Sorry Soccer fans – had a crazy week last week so couldn’t properly preview the MLS season which got off to a roaring start in week 1. New comer Cincy FC scored its first goal on the road at Seattle before being trampled 4-1 – a good return to form for US and Seattle winger/forward Jordan Morris coming off last season’s early ACL injury as he started and scored in 80+ minutes of play. More on MLS week 2 on Friday.
We quickly move to Champions League this week and next as Tottenham carries a commanding lead to Dortmund on Tuesday on TNT at 3 pm – where US Christian Pulisic will probably not play. Real Madrid return home with 2-1 lead over Ajax Tues at 3 pm but will not have superstar defender Sergio Ramos on suspension for a Red Card.
Wed Paris St. Germain take a 2-1 lead and a 2 away goal lead back to Paris vs Man United at 3 pm on TNT while Porto will look to sneak pass AS Roma as they have the 1-1 lead heading back home at 3 pm. CCL action returns as 4 MLS teams are still alive in the competition Tues/Wed of this week and next games at 8 & 10 pm on Yahoo Sports online.
3 pm TNT — Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Tottenham
3 pm Univsion Desportes Real Madrid 2-1 Ajax
3 pm TNT — Paris Saint-Germain (2) Man United (1)
3 pm Univsion Desportes FC Porto 1-1 AS Roma
The USA Ladies have had their hands full in 2 draws at home in the She Believes Cup vs Japan then England. They can regain their footing with a win over Brazil on Wed night on Fox Sports 1.
Finally our Indy 11 get underway on their 2nd season in USL on the road this Saturday afternoon in St. Louis at 2 pm on ESPN+. An improved roster helps the 11 kick off the new season as they will have many more Saturday night home games at Lucas Oil Stadium this season. I will have a more intense season preview on Friday. Meanwhile – its not too late to get your season tickets for just $99 for the season. Get your season ticket package today by visiting IndyEleven.com/season-tickets or by calling 317-685-1100. First home game is Sat, March 30th vs Hartford Athletic at 7 pm at the Luke!
Carmel FC and Carmel Dad’s Club – Dick’s Shopping Days are this Weekend Sat/Sun at Clay Terrace 20% off
GAMES ON TV
Tues Mar 5 Champions League
3 pm TNT Ajax 1 vs Real Madrid 2 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
3 pm BR Live/Uni Desp Dortmund (Pulisic) 1 vs Tottenham 3
7 pm Fox Sports 1 USA Ladies vs Brazil – She Believes Cup
8 p.m. ET Yahoo Sports OL Independiente vs Sporting KC
10 p.m. ET Yahoo Sports — Houston Dynamo vs Tigres
Weds, Mar 6
3 pm TNT PSG vs Man United CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
3 pm BR Live FC Porto vs AS Roma
8 pmET Yahoo Sports online Independiente vs Sporting KC CCL
10 pm ET Yahoo Sports OL Monterrey vs Atlanta United CCL
Fri, March 8
2:30 pm FS2 Werder Breman (Stewart) vs Schalke (McKinney)
10 pm ESPN+ USL Seattle Sounders 2 vs Rio Grande Valley
Sat, March 9
9:30 am FS1 Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg (Brooks)
9:30 am FS2 Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Stuttgart
9:30 am Fox Soccer + RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Ausburg
10 am NBCSN South Hampton vs Tottenham
10:15 am beIN Sport Atletico vs Leganes
12:30 pm NBCSN Man City vs Watford
1 pm ESPN+ Chicago Fire vs Orlando City SC
2 pm ESPN+ USL- St Louis vs Indy 11
3:30 pm Univision Dallas vs LA Galaxy
2 pm ESPN+ USL- St Louis vs Indy 11
Champions League state of play: how will the last-16 ties be decided?
Adam Hurrey,The Telegraph 34 minutes ago
Some are seemingly done and dusted, others nicely poised, one or two simply too close to call: the Champions League’s last-16 business will be concluded over the next two midweeks. Four English sides, to varying degrees of confidence, are still in the mix – but will that still be the case when the quarter-final draw is made on March 15?Here is the state of play for all eight ties, and how each of them might be decided in the second leg…
Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham
State of play
Tottenham lead 3-0 on aggregate
Mauricio Pochettino’s half-time adjustments at Wembley helped turn the tie overwhelmingly in Spurs’ favour, with Jan Vertonghen and substitute Fernando Llorente turning a slender 1-0 lead into a handsome three-goal advantage to take to north-west Germany.
