Champions League Elite 8 Tues/Wed
Wed gives us Man City and Atletico on CBS along with Liverpool hosting Benefica at 3 pm on Para+, while Chelsea and Pulisic will travel to Real Madrid on Tues at 3 pm on CBS along with Villarreal going to Bayern Munich. Must watch TV – last week Real Madrid’s Benzema was electric in scoring a hat trick at Chelsea while Courtois Spectacular Save – and Spanish side Villarreal stunned Bayern Munich at home 1-0, while Atletico’s Simeon helped craft a masterclass in defense as they only lost 1-0 at Man City.
EPL Man City vs Liverpool Was a Classic !
Wow what a game – the showdown between the best 2 teams in the EPL – heck maybe the world – did not disappoint on Sunday. The 2 squads battled to a 2-2 tie – that the home standing Man City will probably think they should have won – but the resilient Liverpool and Klopp managed to hold onto the tie – and stand just 1 single point behind Man City with just 7 weeks left in the season.
US Ladies win 9-1
Ok so I know I am supposed to be – yey the US ladies are playing a couple of young players and look how good they are – they won 9-1. But who are we kidding here US Soccer? Is this Uzbekistan Crap team the best we can get to play on US soil seriously? I mean I bet the Columbus High School Girls team could have beaten that team 4-1. Seriously why are playing these crap teams? While Canada travels to play France and Spain? Sure we are #1 yey but like Cincy in the College Football Playoff – if you don’t play anybody good – your gonna get WHACKED when you play a real team. I know this is a team in transition but come on play someone in the top 50? Oh yeah the US won 9-1 in Columbus – Mallory Pugh even scored a hat trick – but no one was there to see it – because honestly who wants to see the Yankees beat a high school team. Oh yeah the #1 Ranked all powerful US Women play that same team on Tuesday night 7 pm live on ESPN2. (see stories below)
Indy 11 Win a Game!
Hey the Indy 11 went on the road and pulled off their first victory of the season with a 2-1 win over Rio Grande. They return home to the Mike to play Atlanta United 2 on Saturday at 7 pm as they host Easter Egg Night. Tix available starting at just $15 and can be purchased online at indyeleven.com/tickets.
CFC GK Training moves outdoors this week Tues at Shelboure 5:30-7:30 with coach Noelle and Thur 6:15-8:15 at Badger with Coach Shane. One final note – my favorite Cuban Shop in town – heck the only 1 I think is closing this Sat – The Cuban Shop @ 8329 Michigan Rd in Indy – tell him the ole ballcoach sent you.
BIG GAMES ON TV
(American’s in parenthesis)
Thurs, apr 14– Europa League
12:45 pm Para+ Atalanta vs RB Leipzig (Adams)
3 pm Para + Barcelona vs Frankfurt (Chandler)
3 pm Paramount+ Lyonnais vs West Ham United
3 pm Para + Rangers (Carter Vickers) vs Sporting Braga
10 pm Para + OL Reign vs San Diego Wave NWSL
Fri, Apri 15
3 pm ESPN+ Real Sociadad vs Real Betis
3 pm Paramount+ Milan vs Genoa
3 pm ESPN+ Derby Cty vs Fulham (Ream, Jedi)
8 pm CBS SN KC vs Houston Dash NWSL
Sat, Apr 16
7:30 am USA Tottenham vs Brighton
9:30 am ESPN+ Dortmund vs Wolfsburg (Brooks)
10 am USA Man United vs Norwich (Stewart)
10 am CNBC Southampton vs Aresenal
10:30 am ESPN+ Man City (Steffan) vs Livepool FA Cup Semi
12:30 pm Para + Juventus vs Bologna
3:30 pm ESPN+, Univision San Jose vs Nashville SC MLS
7:30 pm My TV 23 Indy 11 vs Atlana United 2 @ the Mike
7:30 pm Para+ Racing Louisville vs Chicago Red Stars NWSL
10 pm FS 1 Seattle Sounders vs Inter Miami
9 am USA Leicester City vs New Castle
11:30 am ESPN+ Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Crystal Palace FA Cup Semi
1:30 pm ESPN+ Leverkusen ( ) vs RB Leipzig (Adams)
2:$5 pm beIN Sport PSG vs Marsiele
3:30 pm ESPN+ Sevilla vs Real Madrid
4 pm ESPN LAFC vs Sporting KC
Tue Apr 19
2:45 pm ESPNU Hamburger vs Freiburg
3 pm USA Liverpool vs Man United
3 pm Para + Inter vs Milan (Coppa Italia)
Wed Apr 20
2:45 pm ESPNU RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Union Berlin German Cup
2:45 pm USA Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Arsenal
3 pm Para + Inter vs Milan (Coppa Italia)
US OPEN CUP = MLS vs USL
7 pm ESPN+ Orlando City vs Tampa Bay Rowdies
7:30 pm ESPN+ Louisville City vs St Louis City 2
7:30 pm ESON+ Atlanta United vs Chatanooga
8:30 pm ESPN+ San Antaonio (Jordan Farr) vs Austin FC
10:30 pm ESPN+ LAFC vs Orange County
Thur Apr 21
2:45 pm USA Burnely vs Southampton
3:30 pm ESPN+ Real Sociadad vs Barcelona
Sat, Apr 23
7:30 am USA Arsenal vs Man United
10 am USA Man City (Steffan) vs Watford
12:30 pm ESPN+ Bayern Munich vs Dortmund
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Emery’s Villarreal eye another giant-killing at Bayern Munich
Arnaut Danjuma gives Villarreal first-leg advantage over Bayern Munich PA Media: Sport
Villarreal shock Bayern Munich to earn narrow first-leg lead in Champions League quarter-final The Independent
Tuchel praises Chelsea for ruthless win ahead of season-defining trip to Real Madrid
Chelsea could get ‘hammered’ at Madrid – Tuchel
Ancelotti: Benzema ‘better every day, like wine’
When Man City met Atletico, Guardiola and Simeone did what they do best
Foden foils Simeone’s Atletico master class ahead of Man City’s pivotal week
Koke bites back at Guardiola defensive comments
Liverpool strike late to take control vs. Benfica
Was Premier League’s Super Bowl »
Man City control title race after Liverpool thriller ESPN Mark Ogden
Thrilling City-Liverpool draw leaves title race on knife edge
Classic Manchester City vs Liverpool clash truly delivers
Klopp thrilled by ‘wild’ City-Liverpool draw
Pep Guardiola: Jurgen Klopp is ‘the best,’ Liverpool quality is ‘so
Spurs tighten grip on top-four spot as Arsenal, Man Utd lose
