4/19/19  Champions League Semi-Finals Set, Carmel FC New Indy 11 Goalkeeper Coach, Full TV Game Schedule

WOW what a set of Champions League Quarterfinal results – first Ajax and their magical win over Juventus and then Tottenham with their huge defeat of Manchester City in what some are calling the greatest UCL game ever played with 7 goals and 3 VAR decisions and drama and excitement into stoppage time.   It leaves us with Tottenham vs Ajax on one side and Barcelona vs Liverpool on the other.  Most will consider the Liverpool vs Barca match as the true final – and I for one am looking forward to a 2 leg home and home series to decide the champion rather than a 1 game at a neutral site.  I think like everyone else I just assumed Man City with their billions spent would advance vs Spurs – especially with Harry Kane out – but man did Son show he’s truly world class in leading Spurs to the win.  As for the VAR decisions – I feel the ball to hand goal should have stood – as it was not 100% obvious it went off his hand and it certainly wasn’t a purposeful hand ball.  I also think that last offsides call was mighty, mighty close against Man City.  I still think the offsides rule should be relaxed somehow which would lead to more goals in games.  Anyway – it sets up an exciting set of semi-final games.  Oh and either the Spurs or Ajax is going to make the finals – who would have thought that could happen when this tourney started.

Indy 11 Goalkeeper Jordan Farr to Coach Carmel FC Goalkeepers

Jordan Farr has signed on to serve as Head Goalkeeping Coach for Carmel FC this season.  Farr is in his 2nd season as a goalkeeper for the Indy 11.  He also serves as GK coach for Indiana Wesleyan.  Farr was a standout goalkeeper for the record-setting 2016 Corban University Warrior team that advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Round of 16 for the first time in program history. He ranks number two all-time in the NAIA with 44 career shutouts, tallying nine during his senior campaign and owns a career goals-against-average of 0.74.  A Portland native, Farr also was all-conference for the Portland Timbers U-23s.  Welcome Jordan!

Indy11Farr

Indy 11

Fresh off a win the Indy Eleven continue their April away swing in USL play this Saturday, April 20, when the Boys in Blue travel to the Philly area to take on Bethlehem Steel FC. The matinee kickoff from Talen Energy Stadium – the home of MLS side Philadelphia Union – in Chester, Penn., is set for 4:00 p.m., and the match can be seen exclusively via streaming video on ESPN+.  Indy Eleven return to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday, May 1, at 7:00 p.m., followed three days later by another home game on Saturday, May 4, against North Carolina FC at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available for as low as $15 at IndyEleven.com/Tickets.

MLS

Huge announcement this week as MLS has announced they will add 2 more teams -probably Sacramento and St Louis and will plan to expand to 30 total teams in a few years.  Of course Indy is on the list but I really don’t think we have the $200 million MLS is asking in expansion fees now.  Sunday features a battle of the top 2 teams in MLS as LAFC will host the Seattle Sounders at 7 pm on FS1 before turning around and playing again next Sun at Seattle.  Cincy has won 2 in a row and will host Real Salt Lake tonight on ESPN+ at 7:30 pm.  Saturday former Carmel High defender Matt Hedges and Dallas travel to defending champs Atlanta United at 4 pm on ESPN while Sunday Wayne Rooney fans get national coverage as DC United, tops in the East, will host NYCFC on ESPN at 4 pm on Sunday.

EPL

With just over a month left in the EPL season – the battle for the top between and Liverpool and Man City and the top 4 between Tottenham, Chelsea, Man United, and Arsenal is heating up big-time.  Man City hosts Tottenham this Saturday with a 7:30 am kickoff on NBCSN.  Then they host Manchester United in a Manchester Derby on Wed at 2 pm on NBCSN.  We get Americans at 12:30 on Saturday as Newcastle United and US Defender Deandre Yedlin will host Southampton at 12:30 on NBC, while on Fox Sports 1 Borussia MGladbach and midfielder Johnson will host RB Leipzig and American DMid Tyler Adams.   Sunday we get Man United traveling to Everton and Liverpool traveling to Cardiff at 8:30 am and 11 am respectively.

GAMES ON TV

Fri, Apr 19

7:30 pm ESPN+                                    Cincy vs Real Salt Lake

8 pm ESPN+                                            Toronto vs Minn United

11 pm Uni Desp                                  LA Galaxy vs Houston

Sat, April 20

6:30 am ESPN2                                     Parma vs Milan (Italy)

7:30 am NBCSN                                  Man City vs Tottenham  

9:30 am Fox Sport 1                         Bayern Munich vs Werder Bremen

10 am CNBC                                           West Ham vs Leicester City

10:15 am beIN Sport                          Eibar vs Atletico Madrid

12:30 pm NBC                                      NewCastle United (Yedlin) vs Southampton

12:30 pm Fox Sports 2                    Borussia Mgladbach (Johnson) vs RB Leipzig (Adams)   

1 pm ESPN+                                            Chicago Fire vs Colo

2:30 pm ESPN+                                    Inter vs Roma

2:45 pm beIn Sport                          Barcelona vs Real Sociedad

4 pm ESPN+                                      Bethlehem Steel vs Indy 11

4 pm ESPN                                               Atlanta United vs Dallas (Matt Hedges)

7:30 pm ESPN+                                    Columbus Crew vs Portland Timbers

Sun, April 21

8;30 am NBCSN                                    Everton vs Man United

9:30 am FS1                                           Freiburg vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

10:15 am beIN Sport                          Real Madrid vs Athletic Club

11 am NBCSN                                         Cardiff City vs Liverpool

3 pm beIN sport                                  PSG vs Monaco

4 pm ESPN                                               DC United (Rooney) vs NYCFC

7 pm FS1                                                   LAFC vs Seattle Sounders

Mon, Apr 22

3 pm NBCSN                                           Chelsea vs Burnley

Tues, Apr 23

2:45 pm NBCSN                                   Tottenham vs Brighton

Weds, Apr 24

2:45 pm ESPNDes, ESPN3              Werder Bremen vs Bayern Munich German Cup

2:45 pm ESPN+                                    Milan vs Lazio  Italian Cup

3 pm NBCSN                                    Manchester United vs Man City  

Fri, Apr 26

3 pm NBCSN                                           Liverpool vs Huddersfield Town

Sun, Apr 28  

9 am NBCSN                                           Burnley vs Man City

9:30 am FS1                                            Hoffenheim vs Wolfsburg

11:30 NBCSN                                         Man United vs Chelsea  

3:30 pm FS1                                           Seattle Sounders vs LAFC

5 pm ESPN+                          NYRB vs Indy 11

Tues, April 30                                        Champions League SEMI-FINALS

3 pm TNT                               Barcelona vs Liverpool

Weds, May 1                                          Champions League

3 pm TNT                                                  Ajax vs Tottenham

7 pm ESPN+                          Indy 11 vs Tampa Bay Rowdies (Lucas Oil)

Tues, May 7                                            Champions League SEMI-FINALS

3 pm TNT                               Liverpool vs Barcelona

Weds, May 8                                          Champions League

3 pm TNT                                                  Tottenham vs Ajax

Sat, June 1                             Champions League Finals

World

EPL Sprint to the Title Race is On – ESPNFC

Has Liverpools Win over Chelsea Swung Momentum in EPL? World Wrap-Up Gab Marcotti  ESPNFC

Dortmund win again

Champions League

7 Goals, VAR Drama as Spurs Stun City – Was this the Greatest UCL Game Ever? – Mark Odgen ESPNFC

Player ratings: Laporte 3/10 as City’s dream dashed
Manager reaction: Guardiola laments City’s ‘cruel’ exit, VAR calls
Social reaction: Kane, Alli on Tottenham’s unforgettable night

Miller: Liverpool’s ‘ugly’ wins show they’re true contenders

Liverpool player ratings: Mane 9/10, Fabinho 8/10

Juve in Danger or Collapse All Season – Gab Marcotti ESPNFC

Allegri dismisses Juventus exit speculation

De Jong: Ajax should’ve beaten Juve by more

Ajax’s ideals triumph over Juve and Ronaldo’s riches

Inside Ajax’s dream factory: How they produce so much talent

Inside Ajax’s dream factory

Messi is Genius enough for Barcelona to win it All – Mark Ogden ESPNFC

Two-goal Messi ‘unstoppable’ at his best – boss

Solskjaer: Man United rebuild could take years

De Gea gets 4/10 after howler ends Man United hopes

Messi 9/10, Coutinho 8/10 as Barca sweep past Man United

Arsenal and Chelsea win to Advance to Europa League Semis

Indy 11

Indy 11 Preview of Sat 4 pm Game @ Bethlehem Steel

Dan Kelly Brace Gives Indy 3-1 Win at Swope Park Rangers Mon

Chaos in the USL – Soc Takes

Indy 11 to Host US Open Cup game at Butler Bowl – SocTakes Kevin Johnston

Indy 11 moving 3 Games during Colts Football Season

3 Things Indy 11 home Win

Indy 11 Win Home Opener In front of Record Crowd – Kevin Johnston – Indy Star

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Full Schedule Released

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

BYB Away Game Watch Parties Around Town

USA

Gold Cup Groups Unveiled – S&S

US Men to play Venezuela in Cincinatti –Sunday, June 9th

America Coaches Abroad- Harder and Harder for MLS Coaches to Move to Europe S&S

Jesse March, former Red Bulls Coach, to coach FC Red Bull Salzburg

Luna Bar donates over $700K to make Up Women’s pay to equal men’s

US Ladies Celebrate Past and Rout Belgium

Alex Morgan Notches 100th goal vs Australia in 5-3 win

US Ladies Confident blueprint in Place for World Cup

NWSL Week 1 Round-Up

Top NWSL Storylines

MLS

W2W4

MLS to Expand to 30 Teams Jeff Carlisle ESPNFc

MLS Clubs to Receive Solidarity Payments

What does Training Compensation mean for MLS

Power Rankings MLS

GOALIES

Ter Stegen Didn’t Celebrate Messi’s Goal vs De Gea citing GoalKeepers Union  See here

Great Save Szczesney Juve vs  Ajax

Ter Stegan Great Save on CK

TerStagan again

Great PK Save Hugo Loris vs Man City

Official Top Saves Sweet 16 UCL

Top Saves in Sweet 16 UCL

Great Story I found on Seattle GK’s Kasey Keller and Marcus Hennemann – both former US Keepers in  England

Seven goals and VAR drama as Tottenham stun City. Was this greatest UCL game ever?

