Champions League Tues/Wed
We are down to the final games of the Group Stage in Champions League (Europe’s best teams) and Europa League with some big games this week featuring Americans this week on Paramount plus with Wrap-Around shows on at 3 pm on CBS Sports Network.
Champions League permutations at a glance
Already through to round of 16
(*confirmed group winners): Bayern Munich*, Benfica, Borussia Dortmund,
Chelsea*, Club Bruges, Inter Milan, Liverpool,
Manchester City*, Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, Real Madrid
MLS Finals LAFC vs Philly Union Sat 4 pm FOX
Portland Wins NWSL Title 2-0 on Sophia Smith’s Goal
NWSL League MVP Sophia Smith lands the Winner for Portland as they beat Kansas City 2-0 on CBS Sat night to win the NWSL Championship in front of nearly 18K in Washington DC. GKE in NSWL Champ Game as Franch Gives up an Easy
11 & USL
Great to see former Carmel FC GK Coach and Indy 11 Goalie Jordan Farr is headed to the USL Conference Finals with his #1 Seed In the Western Division San Antonio vs Colorado Switchbacks Sunday night on ESPN+ at 8:30 pm. In the East what else – longtime rivals Louisville will face the Tampa Bay Rowdies Sat at 7:30 pm on ESPN+. The finals are next Thurs night on ESPN2. USL Playoff Bracket
School – Carmel loses to Noblesville in State Finals 1-0
The Carmel High Girls lost a heartbreaker 1-0 to Noblesville Sat in the state Finals. Noblesville wins their 2nd straight State Championship and third in 4 years. While Carmel has made it to the Championship Title game 4 of the last 5 seasons.
CFC Goalkeepers training for the U13 and older kids is moved to Wednesday this week at Shelbourne 2. We’ll start Indoor Training at the Fieldhouse on Wed nights – U11 5:30, U13 6:30 and U14/Highschool 8:30 pm.
Ava Bramblett writes a ‘storybook ending’ to her Noblesville soccer career with 3rd title this time 1-0 over Carmel.
Brian Haenchen Indianapolis Star
INDIANAPOLIS — Ava Bramblett did the deed. Because of course she did. Who else would it be?The Noblesville senior lifted the Millers to one final win Saturday evening, scoring the decisive goal in the 37th minute of a 1-0 win over Carmel in the Class 3A state championship game at Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium. In four varsity seasons, Bramblett recorded 47 goals, 23 assists and guided the Millers to a record of 70-2-5 with championships in three of her four seasons. Simply incredible.”Ava wasn’t going to be denied a state championship today. She’s a special, special player,” Noblesville coach Mike Brady said. “Many of them are, but Ava’s unique. One of a kind. It’s been my pleasure to coach her these four years.”
Bramblett’s goal showcased what makes her so lethal. The Ohio State commit picked up a pass from Atley Pittman along the right side of the box and deftly carried the ball towards the penalty mark. She recognized a lane through the maze of white jerseys and took her shot, ripping a left-footer back across her body that skipped through, untouched, into the right side of the net. “Honestly, that was the first time in the game I felt we were calm and actually built up an attack,” Bramblett said. “I got a touch across the box, the two Carmel girls collided and there was the goal. … At the end of the day, that’s all it took to beat them. That’s all we needed to make the end of our careers picture perfect.””She always puts 100% effort in and when she (attacks), you just know,” senior defender Lauren Adam added. “That goal, you could see her going and her body movement, and you could tell she was going to score that goal. You have complete trust knowing she’s going to do everything she can to put that ball in the net.”Though outshot 15-3 in the half, the Greyhounds did a good job forcing Noblesville’s attackers to the outside and limiting their shots to the low-danger areas. Coach Frank Dixon was also pleased with their defense of Bramblett, forcing her to go sideways and backwards. But one momentary lapse, a decision to step in and try to win a ball by the Greyhounds, threw the defenders off and left them scrambling to switch someone onto No. 10.Bramblett made them pay. “We lost to a kid who’s going to be Miss Soccer, I think,” Dixon said of Bramblett, describing her as an all-around player. “Superstars win games, and she got the goal when they needed it.”
Bramblett was excellent, but so too was the Noblesville defense. An effort spearheaded by Adam, a Purdue commit, the Millers allowed just six shots, and goalkeeper Bella Wyatt was required to make three saves. “We’re tough to score on,” Brady said. “From my goalkeeper to my back line to Marit (McLaughlin) playing in front of them, that’s one of the best defenses in the state and I think that was proven tonight.” Carmel generated some quality chances in the second half, including one by Sophie Shepherd who broke in one-on-one, but Wyatt made the save. Adam on what it’s meant to be part of the Noblesville soccer program: “It’s not only that the skill is so high, but the people you actually play with and the bonds you create are just so amazing. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else.” Noblesville won three state championships Saturday with the boys soccer and girls cross country teams joining the girls soccer team.