Police investigate Ronaldo over “assault” allegation
American Coach Jesse Marsch: Leeds United won ‘proper relegation fight’
Watford vs Leeds final score: Another huge win for Marsch’s men
USWNTwin 9-1 over Uzbekistan – S&S
Smith hat trick as young USWNT scores 9 in win
USWNT’s Williams, Davidson suffer major injuries hCaitlin Murray
USWNT, Kansas City forward Lynn Williams suffers season-ending injury
Tierna Davidson to miss 2022 season with ACL tear
Top 6 stories in the first 6 weeks: LA soccer is back, RBNY surprises, young players impress, & more ASJ
VAR controversy didn’t dull El Trafico as Chicharito, Galaxy get best of Vela’s LAFC 10hCesar Hernandez
Charlotte Wins on Olympico goal vs Atlanta United
Indy 11 Win first game of the SEason Sat 2-1
Ticket Offerings for 2022 Indy Eleven Games Now on Sale
Indy 11 Jerseys revealed
One final note – my favorite Cuban Shop in town – heck the only 1 I think is closing this Sat – The Cuban Shop @ 8329 Michigan Rd in Indy – tell Jorge the ole ballcoach sent you.
The Premier League’s Super Bowl ends in a draw, and sets up 7 dramatic, do-or-die weeks
Henry Bushnell Sun, April 10, 2022, 1:29 PM·6 min read
There was no confetti. No trophy. No commemorative caps, concerts or celebrities. In the end, at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, in the closest thing the English Premier League will ever have to a Super Bowl, there wasn’t even a winner.Liverpool and Manchester City played 90 exhilarating, enthralling minutes that threatened to tip a title race, but didn’t.They ended 2-2, with Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane canceling out first-half goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus. City’s lead atop the table held at one solitary point. A decisive moment, and a definitive conclusion, never arrived.And in a way, that left tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of fans worldwide feeling unfulfilled.
Super Bowls, after all, aren’t supposed to end without elation and devastation.Super Bowls aren’t supposed to end with Riyad Mahrez, in the final minute of stoppage time, staring down Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, a legendary match at the mercy of his magical left foot, but sailing his chipped shot several feet over the crossbar.Super Bowls aren’t supposed to end with businesslike hugs and respectful applause — from both sets of supporters, in recognition of the spectacle they’d just witnessed.They aren’t supposed to end with the two head coaches, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, joking with one another on an empty pitch 30 minutes after the final whistle.But this Super Bowl, instead, will give way to the Premier League’s version of an NCAA tournament, a seven-game, month-and-a-half-long sprint that might as well be a single elimination tournament.There won’t be a singular title game. If City and Liverpool each win out, the Citizens will be champions once again. But there will be weekly drama and crippling pressure. There’ll be a knowledge, which will double as an intense fear, that any one moment, any one decision, any one mistake could win or lose the title.And nobody knows when, or what, it will be.”I would like to know it,” Guardiola said postgame when asked about the deciding factor. “But I don’t.”That, for months and decades, is what has made the Premier League special. It’s the double-round-robin gift that keeps on giving. It doesn’t always produce a Super Bowl, or even late-season drama. But it amplifies every weekend, every match, every minute. It has conditioned fans and media to treat every contest between title contenders like an NBA Finals game, even if it happens in November.This season, though, delivered the best of both worlds. Thirty rounds of potentially decisive, incessantly compelling soccer built toward one titanic clash. It matched the two clubs responsible for the four most prolific seasons in Premier League history. It pitted City, which had claimed 338 points since August 2018, against Liverpool and its 337 — 69 more than the next closest challenger. It featured Guardiola and Klopp, the sport’s two most worshipped coaches who, in 22 meetings, had drawn eight and won six each.It generated Super Bowl-like media attention and anticipation. And on Sunday afternoon, it didn’t disappoint.Fifty thousand standing fans greeted its arrival, and some never sat. Four minutes in, they teetered on tip-toes, waiting to explode, as Alisson sprung off his line to deny Raheem Sterling. But 30 seconds later, City ambushed Liverpool with a quick free kick. De Bruyne charged forward, and watched his deflected shot ping in off the post. City players pumped their fists feverishly. A blue smoke bomb flew onto the field. The Etihad erupted as if this might be the decisive moment.There were, though, 85 frantic minutes still to endure.Liverpool responded eight minutes later. Klopp celebrated wildly, as if relieved, perhaps influenced by an acute awareness that City had not blown a lead all season. And the game, thereafter, rarely relented. The 50,000 fans roared or groaned at every change of possession. Their nerves clenched at every foray forward, every loose defensive-third touch, every penalty-area ricochet. Their hearts skipped beats as City goalkeeper Ederson very nearly walked the ball into his own net.City seized the game, commanded the ball, and broke Liverpool’s high defensive line again and again. But the Reds, despite the impossible stress imposed on them, constantly threatened to snatch control against the run of play. Mo Salah strode forward, and fright rippled through the Etihad. Trent Alexander-Arnold went for goal from midfield. City’s defenders, like Liverpool’s, tread carefully in the penalty area, petrified by a potentially costly mistake.