How can Spurs absorb the likely Dortmund cavalry charge?
Lessons have surely been learned from last season’s careless Champions League exit to the rather more canny Juventus, and Spurs are now largely a rock-solid proposition even without a three-goal cushion. Sitting back and defending needn’t be an option for Pochettino – Spurs have the firepower to finish the job in clinical style.
Where do the dangers lie for Pochettino?
The first 20 minutes or so at a raucous, hopeful Westfalenstadion. Spurs conceded early against PSV at Wembley and then home and away against Barcelona in the group stages, while Hugo Lloris will need to avoid the rushes of blood previously seen away to PSV, among others.
The good news? It isn’t a terrible time to be playing Dortmund: they’ve won just once in their last seven games, let a 3-0 lead slip against Hoffenheim in the last 15 minutes, went out of their domestic cup on penalties to Werder Bremen and, on Friday, lost 2-1 at lowly Augsburg.
Prediction: Tottenham to keep Dortmund at arm’s length for long enough to prevent any second-leg jitters.
Real Madrid vs Ajax
State of play
Real Madrid lead 2-1 on aggregate
Despite a first-half, eleven-shot onslaught in Amsterdam, Real Madrid somehow emerged – with the sort of luck earned only by winning the Champions League three years in a row – with two away goals and a lead to take back to the Bernabeu.
What hope do Ajax have in Madrid?
Well, their chances have been improved slightly by 1) the Dutch FA postponing their Eredivisie game against PEC Zwolle, which was due to be played three days before the second leg against Real, and 2) Sergio Ramos getting himself suspended for the return match (and another on top) by picking up an “intentional” yellow card in Amsterdam.
Sergio Ramos will be suspended for Real after his first-leg yellow card –A fluid front three caused the Real defence plenty of problems in the first leg and, with Ramos sidelined, an upset shouldn’t be ruled out.Recent form certainly gives Ajax hope: before their nine-day rest, they put 10 goals past NAC Breda and Den Haag, while Real have lost three of their last four, including a double dose of Clasico misery at Barcelona’s hands.
Prediction: Ajax to pose plenty of questions at the Bernabeu…and then Real to find an answer, as always.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester United
State of play
PSG lead 2-0 on aggregate
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first – and only – setback as Manchester United’s caretaker manager means they have it all to do at the Parc des Princes on March 6th. Even without Neymar and Edinson Cavani by his side, Kylian Mbappe looked a class apart, and his goal at Old Trafford put PSG firmly in the driving seat for the home leg.
How can United turn things around?
Paul Pogba’s suspension, after his late sending-off at Old Trafford, could be a terminal blow to their chances: he has scored or created 16 goals in his last 15 games as United clambered back into the top four reckoning and swept past Chelsea in the FA Cup. In his absence, Solskjaer will need other players to step up and – with an injury crisis taking hold – that means Romelu Lukaku taking responsibility.Lukaku ended a nine-game goul drought with a brace apiece against Crystal Palace and Southampton and it will be his penalty-area presence in pursuit of the two-goal deficit that will make or break United’s slender Champions League hopes in the return leg.
Will Neymar be back for PSG?
Absolutely not – he has returned home to Brazil to continue rehab on his fractured metatarsal – but PSG will likely have Cavani and Thomas Meunier available again for the second leg, just in case United’s task wasn’t hard enough.
Prediction: United to struggle to land a significant early blow, and PSG to safely progress.
Porto vs Roma
State of play
Roma lead 2-1 on aggregate
Textbook Champions League scenario: Roma were sitting pretty after 19-year-old Nicolo Zaniolo scored twice in the space of six minutes at the Stadio Olimpico, only for Porto to snatch a late away goal. It’s all set up for a fascinating return leg in Portugal.
Who would the English sides prefer to avoid in the quarter-finals?
With memories of Roma’s stirring near-comeback against Liverpool in last year’s semi-final still fresh, no trip to the Italian capital would be ideal for any of the Premier League quartet if they make it through to this season’s quarterPorto’s solid-looking record this season (32 wins from 42 games) belies a relatively weak Champions League group, while title rivals Benfica came from a goal down to beat them on Saturday and move top of the table.
Prediction: Roma to sneak through, but they might have to score an away goal of their own.
Manchester City vs Schalke
State of play
Manchester City lead 3-2 on aggregate
A VAR-tastic first leg in Gelsenkirchen went City’s way, then Schalke’s, then City’s again – Pep Guardiola has a one-goal lead to play with at the Etihad on March 12th.