BIG GAMES ON TV
Tues, Nov 1 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
12:45 Para+, TUDN Porto vs Atletico Madrid
12:45 Para+ Bayer Leverkusen vs Club Brugge
4 pm Para+, TUDN Liverpool vs Napoli
4 pm Para+ Tottenham vs Marseille
4 pm Para+ Bayern Munich vs Inter
Wed, Nov 2
1:45 pm Para+, TUDN Real Madrid vs Celtic ( )
1:45 pm Para+ Shaktar Donetsk vs RB Leipzig
4 pm Para+ Milan vs Salzburg
4 pm Para+ Juventus vs PSG
4 pm Para+ Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Dinamo Zagreb
3 pm Para+ Kabenhaven vs Dortmund (Reyna)
Thur, Nov 3 EUROPA
1:45 pm Para+ Real Sociedad vs Man United
4 pm Para+ Arsenal (Turner) vs Zurich
4pm Para+ Union Berlin (Pefuk) vs Union Saint Gilloise
4 pm Para+ Sheriff vs Omonia Nicosia
4 pm Para+ West Ham vs FSCB
Sat, Nov 5
9:30 am ESPN+ Bayern Muchen vs Mainz
10:30 am ESPN+ Dortmun (Reyna) vs Bochum
11 am USA Man Cty vs Fulham (Robinson, Ream)
11 am Peacock Leeds United vs AFC Bournemouth
4 pm ESPN+ Barcelona vs Almeria
4 pm FOX LAFC vs Philly Union MLS Finals
7:30 pm ESPN+ Louisville City vs Tampa Bay Rowdies
Sun, Nov 6
7 am USA Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Arsenal
8 am ESPN+ Atletico Madrid vs Espanyol
10:30 am ESPN+ Bayer Leverkusen vs Union Berlin (Pefuk)
11:30 am USA Tottenham vs Liverpool
2:45 pm Para + Juventus vs Inter
8:30 pm ESPN+ San Antonio (Jordan Farr GK) vs Colorado Springs
Sun, Nov 10
7 pm FS1 USWNT vs Germany
Thur, Nov 13
5 pm ESPN USWNT vs Germany
8 pm ESPN2 USL Finals
Sun, Nov 20
11 am Fox World Cup Starts
Mon, Nov 21
8 am FS1 England vs Iran
2 pm Fox USA vs Wales
Mon, Nov 22
11 am Fox Mexico vs Poland
CARMEL FC PLAYERS : Winter Players League (WPL) – Badger Indoor Fieldhouse
As the fall season comes to a close over the next month, we wanted to let you know that we will be launching an indoor soccer league over two six week sessions within our new Badger Fieldhouse. Games will be played on either Friday night ( 6pm to 10pm) or Sunday afternoon (1pm-5pm) depending on age groups: U8s, U9&U10, U11&U12, U13-U15 and U16+ (Coed Teams allowed). Referees for each game, 50 minute games, 5v5, 7v7 and 9v9 matches.
Session One (6 weeks): Jan 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th / Feb: 3rd, 10th
Session Two (6 weeks): Feb 17th, 24th / Mar 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th
Registration Information coming shortly, gather teammates and be ready to play!
Champions League Tue/Wed
MLS Finals Sat 4 pm Fox
Portland Thorns ride the rise of Sophia Smith to an NWSL title Yahoo Soccer Henry Bushnell
Portland’s success built around Smith and adaptability 2dJeff Kassouf
USMNT Injuries Mount as WC Nears Henry Bushnell
USWNT getting some of its familiar names back, starting with Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh
Harvard-Westlake senior Alyssa Thompson, Alex Morgan highlight USWNT roster
Morgan eyes 200th USWNT cap vs. Germany Jeff Carlisle /ESPN FC
Key figure in NWSL abuse investigation, Mana Shim, named chair of US Soccer’s safety taskforce
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Champions League: How every team can qualify for the knockout rounds
Oct 26, 2022
We’re into the closing matches of the Champions League group stage, and many teams have booked their places in the round of 16.Here we take a look at the state of play across all eight groups.The group winners and runners-up will go into the Champions League round of 16; third place drops into the Europa League knockout round to face group runners-up from that competition; and fourth is knocked out completely.
QUALIFIED AS GROUP WINNERS: Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester City
QUALIFIED AS GROUP RUNNERS-UP: Borussia Dortmund
QUALIFIED, POSITION TBC: Benfica, Club Brugge, FC Porto, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid
ELIMINATED, COULD MAKE UEL: Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayer Leverkusen, Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus, Maccabi Haifa, Rangers
ELIMINATED FROM EUROPE: Celtic, Viktoria Plzen
– points in head-to-head matches among the tied teams
– goal difference in head-to-head matches among the tied teams
– goals scored in head-to-head matches among the tied teams
– overall goal difference
– overall goals scored
– overall away goals scored
– overall wins
– overall away wins
– disciplinary points
– UEFA club coefficient
Next fixtures, Nov. 1: Liverpool vs. Napoli, Rangers vs. Ajax
|1 – Napoli||5||5||0||0||+16||15|
|2 – Liverpool||5||4||0||1||+9||12|
|3 – Ajax||5||1||0||4||-7||3|
|4 – Rangers||5||0||0||5||-18||0|
Napoli: Have qualified and will win the group with a win/draw against Liverpool, or if they lose by no more than three goals.
Liverpool: Have qualified but must beat Napoli by 4+ goals to top the group.
Ajax Amsterdam: Will qualify for the Europa League as long as they don’t lose to Rangers by 5+ goals.
Rangers: Have been eliminated and must beat Ajax by 5+ goals to reach the Europa League.
Next fixtures, Nov. 1: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Club Brugge, FC Porto vs. Atletico Madrid
|1 – Brugge||5||3||1||1||+3||10|
|2 – Porto||5||3||0||2||+4||9|
|3 – Atletico||5||1||2||2||-3||5|
|4 – Leverkusen||5||1||1||3||-4||4|
Club Brugge: Have qualified and will top the group with a win away to Leverkusen, or a draw if FC Porto draw/lose vs. Atletico, or with a defeat if FC Porto lose.
FC Porto: Have qualified and will top the group with a win if Club Brugge draw/lose, or with a draw if Club Brugge lose.
Atletico Madrid: Have been eliminated and must beat FC Porto to guarantee a place in the Europa League. Will be in the UEL with a draw if Leverkusen draw/lose, or with a defeat if Leverkusen lose.
Bayer Leverkusen: Have been eliminated and will drop into the Europa League if they win and Atletico Madrid and Atletico draw/lose. A draw will be enough if Atletico lose. Cannot reach the UEL with a defeat.