City’s quality grabbed the lead again in the 36th minute, and seemed likely to push them four points clear at the top of the league. “We deserved to win,” De Bruyne would later say, and he was probably right. He was the catalyst, pumping audacious passes side to side and back to front. Phil Foden was fearless. Joao Cancelo was magnificent. Jesus was the best version of himself.
But 45 seconds after halftime, Salah and Mane combined with peerless precision, and equalized.The hosts pushed for a winner. Raheem Sterling scored, but a video review revealed that his shoulder was inches offside. Jesus beat Alisson again, but not the four Liverpool defenders who’d congregated on the goal line. Virgil van Dijk stood tall. Mahrez, with one of the game’s last kicks, nearly punctured Liverpool’s resistance, but shrunk in the spotlight.The Reds, whom Guardiola recently called a “pain in the ass,” rode out the storm, and when a referee’s whistle finally brought calm, there they were, still standing.“They are so annoying, honestly,” Guardiola later said with a smile.He was proud of his players. Klopp, though, was more satisfied with the result.
“I would’ve loved to win,” he told NBC Sports. “But I’m happy that we didn’t lose.”He compared Sunday to a boxing match. He knew, with a draw, that Liverpool had earned a few more.He’ll need help from inferior fighters. City, he knows, must drop points against Brighton, Wolves, Watford, Leeds, Newcastle, West Ham or Aston Villa if Liverpool are to stand a chance.But he knows his team will push the defending champs.“We [have] pushed each other on insane levels in the last few years,” Klopp said earlier this season.With both still standing after Sunday, they’ll continue to push, and push back, and they’ll eventually arrive at a conclusion that the biggest EPL match in eight years didn’t quite bring.
Man City, Liverpool keep Premier League race open, but point more useful to Guardiola than Klopp
3:45 PM ET Mark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC
MANCHESTER, England — It was epic, frenetic and unpredictable until the end, when Riyad Mahrez had a chance not only to win the game, but almost certainly the Premier League title. Instead, the Manchester City substitute sent the ball high over the Liverpool crossbar and the 2-2 result means we are no nearer knowing which of England’s best two teams will be crowned champions.
What was certain, though, was that this had been a game with everything, including the intervention of VAR to correctly rule out Raheem Sterling‘s 63rd-minute goal for offside. By that stage, Liverpool had twice cancelled out a City lead to level the scores: Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus netted for the hosts, with Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane getting the away side back on terms.
The upshot of 90 end-to-end minutes is that, with both teams having seven league games to play — there is also the not insignificant matter of next Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal head-to-head at Wembley (Stream live: 10:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+) — just one point separates the clubs that have dominated the Premier League for the past five years.”It was like a boxing fight,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “You have your arms down for a second and get a massive knock and you shake a little. It was a great game and a result which we have to live with and can live with.”City retain the advantage and their remaining fixtures suggest that Liverpool need a surprise result to go in their favour to claim top spot. Aside from visits to Wolves and West Ham, there is little to worry Pep Guardiola’s players between now and their season finale at home to Aston Villa, who are managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.Liverpool have a tougher run-in. They should make easy work of troubled rivals Manchester United and Everton at Anfield, but those fixtures are always charged with emotion and unpredictability; a home game against Tottenham on May 7 may also be hazardous, while Klopp’s men must also face Gerrard’s Villa.As each side showed in this game, their top level is at a different stratosphere to every other team in the division, so City’s success in avoiding defeat and keeping hold of top spot could ensure that this turns out to be the decisive day in the title race.But although both teams displayed their incredible quality, there were also rare glimpses of nerves and mistakes from the likes of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, City keeper Ederson, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and City’s Raheem Sterling. On an occasion when they had to be at their absolute best, perhaps it was no surprise that top performers suffered the odd wobble.Jota’s persistence almost forced Ederson to concede an embarrassing own goal in the first half and Van Dijk uncharacteristically chopped down De Bruyne in the second period with a cynical foul, which was worth the booking that followed, given it halted the City midfielder’s charge toward goal.Salah was in and out of proceedings, his best moment coming 40 seconds after half-time when he created Mane’s goal, while Sterling made too many bad decisions in key positions before he was replaced by Mahrez with a quarter-hour remaining.Elsewhere, there were plenty of outstanding performances to make the occasion so absorbing. For City, Joao Cancelo was unbeatable and unstoppable at left back as he owned his side of the pitch, while Aymeric Laporte also produced a number of crucial blocks at the back.