So, are City home and dry now?
Guardiola – while delighted with the result in Germany – couldn’t hide his despair at City’s sloppiness. “We’re not ready to fight for the Champions League,” he said afterwards. “We gifted the goals. If that happens in another stage… We are a nice team to watch, but we don’t know how far we’ll get.”File that one under Kicks Up the Backside. Manchester City at the Etihad, though, are a rather more clinical and merciless prospect and – even with the early-spring distractions that come with fighting on all four fronts – they will surely not make life too hard for themselves in the second leg. But they do have a habit of it. They have spent 150 minutes (nearly a quarter of the time) trailing in the Champions League this season, which – given the less than stellar opposition – has to be a worry for Guardiola as his side tackle the business end of a competition on which his City reign will ultimately be judged.
Prediction:City to take a small step closer to the quadruple, but with bigger domestic and European tests to come.
Juventus vs Atletico Madrid
State of play
Atletico Madrid lead 2-0 on aggregate
Perennial Champions League business-enders Juventus have it all to do after being well and truly Diego Simeone-d by the crotch-grabbing Diego Simeone and his Atletico side.
Just how lively is the second leg going to be?
2-0, “they” say, is the most dangerous scoreline in football. Not if you’re Atletico Madrid. They have been a welcome anti-hero in the Champions League over the last six years or so – scrapping for every goal, every point, every tie they can find – and they’ll be no different in Turin. That will only turn the screw for Juventus, who are yearning for their first Champions League triumph in 23 years, after losing two finals in the last four seasons. They will have to bring the fight to Atletico in the second leg but, unfortunately, that’s precisely Atletico’s bag, even without the suspended Diego Costa.In his place, they have Alvaro Morata, dripping with footballing narrative, ready to score a crucial goal against a former employer in the Champions League once again. Have we forgotten anyone? Ah, yes…
Is this Ronaldo’s final stand in the Champions League?
“I have five Champions Leagues,” Cristiano Ronaldo sneered in the mixed zone of the Wanda Metropolitano after the first leg. “You have none.”It’s a fact, but not one that is going to come in handy on March 12th. Ronaldo knows only the last hurdles of the Champions League race – he has reached the semi-finals every year since 2010 – but even his steam is surely running out, and he has just one goal in his six European games this season.”For sure we will have to suffer in Turin,” Simeone signed off in Madrid, but it looks rather more like Ronaldo who will be feeling the pain when this tie is done. Schadenfreude will never lift a European Cup, but it can still cut you deep.
Prediction: An Atletico Madrid defence with a two-goal lead in their pocket? You do the math(s).
Bayern Munich vs Liverpool
State of play
0-0 after the first leg
“Not a dream result but a good one”. Jurgen Klopp declared himself satisfied with a clean sheet at Anfield, but this is certainly the most finely-poised tie of the round.
Will Liverpool rue drawing a blank at home?
Perhaps, but the away-goal anxiety now switches to the Allianz Arena, where Bayern will not be inclined to defend as deep as they did at Anfield. A formidable Champions League home record – they have won 22 of their last 26 there – is one thing, the latent threat of a Liverpool sucker-punch quite another.With Virgil van Dijk returning from suspension to shore up the defence, Liverpool will be confident of sucking up the Germans’ pressure and then hitting them on the counter. This is different territory to last season, when Liverpool racked up 13 goals in their first legs against Porto, Manchester City and Roma, but they are certainly better equipped to handle cagey chess matches this year.Is there a but? There is. Liverpool have drawn a blank in their last three crunch games – Bayern at home, Manchester United and Everton away – and there is no longer a sense that Mohamed Salah just needs to turn up in order to guarantee himself a goal. If, when and how Liverpool score will say a great deal about how this second leg unfolds.
Prediction: A coin-toss of a knockout tie, but a Liverpool away goal could be decisive.
Barcelona vs Lyon
State of play
0-0 after the first leg
After a first half in Lyon in which either side could have been out of sight, the hosts eventually settled for a goalless draw to take to Barcelona on March 13th.
Do Lyon really have it in them to resist Barcelona at the Nou Camp?
The first leg showed some ominous signs of things to come: Barcelona attempted 25 shots, eight of which were blocked and only five found the target. Lionel Messi alone had nine efforts at breaking the deadlock, and it would take a brave punter to bet on Lyon keeping a clean sheet where so few others have. The Nou Camp swarm is ready to go.