Next fixtures, Nov. 1: Bayern Munich vs. Inter Milan, Viktoria Plzen vs. Barcelona
|1 – Bayern||5||5||0||0||+14||15|
|2 – Inter||5||3||1||1||+5||10|
|3 – Barca||5||1||1||3||-2||4|
|4 – Plzen||5||0||0||5||-17||0|
Bayern Munich: Have qualified as group winners.
Inter Milan: Have qualified as group runners-up.
Barcelona: Have qualified for the Europa League.
Viktoria Plzen: Have been eliminated from Europe.
Next fixtures, Nov. 1: Sporting CP vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, Marseille vs. Tottenham
|1 – Spurs||5||2||2||1||+1||8|
|2 – Sporting||5||2||1||2||0||7|
|3 – Frankfurt||5||2||1||2||-2||7|
|4 – Marseille||5||2||0||3||+1||6|
Tottenham Hotspur: Will qualify with a win/draw at Marseille, while a win securing top spot. Cannot qualify with a defeat.
Sporting CP: A draw at home to Sporting guarantees a place in the round of 16, while a win gives them top spot if Spurs draw/lose.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Must win at Sporting CP, which secures a place in the round of 16.
Marseille: Guaranteed to go through win at home to Tottenham, and they will top the group if Sporting-Frankfurt is a draw.
Next fixtures, Nov. 2: AC Milan vs. FC Salzburg, Chelsea vs. Dinamo Zagreb
|1 – Chelsea||5||3||1||1||+5||10|
|2 – Milan||5||2||1||2||+1||7|
|3 – Salzburg||5||1||3||1||0||6|
|4 – Zagreb||5||1||1||3||-6||4|
Chelsea: Have qualified as group winners.
AC Milan: Will go through in second with a win/draw at home to FC Salzburg.
FC Salzburg: Must beat AC Milan to go through in the Champions League.
Dinamo Zagreb: Have been eliminated from the Champions League and can only make it into the Europa League if they win at Chelsea and FC Salzburg lose.
Next fixtures, Nov. 2: Real Madrid vs. Celtic, Shakhtar Donetsk vs. RB Leipzig
|1 – Madrid||5||3||1||1||+5||10|
|2 – Leipzig||5||3||0||2||0||9|
|3 – Shakhtar||5||1||3||1||+2||6|
|4 – Celtic||5||0||2||3||-7||2|
Real Madrid: Have qualified for the round of 16 and will win the group with a victory at home to Celtic. A draw/loss will also be enough for top spot if RB Leipzig fail to beat Shakhtar Donetsk.
RB Leipzig: Must avoid defeat away to Shakhtar to qualify, and can top the group with a win if Real Madrid draw/lose.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Victory at home to RB Leipzig will send them through in second on head-to-head record.
Celtic: Have been eliminated from Europe.
Next fixtures, Nov. 2: FC Copenhagen vs. Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City vas Sevilla
|1 – Man City||5||3||2||0||+10||11|
|2 – Dortmund||5||2||2||1||+5||8|
|3 – Sevilla||5||1||2||2||-4||5|
|4 – Copenhagen||5||0||2||3||-11||2|
Manchester City: Have qualified as group winners.
Borussia Dortmund: Have qualified as group runners-up.
Sevilla: Have qualified for the Europa League.
FC Copenhagen: Have been eliminated from Europe.
Next fixtures, Nov. 2: Juventus vs. Paris Saint-Germain, Maccabi Haifa vs. Benfica
|1 – PSG||5||3||2||0||+8||11|
|2 – Benfica||5||3||2||0||+4||11|
|3 – Juventus||5||1||0||4||-3||3|
|4 – M. Haifa||5||1||0||4||-9||3|
Paris Saint-Germain: Have qualified and are top of the group only on goal difference, so even a win in Turin might not be enough to finished first — but it will leave Benfica needing a big score. The head to head between the two teams at the top is level, with both games finishing 1-1.
Benfica: Have qualified but trail PSG by a goal difference of 4, and have also scored 4 fewer goals. It means they realistically must better PSG’s result on Matchday 6 to finish top — if both teams win then Benfica must do so by at least 4 more goals than PSG win theirs.
Juventus: Have been eliminated from the Champions League. The head to head is level with Maccabi Haifa but Juve have a much better goal difference. It essentially means Juve will be in the Europa League if they match or better Maccabi Haifa’s result.
Maccabi Haifa: As their goal difference is 6 worse than Juve’s they will have to better the Italian side’s result on Matchday 6 to make the Europa League.
USMNT midweek viewing guide: Champions League wraps up
Final knockout positions are on the line, as the World Cup draws ever nearer.
It’s a busy week! The Champions League group stage says farewell this week, with less than 3 weeks until the opening match of the World Cup in Qatar. Some USMNT players are in action, so let’s get into it!
- Rangers FC v Ajax, 4p on Paramount+, ViX+: Malik Tillman and James Sands are already eliminated from the knockout stage, and are essentially out of Europa contention as well. The only way they can make Europa League is to win this match by 11 goals or more.
Also in action:
- Bayer Leverkusen v Club Brugge, 1:45p on Paramount+, ViX, ViX+: Owen Otasowie is unlikely to play for Brugge, who are top of Group B and already qualified for the knockout stage. Leverkusen are fighting for a Europa League spot.
- Hull City v Middlesbrough, 3:45p: Zack Steffen and Boro face Hull in the Championship. Boro also includes Matthew Hoppe, and Hull includes 19-year-old American Vaughn Covil.
- Luton Town v Reading, 3:45p: Ethan Horvath and Luton host Reading in Championship action.
- Sporting CP v Eintracht Frankfurt, 4p on Paramount+, ViX+: Timmy Chandler and Frankfurt are even on points in Group D. Only one of them will advance to the knockout stage. Sporting is +2 on Frankfurt in goal differential.
- West Brom v Blackpool, 4p: Daryl Dike has been sidelined with injury much of the time since joining West Brom.