6:35 PM ETMark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC

MANCHESTER, England — It was Pep Guardiola’s Jose Mourinho moment. A late, dramatic winner in a Champions League tie, followed by the victorious manager sprinting down the touchline to celebrate wildly with his players.But then, in the flash of a video screen, it wasn’t.The Etihad Stadium went from raucous noise to mournful silence as Raheem Sterling‘s 93rd-minute hat-trick goal, Manchester City’s fifth on the night, was ruled out — correctly — following a VAR review that ruled that Sergio Aguerohad been offside at the beginning of the move for the goal. It was a tight call, but it was the right one, and Guardiola was forced to sheepishly retreat to his bench, knowing that his team had just two more minutes to score to claim the crucial goal required to eliminate Tottenham and reach the semifinals. Back in 2004, there was no such pin-pricking of Mourinho’s balloon as he celebrated Porto’s late winner at Manchester United — a goal that propelled the Portuguese club to Champions League glory that season. But on this occasion, it was like Guardiola had been abruptly woken from a dream to find himself in a living nightmare. City could not score again and Spurs went through on away goals, with the score tied 4-4 on aggregate.”It is cruel,” Guardiola said. “But it is what it is and we have to accept it.”Once again, City had fallen short in the Champions League. Once again, Guardiola had failed to take his team to the final, having now not done so since guiding Barcelona to victory against Manchester United in the 2011 final at Wembley.But such was the drama of this quarterfinal second leg in Manchester that the events in stoppage time were only a small element of the story of the tie.The damage was done to City in the first leg, when Spurs won 1-0 after Aguero had missed a penalty — awarded by VAR — inside the first 10 minutes. It was also a night that saw Harry Kane — ranked No. 1 among the world’s strikers in the ESPN FC 100 — suffer the ankle injury that threatens to rule him out for the rest of the season and, potentially, the Champions League final.Yet what happened in the first leg was only a taste of what was to come at the Etihad on a night of football madness: a pulsating encounter that will go down as a Champions League classic.City went ahead inside four minutes, leveling the tie on aggregate, when Sterling curled past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from 12 yards. The Etihad erupted, but within five minutes the home side were 2-1 down with Son Heung-Min — scorer of the only goal in the first leg — netting twice on the counterattack.City now needed to score three more times without response to stay in the Champions League and keep their Quadruple dream alive. Bernardo Silvapulled one back within two minutes of Son’s second to make it 2-2, and it was then 3-2 on 21 minutes after Sterling converted Kevin De Bruyne‘s cross at the far post.Just let that sink in: 3-2 after 21 minutes. This was video-game football, attack versus defence, with attack winning every time. Sterling and Son were running riot, terrifying their direct opponents whenever they had the ball, while De Bruyne was also producing his best performance of the season.But at 3-2, City needed one more goal to go through, and nobody scores more late goals than Manchester City. And the loss of injured Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko on 41 minutes, which forced Mauricio Pochettino to change his formation by introducing Fernando Llorente as a lone striker, appeared to play into City’s hands.Spurs were now light in midfield and had lost their biggest strength — pace on the counter — and they began to ship water as the second half progressed. City pushed them deeper and deeper toward their own goal, and the pressure told when Aguero scored from De Bruyne’s pass on 59 minutes to put Guardiola’s team ahead for the first time in the tie.Rather than sit back and play the game out, City went for the kill. One more goal would surely finish Spurs off.But it didn’t come, and then came the first crucial VAR intervention, when Llorente deflected in Kieran Trippier’s corner before Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir was called to review it on the video screen by VAR. Cakir took an age, reviewing numerous angles before shrugging his shoulders and awarding the goal, judging that the ball went in off Llorente’s hip rather than his hand. It was the right call.But City still had 17 minutes plus stoppage time to tilt the pendulum back in their favour, and they pushed once again, pouring forward and targeting the byline. The clock ticked on, into stoppage time, until Christian Eriksen’s loss of possession gifted the ball to Aguero, who laid it off for Sterling to score.Guardiola sprinted to celebrate and the Etihad went wild, but VAR had one more card to play. Bernardo Silva’s outstretched leg had diverted the ball toward Aguero and the cold, emotionless VAR once again called a big decision correctly: Aguero was offside and the goal would not count.City would not win and the Quadruple dream was over, for another year at least. The Champions League, the biggest prize of all, continues to elude City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan. Perhaps Guardiola & Co. can take solace in knowing they will get another shot at Spurs on Saturday, in the Premier League.It is Spurs who march on, with a semifinal looming against Ajax — a tie they will expect to win, even without Kane and Son (the latter will miss the first leg through suspension). Pochettino is eyeing Champions League glory, not Guardiola, but the Spurs coach insisted it was all down to his players.”My players are heroes, making the semifinal, making history,” he said. “I am so proud of them. This team has such strong mentality that all is possible.”But to reach a semifinal in the Champions League, you need fate, good spirit, lots of preparation in preseason. It is a long time ago that we started to build this achievement.”UEFA have confirmed the dates for the Champions League semifinals, with Tottenham vs. Ajax first leg on April 30 and Barcelona vs. Liverpool on May 1. Liverpool vs. Barcelona in the second leg is set for May 7, while Ajax host Tottenham on May 8.

Juventus have been in danger of collapse all season long. Against Ajax, it happened

1:19 PM ETGabriele MarcottiSenior Writer, ESPN FC

Imagine a warning light flashing on your dashboard as you speed down the highway. You know it’s there. You know it’s potentially important but no matter what you do, no matter what tweaks you make, it won’t go away.Welcome to Max Allegri’s view while driving Juve’s team bus. All season long he beat the same drum, even as the side were sailing through their Champions League group and establishing a record-setting pace

We need to play better. We need to dominate the opposition for longer stretches. We can’t be too reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo. We need to show more personality. We need to get out of our comfort zone. This was his message and on Tuesday, chickens came home to roost. Juventus were beaten and thoroughly outplayed at home by Ajax, particularly over the first 25 minutes of a stunning second half, in a 2-1 defeat that dumped them from the Champions League. What struck you most, perhaps, is that over the 180 minutes, Juve generally matched Ajax for the other 155. The problem is that at this level, it’s not about staying in the game and holding your own, waiting for a set-piece or an opponent’s mistake to strike. It’s about being able to raise your game for spells in which you dominate, creating chances repeatedly and snuffing out every reaction before it begins. That’s what Ajax did so well after half-time on Tuesday, with the crowd waiting for a home comeback that never came, and that’s what we’ve rarely seen from Juve this season, at least not against good sides.Think back over the campaign. How many times have Juve played well this season against good sides?

In the Champions League? Atletico Madrid and Valencia at home, Manchester United away. In Serie A? Roma at home, arguably Milan away and Napoli at home back in September. You’ll note that only one of those games took place after Christmas.I know that “playing well” is subjective but there’s still a “know-it-when-I-see-it” eye test. If you’re into something more “objective” how about the xG? Against Champions League opponents Valencia, Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Ajax — yes, I’m excluding Young Boys for obvious reasons — they managed 9.06 Expected Goals and conceded 7.23. Against Serie A’s top six, they fared even worse, with an xG of 9.54 and and an xG conceded of 10.84.Some of us who thought that Juventus could still go deep in the Champions League believed Allegri would fix this, that he’d make the light stop flashing by coming up with something brilliant in the second half of the season. Because let’s face it: it would have taken something brilliant to overcome the Ajax side seen on Tuesday night. This time, he wasn’t able to conjure up the magic.We can drive ourselves mad with microanalysis of the match, decisions made and not made, the impact of Giorgio Chiellini‘s absence and the sluggishness in midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo being too isolated and whatever else. But the bottom line is that Juve’s wage bill is five times that of Ajax. If the resources to perform better — not win, mind you, because Ajax were out-of-this-world, but at least react and not get battered for 25 minutes at home in the second half — are there (and they obviously are) there can be only one of two explanations: either Allegri got it wrong (not just last night, but all season long, given the performances) or this team is poorly constructed.Allegri bears plenty of responsibility, no question. But this is also a team with two right-backs, one of whom can’t attack consistently and one of whom can’t defend. (Put Mattia De Sciglio and Joao Cancelo into one of those machines from “The Fly” and that might do the trick). A midfield where, other than Miralem Pjanic, most players appear as if they’d rather not have the ball, given their tendency to either pass it sideways or simply run with it when they do get it. A frontline with a battle-scarred center-forward who turns 33 in May (Mario Mandzukic) and a would-be “No.10” whose confidence has been thoroughly destroyed over the past 18 months (Paulo Dybala).

People have pointed to Juve’s average age and yes, that’s a concern too. What we saw is pretty much their Best XI — bar Chiellini for Mattia Rugani (which would actually make them nearly a year older) or, possibly, Mandzukic for Dybala (which would also make them older) — and it borders on age 28.Juve president Andrea Agnelli said he disagreed that age was an issue, adding that “apart from Ronaldo, the team that faced Ajax were all young.” Given that nobody was younger than 24 and that six were 28 or older, you can only conclude he has his own definition of “young.” It’s easy to mock Agnelli (I just did) but the reality is that he can’t get too caught up in issues of age for the simple reason that this is no time for a rebuild.Tempting as it may be, and as many are wont to do after this most traumatic exit, to talk about clear-outs and rebuilds, Juve simply can’t do it. They made a very clear choice when they committed some $375 million in wages and fees over four years to Ronaldo. They need to win right now and they built their side accordingly, packing it with pricey veterans. (There’s another one on his way next year in the form of Aaron Ramsey, who turns 29 next season.)  What’s more, they made a $22m loss in the 2017-18 financial year (the one before Ronaldo’as arrival) and while they did show a profit in their half-yearly statement this year ($9m), Financial Fair Play only gives you so much wiggle room.Agnelli understands this and that’s why he knows Juve have to stay the course. He left no doubt that Allegri would be back next season and that he had faith in this group of players. They’ve put a destination in their GPS and chosen a route to get there. It’s too late to find a different way of getting to where they want to be: supertankers don’t do U-turns particularly well.Allegri will still be driving because when you have a team of veterans, shocks to the system can be dangerous and counterproductive. He has six months to get that warning light to stop flashing.

Ajax’s ideals triumph over riches of Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo

6:55 PM ETJames HorncastleItaly writer

TURIN, Italy — It turns out Cristiano Ronaldo is not enough. The Portuguese scored in both legs of Juventus’ Champions League quarterfinal against Ajax. He put the Bianconeri in front at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday. They wouldn’t even be here without his face-saving hat trick against Atletico Madrid in the round of 16. The 34-year-old kept up his side of the bargain. Ultimately, though, Juventus came up short.What Ajax have achieved is stunning. As Erik ten Hag noted on the eve of the game, “it’s already a big deal to still be in Europe after winter.” Ajax had not reached the competition’s knockout stages in 13 years. They began the campaign in the second qualifying round. When Ajax played Sturm Graz at the end of July, they couldn’t have imagined they would be the first Eredivisie side to reach the Champions League semifinals since PSV in 2005. The game has become so economically stratified since then. Consider the wealth gap. The €112 million Juventus spent on acquiring Ronaldo is €20m more than Ajax’s annual revenues. The team’s wage bill is €4m short of what the five-time Ballon d’Or winner makes before tax.But sometimes ideas trump investment. Ajax deserved to win in Amsterdam a week ago and outplayed Juventus in the second half Tuesday for a 2-1 win and 3-2 aggregate edge. They remain unbeaten on the road in Europe despite going to Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and now Juventus. The feat of coming back from behind in the backyard of a team who are about to become the first in Europe’s top five leagues to win the title for eight straight years is jaw-dropping.

