alasmari, 16-Abdulrahman Aldosari, 17-Abdullah Tarmin (15-Naif Kireiri, 68)  Subs not used: 3-Mohammad Albassas, 4-Awn Alsaluli, 8-Yousef Alharbi, 9-Hassan Alqayd, 12-Saleh Alohaymid, 18-Nasser Aldawsari, 21-Mohammed Alyami   Head coach: Saad Alshehri

Stats Summary: USA / KSA 
Shots: 9 / 12
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 14 / 18
Offside: 0 / 0

U-20 World Cup —  Round of 16

Tuesday, May 30 – Round of 16
4:00 AM ET Match 37: Venezuela 1, Japan 0 Recap & Highlights
7:00 AM ET Match 38: South Korea 1, Portugal 3 Recap & Highlights
Wednesday, May 31 – Round of 16
4:00 AM ET Match 41: Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia FS1 & FSGO
7:00 AM ET Match 39: England vs Costa Rica FS1 & FSGO
7:00 AM ET Match 40: Zambia vs Germany FS2 & FSGO
Thursday, June 1 – Round of 16
3:30 AM ET Match 42: Mexico vs Senegal FS1 & FSGO
7:00 AM ET Match 43: France vs Italy FS2 & FSGO
7:00 AM ET Match 44: USA vs New Zealand FS1 & FSGO

Quarterfinals

Sunday, June 4 – Quarterfinals
2:00 AM ET Match 46: Match 37 Winner vs Match 44 Winner FS tbd & FSGO
5:00 AM ET Match 45: Match 38 Winner vs Match 41 Winner FS tbd & FSGO
Monday, June 5 – Quarterfinals
4:00 AM ET Match 47: Match 43 Winner vs Match 40 Winner FS tbd & FSGO
7:00 AM ET Match 48: Match 42 Winner vs Match 39 Winner FS tbd & FSGO

Semifinals

Thursday, June 8 – Semifinals
4:00 AM ET Match 45 Winner vs Match 47 Winner FS tbd & FSGO
7:00 AM ET Match 46 Winner vs Match 48 Winner FS tbd & FSGO

Third place

Sunday, June 11 – Third Place
2:30 AM ET
Suwon World Cup Stadium
Semifinal Loser vs Semifinal Loser FS tbd & FSGO

RECAP | INDY ELEVEN CAN’T COMPLETE COMEBACK IN 2-1 LOSS AT FC EDMONTON

“Boys in Blue” concede two in first half, pull one back in the second in tight loss to Eddies  May 27, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (May 27, 2017) – In a tight contest at Clarke Stadium, Indy Eleven fell for the third time in the 2017 season in a 2-1 loss to FC Edmonton.A match that asked plenty of both ‘keepers Jon Busch (IND) and Chris Konopka (FCE), it was Indy who nearly got on the scoresheet in the opening minute. Skipping forward, defender Nemanja Vukovic flicked a touch that set up a beautiful strike, but the ball skimmed off the crossbar and out of play for a goal kick.Indy looked the more likely of the two sides to open the scoring, but momentum shifted the way of the home side in the 24th minute when midfielder Dustin Corea drew a penalty on Kwame Watson-Siriboe. Flying into the box, Corea attempted to strike the ball before hitting the ground and the head official took no time to point straight at the spot after seemingly spotting a foul by the veteran defender. On the first spot kick, Corea ripped a left-footed effort off the underside of the crossbar and out. While Indy thought they were clear of the situation, the head official pulled back play after spotting an infringement and the penalty would be taken again. On the second go-round, Corea calmly placed the ball to his left and sent Busch the wrong way to get on the board first.The visitors continued to press bodies forward, but Edmonton would double their lead in first-half stoppage through Adam Straith. On a free kick from the right flank, Corea was again involved as his cross met the head of Straith deep in the box, who made no mistake heading past Busch.Into the second half, “Indiana’s Team” introduced David Goldsmith and Jason Plumhoff in an attempt to inject some fresh legs. Instead, it was forward Justin Braun who nearly found the scoresheet, but headers in the 58th and 64th minute could not beat Konopka and their chase for a goal wore on. In the 79th minute, Indy would eventually break through thanks to super sub Jason Plumhoff. On a bouncing ball in the area, Plumhoff, a former Edmonton player, produced an acrobatic finish to pull one back for his team.Just two minutes later, midfielder Ben Speas nearly found his team’s second goal, but he sent his left-footed rocket off the bar and away from danger. The “Boys in Blue” kept pushing until the end, but Edmonton’s two first-half strikes would prove enough to earn an important three points.Indy Eleven faces the San Francisco Deltas on the road next weekend but returns home to IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium to host Jacksonville Armada FC on Saturday, June 10 at 7:30 P.M. ET. Tickets for the game – and all remaining 12+ NASL matches at “The Mike” in 2017 – can be purchased for as little as $11 online at www.IndyEleven.com or by phone at 317-685-1100.

NASL Spring Season   FC Edmonton 2 : 1 Indy Eleven   Saturday, May 27, 2017  Clarke Stadium – Edmonton, CAN
Scoring Summary:
FCE – Dustin Corea 27’
FCE – Adam Straith 45+2’
IND – Jason Plumhoff 79’
iscipline Summary:
IND – Colin Falvey 10’
IND – Gerardo Torrado 25′
FCE – Netan Sansara 59’

Indy Eleven line-up (4-2-3-1, L–>R):  Jon Busch (GK); Nemanja Vukovic, Colin Falvey ©, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Marco Franco (Anthony Manning 89’); Daniel Keller (Jason Plumhoff 73’), Brad Rng (David Goldsmith 67’); Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Gerardo Torrado, Ben Speas; Justin Braun  IND bench: Keith Cardona (GK); Tanner Thompson, Brandon Poltronieri

FC Edmonton line-up (4-1-4-1, L->R): Chris Konopka (GK); Allan Zebie, Abdoulaye Diakite, Albert Watson, Netan Sansara; Adam Straith; Sainey Nyassi (Pedro Galvao 65’), Nik Ledgerwood, Dean Shiels (Mauro Eustaquio 76’), Dustin Corea; Tomi Ameobi  FCE bench: Tyson Farago (GK); Shawn Nicklaw, Ben Fisk, Sabri Khattab, Jake Keegan

Its almost Summer – Time to plan your Soccer Camps 

Post2Post Soccer Camps

Former College Coach and Canadian National Team Goalkeeper & current Carmel FC & Carmel High Asst coach Carla Baker Provides elite-level training for youth players who want to become better technical and tactical soccer players.  Our camps focus on individual technical skills and game tactics in pressure situations using advanced training techniques. Come and join our staff of former Division I college coaches, National Team players, experienced youth, high school and college players for a fun learning experience.

Cost: $195 per camper  Location: Badger Fields   Field Player Camp: July 24 – 27, 2017

Indy 11 Youth Soccer Camp at Carmel Dad’s Club

June 19-22 9 to 12 noon (ages 5-14)  $135

Carmel High School Soccer CampsJuly 17-20

(called Hounds Soccer Technical/Skills Camp and Hounds Soccer Tactical/Scrimmage Camp) and they are being held at Murray Stadium the week of July 17-20. The format will be where the morning session will run 10:00-12:00. This is the technical skills training – session runs 10 am till 12 pm and it will cost $85.   The afternoon session is the tactical/scrimmage session and will run 1:00-3:00 at Murray Stadium both run by Men’s Soccer Head Coach Shane Schmidt. Boys and Girls – 8-14 Cost: $85/per camper per session.

ATP_Gen_350x250

Earn your Degree While You Watch Your Kids Soccer Practice – ½ the time and cost of Traditional Schools

Check out The Ole Ballcoach online www.theoleballcoach.com

Proud Member of the Brick Yard Battalion – http://www.brickyardbattalion.com , Sam’s Army- http://www.sams-army.com , American Outlaws  http://www.facebook.com/IndyAOUnite

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5/26/17 – Title Winners, FA Cup, German Cup, Copa Del Rey Sat, Best Goalie Camp in town next week!

So the season’s overseas have basically wrapped up and with them titles for Chelsea, Real Madrid, Juve, Bayern Munich, and Monaco in the major leagues.  Hanging up the cleats in Italy one Francesco Totti of Roma – this legendary forward played his entire career for Roma but is perhaps best known for his legendary career in leading Italy to World Cup and European Cup Victories.  Word is Totti might end up in MLS next season – it would be worth the ticket price just to see this legend.  Speaking of MLS – Saturday 2:30 on Fox Seattle host Portland is must see TV – its on right after the FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea which starts at 12:30 on Fox.  Dortmund and US starlet Christian Pulisic will face Franfort and US defender Timmy Chandler for the German Cup at 2 pm on ESPN3 where you can also catch Barca vs Alaves for the Copa Del Rey in Spain at 3:30 pm.

Of course the  U-20 World cup has the US U-20’s leading their group with 4 points heading into the final match on Sun at 5 am on Fox Sports – set those DVRs baby and tune in to see young 17 year old star forward Josh Sergent who has 3 of our goals thus far – they should advance to next week’s round of 16.   And of course next weekend Sat at 2:45 pm on FOX – Champions League Glory with Real Madrid looking for 2 in a row vs Italian Champion Juve and legendary goalkeeper Gigi Buffon.  (more on that match up next week)

The Indy 11 on the road to Edmonton this Saturday at 9  pm.  on MyIndyTV. Use this link for discount tickets.  Indy 11 Discount Ticket Link.

Also this reminder to All Seniors this year and current folks in College – Carmel Dad’s Offers co-ed Alumni/College age soccer in June/July on Tues Nights. Gather a team or sign up as an individual just $95.  Please click here for the registration form Register – May 10- June 1 Commissioner:  Alex Scott  scottaf2@gmail.com

Finally GOALKEEPERS you still have time to sign up for the Best Goalie Camp in town – Coach Carla’s Goalie Post2Post Camp is next week Tues thru Friday.  See full details below! Goalkeeper Camp: May 30 – June 2, 2017        

Its almost Summer – Time to plan your Soccer Camps 

Post2Post Soccer Camps

Former College Coach and Canadian National Team Goalkeeper & current Carmel FC & Carmel High Asst coach Carla Baker Provides elite-level training for youth players who want to become better technical and tactical soccer players.  Our camps focus on individual technical skills and game tactics in pressure situations using advanced training techniques. Come and join our staff of former Division I college coaches, National Team players, experienced youth, high school and college players for a fun learning experience.

Cost: $195 per camper  Location: Badger Fields   Goalkeeper Camp: May 30 – June 2, 2017        Field Player Camp: July 24 – 27, 2017

 

Indy 11 Youth Soccer Camp at Carmel Dad’s Club

June 19-22 9 to 12 noon (ages 5-14)  $135

 

Carmel High School Soccer CampsJuly 17-20

(called Hounds Soccer Technical/Skills Camp and Hounds Soccer Tactical/Scrimmage Camp) and they are being held at Murray Stadium the week of July 17-20. The format will be where the morning session will run 10:00-12:00. This is the technical skills training – session runs 10 am till 12 pm and it will cost $85.   The afternoon session is the tactical/scrimmage session and will run 1:00-3:00 at Murray Stadium both run by Men’s Soccer Head Coach Shane Schmidt. Boys and Girls – 8-14 Cost: $85/per camper per session.

GAMES ON TV  

Sat, May 27 

12:30 pm Fox                Arsenal vs. Chelsea  (FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium)

2 pm ESPN3                    Dortmund vs  Frankfurt (German Cup Final)  (US Pulisic vs Timmy Chandler)

2:30 pm FOX                  Seattle vs Portland

 

9 pm myIndyTV      Edmonton FC vs Indy 11

Sun, May 28

FIFA U-20 World Cup

2:00am       New Zealand U20 vs France U20  Fox Sport1

2:00am       Honduras U20 vs Vietnam U20     Fox Sport 2

5:00am       Senegal U20 vs Ecuador U20       Fox Sport 2

5:00am  USA U20 vs Saudi Arabia U20      Fox Sport 1

5 pm ESPN                       Atlanta United vs NYCFC

8 pm Fox Sport 1        Dallas vs Houston

May 30-June 1 Tues/Wed/Thurs

FIFA U-20 World Cup Round of 16 Games 4 am and 7 am

Sat, June 3

2:30 pm  FOX       Juventus vs Real Madrid       Champions League Final

 

U20 – WORLD CUP Schedule on Fox

Full MLS Schedule

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Confederations Cup Schedule June

Gold Cup Schedule In July

International Champions Cup July  Games in Nashville and Detroit

 

EPL

Winning FA Cup won’t Help Arsenal and Wenger ESPNFC

Arsenal need FA Cup win to Plaster over EPL disappointment – Andrew Mangan ESPNFC

Chelsea have Advantage over Arsenal in FA Cup – ESPNFC

Liverpool Must Respond to Man U’s glory in Europa League

Which Champions League Qualifier Had the Best Season

Conte vs Klopp – Who Wins Emotion on Touchline Trophy

Man U Has lots of Work Ahead – Marcotti – ESPNFC

 

USA

US U20s Beat Senegal 1-0 – look to advance with win or tie Sun 5 am

US Late Equalizer saves US vs Ecudor in U20 WC –US Soccer

Another rising U.S. teenage star: Meet 17-year-old Josh Sargent

US National Team Players Weekend Update – Pulisic helps Dortmund win, Bobby Wood avoids Relegation

Pulisic Weather’s Storm Adds to success in 1st full season at Dortmund  SI

The Coach who found Pulisic

 

WORLD

Juve + Madrid on Top –

Zidane guides Real to La Liga Title, Juve Win Title – Marcotti – ESPN FC

Copa Del Rey Final Saturday serves as Sendoff for Barca’s Manager Luis Enrique

Totti’s Awkward Farewell in Serie A for Roma

Argentina reach Agreement with Sevilla over Jorge Sampaoli Appointment as Argentina Coach

 

Chelsea eye domestic Double; Arsenal want record 13th FA Cup win

Chelsea will try to complete a domestic Double while Arsenal will attempt to win the FA Cup for a record 13th time when the two sides meet in the final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.The eventual top-flight champions have won the FA Cup on 11 occasions, with Chelsea the most recent club to do so in 2010. The last time a team failed to win the Double having reached the final was in 2007, when Chelsea defeated Premier League champions Manchester United.

If Chelsea were to win, they would capture the FA Cup for the eighth time. They have not lost in any of their last four finals, having also won in 2009 and 2012, with Arsenal the last team to beat them in the final in 2002.Regardless of the result on Saturday, the FA Cup will have been won by either Arsenal or Chelsea in seven of the last 11 years. Arsenal won in both 2014 and 2015, and another victory would give Arsene Wenger his seventh FA Cup, surpassing Aston Villa’s George Ramsay.  Arsenal could claim a record 13th FA Cup title with a victory on Saturday.

Arsenal, who completed the Double in 2002, have not lost in the final since 2001 — a run of five successful appearances. They are playing in the final for the 20th time, with Chelsea making their 12th appearance.The only Chelsea player still with the club who participated in their last FA Cup final appearance in 2012 is defender John Terry, who will depart after 22 years this summer. Terry, who has won the FA Cup five times, could win his 16th major title with Chelsea should they win on Saturday.

Chelsea have a 62 percent of winning the FA Cup, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index.

Theo Walcott, who has five goals for Arsenal, is the top-scoring player remaining in the competition. Pedro has scored four times for Chelsea in the FA Cup this season.The two sides each won their home Premier League fixtures, with Arsenal winning 3-0 on Sept. 24 and Chelsea claiming a 3-1 victory on Feb. 4. Chelsea have won eight of their last 13 meetings with Arsenal with only two losses — although one was the FA Community Shield at Wembley in 2015.

 

FA Cup final tale of the tape: Chelsea have the edge over Arsenal

For Chelsea, the chance to win a second Premier League and FA Cup double. For Arsenal, the chance to climb back above Manchester United and claim the trophy for the 13th time. Those are the barest facts of Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley.

The subplots get more complicated beyond that. Might this be Arsene Wenger’s final match in charge of Arsenal? Is this the last time Diego Costa leads the line for Chelsea? Similar might even be the case for Eden Hazard if Real Madrid can get their man.

All that could be answered in a match that is a rematch of the 2002 final, staged in Cardiff, when Arsenal were 2-0 victors. Only Wenger, and John Terry, for whom Wembley will definitely be his last day in the Chelsea sun, remain from that day. Here is a tale of the tape.

Goalkeeper

Petr Cech appears destined to face the club he spent 11 years serving with distinction, rather than David Ospina, who has usually played cup matches for Arsenal this season but did not play in the 2-1 semifinal victory over Manchester City. Cech won four FA Cups as a Chelsea player.

Thibaut Courtois will be in the opposing goal to former training partner Cech, whom he usurped during the 2014-15 season. Last year, as Chelsea faltered, there were some fans who yearned for his dependable predecessor as Courtois made some worrying flaps. This year, behind an admittedly excellent defence, he has returned to his previous form.

Edge: Chelsea

Defence

When Wenger made an April switch to a back three, he was accused of copying Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, but it has been a qualified success for Arsenal, helping them through that City semifinal and during a late-season run that took them to within a point of fourth place. The issue for Wenger is that he has barely three centre-backs to call on at Wembley. Laurent Koscielny’s senseless sending-off against Everton last week was followed by Gabriel ruining his knee. To persist with the formation, Per Mertesacker, whose season debut came in replacing Gabriel last week, may need to be employed. There will be a great deal of responsibility on Rob Holding. With Shkodran Mustafi recovering from concussion, Nacho Monreal may need to step inside from the left flank.

Conte has a clean bill of health in his defence with his trio of Cesar AzpilicuetaDavid Luiz and Gary Cahill set to line up. Terry can only expect to appear from the bench as a late, ceremonial sub at best, as Kurt Zouma is usual first reserve, and Nathan Ake is also more adaptable within that defensive trio. The wing-back play of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso has been a key factor in Chelsea’s success and stopping them may be foremost in Wenger’s thoughts.

Edge: Chelsea

Midfield

Wenger had struggled for a midfield formula since Santi Cazorla was lost to injury in October but may have hit on one by accident during their late-season revival. That 3-4-2-1 formation suits the previously struggling Granit Xhaka far better in a deep-lying role and there have been recent glimpses of the same Aaron Ramsey who starred for Wales at Euro 2016. Their presence in the centre and with wing-backs pushed into midfield means Mesut Ozil is given licence to drift and does not have to track back.

N’Golo Kante is one of the many players Wenger claims he could have signed but chose not to. This season’s Footballer of the Year might just be the greatest miss on that lengthy list, since he has been the dominant player of two successive title wins, for Leicester and Chelsea, and could be the player that could answer Arsenal’s habitual lack of power and guile in big, crucial occasions. Alongside him, Nemanja Matic has been restored to the performance levels of two years ago. And, likely from the bench, Cesc Fabregas can hurt his former club with a passing quality that perhaps only Ozil in the English game is capable of emulating.

Edge: Chelsea

Attack

Once this game is finished, the transfer season is fully upon us, and Alexis Sanchez is being linked with a move to Chelsea, with just a year on his contract remaining. Saturday could be a busy day for body language experts. To play with Sanchez, Wenger has lately chosen the speed of Danny Welbeck over Olivier Giroud, preferring the greater pace the Englishman offers. Welbeck missed a couple of decent chances in last week’s 3-1 defeat of Everton but he also showed great composure in setting up the ball for Sanchez to score Arsenal’s second.

With a big move to China in the offing, this may well be the last chance to see Diego Costa run out for Chelsea. He has been a thorn in Arsenal’s side during his three seasons in English football, though he may also be their best route to victory. When he gets riled up and distracted, then Costa can be more help rather than hindrance. Behind him, sometimes beyond him, or wherever the mood takes him, Eden Hazard has been the best, most consistent attacker in England once more this year. Stopping him will be more difficult than putting Costa off his stride.

Edge: Chelsea

Manager

Arsene Wenger has a chance to go out on a high.

Last week, after months of batting questions away, Wenger opened up a little on what has been a harrowing season for him and Arsenal. “Yes, of course,” he replied when asked if questions over his future had been damaging. “You cannot say that the environment for the group of players was especially positive.” This week, he has been much more guarded, still refusing to publicly commit his future. Whether this is the last match of his Arsenal career or not, signing off such a difficult campaign with another FA Cup would be sweet for him.

For all Conte‘s dominance of Serie A with Juventus, where he won three titles, there is a significant absence in his medal collection. As a manager, he is yet to win a cup competition beyond the preseason Supercoppa Italia, failing to win a double of Coppa Italia to accompany that trio of championships. Were his team to win at Wembley, he would emulate Italian compatriot Carlo Ancelotti in winning Chelsea a Double, to cap off a season his team has dominated. And Conte’s own dominance is confirmed by the amount of managers copying his three-man defensive set-up this season. Including Wenger, of course.

Edge: Chelsea

Intangibles

Even with Chelsea going for a Double, a feat not completed since they last did it in 2010, most eyes will be on Wenger for signs that this may be his final bow. Having admitted his players have been affected, questions over their Wembley state of mind may be raised. And beyond Wenger himself, the contract situations of both Ozil and Sanchez also lie in abeyance. Arsenal are a club of uncertainties right now, as opposed to Chelsea, who have made an almost total recovery from the fallout that followed Jose Mourinho’s December 2015 departure.

First in the Premier League against fifth, after Arsenal finished 28 points behind, makes the champions favourite, especially in the light of that defensive injury crisis. For Arsenal to win would be no giant-killing but it would register as a significant shock.

Perhaps Chelsea’s greatest problem might be overconfidence but Conte, meticulous in preparation, clear-sighted in his vision, is unlikely to allow complacency to set in. Though it gave rise to the shift in formation that would swiftly alter the momentum of this season’s title race, he will well remember the lessons of losing 3-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates in September.Score prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal, with a flutter of late goals to seal the trophy.John Brewin is a staff writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JohnBrewinESPN.

 

 

MNT REWIND: PULISIC HELPS BORUSSIA DORTMUND EARN UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLACE

by Pulisic earns game-winning penalty kick, Wood helps Hamburg stay up, Cameron provides game-winning assist on final day of league seasons in Germany and England on May 21, 2017

 

League seasons across Europe ended this week, with a couple of Americans playing a role in helping their clubs to prime positions for next season.

Here’s how they performed:

In Germany, Christian Pulisic came off the bench at halftime and helped spark Borussia Dortmund’s 4-3 comeback win against Werder Bremen to clinch third and an automatic place in the UEFA Champions League. Pulisic played his part, earning the game-winning penalty kick which Bundesliga-leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sent home in the 89th minute to earn all three points. Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund now turn their focus to Saturday’s DFB Pokal Final where they’ll take on Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt. lsewhere, Bobby Wood went 90 minutes and helped Hamburg stay up in the Bundesliga thanks to a 2-1 win against Wolfsburg. The sides were tied 1-1 until substitute Gian-Luca Waldschmidt’s 88th minute header gave HSV the goal they needed to remain in the German topflight next season.  READ MORE: Five Things to Know About Bobby Wood

In England, Geoff Cameron collected his first assist of the campaign when his floated cross from the right picked out Peter Crouch at the back post for the game’s only goal in Stoke City’s 1-0 season-ending victory at Southampton.

A few other highlights:

  • Danny Williams and Reading are off to the English League Championship Playoff Final thanks to their 1-0 win against Tim Ream and Fulham at midweek. The Royals will face former U.S. international David Wagner and Huddersfield in the Final on May 29. Learn more about the English League Championship Promotion Playoffs.
  • Fabian Johnson started and went 74 minutes in Borussia Mönchengladbach’s 2-2 draw with Darmstadt. It was his second-straight appearance and first start since returning from a hamstring injury suffered back in March.
  • Nick Rimando extended his M.L.S. penalty kick save record to 23 when he denied Clint Dempsey’s attempt in Real Salt Lake’s 1-0 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday.
  • Ethan Horvath ended the season with his fourth-straight appearance, helping Club Brugge to a 2-1 win vs. Gent and a second-place finish in the Belgian Jupiler League.
  • U.S. youth international Weston McKennie made his professional debut, entering Schalke’s 1-1 draw at Ingolstadt in the 77th minute. Fellow youth international Haji Wright also made the Schalke 18, but didn’t appear in the match.