Liverpool’s Joel Matip was flawless in central defence, as was his goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who pulled off big saves on Sterling and Jesus as City poured forward in the early stages.But the big winner, on a day when the teams shared the points, was Guardiola, with the City manager getting everything right, from his starting line-up, to energetic high-press tactics and substitutions; replacing Sterling with Mahrez was a key decision that increased the threat in the closing stages.t has become a bone of contention that Guardiola is deemed to over-think tactics and selection in the biggest games. Although he is a serial winner, recent examples in the Champions League — last season’s final against Chelsea, when he started without a defensive midfield and striker, being one obvious occasion — have seen him allow the opposition to get into his head.Selecting Jesus from the start was another surprise here, but Guardiola was rewarded with a rare goal and incredible work rate from the Brazil international, whose energy lifted the crowd and his teammates around him.
The pace in City’s front line of Jesus, Sterling and Phil Foden gave Liverpool countless problems and it was not until the second half, following Mane’s goal, that Klopp’s side steadied themselves and pulled themselves back into the game.
Even then, City always carried the greater threat and looked the most likely winners, to the extent that a draw was a good result for Liverpool, on the day at least. However, it probably was not within the wider context, as captain Jordan Henderson admitted.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” the Liverpool captain said. “They don’t drop many points, we know that. We have to concentrate on ourselves and win as many games as possible. If they slip up we have to be there right behind them. We’ll keep going until the end. It’s not the end of the world, we are still in the race.”Henderson was a young Liverpool player when a slip did tilt the balance of a title race, so perhaps a subconscious reference to Gerrard’s mistake against Chelsea in 2014 serves as a reminder that anything can happen in the season’s closing stages.But City are on course to win their fourth title in five season and midfielder De Bruyne knows that his side simply have to maintain their form to lift the trophy on May 15. “Today we played very well; I think we had the upper hand,” De Bruyne said. “This is the way we need to play the rest of the season. I know people said whoever wins gets the title, but it’s too hard, the schedule is too tough for both teams to win every game, but we will try.”There are 21 points to play for. If either side fails to claim them all, they will end up in second place.
Three things we learned from the Premier League
, April 10, 2022, 3:29 PM
The Premier League title race is on a knife-edge after Manchester City retained pole position with a pulsating 2-2 draw against their closest challengers Liverpool.Antonio Conte’s Tottenham revolution gathered pace with a 4-0 rout of Aston Villa that boosted their top four bid, while Leeds should be safe after an impressive win at Watford.AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:Prize fighters can’t land knockout blow. Manchester City and Liverpool traded blows throughout an enthralling clash between the Premier League heavyweights, but neither could land the knockout punch that would have put them on course to clinch the title.- ADVERTISEMENT -Leaders City sit one point clear of second-placed Liverpool after goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus were cancelled out by Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane.It was the kind of high-quality contest that underlined why both sides can stake a claim to being the world’s best.Liverpool could cement that argument if they can pip City to the title, but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp knows the reigning champions will be tough to catch.
“It was an exceptional game of football. Two heavy-weights, chomping at each other. It’s crazy the intensity. A completely different level,” Klopp said.”Both arms down for a second and you get a massive knock. Now we have to be as close to perfection to win seven Premier League games. Insane!”Guardiola agreed with Klopp’s assessment that only perfection will be enough to take the title, and he admitted it was frustrating not to kill off their rivals.”He likes his punching games! No regrets, but I had the feeling that with this result we missed an opportunity, a feeling we leave them alive,” Guardiola said.Conte warms to task at SpursIt has been a curious season for Tottenham, who topped the Premier League table in late August before results nosedived and they parted ways with manager Nuno Espirito Santo.Antonio Conte, who arrived in November, often appeared grumpy in the early weeks of his reign, making no secret about his dissatisfaction with the club’s transfer policy.But now the former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss is re-energised and senses “blood” after Spurs beat Aston Villa 4-0 to close in on a Champions League place next season.
Tottenham have won six out of their past seven league games at a time when Arsenal and Manchester United have stumbled, with both losing on Saturday.Spurs boast more firepower than their main rivals, with Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and January signing Dejan Kulusevski dovetailing to devastating effect in recent weeks.Tottenham — three points clear of Arsenal and six ahead of United — are now favourites to return to Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since they 2019/20 season.”We had to show in this moment that you start to feel the blood of your opponent and it is important to not fail,” said Conte.”For this reason we are working a lot on the mentality. The players are giving me great satisfaction in many aspects.”Leeds pull away from dangerThe decision of the Leeds hierarchy to dispense with the services of much-loved manager Marcelo Bielsa was not a popular one, but their move now looks canny.Leeds, in their second season back in the Premier League, were just two points above the relegation when the Argentine was sacked in late February.There was not an immediate bounce under US coach Jesse Marsch but three wins in four games have lifted the club nine points above danger and they are nearing safety.Supporters sang Marsch’s name during Saturday’s 3-0 win at Watford, which included goals from Raphinha, Rodrigo and Jack Harrison.”So much of my emphasis is on the team and us as a group and what we’re about and how we’re going to achieve things together and any time that it draws attention to me, I don’t necessarily like it,” Marsch said.