Not least because Ajax did not look themselves in the first half. Six fouls in the first 15 minutes stopped either team getting into a rhythm. Frenkie De Jong‘s influence was initially more limited than it had been in the first leg, perhaps because of the muscle injury he sustained at the weekend, and the early loss of Noussair Mazraoui to injury meant Ajax were without either of their first-choice full-backs with Nicolas Tagliafico also missing the game through suspension.Ronaldo’s goal came just as Ajax were beginning to build some pressure, too. Teams of lesser character would have resigned themselves to their fate, thinking this is just the way it is. Ronaldo has scored 65 goals in 78 knockout games. He has wn this trophy four times in the past five years. This is what Madrid were missing when Ajax dumped the holders out of the competition last month.But Ten Hag’s players never let any doubt creep into their minds. That in itself is astonishing. Ajax are the youngest side in the competition. Legs are supposed to tremble under this kind of pressure. But this team didn’t waver an inch. Before kickoff, Juventus’ vice president Pavel Nedved was asked what stood out to him about their opponents in Amsterdam. “I was surprised by the

That composure came to the fore again Tuesday. Ajax got back level within six minutes of going behind. A deflected Hakim Ziyech shot found its way to Donny van de Beek, who didn’t look up to check whether he was onside or not, focusing solely on beating Wojciech Szczesny. The flag stayed down, as it should in today’s VAR era, correctly too because Federico Bernardeschi, late to step up, played the Dutchman onside.A different Ajax emerged after the interval, the one we’ve become accustomed to over the course of this season. It was as if they’d overcome whatever had been inhibiting them in the first half. It was as if they realised there ws nothing to be afraid of.They proceeded to cut Juventus to shreds. Were it not for Szczesny, the Old Lady’s man of the match, the defeat would have been heavier. The Poland international needed a strong left hand to repel a Ziyech shot and then tipped a Van der Beek curler over the bar with his right. Like Ronaldo, he cannot be blamed for Juventus’ elimination.In the moments before Matthijs de Ligt‘s towering header, it looked as if Ajax might be found guilty of attempting to walk it in. Dusan Tadicand Ziyech both passed when they had ample time to shoot, letting Juventus’ defenders off the hook. But their 19-year-old captain — just let that sink in for a moment — ensured Ajax left with no regrets, emulating Gerrie Muhren, who scored the decisive goal in the Dutch side’s last win over Juventus 45 years ago.And so the dream lives on. Ajax are in the semis for the first time since 1997.This wasn’t supposed to happen. The best team they’d had in years was picked apart two seasons ago. Just the Europa League final in Stockholm felt like a fairy tale in the modern game. No one thought Ajax would be back and do even better. Davinson Sanchez and Davy Klaassen left for the Premier League. Last summer, Justin Kluivert decided it was time for him to go to Serie A.The rest made a pact to stay together one more year, curious to see what might happen if they realised their potential. It’s fair to say they have exceeded all expectations. In the next round Ajax will play Spurs — a team consisting of alumni like Toby AlderweireldJan Vertonghen, Sanchez and Christian Eriksen— or Manchester City, whose coach Pep Guardiola learned everything he knows under Johan Cruyff.Whatever happens, Ajax will have great cause to be proud. It is the triumph of their idea.

Premier League sprint to the finish: Title race, Champions League chase, relegation battles in focus

Apr 16, 2019Dale Johnson  Mark Ogden

The Premier League season is set for a frantic conclusion at both ends of the table, with the battles for the title, top four and relegation set to go down to the wire.With permutations updated after each game, we run through what is left to play for and ESPN FC senior writer Mark Ogden offers his thoughts and predictions.- Premier League table

RACE FOR THE TITLE

  1. LIVERPOOL (85 points from 34 games)

Still to play: Cardiff (a), Huddersfield (h), Newcastle (a), Wolves (h)

The late victory over Southampton sent Liverpool back to the top of the table, though with a game extra played. The home match against Chelsea, which turned into a 2-0 home win with a brilliant Mohamed Salah goal, was their toughest test remaining but Jurgen Klopp’s men must remain perfect from here on out in order to be top of the pile on May 12.

Ogden: Liverpool are beginning to display the never-say-die spirit that could take them all the way to the title. Having dispatched Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday in what could have been a real nightmare, Klopp’s team look set to win all their remaining games to turn the screw on Manchester City.

  1. MAN CITY(83 points from 33 games)

Still to play: Tottenham (h), Man United (a), Burnley (a), Leicester (h), Brighton (a)

After a good win away at Palace, the title is still City’s to lose, and the key would seem to be the back-to-back matches at home to Spurs and away to Man United — which is their game in hand — later this month. But will their attempt to win all four trophies take its toll?

Ogden: City are looking strong in their bid to achieve the Quadruple, but they now face a crucial stretch of league games. Spurs (home) and Manchester United (both away) are dangerous fixtures, and dropped points in any of them will hand Liverpool the initiative. Expect a slip against United.

RACE FOR THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

The top four in the Champions League will qualify direct to the group stage, with fifth and sixth into the Europa League.

  1. TOTTENHAM (67 points from 33 games)

Still to play: Man City (a), Brighton (h), West Ham (h), Bournemouth (a), Everton (h)

Three of Tottenham’s remaining five games are at home at their brand-new stadium, with Brighton among the visitors, so Mauricio Pochettino’s men are still very much favourites to book a Champions League place.

Ogden: Tottenham’s run of games in their new home should be enough to see them finish in the top four, particularly with rivals United and Arsenal losing in recent games. Four more league wins should be enough to secure a top-four spot, so it’s a simple equation: collect maximum points from the remaining home fixtures.

  1. ARSENAL (66 points from 33 games)

Still to play: Crystal Palace (h), Wolves (a), Leicester (a), Brighton (h), Burnley (a)

Arsenal are in a decent position and do not have to face any of the top six, but three of their remaining five fixtures are away and they have only two wins on the road since Nov. 25. A tough Europa League quarterfinal tie against Napoli means the Gunners cannot take their eye off the ball in the Premier League.

Ogden: Arsenal’s poor away form could cost them a top-four finish. They won narrowly at 10-man Watford, but still have to visit Europa League-chasing Wolves and Leicester, as well as Burnley on the final day of the season.

  1. CHELSEA (66 points from 34 games)

Still to play: Burnley (h), Man United (a), Watford (h), Leicester (a)

Chelsea had virtually been written off in the top-four race after defeat at Everton, but three wins on the spin elevated them into third — though the loss at Liverpool ended that run, and they have played a game more than their rivals. The dip in form suffered by Man United and Tottenham in recent weeks opened the door, although the trip Man United later this month will test a side that has shipped 26 goals away from home and lost more matches on the road than Arsenal.

Ogden: Chelsea had at one stage regained a measure of control in their top-four destiny with back-to-back home wins against Brighton and West Ham, but a tough away trip at Manchester United will be huge. The clash with United looks like a top-four eliminator.

  1. MAN UNITED (64 points from 33 games)

Still to play: Everton (a), Man City (h), Chelsea (h), Huddersfield (a), Cardiff (h)

United have three home games left, but back-to-back fixtures against City and Chelsea, after the Champions League exit to Barcelona, could be key. Playing two of the current bottom three in their final matches provides a favourable finale, but their form has gone through the floor.

Ogden: United are playing catch-up after a dip in form, but tough fixtures ahead for Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal give them a chance to reach the top four. They simply have to beat Chelsea at Old Trafford and avoid defeat against Man City, while a trip to Everton will also be very tricky for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.

WEEK 7 – PART 2 | “STEELING” ANOTHER THREE POINTS?

Boys in Blue, Steel FC to face off in second Week 7 matchup

Two of anything is typically better than one. Two beers are better than one. Two corn dogs are better than one. Two Indy Eleven games in one week are better than one. Indiana’s Team faces Bethlehem Steel FC on the road in its second Week 7 match this Saturday afternoon, in what will be the first of two meetings in the 2019 USL Championship season, the return date in Indy coming on Sept. 14.Indy Eleven (3W-1L-0D, 9 pts.) extended its winning streak to three after defeating Swope Park Rangers 3-1 in the first Week 7 matchup on Monday. Forward Dane Kelly had the break out game he’s been striving towards, having his hand (errrrr, feet) in all three goals the last time out, netting twice and assisting on the other for strike partner Thomas Enevoldsen. Kelly’s two goals see him knotted atop the Eleven scoring chart alongside Enevoldsen, and brought his league-career-leading total to 69. The three tallies on the evening brought Indy’s aggregate goals scored to eight in 2019, while the three points earned has the Indiana’s Team resting at a deceptive seventh place in the Eastern Conference table, sitting just three points off the pace of the second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies (12 pts.).Bethlehem Steel FC (3W-3L-1D) looks to return to winning ways after a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Charlotte Independence in their first of two Week 7 matchups on Tuesday, an 80th minute goal from midfielder Chavany Willis not doing enough to plug the holes in the sinking Steel ship. The fixture was the third time in 2019 that the second-highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference was held to one goal or less in its seven games, showing that, when Bethlehem scores it does so in lumps. Meanwhile, the two goals conceded brings the team’s total to 10 goals allowed thus far in 2019. Leading goal scorer Kacper Przybylko (3 goals) did not appear for Bethlehem on Tuesday, but the team’s second highest scorer, Faris Pemi Moumbagna (2 goals), played the full 90 minutes without impacting the game. The loss sees Bethlehem one point ahead of Indy, sitting in fifth place with 10 points.Previous meetings between the sides indicate the matchup should be tightly contested, as the 2018 three-game series resulted in a win for each team followed by a draw in the final meeting.

PLAYER TO WATCH: INDY ELEVEN FW DANE KELLY

In basketball, there’s the hot hand. In soccer, there’s the hot foot? Maybe? Either way, Indy Eleven forward Dane Kelly is certainly heating up after netting twice in the previous match against Swope Park Rangers and creating a goal for Thomas “The Engine” Enevoldsen. The brace is the first pair of goals of 2019 for the 28-year-old after fighting through a difficult start to the season, which included hitting the post four times in his first three appearances.Despite the rough start, the look of relief after the Jamaican striker’s somewhat lucky and skillful first goal and the smirk of confidence after the stunning strike for the second indicate the 2017 USL Most Valuable Player has his swagger back. Cut the guy a little slack for not starting out hot – he went from 27 appearances and 18 goals in 2017 with the Western Conference’s Reno 1868 to one appearance and no goals with Major League Soccer’s D.C. United in 2018 before being loaned to now-USL League One Richmond Kickers, where he made four appearances and scored once. But the form displayed against Swope Park is what Kelly in his prime looks like, a form that the Eleven faithful – and coach Martin Rennie – hope to rely on.

PLAYER TO WATCH: BETHLEHEM DF BEN OFEIMU

One man has played every minute of every match in 2019 for Bethlehem Steel FC. A veteran of course, right? Wrong. Eighteen-year-old Ben Ofeimu, a Steel FC central defender, leads the team in minutes played and most defensive categories, as well. The Philadelphia Union youth product is in his first year on a professional contract, which he signed just four months ago.The rookie has been worth the money, too. The Michigan native leads the backline in clearances, blocks and interceptions, and has only lost one tackle so far in seven games. The lengthy 6-foot-3-inch defender uses his height to his advantage as well, as he’s won exactly half of his aerial challenges. If that wasn’t enough, he’s both scored and assisted this season, too.

MATCHUP TO MARK: INDY ELEVEN DEFENSE VS. BETHLEHEM STEEL OFFENSE

Want to know who scores a lot of goals in the Eastern Conference? Bethlehem Steel FC scores a lot of goals, at least in the Eastern Conference. That number is 12 goals (for those of you wondering), which is the second-most goals scored in the Eastern Conference through Week 7, behind only New York Red Bulls II’s 13 tallies.Time to crunch some numbers. Statistically, Indy Eleven are going head-to-head against the strongest offense in the Eastern Conference. Steel have taken 57 shots, put 26 on target and converted 12 into goals. Having nearly one out of every two of shots on target go in can’t be the most frustrating aspect of the game for Bethlehem Head Coach Brendan Burke. Bethlehem’s offense also plays unselfish soccer, as the side has assisted on seven goals in 2019. Forwards Kacper Przybylko and Faris Pemi Moumbagna will most likely lead the charge up front, as the two are the leading goal scorers on the team with three and two goals respectively.Indy Eleven’s backline, tasked with keeping the two forwards at bay, has conceded five goals in four matches during the 2019 season. The back third has helped ‘keeper Evan Newton keep one clean sheet while technically running a three-back system (although the wingers certainly pitch in on that side of the ball). Indy has enforced a high press to try and keep opponents in check when on the ball and created turnovers in the opposition’s half. It’s hard to give up chances on goal when the other team struggles to keep consistent possession and string passes together in your final third. Neveal Hackshaw, Paddy Barret, Karl Ouimette and Alex Crognale have been the consistent faces featured in Coach Rennie’s back line and can be expected to martial the back third of the pitch come Saturday’s matinee fixture on the banks of the Delaware River. Just because you’re not traveling with the team doesn’t mean you should miss any of the action! All USL Championship 2019 regular season matches are available at your fingertips on ESPN+. New users can click here to start a free seven-day free trial.