Check out the full rundown of how MNT players performed for their clubs this past week: 

Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) – 88 minutes in 1-0 loss vs. San Jose Earthquakes (May 20)
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) – 90 minutes in 1-1 draw at New York Red Bulls (May 19)
Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana) – 90 minutes in 2-0 loss at Tigres UANL (May 17); Sunday, May 20 vs. Tigres UANL (9 p.m. ET – Azteca America)
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo) – 90 minutes in 4-1 loss at Atlanta United FC (May 20)
Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union) – 90 minutes in 2-0 win vs. Houston Dynamo; 90 minutes in 2-1 win vs. Colorado Rapids (May 20)
Matt Besler (Sporting KC) – 90 minutes in 3-0 win vs. Seattle Sounders FC (May 17); 90 minutes in 2-0 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC (May 20)
David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes) – 90 minutes in 1-1 draw vs. Orlando City SC; 90 minutes in 1-0 win at FC Dallas (May 20)
Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United) – 90 minutes in 1-0 loss vs. Chicago Fire (May 20)
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) – 90 minutes in 1-1 draw at New York Red Bulls (May 19)
John Brooks (Hertha Berlin) – 45 minutes in 6-2 loss vs. Bayer Leverkusen (May 20)
Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) – 90 minutes, ASSIST in 1-0 win at Southampton (May 21)
Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 90 minutes in 2-2 draw vs. RB Leipzig (May 20)
Joe Corona (Club Tijuana) – In 18, DNP in 2-0 loss at Tigres UANL (May 17); Sunday, May 20 vs. Tigres UANL (9 p.m. ET – Azteca America)
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC) – 81 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Real Salt Lake (May 20)
Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC) – 90 minutes, ASSIST in 3-0 win vs. Seattle Sounders FC (May 17); 34 substitute minutes in 2-0 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC (May 20)
Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC) – 90 minutes in 4-1 win vs. Houston Dynamo (May 20)
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland) – 13 substitute minutes in 2-0 loss at Arsenal (May 16); 28 substitute minutes in 5-1 loss at Chelsea (May 21)
Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough) – 90 minutes in 3-0 loss at Liverpool (May 21)
Bill Hamid (D.C. United) – 90 minutes in 1-0 loss vs. Chicago Fire (May 20)
Matt Hedges (FC Dallas) – 90 minutes in 1-0 loss vs. San Jose Earthquakes (May 20)
Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge) – 90 minutes in 2-1 loss at Oostende (May 18); 90 minutes in 2-1 win vs. Gent (May 21)
Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids) – 90 minutes in 3-0 loss at Chicago Fire (May 17); 90 minutes in 2-1 loss at Philadelphia Union (May 20)
Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach) – 74 minutes in 2-2 draw vs. Darmstadt (May 20)
Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls) – 90 minutes, ASSIST in 1-1 draw vs. Toronto FC (May 19)
Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire) – 90 minutes in 3-0 win vs. Colorado Rapids (May 17); 90 minutes in 1-0 win at D.C. United (May 20)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC) – 77 minutes in 3-0 loss at Sporting KC (May 17); 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Real Salt Lake (May 20)
Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) – 78 minutes in 4-1 loss at Montreal Impact (May 20)
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) – 45 substitute minutes in 4-3 win vs. Werder Bremen (May 20)
Tim Ream (Fulham) – 90 minutes in 1-0 loss at Reading (May 16)
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) – 90 minutes in 2-1 win vs. New York City FC (May 17); 90 minutes, PK SAVE in 1-0 loss at Seattle Sounders FC (May 20)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls) – 90 minutes in 1-1 draw vs. Toronto FC (May 19)
Danny Williams (Reading) – 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Fulham (May 16)
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) – 90 minutes, GOAL in 1-1 draw vs. Orlando City SC (May 17); 90 minutes in 1-0 win at FC Dallas (May 20)
Bobby Wood (Hamburg) – 90 minutes in 2-1 win vs. Wolfsburg (May 20)
Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) – 90 minutes in 2-1 win at Minnesota United FC (May 20)
Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas) – 90 minutes in 1-0 loss vs. San Jose Earthquakes (May 20)
Graham Zusi (Sporting KC) – 90 minutes, ASSIST in 3-0 win vs. Seattle Sounders FC (May 17); 90 minutes in 2-0 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC (May 20)

U.S. star Christian Pulisic: American soccer has ‘so much potential’

United States international Christian Pulisic believes the future is bright for American soccer.Borussia Dortmund winger Pulisic, 18, told The Guardian he is encouraged by the sport’s progress in his nation, who reached the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup but face a fight to qualify for 2018, and is predicting that Bruce Arena’s side will be a force in years to come.”It’s been big flaw of ours in the soccer department that a lot of our best athletes go and play other sports,” he said. “But I think young players have seen me, and others, go over to Europe and play in some of the best leagues — and MLS is improving so much too.”There’s so much potential and I think it’s changing: we’ve had some bigger athletes in the past but I don’t think that defines us anymore.”We’re going to keep moving forward, developing young players and we’re going to have a really good shot in the next few years.”Pulisic has continued to impress for Dortmund in 2016-17, scoring three Bundesliga goals and recording six assists.He now shares an apartment with his cousin Will, a 19-year-old goalkeeper who joined Dortmund last year, and said the pair enjoy throwing a gridiron football around “just to still feel American” during their downtime.Asked about a possible return to MLS in the future, Pulisic said: “I’d never put that out of the question.”Playing in your home country would be special; obviously I don’t have any immediate plans to do that but it’s always an option. You see so many people at the games now and it’s exciting; we have a really strong soccer league we can build on.”Follow

 

Christian Pulisic weathers storms, adds to success in first full Dortmund season

QUICKLYFighting for his place, scoring big goals, confronting terror: Christian Pulisic’s first full season as a first-teamer at Borussia Dortmund featured a little bit of everything.SHAREBRIAN STRAUSFriday May 26th, 2017

For so many of soccer’s best players and biggest clubs, success is measured by silverware. They play to win (or in some cases, to finish fourth). Borussia Dortmund is a big club. It’s a former world and European champion that draws the sport’s largest average crowds to its colorful, boisterous Westfalenstadion. BVB is soccer’s 11th richest team according to the Deloitte Money League, and it’s the seventh strongest in Europe, according to UEFA.And on Saturday, it may win its first major trophy in five years.That’s the price to pay for being just the second biggest club in Germany, where Bayern Munich reigns so supreme. Recently, Dortmund has been forced to settle for being the highest hurdle between its Bavarian rival and the trophies they covet. Since winning the German league and cup double in 2012, BVB has finished second to Bayern three times in Bundesliga play, three times in the DFB Pokal and once in the Champions League.Iconic manager Jürgen Klopp left for Liverpool in 2015, and he then was followed out the BVB door by players like Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gündogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. When confronting a behemoth like Bayern, the departure of such influential personalities and then a challenging 2016-17 season—which has featured a slew of injuries, a potential falling-out between coach Thomas Tuchel and club administrators and the stunning April bombing of the team bus—the definition of success inevitably evolves. Beating Eintracht Frankfurt in Saturday’s DFB Pokal final in Berlin would have been mandatory just a couple seasons ago. Now, it likely would feel like a relief.”We had many injury problems and there were lots of issues. But it was always fun, even in the difficult times,” Tuchel told reporters following BVB’s Bundesliga finale. “Now we want to crown the season [in Berlin].” Among the highlights of Dortmund’s 2016-17 campaign has been the play of American attacker Christian Pulisic. He’s the rare U.S. teenager whose performance matches the hype, and his ability to shrug off pressure and scrutiny as if they’re just additional bewildered defenders has impressed on both sides of the Atlantic. Although he’s still only 18, Pulisic has been in Dortmund for over two years. He’s grown comfortable, he speaks the language and the club has invested in his success.Although BVB acquired German World Cup heroes Mario Götze and André Schürrle last summer—as well as French forward Ousmane Dembélé, Turkish rising star Emre Mor, German center midfielder Sebastian Rode and others—Pulisic has continued to play well and force his way onto the field. And he’s done this while handling transfer rumors (he reportedly was targeted by Klopp’s new club, Liverpool, last summer) and his increasingly vital role with the U.S. national team—these are the trappings of life as a top-notch player.“I’m very satisfied,” Pulisic told BVB TV when asked to reflect on his season. “We added a lot of new players and I didn’t know if I’d get to play that much. But I worked very hard every day in practice, and I think the coach saw that.”Said Tuchel: “What makes him special is the fact he never quits. He always delivers even, or especially, when the pressure is on.” Pulisic’s obvious poise has been matched by his statistics. He started frequently, but when coming off the bench he had the composure, confidence and maturity to assert himself and find ways to impact a match. He typically played on the right flank but had occasions when he shifted inside or to the left. In his 42 competitive appearances, Pulisic tallied five goals and 12 assists. He appeared in each of BVB’s 10 Champions League contests, starting six, and helped his club top a group that included finalist Real Madrid and Portuguese power Sporting CP. At the Bernabeu, he came off the bench and played a role in a late equalizer. It was his goal against Benfica in the round of 16 that put Dortmund in position to reach the quarterfinals.There have been American born-and-bred players who scored more goals during a European season. Jozy Altidore set the record at AZ Alkmaar. There were U.S. field players who featured more prominently for their teams, like Clint Dempsey and Brian McBride at Fulham or Steve Cherundolo at Hannover 96. Maurice Edu (Rangers) and Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht) won league titles. Michael Bradley excelled at Borussia Mönchengladbach and Chievo Verona and earned a transfer to Roma. DaMarcus Beasley played in the Champions League semis with PSV Eindhoven.•​ Another rising U.S. teenage star: Meet 17-year-old Josh Sargent

But Pulisic has accomplished something none of them managed, and he’s done so at 18. He is an integral, contributing member of a Champions League club from one of Europe’s top three circuits (La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Premier League). He’s weathered the various storms, found the extra gear needed to help the U.S. through its qualifying difficulties and even though he hasn’t started for Tuchel this month, he remains focused and effective. In last weekend’s league finale against Werder Bremen, for example, Pulisic drew the 89th-minute penalty kick that lifted BVB to a 4-3 win, third place and an automatic spot in the group stage of next season’s Champions League.“It’s been a crazy ride with Dortmund,” Pulisic told BVB TV. “I miss my family every day. My mom, my dad, my whole family. It’s very hard. It’s a new step for me and it’s difficult, but I feel very comfortable in Dortmund.”hat, by itself, represents a victory. His intangibles match the tangible. That can be as rare among young players abroad as the electrifying technical skill Pulisic posses

“The game is easy for him. He’s got exceptional skill, vision—he’s pretty smooth,” U.S. coach Bruce Arena said a couple months ago.It may look easy, but what Pulisic has accomplished this season has been anything but. It’s been a noteworthy success. And that will be the case regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench Saturday against Eintracht Frankfurt and regardless of whether he leaves the Olympiastadion with a gold or silver medal. Big players and big clubs are defined by their honors—usually. Sometimes, circumstances require an adjusted metric. That’s been the case for Dortmund in recent years and this season, it’s the case for Pulisic.He can “crown” his memorable season, to use Tuchel’s terminology, by contributing to a cup final triumph. But there’s no risk of failure. Considering the rarity of his accomplishments, his age and the bright lights under which he’s been playing, Pulisic already has had a winning season.

Who had the better season: Liverpool or Man City? Spurs or Man United?

They’ve all qualified for the Champions League but in contrasting ways. Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City or Manchester United: Who had the better season?Each side’s fans will have a case for why their team enjoyed the best 2016-17 behind Chelsea. Tottenham finished second, while Manchester United finished sixth and won two trophies. Elsewhere, Liverpool and Manchester City finished in the top four. We have pitted Tottenham and Manchester United together to settle the age old debate about finishing in the top four vs. finishing outside but winning silverware. In the other battle, neither side won anything — it’s down to you to choose who performed better out of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Tottenham or Manchester United?

Dan Kilpatrick, Tottenham correspondent: Taking the season in isolation, United were the more successful, but remember the words of Bill Nicholson: “It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low.”Spurs are in no position to scorn silverware but while Jose Mourinho targeted the low-hanging fruit of the League Cup and Europa League, those competitions ranked fourth and third, respectively, in Pochettino’s priorities. Tottenham aimed for the league title.Mourinho’s pragmatism paid off but he finished the season a place lower than his predecessor and kissing a trophy he had previously derided; United fans were entitled to expect more from the most expensively assembled squad in history.Spurs, by contrast, reached new heights in the Premier League, playing scintillating football (light years ahead of United’s best) and they were only denied the title and an FA Cup final by a record-breaking and ruthless Chelsea team.Their season, while trophyless, was far more enjoyable than United’s and, given the two clubs’ resources and the preseason expectation, it was more impressive, too.Rob Dawson, Manchester United correspondent: Tottenham finished comfortably ahead of United in the league, but Mourinho and executive vice chairman Ed Woodward will feel they have had the better season.United are in the business of winning trophies, and they have won two this season — three if, like Mourinho, you count the Community Shield. United wanted to be back in the Champions League, that much is clear. But if at the start of the season you had offered Woodward and Mourinho second place in the league and no trophy, like Tottenham, they would not have taken it.In fact, both would have accepted finishing 10th — maybe even lower — if it meant winning two trophies. That’s how much winning silverware matters at Old Trafford. The Europa League is also a competition United have never won, which adds to its importance. Tottenham might have had a good season by their standards, but United have had a better one. You will not be able to convince Mourinho and Woodward otherwise.

Liverpool or Manchester City?

Glenn Price, Liverpool correspondent: After finishing fourth, you have to consider Liverpool’s season a success, while conceding City have been a little underwhelming, even if they did finish one spot above Jurgen Klopp’s side.Indeed, Champions League qualification would have appeared to be the bare minimum when Liverpool were making an unlikely push for the Premier League title, but a top four finish certainty represents progress under Klopp. Liverpool were able to finish fourth in a competitive league, despite rivals having deeper pockets and squad depth.Injuries and absences to key players consistently plagued Liverpool’s season, but they still pushed City right until the final day for third place. Klopp considered City to be “the most difficult team to play” this season, so he could also consider it a small feat to have been unbeaten against Pep Guardiola’s team this term — beating them 1-0 on New Year’s Eve before playing out an entertaining draw in March.Jonathan Smith, Manchester City correspondent: In the simplest of terms, Manchester City had the better season by finishing one place above Liverpool in the Premier League.But it’s also worth remembering that it was also done while City had a busy European schedule — playing nine more games throughout the season. While City were facing the likes of Barcelona and Monaco in the Champions League, Liverpool had a free week to prepare for each Premier League fixture. Next season, both sides will be in the same boat.There’s some disappointment that Guardiola failed to maintain an expected title challenge, but there is optimism at the emergence of exciting young attacking talents Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling. But City are still getting to terms with the Catalan’s tactics, although the fact they dominated possession in every game shows they are close to maximising his philosophy.Where Liverpool have the edge was their ability to win the big games. Guardiola’s biggest task is to turn around a poor record against their rivals while Klopp would appear to have a simpler mission of making his side capable of regularly beating teams in the lower half of the table.Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

 

Juve, Madrid on top before Champions League final; Man United a new entry

The top two each wrapped a league title last weekend, Next stop Cardiff, via Shaka Hislop’s latest Power Rankings!

  1. Juventus(no change)

A 3-0 win against Crotone confirmed what, in truth, most of us have expected all season: Juventus are champions of Italy for the sixth straight game. With two parts of a treble complete, only Real Madrid stand between Max Allegri’s men and footballing immortality.

  1. Real Madrid(no change)

With Barcelona poised to take advantage of any slip, Madrid knew they had to start well at Malaga. Cometh the hour, cometh Cristiano Ronaldo, whose second-minute goal set up what would be a comfortable victory that clinched the club’s 33rd Spanish league title.

  1. Chelsea(no change)

Having wrapped up the Premier League with two games to spare, Chelsea played with freedom in the last week of the season, scoring a total of nine goals in home wins vs. Watford and Sunderland. Saturday’s FA Cup final vs. Arsenal offers the chance of a double.

  1. Bayern Munich(+1)

Last weekend featured several goodbyes and Bayern lost two modern-day greats, as Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso played their final games before retirement. Both will be difficult to replace in what could be an off-season of much change for the German champions.

  1. Monaco(+1)

Monaco’s championship was the club’s eighth overall and the first since 1999-2000.

After four straight Ligue 1 titles, Paris Saint-Germain were expected to coast to another championship, but they didn’t reckon upon Monaco’s remarkable rise. Leonardo Jardim’s young side, who finished the season with a win at Rennes, were simply superb.

  1. Barcelona(-2)

Luis Enrique’s final Liga game in charge did not end with a title triumph and, as away side Eibar took a 2-0 lead, it looked as though it would end in defeat. But then Lionel Messi took over to ispire a comeback win and set up Barca for the Copa del Rey final vs. Alaves.

  1. Roma(no change)

Serie A still has one round of games remaining, which means Roma can’t yet relax. But a fourth straight win — this time at home against Genoa in Francesco Totti’s farewell — will seal second place and guarantee a place in the group stage of the Champions League.

  1. Atletico Madrid(no change)

Ten wins in their final 13 league games saw Atletico claim third place at the end of a season that, perhaps, saw them slightly underperform, especially when compared to recent campaigns. Koke has signed a new deal, but will Antoine Griezmann be there next season?

  1. Manchester United(new)

It hasn’t been pretty but Jose Mourinho achieved his main objective: Champions League qualification. Sixth in the league was disappointing but surely, at the start of the season, United fans would have taken two major trophies and a return to club football’s biggest competition.

  1. Feyenoord(no change)

The Dutch champions are no doubt enjoying their holidays, while still basking in the glory of their first Eredivisie title since 1999. You wonder whether their success will attract bigger clubs toward their best players and there is also a Dirk Kuyt-sized hole that they must fill.

Dropping out: Benfica.

5/18/17  Final Game as Head Coach for the Ole Ballcoach, U-20 World Cup, Discount Tix for Indy 11 at Home Sat, World Leagues Wrap-up Season’s, Full TV Schedule

So I put on the Head coaches shirt, hat and the ole orange and blue coaching shoes for the last time this past weekend as my son Tyler’s Carmel FC U18 boys wrapped up their season this past Sunday – Mother’s Day at Shelbourne Fields.  I have been blessed to have coached 6 years of my daughter’s travel teams and 7 years of my son’s travel teams over the past 11 years (not sure how many season’s that is with Fall, Indoor and Spring + All but 2 of their rec teams since 2000) but it sure has been a blast. I have included photos below of my last team, along with pictures of the first ever group of U11 boys to start playing for Carmel FC back in 2008 who played their entire careers for us and the boys we still have from the First team to win a Challenge Cup Final for Carmel FC – the U14 boys under head coaches Tom and Carla Baker.  Don’t worry I plan to still be around to help coach up the club’s Goalkeepers and cheer on Carmel FC as I continue to ref on the weekends so I will see you on the fields.

CFCU19B_U11s
First Carmel FC U11 boys who played entire career for CFC until U18.  Jake Madden, Tyler Best, Coach Best, Noah Swanson, Asst Coach Todd Beck
CFC_U18B_u11all
First CFC U11 Boys still playing at U18. Front Max Toubin, Mason Hester (Back) Jake Madden, Alesandro Theilmann., Tyler Best, Coach Shane Best, Noah Swanson, Asst Coach Todd Beck.
CFC_U18Bchamps
U18 boys who played on CFC’s first Challenge Cup Winning Team as U14 Boys on Coach Tom and Carla Baker’s team. (Bottom) Noah Swanson, Mason Hester (top L-R) PJ Grocki, Jake Madden, Nick Bartling, Cory Chitwood.

The U-20 World Cup starts this weekend from Korea on Fox Sports 1 and 2 with the US and coach Tab Ramos looking to win their group and advance to the Final 16.  (see full Previews below under US – sure would be nice to see the likes of Julian Green and Christian Pulisic on this squad – oh well. Still with Carter-Vickers of Totennham, Zelalem of Arsenal, and winger Brooks Lennon of Liverpool this should be worth watching).  The US plays all their games on Fox Sports 1 at 4 am on Monday, Thurs at 7 am and Sunday at 5 am.  (see in full TV Schedule below)

The Top World Leagues wrap up their regular season’s this weekend and while most have declared Champions –  the EPL (Chelsea), German Bundesliga (Bayern Munich), French Ligue 1 (Monaco), and Italy Serie A (Juve) races to see who claims Champions League (top 3/4) or Europa League slots and relegation (bottom 3) in some leagues are still up in the air.  Of course the Spanish La Liga comes down to the last day for Real Madrid (3 pts ahead) of Barcelona. Both games on TV on Sunday on beIN Sport at 2 pm.  The EPL features 10 games across the NBC family of channels on Sunday at 10 AM with Arsenal hosting Everton on NBC, and Liverpool hosting Middlesborough on NBCSN + 8 other games.  If Liverpool wins they get the 4th and final Champ League automatic spot, if they lose or tie and Arsenal wins they get it.  The gunners have finished top 4 for 25 years – while Liverpool looks to return to Champions League play under new coach Juergan Klopp.  Germany’s Final day is Sat with 4 games on TV including a relegation battle at 9:30 am on Fox Sport 1 between US Bobby Woods and Hamburg vs Wolfsburg- the loser moves down.  Champions Bayern Munich will host Frieburg who needs a win to stay in contention for a Europa League spot at 9:30 am on Fox.

The Indy 11 will host Miami at home this Saturday at 7:30 pm on MyIndyTV – join the 11 for Indy Car Night at the Mike and us this link for discount tickets.  Indy 11 Discount Ticket Link.  Oh and good luck to all those State Cup and President’s Cup teams playing this weekend.

Carmel Dad’s Offers co-ed Alumni/College age soccer in June/July on Tues Nights.

Also this reminder to All Seniors this year and current folks in College –gather a team or sign up as an individual just $95.  Please click here for the registration form Register – May 10- June 1 Commissioner: Alex Scott  scottaf2@gmail.com

Its almost Summer – Time to plan your Soccer Camps 

Post2Post Soccer Camps

Cost: $195 per camper  Location: Badger Fields   Goalkeeper Camp: May 30 – June 2, 2017        Field Player Camp: July 24 – 27, 2017

Former College Coach and Canadian National Team Goalkeeper & current Carmel FC & Carmel High Asst coach Carla Baker Provides elite-level training for youth players who want to become better technical and tactical soccer players.  Our camps focus on individual technical skills and game tactics in pressure situations using advanced training techniques. Come and join our staff of former Division I college coaches, National Team players, experienced youth, high school and college players for a fun learning experience.

Indy 11 Youth Soccer Camp at Carmel Dad’s Club

June 19-22 9 to 12 noon (ages 5-14)  $135

Carmel High School Soccer CampsJuly 17-20

(called Hounds Soccer Technical/Skills Camp and Hounds Soccer Tactical/Scrimmage Camp) and they are being held at Murray Stadium the week of July 17-20. The format will be where the morning session will run 10:00-12:00. This is the technical skills training – session runs 10 am till 12 pm and it will cost $85.   The afternoon session is the tactical/scrimmage session and will run 1:00-3:00 at Murray Stadium both run by Men’s Soccer Head Coach Shane Schmidt. Boys and Girls – 8-14 Cost: $85/per camper per session.

CFC_U18Boys
Coach Shane Best’s Final Travel Squad Carmel FC U 18 Boys.

GAMES ON TV

Sat, May 19

FIFA U-20 World Cup

1:00am Venezuela U20 vs Germany U20 Fox Sports 1

3:30am Argentina U20 vs England U20    Fox Sports 1

4:00am Vanuatu U20 vs Mexico U20        Fox Sports 2

7:00am Korea Republic U20 vs Guinea U20 Fox Sports 1

9:30 am Fox Sport2   Whip-Around Coverage Final Day of German Bundesliga

9:30 am FOX                  Bayern Munich vs Freiburg

9:30 am Fox soccer+                        Dortmund vs Werder Bremen (US Pulisic)

9:30 am Fox Sports1                         Hamburg vs Wolfsburg (US Bobby Wood – Relegation Battle)

7:30 pm  Myindy TV                Indy 11 vs Miami

Sun, May 20

FIFA U-20 World Cup

1:00am       Zambia U20 vs Portugal U20 Fox Sports 1

4:00am       Iran U20 vs Costa Rica U20  Fox Sports 2

4:00am       South Africa U20 vs Japan U20 Fox Sports 1

7:00a           Italy U20 vs Uruguay U20  Fox Sports 1

10 am EPL FINAL DAY ACROSS 10 NBC STATIONS –battle for 4th Place Champions League Spot 

10:00 a.m., NBC      Arsenal vs. Everton
10:00 a.m., NBCSN: Liverpool vs. Middlesbrough
10:00 a.m., USA     Watford vs. Manchester City
10:00 a.m., CNBC:                 Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace
10:00 a.m., MSNBC: Hull City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
10:00 a.m., Bravo:                 Leicester City vs. Bournemouth
10:00 a.m., Oxygen: Burnley vs. West Ham United
10:00 a.m., E!:        Southampton vs. Stoke City
10:00 a.m., Syfy:    Chelsea vs. Sunderland
10:00 a.m., Esquire: Swansea City vs. West Bromwich Albion

2 pm beIN Sport      Barcelona vs Eibar – (Final day of La Liga)

4 pm ESPN                       Minn.  United vs LA Galaxy

7 pm Fox sport 1         Orlando City vs NYC FC

Monday, May 22

FIFA U-20 World Cup

4:00am       Ecuador U20 vs USA U20  Fox Sports 1,

4:00am       France U20 vs Honduras U20 FS 2

7:00am       Saudi Arabia U20 vs Senegal U20 Fox Sports 1,

7:00am       Vietnam U20 vs New Zealand U20 FS2

Tuesday, May 23

FIFA U-20 World Cup 

4:00am         England U20 vs Guinea U20 FS1

4:00am         Venezuela U20 vs Vanuatu U20 FS2

6:00am         Mexico U-0 vs Germany U-0

7:00am         Korea Republic U20 vs Argentina U20

7:00am         Mexico U20 vs Germany U20 FS1

Wed, May 24

FIFA U-20 World Cup 

4:00am       Zambia U20 vs Iran U20  FS2

4:00am       South Africa U20 vs Italy U20 FS1

7:00am       Costa Rica U20 vs Portugal U20 FS2

7:00am       Uruguay U20 vs Japan U20 FS1

2:45 pm  Fox Sports 1   Ajax vs Man United – UEFA Cup Final

Thurs May 25th FIFA U-20 World Cup

4:00am       Ecuador U20 vs Saudi Arabia U20

4:00am       France U20 vs Vietnam U20 Fox Sports 1,

7:00am       New Zealand U20 vs Honduras U20

7:00am  Senegal U20 vs USA U20 Fox Sports 1, 

Sat, May 27 

12:30 pm Fox                Arsenal vs. Chelsea  (FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium)

2 pm ESPN3                    Dortmund vs  Frankfurt (German Cup Final)  (US Pulisic vs Timmy Chandler)

2:30 pm FOX                  Seattle vs Portland

9 pm myIndyTV      Edmonton FC vs Indy 11

Sun, May 28

FIFA U-20 World Cup

2:00am       New Zealand U20 vs France U20  Fox Sport1

2:00am       Honduras U20 vs Vietnam U20     Fox Sport 2

5:00am       Senegal U20 vs Ecuador U20       Fox Sport 2

5:00am  USA U20 vs Saudi Arabia U20      Fox Sport 1

May 30-June 1 Tues/Wed/Thurs

FIFA U-20 World Cup Round of 16 Games 4 am and 7 am

Sat, June 3

2:30 pm  FOX       Juventus vs Real Madrid       Champions League Final

 U20 – WORLD CUP Schedule on Fox

Full MLS Schedule

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Confederations Cup Schedule June

Gold Cup Schedule In July

International Champions Cup July  Games in Nashville and Detroit

USA

U-20 World Cup Preview – US games start Sat.