- Real Madrid v Celtic, 1:45p on Paramount+, TUDN, UniMás, fuboTV (free trial), ViX+: Cameron Carter-Vickers and Celtic are going to finish last in Group F regardless of this game. Madrid have clinched knockout stages and may rest some starters at home.
- Chelsea v Dinamo Zagreb, 4p on Paramount+, ViX+: Christian Pulisic and Chelsea have already qualified for knockouts, on top of Group E.
- AC Milan v RB Salzburg, 4p on Paramount+, ViX+: Sergiño Dest and Milan are one point ahead of Salzburg in Group E. A win would qualify them for the knockout round.
- Copenhagen v Borussia Dortmund, 4p on Paramount+, ViX+: Gio Reyna and Dortmund have essentially clinched knockout competition in Group G. For them to miss out, they would have to lose and Sevilla would have to gain 9 goals on them, which seems unlikely as Sevilla is facing Man City in Manchester.
- Juventus v PSG, 4p on Paramount+, TUDN, Univision, fuboTV, ViX+: Weston McKennie and Juve will miss Champions League knockouts; they need to get an equal or better result as Haifa gets against Benfica in order to make Europa League (Group H).
- Maccabi Haifa v Benfica, 4p on Paramount+, ViX+: Josh Cohen and Maccabi Haifa need to win and hope Juve loses in Group H; John Brooks and Benfica are already through to the knockouts.
Also in action:
- América Mineiro v Internacional, 3p on Paramount+, Premiere 2, Fanatiz, Sling TV, ViX+: Johnny Cardoso and Internacional are trying to stay within reach of Palmeiras atop Brazil’s league table; 10 points behind with 4 games left.
- Huddersfield Town v Sunderland, 3:45p: Duane Holmes and Lynden Gooch square off in the Championship.
- Norwich City v QPR, 3:45p on ESPN+ (free trial): Josh Sargent and Jonathan Tomkinson could see the field for Norwich.
- Arsenal v FC Zürich, 4p on Paramount+, TUDN, UniMás, fuboTV, ViX+: Matt Turner may be an option for the Gunners in Group A; he missed their last Europa match with a minor injury. Arsenal will at least advance to knockout round playoffs, and can clinch a round of 16 berth today.
- Union St. Gilloise v Union Berlin, 4p on Paramount+, ViX+: Jordan Pefok and Union Berlin could use a point or three in Group D to help them stay above Braga for the knockout round playoffs. It will be a tough test on the road against group leaders St. Gilloise.
Also in action:
- Real Sociedad v Manchester United, 1:45p on Paramount+, TUDN, fuboTV, ViX+: Jonathan Gómez could be in the La Real squad as they host the Red Devils in Group E. Sociedad is top of the group and 3 pts ahead of United.
- Bodø/Glimt v PSV, 4p on Paramount+, ViX+: Richy Ledezma and PSV are second in Group A. They could leap-frog Arsenal for first if PSV wins and the Gunners lose.
That’s it! Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s see who impresses this week!
Champions League permutations: What’s left to settle in final group games?
By The Athletic Staff Oct 31, 2022
The UEFA Champions League group stage is heading towards its conclusion, with only one match left to play.Twelve sides have already sealed progress to the knockout stages with a game to spare but other clubs face crunch final encounters and there is plenty left to settle.Finishing positions will have an impact on the last-16 draw, with group winners seeded, runners-up unseeded and third-place sides dropping down into the Europa League.And if teams are level on points, they will be separated by their head-to-head records, not goal difference.The Athletic guides you through what can still happen on matchweek six and how the last-16 draw will work.
Champions League permutations at a glance
Already through to round of 16 (*confirmed group winners): Bayern Munich*, Benfica, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea*, Club Bruges, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Manchester City*, Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, Real Madrid
Champions League permutations by group
Final group fixtures: Liverpool vs Napoli, Rangers vs Ajax
Napoli: Through. Must avoid losing by more than three goals against Liverpool to finish as group winners.
Liverpool: Through. Must beat Napoli by more than four goals or more to top group.
Ajax: Out of the Champions League but will drop down to Europa League if they avoid thrashing by Rangers.
Rangers: Out of the Champions League and will only drop down to Europa League if they beat Ajax by five goals or more.
|Club Bruges (qualified)||5||3||1||1||3||10|
Final group fixtures: Porto vs Atletico, Bayer Leverkusen vs Club Bruges
Club Bruges: Through but top spot is all to play for.
Porto: Through but top spot is all to play for.
Atletico: Out but can still reach the Europa League if they match or better Bayer Leverkusen’s result.
Bayer Leverkusen: Must better Atletico’s result on matchday 6 in order to drop down to Europa League.
Final group fixtures: Bayern Munich vs Inter Milan, Viktoria Plzen vs Barcelona
Bayern Munich: Through as group winners.
Inter: Through as group runners-up.
Barcelona: Confirmed place in Europa League.
Viktoria Plzen: Out of Europe.
Final group fixtures: Marseille vs Tottenham, Sporting vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Tottenham: Will progress to last 16 if they claim a point in Marseille.
Sporting Lisbon: Through if they draw with Frankfurt due to their head-to-head record against Sporting.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Must beat Sporting to continue in the Champions League.
Marseille: Must beat Tottenham to progress in Champions League.
|Red Bull Salzburg||5||1||1||3||0||6|
Final group fixtures: Chelsea vs Dinamo Zagreb, Milan vs Red Bull Salzburg
Chelsea: Through as group winners.
AC Milan: Must avoid defeat against Red Bull Salzburg to progress.
Salzburg: Must defeat Milan to progress.
Dinamo Zagreb: Can still finish third in group.
|Real Madrid (qualified)||5||3||1||1||5||10|
Final group fixtures: Real Madrid vs Celtic, Shakhtar vs RB Leipzig
Real Madrid: Through but must better RB Leipzig’s result to top group.