When Man City met Atletico, Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone did what they do best
Apr 6, 2022 Gabriele MarcottiSenior Writer, ESPN FC
Pep Guardiola bristled twice at long-held cliches on Monday during Manchester City‘s news conference ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League first-leg quarterfinal clash with Atletico Madrid. For a start, he got sarcastic when the familiar “overthinking in big games” accusation was launched in his direction: “In the Champions League, I always overthink … I always create new tactics and ideas, and tomorrow you will see a new one … we will play with 12 men.”Then, he became dismissive when asked about another tired theme: the contrast in style between himself and Diego Simeone, the Atletico boss, whose teams get typecast as defensive, unscrupulous and on the ethical edge of sports.”There is a misconception, wrong, about the way [Simeone] plays,” he said. “It’s more offensive than people believe … I’m not going to talk one second about this stupid debate. Everyone tries to win the game. If they win, they are right. If we win, we are right.”Guardiola, of course, is correct on both counts. The “overthinking” charge doesn’t come out of thin air — his critics will bring up dropping Yaya Toure against Monaco in 2016-17, deploying Aymeric Laporte at left-back against Liverpool in 2017-18, leaving out Kevin De Bruyne against Spurs in 2018-19, switching to a back three with two holding midfielders against Lyon in 2019-20 and even going without a defensive midfielder in last year’s final against Chelsea — but you also need to view it in context. He doesn’t do it because he’s on some tactical ego trip; he does it to gain an edge, often against weaker opponents who spent the buildup to the game studying every facet of City and how to neutralise them.When it works — like turning Oleksandr Zinchenko from a No.10 into a left-back, flipping Bernardo Silva from a winger to a midfielder (and sometimes even a striker) or showing the world he can win the Premier League without a recognized “traditional” center-forward — we don’t accuse him of overthinking, do we?Equally, the depiction of Atletico as purely defensive, grind-it-out, win-ugly-by-any-means-necessary is also somewhat tired. Anyone who has watched LaLiga over the past year or so will have seen Simeone try to wean Atleti off his “Cholista” roots in an effort to play more proactive, attacking football. He has tinkered and experimented to get the balance right; it hasn’t always worked, and at times they’ve reverted to type, but StatsBomb data has them in the top five in terms of shots and non-penalty xG and their disciplinary record is mid-table.The days when this side was defined by a Diego Godin snarl, a Diego Costa elbow and a Raul Garcia header are long gone as you’d expect from a team that has Joao Felix up front.
And yet here’s the thing about cliches: Often they contain more than a kernel of truth. Tuesday night’s game at the Etihad saw two managers who played up to their stereotype, as if they were professional wrestlers determined to stick to an accessible, easy-to-understand kayfabe.Guardiola overthinking? It’s not so much that with Joao Cancelo forced to play on the right due to Kyle Walker‘s suspension, he opted for Nathan Ake — more of a center-back throughout his career — at left-back instead of Zinchenko, City’s first choice over the past few seasons. That may have been down to the fact that Zinchenko, who was on the bench, had not started a game in nearly a month and, understandably, may be weighed down by the horrors unfolding in his native Ukraine.
It was more the choice of leaving Phil Foden on the bench, moving Bernardo Silva up front and sticking Ilkay Gundogan in midfield. Not something you expect at home from a side that sits deep and leaves you possession like Atletico. But where the blueprint was followed religiously, and the cliches confirmed convincingly, was in how the game unfolded and each manager lived up to the stereotype.Simeone’s side sat deep in a 5-3-2 formation with five defenders, three holding midfielders and two counterattacking forwards who spent much of the game as auxiliary fullbacks. They failed to make a single attempt at goal throughout the game. Guardiola’s men enjoyed 71% possession, and while they ended up with 15 shots, most were speculative hit-and-hopers and just two were on target, which is why Jan Oblak had to make just one save. It wasn’t a particularly dirty match, but right at the end, Atleti seemed to want to live up to their “cartoon villain” image: Rodrigo De Paul and Matheus Cunha clashed with Ederson, while Sime Vrsaljko smacked a ball off a prone Jack Grealish and later fondled his headband.
All of which is somewhat ironic, but fundaentally not unexpected.Teams play to their strengths. City’s are passing, movement and winning the ball back quickly after losing it (something they didn’t do often because they rarely lost the ball). Atletico’s — much as they’d like to become a bit more multifaceted — are ultimately stout defending and organization. Both were really effective at what they do, and what we got was immovable object besting unstoppable force for most of the game. Or offense vs. defense, as most had predicted.When this happens, there are three ways to break the stalemate: a defensive error, a refereeing mistake or some unscripted individual brilliance. In the end, it was the latter that turned the game, thanks to Phil Foden, who came on as a sub and conjured up that assist for De Bruyne.It’s knockout football. You expect teams to play their strengths, which is exactly what Simeone and Guardiola did. And when they adopt diametrically opposed game plans and are (mostly) flawless, this is what you get: a stalemate decided in the blink of an eye.Sometimes it’s OK to be exactly what others think you are. Sometimes it’s OK to be yourself.
USWNT 9-1 Uzbekistan: The Americans put on a Goal Scoring Feast
The USWNT faced off against Uzbekistan in Columbus, Ohio, and walked away with a stunning 9-1 win, featuring a hat-trick from Sophia Smith.