US Coach Tab Ramos Previews US Chances

Full U20 Coverage on US Socccer

FIFA U-20 World Cup on Fox Sports – Early AM games –

https://www.mlssoccer.com/meta/competition/u20-world-cup/standings

Road ahead for USA = Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle – MLS.com

Mexico Names Roster for US Game in June

 Champions League

Champions League Final is a Toss Up – Grant Wahl video SI

http://www.espnfc.us/real-madrid/story/3123680/sergio-ramos-sparks-will-fly-when-real-madrid-play-juventus-in-ucl-final

http://www.espnfc.us/uefa-champions-league/2/blog/post/3123681/juventus-vs-madrid-ronaldo-bale-and-buffon-the-key-storylines-in-ucl-final

http://www.espnfc.us/uefa-champions-league/2/blog/post/3123660/cristiano-ronaldo-and-gianluigi-buffon-star-in-champions-league-team-of-the-semifinals

WORLD

Relegation and Promotion Across the World Leagues

Power Rankings top Teams in World

Phillip Lahm – Germany & Bayern Defender Retires

Pique in Wife Shakira’s new Video

MLS

Toronto FCs Current Win Streak Impressive – Matt Doyle – Armchair Analyst MLS.com

MLS Save of the Week

Kaka’s Passion still strong in Orlando

Carmel’s Matt Hedges Injured in Head Collision in Dallas

Indy 11

Indy 11 Lose in 1st round of US Open Cup to PDL Side

3 things Indy loss to Miami

IMS Night – May 20

Indy 11 Discount Ticket Link

Parchman: Your 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup tournament preview

May 16, 20175:04PM EDTWill Parchman

The biggest youth soccer tournament in the world is nearly here.Whatever the reputation of other youth tournaments, the reality is the FIFA Under-20 World Cup remains the standard for major youth tourneys the world over. It’s the uppermost rung on the youth-only FIFA tournament ladder, and considering the Olympics is open to overage players, it still retains its sheen of pure development. It’s also an enormously important scouting device for dozens of players from under-scouted countries.And for the first time, the US U-20 team is going as continental champs.The tournament officially kicks off in South Korea on May 20 with a match between Venezuela and Germany, and the US opens with Ecuador two days later. Fresh off a brisk run to the quarterfinals in 2015, Under-20 coach Tab Ramos and his charges have even loftier ambitions this time around. The question is whether they can reach them.Here’s a deeper look into what to expect in South Korea over the next few weeks.

MLS players at the Under-20 World Cup

Across the breadth of the tournament’s 24 teams, 15 players are either signed by MLS sides or are currently Homegrown eligible. Unsurprisingly, almost all of those are ensconced on the American roster, 12 to be precise. Within that subset, seven are currently on Homegrown contracts, the largest percentage of any American Under-20 World Cup team in history.

Here’s the full list of MLS-connected players on Ramos’ 21-player World Cup roster.

Goalkeepers: J.T. Marcinkowski (Georgetown University/San Jose Earthquakes)

Defenders: Danny Acosta (RSL), Aaron Herrera (University of New Mexico/RSL), Justen Glad (RSL), Erik Palmer-Brown (SKC), Tommy Redding (Orlando City)

Midfielders: Eryk Williamson (University of Maryland/D.C. United), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union)

Forwards: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Brooks Lennon (Liverpool/RSL), Lagos Kunga (Atlanta United), Sebastian Saucedo (RSL)

But that’s not all. Two MLS-connected outliers currently on loan aren’t currently with the US in South Korea. And both could have outsized roles to play.

Yangel Herrera, NYCFC (Venezuela)

Herrera’s contract is currently owned by Manchester City, but the talented Venezuelan holding midfielder secured a loan to NYCFC before the 2017 season. The timing of the tournament was somewhat awkward for Herrera, considering he was just rounding into form with the NYCFC first team as he left for Venezuelan U-20 camp. That’s obviously good news for Venezuela, which welcomes a rampaging central midfielder who displaced the mighty Andrea Pirlo in a starting lineup earlier this season. Herrera is all-action, and the fact that he was given Venezuela’s No. 8 jersey for the U-20 World Cup is an adequate reflection of his likely role in South Korea.

Douglas Martinez, New York Red Bulls II (Honduras)

Like Herrera, Martinez was secured on loan earlier this year by the Red Bulls’ USL team after an impressive trial late last year. Martinez’s loan from Honduran club C.D.S. Vida was just announced on April 26, but he made quite the impression in his first match. On May 6, he entered for his debut against the Harrisburg City Islanders with 15 minutes left and scored his first USL goal shortly thereafter. Martinez was a regular starter in qualifying and scored the ultimate match-winner in a 4-1 victory against Antigua and Barbuda. Expect to see him start the tournament as one of Honduras’s primary scoring threats.

3 US names to know

Erik Palmer-Brown, Sporting KC

When Palmer-Brown was announced as a midfielder for the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, you could almost see the eyebrows raise in chorus across the country. Palmer-Brown played there sparingly this cycle, but most allow he’s best at his natural position at center back. Ramos admitted as much in his pre-tournament press conference, and he also said he plans to move Palmer-Brown back to center back for South Korea. But the SKC man, who’s still trying to break in with the first team, proved his mettle at the No. 6 in qualifying, and his distribution obviously benefitted by tourney’s end. Palmer-Brown, who wore the captain’s band in qualifying, remains the team’s important emotional anchor.

Tyler Adams, New York Red Bulls

You could be excused for failing to realize Adams is one of the three youngest players on this roster. He certainly doesn’t play like it. Adams was arguably the US’s most critical player in qualifying, covering scads of ground and relentlessly pursuing possession like a computer-guided missile. Adams fits Ramos’ frenetic high press system better than perhaps any midfielder on the roster, and Ramos spoke almost lovingly of Adams’ progression during this cycle in his pre-tournament press conference. Adams has gradually morphed from a sitting No. 6 under Ramos into more of a box-to-box midfielder, and his constant pressing makes the US a continual threat on quick-hitter attacks. He’ll be an American keystone on both ends of the field in South Korea.

Josh Sargent

If there was any rippling shockwave when Ramos dropped his 21-man World Cup roster, Sargent’s name was at the head of the list. Just a week earlier, Sargent polished a nearly three-week adventure at the U-17 CONCACAF Championship, where he wore the captain’s armband and led the US with five goals in six games. Sargent, arguably the most talented forward in the USYNT system at the moment, was then fast-tracked to the U-20 World Cup just weeks later.

What will the XI look like?

Injuries make guessing at Ramos’ XI for Ecuador on May 22 decidedly more difficult. Justen Glad was a first choice center back in qualifying, but he picked up an injury at the tournament and hasn’t played since. Tottenham center back Cameron Carter-Vickers is also nursing an injury, and Ramos was unsure of whether he’d be 100 percent for the opener.Even still, I think we can take a paw at Ramos’ preferred XI for the opener. At least this is what I’d go with.

The newsiest thing here is Sargent starting at the 9. I’m for it, even if Ramos probably won’t be. The US was poor in chance conversion in qualifying, and preferred No. 1 striker Jeremy Ebobisse didn’t score once despite a cavalcade of chances. Sargent, meanwhile, is bouncing off an incredible run of form in U-17 qualifying, and while going with one of the forwards who was here in qualifying is the safe option – Ebobisse or Emmanuel Sabbi most likely – Sargent is the best player of the three.Elsewhere I think the roster more or less picks itself. Luca de la Torre has been playing on the left to good effect for his Fulham youth side, and Brooks Lennon earned his spot in qualifying. The logjam at center back is unfortunate, but Carter-Vickers has to start if healthy, and Palmer-Brown at the No. 6 against World Cup competition might not go so well. Putting the much more spatially assured Derrick Jones there is a considerably better option.There isn’t a No. 10 here, but with Ramos’ preferred style that doesn’t much matter. Gedion Zelalem will almost certainly start and provide the possession metronome in the middle while Adams and Jones press for quick turnovers to lead attacking stabs.

What should the US expect?

This is not Ramos’ entire first choice roster. He was denied the opportunity to call in four European-based Americans, three of whom have been starting for Schalke’s winning Under-19 side. They’d almost assuredly be better across the board with their services, but this is still a quality side that should at the very least expect to get out of its group.  Ecuador is the obvious difficulty, and they’ll get that one out of the way off the bat. The Ecuadoreans hosted the South American qualifying tournament and pulled in second, a run that included a smashing 3-0 win over Argentina. Ecuador is clearly good, and most consider them the favorites for the group, but the fact that they hosted qualifying perhaps obscures just how good on a neutral field. The US should be easily competitive, if nothing else.Saudi Arabia and Senegal are more of a mixed bag. Senegal has been good enough to reach successive AFCON U-20 finals and certainly good enough to beat the US on their day. In March, this Senegalese crew reached the AFCON final before falling to Zambia 2-0.  The Saudi Arabians certainly look like the weak link of the four, but they opened some eyes in qualifying by dropping South Korea, which played in the AFC tournament but didn’t need to qualify, 2-1 in the group phase. They came within a breath of winning the whole tournament after knockout wins over Iraq and Iran (the latter in a 6-5 barnburner), and ultimately lost to Japan in penalties in the finale. Which means all three opponents reached their federation’s qualifying final.Each of these three matches provide some level of undercover difficulty for the Americans, but this is a winnable group all things considered. The base expectation, once again, should include progressing out of the group for just the second time in the last five U-20 World Cups. More loftily, the US has been to the quarterfinal phase in this tournament five times since 1989, and it’s never won two knockout matches in the same U-20 tournament in its history. Can this be the group to change that?

Armchair Analyst: Toronto FC’s winning streak enters historic territory

May 13, 20175:48PM EDTMatthew DoyleSenior Writer

D.C. United’s six-game winning streak came to a close on September 1, 2007. In the nine seasons since then, entering 2017, there were only two regular season winning streaks of six or more games, by any MLS team, in one season:

  • Sporting KC won seven games over 39 days to open the 2012 season
  • New England won six games over 46 days in the middle of the 2015 season

Toronto FC just won their sixth straight game, holding on for dear life with a 3-2 win over visiting Minnesota United at BMO Field on Sunday afternoon. They did it despite making three injury- or illness-related subs. They did it, for the second time this week, by bringing difference-makers off the bench. They extended their lead atop the Eastern Conference, and have now lost but once in their first 12 games.They entered the busiest part of their schedule, traveled cross-country to face last year’s MLS Cup champs and then to Ohio to face one of the most dangerous attacks in the league and then back home to host a team that dropped a very good Sporting side last week, and beat them all. They shut out Houston on a Friday then beat Orlando City on the following Wednesday. They played weekend-Wednesday-weekend-Wednesday-weekend, and won them all.Nobody’s put together a streak like this in the modern history of MLS. SKC’s took 39 days, New England’s 46. Toronto took… 22 days. They’re on only the third 6+ game winning streak of the past decade, and they’ve done it in a touch over three weeks.To add further perspective: Sporting’s streak, back in 2012, came to an end the first time they had a three-games-in-eight-days stretch. Same for New England in 2015. TFC just did it back-to-back.This is why I was nodding earlier this week when Greg Vanney asserted that his team is the deepest in league history, and certainly the ability to bring guys like Jozy Altidore and Victor Vazquez and Raheem Edwards and Tosaint Ricketts off the bench at various times in the past eight days was telling.

I’d also argue that Minnesota’s overly cautious fullback play made them a touch culpable (volume up for analysis):

Michael Bradley – who’s played every minute of this streak – was a step slow due to fatigue, and the Loons could’ve found paydirt earlier had they been willing to push the pace and swarm him with numbers. Once they did so (Marc Burch and Jerome Thiesson played much higher in the second half), they regularly troubled the Reds. Vanney even said “that second half was too exciting for my liking.”  Had MNUFC been a bit more adventurous from the opening whistle, this one might’ve been different. But they weren’t, and it wasn’t, and so Toronto FC have set their club record in the blink of an eye. It’s a remarkable three-week stretch, and nobody’s seen the like in a decade

Ok, a few notes:

  • The official league record winning streak is 15 games, set by the Galaxy from late 1997 to May of 1998. The single-season record is 12, set by the 1996 Galaxy.

Those are all in the FARB, which I encourage you to peruse. But note that those two streaks, as well as the only other double-digit winning streaks in league history, came during the Shootout Era (1996-through-1999) when games couldn’t end in a draw. So I give them each an asterisk, and no I won’t change my mind about that.

  • In the post-shootout era Sporting’s seven-game streak is the longest single-season streak on the books. It’s also part of a longer, nine-game streak since they won their final two games in 2011 – and that, too, is the record for the post-shootout era.
  • The Red Bulls had a six-game winning streak ended in March – the last four of 2016 and the first two of 2017. They host Toronto this coming Friday in Harrison.

Philipp Lahm: Germany and Bayern defender the best of his generation

MUNICH — Philipp Lahm is the best defender of his generation, and his retirement at the age of 33 will leave a massive void, not just at Bayern Munich — a club he led with intelligence and always by example — but also within the game.Lahm’s unswerving brilliance helped him to eight Bundesliga titles (sharing the record with Mehmet Scholl, Oliver Kahn and Bastian Schweinsteiger), six DFB Pokals, the 2013 Champions League and then the World Cup a year later. World-class in at least four positions across the backline and midfield, his tactical nous and discipline made it look all so easy.He was a supreme professional — one of the few remaining role models in the unscrupulous world of football — and, remarking on his consistent performances over the years, Scholl described his former teammate as “75 percent outstanding, 25 percent world-class.””To compare him with Paolo Maldini is correct,” Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti told ESPN FC ahead of Lahm’s final game as a professional this Saturday.”Both players played for one team their whole career. There are so many similarities in quality, professionalism, attitude, personality and character. It’s a compliment for both to be compared with each other.”He’s really important for the club, the manager and a great example to his teammates. I love his professionalism and his quality. If we had 20 Philipp Lahms we would have no problems.”Bayern were his club and, as a son of the area, he knew not to mess with what he had. Lahm could have played for any team in the world but recognised that he was living the dream of so many young Germans. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to not seeing No. 21 Phillip Lahm on the team sheet for Bayern next season.– Derek Rae, Bundesliga commentator for ESPN.PERSUADED by a friend, Lahm attended his first training session at the age of 5 at local club FT Gern, where his father, Roland, used to play and his mum, Daniele, ran the youth department.Childhood dreams of becoming a baker and a banker fizzled out and Lahm settled on a new career choice at Rudolf Diesel School in Munich.”He repeated time after time, I want to make it as a professional footballer,” Lahm’s teacher Bernd Mainhardt once said.Signed by Bayern from Gern in 1995, aged 11, Lahm enjoyed the added responsibility of being a ball boy at their home games at the Olympiastadion and was on the side of the pitch when Borussia Dortmund beat Juventus in the 1997 Champions League final.Graduating serenely from the youth teams, a paltry crowd of 22,000 witnessed his first-team debut, entering the fray as a substitute in added time in Bayern’s final group game of the atrocious 2002-03 Champions League campaign — the Bavarians finished bottom of a group containing AC Milan, Deportivo La Coruna and Lens. However, Lahm found his immediate path to the first XI blocked by France international full-backs Willy Sagnol and Bixente Lizarazu.Considering his prodigy too good to languish in the reserves, coach Hermann Gerland arranged a two-year loan spell at Stuttgart, where Lahm made his Bundesliga debut as a substitute on the first day of the 2003-04 season in a 2-0 win over Hansa Rostock.He quickly established himself (at left-back) as a regular in Felix Magath’s young side, also leaving a lasting impression on Sir Alex Ferguson who wanted to sign him after his first Champions League start against Manchester United.nder Stuttgart’s Matthias Sammer (now a former Bayern sporting director), Lahm endured an injury-ravaged second season, suffering both a right foot fracture and a cruciate ligament tear, which curtailed his loan spell in Swabia. But, returning to Munich, Lahm finally made his Bundesliga debut for Bayern under new coach Magath against Arminia Bielefeld in November 2005 and hasn’t looked back since.In 516 games (soon to be 517), Lahm collected the same number of club titles as his shirt number (21), just behind the number of yellow cards (24) in his Bundesliga career. He even enjoyed over a year of serene Bundesliga action without even committing a foul, in 24 games between September 2014 and October 2015.Incredibly, he’s never even looked like getting sent off in his career, despite playing predominately as a defender and then in midfield under Pep Guardiola, who dubbed him “perhaps the most intelligent player I have ever trained.”

“For perhaps the world’s best full-back to be made into a midfielder as he approaches 30 is unusual. That the same player should make such a success of it that his national team adjusts to accommodate his new role is something else — and in the case of Philipp Lahm, indicative of not only his extraordinary application and professionalism in making a great job of both positions, but his integral importance to every team he played in, club or country.”– Andy Brassell, European football expert.

HOWEVER, it’s a huge injustice to the man to single him out as purely the prim and proper professional. He possessed the inner strength to stand up for himself and his team, questioning the direction of the club in 2009, having the gumption to criticise Bayern over transfer policy — earning himself a record €50,000 fine in the process by backing then-coach Louis van Gaal.Having reportedly rejected offers to join both Barcelona and Manchester United, Lahm blasted Bayern’s transfer policy, costing him a hefty fine in an uncharacteristically forthright interview.The defender said at the time: “Other clubs have a system, a philosophy, and buy the players accordingly. We don’t. It’s not enough to buy good players — we have to build a team.”Now ask yourself whether it’s a coincidence that ever since Lahm’s verbal shot in the arm, Bayern have become major players in the transfer market.He was also enough of his own man to snub a new role as the club’s sporting director. Lahm implied president Uli Hoeness wasn’t quite ready to hand over sufficient control to him in organising Bayern’s team affairs.”Generally, you can only influence things in and around the team when you hold that responsibility,” he said.Lahm appeared on ESPN FC’s ‘Perfect Player’ for his mind

WHEN he announced his retirement from football, Lahm said: “I’m sure that I can deliver top performances until the end of the season, but no longer than that.” And recently we’ve witnessed a few signs that suggest old father time may be catching up with him after 22 years at the club.A rare blemish gifted Borussia Dortmund a winning goal exquisitely taken by Ousmane Dembele in what proved Lahm’s last ever DFB Pokal tie. Typically, he fronted up after the game, admitting: “I made the decisive mistake.”He also made an uncharacteristically clumsy error in last Saturday’s 5-4 Bundesliga comeback win against Leipzig — taking a heavy touch in the box, which Timo Werner capitalised upon.But Gerland, one of Lahm’s mentors, insists performing at such a high level for such a long time has raised expectations for every game.”Philipp went on to win almost everything there was to win. He only failed to win the European championship,” he told the official Bayern website.”The only sad thing is that he hasn’t been named Player of the Year, which I don’t understand. Sure, Philipp doesn’t play in a spectacular manner. But if he’s sidestepped only once or plays a bad pass everyone’s asking: what’s wrong with Philipp today? That’s the mark of an extraordinary career.”So after the dust and Weissbier settles following his farewell game on Saturday against Freiburg, what’s next?From December at Munich’s Residenztheater, the retiring skipper is set to become the subject of a play — unsurprisingly titled “Philipp Lahm.” Lahm is “the symbol of the Noughties,” says playwright and Bayern fan Michael Decar.”He embodies Germany like no other and his life is a reflection of modern times. He’s super correct, super intelligent — so boring that it hurts.”But the man himself will take time out of the game to spend more time with his wife (who is pregnant with their second child; they also have 4-year-old son, Julian), play a bit of golf and ski more in the winter, commit to his extensive charity work and attend to his various business interests. “My wife is already a little afraid. I’ve set myself the goal of getting to grips with cooking,” he said. “It promises to be very, very exciting.”However, a mind as keen as Lahm’s needs to stay busy. It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back at Bayern in the future, perhaps in the boardroom when Hoeness is finally ready take a backward step.Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.

INDY ELEVEN FALLS IN SECOND ROUND OF 2017 U.S. OPEN CUP

“Indiana’s Team” drops 1-0 contest to PDL side Michigan Bucks at Ultimate Soccer Arenas-May 17, 2017

PONTIAC (May 17, 2017) – Indy Eleven’s run to the 2017 U.S. Open Cup was put to a halt as it began in a 1-0 loss to USL PDL club, the Michigan Bucks.  Advancing to the Second Round of the historic competition following a 1-0 win over AFC Ann Arbor in the First Round, the Bucks welcomed Indy Eleven fresh off a 3-2 defeat to Miami FC. “Indiana’s Team” brought a side to Pontiac that featured defenders Nemanja Vukovic and Anthony Manning, both of whom earned their first starts since their return from injury, and kept young forward David Goldsmith up front with Justin Braun in place of the injured Eamon Zayed.The opening quarter of an hour saw both sides get the lay of the land with neither creating a quality opportunity. However, in the 16th minute, Indy brought their attack to the match in the form of David Goldsmith. Linking up with Braun, the former Butler standout received the ball near the top of the box and shifted quickly, rifling a right-footed shot off the inside of the right post and out. In the right place at the right time, Braun was able to send a secondary effort at the Bucks ‘keeper Drew Sheperd, but the shot-stopper was equal to both. Just after the half-hour mark, Indy found their second chance of the half on a Tanner Thompson set piece. As the IU product connected with another former Hoosier in Brad Ring, the latter could not keep his header on frame.In the 35th minute, the hosts would take their first real opportunity of the night and capitalize. Forward Francis Atuahene shot up the flank and got on the right side of defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe. In cutting inside, the Michigan man struck a low ball towards Cardona that the Indy ‘netminder couldn’t get a finger to, and gifted his side a first half lead.Coming out of the halftime break, Indy replaced midfielder Daniel Keller with Ben Speas and came out flying. Creating a couple of opportunities inside the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Indy’s best look came from Tanner Thompson. Settling a pass from Jason Plumhoff, Thompson elected to take on a curler from just outside the box, but his shot could not come around in time to find the side of the net.At the hour mark, Indy brought on defender Marco Franco in his return from injury. In the fifteen-minute span that followed, Indy would create three chances – one for Speas, one for Thompson, and one for Braun – but none would level the scoring. As momentum shifted the way of Indy, the Bucks found success on the counter-attack and nearly doubled their lead in the 81st minute. Substitute forward Elliot Collier broke in on goal and tested Cardona, but the ‘keeper made an incredible save to prevent a two-goal deficit. On the follow-up, substitute midfielder Ivo Cerda would also see his shot saved and then cleared off the line by Watson-Siriboe.Though they pushed their press to the final whistle, Indy did not find another solid look at goal and their 2017 U.S. Open Cup run would be brought to an end on the 1-0 line.The “Boys in Blue” return home to IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium to host Miami FC on Saturday, May 20 at 7:30 P.M. ET. Tickets for the game – and all remaining 13+ NASL matches at “The Mike” in 2017 – can be purchased for as little as $11 online at www.IndyEleven.com or by phone at 317-685-1100.