RB Leipzig: Draw will see RB Leipzig progress.
Shakhtar: Must beat RB Leipzig in final match to qualify for last 16.
Celtic: Out of Europe.
|Man City (qualified)||5||3||2||0||10||11|
Final group fixtures: Manchester City vs Sevilla, Copenhagen vs Borussia Dortmund
Manchester City: Through as group winners.
Dortmund: Through as group runners-up.
Sevilla: Guaranteed Europa League place.
FC Copenhagen: Out of Europe.
Next fixtures: Juventus vs PSG, Maccabi Haifa vs Benfica
PSG: Through but yet to secure top spot.
Benfica: Through but in running for top spot.
Juventus: Out but now competing for Europa League place.
Maccabi Haifa: Also out but could pip Juventus to Europa League place.
When is the Champions League round of 16 draw?
The draw for the first knockout stage in this season’s competition takes place at 11am (BST) on Monday, November 7.
The draw will feature the eight group winners and eight runners-up.
Seeded group winners will play the return fixtures of the two-legged ties at home.
No team can play a club from their group, or any side from their domestic league at this stage.
Champions League key dates
- Round of 16 draw: November 7
- Round of 16: February 14/15/21/22 & March 7/8/14/15, 2023
- Quarter-final and semi-final draw: March 17, 2023
- Quarter-finals: April 11/12 & 18/19, 2023
- Semi-finals: May 9/10 & 16/17, 2023
- Final: June 10, 2023 (Istanbul)
MLS Cup playoffs: Philly, LAFC advance to championship game as top seeds prevail
9:34 AM ET Jeff Carlisle U.S. soccer correspondent ESPNFC
The participants in the 2022 MLS Cup final are set, and for the first time since 2003, the top seed in each conference — the Philadelphia Union in the East and LAFC in the West — will square off .It will take some doing to reach the drama of that 2003 final, won by the San Jose Earthquakes over the Chicago Fire by a score of 4-2 with some wild changes in momentum. But these two teams have the talent, toughness and cohesiveness to deliver something memorable, and Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles is the perfect venue for a final.Here’s how the two teams got there.
Philadelphia Union 3, New York City FC 1: Philly finally overcome their biggest foe
Every championship team has its dragon, that side that they just can’t seem to get past, or inflicts a deep hurt that stifles championship dreams.
For the Philadelphia Union, that is — or it was — New York City FC. Last year, in the Eastern Conference final between these same teams, COVID-19 protocols prevented 11 Union players from even being considered for the starting lineup. Philadelphia’s collective hands couldn’t hold a 1-0 lead, and NYCFC went on to claim that year’s MLS Cup. This time around, Philly slayed the dragon, with the Union coming from behind to claim a 3-1 win over the Blues, scoring three times in 11 second-half minutes in front of a raucous home crowd.
And it wasn’t just the goal scorers — Julian Carranza, Daniel Gazdag and Cory Burke — wielding the vorpal swords. Andre Blake’s save from Alex Callens’ header in the 60th minute — with NYCFC up 1-0 — delivered a wound of its own. Had Callens’ effort found the net, a 2-0 lead almost certainly would have been too tall a mountain to climb. Instead it breathed new life into the Union.
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It helped that NYCFC’s defense experienced a collective brain fade that was downright befuddling. The Blues fell asleep on Carranza’s equalizer, which came immediately after their own substitution, allowing him to collect Jakob Glesnes‘ quickly taken free kick and fire past Johnson. Then NYCFC got caught ball-watching on Gazdag’s eventual game-winner, with Carranza nodding down a cross for an easy finish. Burke’s capper came after his mazy run appeared to end with a clearing attempt that ricocheted right back to him, allowing him to fire home. Credit the Union for punishing mistakes, but it was a spell one normally doesn’t associate with the reigning MLS Cup champions. And so, the Union now find themselves in their first MLS Cup. It’s not quite the Island of Misfit Toys, but it seems like every one of their players has an unconventional path that took them to the City of Brotherly Love. Carranza was acquired via Inter Miami’s fire sale after the Herons were found to have violated MLS roster rules. Gazdag arrived from Hungarian side Budapest Honved and proceeded to score 22 goals this season. Jakob Glesnes was acquired from unfancied Norwegian side Stromsgodset IF. Thanks to the team’s academy, which produced Jack McGlynn, the list goes on. Credit GM Ernst Tanner for spotting talent that would work in MLS, as well as manager Jim Curtin who molded it into a team that has been consistently been among the best in MLS over the past three seasons. The Union’s approach reiterates that it’s not enough to spend; an organization must spend wisely too. Now there is just one obstacle — and it’s a real doozy — to overcome.
LAFC 3, Austin FC 0: Arango answers his critics (again)
Remember when Chico Arango was on the trading block? It didn’t matter how many goals he scored: he didn’t help LAFC defend enough from the front, or so the thinking went, and therefore he was surplus to requirements. But as the old adage goes, sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make, and so it proved for LAFC in its 3-0 Western Conference victory over Austin FC. It was Arango who provided some reward for LAFC’s first-half dominance, heading home Carlos Vela’s corner in the 29th minute. Given the final margin of victory combined with the Black-and-Gold’s control of the midfield throughout, it’s tempting to think there was an air of inevitability about the win. But there have been plenty of times when a dominant team failed to cash in on its opportunities and then got punished — ultimately, Arango’s tally provided a bit of calm and confidence. The goal also highlighted Arango’s underrated ability in the air. At 5-foot-10, it would be stretch to say Arango is undersized, but he isn’t a giant either. The tally was the fourth with his head this season, a mark bettered only by FC Cincinnati’s Brandon Vazquez (6), Atlanta United’s Juan Jose Purata (6) and the Portland Timbers‘ Bill Tuiloma (5). The fact that Arango has scored 32 goals in 53 games — including two this postseason — makes his contribution priceless.