Prediction: Barcelona 3 (Messi 14, pen 34, 67) Lyon 0.
RECAP | INDY ELEVEN, NASHVILLE SC DRAW IN PRESEASON FINALE
By IndyEleven.com, 03/02/19, 10:15PM EST
Boys in Blue’s preseason concludes with a split result
ndy Eleven’s preseason series comes to a close following a nil-nil draw to USL Championship Eastern Conference rivals Nashville SC. Saturday’s result sees Indy with a 1W-2D-2L overall record through the preseason before heading into the regular season with a clean slate.“I thought today was a good performance against one of the stronger teams in our league,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “We were trying to get guys through the full 90 minutes, just like we would in a proper game…But we defended well and handled the game well. I’m happy with that. Just looking forward to the season now.”Indy Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton was forced to make an early save four minutes into the match. Boys in Blue midfielder Tyler Gibson was quick to return the favor two minutes later with a header on frame off a corner kick, but the nodded hit was caught by Nashville goalkeeper Connor Sparrow.Much of the first half was played in the midfield as both sides battled for attacking opportunities. Nashville had numerous free kicks from long distance that failed to materialize into dangerous plays. Indy Eleven midfielder Tyler Pasher had two shots in the 23rd and 28th minutes that were deemed offside and ended over the crossbar, respectively.Boys in Blue forward Ilija Ilic came close to finding the afternoon’s opening goal in the 44th minute after a play into Nashville’s box from forward Josh Penn, but his headed effort was blocked by defender Liam Doyle before crossing the goal line.
Indy continued its offensive push with a trio of on-target shots, all of which were saved by Nashville’s keepers. Half-time substitute forward Thomas Enevoldsen played a cheeky backheel pass through to defender Karl Ouimette deep into Nashville’s 18-yard box for a near-post shot in the 56th minute. Penn followed up with a shot nearly 10 yards out toward the lower left corner of the goal two minutes later.Forward Dane Kelly forced a lateral-dive save from Nashville goalie Matt Pickens in the 68th minute, seven minutes after the keeper subbed in, with a heavy hit near the top of the penalty box.The Music City side asked the final question in the 84th minute with a shot within Indy’s 18-yard box. Newton stood his ground and firmly contained the ball, keeping it a comfortable distance from goal.Coach Rennie will seek continued improvement from his squad as his sights turn to the team’s first fixture of the regular season a week from today against Eastern Conference newcomers Saint Louis FC.“The whole preseason, even in the beginning before preseason started, was about getting fit; about learning what we want to do and improving our play,” Rennie said. “We’ve done that well. Obviously, things count now that points are at stake every game. We need to really keep working on the way that we play. We need to keep improving and get ready for what will be a big game next week.”
Don’t miss your chance to see the Boys in Blue this season. Season Ticket packages for the 2019 USL Championship season are on sale now for a low as $99. Get your season ticket package today by visiting IndyEleven.com/season-tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.
USL Championship Preseason
Indy Eleven 0:0 Nashville SC
Saturday, March 2, 2019 – 3:00 p.m. EST
Arad McCutchan Stadium – Evansville, IN
IND – Paddy Barrett (Yellow card) 55’
Indy Eleven lineup (L–>R): Evan Newton (GK); Ayoze Garcia (Josh Penn 18’), Karl Ouimette, Neveal Hackshaw, Paddy Barrett, Matt Watson, Tyler Gibson, Kenney Walker (Trialist 76’), Tyler Pasher (Thomas Enevoldsen 46’), Ilija Ilic (Trialist 66’), Dane Kelly
U.S. women’s national team out to find footing against Brazil (again)
By Graham Hays | Mar 4, 2019espnW.com
It is overwrought to suggest that the United States women’s national team needs to take long hard looks in the mirror just yet. But if some measure of self-reflection is in order, the team faces the right opponent in the final game of the SheBelieves Cup. For better or worse, Brazil has often held up that mirror for the Americans.It is entirely possible that Tuesday’s game between the U.S. and Brazil will be an afterthought in the outcome of the tournament. England and Japan are tied atop the standings, each two points ahead of the U.S. Either can clinch the title with a win in Tuesday’s first game in Tampa. ADVERTISEMENT
After draws in its first two games, the only scenario by which the U.S. retains the title in the four-year-old event is if England and Japan play to a draw and the U.S. beats Brazil by at least two goals while erasing Japan’s advantage in total goals scored (5-4). Even England manager Phil Neville painted Tuesday’s opening act as the main attraction, albeit with a noticeably rosy prediction for the Americans in the nightcap.”It is a final. It’s the final of the competition,” Neville said of the impetus on both England and Japan to play for a win. “I think if we draw on Tuesday, then USA will win the SheBelieves Cup because I think they’ll score goals past Brazil. … I could see USA scoring three or four goals there.”