NASL Spring Season
Michigan Bucks 1 : 0 Indy Eleven
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Ultimate Soccer Arenas – Pontiac, MI

Scoring Summary:
MGN – Francis Atuahene (Jordon Snell) 35’

Discipline Summary:
MGN – Ivo Cerda 49’
IND – Anthony Manning 88’

Indy Eleven line-up (4-4-2, L–>R):  Keith Cardona (GK); Nemanja Vukovic, Anthony Manning, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Lovel Palmer; Daniel Keller (Ben Speas 45’), Brad Ring, Tanner Thompson, Jason Plumhoff (Marco Franco 61’); Justin Braun, David Goldsmith  IND bench: Christian Lomeli (GK); Brandon Poltronieri

Michigan Bucks line-up (4-3-3, L->R): Drew Sheperd (GK); Alexi Souahy, Mo Kaba, Daniel Mukuna, Jared Timmer; Jordon Snell, Brad Dunwell, Tom Owens, Grant Stoneman (Ivo Cerda 46’); Francis Atuahene, Andre Landell (Elliot Collier 66’)  MGN bench: Anthony Mwembia (GK)

From U11 to U18 my Little Goalkeeper-my son Tyler has grown into a fine young man.

ATP_Gen_350x250

Earn your Degree While You Watch Your Kids Soccer Practice – ½ the time and cost of Traditional Schools

Check out The Ole Ballcoach online www.theoleballcoach.com

Proud Member of the Brick Yard Battalion – http://www.brickyardbattalion.com , Sam’s Army- http://www.sams-army.com , American Outlaws  http://www.facebook.com/IndyAOUnite

 

5/12/16 Indy 11 on Road + Discount Tix, Champions League/Europa Results, MLS, Full TV Schedules, Summer Camps

So let me start with I had the great honor to visit both the Bernabau (Real Madrid) and the Calderon (Atletico’s Stadium) on our trip to Spain to visit my daughter at Spring Break.  And I was not at all surprised to see the sheer madness that was taking place in the first 25 minutes at the magical Calderon as Atletico scored 2 goals to cut the aggregate to 2-3.  Just 1 more goal would have raised the decibel levels above Cameron Indoor, Boston Garden or the Swamp in the US.  But Real showed their resolve in scoring the backbraking away goal just before break and with GK Navas saving ball after ball in the 2nd – Real tamed the Calderon and her loyal patrons.  It sets up a marvelous final of defending champs Real Madrid with all their stars including Renaldo and perhaps Wales (where the final will be played) favorite son Bale  against the Old Lady Juventus and their magnificent defense led by All World 39 year old Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon looking for his first Champ League trophy.  The Game will be on Fox Saturday, May 27th at 2:45 pm.  In Europa Man U somehow advances to the finals vs Ajax with a 1-1 tie at home.

As the season’s wrap up overseas voting for team of the year has opened in Germany with 2 US Players – Both John Anthony Brooks and Christian Pulisic up for selection. When you vote you have three choices for every position. If you want to vote for both men, click right here and go vote! Both players have been solid with their respective clubs, though Brooks did pick up an injury early on. Pulisic has been a (semi) regular choice of Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund. When he’s not starting he’s coming off the by ench and making an impact as a super sub.  So I urge you to go vote and get two Americans on the Bundesliga Team Of The Season. The voting is open for another 10 days. Huge game on Sunday as the top 2 teams in Germany square off RB Leipzig host Bayern Munich 9:30 am on Fox, while Dortmund and US Pulisic host Ausburg at 9:30 on FS1In the EPL while Chelsea will probably clinch the title today the race for top 4 and relegation continues.  Man City hosts Leicester City at 7:30 am Sat AM on NBCSN, while Arsenal continues its quest for Top 4 at Stoke City and US Defender Geoff Cameron at 12:30 on NBCSN. Sunday has Liverpool traveling to West Ham in a must win game at 9:15 am on NBCSN to stay in the top 4, while Tottenham closes out White Hart Lane at 11 on NBCSN.  MLS offers a rising Chicago team vs Seattle on Sat night 9 pm on ESPN, along with a triple header on Sunday featuring Portland and Atlanta United at 4 pm on ESPN, NY RB hosting LA at 6 pm on FS1, and a battle of top 2 teams in Dallas and former Carmel High defender Matt Hedges vs David Villa and NYCFC at 8 pm on FS1.  Oh and the Indy 11 will travel to Miami Saturday at 7:30 pm on MyIndy Channel looking for their first win of the season, before returning home for Indy Motor Speedway night on May 20th at the Mike.  Indy 11 Discount Ticket Link here.

 GAMES ON TV  

Friday, May 12

3 pm NBCSN                   West Brom vs Chelsea

Sat, May 13

7:30 am NBCSN            Man City vs Leicester City

9:30 am FOX                  RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich

9:30 am Fox Sport1   Dortmund vs Ausburg

10 am NBC live            Sunderland vs Swansea (relegation)

12:30 pm NBCSN        Stoke City vs Arsenal (US Cameron) 

7:30 pm  Myindy TV                        Miami vs Indy 11

9 pm ESPN                       Chicago vs Seattle Sounders 

Sun, May 14

9:15 am NBCSN            West Ham vs Liverpool

11 am NBCSN                Tottenham vs Man United

2 pm beIN Sport         Las Palmas vs Barcelona

4 pm ESPN                       Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United

6 pm Fox sport 1         NY Red Bulls vs LA Galaxy

8 pm Fox Sport 1        Dallas vs NYCFC

Monday, May 15

3 pm NBCSN                   Chelsea vs Watford

Tues, May 16

3 pm NBCSN                   Man City vs West Brom

2:45 pm NBC live       Arsenal vs Sunderland

Thursday, May 18

2:45 pm NBCSN           Leicester City vs Tottenham

Sat, May 27  Champions League Final

2:30 pm  FOX       Juventus vs Real Madrid      

Full MLS Schedule

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Confederations Cup Schedule June 

Champions League

Real Madrid outlast Atleti with Street ball moves

Real Madrid Player Ratings

Real Madrid Rides out the Storm

Atleti’s Caldron closes with a bang and an Almost Comeback for the Ages

Next Steps for Atletico – Simeion

Player Ratings Atleti

Uncertainty envelops Atletico Madrid – graham Hunter ESPNFC

Juve Fixes What isn’t even broken – Gab Marcotti – ESPNFC

Dani Alves magnificent in move past Monaco – ESPNFC

Buffon Soaks in the Win for Juve Video

Monaco Pride in Defeat

Celta Vigo were Superior to Man United – despite shocking loss

USA 

Fast Track of US combined World Cup Bid – Restored – for 2026 bid

Best US Cities to Host 2026 Final?

Jermaine Jones out for June Qualifiers with knee Injury – Stars and Stripes

Who is goalkeeper of the Future?

Yanks Abroad Last Week – S&S

Vote for Pulisic and John Brooks Allstar Teams for German League

Bobby Wood Can’t Save Hamburg all by himself

US U20s World Cup Roster Released

MLS

MLS Power rankings

Toronto FC scores late to beat Columbus

Portland to Expand their park

Matt Hedges – Former Carmel High Star Defender for Dallas FC – Why Don’t You Smile in Photos?

World

Top Teams in World

Chelsea can Win Title Today, Spurs Last Game at White Hart Lane

So Much at Stake for Liverpool on Sat

Messi’s Argentina ban lifted after Appeal

David De Gea Throwing it Down

 

Indy 11

Injuries Add up for Indy 11 – Soctakes.com

IMS Night – May 20

Indy 11 Discount Ticket Link

SUMMER TIME SOCCER CAMPS

Post2Post Soccer Camps

Provides elite-level training for youth players who want to become better technical and tactical soccer players.  Our camps focus on individual technical skills and game tactics in pressure situations using advanced training techniques. Come and join our staff of former Division I college coaches, National Team players, experienced youth, high school and college players for a fun learning experience.Cost: $195 per camper  Location: Badger Fields

Goalkeeper Camp: May 30 – June 2, 2017        Field Player Camp: July 24 – 27, 2017

Indy 11 Youth Soccer Camp at Carmel Dad’s Club  June 19-22 9 to 12 noon (ages 5-14)  $135

Carmel High School Soccer CampsJuly 17-20

(called Hounds Soccer Technical/Skills Camp and Hounds Soccer Tactical/Scrimmage Camp) and they are being held at Murray Stadium the week of July 17-20. The format will be where the morning session will run 10:00-12:00. This is the technical skills training – session runs 10 am till 12 pm and it will cost $85.   The afternoon session is the tactical/scrimmage session and will run 1:00-3:00 at Murray Stadium. Boys and Girls – 8-14 Cost: $85/per camper per session.

Real Madrid ride out Atletico storm to reach another Champions League final

MADRID — Three quick thoughts from Atletico Madrid’s 2-1 Champions League semifinal second-leg win over Real Madrid on Wednesday at the Vicente Calderon, which sees Los Blancos move on to the final by an aggregate score of 4-2.

 

  1. Madrid ride out storm to make another final

It has been a year of unbelievable comebacks in the Champions League, and Atletico Madrid came close to pulling off the most amazing of all at a rocking Vicente Calderon on Wednesday, but defending champions Real Madrid rode out the storm to progress to their third Champions League final in four years.Diego Simeone’s home side were incredible during an emotion-packed opening quarter-hour, and they steamrolled a dazed-looking Madrid team who began the game with what had seemed an unassailable 3-0 advantage from the first leg last week.Antoine Griezmann and Koke had already worried visiting goalkeeper Keylor Navas before the latter’s pinpoint corner was bullet-headed to the net by Saul Niguez on 12 minutes. Almost immediately, Fernando Torres was felled in the penalty area by Raphael Varane, and Griezmann’s spot kick made it past Navas even though the Frenchman slipped as he made contact.Down 2-0 on the night, Madrid were really in trouble, although Atletico had to pause for a breather after what had been an incredible opening. The game next entered a niggly phase with two players from each side booked as referee Cuneyt Cakir struggled to maintain control.Los Blancos emerged from the struggle with their composure once more, and they soon got a crucial away goal. Karim Benzema wriggled away from three Atletico defenders along the end line, and pulled back for Toni Kroos, whose shot was saved by Jan Oblak, but Isco was on the spot to scoop in the rebound with 42 minutes played.Atletico came out in the second half having to do it all again. They almost had a third when Yannick Carrasco easily beat Danilo to a long ball, but Navas saved the shot, then made a miraculous stop from substitute Kevin Gameiro’s follow-up header.At the other end, Cristiano Ronaldo saw a goal ruled out for offside, and Benzema had a decent penalty claim, but still Atletico kept pushing, and Gameiro really should have added another after some super work from fellow replacement Angel Correa.That was that, though, and Madrid are into the June 3 decider against Juventus in Cardiff. They remain on course to be the first team to defend the Champions League trophy in its modern format. But they got a huge scare on their last ever visit to the Calderon.

 

  1. Isco, Benzema provide quality when needed

Madrid were reeling midway through the first half on Wednesday. Stand-in right-back Danilo had already been booked for a needless foul, Casemiro was a shaky presence in deep midfield and talisman Ronaldo was only noticed when he was elbowed in the back of the head by Diego Godin.Amid the chaos there were Blancos players who kept their heads. Luka Modric was a calming presence on the ball in the centre. Both Benzema and Isco had also shown some nice touches, dropping deeper to link the play and try to hold possession, before they were both involved in the night’s crucial moment.The Frenchman’s composure and ability were fantastic as he squeezed his way along the end line, and he also had the vision to see the pass to Kroos, with Isco then exactly in the right spot to cleverly finish the rebound. Madrid have now scored in 61 consecutive games, a testament to their squad’s sheer depth of attacking solutions.Isco might not have started on the night had Gareth Bale not been injured (again), but his worth was huge. Tactically manager Zinedine Zidane gets another player in the centre of the pitch, and the 25-year-old’s skill and touch in tight areas helped avoid the Atletico press and keep the ball moving. The little Andalusian also got involved physically to help his side when the game was at its most intense.The next few weeks are sure to see a lot of talk about Bale racing back to fitness for the final in his home city of Cardiff, but it is difficult to see how Zidane can find a place in this XI for the Welshman.

 

  1. Atletico salvage some pride

This was the last European night at the old Vicente Calderon, and even though Atletico ended it out of the Champions League, their performance made sure the game will be remembered with pride long after the stadium is gone.The Rojiblanco family had been building a mood of defiance ever since last Tuesday’s first leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, with some fans claiming offence at a pregame banner shown by Madrid fans asking “How did it feel?” to have lost the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals to their neighbours. The Calderon faithful shot back on Wednesday with “Proud to not be like you” written across one side of the old concrete bowl.Amid the incredible noise, Diego Simeone’s men showed an almost demonic energy from the off. The roars were even louder when veteran Torres beat Madrid captain Sergio Ramos to the first header, although the referee called play back for a foul. Atletico players seemed to be everywhere, and within the first five minutes they had showed more fight and spirit than in the entire 90 last week.But it was impossible to keep up such intensity for the entire game, even with Simeone regularly jumping off the bench and pumping his arms in the air to rouse the crowd. And when it went into a lull before half-time, Madrid were able to take advantage and get the crucial away goal.”Atletico until death,” sang the stadium through the second half, even when the heavens opened late on, and the home fans could not be but proud of the effort their team put in right until the end. Four straight years of losing to the same opposition in this competition would be tough for anyone to take, never mind when it’s against your closest neighbours and fiercest rivals. But the nature of Wednesday’s performance means that this exit should not be as painful as those that came before.Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer 

The Calderon’s irrepressible European farewell marks end of an Atletico era

MADRID — Diego Simeone was soaked through, but just as immersed in the moment as ever. As the rain hammered down upon Estadio Vicente Calderon, and as supporters reluctantly began to run for shelter, some cowering toward the back of the stands, the Atletico Madrid manager decided to galvanise his public one more time. A matter of minutes remained; Atletico were about to lose a Champions League semifinal to their most bitter rivals, he knew that, but Simeone turned to the masses behind his technical area, clapped his hands high, and the volume reached a crescendo again.Atletico defeated Real Madrid 2-1 in their second leg Wednesday, but Real won the UCL semifinal 4-2 on aggregate. Fifteen minutes after the final whistle, when Atletico’s players came back out, thousands remained in the stadium to show one last gesture of appreciation. Even more would have stayed in their seats if the heavens hadn’t opened, but this was not quite a night for storybook finishes.For the half-hour between the headed opening goal by Atletico’s Saul Niguez and the close-range stab by Real’s Isco that rendered the second half virtually unnecessary, Atletico had fed upon the awesome din inside their home and threatened a night to top any in its 51-year history. Eventually, they were well-beaten. But they still ensured that these walls, reverberating to the tension of one last derby match, will have one last tale to tell before they are rendered into rubble — Vicente Calderon will give way to Atletico’s new home next season — and the next phase of Atletico’s history begins.They had seen defiance — embodied by the prematch tifo that read, “We’re proud not to be like you” — turn into hope and then, when Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann beat keeper Keylor Navas with an element of fortune from the spot, transform into genuine belief. Atletico had begun thrillingly, ripping into Real Madrid and appearing, for a brief time, to have their opponents by the throat. The Calderon was throbbing; the noise was enough to make the most seasoned observers glance at one another with a puff of the cheeks.It was not to last. Instead, this second leg became the kind of rough-edged occasion that perhaps befits the image of this old stadium and its inhabitants; one that brought bundles of pride, but in the end saw Atletico outstripped by their neighbours. Simeone was smiling as he walked into his postmatch news conference. He had dried off and taken a few breaths to recover from 90 minutes of perpetual motion. He had been beaten, but he knew what he had seen: a team that, after being so puzzlingly flat in the first leg, had risen to the occasion this time and shown the best of itself.”I am happy, proud; we competed as we have shown over these five-and-a-half years, battling in the best places,” he said. “We believed we could do it, and people thought it was mind games, but games can be marvellous. The first 20 or 30 minutes will stay in the minds of everyone. There was disorder in our defence and they scored their goal, but the moments in this magic night at the Calderon will be remembered forever.”He was not wrong. It was some European sign-off, and that is why most of those present were keen to drink it in that little bit longer and rise above what might, in other circumstances, have been the kind of outcome from which you slink off home. And perhaps it might have meant something more. The Calderon will host no more games at this level, but it does not take a huge leap of the imagination to see Griezmann playing his next Champions League football in another team’s colours, and the future of Simeone, too, seems far from cut-and-dried. This could have been the end of an era in more ways than one.”I am not thinking about that at this moment, I try and be spontaneous,” Simeone said when asked about his future plans. “We still need to keep improving. The next step is not small, it is very big, but if we can improve then there is a future.”Reading between the lines, the suggestion is that Atletico’s move to the new Wanda Metropolitano stadium needs to bring about a shift in the club’s image. Atletico are a marvellous side but have given the impression of having to strain every sinew to reach their current level. They have battled tremendously, but when faced with Real in four separate Champions League ties across as many seasons, Atletico have fallen just short on each occasion.Real were deserving winners of the semifinal, eventually managing a situation that had threatened to overwhelm them. After getting sucked into Atletico’s early pace, Real eventually came to play around it, drawing niggly fouls and dictating the tempo.Real ‘s Luka Modric and Toni Kroos were near impeccable on the ball; Isco’s dribbling helped displace Atletico’s central midfielders; and then there was the performance of Karim Benzema, who had already threatened a couple of times before the display of power, balance and close control that led to Isco’s goal. Atletico’s centre-backs will not look forward to a second viewing, but it was just reward for the way Real played.”I did not think he [Benzema] could do that,” Zinedine Zidane smiled afterward. “We were talking after the game and I asked how he got out of [the tight space].” Zidane said he knew his team would have to “suffer,” but was correct to say the game “changed completely” after the 25-minute mark.It means he is a game away from winning successive Champions League titles in his first season and a half as a manager; that would be a remarkable feat, particularly noteworthy given that Real’s opponents in the final will be his former club Juventus, and over these two legs he has seen plenty to encourage him. If Real had some luck in the quarterfinal against Bayern Munich, they did not need any here; they look like a juggernaut, and next month’s showdown in Cardiff could not appear more evenly poised.Atletico will watch and wonder whether their time will come again. For the Calderon it will certainly not, and perhaps a Rojiblancos team with a completely different image will next make inroads in Europe. As their stadium is stripped down, they will rebuild; in the meantime, they did their utmost here to put on one final night of sheer theatre. The result was an event that, whichever side you take, was worthy of those sodden celebrations.Nick Ames is a football journalist who writes for ESPN FC on a range of topics. Twitter: @NickAmes82.

Isco, Benzema inspire Real Madrid into the UCL final with street football nous

MADRID — Albeit that this Madrid derby was in the most lucrative and aristocratic tournament in the history of the club game, the 2016-17 Champions League semifinal second leg was neverthless a triumph for “street footballers” and their values.Football at its richest, won by football at its most basic. A red-carpet night, decided by skills honed on black tarmac — and all the more healthy for that.And something I’m thrilled to report to you. Not because of any preference for Madrid over Atletico, but because of a love for the kind of mentality, attitude, decisions and skills that saw the reigning European champions through to a June 3 date vs. Juventus in Cardiff, in the face of what, initially, seemed like overwhelming traffic pouring towards Keylor Navas’ goal.An alien, who just arrived on our planet, could tell you that Isco was, by light years, the best player on the pitch. Far more than his goal, it was his ebullient love of the ball that turned this match back in Madrid’s favour and ensured that the tie was won.Atletico, for all that their flame burned brilliant bright in the first quarter of an hour, didn’t have a remedy. Often, they resorted to fouling him, barging him, kicking him. But, to the great delight of purists everywhere, Isco would jink away, then twist and turn and tie his pursuers in a variety of reef, hitch, shank and double-loop knots.This was Isco’s greatest Madrid match — among an increasingly long list — and came just when, at 2-0 down, his club needed it most.With 16 minutes gone, you might have believed that anything was feasible. Atleti were reminiscent of that day, just over two years ago, when the score between these teams was a four-goal win in the red-and-white favour.Two goals down, Madrid were shaken. Atleti had scored with yet another header against them, Raphael Varane had committed an error and the pace of the game seemed beyond Zinedine Zidane’s side; just one more good shot to the ribs or the jaw and we might have seen a giant begin to stagger. Even topple.What happened next, though, was that Isco — not alone, but the lead soloist — began to dance to some internal music only he could hear. You’d be a liar if you claimed that he did anything less than repeatedly spring up in about five different positions: Left, central and right midfield, second striker and, crucially when a goal needed to be scored, centre-forward.But back to the truth about red carpets and black tarmac. At the heart of football’s soul is the kid with the ball, who wants dribble past every opponent, who makes the entry fee worthwhile and who commands that you fall in love with the sport.Zidane is — not was — a street footballer; you never lose that mentality. He’s said that everything he is now is owed to that upbringing: Learn to be first, to be tough, to own the ball, to avoid skinning your knees. And don’t let anyone bully you. Fight in a metaphorical sense, literally if it’s absolutely required.When Zidane played for Juventus, he was a vastly expensive resource for the Turin club, yet his manager Marcello Lippi had to ban his superstar from joining in games with local kids. Teammate Edgar Davids, another brilliantly-skilled street footballer, would persuade Zidane to join in — something that was expressly forbidden by both their contracts — with the words “You’ve changed!” if the Frenchman showed any hesitation about joining an informal neighbourhood kickabout.What Zidane believes — what made him great — is in front-foot, playground football: “We’ll be better than you, we’ll attack more, we’ll have more quality on the ball, we’ll score more than you.” He learned on the mean streets of northern Marseille and it conditions his thinking to this day.It explains Isco’s selection on Wednesday, when there were copious other options, and also why Zidane was instrumental in the player’s signing in 2013. President Florentino Perez said publicly that his reticence to do the deal was based on the fact that Isco would never get in the Madrid team, only for the club’s then-principal football advisor to persuade him otherwise.”All I want when I play is to be on the ball,” said Isco just before he joined Los Blancos. “As a kid in my neighborhood of Las Flores the locals knew me as ‘the kid who always has a ball at his feet.’ I learned everything I know playing street football. The local square, playing against the big lads, getting kicked, learning how to trick them and to keep possession; that was my school.”Transport all those values forward 20 years to the Estadio Vicente Calderon and you get our man of the match. The more he got on the ball, the more Atleti’s threat dampened; when Isco took possession, the temperature went down. As he dribbled past two or three, the rest of his team breathed out that sigh of: “We’re not on the back foot anymore.”Lately there are those who have argued that, because you can win without dominating possession, either a) you should abandon the idea of controlling the ball throughout the game, or b) having too much of it is actually a bad thing.(I know, they should be outlawed from football and made to play Pétanque or reenact medieval battles.)So to see Madrid wrest control of Wednesday’s game back into their own hands by dominating possession 62-38 at half-time — in enemy territory, no less — was uplifting. But Zidane’s street-footballing mentality and Isco’s “I learned on concrete” skills weren’t alone.Karim Benzema always idolized Ronaldo. No, not that one, though they get on brilliantly.It was the Brazilian Ronaldo upon whom this elegant, clever, technically exquisite footballer modelled himself. Ronaldo learned to play on rock-hard, sun-cemented earth; bumps, bangs and all. To him, without money to pay for his bus fare to go and train with Flamengo, playing on concrete or tarmac would have been a luxury.Now Benzema most certainly is not Ronaldo’s equal, but what he copied from his idol most certainly makes his games worth watching.The goal that ended this tie, that put Madrid in with a chance of their first Liga and European Cup double since 1958, that maintains their chance of being the only club to retain the Champions League title; well, it was just sublime.Benzema dragged of a gaggle of Atleti players with him as he turned and ran. The Fred Astaire-feet, which seemed to bend space and time by looping the ball past Stefan Savic without going over the white painted line for a goal kick? Genius.What Benzema produced was straight out of street football, the way that you slip and skip between parked cars, the kerb of the pavement, a big lump of an opponent, a lamp post.And who was sharp? Who was the only player, who believed Benzema would or could produce a magic trick?Isco, of course: One man with sleight of foot, recognizing another. And so the midfielder, who stepped upon every single blade of grass in the same way he used to dance across cobblestones, was the only player to make a run toward the six-yard box. When Toni Kroos’ shot was parried by goalkeeper Jan Oblak, there was the man of the moment.As for the home side, when the bulldozers and diggers and cranes and drills move in to smash the Calderon to the ground, you won’t be able to hear a decibel of the industrial noise over the primeval roar of “Atleti, Atleti, Atletico de Madrid” that will still echo around that hallowed football site.It will never go away. Nor, I hope, will those who play like Isco and Benzema or who think like Zidane.The street rules.Graham Hunter covers Spain for ESPN FC and Sky Sports