By Adnan Ilyas@Adnan7631 Apr 9, 2022, 5:31pm PDT
In the opening minutes, Sophia Smith got in a cross into the six-yard box, but her cross was cleared away. After that, the USWNT got a set of corners, the second of which led to a header from Rose Lavelle that went off the crossbar, with Alana Cook’s attempt to clean the play up also going off the post. A few minutes later, Lindsey Horan latched onto a cutback from the left in a dangerous spot in the box, but her attempt was blocked. After that, the US only managed a few half chances for a period, but the Uzbeks did well to keep an organized defense and stifle the attack. The most dangerous chances came from Mallory Pugh. Pugh has once chance when she drifted inside and latched onto a good through ball from midfield, but the Uzbeki goalkeeper, Laylo Tilovova, did well to come out and smother the chance right at Pugh’s feet. And then, again, a chance for Pugh. This one started when Kelley O’Hara released Smith on the right, only for the right back to be cut down. The ref played advantage, allowing for a cross to be whipped in by Smith towards Pugh in the box, who just couldn’t latch onto it for the finish.Finally, the deadlock was broken in the 26th minute.Macario swung a corner in, which goes all the way to the backpost. Horan got the first header, and then Cook got a second before Andi Sullivan finally nodded it in. And from there, the goals came flooding in. Immediately off the restart, the USWNT recovered possession and Lavelle played in Pugh, who calmly slotted home the team’s second goal.Then, in the 33rd, Smith cleaned up a cross from Pugh that whizzed across goal past Lavelle. 3-0 For the fourth, Sullivan got on the end of a Uzbeki goal kick and plays in a one-time through ball to Smith, who’s in behind on the left. She scored her second with a clean finish.The USWNT got a few more chances, but that 4-0 scoreline held on until the half. But not by much. The announcer had scarcely announced the substitutions of Horan and Sullivan for Sam Mewis and Jaelin Howell before Macario rounded the goalkeeper for a 5th goal. The Sixth goal game after a long pass from Kristie Mewis found Mallory Pugh. Pugh crossed it over to give Sophia Smith a tap in, completing her hat-trick. The hat-trick hero came off in the 61st, along with Macario, replaced by Ashley Hatch and Midge Purce. Then, in the 64th, Jaelin Howell scored her first ever goal for the national team off of a side-footed volley. 7-0.Following substitutions for Emily Fox and Rose Lavelle for Sofia Huerta and Ashley Sanchez, respectively, the USWNT’s play fell into a little bit of a lull. Most notably, the USWNT switched off for a moment and allowed Uzbekistan to grab a goal off a corner through Aziza Norboeva in the 70th minute. Despite the more muddled play, there were still a few chances, and, of course, a few more goals. Once again, Pugh was able to find a few chances, but couldn’t quite finish. She ran the length of the field with in the 75th minute, but, when she got her shot off, the goalkeeper tipped it up over the crossbar. And then Pugh couldn’t turn a cross into a wide open goal just after the 80th minute mark.Finally, the USWNT got back on the scoresheet as Ashley Hatch made it 8 in the 86th minute, putting the ball into the net after the Uzbek goalkeeper made a mistake and missed an in-swinging ball. Then, Ashley Sanchez sealed the game off with a curling shot in the 89th, her first international goal. And that’s how the game ended, 9-1.Sophia Smith will, of course, get a lot of attention for the hat-trick, and deservedly so. But Mallory Pugh also particularly deserves attention for her trio of assists. All told, it was an excellent night for the USWNT.
Sounders impress in huge win, Chelsea & Pulisic outplayed, Ream nears another promotion, & more
it was a busy week in American soccer with a pair of Americans leading an impressive Seattle Sounders team, Pulisic and Chelsea getting outplayed by Real Madrid, Tim Ream on the cusp of anther promotion, and much more. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta breaks down the week’s top stories with his thoughts and analysis.
BY BRIAN SCIARETTA APRIL 07, 20224:25 PM
IT WAS A BUSY WEEK for American soccer with a bunch of important games taking place – both domestically and abroad. The UEFA Champions League saw the best American player in action while arguably two of the biggest American teams squared off in the CONCACAF Champions. Elsewhere, there was a lot at stake in Europe’s domestic leagues.Here are some thoughts on the games as well as the top news stories
SEATTLE TOPS NYCFC IN LEG 1
The Seattle Sounders have found themselves to be in great shape in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League after defeating New York City 3-1 at home in the first leg. With away goals still serving as the tie breaker, New York City still has a chance but has a huge uphill climb returning to its “home” leg at Red Bull Arena.This game was wild in the first half as both teams came out firing. Seattle struck first in the 16th minute on a wonderful team goal that was finished by Albert Rusnak. Both Roldan brothers were involved in the build-up and it was Christian who played the ball into the box for Jordan Morris. Morris then displayed a lot of skill controlling the ball before playing Rusnak into a dangerous spot for a first-time finish. After an NYCFC equalizer, Seattle regained the lead thanks to a very well-taken goal from Jordan Morris after Christian Roldan got on the end of a long throw in and centered the ball to Morris who buried te shot.In the 68th minute Seattle gained a 3-1 lead after VAR awarded penalty after Thiago Martins was judged to have fouled Raul Ruidiaz. Nicholas Lodeiro then stepped up to easily convert the penalty.“My overall impression, right now, was that was an entertaining soccer game,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “I hope our fans enjoyed that. I did. I enjoyed that. I hope the TV audience that tuned in enjoyed that. I thought it was a good game.”In the end, Seattle walked off with a commanding 3-1 lead returning to the second leg.Here are some thoughts.