RECAP | DANE KELLY BRACE GIVES INDY ELEVEN 3-1 WIN AT SWOPE PARK RANGERS

By IndyEleven.com, 04/16/19, 12:00AM EDT

USL Championship’s All-time Goal Leader Opens His Indy Account with Pair of Tallies

Indy Eleven (3W-1L-0D) returned to USL Championship play in spectacular fashion after a 15-day break with a 3-1 win on the road against Swope Park Rangers (0W-3L-1D). A brace and an assist from Eleven forward Dane Kelly helped extend the winning streak fo Indiana’s Team to three games, resulting in nine points from the team’s first four fixtures of 2019.   “Overall, I think it was a very good team performance and a really good night for us,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “It is really hard for us to go to a team like Swope Park Rangers, who have had a lot of success in the USL [Championship], and have a game like that.”It took only 67 seconds for Indy Eleven to climb on top, Kelly taking advantage of a failed back pass by Swope Park defender Camden Riley to give the visitors a lightning fast lead. Kelly swooped in and rounded Rangers (and ex-Butler Bulldog) goalkeeper Eric Dick with his first touch and with his second rolled home from a tough angle, the Jamaican opening his account with equal hustle and ease.The Boys in Blue doubled their lead not five minutes later, left back Ayoze creating the opportunity with a 30-yard run into the final third and a perfectly-weighted chip to Kelly, who deftly one-touched into the path of Thomas Enevoldsen. Dick got a hand on the Danish striker’s low shot, but not enough of one to keep it from crossing the goal line, the 2-0 Indy advantage within seven minutes quickly putting the home side on its heels. Kelly nearly had a quick brace 11 minutes in, but his chance from 15 yards was sent right to the Rangers ‘keeper.The one-way traffic by Indy would even out around the quarter-hour mark, and Swope Park would earn their first quality chance in the 23rd minute on a set-piece just outside the Eleven area – one that was easily corralled by Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton.Rangers would get one back in the 26th minute with midfielder Alexsander doing the heavy lifting, his 50-yard run straight up the center of the field ending with a ball that put Wilson Harris behind the Indy back line. One-on-one with Newton, Harris slotted home from left of goal to cut the Indy advantage in half, and it could have been evened up in the 29th minute had Macauley “Macca” King not have swooped across the penalty area to knock away a squared ball headed towards Felipe Hernandez.“We were a little bit late on our pressure a couple of times and they opened up,” Rennie said. “We could’ve reacted a little bit better once that happened, but it was really about one of the only shots they had on goal. Overall, we can’t be too disappointed in that, but there were a couple of things we can learn from.”Indy Eleven would take the momentum back at the half hour, Ayoze again creating havoc in the 31st minute with a ball to the six that Kelly had poked away before he could redirect. Seconds later, Indy midfielder Tyler Pasher lashed a shot inside the area that forced Dick into a save. Swope Park would see the last dangerous chance of the opening half in the 36th minute, but Newton made his finest save of the evening by punching away the in-swinger that found its way to the Indy netminder through traffic.The second half came to life in the 51st minute with Riley trying to atone for his early mistake with a shot from distance that missed a couple of feet past the right post. Two minutes later it was Ayoze helping to put Indy Eleven on the board once again, the Spanish maestro springing a 70-yard ball over the top that put Enevoldsen free on the left end line. The Dane’s cross to the penalty spot was deflected but still found Kelly, who turned and fired home a left-footed rocket to again give Indy a two-goal cushion.“It helps a lot with Dane’s confidence, especially having two goals and an assist on Thomas’ goal,” Rennie commented. “Thomas also scored, so two attackers got three goals between them. It definitely builds confidence and that’s really important for a striker. It nice to see them rewarded for the hard work they’re putting in.”In the 61st minute, Eleven defender Alex Crognale nearly increased the lead with a strong header off a corner, but Dick made a one-handed save, pushing the ball over the bar from point-blank range. The rest of the half saw Indy largely content to drop numbers and keep Swope Park at bay – which largely worked other than shots from distance that Newton had covered regardless. Kelly would have a few chances to finish off his hat trick on counter attacks, most notably in the 85th minute when Dick thwarted the USL Championship’s all-time goal king with a kick save after cutting off the angle.Indy Eleven’s April away swing continues this Saturday, April 20, when the Boys in Blue travel to the Philly area to take on Bethlehem Steel FC. The matinee kickoff from Talen Energy Stadium – the home of MLS side Philadelphia Union – in Chester, Penn., is set for 4:00 p.m., and the match can be seen exclusively via streaming video on ESPN+.  Indy Eleven return to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday, May 1, at 7:00 p.m., followed by a second home match three days later against North Carolina FC at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available for as low as $15 at IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.

USL Championship Regular Season
Swope Park Rangers 1:3 Indy Eleven
Monday, April 15, 2019 – 8:00 p.m. ET

Children’s Mercy Park – Kansas City, Kansas
Scoring Summary:IND – Dane Kelly (unassisted) 2’

IND – Thomas Enevoldsen (Dane Kelly) 6’

SPR – Wilson Harris (Alexsander) 26’

IND – Dane Kelly (unassised) 53’

Disciplinary Summary:

SPR – Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal (Yellow card) 30′

IND – Dane Kelly (Yellow card) 33’
IND – Alex Crognagle (Yellow card) 41’

SPR – Jerome Ngom Mbekeli (Yellow card) 61’

Indy Eleven lineup (5-3-1-1, L–>R): Evan Newton (GK); Ayoze Garcia, Neveal Hackshaw, Alex Crognale, Paddy Barrett (C), Macauley King; Tyler Gibson, Nico Matern (Do-Heon Kim 77’), Tyler Pasher (Matt Watson 60’); Thomas Enevoldsen; Dane Klly (Alioune Diakhate 88’)Indy Eleven Substitutes: Jordan Farr (GK), Lucas Farias, Mitch Osmond, Karl Ouimette
Swope Park Rangers lineup (4-1-4-1, L–>R): Eric Dick; Alexsander, Camden Riley, Graham Smith (C), Mark Segbers; Wan Kuzain (Ayyoub Allach 78’); Jerome Ngom Mbekeli, Gedion Zelalem, Felipe Hernandez, Killian Colombie (Will Little 68’); Wilson Harris (Sean Karani 45+1’)Swope Park Rangers Substitutes: John Pulskamp (GK), Mohammed Abualnadi, Kaveh Rad; Rassambek Akhmatov

Indy Eleven to host USOC match at Sellick Butler Bowl

April 17, 2019by Kevin Johnston  www.Soctakes.com

INDIANAPOLIS — After hitting the road and losing to vastly inferior competition in the past couple editions of the U.S. Open Cup, the Indy Eleven have decided it’s time to take one of the oldest soccer competitions on the planet a little more seriously.The Eleven will host a 2019 U.S. Open Cup second-round match at the Sellick Bowl on the campus of Butler University, the team announced Wednesday. The winner of the May 8 first-round clash between NPSL side AFC Ann Arbor and Lansing Ignite of USL League One will visit Indy either May 14 or 15 at a to-be-determined time.

It’s unclear if the Eleven, should they win their second-round game, will attempt to host their third-round match in Indianapolis as well. Such a scenario seems plausible, though the team’s Wednesday release didn’t state such.The 22 clubs that advance to the third round will all play May 29. MLS teams enter in the fourth round.If history is any indicator, Indy supporters should welcome the return to the club’s past USOC mindset, one in which spending a few extra bucks almost always turned out more positively than being a miser.In 2017-18, Indy — unwilling to take on the additional costs associated with hosting a USOC match — settled for away dates for its USOC entry-round matches. The results were utterly embarrassing.Indy flamed out on the road against the Michigan Bucks 1-0 in the second round of the 2017 tourney. And in 2018, Indy again fell 1-0 to an amateur side in the second round, this time venturing south to get eliminated by Mississippi Brilla FC.Things have generally gone far, far better for the Eleven in the USOC when hosting through the third round. They lost at home 2-nil to Louisville City FC in the third round of the 2015 tournament, but advanced to give MLS sides a run for their money in their own buildings in the fourth round on two other occasions after hosting and winning home matches to get there.In 2014, Indy lost 2-1 in the fourth round at Columbus Crew SC. Two years later, the Chicago Fire had to go to penalties to sneak by the Eleven after their fourth-round matchup yielded a 1-1 scoreline after 90 plus extra time.The moral of the story: Mostly good things occur when the Indy Eleven host mid-round USOC matches, and rather humiliating things tend to happen when they don’t. The Eleven will certainly hope for the former when they take the pitch May 14 or 15 at the Sellick Bowl.Stay tuned for more information on Indy’s opponent, the exact date and kickoff time in the second round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup.

MLS to expand to 30 teams; St. Louis, Sacramento to make formal bids

8:43 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

LOS ANGELES — MLS intends to expand to 30 teams, with teams 28 and 29 requiring an expansion fee of $200 million, commissioner Don Garber announced Thursday following a Board of Governors meeting.Garber said the board had authorized his office to advance into exclusive discussions with St. Louis and Sacramento with an eye toward those two cities being the 28th and 29th teams.MLS currently has 24 teams and has already confirmed expansion teams in Austin, Miami and Nashville to join the league in the coming years.”In the last 10 years we’ve been experiencing unprecedented growth for a major league in North America,” Garber said. “Expansion has been a key driver of that growth, and it really is a great measure of the enormous enthusiasm and the commitment that our fans have in markets both new and old to support our league and our players and to see the sport grow.”Garber said the ownership groups from both cities will make formal presentations to the league’s expansion committee in the coming weeks. Part of the process will involve getting to know the respective ownership groups, both of which have investors who are relatively new to the process. Garber hopes a final decision on both cities would be made before the All-Star Game in Orlando in late July.”We’ll be asking them for their formal and final plans for a commitment of corporate support, the final composition of their ownership group, and detailed economics on their funding of both their team operations and their stadium plans,” Garber said.While the league has said at times that it would stop expanding at 28 teams, the announcement was not a surprise. Garber said the strength of the Sacramento and St. Louis bids was part of what drove the Board to decide to expand to 30 teams.Sacramento’s hopes of landing a team were boosted in January when billionaire Ron Burkle became the new lead investor in the Sacramento Republic soccer team. The team currently plays in the second-tier United Soccer League.Burkle is a co-owner of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins with a net worth estimated at $2 billion by Forbes magazine.The St. Louis group includes World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh and the Taylor family, owners of the rental car company Enterprise Holdings.In a statement released Thursday, the Sacramento Republic said: “Today is a monumental step in the process and we are closer than ever to reaching our goal of bringing Major League Soccer to Sacramento. There isn’t a better fit for MLS than our city, and today’s announcement is a testament to the strength of Sacramento’s bid, and most importantly, to the faith and devotion of Republic FC fans. We will continue our ongoing communication with the Commissioner and with MLS and look forward to finalizing all next steps to deliver MLS to Sacramento.”In terms of the number of teams at which the league will stop expanding, Garber didn’t commit to a definitive number.”I don’t know that we have a firm handle yet on what the final number of teams in the league ought to be,” Garber said. “We have a lot of work to do to determine what the future state of MLS is in 10 years and in 20 years. We continue to believe that there are many, many cities across the country that could support an MLS team, with a great stadium and a great fan base and great local ownership that will invest in the sport in their community.”Garber added that MLS will “take our time” on team 30, though it remains in discussions with the likes of Phoenix, Las Vegas, Detroit and Charlotte.”We don’t want to be unbalanced, but at the same time I think we do need to take a bit of a deep breath and onboard the teams that are going to be coming in over the next number of years,” he said.Garber lauded the bids of Sacramento and St. Louis but also stressed that both ownership groups still had work to do. Garber said that Sacramento needed to finalize its corporate sponsorship as well as some elements of the stadium plan. St. Louis needs to finalize its stadium plan as well, but Garber’s expectation is that both cities will get their respective bids over the line.”I’ve got confidence in both markets,” Garber said. “We wouldn’t be here today without the confidence of our ownership group to try to put all the elements in place to give them the opportunity to finalize the deal.”