The same could be said about a much less flashy component of LAFC’s lineup: holding midfielder Ilie Sanchez. The Spaniard was a free agent at the end of 2021, and the prevailing thought was that he no longer had the legs to be a mainstay in a team’s lineup. But he’s been just that for LAFC, was a Best XI selection this year, and was part of a defensive effort on Sunday that limited Austin’s Sebastian Driussi to 33 touches, the fewest in a game all season in which the Argentine went 90 minutes. And he has long been the metronome for LAFC’s attack. Now it’s up to LAFC to finish the deal, and fulfill the promise that they have shown since their inaugural season back in 2018. With a home match in front of their raucous fans, the odds that the Black-and-Gold get the job done are excellent indeed.
Henry Bushnell Sat, October 29, 2022 at 2:04 PM YAHOO SOCCER
Three-plus weeks before the U.S. men’s national team opens a long-awaited 2022 World Cup campaign, six likely members of its squad missed games due to injury. And a seventh, Weston McKennie, is reportedly out for at least 15 days after leaving a Juventus game early.
Tyler Adams, Matt Turner, Sergiño Dest and Josh Sargent were held out by their clubs as precautions over the past week; and Adams returned on Saturday. But Luca de la Torre and Chris Richards are sidelined, and the World Cup, for both, appears to be in doubt. McKennie then joined the injured list on Saturday. He left Juventus’ win over Lecce at halftime with what was later reported to be a quadriceps problem. The 15-day timeline would rule him out until the World Cup break. Richards, a potential starter at center back, is the other primary subject of worry. He was initially named in the USMNT’s September squad, then withdrawn due to what U.S. Soccer called a “minor” injury. But a month and a half later, he is still not training with Crystal Palace. “He is still doing some individual work,” Palace coach Patrick Vieira said Friday. In early October, Richards told the “Scuffed” podcast the he was “a week and a half or so away from being fully fit.” But on Friday, Vieira said he was still 7-10 days away from a return to team training. He has just started one first-team game since April, and hasn’t played at all since August. He has long been considered the solution at the USMNT’s position of gravest need, but seems borderline unplayable against Wales on Nov. 21 if he has not gotten back into a game for Palace before the World Cup break.
Luca de la Torre sidelined for three weeks
The freshest worry, meanwhile, surrounds de la Torre and depth. The 24-year-old midfielder has played sparingly at Celta de Vigo, and is now out for “around three weeks” after tearing a thigh muscle, the Spanish club said Friday. De la Torre is not a USMNT starter, but would likely be the first central midfielder off the bench. If he cannot recover in time for Qatar, the U.S. midfield would suddenly look rather thin — especially with McKennie also ailing.
Updates on Tyler Adams, Matt Turner, Sergiño and Josh Sargent
Adams is the most integral name on this injury report, and his return to Leeds United’s starting lineup on Saturday against Liverpool eased concerns. Adams had missed last Sunday’s loss to Fulham with a minor muscle injury. Leeds coach Jesse Marsch had said that Adams was questionable entering Saturday. But he was healthy enough to reclaim his customary place at the base of Leeds’ midfield.
Dest has also “recovered,” and is “available” for AC Milan’s Sunday match at Torino, Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. The U.S. fullback had exited last Saturday’s win over Monza at halftime, and did not play midweek in the Champions League.
Turner is another likely USMNT starter. The 28-year-old goalkeeper had, prior to Thursday, played every minute of Arsenal’s 2022-23 Europa League campaign, and hadn’t conceded a single goal from open play. But on Wednesday, as he prepared for the fifth of six group games, “he had some discomfort in his groin,” Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta said. Turner “tried” on Thursday, the morning of the match, “but he was not well,” Arteta said. “It did not look like a serious injury,” Arteta concluded. But the club is assessing it. And at the very least, it cost Turner 90 valuable minutes with the World Cup a few weeks away.
And finally there is Sargent, one of two or three candidates to start for the USMNT up front. He’s been excellent for Norwich City in the English Championship this season. He’d recovered from a minor knock to go 90 minutes last Saturday and again on Tuesday. But in Tuesday’s game, “he just felt his calf,” Norwich manager Dean Smith said. It was “too tight to risk it” on Saturday, so Sargent was held out of Norwich’s squad entirely. “He was close,” Smith said. “It’s a calf strain. And he’s got the opportunity to maybe get called up for the World Cup as well. We can’t risk him. And he didn’t feel it was right to go today.”
The inevitability of costly injuries
It is likely that Sargent, Adams, Dest and Turner will all be fit in plenty of time for the World Cup. The U.S. roster will be unveiled on Nov. 9, but isn’t technically due until Nov. 14. The opener is a week later.
But their injuries are harbingers of what is to come. There is no extended runway toward this World Cup. There are European club games the weekend before it begins. There will be further injuries, and little time to recover from them, and more players than ever before who enter soccer’s quadrennial showpiece at something less than 100%.
The USMNT has only definitively lost one player (Miles Robinson) thus far. But fans, and head coach Gregg Berhalter, are bracing themselves.
“Do I think we have the best players in each position identified? Yes,” Berhalter said last month. “Do I think they’re all gonna be available for the start of the World Cup? I don’t know. That’s just what every international manager will be dealing with right now. We’ll be holding our breaths.”
Alex Morgan eyes 200th United States cap amid roster return for Germany friendlies
2:00 PM ET
Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
San Diego Wave forward Alex Morgan, the Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Pugh and NWSL MVP Sophia Smith of the Portland Thorns headline United States national team 24-player roster for a pair of friendlies against Germany next month.