MORRIS AND ROLDAN
Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan both had extremely impressive performances. Thus far, Roldan has a strong case for being the player of the CCL tournament.For Morris, the performance was even more significant because this was, by far, the best he has looked since his return from the 2021 ACL injury. The form Morris had in 2019 and 2020 put him among the best Designated Players in the entire league. He was rusty in his return starting last November but this was as close to his previous form as he has ever been. If he is back it is great news for the Sounders.Obviously both players are in the mix for the national team. Roldan is largely a late sub off the bench who can fill a number of different positions for Gregg Berhalter. He works extremely hard and knows his role. Morris had fallen behind in the pecking order but if he can build off this outing, he can get back into an important position – particularly if players like Brenden Aaronson or Gio Reyna start to adopt more midfield roles.
SEATTLE’S TOP PLAYERS DELIVERED
In addition to Morris and Roldan, this was the first time Seattle had all of its front six playing and in form. The results were impressive. With Rusnak finally scoring for Seattle, Nico Lodeiro running the midfield with Joao Paulo and Rusnak and Raul Ruidiaz back up top, it was lethal. The quality of the goals and opportunities was something that other teams are going to have a tough time matching.”Every one of us gave it all today. I think there wasn’t a player that didn’t have a great performance,” Albert Rusnak said. “That’s what it takes in these kinds of games. We played against a good team, and we managed to win by two goals. We’re halfway there, but we’re expecting another tough game next week on Wednesday.”Seattle was shaky defensively at times in this game. That was to be expected with central defender Yeimar Gómez (injured) and left back Nouhou (suspended). When those players are back, Seattle should be in great shape.
2ND LEG THOUGHTS
The second leg is going to be very difficult for NYCFC. Yes, they have an away goal, but they are going to have to push forward for goals. In doing that, it is going to be very hard to keep Seattle off the board. With Seattle’s defense getting upgrades for the second leg, it will make the task that much harder.NYCFC really hasn’t played well this season and their Champions League run hasn’t been nearly as demanding as the other three teams. It is going to be a tall task to reverse all of that against a Seattle team that is desperate to go to the Final and win it.
PULISIC STARTS IN CHELSEA LOSS
The greatest moment in Christian Pulisic’s career came last year in the Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid when he was arguably the best player over both legs as Chelsea advanced to the final against Manchester City – which it won.In 2022, Chelsea was set to face Real Madrid in the quarterfinal of the Champions League. The first leg was on Wednesday and Chelsea did not fare nearly as well. Playing home at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea dropped a 3-1 decision with Karim Benzema notching a hat trick. Chelsea was poor and at times careless – like on Real Madrid’s third goal when goalkeeper Edouard Mendy gave the ball away.Pulisic started and played 64 minutes. He wasn’t poor but rarely got the ball in dangerous positions. Chelsea opted to attack mostly down the right side opposite to Pulisic.When Thomas Tuchel was asked afterward if Chelsea was still alive in this tie, he responded: “No, not at the moment. No.”Chelsea was outclassed on the day. Karim Benzema might be the best player in the world at the moment while Chelsea continued to struggle getting offensive production from Romelu Lukaku – a player the club spent $100 million to acquire.Pulisic has played a lot for Chelsea in 2022 and has had a good couple of months. But things can change quickly at the elite levels of this game and Real Madrid is just better in 2022.
REAM & FULHAM NEAR PROMOTION
It’s a foregone conclusion that Fulham will secure promotion to the Premier League but it should become a reality very soon. Wednesday 1-0 win on the road against Middlesbrough now has the team six points away. Any combination of either points won by Fulham or lost by Nottingham Forest will see Fulham clinch.The win was a familiar formula. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored again – his 38th goal of the season – and the team played smart defense. The latter part was led by Tim Ream, who was excellent. USMNT left back Antonee Robinson played the final eight minutes to help see out the win.Ream may never stand out in the Premier League, but when you consider price paid by the owners of top Championship clubs to buy players push for promotion and then you consider Ream is a proven star defender in promotional efforts in the league, it makes you realize just how valuable he is. From a financial standpoint, he is a player who can be key to promotion to the Premier League.
PEPI SUBS INTO BIG AUGSBURG WIN
On Wednesday, with Augsburg up 2-1 on Mainz in an important match in the Bundesliga relegation race, Ricardo Pepi subbed into the game in the 71st minute to help Augsburg see out the win. He had just seven touches and completed just one pass. Augsburg won for the second consecutive game and is now six points clear of relegation and its prognosis to survive in the league this season is excellent.Pepi has not scored in six months for either FC Dallas, the United States national team, or Augsburg. Last weekend he played well in the win over Wolfsburg despite not scoring. The good news for him is that the team’s improved standing should take the pressure off him and the rest of the team. It bodes well for him getting more playing time but he does need to take advantage, sooner than later, to change the narrative of his recent expensive transfer.