MLS clubs to receive solidarity payments after league agrees to follow FIFA rule

7:55 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

Major League Soccer clubs will be compensated for the costs of developing players from its youth academies who opt to sign their first professional contract with foreign clubs after the league announced on Thursday it will begin complying with FIFA regulations relating to training compensation and solidarity payments.The decision means MLS clubs will now receive compensation for players they develop, which could reach well into six figures. They will also receive a cut of transfer fees when those players are transferred to clubs in a different country. Conversely, MLS clubs will have to pay these fees to foreign clubs when it pays a transfer fee for incoming players.”We have been making increasing investments in youth development, and that investment has accelerated over the past few years,” said MLS executive vice-president of player relations and competition Todd Durbin of the announcement. “We intend on continuing to make that investment and we want to grow that investment. But in the event that a player that we developed decides to sign overseas, we believe that we should be able to recoup the value of that investment.” Solidarity payments are paid whenever a player is transferred to another club prior to the end of their contract, and that transfer involved moving to another country — a “change of association” in FIFA, according to world soccer’s governing body.Five percent of the transfer fee is paid to the youth clubs responsible for the player’s development between the ages of 12 and 23. The rules also stipulate that when a player signs their first professional contract with a club in a foreign country, or is transferred to a club in a different association, the professional club is obligated to pay training compensation to the youth clubs that developed the player between the ages of 12 and 21. Training compensation is also due when a player is transferred to a club in another country up until the season of his 23rd birthday.

Q&A: What does the decision mean for MLS clubs?

Not everyone is happy with the move by MLS, however. The MLS Players Association, as well as the players’ agents, view training compensation and solidarity payments as a glorified tax whose amounts have the potential to kill deals.In a statement provided to ESPN FC, the MLS Players Association said the league’s announcement was “a step backward for the development of soccer in the United States and Canada” and called it an effort by MLS to inhibit player choice.”Despite claims to the contrary, this move is not about improving youth development,” the MLSPA said. “Rather, it is simply about trying to force players to sign with MLS by limiting opportunities abroad.”The MLSPA added: “The fact that training compensation and solidarity payments are paid elsewhere in the world under applicable FIFA regulations is an indefensible justification for MLS’s change in position on these issues. The league routinely ignores regulations that protect players under contract with MLS — like those requiring guaranteed contracts, prohibiting unilateral options and limiting the length of contracts — yet is now attempting to rely upon these same regulations to limit opportunities for players in youth academies.

“We will review these changes, including the Consent Decree entered into by the U.S. Federation on this subject, and will explore all of our options with other stakeholders.”The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) had forbidden the implementation of training compensation and solidarity payments, which FIFA introduced within its Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) in the aftermath of the 1995 Bosman decision that granted free agency to players at the end of their contracts.Among their reasons were fears that RSTP violated child labor laws or would result in litigation on anti-trust grounds by various stakeholders, including the MLS Players Association. The USSF had also in the past contended that a consent decree contained in the court case Fraser vs. MLS — which stipulated that MLS would not require a transfer fee to be paid for out-of-contract players — prevented it from enforcing RSTP.The USSF contends that at a meeting of stakeholders in 2015, opposing viewpoints among youth clubs, professional leagues, and players’ unions left the organization caught in the middle.”Since that time, U.S. Soccer has maintained a position of neutrality on the issue of training compensation and solidarity payments and, accordingly, will not be a party to enforcement of those regulations,” a USSF spokesperson told ESPN FC.The spokesperson added, “We will, however, continue to pass through any claims made by clubs as required by FIFA regulations. This position remains the same regardless of the affiliation of the club making the claim.”The decision is a philosophical shift for MLS and could amount to a considerable financial benefit for its clubs. MLS has never paid or received training compensation and solidarity payments. But as the league’s clubs began developing their own youth academies — investing tens of millions of dollars annually — it ran into situations where academy products were signing their first professional contracts with foreign clubs. Elsewhere in the world, the academy would have been compensated, but because RSTP was not adhered to in the U.S., the MLS clubs received nothing in return.One example came in 2016 when current U.S. international Weston McKenniespurned his youth club, FC Dallas, to sign with Bundesliga side Schalke 04. The money invested in McKennie’s development was never recovered and the deal removed some incentives for Dallas to make investments in youth development, leaving some clubs questioning MLS’s overall commitment to youth development.Deals like McKennie’s will not be reexamined by MLS, but if McKennie is transferred to a team outside of Germany, Dallas — and not MLS — would be eligible to receive the entire solidarity payment as a return on player development.t while MLS is set move forward in the area of training compensation and solidarity payments, the future is less certain for U.S. youth clubs that operate outside of MLS.In recent years, some clubs had taken the matter of solidarity payments to FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC). A case involving the 2014 transfer of U.S. international DeAndre Yedlin from the Seattle Sounders to Tottenham Hotspur sparked a filing from one of Yedlin’s youth clubs, Crossfire Premier. A decision on the case is expected in the coming days.Two other cases — one filed by the Dallas Texans regarding Clint Dempsey‘s 2013 transfer from Tottenham to the Seattle Sounders, and another from Sockers FC Chicago regarding Michael Bradley‘s transfer from Roma to Toronto FC in 2014 — were denied by FIFA’s DRC last month, for reasons that weren’t made public.

Summer Camps – 

Indy 11 Soccer Camp – Carmel Dad’s Club Badger Field June 17-20 9-12 noon.ages 6-14 $135

CHS Boys Soccer Skills Camp – Murray Stadium July 15-18 8:30-10:30 am ages 8-14 $85

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3/26/19  USA vs Chile Tonight 8 pm ESPN2, Indy 11 home Sat 7:30 pm, Full TV Game Schedule

So the US is 3-0 under new head coach Gregg Berhalter with 3 shutouts.  I think we will learn a lot tonight as the US will finally face a seriously offensive squad in Chile.  I am sad to see Adams has gone home and the coach plans to play new players tonight. I was excited to see Brooks and Long together in the middle against a real offense.  Hopefully we’ll see Ream on the left again playing a role he has also played with Fulham in the altered 3 man defense. I thought the US dominated play vs a good Ecuador team – and had by far the most chances.  Lots of combo passing up front – I thought Pulisic was just ok – but did have a chance to score. Hugely sad to see Weston Mckinney get hurt – man – just devastating he might miss the rest of the German season – hopefully he’ll be back for Gold Cup.  Man I still think about Adams and McKinney in the middle holding down the d-mid spots.  Anyway – I think you can see the new coach has a plan and is still trying to implement it.  So far – so good.

Sad to see the U23s went 1-1 this past weekend – Weah and Sargent up front for that team is huge.  I really hope they qualify for the Olympics – and perhaps Tyler Adams, McKinney and even Pulisic could perhaps join them next summer.  Wow that would be good for this young group.  Anyway USA vs Chile tonight – 7:55 pm on ESPN2.

Indy 11

Our Indy 11 got a huge 3-2 win at Charlotte this past weekend.  The 11 are at Lucas Oil Stadium this Saturday night 7 pm vs Hartford Athletic for the HOME OPENER- Get your season ticket package today by visiting IndyEleven.com/season-tickets or by calling 317-685-1100 for those first game tickets!

Indy11_youthrefclinic

USA

Building Blocks On Display vs Ecuador –Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

U.S. Player Ratings: Adams adapts seamlessly to new role 

Zardes Deflected Goal Gives US the win over Ecuador

Gonzalez & Etha Horvath (GK) look to make impression

Jason Kreis takes over U-23s job make the Olympics

Kreis Excited to be with U23s – US Soccer

Bright Futures for U20 and U23 teams

U23’s lose to Egypt 2-0

U 23s tie Netherlands 0-0

US Men’s Schedule this Summer

US Ladies 24 for April 4 & 7 Friendlies vs Australia/Belgium

WNT HEAD COACH JILL ELLIS’ Q&A

Indy 11

3 Things win over Charlotte 3-2

Indy 11 Win 3-2 @ Charolotte

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Full Schedule Released

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

BYB Away Game Watch Parties Around Town

GAMES ON TV

Tues, Mar 26

2:45 pm ESPN3                                    Czech Republic vs Brazil

2:45 pm ESPN3                                     Norway vs Sweden

8 pm ESPN 2                                          USA vs Chile

Fri, March 29

3:30 pm FS2                                          Hoffenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen

Sat, March 30

8:30 am NBCSN                                    Fulham vs Man City

10:30 am Fox Soccer                        Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Wolfsburg (Brooks)

11 am NBCSN                                        Man United vs Watford

1 pm EPSN+                                            Chicago Fire vs NY RB

1:30 pm NBCSN                                   West Ham vs Everton

1:30 pm Fox Sports 2                          RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Hertha

6:30 pm ESPN+                                     Cincy vs Philly

7 pm MyIndyTV, ESPN+      Indy 11 vs Hartford Athletic

Sun, March 31

9  am NBCSN                                          Cardiff vs Chelsea

9 am ESPN news                                  Roma vs Napoli

9 am FS 1                                                Hanover vs Schalke

11:30 am NBCSN                                 Liverpool vs Tottenham

1 pm EPSN+                                            Chicago Fire vs NY RB

6:30 pm FS 1                                         Orlando vs DC United

9 pm ESPN2                                            LA Galaxy vs Portland

Mon, Apr 1

3:30 pm NBCSN                                   Arsenal vs NewCastle United (Yedlin)

Tues, Apr 2

3:30 pm NBCSN                                   Wolverhampton vs Man United

Wed, Apr 3

2:45 pm ESPN+                                    Schalke vs Werder Bremen (Sargent)

3:30 pm NBCSN                                   Man City vs Cardiff

3:30 pm beIN Sport                            Valencia vs Real Madrid

Thurs, Apr 4

3:30 pm FS 1                                     USA Women vs Australia

Fri, Apr 5

3:30 pm NBCSN                                   Southampton vs Liverpool

10 pm ESPN+                                         Vancouver vs LA Galaxy

Sat, April 6

12:3o pm ESPN+                                  Man City vs Brighton  FA Cup

1 pm EPSN+                                            Chicago Fire vs NY RB

1:30 pm NBCSN                                   West Ham vs Everton

12:30 pm Fox Sports 2                    Bayern Munich vs Dortmund (Pulisic)  

3 pm FOX                                            DC United vs LA FC

Sun, April 7

9 am NBCSN                                           Everton vs Arsenal

11 am ESPN+                                         Watford vs Wolverhampton FA Cup

1:30 pm NBCSN                                   West Ham vs Everton

12:30 pm Fox Sports 2           Borussia MGladbach (Johnson) vs Werder Breman (Sargent)