Morgan, who missed last month’s European tour alongside Pugh, has 198 international caps and is on the verge of becoming just the 13th player in USWNT history to amass 200 caps.The U.S. is looking to rebound from defeats against Spain and England earlier this month, with its first opportunity to do so when the team hosts Germany in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Nov. 10, and then again in Harrison, N.J., three days later — the last two matches of 2022 for the top-ranked U.S. side.”These are the kinds of games that help our World Cup preparation in many ways and these 180 minutes to end our schedule this year are going to be extremely valuable for the players and coaches,” U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski said.”It will be good to get some players back on the roster and we’re all expecting these games to be very competitive and entertaining for fans.”Kansas City Current goalkeeper Adrianna Franch also returns for her first call-up since October 2021, as does San Diego Wave attacker Taylor Kornieck.The roster includes three NWSL end-of-season award winners in Golden Boot winner Morgan, MVP Smith and Rookie of the Year and Defender of the Year Naomi Girma. Smith also won the MVP of the NWSL Championship Game after scoring to help lead the Thorns to their third NWSL title.
Germany, which is ranked No. 3 in the world, reached the final of the 2022 Women’s Euro, falling to a 2-1 extra-time defeat to England. November’s meeting will be the USWNT’s first clash with Germany since a narrow victory at the SheBelives Cup in 2018.Earlier this month, the U.S. learned its group opponents and path through the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The U.S. was drawn into Group E where it will face Vietnam, Netherlands and the Group A Playoff Winner. Germany was drawn into Group H where it will face Morocco, Colombia and Korea Republic.
USWNT 24-player roster vs. Germany
Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).
Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC).
Midfielders: Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).
Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy).
Henry BushnellSat, October 29, 2022 at 10:06 PM
Sophia Smith has spent roughly half of the NWSL’s entire existence as its prophesied future. She earned the weighty title as a talented teen, and carried it with her through high school, to college. She arrived in the pros just two short seasons ago carrying unprecedented expectations; she would, so many assumed, become a Golden Boot winner and U.S. women’s national team star.
She was the future, future, future, until, in 2022, and specifically on Saturday night, she became the present.She became, at 22 years and two months old, the league’s youngest-ever MVP this week. And then she became a champion. She needed only four minutes to swing Saturday’s title game in Washington, D.C., and win the Portland Thorns their third NWSL title.Smith pounced on a Kansas City mistake, rounded AD Franch, and slid the first goal of a 2-0 triumph into an empty net.And she celebrated, in front of 17,624 awestruck fans, as if she’s been doing this her entire life — because, well, she has.Smith became the future long before she’d even turned 18. She tore up youth tournaments and, at 16, earned her first USWNT call. She went off to Stanford, and scored 17 sophomore-year goals. She bagged an NCAA tournament semifinal hat trick en route to a national championship.She glided past helpless defenders in college, and conjured sorcery even against the world’s best youth national teams. She wriggled in and out of tight spaces. She spanked quick-trigger shots, and showcased vision and spatial awareness well beyond her years. She left Stanford after two seasons, and became a no-brainer No. 1 overall draft pick in 2020. She joined a Portland team with five World Cup winners and the greatest international goalscorer ever. A few of those veterans remained the cornerstones of a 2022 team that endured unfathomable heartache but possessed unbelievable depth. The Thorns regularly brought international stars off the bench. One, Crystal Dunn, won their semifinal with a 93rd-minute banger.Smith, meanwhile, entered the year as a still-very-promising 21-year-old. She was already a national teamer, but five Thorns players had made the NWSL’s 2021 Best XI first or second team, and Smith hadn’t been one of them. She scored seven league goals last year. She was a piece of a superteam, but merely a piece — until, from the outset of the 2022 season, she became something far more. She scored early and often, and especially often in June. She scored in the league and in the NWSL Challenge Cup. She scored for the national team in World Cup qualifying and against England at Wembley. She scored 28 goals in total.
She remains the future, and brighter than ever. But she arrived, definitively, as the now this year. Her presence created Portland’s second goal on Saturday at Audi Field as well. Her quickness and confidence nearly created more.
NWSL Championship featured an iconic celebration, a city’s support, and much-needed on-field chaos
By Steph YangOct 31, 2022 The Athletic
Congratulations to the 2022 NWSL champion Portland Thorns. In its 2-0 victory over the Kansas City Current at Audi Field, the club added a third star above their crest thanks to a well-executed plan carried out over 90-plus minutes. The plan was so well-executed, in fact, that forward Sophia Smith said “It was honestly just a fun game to play” afterward. All in all, a successful cap to an intense, sometimes painful, season.
A marquee event
One thing that really stood out at this year’s edition of the NWSL Championship was that it had a sense of occasion for the whole weekend. It hasn’t always been so; previous championships might have had a few events like a supporter meetup or a pre-match party, but this championship truly felt like the culmination of 10 years of growth. For starters, it was a primetime game on over-the-air CBS in the U.S., and the pre-game fanfest outside of Audi was loud, crowded, and plastered with sponsorships. There were live broadcasts from both CBS Sports via their Attacking Third show, and from the league’s partner Just Women’s Sports. Players from other teams were everywhere, and there was a particularly special presentation of custom letterman jackets to players who have been in the league since its first season.There was also, crucially, a giant truck parked outside, selling merchandise from every team in the league. That might sound like an extremely low bar to set, and yet it’s been a recurring problem not just in NWSL, but in all of women’s soccer, even at the international level. The line for the merch truck was, at points, nearly the full length of the fan fest itself, with well over a hundred people waiting to make purchases. People spending money on women’s soccer! What a concept!