Juventus — fix it even if it ain’t broke

You have to go all the way back to Chelsea in 2012 — five years and five managers ago — to find a Champions League winner that has changed more than Juve have in the past two seasons.Well-run clubs never need to rebuild; they simply reload. It’s an old maxim and it’s generally true. If you’re a dominant side, you maintain that dominance through continuous small changes rather than periodic blow-ups. Get the small changes right and you won’t need to rebuild.But for every rule, there’s a counterargument: Juventus’ run to the Champions League final, after they dispatched a young and vibrant Monaco side in the semifinals on Tuesday, is Exhibit A. When they take the pitch in Cardiff, assuming Sami Khedira recovers from injury, it could well be that Gianluigi Buffon and Leonardo Bonucci will be the only holdovers from the side that lost the Champions League final to Barcelona two years ago.Sure, had Giorgio Chiellini not been injured for the 2015 final, it would be three out of 11, but it’s still a pretty staggering turnaround in just two seasons. Indeed, 12 of the 18 in the matchday squad that day have now left the club.Contrast this with their opponents that day, Barcelona, who have shed six. Or, for that matter, Real Madrid, who also lost six players (if you want to count Alvaro Morata, who left and came back, it’s seven) from the side who won the trophy in 2014. You have to go all the way back to Chelsea in 2012, five years and five managers ago, to find a Champions League winner that has changed more than Juve have in the past two seasons.You simply can’t weather that much change unless you’re a well-run club. And that goes beyond the manager, Massimiliano Allegri, right up to the higher reaches with sporting director Fabio Paratici and chief executive Beppe Marotta.Not only have they rebuilt on the fly, they’ve done it twice in two seasons. In the summer of 2015, they lost Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal. Last summer, it was Paul Pogba and Morata.It’s easy to say “well, they lost good players but replaced them with good ones too in the form of Sami Khedira, Paulo Dybala, Miralem Pjanic, Alex Sandro, Dani Alves, Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.” That’s true, but there are two points to make there.The first is that if replacing good players with equally good ones were that easy, every rich club would be doing it successfully. Heck, Paratici and Marotta have made plenty of mistakes themselves over the years, it’s the nature of the beast. (Old-school Serie A followers may recall Marotta’s time at Atalanta when he broke the bank to sign Luca Saudati and Gianni Comandini.) But the point is they got more right than wrong, especially over the past few seasons.Secondly, quite clearly the newcomers aren’t carbon copies of the guys they replaced. Here Allegri must get a ton of credit.Dybala is unlike any player Juventus have had for a long time; Higuain was a proven commodity as a lone striker in a 4-3-3 and yet Allegri found a way for him to be equally productive with a partner up front or in a different system, without wingers. Pjanic might be a gifted passer and free kick taker like Pirlo, but the similarities end there. Allegri realized early on he couldn’t be trusted with the deep playmaking duties on his own in the same way you could trust the “Bearded One,” so he stuck Khedira there and found a different role for Pjanic.The wide men represent an even bigger change. Stephan Lichtsteiner is a reliable, gutsy, hard-working full-back, but he’s an up-and-down guy; Alves is a wholly different beast altogether; Patrice Evra may have been comparable to Alex Sandro years ago, but past his 30th birthday he was a purely defensive full-back.Then, of course, there’s Mandzukic. Allegri didn’t reinvent the wheel by putting a hulking 6-foot-3 guy out on the wing — some of us are old enough to remember Egil Olsen and Jostein Flo — and, of course, Mandzukic occasionally played there in the past, but it still takes a thorough readjustment of the system to pull it off. A guy his size, with 30-year-old legs won’t be able to chase attacking full-backs, the way a more traditional winger might, nor is he going to beat anybody and put in a cross. But what he does offer is tremendous mismatches against opposing full-backs and a continuous aerial far post threat — as he proved with his opening goal against Monaco on Tuesday night.Allegri has overseen all these changes, but he didn’t prompt them. When he took the job, he knew Pirlo and Evra were old and would be moving on, but he hoped that Pogba, Morata and Vidal might stick around. When they did not, he worked with the hand he was dealt. He may have tremendous pieces, but they are still ones that needed to be fit together. And, crucially not just fit together well enough to win Serie A, but also to go deep in the Champions League.In addition, once Allegri had a set up in place that was yielding results and cruising along nicely in Serie A and in Europe, he conjured up a Plan B, which became the Plan A we saw against Barcelona. He chose to cram Pjanic, Mandzukic, Higuain, Dybala and Juan Cuadrado into the same XI at the same time. Thus was born the “5-star” option.He could have played it safe and relied on the tried-and-tested formula that got Juve where they were. A stout midfield, blue-collar wide men, Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini locking the door at the back, and somebody to nick a goal at the other end. But he explained that he was no longer convinced this was the best way to win, not against big European sides. You had to take the game to them; you had to go toe-to-toe and dominate the pitch, playing in their half. Tight defending and counterattacking were too reliant on chance and probability to succeed.It’s one thing to make sweeping changes when things aren’t going right — after all, the definition of insanity is making the same decisions again and again while expecting different outcomes — but it’s a totally different matter to take something which “ain’t broke” and “fixing it” to make it better. All the while knowing full well that your “fixes” might actually make it worse.And that’s what sets Allegri, and the guys above him who supported him, apart from the pack this season. Before he was reloading/retrenching/readjusting by necessity. Now, it’s by choice. And it’s working.

Dani Alves simply superlative as Juventus move past Monaco

Defensively strong and offensively brilliant, Juventus played with balance and experience to defeat Monaco 2-1 to progress to the final of the Champions League.Presided over by a tactical genius, Juve’s progression wasn’t in much doubt after the victory in Monaco. With Dani Alves demonstrating his vision and Mario Mandzukic scoring in addition to mastering every role on the pitch, Juve produced the perfect team performance to secure another victory and their ninth Champions League final, keeping hopes of the treble alive.

 

Positives

Dani Alves must surely be considered the man of the two-legged semifinal. A veteran who boasts experience and great fight, he is relentless in his ability to deliver the perfect assist, given how he can spot the perfect pass like no other. His contribution to the team has helped Juventus grow offensively, and the team are no longer considered simply defensive but rather enthralling going forward as well.

Negatives

Having conceded only two goals in the entire tournament, it was a shame that Juventus conceded their third tonight. A drop in concentration led to a Kylian Mbappe goal that should serve to remind the Italians that the fight is never over until the final whistle.

Manager rating out of 10

9 — Massimiliano Allegri must surely be considered the best tactician in the world, based on how balanced and tactically fluid his Juventus have been this season. Shackling Europe’s best offence before then allowing his side to express their full attacking potential is a feat that must be admired and studied for years to come.

Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):

GK Gianluigi Buffon, 6 — Struggled initially but initiated the attack that led to the first goal. Intelligent, solid and visionary. There was nothing he could do about Mbappe’s consolation strike.

DF Andrea Barzagli, 6 — Wouldn’t let Mbappe out of his sight. A good performance from the player who, alongside Dani Alves, shackled the “wonderkid” until he was taken off.

DF Leonardo Bonucci, 6 — A leader who simply read every move perfectly, he commanded the defence with authority.

DF Giorgio Chiellini, 7 — A hero when called upon, Chiellini rescued his team from Falcao just before the end of the first half. He is a reliable warrior who wins his aerial duels and tries to block everything.

DF Alex Sandro, 6 — Boasting stamina and offensive ambition, it was his run down the left wing that led to the first goal, even if he isn’t always the most secure defensively.

MF Miralem Pjanic, 6 — The Bosnian is happy to show off his strength, fighting to win possession and always on hand to get Juventus moving. He is reliable when he has the ball at his feet.

MF Sami Khedira, NR — Taken off with injury after only 10 minutes.

MF Dani Alves, 10 — The man of the tie, the creator of all things beautiful, Alves was the personification of perfection. He not only helped Barzagli defend against Mbappe but also delivered a brilliant assist before demonstrating audacious technique to score Juve’s second on the night.

MF Paulo Dybala, 6 — Worked his magic between the lines, coordinating Juve’s countless attacks in the first half. A true playmaker. He had a chance for goal, but Subasic produced the save.

MF Mario Mandzukic, 7 — On a brilliant run that led to his important opening goal, Mandzukic was everywhere, fighting for ball until the final moment. He was simply sensational to deliver a booming long pass forward for Higuain, proving he really can do it all.

FW Gonzalo Higuain, 7 — Always available for the pass, Higuain boasts such great movement, even if he couldn’t score the goal he wanted. Always on hand to help his teammates and duel with the centre-backs, he provided what should have been a great assist for Mandzukic, but it wasn’t converted.

Substitutes

MF Claudio Marchisio, 6 — Delivering more attacking third passes than any other Juve player, Juventus are lucky to have such a gem to call upon from the bench. Tidy and intelligent, Marchisio knows how to provide balance.

MF Juan Cuadrado, 6 — Had a good chance for goal but took too many touches. A lot of energy but little incisiveness.

DF Mehdi Benatia, NR — Not on long enough to make an impact.

Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team f

 

Power Rankings: UCL finalists Juventus No. 1, Real Madrid No. 2

Europe’s top clubs keep winning. As a result, Juventus remain top and there’s only one new entry in this week’s Power Rankings.

  1. Juventus(no change)

Max Allegri’s side dropped more Serie A points when Torino came within a whisker of winning the Turin derby, but Juve can still clinch the title this weekend. After that, focus will turn to the Champions League final, which they reached by beating Monaco 4-1 on aggregate.

  1. Real Madrid(no change)

Zinedine Zidane rotated heavily for the visit to Granada, but it mattered little as Madrid eased to a 4-0 win. The main men returned in the Champions League semifinals at Atletico, where plenty of experience and some Karim Benzema magic sealed a place in Cardiff next month.

  1. Chelsea(no change)

Relegation-threatened Middlesbrough were probably the ideal opponents to alleviate any pre-title nerves, and so it was that Chelsea swept to a 3-0 win with a minimum of fuss. It means three more points will seal the deal; they could be collected at West Brom on Friday.

  1. Barcelona(no change)

Since a 2-0 defeat at Malaga appeared to end Barca’s hopes of winning La Liga, Luis Enrique’s side have reeled off five straight wins, scoring 20 goals in the process. The latest, a 4-1 thrashing of Villarreal, saw Lionel Messi net his 50th and 51st goals of the season.

  1. Bayern Munich(no change)

The German champions coasted through a 1-0 win over Darmstadt, who were relegated as a result. The season is meandering to a close for Bayern, with Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso’s final games before retirement the only notable moments that remain.

  1. Monaco(no change)

Their Champions League dream came to an end against Juventus, but Monaco can console themselves with having lit up European football this season. Plus, they are on the brink of winning Ligue 1; they will clinch this weekend if results go their way.

  1. Atletico Madrid(no change)

It will hurt badly that they have been knocked out of the Champions League by their bitter, cross-city rivals for the fourth straight season. But at least Atletico restored some pride with a vibrant 2-1 win at the Calderon on Wednesday. Maybe next year?

  1. Borussia Dortmund(+1)

Dortmund took a big step toward securing third place in the Bundesliga by beating their immediate competition, Hoffenheim, 2-1 at the weekend. Thomas Tuchel’s side have a two-point cushion with two games remaining.

  1. AS Roma(+1)

The Giallorossi retained their grip on second place in Serie A behind champions-elect Juventus by thrashing Milan 4-1 last weekend. Napoli are just a point back; can Luciano Spalletti & Co. hang on?

  1. Ajax(new)

Ajax have been in superb form of late and could still sneak the Eredivisie title from Feyenoord, who have a one-point lead, in the league’s final weekend. If they fail, not to worry: Ajax secured a place in the Europa League final after overcoming Lyon 5-4 on aggregate.Dropping out: Tottenham

 

EPL Predictions this weekend

WEST HAM: Liverpool desperately need a win at the London Stadium to cement their Champions League aspirations and may find hosts West Ham in a relaxed mood after reaching 42 points with the win over Spurs. EastEnders love an end-of-season knees-up, though, and both teams may have to settle for a point.
Prediction: West Ham 2-2 Liverpool — Peter Thorne

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool have been quite efficient in picking up points on their travels recently, while West Ham no longer have the home advantage of Upton Park and have struggled since moving to their new stadium. The Reds will get the win they need, but it will be close.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Liverpool — Dave Usher

MAN CITY: Prior to last season’s 3-1 home defeat to a vigorous Leicester side that would be heralded Premier League champions, this weekend’s visitors to the Etihad had inflicted next to no damage in Manchester for three decades. With City going hard for the finishing tape and a third-place finish, expect a home win.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Leicester — Simon Curtis

LEICESTER: Leicester will be glad they are safe, since an away trip to City followed by a home fixture with Tottenham is hardly ideal at this stage of the season. The Foxes underlined their title credentials at City last term and another shock win would virtually guarantee a top-half finish. A comfortable home win is likely but perhaps Leicester can raise their game to influence the race for Champions League football.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Leicester — Ben Jacobs

STOKE: Stoke will be revelling in the prospect of assuming the role of party-poopers in what could be Arsene Wenger’s final Premier League away game as Arsenal manager. The ever-industrious Mame Diouf deserves another start up top while Marc Muniesa will be lucky to escape the manager’s ire and keep his place following the horror show of his last performance.
Prediction: Stoke 2-1 Arsenal — James Whittaker

ARSENAL: Having not won at St Mary’s since 2003, Arsenal will be hoping their 2-0 over Southampton on Wednesday augurs well as they prepare for another away trip to a ground that has been difficult for them. The last time the Gunners went to Stoke and won was in 2010, so they have a similar hoodoo to break on Saturday. It’s a big test, but one they should just about be able to come through.
Prediction: Stoke 1-2 Arsenal — Tom Adams

Yanks Abroad: 10 things you need to know from this past weekend

A quick check-in with the US Internationals playing abroad.by Cody Bradley@ThatCodyTho  May 8, 2017, 4:15pm PDT

Alex Morgan

She picked up two more goals in Lyon’s 9-0 victory over Soyaux. It was the 11th consecutive D1 title in France for Lyon. LINK

DeAndre Yedlin

Yedlin helped get the scoring started for Newcastle in a 3-0 win with an assist in the 23rd minute. He is on his way back to the Prem!

John Brooks

Hertha Berlin had a very rough day against RB Leipzig. RBL won the match 4-1 and guaranteed themselves a UCL playoff spot. But, Brooks returned from injury and went the full 90. He obviously did not play well in the hefty defeat and earned himself a yellow card.

Christian Pulisic

He was in the lineup but did not appear for Dortmund in the 2-1 win over Hoffenheim that put them back into a guaranteed Champions League group spot.

Crystal Dunn

The Chelsea forward came on in the 61’ in a 4-0 win over Reading. She didn’t score but she did create the final goal for The Blues. LINK

Ethan Horvath

The 21 year old made his debut in goal for Club Brugge in Belgium. His blunder led to a goal, but Brugge got all three points for his first match with a 3-1 win over Royal Chaleroi. It even looked as though he deserved an assist with a long ball in the match.

Carli Lloyd

She played as both a forward and a midfielder for a double game week for Manchester City. City drew with Birmingham 1-1 and defeated Reading 3-2 on Sundat.

Bobby Wood

The struggles continued for Bobby Wood this weekend. But Hamburger SV was able to get the 0-0 draw. The only goal HSV has scored in the last three weeks was credited as an own goal. Bobby hasn’t scored in the last seven matches (but he has picked up two assists in that span). The point could prove to be HUGE for Hamburg as they fight to avoid relegation.

Timmy Chandler

Timmy was named the captain of Eintracht Frankfurt for the first time in his career. Good to see him developing and getting respect. But Frankfurt lost 2-0 to Wolfsburg and sit in 11th place in the Bundesliga.

Geoff Cameron

Went the full 90 for Stoke City against Bournemouth in a 2-2 draw. He had a pretty decent match, winning his aerials and duels, and he added a couple key passes on the other end as well.

USA’s U-20 World Cup roster offers several surprises

Tab Ramos throws us some curveballs.by Rob Usry@RobUsry  May 9, 2017, 9:42am PDT

Another FIFA U-20 World Cup is upon us and for the second straight cycle Tab Ramos has the United States looking pretty good heading into the tournament. Back in March, a group full of primarily domestic-based players won their first CONCACAF Championship for the age group. On Tuesday, Ramos named an altered 21-player roster with some very interesting changes to what worked earlier this year.”We are very excited to once again provide a great competitive opportunity to our players and are looking forward to heading to Korea Republic,” Ramos said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. “As always there were some extremely tough decisions to make. This is a talented age group.”The most notable roster decision has to be the inclusion of 17-year-old strike Josh Sargent. The St. Louis native is fresh off scoring five goals for the U.S. U-17’s at their CONCACAF Championship. They’ve decided that their striker pool isn’t adequate enough and have reached into the younger age group to pluck their star player. It could be argued that striker was the most disappointing position in March with Jeremy Ebobisse failing to offer much of a scoring threat. Sargent’s inclusion is a bold move that proves Ramos and his staff think he could really improve the team’s chances to go far.

Another interesting choice is Atlanta United academy’s Lagos Kunga a speedy winger who only received his first ever call-up to the U-20’s for the most recent training camp in England in April. It’s quite rare to see a player come around so late in the cycle and make the final roster. Either he really impressed in that one camp or he fits a certain need that the Ramos felt the team lacked.Notable absences from the squad include many high profile names playing across Europe. None of the Schalke trio of Haji Wright, Weston McKinnie, or Nick Taitague were called in. It’s quite possible that the Bundesliga club declined to release them for the tournament. Which, unfortunately is their right as it is for every club. Other omissions include Fiorentina’s Josh Perez, Villarreal’s Mukwelle Akale, Manchester United’s Matthew Olosunde, Wolfsburg’s McKinzie Gaines, and Werder Bremen’s Isiah Young.Both Gedion Zelalem and Cameron Carter-Vickers are playing in their second straight U-20 World Cup after heavily featuring in the 2015 tournament.The majority of the roster is holdover from the qualification triumph. Including Brooks Lennon who starred for the team during that tournament from his right wing spot and has gone on to earn some starting nods for Real Salt Lake in MLS.The U-20’s kickoff the World Cup in South Korea on Monday, May 22 against Ecuador at 4:00 a.m. ET.

Here’s the full roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jonathan Klinsmann (University of California; Newport Beach, Calif.), J.T. Marcinkowski (Georgetown; Alamo, Calif.), Brady Scott (De Anza Force; Petaluma, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (7): Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; Salt Lake City, Utah), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur FC; Westcliff-on-Sea, England), Marlon Fossey (Fulham FC; Surbiton, England), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Aaron Herrera (University of New Mexico; Las Cruces, N.M.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC; Oviedo, Fla.)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Luca De La Torre (Fulham FC; San Diego, Calif.), Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Eryk Williamson (University of Maryland; Alexandria, Va.), Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal FC; Bethesda, Md.)

FORWARDS (6): Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers; Bethesda, Md.), Lagos Kunga (Atlanta United FC Academy; Tucker, Ga.) Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Unattached; Columbus, Ohio), Josh Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallen, Mo.), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Park City, Utah)

THREE THINGS: #INDVFCE

Indy Eleven remains undefeated in 2017, gaining sixth point in sixth consecutive draw  May 8, 2017

ENTER PLUMHOFF AND POLTRONIERI

New-in-Blue Jason Plumhoff and Brandon Poltronieri made their club debut on Saturday as late substitutes in the match against FC Edmonton. Plumhoff came in for Indy midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic in the 79thminute and Poltronieri entered for striker Eamon Zayed in stoppage time in an attempt to bring in fresh legs and find a goal. Although their time on the pitch was limited, fans had a chance to see both new signings in action for the first time while key players, such as Ben Speas, Don Smart, and Marco Franco, work towards becoming match fit in the coming weeks.Plumhoff is a youth product of German giants Bayern Munich and SpVgg Unterhaching prior to relocating to the States. After a successful collegiate career with La Salle University, Plumhoff signed his first professional contract in 2015 with USL’s Harrisburg City Islanders, scoring 10 goals in 22 appearances. The following year, the German native made the jump to the NASL, which included stints at both FC Edmonton and Jacksonville Armada FC.Poltronieri, a native of Costa Rica, began his right through the ranks with Costa Rican FPD side Brujas FC, which included on and off loans with Portuguese side Lexioes SC and Mexican side CD Barrio Mexico before eventually finding his way in the States. Eventually, Poltronieri made his way to the NASL, first joining the Atlanta Silverbacks for a short stint before linking up with Indy Eleven captain Colin Falvey in Ottawa Fury’s squad and more recently playing for USL’s Phoenix Rising FC before arriving in Indy’s lineup.

JON BUSCH, OUR GOALTENDER, AND SAVIOR

Indy Eleven ‘keeper Jon Busch continued to show off his skills after a crucial save late in the game kept the score level for the home side. In the 74th minute, the 40-year-old ‘keeper sent the ball over the crossbar after FC Edmonton’s Sabri Khattab sent a ball flying towards the back of the net from outside of the box. “Buschy” made a nearly identical save during Indy’s previous home outing against San Francisco Deltas on April 22 in the 75th minute, when visiting winger Kyle Bekker sent a ball flying towards the upper left corner of the goal before Busch punched the ball over the bar to keep the score 0-0 and Indy undefeated at home, once more.  Busch’s blocked attempt puts him at nine in 2017, placing him among the top 10 ‘keepers with the most saves in the NASL this season. The 2008 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year has kept his goals against average (GAA) below 1.00 since joining “Indiana’s Team” in 2016.  Fans have the opportunity to pledge a donation for every save Busch makes in the 2017 season for his SAVES for SEALS initiative.

KELLER BUILDING MINUTES

Eleven veteran Daniel Keller found himself in the starting line-up for the second consecutive match and his fourth start in total for the 2017 campaign. In the last six matches, Keller has racked up a total of 378 minutes of play time so far this season, putting him within minutes of his total playtime during the 2016 season (402) and just over one-third of his total playtime since his first season in Indy in 2015 (1000). As his minutes on the pitch continue to rise, so does the young midfielder’s stats. In five games, Keller has put in impressive performances which have seen him win all but one of his tackles, 18 clearances, eight interceptions, and winning close to three-fourths of his duels as well as completing almost three-fourths of his passes. With a few of our defenders currently out injured, Keller has moved back in the defensive line and stepped up to the role presented to the former University of Louisville Captain.

Earn your Degree While You Watch Your Kids Soccer Practice – ½ the time and cost of Traditional Schools

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5/9/16 Champions League today and Wed, Europa League Thurs

The Champions League is down to the final 4 – after the first legs – it looks like Juventus and Real Madrid are on their way to the Finals. Yes Real still must go to Atletico but with a 3-0 lead – it looks good for the Madradista’s returning to the finals looking for the back to back.  For Juve – the old lady and the old Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon came thru again as they continued their shutout streak (since mid-November in Champions League) with 6 great saves and a 2-0 win at Monaco behind 2 Higuain goals off of Dani Alves passes.   Return legs are Tues – Juventus hosting Monaco at 2:45 on Fox Sports 1 and Wed same time and channel for Atletico vs Real Madrid and Renaldo.

Huge congrats to all the volunteers at Carmel FC who helped the Challenge Cup and President’s Cup games go off without a hitch this past weekend at River Road Fields despite some interesting and very wet conditions.  Congrats to those teams advancing.

cfcprezcup

Prezcupteam

GAMES ON TV  

Tues  –May 9  Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1     Juventus vs Monaco (2-0)

Weds May 10  –Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1    Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid (0-3)

Thur  –May 11   Europa League 

3:05 pm FoxSport1     Man U vs Celta Vigo (1-0)

3:05 pm FoxSport2     Lyon vs Ajax (0-2)

Friday, May 12

3 pm NBCSN                   West Brom vs Chelsea

Sat, May 13

7:30 am NBCSN            Man City vs Leicester City

9:30 am FOX                  RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich

9:30 am Fox Sport1   Dortmund vs Ausburg

10 am NBC live            Sunderland vs Swansea (relegation)

12:30 pm NBCSN        Stoke City vs Arsenal (US Cameron) 

7:30 pm  Myindy TV                        Miami vs Indy 11

9 pm ESPN                       Chicago vs Seattle Sounders 

Sun, May 14

9:15 am NBCSN            West Ham vs Liverpool

11 am NBCSN                Tottenham vs Man United

2 pm beIN Sport         Las Palmas vs Barcelona

4 pm ESPN                       Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United

6 pm Fox sport 1         NY Red Bulls vs LA Galaxy

8 pm Fox Sport 1        Dallas vs NYCFC

Monday, May 15

3 pm NBCSN                   Chelsea vs Watford

Tues, May 16

3 pm NBCSN                   Man City vs West Brom

2:45 pm NBC live       Arsenal vs Sunderland

Thursday, May 18

2:45 pm NBCSN           Leicester City vs Tottenham

 Full MLS Schedule

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Confederations Cup Schedule June

Champions League

Simieon has hope for Atleti miracle at home vs Real  – ESPNFC

Juve in Control but don’t rule out Monaco just yet. ESPNFC

Marcelo and Dani Alves continue to redefine the Fullback Role  Gab Marcoti – ESPNFC

Juve’s Gigi Buffon to make 100th Champions League Appearance vs Monaco at home Tues

Gigi Still a Rock after 100 Champ League Games

Just how Brilliant is Juve and Italy’s Gigi Buffon?