3 pm ESPN                                               Cincy vs Sporting KC  

9 pm ESPN2                            USA Ladies vs Belgium

Tues, April 9                                           Champions League

3 pm BRLive/Univision Desp      Liverpool vs Porto  

3 pm TNT                                           Tottenham vs Manchester City

Weds, April 10                                     Champions League

3 pm TNT                                           Man United vs Barcelona

3 pm  BRLive/Univision Desp     Ajax vs Juventus

 

United States’ McKennie expected to miss rest of Bundesliga season – source

n examines the challenges facing Gregg Berhalter’s team and the struggles of Christian Pulisic. (1:45)

2:17 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

United States and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie is expected to miss the remainder of the Bundesliga season with a left ankle injury suffered in the U.S.’s 1-0 friendly victory over Ecuador on Thursday, a source has told ESPN FC.McKennie, 20, left that game in the 68th minute and was later ruled out of this week’s friendly against Chile with what Schalke on Monday called a “ruptured” ankle ligament.U.S. Soccer’s description of the injury on Monday was not as ominous, however, stating that McKennie suffered a “moderate to high degree left ankle sprain” and was expected to “miss several weeks.”The former FC Dallas Academy product saw a specialist in Houston over the weekend. No fractures were found, though a source with knowledge of the injury said the midfielder is expected to be out eight weeks.That timeframe would see McKennie miss the remainder of the Bundesliga season but should allow him to take part in this summer’s Gold Cup.”I think with these injuries you take it week by week in terms of it being an ankle injury and the severity,” said U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter. “We’re confident that [McKennie is] going to recover in a good way.”The language of Schalke’s release versus our release is semantics. I think it’s an ankle sprain. There’s some ligament damage, and you wait for the ligaments to heal. You start doing your rehab now; he can start biking, doing pool running now, and he can get there. He’ll recover.”McKennie has returned to Germany for treatment.

Tyler Adams adapts seamlessly to new role in 8/10 showing as U.S. beats Ecuador

Jason DavisU.S. soccer writer

In the first match under Gregg Berhalter with the full squad available for selection, the United States found an unlikely goal against Ecuador in an encouraging, but somewhat frustrating, 1-0 victory Thursday in Orlando, Florida.

Positives

With a plan clearly in place through Berhalter’s direction, the U.S. looked cohesive and prepared. The Americans dominated possession, controlling the ball and the pace of the game for the bulk of play. They were proactive and aggressive, pushing up against Ecuador’s low block in a bid to break through.

Negatives

With the South Americans unwilling (or unable) to venture forward, the United States largely lacked the final product necessary to create clear-cut chances. The lone goal of the evening can only be termed a fluke, but it did come from a player’s willingness to take a shot — something the U.S. lacked otherwise.

Manager rating out of 10

6 — The good of the night can mostly be chalked up to Berhalter installing a system and sending out his charges with a clear idea of how to execute that system. While the match was important as a measure of progress, it was still a friendly; that makes it difficult to judge Berhalter fairly with the limits of a noncompetitive environment and an opponent who refused to engaged.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Sean Johnson, 6 — Asked to do very little but serve as a passing outlet at the back. Made zero saves on the night, passed the ball smartly as the Americans looked to build out of the back.

DF Tyler Adams, 8 — Adapted seamlessly to the “flex” role created by Berhalter. Played a conservative first 15 minutes before proceeding to roam across the field. Excellent with the ball at his feet, excellent defending, absolutely tireless.

DF Aaron Long, 8 — Among the best players on the field for the Americans. Strong in one-on-one defending when called upon, used speed to cover for space left by Adams roaming out of the right-back position.

DF John Brooks, 7 — Made key passes from the back, aided in cutting out lines and advancing the Americans up the field in attack. Smart and clean with defending. Missed three passes all night.

DF Tim Ream, 6 — Minus a late bobble that nearly gifted Ecuador a goal, played as a smart and effective stay-at-home left-back. Understood the role in a shifting line, with the caveat that a better team might have exploited a lack of foot speed.

MF Wil Trapp, 7 — Pulled all the strings from a deep-lying position, playing smart passes over the course of 59 minutes. Dropped the ball over a packed-in defense when needed, benefited from defensive help in midfield.

MF Weston McKennie, 5 — Forced off due to a silly challenge that ended with an injured ankle. Good in the air but otherwise too loose with the ball. Mobile and committed on the defensive side of the ball.

MF Christian Pulisic, 5 — Playing with a high bar based on his importance to the attack, he was moderately effective, with a few moments of good play mixed with wastefulness and a tendency to give the ball away.

FW Paul Arriola, 5 — Industrious up and down the left flank. Lacked the final ball to make that work count.

FW Jordan Morris, 4 — His night was marked mostly by poor moments and indecisiveness. Lost his mark in abetting Ecuador’s best chance, passed up numerous opportunities to take defenders on one-on-one from the right wing.

FW Gyasi Zardes, 5 — Benefited from a deflection on the goal but made the moment happen. Limited as part of the attack. Had a few good touches.

Substitutes

MF Michael Bradley, 5 — Benefited from the game slowing down and Ecuador being content to sit back. Not perfect with the ball, but clean enough.

MF Sebastian Lletget, N/R — Added energy and aggression after entering. Was willing to check to the ball and add to the defensive pressure.

FW DeAndre Yedlin, N/R — Stayed pinned to the touchline in a limited appearance higher up the field than usually deployed.

MF Cristian Roldan, N/R — Missed several passes, largely because of a desire to play aggressively.

FW Jonathan Lewis, N/R — Provided a few good moments going forward but wasn’t much of a factor as a late substitute.

U.S. win over Ecuador showed players taking ideas on board – Berhalter

Mar 22, 2019Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

ORLANDO — United States men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter said he was proud of his team’s effort in a 1-0 win over Ecuador, even as it struggled to turn its territorial domination into goals.

The home side prevailed on Gyasi Zardes‘ deflected effort in the 81st minute, but the U.S. was in control for much of the night, holding Ecuador to just one shot at goal. Given the U.S. had just three practices beforehand, Berhalter said he was pleased with the performance.

“I credited the guys in the locker room, I said I’m really proud of the effort, I’m proud of the openness to try things and to try to execute the movements,” he said. “And if some of the timing is off, that’s all right. As long as they recognized the moments and are trying to do it.”Ecuador operated out of a low block defensively and tried to hit the U.S. on the counter. And even with Christian PulisicWeston McKennie and Tyler Adamsall making their first starts under Berhalter, this strategy created some difficulty in terms of chance creation for the U.S.The home side did create a great opportunity in the 26th minute, with an intricate exchange of passes setting up Paul Arriola for a clear look at goal, but Ecuador keeper Alexander Dominguez thwarted the resulting shot. And though Wil Trapp was able to release Arriola on a few other occasions, the U.S. was not able to break through for a goal until late.”I thought in the first half we created some good moves, and were able to penetrate around the edge and get the ball in front of goal,” Berhalter said. “We were unlucky not to score with Paul [Arriola] in the first half, and created a number of, I’d say, half chances that should have amounted to more. Overall, I think when you look at the amount of information we’ve given the guys in the last two days, we’re pleased with the performance. It’s a good starting point for this group.”Berhalter added he was pleased with the team’s defensive effort. The center back tandem of John Brooks and Aaron Long was rarely troubled, and when called upon managed to keep Ecuador’s attackers in check.”Overall, our collective defense was good. We didn’t really give them any openings,” Berhalter said. “They couldn’t find penetrating passes. They resorted to long balls and those guys gobbled everything up. I think from a team standpoint, I was happy with the defensive shape, happy with the structure. It was good that our center backs, even when they were up the field, can win every duel that comes out. It was really impressive.”The biggest lowlight of the night for the U.S. came midway through the second half when McKennie fell awkwardly after attempting to head the ball away. The midfielder appeared to sprain his left ankle, though Berhalter said the player would undergo an MRI as well as have X-rays taken.”Everyone feels bad for Weston and the injury, no question,” Berhalter said. “But we realize that’s part of our sport. When you lace up the boots and go out there and compete, there is some injury risk. This was a strange play where he went up for the header and the opponent didn’t go up and challenge, so he bent over and that resulted in Weston tumbling over him and twisting his ankle. We hope that it’s not as severe as it could be, and we’re going to get it evaluated tonight.”Zardes’ goal, coming after an Ecuador turnover and a quick pass forward from U.S. captain Tim Ream, left the U.S. with a better feeling.”We’ve done zero work on offensive transition, and we were able to score in an offensive transition. That was good,” Berhalter said. “But I think on the day, [if] we’re a little bit sharper on some plays, a little bit more precise, then we end up breaking them down. What I really liked from the guys is the effort to continue to try to break then down in a way that we’re giving them.”I thought in the second half we could have operated with more diagonal balls, especially as we got them to shift to one side. Later in the game they dropped Valencia back into a back five to protect that, but that was space we could have exploited a little bit better.”

USSF hires Jason Kreis to take charge of U.S. Under-23s

Mar 19, 2019Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

  • The U.S. Soccer Federation has named Jason Kreis to be the manager of the U.S. Under-23 national team.The appointment means Kreis will oversee the team’s qualification effort for the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.”Jason’s qualities and experience made him stand out as the best candidate to lead our U23 men’s national team in this important cycle towards the 2020 Olympics,” said men’s national team general manager Earnie Stewart.”The U23s are a meaningful part of our program, and Jason is an experienced head coach with significant success both in league and CONCACAF competitions. His knowledge of the player pool is impressive, and we are confident in his ability to implement the style of play we are building with the senior MNT and throughout our national teams. We appreciate the willingness of Inter Miami CF to allow us the opportunity to take advantage of Jason’s abilities to guide this group.”Kreis, 46, recently joined the technical staff of MLS expansion side Inter Miami FC. He will continue in that role in addition to his new duties with the U23s.Kreis had three stints as a manager with MLS clubs. He spent parts of seven seasons with Real Salt Lake, leading RSL to an MLS Cup triumph in 2009, becoming the youngest head coach in MLS history to do so. All told, he led RSL to six consecutive postseason appearances, as well as a run to the 2013 MLS Cup final. He also spent one season in charge of New York City FC, and parts of three seasons managing Orlando City FC.”It’s a tremendous opportunity,” Kreis said. “It’s an opportunity to be a part of a new system under the leadership of Gregg Berhalter and Earnie Stewart leading the national team the way that they are. It’s an opportunity to work with the country’s brightest young stars, and it’s an opportunity to represent your country. In my opinion, that’s the highest honor of all.”Kreis will lead the U23s at its training camp this week in San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain. The U23s are slated to take on Egypt on March 22 and the Netherlands on March 24.The camp marks the beginning of a long journey to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with Kreis aiming to guide the USA to qualification for its first men’s Olympic football tournament since 2008.

U.S. U-23 MNT Roster by Position (Club; Hometown):

GOALKEEPERS: Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha BSC/GER; Newport Beach, Calif.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.)

DEFENDERS: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; Lompac, Calif.), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; Southend-on-Sea, England), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers; Portland, Ore.), Jack Maher (Indiana; Caseyville, Ill.), Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United/ENG; Trenton, N.J.), Donovan Pines (D.C. United; Clarksville, Md.), Lucas Pos (FC Lausanne-Sport/SUI; Irvine, Calif.), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic/ENG; Milton Keyes, England), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC; Arlington, Mass.)

MIDFIELDERS: Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Penn.), Cameron Lindley (Orlando City SC; Carmel, Ind.), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; Lemont, Ill.), Keaton Parks (New York City FC; Plano, Texas), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers; Alexandria, Va.), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; St. Paul, Minn.)