Sophia Smith called game
You’ve seen the goal celebration by now. It’s right there, pictured at the top of this piece. The USWNT forward’s reaction to scoring an early opening goal was also the exclamation mark from Smith on a fantastic year. If fans didn’t think she’d arrived before, she was telling them right then and there that she is here to chew bubblegum and score goals, and she’s all out of bubblegum.“There’s been, you know, a lot of people who don’t think that I deserved to win MVP. So that was a little bit of ‘that’s that’,” said Smith after the game when asked about the celebration. There’s always going to be arguments for or against players for MVP no matter who gets nominated. If you want to say, for example, Alex Morgan or Debinha should have been MVP of 2022, there’s certainly evidence to support that. But there is no denying that Smith should be in the argument. Per FBRef, she led the league in shots on target per 90 with 2.73 (second place was Mal Pugh with 2.1) and her shot creation and shot creation per 90 are among the best in the league, third overall in both categories. Her actual goal creation and goal creation per 90 are also tops, fifth and tenth overall respectively. These stats are heavily dominated by midfielders, understandably so given their roles on the field, so it’s even more special to see a forward like Smith so dominant in creating shots and goals for her team.We have been told that this picture of Smith will now hang in the National Portrait Gallery.The Current isn’t done yet
It doesn’t feel good to lose a championship, no matter how outmatched you might have been at the end, and Current players were understandably glum after the game. Yet there also seemed to be a seed of resolve – this entire season has been the proof of concept that with the right mindset and the right work and the right personnel and the right resources, you can fight your way to the top. You can win vs. teams with superstar names or glitzier rosters, move past teams that have historically done much better than you, outperform teams with longer histories or a more recognizable name. It can be done, because the Current did it, and they’ll be determined to do it again in 2023.“We earned this. I don’t think anything was given to us,” said midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta after the final. “This is why it hurts, because Kansas City showed up for us for sure,” she said, thanking one of the local KC reporters for having made the trip out to Washington, D.C. “And we played for them. You know, the whole time when we didn’t have the support of our city when we were FCKC, we played for each other. And the best thing that we did this year is get the support of the entire city behind us. That’s why it hurts so much.”“We have the city on our back now and the future is so bright for this team for sure,” LaBonta continued. “We were in last (place) last year and we turned it around immediately with investment in people buying in, new staff members. So we can only go up. I have two more years in my contract…so let’s go. I don’t think anybody will sleep on this team anymore.”
It was good to focus on soccer for a little while
It felt notable that, for just a few days, the majority of the conversations in NWSL circles were about…soccer. Just soccer. Sure, the media had some questions for the players about finding joy from these games or coping with a difficult season, but everyone seemed happy to just be able to focus on a soccer game between two good teams, and the battle on the field. The issues that have come to light this season about the extensive abuse and harassment that has pervaded NWSL are critical issues, and discussing them openly and in-depth is absolutely required in order to find justice for victims of abuse and to prevent this from happening to more players in the future. But after weeks of intense questions on the topic after the release of the Yates report just before the USWNT friendlies in Europe, there was certainly a little bit of relief when the conversations could just be about two teams playing a game, and one of them being crowned the winner. In the offseason, there will be more questions and more hard feelings to process, especially with the impending NWSL investigation yet to come. But we can’t forget that the players can’t and shouldn’t have to be constantly advocating for themselves. At some point they need a break too, and a big, exciting game with tons of fans and a primetime spotlight was no less than they deserved.
|GRANT WAHLOCT 29|
Under-fire coach Jesse Marsch and Leeds United got a huge 2-1 win at Liverpool on Saturday, with the game-winner coming from Crysencio Summerville in the 89th minute to send the Anfield partisans into shock and the visiting Leeds support into ecstasy. Here are my three thoughts on the game:
• It was a deserved win for Leeds—and a phenomenal performance by goalkeeper Illan Meslier. These are the kinds of results that can turn seasons around. Leeds hadn’t won in eight league games and had lost four in a row, sinking into the relegation zone and putting Marsch’s job in serious jeopardy. So what do they do? They go and win at Anfield. Rodrigo’s fourth-minute goal was a gift from Joe Gomez, and it looked like order was being restored when Mohamed Salah equalized 10 minutes later. But Meslier was immense in goal, making nine saves, and Leeds never stopped going toe-to-toe with Liverpool. If anyone wondered whether the Leeds players had stopped playing for Marsch, they answered that today with an enormous effort for every minute of the contest. That paid off in the game’s final stages, when good work by second-half sub Willy Gnonto and Patrick Bamford (who struggled otherwise) put the ball on the foot of Summerville, who stabbed it past Alisson for the match-winner and pulled his shirt off in a wild celebration. The game marked the first defeat ever for Virgil van Dijk in his 70 matches played there.
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• The American players were terrific. Leeds had really missed Tyler Adams when he was out injured in the last game, a 3-2 loss to Fulham, and he came back with authority at Liverpool. Adams did what he does best: cover a lot of space, win balls, pass the ball upfield and harass opponents like Andy Robertson. Adams also has a swagger about him that tells everyone that he belongs here in the biggest games at the most hallowed stadiums. Like Adams, Brenden Aaronson played the entire game, and he had his moments, including hitting the crossbar on a first-half shot attempt. And like Adams, Aaronson brought an energy and commitment that didn’t waver. Even during the toughest moments so far this season, Adams and Aaronson have been two of Leeds’s best players, and if you’re a U.S. fan you have to be happy seeing how well they have performed and how many minutes they have gotten to be ready for the World Cup.
• Marsch should get a reprieve now. Is it crazy that Leeds has just three wins, and two of them have come against Liverpool and Chelsea? Yeah. But the truth is that almost all the underlying data has shown that Leeds’s performances have been better than where the team has been in the table. Marsch has been saying he has the board’s support while acknowledging that he needed to get some Ws, and soon. Leeds has three more games before the World Cup break—league matches against Bournemouth and Spurs and a League Cup tie with Wolves—and it seems likely now that Marsch will remain the coach through the World Cup break. It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of his team’s win at Anfield. Liverpool needed points badly and couldn’t get them. And in one 90-minute game, Leeds may have turned its season around. We’ll know more soon enough, but Leeds players have to know that their ceiling is high. They just need to approach it more often.