Gigi’s Greatest Nights

Saves vs Monaco 1st leg

5 Best Saves for Gigi>

Europa League

Rashford Crashes a goal for Man United Lead in 1st Lege

Ajax Crushes Lyon 4-0

Gianluigi Buffon still Juventus’ rock after 100 Champions League games

Gianluigi Buffon celebrated his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance for Juventus on Wednesday with a clean sheet in a victory in the first leg of the semifinal round against Monaco.Buffon became only the second Italian player to reach the century mark for one club after Paolo Maldini, who did so in 2007 and finished with 109 appearances for AC Milan.Coach Leonardo Jardim praised Buffon’s effort in the 2-0 victory, saying that the goalkeeper “pulled off two or three incredible saves” that moved the club closer to their ninth appearance in the final.Juventus, who are unbeaten in 11 Champions League games this season, have not conceded a goal since the group stage — a run of 621 minutes, the fifth-longest streak in the history of the competition.The last player to score against Buffon in a Champions League game was Sevilla’s Nicolas Pareja, who did so in the ninth minute of a 3-1 victory for Juventus on Nov. 22.Until Wednesday, Juventus had never kept six consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League. They now have a goal difference of plus-17, the best of any club in the competition, and have only allowed two goals, tied for the fewest in the tournament despite having played five more games.The last club to keep a clean sheet in each of their first five knockout-round games was Arsenal, who did so over their first six games in 2005-06 before losing to Barcelona in the final.Monaco failed to score for the first time in 30 home games this season and only the fourth time in 58 games in all competitions. They entered Wednesday undefeated at home this season in the Champions League and had outscored their opponents 11-3 in their last home four games in the competition.

Buffon’s #UCL wish: ‘I have always wanted to win it’

Monday 8 May 2017 by Paolo Menicucci in Turin

Ready to make his 150th UEFA club competiton appearance in the semi-final decider, Gianluigi Buffon recalled past near misses, and said what it would mean to finally win the UEFA Champions League.

On Monaco …

I’ll let you into a little secret. Around the 30-minute mark of their match away to Manchester City, I sent a message to one of our directors, saying: “Hey, this lot could make it to the final; they’re really strong!” That shows you how much respect we have for them. They play positive, energetic football and they’re a sparkling, physical side with quality players and a lot of experience. We know that if we want to get another shot at winning the Champions League, we have to overcome an obstacle that’ll be at least as tricky as Barcelona in footballing terms.

On feeling his age at 39 …

Monaco’s Kylian Mbappé was born in December 1998. I had already played at the World Cup in France by then! That’s the nice thing about having such a long career: meeting kids who weren’t even born when you already had a chunk of your career under your belt.I was thinking the other day that I’ve managed to span almost three generations. When I started playing, you still had guys born in the end of the ’50s and the ’60s –and I’ll finish with guys born in the 2000s. It’s a huge span of time! It’s nice knowing that I’m playing with the future Messis, Cristiano Ronaldos and Neymars, because in ten years, after I have been retired for a while, they will be confirmed superstars and I’ll remember facing them at the dawn of their careers.

On making up for past final losses …

There’s definitely a desire to make up for losing the final in Berlin [to Barcelona in 2015], but I also have to make amends for Manchester in 2003 [when Juventus lost to AC Milan on penalties], so going back through the years my motivation is a lot deeper.In 2015, we lost it at a moment when Barcelona were on the ropes. We let in a goal almost on the counterattack: Messi hammered a shot on goal, I diverted it and Suárez scored.Losing on penalties in 2003 was very painful, but since I was only 25, I was fairly calm because I was convinced I’d win many more! That’s the exuberance of youth. I was so close to winning it on that occasion; they missed three penalties in that final – I saved two of them. Strange things happen. It wasn’t meant to be and we weren’t good enough. In sport and life, those who deserve it more probably end up getting their rewards.After the return leg against Barcelona this season I was very happy, of course, but I did not celebrate too much, because I know that after a certain point you either win the trophy or get disappointed. And since I have been disappointed so many times, I want to get the victory before allowing myself to celebrate!

On what it would mean to finally lift the trophy …

It would mean a lot for me. It would be the greatest joy of my career, together with the [2006] World Cup, because it would almost be a reward – the end of a very difficult road paved by bravery, stubbornness and hard work. I have always wanted to win it and I have always been convinced that I can do it together with my team, the fans, my colleagues. That would be great – we can talk about it later if it happens!

Juventus appear Cardiff-bound but don’t rule out Monaco just yet

Ahead of Juventus and Monaco’s Champions league semifinal second leg, Julien Laurens and James Horncastle have been chatting again.The Italian side lead 2-0 on aggregate after a commanding display in the teams’ opening game but, as Julien says to begin; it’s not over yet… 

So James, my friend,

You didn’t think you would get rid of me so easily, did you? No, I am still here, just like Monaco! And Juventus should be careful not to write them off before the second leg, as many people — including you! — are doing. This tie is not over just yet. Juve were so “Juve” last week, efficient with Gonzalo Higuain and solid with Gianlugi Buffon; nothing new there. But there is still hope for Monaco, who found a way to create big chances in the first leg, and unsettle the Juve defence.

This time, playing away from home will even be better for them. They are so good on the counter, as we saw at Manchester City (despite their defeat), at Dortmund and also at Wembley against Tottenham. Leonardo Jardim and his players have learnt from the first leg; they won’t make the same mistakes and they will not give up. They really believe they can come back in this tie. They have already scored over 150 goals this season in all competitions and so naturally fancy themselves to add two more — at least — to that tally.

 Julien, I’m glad you brought up Buffon, mon cher,

 

I still find it baffling how reluctant people are to consider him the undisputed world No. 1. Maybe it’s because he’s 39 and, after a while, people want to see a new champion. But if Juventus have kept a club record six consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League this season and are currently 621 minutes and counting without conceding a goal, it’s down in no small part to their inspirational captain.

OK, Paulo Dybala stole the headlines against Barcelona and it was Higuain and Dani Alves’ turn against Monaco. But, in each of those games, Buffon came up big. People are quick to forget how he denied Andres Iniesta when the score was 1-0 in Turin or, last week, Kylian Mbappe at 0-0, Radamel Falcao at 1-0 and Valerie Germain at 2-0. Buffon had to pull off five saves at the Stade Louis II, which is the most he’s had to make in this competition since the group stages of last season. No wonder La Stampa celebrated his Mani d’oro — “golden hands.” “He’s still the best goalkeeper in the world,” Juventus manager Max Allegri said after the first leg; Buffon ttranscends his position. On the flight back to Turin, one of his teammates was overheard saying: “He’s our Cristiano Ronaldo.” And even if Monaco do get past him, Jules, do you really see them winning at the J Stadium, where Juve have lost only once in Europe? Need I remind you that was more than four years ago.

Ha, I love Buffon too, James!

And I agree with you that he is the undisputed No. 1. The Champions League is the only thing that is missing from his trophy cabinet and unfortunately for him, he will have to wait at least another year to win it, because Monaco will win in Turin and go through. After all, this is a season in which Barcelona produced the remontada of all remontadas against Paris Saint-Germain; there is another twist to come and it will happen on Tuesday. If any team is capable of a great comeback, it is Monaco!This time, Jardim will get his tactics right. Benjamin Mendy will be back, while. Falcao and Mbappe want their revenge over Buffon and will take their chances. The Monegasques will continue to create chances and bring craziness, pace and intensity to the game, everything that Juve will not want. They will want to slow the game down and control it but Bernardo Silva, Thomas Lemar and Co. will be unstoppable. Monaco have a rendezvous with destiny and they won’t miss it.

Jules, tu es fou! Crazy, I tell you.

You do know that only two teams have overturned a first-leg defeat at home in the Champions League knockout rounds? One was Louis van Gaal’s Ajax against Panathinaikos in 1996 — let’s just pause for a moment to reminisce about Jari Litmanen. OK, done — and the other was Inter against Bayern Munich back in 2011, AKA when Inter used to get into the Champions League.Granted, Monaco have been breathtaking on the road this season.They scored twice at Villarreal and Spurs and three times at Man City and Dortmund; beads of sweat are forming on my brow just thinking about it! But then I remember that this Juventus team has reached half-time in 12 games this season without even allowing a single shot on goal. What really struck me in Monaco was how confident, assured and unflappable Juve looked. They seemed completely at ease, which is perhaps the biggest measure of how far Allegri has brought them on from the days of Antonio Conte.Perhaps by dint of not being associated with a buzzword style like gegenpressing or tiki-taka, Allegri does not receive the acclaim he richly deserves. He is a masterful tactician, has great instincts, has managed a transition to enable young players to come through and turned Juventus into so much more than a team with a great defence. No one saw 3-4-2-1 coming last week and, watching the game back, Juventus changed system five times in the game. Allegri kept Jardim guessing and I’m not sure he’ll have the answers on Tuesday!

Come now, James!

As an educated man, you know what R. D. Laing (who died in France, not far from Monaco, by the way) used to say: “Insanity: a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” It has been a crazy season in a crazy world and Monaco beating Juve on Tuesday, however hard it might seem, would be a perfect addition to the story!And I am glad you brought up the Ajax ’96 team because, in many ways, this Monaco side is similar to that of LVG back them, boasting youth, talent, belief and insouciance. I am convinced that, before being dismantled like Ajax were, Monaco will make it all the way to the top. Just like Ajax did.Focus on the league, Jules; leave Europe to the Old Lady.Allegri rested eight players for this game, while. Jardim only rotated Mbappe and Tiemoue Bakayoko. A big part of that is to do with depth, but I think it also shows Monaco’s intentions. A first league title since 2000 is within touching distance and, regardless of how this project started, that’s a remarkable achievement. Jardim said he wouldn’t swap winning the league for one night in Turin. Ligue 1 is returning to the Principality but the Champions League is en route to Turin via Cardiff.James and Julien will return after Tuesday’s game to react to the tie’s conclusion. 

Marcelo, Dani Alves continue to redefine full-back role for Real, Juve

Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe there is no deeper tactical significance. Maybe they aren’t a dying breed but rather a one-off. Maybe they’re just two hugely gifted Brazilian full-backs who interpret the game in their own unique way. The fact that, for many years, they were teammates with the Selecao and rivals on the pitch is just another wrinkle.I honestly don’t know. I just find Marcelo and Dani Alves hugely compelling. And the fact that within the space of 26 hours, each played a key role in helping Real Madrid and Juventus take a giant step towards the Champions League final, is as good an excuse as any to write about them and their role in the game.The headlines went to the two outstanding natural goalscorers they play with — Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain — and that’s more than understandable. But the way they played underscores the fact that even though next month Marcelo turns 29 and Dani Alves 33, they represent a certain type of modern full-back, one that is frankly exceedingly rare.For a start, let’s get one thing clear. In 2017, full-back is not a defensive position. In most games regardless of the league, full-backs regularly rank in the top three or four in terms of touches on the ball. We may think in terms of 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 but the fact is when teams get the ball, the central defenders sit back, often with a holding midfielder, and one or both full-backs are way up the pitch, out on the wing.For top teams, that 4-3-3 becomes a 2-3-5 (or 3-2-5, if the defensive midfielder slips between the central defenders) when in possession. And even on a more conservative team, where only one full-back attacks at a time and the defence shifts across, the 4-3-3 becomes a 3-3-4. If you don’t notice this when you watch a game on TV, watch one in person. And if you can’t, check out heat maps and average positions.That part isn’t new. It used to be pretty simple (and in recreational football, it still is). Your left-back was whatever left-footed defender you could find and while he didn’t need to be particularly skillful, he needed to be left-footed because it’s easier to defender balls from that flank when you’re left-footed.Your right-back was usually the either the third-best centre-back on your team, which meant he was unlikely to be particularly gifted on the ball, or would be a guy with the skill set of a central defender who happened to be a little short. Gary Neville was perhaps one of the last great right-backs in this mold: Sir Alex Ferguson famously said he would have been the perfect centre-back had he been a few inches taller. (It’s not a knock on Neville, by the way — he was an exceptional footballer and what he lacked in attacking technique, he more than made up for through intelligence and work ethic.)That began to change in the late 1950s and 1960s with the emergence of the first great attacking full-backs. And for the last 10-15 years, everybody’s full-backs (at least on the better teams) have known how to attack and spend tons of time up the pitch. The difference is that the vast majority are basically adjunct old-school wingers. They pound the flank, up and down, providing width and putting in crosses. This became especially important as wingers increasingly became wide forwards, attacking midfielders or second-striker types who were encouraged to come inside at every opportunity.Here’s the thing about Marcelo and Dani Alves, though. They can do that part of the game. They can run and beat opponents and provide service to the middle (with a back-heel no less, if necessary). But they’re also devastating when they come into the middle and when they do that, they turn into legitimate attacking midfielders, No. 10s willing and able to play one-twos, pick out passes or shoot on goal. There’s a creative element and a passing quality to their game that we ordinarily associate with midfielders. This creates overloads and mismatches galore, wreaking havoc in the opposition.Juve boss Max Allegri was glowing when he lauded Alves after the Monaco game. “Did you see him? Did you see his assists? That’s what a central playmaker does…” That’s why he leaped at the opportunity to sign him as a free agent over the summer even though it meant committing a lot of cash to a guy who will be 35 when his contract expires.Zinedine Zidane — possibly because his bar is set way higher given his own playing career — wasn’t quite as effusive. But he has said in no uncertain terms that Marcelo is one of the pillars of his team. And against the sort of massed defences that Real often face, his ability to go central and help Luka Modric and Toni Kroos with playmaking duties is invaluable not least because it allows Zidane to carry Casemiro, whose attacking contribution is far more limited.Does it come at a price? Sure. Neither is an exceptional one-on-one defender. And, yes, when you spend so much time up the pitch, you leave space behind you. In most games, it matters little because their teams have so much of the ball and their teammates adjust and compensate. When they do screw up, it often looks bad.There’s also a question of durability perhaps because of their style of play. Dani Alves has not started more than 29 league games in a season since 2011 and Marcelo, who is five years younger, has done it just twice. But it’s a price worth paying.That skill is exceedingly rare even among the best full-backs in Europe. Think of the top full-backs in the world and, with a few exceptions (Bayern’s duo of David Alaba and Phillip Lahm come to mind) the vast majority are essentially up-and-down types. They don’t have that additional dimension these two offer.You wonder whether Dani Alves and Marcelo, had they been born and come through the ranks somewhere other than Brazil, would simply have been pushed to play as attacking midfielders or wingers (which, incidentally, Dani Alves did early in his career). And conversely, you wonder whether a promising attacking midfielder might not consider a career change to the flank (provided he has the requisite athleticism) rather than entering the crowded market for “No. 10s.”Time and again they’ve shown their value by interpreting what is still a fundamentally unglamorous role in their own way. And proving themselves to be not just indispensable but genuine difference-makers too.Gabriele Marcotti is a Senior Writer for ESPN FC

5/5/17 Indy 11 Tix Discount for Sat Night Game, Champs League 2nd legs, CFC host Cup Games, Game TV Schedule

The Indy 11 look to extend their NASL Record Non-Losing Streak to 21 games as they face FC Edmonton this weekend at 7:30 pm at the MIKE in their brand new Adidas Uniforms. NASL Player of the month Justin Braun will lead the blues.  Get discounted tickets for the game and games in May/June/Jule by clicking Indy 11 Discount Ticket Link.  This Sat night is Craft Beer Night as special Craft beers will be served starting 2 hours before gametime. This year’s edition of the Indy Eleven Craft Beer Fest will feature at least 13 breweries, with all but one bringing brews for tasting from right here in the Hoosier State.

So I have been frustrated with MLS for not showing good games this season – but man they have a doosy on Sat on ESPN at 2:55 pm with Defending Champs Seattle hosting Toronto FC.  Both teams are on form as Seattle erased a 3 goal deficit last week to tie 3-3 and Toronto won 2-0 behind 2 great goals by Jozy Altidore.  Set those DVRs or tune for the best match-up at least on TV of the MLS season so far.  In other news the MLS Allstar game featuring defending Champions League Champs Real Madrid vs the MLS All-Stars will be held in Chicago on Wednesday Night, Aug 2 at Soldier Field.  I am planning to go and would love to set up a caravan up there if anyone else wants to come.  This is an exclusive link to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public Thursday morninghttps://www1.ticketmaster.com/event/0400524DB5832485?CAMEFROM=CFC_MLG_17ASG_PREFIREDATABASE  Tickets are about $60 in the upper decks and $90 for level 2 behind the goals (where we are looking) RE: If you would like to order tickets together and head over.

The Champions League is down to the final 4 – after the first legs – it looks like Juventus and Real Madrid are on their way to the Finals. Yes Real still must go to Atletico but with a 3-0 lead – it looks good for the Madradista’s returning to the finals looking for the back to back.  For Juve – the old lady and the old Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon came thru again as they continued their shutout streak (since mid-November in Champions League) with 6 great saves and a 2-0 win at Monaco behind 2 Higuain goals off of Dani Alves passes.   Return legs are Tues – Juventus hosting Monaco at 2:45 on Fox Sports 1 and Wed same time and channel for Atletico vs Real Madrid and Renaldo.

Carmel FC is proud to be hosting Challenge Cup and President’s Cup games this weekend May 5-7 at the River Road fields in East Carmel about 2 miles from Badger.  CFC parents sign up here if you would be willing to volunteer to help: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090b44aaad22a0fe3-carmel.

Coaches and parents check out this great read Developing Warriors not Winners sent by our CFC DOC Matt Coyer.

GAMES ON TV  

Thur  –May 4   Europa League 

3 pm FoxSport2    Celta Vigo vs  Man U

Fri, May 5

3 pm NBCSN                   West Ham vs Tottenham

Sat, May 6

7:30 am NBCSN            Man City vs Crystal Palace

9:30 am                             Dortmund vs Hoffenhiem

12:30 pm                         beIN Spo   Barcelona vs Villarreal

12:30 pm NBC live    Swansea vs Everton

2:45 pm beIN sport   Granada vs Real Madrid

2:55 pm ESPN               Seattle host Toronto FC (replay of Champ game)

7:30 pm  Myindy TV                        Indy 11 vs Edmonton                      

Sun, May 7

8:30 am NBCSN            Liverpool vs Southhampton

11 am NBCSN                Arsenal vs Man United

1:30 pm                            Min United vs Sporting KC

Mon, May 8

3 pm NBCSN                   Chelsea vs Middlesbrough

Tues  –May 9  Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1     Juventus vs Monaco

Weds May 10  –Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1    Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid

Thur  –May 11   Europa League 

2:45 pm FoxSport2     Man U vs Celta Vigo

Sat, May 13

7:30 am NBCSN            Man City vs Leicester City

9:30 am Fox Sport1   Dortmund vs Ausburg

12:30 pm NBC live    Stoke City vs Arsenal (US Cameron)

7:30 pm  Myindy TV                        Miami vs Indy 11

9 pm ESPN                       Chicago vs Seattle Sounders 

Sun, May 14

9:15 am NBCSN            West Ham vs Liverpool

11 am NBCSN                Tottenham vs Man United

4 pm ESPN                       Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United

 Full MLS Schedule

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Confederations Cup Schedule June

INDY 11

Craft Beer Fest this Satruday – vs FC Edmonton

What to Watch for vs FC Edmonton

Justin Braun Wins Player of the Month

Ben Spea Wins Play of the Month

Indy 11 sign 2 new Players

Indy 11 stays Unbeaten with 1-1 Draw at Jax

3 Things Indy 11 vs Jax 1-1 Tie

Indy 11 Discount Ticket Link

Champions League

Behind Great Defense and 2 goals Juve has 1 foot in final

Monaco a Fluke? ESPNTV?

Juve Does what they need to on the Road = SI

Renaldo’s Hat Trick puts Real 1 foot into Final

Renaldo reminds us why he is 1 of top 2 players in the World today

Renaldo was Magnifico

Tues  –May 9  Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1     Juventus vs Monaco

Weds May 10  –Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1    Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid

Thur  –May 11   Europa League 

2:45 pm FoxSport2     Man U vs Celta Vigo

MLS

Orlando goes Top with Kaka score

What to watch for Week 10 – Armchair Analyst

MLS Expansion News –SI – Planet Football

Time ticks on Beckham, Miami | 

Do St. Louis, Charlotte bids have a pulse? |

 Quiet confidence in Sacramento | 

San Diegans sign on | 

Nashville meets with Garber

USA

Miseducation of Julian Green – Stars and Stripes

US Hot List Overseas? ESPNFC

US Hot List Last Week

What do MLS Goalie Woes say about State of USMNT GK Pipeline?

Johannsson Where might he end up in MLS?

World Soccer

Power Rankings

Can Arsenal finally beat Man U?

World Races for titles,Champions League and Relagation are up for grabs still in most of the leagues in the world.  Of course Bayern won the Bundesliga again as did Juve in Italy and Chelsea has a 4 pt lead in the EPL.

La Liga Table

EPL Table

League 1 Table

German Table

PREVIEW | #INDy 11 V FC Edmonton

Indy Eleven vs FC Edmonton – #INDvFCE    Saturday, May 6, 2017 – 7:30 P.M. EST   Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana
Watch/Listen Live:  Local TV: MyINDY TV-23  Streaming Video: ESPN3
THE EDDIES RETURN TO INDY

“Indiana’s Team” makes their return to Carroll Stadium this Saturday as the “Fight for Three” continues on home turf against Canadian rivals FC Edmonton. From the two sides’ first meeting in Spring 2014, Indy has held a diverse record when it comes to competition against the Eddies (3W-2D-4L, plus one postseason win).Despite forward Justin Braun’s Player of the Month performance and Indy’s position among the top three highest scoring clubs, Indy currently sits in sixth place after each of the club’s first five matches resulted in a draw. While the last regular season match against Edmonton ended in a 2-1 loss away from home, the “Boys in Blue” will continue to fight for NASL supremacy and seek redemption for lost points in previous encounters. FC Edmonton currently sits at the bottom of the 2017 table with three points and a record of 1W-0D-4L. Edmonton’s visit to the Circle City this Saturday will mark the end of a three-game travel week for the visitors. Prior to their match with Indy, Edmonton has lost 2-0 away at Miami FC during regular season play and a 1-0 defeat away to former Canadian NASL rivals Ottawa Fury FC in leg one of the Canadian Cup Championship. This Saturday also marks the third out of six games the Canadian side will have to play within a 14-day time span. This bombardment of matches bodes well for Eleven head coach Tim Hankinson, who hopes that his side can have a leg up on their competitors in the rest column.“Any team that plays in Miami in the heat and humidity, and has to travel internationally from Canada to that tip of the U.S., and then return, and then have to play against really what is an archrival team in Ottawa in the Canadian Cup…traveling again internationally here, the weather conditions won’t be an issues for them, but it takes something out of the team,” detailed Hankinson. “We’ve tried to manage our training to be as fresh as possible come Saturday because I think that fresh legs will be the difference maker.”

WHO TO WATCH INDY ELEVEN EDITION: DF LOVEL PALMER

After a Team of the Week performance in Week 6 against Jacksonville, Jamaican defender Lovel Palmer looks to continue to fortify Indy Eleven’s backline. Away to Armada FC, Palmer’s performance saw the NASL veteran accumulate a total of five clearances out of dangerous territory, five interceptions, a shot within the opposition’s box, and win 60-percent of his duels and while completing over three-fourths of his passes. The former Chicago Fire SC man now finds himself among the list of top players to complete clearances with 22 total for his season so far.This Saturday is projected to be Palmer’s first start against Edmonton on home turf, which his last performance against the visitors at home on July 23, 2017, saw the defender play eight minutes after subbing in for former Eleven midfelder Dylan Mares in the 82nd minute.

WHO TO WATCH FC EDMONTON EDITION: FW TOMI AMEOBI

England native and former Leeds United forward Tomi Ameobi returns for his fourth season with FC Edmonton. Since his arrival in Canada in 2015, Ameobi has tallied over 3,900 minutes of playtime over the span of 53 games and has netted 10 goals and three assists, making him the leading goalscorer for the current Eddies squad. During his breakout season in 2015, the Newcastle United youth product finished as co-leader in scoring with seven goals under his belt. In 2017, Ameobi has started the first five matches of Edmonton’s Spring season and has racked up a single goal for the Canadian side.Since August 2015, Ameobi has made a total of five appearances (four in regular season play & one in The 2016 Championship Semifinal) and has only managed one goal for his side in 358 minutes against the “Boys in Blue.”

MATCH-UP TO MARK: FW JUSTIN BRAUN VS. DF ALBERT WATSON

Earning NASL Player of the Month for the month of April, Justin Braun will be battling Albert Watson, one of Edmonton’s longest serving players in their current squad, for his position in the visitor’s box this Saturday when the “man on fire” clashes with the Irishman.Out of the six goals scored by “Indiana’s Team” on the season, Braun has been involved with all but one (three goals, two assists). In Week 6, Braun netted his 11th career goal for Indy in the 25th minute against Jacksonville Armada FC, which led him past former Eleven “original” Dylan Mares to claim second place on the club’s top goalscoring charts. Forward Eamon Zayed, who led the way in scoring in Indy’s 2016 campaign, has now been responsible for two (one goal, one assist), both of which have been linked with Braun. The striking duo’s interplay in front led Indy Eleven to a 2016 Spring Championship title and helped the club finish runner-up in the 2016 Championship finals, and the forwards are looking to improve upon their record.  Watson signed for FC Edmonton back in 2013 and has made full 90-minute appearances in seven of the nine regular season matches the Eddies have played against Indy. The U-23 Ireland National Team member currently sits in sixth place among the top players with 25 total clearances to his name. The former Linfield FC player also has completed over 80-percent of his passes, won four-fifths of his tackles and has provided a defensive wall with six blocks. The defender and his staunch protective nature will prove to be an obstacle for any attacker who crosses his path.