FORWARDS: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers; Bethesda, Md.), Josh Perez (LAFC; La Habra, Calif.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro IK/DEN; Columbus, Ohio), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; O’Fallon, MO), Tim Weah (Celtic FC/SCO; Rosedale, N.Y.), Haji Wright (Schalke/GER; Los Angeles, Calif.)

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3/16/19  Indy 11 tonite 7 pm, Champions League Final 8, US games 3/21 & 3/25, Full TV Game Schedule,

Champions League

So this is why its Champions League – wow. Ronaldo, a three time defending UCL winner with Real Madrid has taken his winning ways and goal scoring to Juventus and continues the unbelievable run as he scored all 3 of Juve’s goals in a come from behind win at home vs Atletico Madrid to advance 3-2 on aggregate. This is why Juventus spent $110 million to bring him to Italy for nights like Tuesday.  His 8th Hat-Trick in Champions League play ties him in first with Messi and his 124 total UCL goals is by far the most in history.  The biggest thing is he does it in the knockout rounds – he comes up big when his team needs him most.  If he can help take Juve – to the league title – he might just go down as the best ever in Champions League.  Of course as a long time Juve fan – I am not sure how I feel as legendary Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon is why I followed Juve.  I would love to see them win it all but without Buffon – man that would be heartbreaking.  I just wish Buffon had an offense when he manned the pipes for so long in Turin.

In other action Liverpool came roaring into Bayern Munich and took the game to the Germans with an impressive 2-0 victory as Mane scored the brace, while Man City and Barcelona both destroyed their opponents.  We are down to the Elite 8 now with an impressive 4 EPL teams in.

Liverpool vs Porto

Man City vs Tottenham

Barcelona vs Man United

Ajax vs Juventus  

USA

Interesting Roster in this 2nd gathering of US players for new coach Gregg Burhalter as the US will host Ecuador on March 21 at 8 pm ESPN2 and Chile on March 26 FS1 at 8 pm.   Basically the US returned much of the MLS based roster from January while adding top level internationals – Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Weston McKinney, John Brooks, Tim Ream and DeAndre Yedlin.  Missing from this line-up are young forwards Josh Sargeant, and Tim Weah among others.  It will be interesting to see how they play and how they line up the mid-field and forward line.  The US ladies sued the US Soccer Federation last weekend claiming Gender Inequality between the men’s and women’s teams with regards to pay among a ton of other things.  Interesting as the Women are 2 time World Cup Winners and are heading into this summer’s World Cup as the #1 Ranked team while the men didn’t even qualify last year.  That and the Women actually generated more revenue the last 2 years than the men.

US Men Roster

GOALKEEPERS: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, BEL; 3/0), Sean Johnson(New York City FC; 6/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0)

DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg, GER; 36/3), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas, MEX; 48/3), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 4/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 2/0), Matt Miazga (Reading, ENG; 11/1), Tim Ream (Fulham, ENG; 26/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, ENG; 57/0)

MIDFIELDERS: Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, GER; 9/1), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, CAN; 143/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 7/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke, GER; 7/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, GER; 23/9), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 7/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 13/0)

FORWARDS: Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 2/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 25/5), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 42/6)

Indy 11

Our Indy 11 dominated possession in their first game of the 2019 season on the road at St. Louis and even outshot the home team – but a late goal saw them lose a heartbreaker 2-1 on the afternoon as a sizable contingent of Brick Yard Battalion fans looked on.  The 11 are back on the road tonight at 7 pm as they travel to Charlotte on ESPN+.  Get your season ticket package today by visiting IndyEleven.com/season-tickets or by calling 317-685-1100. First home game is Sat, March 30th vs Hartford Athletic at 7 pm at the Luke!

Big Games on TV this Week

Not a lot of great games this weekend, our Indy 11 face Charlotte tonight/Fri at 7 pm on ESPN+.  Sat gives us a battle of 2 Americans in Germany as Schalke’s McKinney will face RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams on Fox Sports 2 at 10:30 am. Dortmund and Pulisic who scored 1 and assisted on 1 last weekend, play on FS2 at 1:30 pm vs Hertha. The Milan Derby – Inter vs AC Milan is 3:30 pm on ESPN+ Saturday.  FA Cup games are on ESPN+ Sat at 8:15 am as Watford faces Crystal Palace, and Wolverhampton hosting Man United at 4 pm on the plus.  Burnley hosts Leicester Sat at 11 am on NBSCN, while Sun gives us Fulham vs Liverpool at 10:15 am and Everton vs Chelsea at 12:30 on NBC.  MLS has Cincy hosting their first game vs Portland at 5 pm on FS1 Sunday while NYCFC and LAFC battle at 3 pm on FS1.  Of course the international break hits this week and next weekend as the US will play 2 games at home Thurs at 8 pm on ESPN2 vs Ecuador and Tues 3/26 at 8 pm vs Chile on ESPN2.  While European qualifications will be on ESPN+ and ESPN3.

Champions League

Zidanes Return Signals Big Changes at Real Madrid are Coming – Jonathan Wilson SI

A rested Zidane ready to Return to Madrid refreshed – SI

Crazy happenings in Champions League – SI

Messi Matches Renaldo’s Magic

Champions League belongs to Ronaldo – ESPNFC

Ronaldo’s Hat Trick Sends Juve Thru on Magical Night in Italy

Juve Advances Wow

Bayern’s humiliation vs Liverpool must lead to Changes –

– Ronaldo: Hat trick why Juventus signed me
– Guardiola: Ronaldo hat trick a warning to Man City

– Ogden: Van Dijk the player Liverpool need on quest for double
– Liverpool player ratings: Van Dijk, Mane both 9/10 as Reds advance

Champions League Power Rankings Final 8 – NBCSports

USA

What Does US Ladies Lawsuit for US Soccer Mean?  Graham Hayes ESPNW

US Ladies Will Make their Marks on and Off the Field – SI – Grant Wahl

Berhalter Excited about Flexibility Adams & Pulisic can offer US men – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Arrialo Says MLS Veterans of Camp will help US Internationals Adjust to new Coach

Pulisic comes on Late for Assist and Goal to save Dortmund

USMNT Team youngster Zelalem leaves Arsenal for Sporting KC

USWNT suing U.S. Soccer for discrimination

Foudy: USWNT union changes are step in the right direction

Carli Lloyd: USWNT negotiations will set global standard

USSF asks EEOC to dismiss USWNT wage suit

USWNT: Federation disputes equal-pay claim

Women’s filing vs. U.S. Soccer: Men paid more

EPL

Who’s got the Edge Liverpool or Man City Down the Stretch?

Slumping Spurs opens door for Arsenal/Man U and Chelsea

4 Things Learned Arsenal vs Man United

Indy 11

Indy 11 vs Charlotte – Preview

Josh Penn shows Pedigree in Indy 11 Debut – Kevin Johnston  soctakes.com

Indy 11 Sign Columbus Crew Defender Alex Crognale on loan

Eastern Conference Preview – soctakes.com John Lenard

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Full Schedule Released

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

BYB Away Game Watch Parties Around Town

GAMES ON TV

Fri, March 15

3:30 pm FS2                            Borussia M’Gladbach vs Frieburg

7 pm ESPN+                                           USL- Charlotte vs Indy 11

Sat, March 16 

8:15 am ESPN+                                     Watford vs Crystal Palace FA Cup

10:30 am FS2                                         Schalke (McKinney) vs RB Leipzig (Adams)

9:30 am FS2                                            Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Stuttgart

11 am NBCSN                                        Burnley vs Leicester City

11:15 am beIN Sport                             Real Madrid vs Celta de Vigo

1 pm ESPN+                                            Chicago Fire vs Seattle Sounders

1:20 pm ESPN+                                    Swansea City vs Man City (FA Cup)

1:30 pm Fox Sport 2                             Hertha vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

2 pm ESPN+                                            Columbus Crew vs Dallas (Matt Hedges)

4 pm ESPN+                                            Woverhampton vs Man United (FA Cup)

Sun, March 17 

8:30 am Fox Sports 1                       Bayer Leverkusen vs Werder Bremen

10:15 am NBCSN                                 Fulham vs Liverpool

10 am ESPN2                                         Lazio vs Parma (Italy)

12:30 pm NBC                                      Everton vs Chelsea

1 pm Fox Sport 2                                Bayern Munich vs Mainz

3:30 pm ESPN+                                    Milan vs Inter 

3 pm Fox Sport 1                                NYCFC vs LAFC

3:45 pm beIN Sport                             Real Betis vs Barcelona

5 pm Fox Sport 1                                Cincinnati vs Portland (1st Cincy home MLS Game)

Thurs, Mar 21

3:45 pm ESPN3                                    Belgium vs Russia (Euro Qualifying)

8 pm ESPN 2                                          USA vs Ecuador

Fri, Mar 22

3:45 pm Watch ESPN                       England vs Czech Rep (Euro Qualifying)

3:45 pm ESPN+                                    Portugal vs Ukraine  (Euro Qualifying)

4:20 pm beIN Sport                                                  Argentina vs Venezuela

10:15 pm                                                                         Mexico vs Chile

Sat, Mar 23

3:45 pm Watch ESPN                          Spain vs Norway (Euro Qualifying)

3:45 pm ESPN+                                    Italy vs Finland (Euro Qualifying)

7:30 pm ESPN+                                    Philly vs Columbus Crew

Sun, Mar 24

3:45 pm ESPN+                                    Netherlands vs Germany  (Euro Qualifying)

4 pm ESPN+                                            New England vs Cincy

Mon, Mar 25

2:45 pm ESPN+                                    Montenegro vs England (Euro Qualifying)

2:45 pm ESPN+                                     France vs Iceland (Euro Qualifying)

Tues, Mar 26

2:45 pm ESPN3                                    Czech Republic vs Brazil

2:45 pm ESPN3                                     Norway vs Sweden

8 pm ESPN 2                                          USA vs Chile

 USWNT Puts Equal Pay Discussion Back in Spotlight With New Lawsuit vs. U.S. Soccer

By GRANT WAHL March 08, 2019 SI

The players of the U.S. women’s national team got tired of waiting, and so on Friday, International Women’s Day and less than three months before the start of the World Cup, they sued U.S. Soccer in search of pay and treatment that are equal to the U.S. men’s team.In many ways, the lawsuit is simply a furtherance of the complaint that USWNT players filed three years ago against the federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—a complaint that has essentially sat in purgatory ever since. But make no mistake, this lawsuit reignites the issue and will be a dominant topic of discussion as the team plays games before and during the Women’s World Cup.It marks a grander version of the case brought forward by former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo in August of last year, with the player accusing U.S. Soccer of committing the same violations in her own personal federal lawsuit that remains pending in California. “I’d always hoped my former teammates would follow suit and join me in the battle in Federal Court against the United States Soccer Federation,” Solo said in a statement on Friday. “It was clear that U.S. Soccer was never going to acquiesce or negotiate to provide us equal pay or agree to treat us fairly. The filing today by the entire United States women’s national team demonstrates that they no longer fear the Federation by forcefully and publicly acknowledging U.S. Soccer’s violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII.”In the days since Abby Wambach retired from soccer, she has said regularly that she wished she had done more during her career to fight for better treatment of women’s players. The 28 USWNT players who brought Friday’s lawsuit clearly don’t want to have those regrets, and they know that the three-decade history of the USWNT has shown that real gains have only come when the players have decided to go toe-to-toe with U.S. Soccer.Will that make things uncomfortable between the players and the federation over the coming months with more eyes than ever on women’s soccer? You’d better believe it. But that’s precisely why the players chose this timing of their lawsuit. Given the circumstances, we shouldn’t expect any major changes on the field as a result of their action. U.S. Soccer isn’t going to do anything that would jeopardize the chances of winning a fourth Women’s World Cup this summer in France. And the players, who are pros and are unified, won’t either.There’s no threat of a work stoppage here. But get ready for a lot of discussion—on equal pay, on revenues produced, on investment in the women’s game. And look for that discussion to ripple out into the wider world as other women’s national teams take their cues from the USWNT, which is what we’ve been seeing in recent years.This fight won’t be settled soon. But it’s one that these USWNT players are viewing as part of their legacy—and every bit as important as what they accomplish on the field itself.