HORVATH ON THE BENCH
After starting five games for Nottingham Forest where he played well, Ethan Horvath has been back on the bench for the club’s first two games after the international window. The first wasn’t surprising as Horvath was only just returning from time away with the U.S. team. But Horvath on the bench for Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Coventry City was surprising.The way to read this is that Forest manager Steve Cooper simply does not see a lot separating Brice Samba and Horvath as the team’s top keepers. He doesn’t want to make a change after one of the keepers has a solid effort and a win.To be fair, Samba has also played well. He made saves in the 4-1 away win over Blackpool on Saturday and then was solid again in the win over Coventry. It seems unlikely Cooper will make a change for the game against Birmingham City.It’s tough for Horvath right now because he has done enough to start but leaving for the U.S. team seems to have opened the door for Samba – who has taken advantage. But the real question will be who starts for Forest in the promotional playoffs, if they qualify.
DE LA FUENTE INJURED
Konrad de la Fuente season is likely over as it was announced that he will have to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery to repair cartilage.It was a mixed season for de la Fuente who made 16 Ligue 1 appearances for 786 minutes (he also made one appearance for 56 minutes in the Coupe de France and six appearance in the Europa/Conference league for 230 minutes). His only goal or assist was a goal in the Conference League against Qarabag.De la Fuente’s best performances were towards the beginning of the season and his minutes declined as the season progressed. Last month there was a French report that questioned his work ethic.The questions over his professionalism are a huge concern since he is still so unproven and should be completely focused on improving and securing his role on the team. He has the skill on the ball, but next year will need to see that translate into more offensive production.Once De la Fuente returns from his injury, he is going to have to have a big preseason and show a high level of dedication.
Pinho Braces Powers Indy Eleven to First Win of 2022, Mark Lowry Era in Indy
View Stats from #RGVvIND via the USLChampionship.com MatchCenter
EDINBURG, Texas (Saturday, April 9, 2022) – Indy Eleven capped a gritty away performance with a late game brace by forward Stefano Pinho before holding on to capture its first win of the 2022 season – and the first victory for head coach Mark Lowry on the Eleven sideline – via a 2-1 triumph at Rio Grande Valley FC. The win at H-E-B Park allows Indy Eleven to carry a three-game undefeated streak back to the Circle City, where it will play five of its next six contests through the end of May.The first half was an overly physical affair marked mostly by fouls and stingy play in the middle third. The best early chance for either side came in the 17th minute when Eleven goalkeeper Elliot Panicco came up with an impressive low save on Isidro Martinez’s 20-yard blast. Indy managed to get into the game via some dangerous crosses over the final 15 minutes of the half, but good looks by Alex McQueen and Jared Timer were handled by RGV before they could find a teammate. Martinez and Eleven midfielder Justin Ingram both wound up from distance during the lone minute of stoppage time, but neither found frame and the match went to halftime as it started at 0-0.While Rio Grande Valley again held the bulk of the possession out of the locker rooms, all it really had to show for it was Frank Lopez’s effort from the top of the arc in the 56th minute that Panicco did well to parry over his crossbar. Indiana’s Team continued to find more of the ball as the half progressed, and the chances were soon to come, starting with Pinho’s opener in the 69th minute. The Brazilian did well to place defender Mechack Jerome’s ball from near the midfield stripe into the top of the area with his first touch before calmly finishing from near the penalty spot with his second to give Indy the advantage heading into the final 20 minutes.But Pinho wasn’t done, as he’d bag his third in as many games in the 78th minute on another play started by Jerome, this time with a timely tackle at midfield. Ingram collected and played quickly to substitute striker Aris Briggs, whose inch perfect through ball split two defenders and found Pinho at the top of the area, where he rounded onrushing RGV netminder Colin Miller and finished into the vacated goal to push the Eleven lead to 2-0.The FC Toros pressure on the final third mounted in the following minutes, and Indy could only hold the fort for so long. Lopez adjusted well to first-time Robert Coronado’s cross to the top of the six, his finish cutting the deficit in half in the 83rd minute to set up a nervy finish. A last gasp attempt at an RGV equalizer came in the final of four minutes of stoppage time via a free kick just outside the Indy penalty area, but the leaping four-man wall did it just, allowing the Eleven to secure its first victory of the Mark Lowry Era.Indiana’s Team returns home next Saturday, April 16, when it welcomes Atlanta United 2 for a 7:00 p.m. ET kick that can be followed on MyINDY-TV 23, Exitos Radio 94.3 FM/943exitos.com, and ESPN+. Tickets for all Indy Eleven regular season contests at IUPUI Carroll Stadium are available starting at just $15 and can be purchased online at indyeleven.com/tickets.
- Indy Eleven has now gone 21 consecutive league matches without a loss when scoring the game’s first goal, a stretch that dates back to July 2020.Defender/midfielder Noah Powder made his 100th appearance in USL Championship action at the opening whistle. The New Jersey native and Trinidad & Tobago international has appeared in four of Indy Eleven’s first five league matches, which combined with his 47 matches with Real Monarchs SLC and 49 with NY Red Bulls II add him to the USLC’s “Century Club”.Speaking of the Century Club, midfielder Ayoze made his 102nd appearance in an Eleven uniform – and first of 2022 – when he entered in the 86th minute. The Spaniard had been nursing a lower leg injury since the back half of preseason in February.Another member of Indiana’s Team, 2021 leading scorer Manuel Arteaga, also made his first appearance in 2022, coming on as a late-game cameo in the final minute of stoppage time. The Venezuelan forward bagged 10 goals to pace the squad in his first season in Indy last year but had been sidelined after suffering a knee injury in a preseason game in February.
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