Armchair Analyst: MLS Match-up Week 10

May 5, 20179:30AM EDTMatthew DoyleSenior WriterThe 94th game of the 2017 MLS regular season will mark the quarter pole of this year’s circuit of 374 games. As such, next week’s content plan includes looks at some of our early-season award winners like MVP, Coach of the Year, Young Player of the Year, etc.  So keep that in mind as you watch this weekend’s games. Also keep in mind that, historically speaking, teams that are over the red line by mid-May have about a 90 percent success rate when it comes to staying in playoff position. That’s not a guarantee – everyone remembers what the Seattle Sounders and, to a lesser extent, D.C. United did last season.  Still, it’s something to be aware of. There’s a nasty habit of writing off early-season struggles and assuming a correction can be made come summer. But more often than not those corrections don’t actually fix teams that have, for one reason or another, looked broken.  On to the weekend ahead…

Call the Police

It’s fitting that the game wrapping up the season’s first quarter is the rematch of the one that capped last season, the 2016 MLS Cup final between Seattle and Toronto FC. This time it’ll be Seattle hosting, and Saturday’s contest (3 pm ET; ESPN & ESPN Deportes in US | CTV & TSN2 in Canada) gives us a chance to take the measure of the champs.  Attack-wise, they’re as they were last year, only more so because 1) Clint Dempsey is back and healthy and playing good soccer, and 2) Joevin Jones is even more comfortable with his role as an overlapping, attacking left back. There are a lot of reasons why the Sounders attack is so scary and so effective, and lots of those come down to the mastery of Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro, or the threat of Jordan Morris, or the cleverness of center forward Will Bruin or midfielder Harry Shipp (two guys that GM Garth Lagerwey picked up this winter for a song), or the platform provided by this team’s rock solid central midfield duo.  When the Sounders attack up that left flank they’re damn near unstoppable. Jones doesn’t just add an extra body: He adds an extra playmaker (five assists already this year), and that forces the opposing defense to either come all the way out to the touchline to meet him, or to track him all the way to the endline. While he’s doing that, Lodeiro has become expert at ghosting around into odd little pockets of space that no other attack in the league is quite multi-faceted enough to open up.It doesn’t always come off, obviously, but it’s quite a bit of fun to watch. The fact that they’re getting robbed by the woodwork at a record-shattering pace isn’t an indication that they’re cursed, rather that they’re creating the type of looks that eventually start to fall:

Washingtonians are having less fun watching the Seattle backline, which has been crippled by injury all year. Chad Marshall is still out, and it doesn’t seem like Brad Evans is all that close to returning. That’s left the Sounders in a situation where Tony Alfaro is getting decisive minutes maybe a little earlier than they’ve wanted, and where Gustav Svensson, a deep midfielder at heart, has spent more time in the heart of the defense and at right back than anyone would’ve expected.Now, teams have started to figure out they can bully Svensson in the box itself. Juan Agudelo dunked on him last week, and Jozy Altidore is even more of a physical presence than his younger countryman.The good news for Seattle is that Roman Torres is healthy and will probably be playing in the backline on Saturday (he played as a striker in his return to the lineup as a late-game toss-of-the-dice against the Revs, and it worked). He and Alfaro should start together, and Svensson should either get a break, or get shuffled back out to right back.I’ll also be watching: TFC are coming off a hard-fought, fast-paced midweek home win over Orlando City. So they’re traveling cross-country on short rest to play a non-conference road game during a month in which they’ve got eight games scheduled (including Canadian Championship work).There’s going to be some squad rotation here. Maybe even a lot of squad rotation.

Gonzalo Higuain’s goals put Juventus in commanding position vs. Monaco

MONACO — Three thoughts on an enthralling first leg at the Stade Louis II as Juventus picked up a commanding 2-0 win: 

  1. Juventus have one foot in the final

Wednesday’s result made it clear: Juventus have one foot in the Champions League final. It would take an astonishing second-leg turnaround, even allowing for the gifts of this Monaco side, to deny them after a 2-0 victory earned through a superb goal in each half from Gonzalo Higuain. The first half will be replayed for weeks; the second might well have decided the tie and, in the end, Juventus deserved nothing less.The key for Massimiliano Allegri’s side was depriving Monaco of the kind of momentum that has blown other opponents away. They took the sting out of the opening 10 minutes and had the first half-chance when Dani Alves, connecting at the back post, volleyed just over the head of an unmarked Mario Mandzukic.Yet the joy of Monaco this season has been that chances tend to come along so easily. Two excellent openings fell to Kylian Mbappe as they settled into the game: the 18-year-old headed straight at Gianluigi Buffon when he should have done far better. Then, in the 16th minute, he got in front of his marker sharply to direct a fizzing Nabil Dirar cross toward goal. This time, Buffon’s save down at his near post was superb.All of a sudden, Buffon was busy. Radamel Falcao was next to threaten, looping a header that the keeper had to claw away. Juventus were under real pressure now, but as sides of their experience do, they responded emphatically and Higuain’s goal was sublime. The striker sent Alves scampering away down the inside-right channel before, in a stunning piece of synchronicity, arriving at the perfect time to side-foot the Brazilian’s astute back-heel past Danijel Subasic.Now the wind had gone from Monaco’s sails and it took until after the interval for them to regain a head of steam. Then, it took just two minutes for Falcao to sidefoot at Buffon after being played in by Bernardo Silva. Monaco had upped the tempo but it was another big miss and Claudio Marchisio, shooting at the legs of Subasic, almost made them pay again.The reprieve was only temporary. Juve’s second goal arrived just before the hour when the outstanding Alves robbed a dithering Tiemoue Bakayoko, received a pass from Paulo Dybala and crossed perfectly for the onrushing Higuain at the far post. The finish was again clinical. Juventus’ celebrations allowed no doubt about the goal’s importance, and Monaco, for all their endeavour, had no answer in the remaining 31 minutes.It will have to be some response on Tuesday if they are to trouble the Italians further.

  1. Dani Alves rolls back the years in vintage performance

At times, Allegri’s side were stretched more than at any point in this Champions League campaign, but they got the job done with some conviction, and the sense grows that there is no better team in Europe at the moment.While Higuain and Buffon will take the headlines, this was also a triumph for a manager who continues to impress. With Sami Khedira suspended and Monaco holding a physical advantage in central midfield, he opted for a three-man central defence with wing-backs to either side.While the idea was to shore things up, the move made a decisive difference in attacking areas. That is largely because Alves, who turns 34 on Saturday, put in a performance reminiscent of his most dynamic days at Barcelona and Sevilla.His two assists, a sparkling run and back-heel for the first goal and a perfectly weighted cross for the second after he’d pressed high up the pitch to win the ball back, were of the highest quality, and he gave Djibril Sidibe (primarily a right-back but repositioned to the left) an uncomfortable night throughout. Alex Sandro had slightly more trouble against Nabil Dirar on the other side, but it was Alves, whose energy levels never dropped, who made the difference.Juventus’ defence gave up chances but, when they were extended, the peerless Buffon was in immaculate form. His final save of the night was a last-minute tip-over from Valere Germain’s header. Had that gone in, there would have been a morsel of encouragement from Monaco, but the visitors were, overall, convincing winners. They play with a level of control and flexibility across all areas of the pitch that few can match, and it came to the fore yet again here.Juventus are utterly ruthless at both ends of the pitch; can anyone stop them now? 

  1. Mbappe and Monaco fall just short

It’s no surprise that 18-year-old strikers will miss chances, but it said something for the regard in which Mbappe is held that his 13th-minute miss, a harmless nod at Buffon when he had both space and time, was so surprising. Mbappe is such a razor-sharp customer, and his lavish talent was evident in abundance here; he will regret not opening the scoring, though, and it was symptomatic of a night on which Monaco did not quite fire.They have an uphill task now, but if Allegri retains the same formation in Turin, Juventus’ gnarled back three will know to expect a vigorous examination in the second leg. Among Mbappe’s many impressive facets is that he shirks nothing: he was back for more within moments of that fluffed header, forcing Buffon into a much more difficult save, and there was a spell before Higuain’s tie-altering goal when he had his battle-worn opponents firmly on the back foot.Mbappe’s work rate and cleverly timed spins out to the left caused problems throughout; perhaps the best example of his all-round package came a few seconds after the break when a wonderful, cushioned touch past Leonardo Bonucci and jet-heeled dash into the area led to a cutback that none of his teammates could put away. Like his pursuers, perhaps they simply could not keep up.Monaco will rue their missed opportunities (and Mbappe was not the only culprit) but eventually their inexperience told. They were not helped by a hamstring injury to their flying left-back, Benjamin Mendy, that ruled him out of the match and meant the equally exhilarating Sidibe had to be redeployed in his position. The balance and directness that have characterised so much of their play were not quite there and barring one cute pass for Falcao, the creative wiles of Bernardo Silva were relatively subdued too.The error by Bakayoko that led to Higuain’s second goal spoke volumes: in the end Juventus were just slicker and sharper. This tie was never going to make or break the careers of Mbappe and his thrilling young cohort but you wonder whether they will be seen at this level in Monaco’s colours again.Nick Ames is a football journalist who writes for ESPN FC on a range of topics. Twitter: @NickAmes82.

 Timely Higuain, tactical tweak have Juventus on brink of Champions League final

QUICKLY  It was the Gonzalo Higuain and Dani Alves show in Monaco, where Juventus extended its shutout streak to 621 minutes and took a big step toward the Champions League final.JONATHAN WILSON2 hours ago

 The Champions League looks set for a repeat of the 1998 final after Juventus took charge of its semifinal against Monaco with a 2-0 victory in the principality a day after Cristiano Ronaldo-led Real Madrid seized a 3-0 lead after the home leg of its semifinal against Atletico Madrid.Monaco never hit its stride at home, failing to score in a league or Champions League game for only the third time this season (running Juventus’s shutout streak in the competition to 621 minutes), and it was undone by two goals from Gonzalo Higuain, both of them set up by Dani Alves.Here are three thoughts on Juventus’s win, which puts the club on course for a June 3 date in Cardiff.

Allegri’s tactical tweak works wonders

Max Allegri sprang a major surprise by reverting to the back three that Juve used with such success under Antonio Conte rather than the 4-2-3-1 that has been the usual formation this season. That meant Andrea Barzagli returning at the expense of Juan Cuadrado, with Dani Alves and Alex Sandro pushing up as wingbacks. That perhaps was an attempt to engage Monaco’s attacking fullbacks higher up the pitch–although they were less threatening than usual.One of the first-choice pair, Benjamin Mendy, was out with an injury suffered against Toulouse over the weekend and the other, Djibril Sidibe was playing on the opposite side than usual to allow Nabil Dirar to come in on the right. Monaco’s midfield four plays very narrow, meaning the fullbacks are critical to Leonardo Jardim’s side having width. Whether it was because of the change of personnel or Juve’s tactics, that threat never materialized.Having the old BBC central defense–Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini–back in harness also ensured there was an extra man to help deal with the twin attacking threat of Radamel Falcao and Kylian Mbappe, both of whom threatened only sporadically.

Higuain comes through at last

Higuain has developed a reputation as a player who cannot do it when the pressure is really on. He missed clear chances in both the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America finals, and lost in three Champions League semifinals with Real Madrid.In 24 previous Champions League knockout ties, he’d scored only two goals, neither of them away from home. He looked a little out of sorts to start on Wednesday, wasting three promising opportunities, but, after 29 minutes, he rounded off a brilliant move to give Juventus the lead.  It was a sequence that began with the ball at the feet of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. He rolled it right to Barzagli, who went forward and inside to Claudio Marchisio, in for the suspended Sami Khedira. Marchisio clipped a pass forward and right for Paulo Dybala and the young Argentine flicked it inside for Dani Alves, who surged forward and gave the ball to Higuain in the center circle. He played a return, leading Dani Alves to scamper on into the right edge of the box. Kamil Glik seemed to have held him up, but the Brazilian back-heeled the ball into the path of Higuain, chugging up in support, and he stroked a first-time finish into the bottom corner, a goal of uplifting smoothness and geometry.Having ended a four-year wait for a Champions League knockout goal, Higuain soon scored a second. Earlier this season, the Argentine quoted advice once given to him by Ruud van Nistelrooy about overcoming goal droughts, likening them to ketchup bottles: “You try but they won’t come out. Then…they all come out at once.” And it proved, as Higuain put Juve up two just before the hour mark. The source was the same, Dybala and Dani Alves combining on the right before the latter shaped in a perfect fading cross for Higuain, arriving at the back post, to score with a low volley.

Monaco’s attack blunted

Surprising as the Juventus shape was, the plan worked. This is a Monaco side that has scored 146 goals this seasons, but this is a Juventus side that has conceded only two so far in the Champions League. There is a toughness about Juve as well as the capacity to read the game, exemplified by the elbow Chiellini planted on Falcao midway through the second half. The referee showed only a yellow card, suggesting he felt the act was careless rather than malicious–certainly Chiellini didn’t look at Falcao–but at the very least he knew where to leave his elbow to protect himself. In an era of high-tempo, high-pressing football, there’s something almost old-fashioned about such cynical arts.There were some concerns early on for Juve as the brilliant 18-year-old Mbappe twice went close. First he planted a free header straight at Buffon and then he made a sharp run between Chiellini and Bonucci to meet a Dirar cross. Again Buffon saved. Falcao had a couple of chances at the beginning of each half and was denied by Buffon on both occasions, and Valere Germain had a late leader tipped over by the keeper.But those threats were patchy, for all that Monaco dominated possession. Dirar bent in a few dangerous crosses, but after that first quarter-hour or so there was little in the way of sustained threat, while Juve always offers menace on the break. Marchisio, in fact, should have scored just after halftime as Monaco lost possession in the face of a rare Juve press.

Power Rankings: Juventus hold firm in top spot, Real Madrid still No. 2

Juventus keep rolling! Their impressive win at Monaco keeps them top of Shaka Hislop’s Power Rankings while Real and Chelsea stay second and third.

  1. Juventus(no change)

Sure, they dropped two league points by conceding late at Atalanta but such is Juve’s Serie A lead that they could win the title this weekend. The more relevant result last week was a superb 2-0 win in Monaco, which means Max Allegri’s men have one foot in the Champions League final.

  1. Real Madrid(no change)

After the trauma of losing El Clasico in such dramatic fashion, Madrid looked set to drop more points when Valencia equalised late on Saturday. But Marcelo popped up with a winner and then, three days later, Cristiano Ronaldo destroyed Atletico. All is well at the Bernabeu again!

  1. Chelsea(no change)

A trip to Everton was viewed as a potential bump in the road on the way to winning the Premier League title, but Antonio Conte’s side responded in the way that champions do. Three second-half goals earned an emphatic win and saw Chelsea maintain their four-point lead at the top.

  1. Barcelona(no change)

A city derby at Espanyol yielded a 3-0 win that sees Barca, who have won four straight league games and scored 16 goals in the process, keep the pressure on leaders Madrid. Luis Suarez scored twice to end a goalless run of five games; he now has 34 in all competitions this season.

  1. Bayern Munich(new)

They’re back! Sealing the German Bundesliga was on their agenda after last week’s German Cup semifinal defeat, and guess what? They did it in fine fashion, thrashing Wolfsburg 6-0 to record a remarkable fifth straight league title.

  1. Monaco(-1)

Three points clear and with a game in hand, the French league title is within touching distance for Monaco after they won and Paris Saint-Germain lost at the weekend. Having gone down to Juventus, though, European glory might be a step too far, this season at least.

  1. Atletico Madrid(no change)

Winning 5-0 at Las Palmas appeared to be ideal perfect preparation for a Champions League derby but, unlike so many times when they have given Madrid all they can handle, Atletico offered so little on Tuesday. In the space of 90 minutes, their season might have ground to a halt.

  1. Tottenham(new)

Winning the derby over rivals Arsenal marked Mauricio Pochettino’s side as the kings of North London for the first time in 22 years. It was a sweet bonus after such an emphatic 2-0 win that really could have been 5-0 were it not for Petr Cech. There’s a lot to love about this Spurs team … assuming Daniel Levy can keep them all after this summer’s transfer window.

  1. Borussia Dortmund(no change)

Dortmund’s 0-0 draw with Cologne was a fine follow-up to beating Bayern last week as Thomas Tuchel & Co. try to finish in the top three.

  1. AS Roma(-4)

Roma did lose the Rome derby 3-1 vs. Lazio, but the Giallorossi are still playing better than their immediate rivals for the final place in the top 10. And let’s face it: Derbies are notoriously impossible to call. The drive of Edin Dzeko and Mo Salah should be enough for Luciano Spalletti’s side to finish second behind Juventus in Serie A this season.Dropping out: Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig.Shaka Hislop played for over 10 years in the Premier League and represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 World Cup. Watch him on ESPN FC TV!

U.S. Hot List: Gonzalez, Miazga win trophies, Green struggling for time

It is hard to believe, but the United States national team is just weeks away from gearing up for a busy summer of international soccer, which includes a pair of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers in early June and then the Gold Cup in July.Here are the highlighted players, for better or worse, from the past week.

 

Heating up:

 

Juan Agudelo, FW, New England Revolution (MLS)

Why he’s here: Agudelo was superb in a two-goal performance as the Revolution played to a 3-3 draw against the Seattle Sounders. But the goals only tell half the story. Agudelo also showed off his hold-up play, passing skills and improved defensive work.

What this means: It will be hard to break up U.S. coach Bruce Arena’s preferred forward partnership of Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, and there are other strikers, such as Bobby Wood, who will be in the mix, but Agudelo is certainly making a strong case. And if not the qualifiers, then one has to think the Gold Cup will be on the docket for the Revs forward.

Omar Gonzalez, DF, Pachuca (Liga MX)

Why he’s here: It was quite the week for the former LA Galaxy defender. On Wednesday, Gonzalez started and went the full 90 minutes helping Pachuca clinch the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League with a 1-0 win over Tigres in the second leg. That was followed three days later by a solid 90-minute performance in a 2-2 draw against Cruz Azul.

What this means: While Gonzalez’s performances in a U.S. jersey have not been up to the standard that he has maintained in Liga MX — the 2-0 loss at Guatemala in March 2016 and last November’s 4-0 defeat at Costa Rica are the most glaring examples — Gonzalez is likely to play a key role for the Yanks in the June qualifiers. His Liga MX experience will be invaluable when the U.S. steps onto the Estadio Azteca turf on June 11 to face Mexico.

Matt Miazga, DF, Vitesse Arnhem (Eredivisie)

Why he’s here: For the first time in its 125-year history, Dutch club Vitesse won a major trophy with a 2-0 win in the Dutch Cup final over AZ Alkmaar in which Miazga started and went the distance. The Chelsea loanee has appeared in 21 of Vitesse’s 32 league matches this season.

What this means: Despite John Brooks’ injury woes, Miazga likely won’t feature in the June qualifiers since Arena has shown that he prefers other center-back options such as Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream. But the Gold Cup would serve as a great way for Miazga to get some big-game national team experience.

Benny Feilhaber, MF, Sporting Kansas City (MLS)

Why he’s here: Feilhaber is no stranger to the spectacular, and he put on another show last Saturday with a stunning strike from distance in Sporting Kansas City’s 3-0 win over Real Salt Lake, his second goal of the young season.

What this means: Feilhaber has hit the ground running since returning from a hamstring injury on April 15, and any time he is on the field, Sporting Kansas City is a better team. More performances like last Saturday’s will put the veteran midfielder in discussion for a roster spot for next month’s qualifiers.

Cooling off:

Julian Green, MF, Stuttgart (2. Bundesliga)

Why he’s here: The 21-year-old Green was once again an unused substitute in Stuttgart’s 3-2 victory at Nurnberg. It was the fourth match in a row in which Green has failed to see any action, and he has played in just two matches since March 10.

What this means: While the lack of minutes at star-studded Bayern Munich was understandable and the failed loan to Hamburg two seasons ago could be attributed to a young player still trying to find his way, the hope was that Green, who turns 22 in June, would have had greater success thus far at Stuttgart. Now, Green’s chances of a Gold Cup spot appear to be fading, but with the tournament scheduled for July, it may well behoove Green to instead focus on having a strong preseason with Stuttgart, who look set for a Bundesliga return in 2017-18.

Jorge Villafana, DF, Santos Laguna (Liga MX)

Why he’s here: Perhaps it is harsh to include a player in the Cooling Off section that just made his seventh straight start and helped his team clinch a Liguilla spot, but it has to be said that Villafana struggled a lot in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Chiapas. He was unable to clear a ball that led to the first Chiapas goal and then fell while trying to defend on the second Chiapas score.

What this means: Villafana started the two March qualifiers back when he wasn’t even getting any first-team minutes at Santos, so a mini-slump will likely not change Arena’s opinion.

Jermaine Jones, MF, LA Galaxy (MLS)

Why he’s here: Playing in a more advanced role, Jones was unable to help the Galaxy solve their attacking woes in a 0-0 draw versus the Philadelphia Union. Jones had the biggest miss of all when he popped a wide-open header well over the crossbar.

What this means: Arena is a big fan of Jones, evidenced by his most recent start in the qualifier against Panama, so Jones’ early season struggles with the Galaxy won’t likely damage his national team standing.

Alfredo Morales, MF, Ingolstadt (Bundesliga)

Why he’s here: A sending off is never a way to earn favor, but that’s what happened to Morales, who picked up two yellow cards in relegation-threatened Ingolstadt’s 0-0 draw with RB Leipzig.

What this means: While Morales did feature for the U.S. in the 2015 Gold Cup, his chances of getting a call for the 2017 edition are slim at best.

U.S. Hot List: Dempsey, Morris impress but defensive injuries are a concern

One U.S. national team mainstay made consecutive Premier League starts for the first time since August, while another is heading back to England’s top flight after a productive detour in the second tier. In MLS, meanwhile, several attacking players are showing off their sharpness, but there’s also worrying injury news for Bruce Arena, both at home and overseas.

With the start of the next national team camp just over a month away, which Americans are trending north and whose stock is heading the other direction?

 Warming up

 Clint Dempsey, FW; Seattle Sounders (MLS)

Why he’s here: Dempsey took a ridiculous eight shots — scoring once and adding an assist — in Sunday’s 3-0 rout of the reeling LA Galaxy.

What this means: With seven goals in the nine games he’s played for club and country over the last month, Dempsey is back to his best. That could mean a selection headache for Arena in June if Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood are also healthy. But it’s a good problem for the U.S. coach to have.

 Jordan Morris, MF/FW; Seattle Sounders (MLS)

Why he’s here: The 22-year-old scored his second goal of the season in the win at LA.

What this means: A pair of strikes in seven appearances is respectable enough but more impressive than the numbers is how Morris’ runs have become sharper and his finishing cleaner in his second season as a professional. Both were on display last Sunday.

 DeAndre Yedlin, DF; Newcastle United (English League Championship)

Why he’s here: On Monday, the 23-year-old veteran of the 2014 World Cup watched from the bench as his club beat Preston North End 4-1 to secure promotion to the Premier League for next season.

What this means: Yedlin’s gamble paid off. The former Tottenham full-back played well in the Prem last season on loan with Sunderland and wanted to stay there but, instead, moved to rivals Newcastle because Sunderland wouldn’t pay Spurs’ asking price. He’s spent most of the season as first-choice right-back and now Yedlin will get to test himself against all-world competition in the run-up to Russia 2018, while Sunderland look likely to be relegated.

 

Darlington Nagbe, MF; Portland Timbers (MLS)

Why he’s here: This brilliant individual goal in Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over the Vancouver Whitecaps:

What this means: Nagbe’s confidence is clearly sky high after starting two World Cup qualifiers last month. The knocks against the Akron alum throughout his MLS career have been a lack of production and a tendency to drift out of games. But the technically gifted 26-year-old has been at the heart of everything for the Western Conference-leading Timbers in the seven games he’s played this year, with his two goals already doubling his 27-match total in 2016.

 Geoff Cameron, DF/MF; Stoke City (English Premier League)

Why he’s here: Cameron has gone the distance in Stoke’s last four contests after recovering from the strained quad he suffered during the U.S.’ win against Honduras last month.

What this means: Manager Mark Hughes once again deployed Cameron as a central midfielder at Swansea, just as he has in the 31-year-old’s eight league games this calendar year. It makes you wonder if Arena might try the versatile vet alongside Michael Bradley in the June 3 friendly vs. Venezuela and, if that goes well, subsequent qualifiers against Trinidad and Tobago (June 8) and Mexico (June 11).