If so, and whether or not it means the hosts finish the night with a trophy, it might be one more instance of the U.S. approaching a pivot point and finding Brazil waiting.Take a quick look back.
Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports
With the Women’s World Cup just around the corner, USA coach Jill Ellis could use a commanding performance from her team.
Sept. 27, 2007: In a strong contender for the all-time low ebb of the women’s national team, the U.S. lost to Brazil 4-0 in a World Cup semifinal in China. Equally remembered for Hope Solo’s comments afterward about being replaced as starter, more went wrong than one lineup change. The U.S. won the subsequent third-place game, but the tournament marked the end of Greg Ryan’s run as coach and the nadir of an era when attendance dwindled and influence waned.
Aug. 21, 2008: Back in China the next year for the Olympics under new coach Pia Sundhage, the U.S. lost its opening game but then went on a run that culminated with a 1-0 win against Brazil in the gold-medal game. Hinting at drama to come from the team, Carli Lloyd scored what proved to be the winner in extra time. Suddenly, the U.S. could counter back-to-back World Cup disappointments with back-to-back Olympic gold medals and new energy.
July 10, 2011: How might history be different if not for the added minutes at the end of extra time in a World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil? For all the positive Olympic momentum from 2008, it would have meant little had the U.S. endured its earliest exit from a major tournament. That was possible after Brazil took the lead early in extra time. Then Brazil wasted time, Megan Rapinoe picked out Abby Wambach’s head, and a second golden era was well and truly born.
July 30, 2017: It needn’t be a major tournament to matter. Staging the Tournament of Nations for the first time, the U.S. lost its opening game against Australia — its first loss to the Matildas. In the midst of a revolving door of player auditions after Olympic disappointment, the U.S. was a team in search of continuity and perhaps identity. It was also down 3-1 and heading for a second loss in a row with 12 minutes to play. The epic rally culminated in Julie Ertz’s 89th-minute winner, fitting for a game in which she found her new home in midfield.
Aug. 2, 2018: Another year, another Tournament of Nations. The U.S. capped a title run with a 4-1 demolition of Brazil. Although it included a draw against Australia, the U.S. vastly outplayed all three opponents in the event last year. With the roster largely settled, the three performances were the embodiment of the attacking, almost marauding style that coach Jill Ellis wanted to develop.
That Brazil was often the opponent in consequential games is both a coincidence and selective. There are, of course, other meaningful games in the team’s recent history. It would be possible to make a list with Sweden. But Brazil’s presence isn’t random. Forever dependent on themselves more than, say, institutional or infrastructure support back home, the Brazilians play. Any game will be physical, and it will be about your soccer beating their soccer. The way they play gives opponents the opportunity to magnify their own strengths — or weaknesses.
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Tuesday night might not be a pivot point in the long-term course of the program, but it could go a long way to defining the momentum, not to mention the tenor of the conversation, this spring.
By themselves or in tandem, the games against England and Japan were disappointing in the results but not without positives in the play. On its own, a 3-1 loss to France in January was explicable — an American lineup at less than full strength at the end of the team’s preseason losing to a French team whose players are in the middle of their league seasons. Wins at Scotland and Portugal to close out 2018 were workmanlike but achieved the desired results.
However, when all of those factors start to accumulate in short order, from difficulty scoring goals abroad to a penchant for costly mistakes at home, June 11 begins to feel uncomfortably soon.
“They’re a team that can look at you, and they’re good enough tactically to be able to try and exploit or implement things to make you have challenges,” Ellis said of England after the 2-2 draw. “That’s exactly what we need. Are we doing enough to imprint our game on our opponent? Those are things, good takeaways, in terms of this and our confidence in staying with the things we believe, being true to who we are.”
What the U.S. could use right about now is a commanding performance without caveats.
Asked after the draw against the U.S. what separated his team from other contenders, Neville eventually settled on the idea that England was enjoying itself.
“It’s probably slightly different for the USA because when you’re on the top, you’re there to be shot at,” Neville said. “We’re actually a team that’s actually enjoying the moment.”
The U.S. has enjoyed a lot of memorable games against Brazil. It wouldn’t hurt to enjoy Tuesday night.
Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999.
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