 

Brad Guzan, GK; Middlesbrough (English Premier League)

Why he’s here: With starter Victor Vales sidelined by a rib injury, Guzan has been between the posts in relegation-fighting Boro’s last two games — his first back-to-back league starts in eight months — and should keep his place for looming tests against Sunderland and stacked Manchester City.

What this means: It sure doesn’t hurt Guzan to get some important games in before U.S. camp opens at the end of next month, especially with Tim Howard still serving a suspension in MLS. Still, one has to think that Howard remains Arena’s first choice.

 

Joe Corona, MF; Tijuana (Mexican Liga MX)

Why he’s here: Corona’s second goal of the season — and first since Jan. 13 — stood up as the winner Friday against Toluca, a victory that left Xolos alone atop the Mexican standings.

What this means: The 26-year-old No. 8, who hasn’t played for the U.S. since 2015, continues — slowly but surely — to build a case for his national team return.

Cooling down

John Brooks, DF; Hertha Berlin (German Bundesliga)

Why he’s here: Brooks is out indefinitely after sustaining a hip injury during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Wolfsburg.

What this means: If Brooks is still sidelined a month from now it will be a blow but not a disaster for the U.S., which has gotten used to being without the brittle center-back for important qualifiers. Tim Ream figures to be next man up in that scenario.

 

Nick Rimando, GK; Real Salt Lake (MLS)

Why he’s here: Rimando has made several costly blunders this season, including two that led to goals in Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to expansion side Atlanta United. The 37-year-old was later forced to leave the match with a leg injury.

What this means: Whether Rimando is even available next month remains to be seen. Either way, the door could be opening for another MLS keeper to stake his claim for the third-string job, with Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls), Bill Hamid (D.C. United) and David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes) the leading candidates.

 Michael Orozco, DF; Tijuana (Mexican Liga MX)

Why he’s here: The 31-year-old has missed Xolos’ last three games because of a knee injury.

What this means: With just two league games left on Tijuana’s regular-season slate, Orozco is in a race against time to return for the playoffs. If he’s unable to participate between now and the end of the postseason, then it’s hard to see him being part of Arena’s May and June plans.Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.

MLS expansion latest: Tampa Bay’s vote; Beckham’s new investor; a pulse for St. Louis?

QUICKLY

  • Stay up to date on the latest across the MLS expansion landscape, with the league continuing to churn on its decisions for the next franchises to enter the fold.SHAREBRIAN STRAUSFriday April 28th, 2017

Once again, the future of an MLS expansion effort is in voters’ hands. Three weeks ago, the citizens of St. Louis decided against providing funding for a soccer stadium. Next Tuesday, the St. Petersburg half of the Tampa Bay metro area will decide whether the Rowdies’ bid will move forward.There isn’t nearly as much money at stake in the St. Petersburg vote and thus, a much greater likelihood the Rowdies will get the result they need. But Rick Baker is taking no chances. The president of The Edwards Group (led by Rowdies owner Bill Edwards) knows a thing or two about elections. He was elected mayor of St. Petersburg twice. And he told SI.com this week that no matter the odds or outlook, there are only two ways to approach a vote: “One is unopposed. The other is scared,” Baker said.

So he’s literally been going door to door in an effort to share the Rowdies’ plans with area residents. Unlike the very public campaign waged in St. Louis, the MLS hopefuls in Tampa Bay are staying relatively quiet and working the grassroots. Baker said he’s visited some 50 groups in person over the past two months: neighborhood and homeowners associations, condo boards, rotary clubs and business owners. The Rowdies also sought the opinion of area stakeholders and event organizers during the stadium design phase.  “It was important to Bill that we reach out to the community directly … and have a chance to see people face-to-face and give us an opportunity to respond to concerns,” Baker said. “We’ve used this opportunity of a referendum to explain why we think [the vote] is a good thing and also to try to help them understand why we think soccer is important to the city’s future.”Edwards and the Rowdies aren’t asking for money. Instead, they want permission to sign a 25-year lease with the city of St. Petersburg that will allow the club to upgrade Al Lang Stadium to meet MLS standards and then play there for the long term. Any lease on city-owned waterfront property that’s greater than five years requires public approval. Edwards is financing the special election himself to the tune of $280,000, and plans to spend $80 million of his own money to transform Al Lang into an iconic venue that looks out onto Tampa Bay and sits alongside the 2,000-seat Mahaffey Theater and the Salvador Dalí Museum, which holds the largest collection of the Spanish artist’s work outside Europe.   Edwards also will foot the $150 million MLS expansion fee.So who would vote against it?“At this point, there really is no organized opposition that I’m aware of,” said Baker, who was mayor from 2001 to 2010. “People have questions about whether we have sufficient parking. Have you accommodated the lighting? In order to deal with the condominiums surrounding the stadium, do we have transportation covered—those kinds of questions. So we wanted to get around and talk to people.”The city has 168,000 eligible voters and nearly 22,000 ballots already have been sent in by mail. Saint Petersblog, a local news blog, conducted a poll in early April and reported that 70% of voters are expected to approve the referendum, with 19% opposing and 11% undecided.“If we pass the referendum, there’s a high degree of certainty associated with our stadium plan. That’s a pretty good advantage we have in our corner,” Baker said.But there’s no telling whether it’ll be enough to sway MLS. Competition for the four available expansion slots—at least two are expected to be awarded by the end of the year—is fierce. In Tampa Bay’s corner: it’s the 11th largest media market in the country and now the biggest without an MLS team, the aforementioned stadium certainty and the history behind the Rowdies brand. Potential pitfalls could be Tampa/St. Petersburg’s proximity to Orlando (plus a possible expansion team in Miami) and perceived competition from the Lightning, Rays and the array of annual or one-time sporting events staged in the area.“Everything that we’ve heard either privately or publicly from folks at MLS about Orlando is that not only is it not seen as an impediment, but it’s seen as a positive thing because of the opportunity to have a great rivalry down the I4 corridor,” Baker said.Orlando City plays about 110 miles from Al Lang and Miami is 260 miles to the south—that’s greater than the distance between Washington, D.C., and New York City.“I haven’t heard how [Miami] would impact us either way. Our perspective is that we’re just doing our thing,” Baker said.Whether the Rowdies can keep doing their thing will be determined Tuesday.“Hopefully we get over the hurdle. It’s still a hurdle,” said Baker, who will remain “scared” until the final votes are counted.Meanwhile, the Rowdies have averaged 5,591 fans at their four home games so far this season. That ranks eighth in the 30-team USL, behind rival MLS expansion bidders FC Cincinnati, Sacramento Republic, San Antonio FC and Phoenix Rising.Speaking of rival bids, here’s an update on some other areas of the MLS expansion landscape:

Time ticks on Beckham, Miami | Do St. Louis, Charlotte bids have a pulse? | Quiet confidence in Sacramento | San Diegans sign on | Nashville meets with Garber

 Arsene Wenger out to end Jose Mourinho hoodoo in Arsenal vs. United

Arsene Wenger has never beaten Jose Mourinho in the Premier League.Mourinho will need that trend to continue if he is to take Manchester United into the top four this season. A draw, though, is no good for United this Sunday. Victories are needed to overtake Manchester City and Liverpool in the fight to finish in the Champions League places. Arsenal need three points to boost their own hopes of the top four while higher up, the title race remains alive after Tottenham beat the Gunners last week. Spurs can cut the gap to just one point if they beat West Ham on Friday before Chelsea host Middlesbrough on Monday.Predict the outcome of the latest round of fixtures in our match polls …

ARSENAL: Wenger has never recorded a Premier League victory over Mourinho, and with Arsenal in this form it doesn’t feel as if that’s likely to happen anytime soon. With Mourinho’s focus now arguably on the Europa League, he’s likely to be content to shut this game down and take a point.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Manchester United — James McNicholas

MAN UNITED: Mourinho has claimed that he way rest players for Manchester United’s trip to the Emirates so he can prioritise the Europa League semifinal. That may well be the case, but you would imagine that the manager will put something in place to deny Wenger a victory. Defensively, United will struggle, given how many players are missing through injury and how many others are exhausted through the lack of rotation. However, tactics similar to those employed at Man City might be on show. If someone like Anthony Martial or Henrikh Mkhitaryan can come up with a top performance, United may surprise a few people.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Manchester United  — Scott Patterson

INDY ELEVEN FORWARD JUSTIN BRAUN NAMED NASL PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Salt Lake City native leads league in scoring, assists after fast start in 2017

NEW YORK (May 4, 2017) – Indy Eleven forward Justin Braun has been named North American Soccer League (NASL) Player of the Month for April after emerging from the first five games as the league’s leading scorer. The award is voted on by NASL media.With three goals and two assists so far this season, Braun sits atop the league’s scoring chart and is tied for the league lead in assists. The 30-year-old veteran’s best game of the opening month came on April 1 when he tallied two goals and an assist in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Puerto Rico FC. He scored the all-important equalizer to help Indy extend its record-setting home unbeaten streak at the time, and ultimately earned NASL Player of the Week honors for his performance.Braun’s third goal of the month came just last weekend in Jacksonville, where the Boys in Blue earned a 1-1 draw to stay undefeated on the season. He opened the scoring before Armada FC fought back to earn a share of the points.A tireless striker who seemingly never loses energy, Braun has played every minute of every game in 2017 and also leads Indy in shots. He has been a valuable asset in the air as well, leading the club in aerial duels won.Braun, an imposing figure standing 6-foot-3, joined the club in early 2016 from USL side Sacramento Republic, and ended up turning in a solid first season for Indiana’s Team. The Utah native scored eight goals and racked up five assists in 25 league appearances last year.Indy, which has drawn its first five games, returns home this Saturday to host FC Edmonton, the side it beat in The Championship Semifinals last November. Kickoff at Carroll Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and the Week 7 clash can be seen live on ESPN3 (U.S.) and NASL.com (Canada).

BEN SPEAS WINS PLAY OF THE MONTH

The midfielder’s masterful chip vs. Puerto Rico FC voted best for April award  May 5, 2017

Indy Eleven played to a thrilling 3-3 draw with Puerto Rico FC back in Week 2 of the NASL Spring Season. It was Indy’s 2017 home debut and the first chance for new signing Ben Speas to play in front of the home support. The midfielder certainly didn’t disappoint.  For the second goal in the match, Speas timed his run to perfection, recieving the ball from forward Justin Braun, and then finished with aplomb. He chipped Puerto Rico FC goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg for his first Indy goal, and the tally has won NASL Play of the Month, voted on by the fans. http://www.indyeleven.com/news/2017/05/05/ben-speas-wins-play-of-the-month

THREE THINGS: #JAX V INDY 11

Justin Braun picks up top scoring honor in fifth consecutive draw May 1, 2017

BRAUN TAKES THE LEAD

After sitting in a six-way tie going into Week 6, Indy Eleven’s forward Justin Braun forged ahead on Saturday night to take the lead in the race to become the top goal scorer in the league. Braun linked up with striking partner Eamon Zayed in spectacular fashion in the 25th minute to zip past Jacksonville Armada FC’s offside trap, and followed up his run by narrowly avoiding a sliding tackle from Armada ‘keeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell to comfortably send the ball into the back of the net. However, Braun’s goal wasn’t enough to stop the table toppers after Armada forward Johnathan Glenn headed his first goal of 2017 from a corner five minutes later.Braun takes the number one spot on the list with three goals, leaving behind a now seven-way tie for second place; Hector Ramos (PRFC), Stefano Pinho (MIA), Kwadwo Poku (MIA), J.C. Banks (JAX), Thomas Heinemann (SFD), Lance Laing (NCFC) and Matthew Fondy (NCFC) all sit in second place with two goals each. After taking a fifth consecutive point in the 2017 season, “Indiana’s Team” remains amongst the top three highest-scoring teams in the league and remains one of two teams undefeated in 2017.

TORRADO CONTINUES TO DOMINATE

During Week 5’s 0-0 home draw against San Francisco Deltas, “Boys in Blue” midfielder Gerardo Torrado took home the honor of Wick’s Pie Chart Player of the Match for his outstanding performance and looked to replicate his performance in Week 6. “El Borrego’s” 90-minute performance saw the Mexico National Team legend win 100-percent of his tackles, complete nearly four-fifths of his passes and win the same amount of duels, and gained two interceptions for his side. Torrado’s versatile playstyle in the midfield makes him a viable attacking and defending option in any situation.While Torrado showed great defensive awareness on Saturday, good work from the rest of the team doesn’t go unnoticed. In similar fashion, Indy defender Lovel Palmer had a stellar performance, completing 85-percent of his passes, winning four-fifths of his duels, claiming four interceptions and clearing the ball six times.

WELCOME TO THE NASL, DAVID GOLDSMITH

In the dying minutes of the match, Indy Eleven forward David Goldsmith made his professional debut against Jacksonville Armada FC. The Bristol, England native came on the pitch in the 88th minute for midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic as a last minute injection of fresh, attacking legs to help attempt to break the stalemate. Though the contest ended in a draw, hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come for the young striker.Prior to joining Indy Eleven, Goldsmith played for university champion side Butler University. Goldsmith helped secure Butler’s 2016 Big East Championship title, paving the way by scoring 12 goals and helping the team to earn 28 points, which ranked him among the top 20 goal scorers in the nation. In addition to his championship title run, Goldsmith also picked up several other awards, including: Big East Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year (2016), All-Big East First Team, Big East Co-Offensive Player of the Year (2016) and semifinalist for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, the sport’s most prestigious collegiate award. Goldsmith is among three of the “Boys in Blue” to sign for the club out of college this season; Both Tanner Thompson and Christian Lomeli, Indiana University graduated, penned their names on contracts for the Eleven before the start of the 2017 season.Don’t miss out on the first chance to see “Indiana’s Team” in the new adidas home kits this Saturday as they continue the “Fight for Three” on home turf.

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5/2/17 Champs League, Indy 11 Tix Discount for Sat Night Game, MLS vs Real Madrid All Star Game Pre-Sale Ticket link, Game TV Schedule

 

So it appears I messed something up on the Indy 11 Discount Ticket Link – lets try this again with the actual link this time: http://2017specialmh.indyeleven.com   Again this is for games in May/June/July so take advantage of these discounted prices on this link as I don’t know how long this link will be live.  The Indy 11 managed a 1-1 tie on the road at Top Ranked Jacksonville as they join the Armada as one of 2 teams without a loss on the season.  The 11 look to extend their NASL Record Non-Losing Streak to 21 games as they face FC Edmonton this weekend at 7:30 pm at the MIKE.

In other news the MLS Allstar game featuring defending Champions League Champs Real Madrid vs the MLS All-Stars will be held in Chicago on Wednesday Night, Aug 2 at Soldier Field.  I am planning to go and would love to set up a caravan up there if anyone else wants to come.  This is an exclusive link to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public Thursday morninghttps://www1.ticketmaster.com/event/0400524DB5832485?CAMEFROM=CFC_MLG_17ASG_PREFIREDATABASE  Tickets are about $60 in the upper decks and $90 for level 2 behind the goals (where we are looking) RE: If you would like to order tickets together and head over.

Champions League is to the Final 4 teams – and wow has Renaldo come alive for Real Madrid.  I’ll admit I was wearing my Atleti Jersey when Renaldo struck for his 42nd Hat Trick and scored 3 goals in back to back games for the first time in a long time in Champions League play in the big 3-0 win at home.  By the way what were those ugly black and gold jersey’s Atleti were wearing?  They looked like Dortmund – all the way to the no DEFENSE NEEDED.  We’ll see if the Madradista’s can continue their dominance next Wed at the Cauldron looking to become the first back to back Champions League winner in the modern era.   In the other match-up Juventus – the old lady – will look to use home field advantage in their matchup with the upstart Frenchmen from Monaco.  That game kicks off Wednesday at 2;45 pm on Fox Sports 1 from Turin, Italy.   Finally Man U is still looking to sneak into Champions League position next year by winning the Europa League this year – they travel to Celta Vigo for round 1 at 3 pm on Thurs. on Fox Sport 2.

Carmel FC is proud to be hosting Challenge Cup and State Cup games this weekend May 5-7 at the River Road fields in East Carmel about 2 miles from Badger.  CFC parents sign up here if you would be willing to volunteer to help: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090b44aaad22a0fe3-carmel.

GAMES ON TV  

Tues  –May 2  Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1    Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid

Weds May 3  –Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1    Monaco vs Juventus

Thur  –May 4   Europa League 

3 pm FoxSport2    Celta Vigo vs  Man U

Fri, May 5

3 pm NBCSN                   West Ham vs Tottenham

Sat, May 6

7:30 am NBCSN            Man City vs Crystal Palace

9:30 am                             Dortmund vs Hoffenhiem

12:30 pm                         beIN Spo   Barcelona vs Villarreal

12:30 pm NBC live    Swansea vs Everton

2:45 pm beIN sport   Granada vs Real Madrid

2:55 pm ESPN               Seattle host Toronto FC (replay of Champ game)

7:30 pm  Myindy TV  Indy 11 vs Edmonton                      

Sun, May 7

8:30 am NBCSN            Liverpool vs Southhampton

11 am NBCSN                Arsenal vs Man United

1:30 pm                            Min United vs Sporting KC

Mon, May 8

3 pm NBCSN                   Chelsea vs Middlesbrough

Tues  –May 9  Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1     Juventus vs Monaco

Weds May 10  –Champions League 

2:45 pm FoxSport1     Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid 

Thur  –May 11   Europa League 

2:45 pm FoxSport2     Man U vs Celta Vigo

Sat, May 13

7:30 am NBCSN            Man City vs Leicester City

9:30 am Fox Sport1   Dortmund vs Ausburg

12:30 pm NBC live    Stoke City vs Arsenal (US Cameron)

7:30 pm  Myindy TV     Miami vs Indy 11

9 pm ESPN                       Chicago vs Seattle Sounders 

Sun, May 14

9:15 am NBCSN            West Ham vs Liverpool

11 am NBCSN                Tottenham vs Man United

4 pm ESPN                       Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United

 Full MLS Schedule

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Confederations Cup Schedule June

Champions League

Buffon Weary of Monaco

Jardim confident Monaco can beat Juve

Better to be Monaco than Juve -TV

We’ll See how Good Juve’s Back Line Really is

Renaldo’s Hat Trick puts Real 1 foot into Final

Renaldo reminds us why he is 1 of top 2 players in the World today

Renaldo was Magnifico

INDY 11

Indy 11 stays Unbeaten with 1-1 Draw at Jax

Craft Beer Fest this Satruday – vs FC Edmonton

Indy 11 Discount Ticket Link

Gianluigi Buffon taking nothing for granted in UCL semifinal vs. Monaco

Gianluigi Buffon says playing in the Champions League makes him “feel young” ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal meeting with Monaco — but is wary of the challenge their in-form opponents will bring.Buffon, 39, has won almost everything over the course of a career which has spanned two decades. He has lifted the World Cup, seven Serie A titles, three Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup but, despite playing in two finals, the Champions League is still missing from his collection.He can move closer to completing the collection by beating the Ligue 1 leaders on their own patch, and he says he hopes to play in the competition many more times in the future.”Playing in the Champions League makes me feel young, whether I win it or not,” Buffon told a news conference. “I know that in games like this, I am able to show my real essence; probably what I was born for. It’s a huge emotion and joy. I get so emotional for this, no matter whether I or we win this competition or not.”So I don’t think I am owed anything at all. If we are to win it, nothing would change because I have a contract until 2018 and I still have lots of objectives.”Buffon warned that Monaco’s youth and energy will provide a stern test over the course of the tie.”Tomorrow and over the two legs, experience of knowing that a place in the final is played for over 180 minutes could give us an advantage, but since they are young and show a lot of vitality when they play, I think that they have the enthusiasm that healthy youthful innocence brings,” Buffon added.”I know what it feels like when you play games as if you are unbeatable and indestructible and that is precisely how they are feeling now. Monaco are not in the semifinals by fluke. They have beaten big teams like [Manchester] City and [Borussia] Dortmund. They have great value.They are enthusiastic also because Monaco are flying in the league. Wins give you belief. They have a really good coach who has them playing attacking football, which you can do well when you have players who have extraordinary quality.”Buffon says they have much more depth than just two star names, Radamel Falcao and Kylian Mbappe.”Monaco have scored bucketloads of goals, but Mbappe hasn’t scored all of them,” he said. “Falcao and the other lads are also true threats. I have total respect for Monaco because they are strong and their attitude makes them unpredictable.”But in an interview with SportMediaset, Buffon compared the 18-year-old Mbappe to some of the best players in the world.”In 1998 I went to the World Cup in France, and he was born,” Buffon joked. “It’s beautiful and motivational to play against a future [Lionel] Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar… he’s an incredible talent, he’s a lad with his head screwed on and that will help him a lot. I wish him a stellar career.”Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri warned that Monaco must be taken seriously.”They are in the semifinals of the Champions League and they are top of Ligue 1, ahead of Paris Saint-Germain,” he said. “Let’s not forget that Paris were considered as one of the favourites to win this competition, so I think that says it all.”

Ronaldo reminds Europe of his class after dismantling Atletico in UCL semis with 42nd Hat Trick

MADRID — At one stage of Real Madrid’s Champions League semifinal destruction of Atletico Madrid, it seemed to be a case of one No. 7 coming to the party and the other staying at home. But in the end, that perspective would not only be doing Cristiano Ronaldo a disservice, but also Antoine Griezmann.That simplistic comparison, legitimately based around Griezmann’s emergence as a genuine heir to Ronaldo’s crown as football’s most magnificent seven, was ultimately rendered meaningless by the Real forward’s stunning hat trick of a first-half header and two second-half strikes.Griezmann is a player of great talent, one who could yet become football’s biggest star when Ronaldo and Lionel Messi vacate the stage, but the 26-year-old Atletico forward remains a mere mortal when placed alongside the two players who have ruled planet football for the past decade.Yes, this was the Frenchman’s night to lift Atletico to new heights, against Real in their own backyard, but when Ronaldo is in this kind of mood, nobody is going to steal the spotlight. And no one did.Get ready for the stats: This was Ronaldo’s second hat trick against Atletico this season, his third in total against Real’s neighbours, and his 42nd for Real since moving to the Bernabeu from Manchester United in June 2009. That’s right, 42nd.He has now scored 103 goals in 138 Champions League games, 13 of them in semifinals, and this hat trick moves him level with Messi on seven in UEFA’s premier competition.Just to make life a little easier for Atletico, Ronaldo has scored more hat tricks against Sevilla (6), Espanyol (5) and Celta Vigo (4), but it is only the smallest crumb of comfort for Atleti to be fourth on his list of hat-trick victims.So Ronaldo has given Real a huge advantage ahead of next Wednesday’s second leg at the Vicente Calderon, despite being written off as a player in decline by many observers.Injuries are beginning to catch up with the 32-year-old and those trademark step-overs are not quite as lightning quick as they once were. And yes, his goal-scoring output is slowing down, with this hat trick only taking him to 35 goals in all competitions this season.Thirty-five? No wonder he is being written off.But it is on nights like these when the reality of Ronaldo’s genius is shown for all to see.Such have been the standards that he and Messi have set in recent years, any slight drop in their incredible statistics hints at a waning of their powers and leads to their footballing obituaries being penned.Yet at 32, with his body sometimes battered and bruised by 15 years at the top level, Ronaldo was still able to tear apart an Atletico team that reached this stage of the competition by being one of the most organised and miserly defences in the Champions League.Ronaldo did not simply score a hat trick, he scored it against one of the best teams in the world, against defenders of the quality of Diego Godin and a goalkeeper as highly rated as Jan Oblak.When Sir Alex Ferguson sanctioned the world-record £80 million sale of Ronaldo to Real eight years ago, the former United manager claimed at the time that the Spanish giants had secured themselves a bargain. Regardless of Real’s mammoth outlay, Ferguson has been proved right because Ronaldo has repaid the club countless times over.He has erased club legends such as Raul out of the Real record books, inspired them to two Champions League titles, with a third now within touching distance following this virtuoso display against Atletico.And much of it is down to his incredible work ethic and desire to improve, a trait stretching back to his time at Old Trafford, when he would take out a bag of balls on his own after training, while wearing ankle weights, to practice his step-overs and free kicks.He has always been engaged in the pursuit of perfection and has arguably gone beyond that because he has stretched the boundaries of perfection by recording such incredible career statistics.This was another chapter in the Ronaldo story. The night when he reminded his own club’s supporters, Atletico Madrid and the world that he is still in business.But let’s drag it back to the initial narrative, of Real’s fading star taking on Atletico’s rising sun, not only for a place in the Champions League final, but ownership of the pedestal of greatness that Ronaldo has owned in Madrid since the day he arrived.Griezmann had been regarded as a threat to his supremacy, but no longer.Perhaps we had allowed ourselves to believe that Ronaldo had fallen far enough to be compared to other footballers than Messi, but that was wrong. Ronaldo is still the main man, and don’t Atletico know it.Mark

 ATP_Gen_350x250

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