Alex Morgan on USWNT equal pay lawsuit: ‘This is about women in all industries’

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris just shakes her head in disbelief that civilization has advanced to the year 2019 — an inclusive and enlightened time when her recent engagement to teammate Ali Krieger was celebrated among fans and athletes throughout the soccer world — and yet, Harris and her colleagues on the U.S. women’s national team are still treated as second-class citizens compared to their male counterparts.A marriage between two women is legally and socially acceptable, as it should be, but sadly, so too is unequal compensation among American men and women soccer players. Even when the women are much better at their jobs than the men.Which is why Harris, her superstar Pride teammate Alex Morgan and the 26 other members of our world champion national women’s soccer team just filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer — the federation that governs the sport in this country. Our women want equal pay, equal perks, equal working conditions, equal resources, equal per diems, equal travel arrangements, equal everything.And not only do these amazing women deserve the same treatment as their male counterparts; they probably deserve more. Our men’s national team has never won diddly poo and couldn’t even get to the World Cup last year; our dominant, dynamic women’s team is the  premier power on the planet with three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals.Memo to U.S. Soccer: Check your bleeping calendar! This is 2019; not 1919. Believe it or not, women are actually allowed to vote now and, yes, even own land.Why is this even a topic of discussion?  Why doesn’t U.S. Soccer just do what any decent parent would do: Treat your daughters with the same respect as you treat your sons?

“We’re wondering the same thing,” Harris told me Thursday during Pride media day. “This has to change and we’re trying to create that change. It shouldn’t be up for debate whether I make the same amount as a man if I’m doing the same damn job and I’m putting in the same work, the same hours and I’m getting better results and bringing in more money. This shouldn’t be a conversation; it should be a freaking right.”This is not only a fight for the U.S. women’s national team, it’s a fight for women athletes everywhere. Correction, it’s a fight for women in every profession in every country across the globe.“As female athletes, they (the U.S. women’s national team) are pioneers. They are fighting the good fight for the rest of us,” said Pride defender Alanna Kennedy, a member of the Australian national team.Said Morgan: “This isn’t just about us; It’s about women in all industries. Women fight for equality every single day. Our hope is that we not only set up ourselves, we set up the next generation as well.”U.S. Soccer should be ashamed of itself. The organization will tell you that this is a complicated compensation issue because the U.S. women’s national team and the U.S. men’s national team have separate collective bargaining agreements with different pay structures. U.S. Soccer will also tell you that they are at the mercy of FIFA, the world soccer governing body that doles out $400 million in bonuses to the 32 men’s teams participating in the World  Cup whereas the 24 women’s teams get only $30 million in bonuses.This argument is lame. The U.S. men’s national team, riding the coattails of Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, etc., has little to do with the financial success of the  World Cup. The U.S. men are sort of like Vanderbilt cashing that $50 million TV check from the SEC every year just because the Commodores are lucky enough to be in the same conference as Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Florida.Meanwhile, the U.S. women’s national team is Alabama;  they are THE reason for the financial success of their World Cup. Not only that, but an argument could also be made that the U.S. women have had 10  times the impact of their male counterparts in growing the game of soccer in this country. The U.S. women are national heroes. The U.S. men are national nobodies.Without question, if you were judging and compensating them on merit, then the U.S. women should actually get more, not less, than the U.S. men. But this should not be based on merit; it should be based on fairness.U.S. Soccer isn’t some independent, privately-owned sports league like the NBA. Nobody has an issue with NBA players making significantly more money than WNBA players because the NBA makes billions of dollars every year whereas the WNBA doesn’t even break even.But U.S. Soccer is a nonprofit organization that funds the United States men’s national team and the United States women’s national team.The two key words here are, “United States.” And in the United States, all men and women are created equal.Iconic Orlando Pride forward Marta, commonly recognized as the greatest women’s soccer player of all-time, is a Brazilian goodwill ambassador to the United Nations who says women’s inequality around the world  is a major issue on her agenda.“You shouldn’t have to win anything to be treated equally,” Marta said. “Women should be treated equally to men because it’s the right thing to do.”

Watch: Christian Pulisic’s goal, assist help Borussia Dortmund keep pace with Bayern Munich

Doug McIntyre,Yahoo Sports Sat, Mar 9 12:27 PM EST

Christian Pulisic’s goal and assist off the bench on Saturday might just have saved Borussia Dortmund’s season, with the American’s 15-minute cameo in a crucial 3-1 win over Stuttgart keeping BVB even on points — if not goal difference — with Bayern Munich atop the Bundesliga table.The 20-year-old U.S. national team star has struggled with nagging leg injuries and form for most of the season. But he was the difference-maker in a match that Dortmund, which has seen its huge lead in Germany’s top division evaporate over the last number of weeks, simply had to have.With the score knotted at one and just 12 minutes of the 90 remaining, BVB manager Lucien Favre summoned Pulisic. It marked just his third appearance, all as a substitute, since Feb. 13 as he continues to gain match fitness after returning from a muscle injury. And Pulisic made the most of the opportunity, his clever footwork inside the box setting up Paco Alcacer’s all-important go-ahead goal in short order:

Then Pulisic, who will move to Chelsea this summer after agreeing to a $73 million transfer in January, got onto the scoresheet himself deep into stoppage time. The first-time finish with his left foot off a pass by Mario Gotze easily beat Stuttgart keeper Ron-Robert Zieler to the far post:The goal sealed the vital three points for the hosts. It could also help Pulisic earn more playing time as his tenure in Germany winds down. Pulisic’s last two starts came in the German Cup and the Champions League, competitions Dortmund is no longer involved in. The Pennsylvania native has not made Favre’s lineup for a Bundesliga match since late last year, before his looming move to Chelsea was announced.Maybe this is why BVB insisted on Pulisic sticking around until the end of the season, with the club bent on ending Bayern’s string of six Bundesliga titles this spring. Dortmund has not won the domestic championship since 2012. The two clubs both have 57 points after Bayern crushed Wolfsburg 6-0 on Saturday, and Bayern’s plus-2 goal differential give it the top spot. If Dortmund does manage to reclaim the lead and break its chief rival’s stranglehold on the trophy between now and May, the impact Pulisic made on Saturday will be a big reason why.Doug McIntyre

 covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

Berhalter excited about ‘flexibility’ Pulisic, Adams can offer United States men’s national team

Mar 12, 2019 Jeff Carlisle  U.S. soccer correspondent

For Gregg Berhalter, the U.S. men’s national team is akin to a jigsaw puzzle at the moment. He has a fair idea of where certain pieces go, while others are still scattered. Then there are those who might not end up fitting in. The pieces can also change shape depending on circumstances. Such is the way of things in the early days of a national team tenure.At least in this instance, with upcoming friendlies against Ecuador on March 21 in Orlando, Florida, and a second match against Chile five days later in Houston, Berhalter has more of his preferred pieces available, particularly in midfield. Christian PulisicWeston McKennie and Tyler Adams are all available, and Berhalter has some ideas on where each would be positioned. Pulisic will be deployed as “the No. 10 slanted to the left.” It looks as if Adams could play the right back/holding midfielder hybrid position occupied by Nick Lima during the January camp, though a more central role wasn’t ruled out. That would leave McKennie to either occupy the right-sided No. 10 slot or play in more of a holding role.Most of the attention will be focused on Pulisic. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder — for a few more months anyway — has invited plenty of debate as to where he should be positioned at the international level. With Dortmund, he’s usually deployed out wide, but given the relative dearth of creativity in the U.S. team, there have been calls for him to be stationed more centrally, the better to impact the game. But Berhalter isn’t so rigid in terms of where Pulisic finds space once the whistle blows.”When you look at last camp, there’s times where the wingers go inside and the 10s go wide,” Berhalter said. “We just want to see how that looks. We want Christian to be flexible, we want him to take advantage of his one-v-one [abilities], but we also want to get him in front of goal.”That versatility isn’t limited to Pulisic. He wants the likes of McKennie and Adams to show the same trait.”If I’m thinking about Weston who as a No. 10 but then defends as a No. 8, Christian as a No. 10 who also moves wide, or Tyler is a right back who can come inside and can also overlap or inner-lap; those are the things that are exciting to me,” the U.S. coach said. “It gives a lot of flexibility in the team.”As with most rosters, the players who were left off generated as many questions as those on it. In particular, forwards Josh Sargent and Tim Weah were, at least on the surface, surprise omissions. But Berhalter has chosen this moment to reconstitute the U.S. U23 team that, it is hoped, will qualify for the 2020 Olympics. With playing time not guaranteed for either player — and with clubs usually directing some stink-eye at national teams that make players travel and then don’t play them — Berhalter has hit upon a reasonable compromise. A pair of U23 games are being planned and it seems likely that both players will take part if the plans come to fruition. A U.S. Soccer spokesperson also said that the USSF is “deep into the hiring process” for the U23 manager.”When we looked at players that were U23 eligible, and weren’t necessarily going to be in our starting group, we had to weigh is it more beneficial for them to try to play full international games at a level where they can gain confidence and potentially bring that back to their club and then get a boost in performance with their clubs,” Berhalter said.Another interesting takeaway from Berhalter’s second roster is the notion that age isn’t as much of a barrier to a player being part of the 2022 World Cup team as was once thought. In addition to Michael Bradley, center backs Tim Reamand Omar Gonzalez are back in the fold. Fabian Johnson, while he didn’t make this roster, is still in contention. Berhalter has long valued veteran leadership, and in a young team that makes sense. The extent to which that will impact 2022 — should the U.S. qualify — is still to be determined, though Berhalter isn’t eliminating any possibilities at the moment.”This roster is [composed of] guys that we think can potentially play in 2022,” he said. “Some of them will be pushing the limit, and some of them may not make it to there because of the physicality of it. When we’re projecting this, we’re saying, ‘It can’t be all young players. It could be three guys on the roster in 2022 who are in their mid-30s. It can happen, especially when you’re trying to balance a young team.”At present, Berhalter isn’t looking that far out into the future. Rather his focus remains on getting the most out of what will be a short window. The Ecuador game falls on a Thursday, and for some players that will take place just four days after their last club match. That’s why Berhalter is calling this camp, “the most challenging two games we’ll have together as a group,” especially given that the 10 players will be taking in his tactical approach for the first time. The U.S. coach has attempted to mitigate this by doing video conferences with players in a bid to transfer the tactical know-how ahead of time.Berhalter acknowledges there is no substitute for practicing on the field. That will put a premium on “the players openness to learn, take information in. We know it’s not going to be perfect, but how much of that information is absorbed and executed upon, that’s what we’re going to be looking for.”If that takes place, then perhaps more puzzle pieces will snap into place.

Pulisic, McKennie and Adams called up to U.S. squad for March friendlies

Mar 12, 2019Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

The European-based contingent of Christian PulisicWeston McKennie and Tyler Adams headlines the roster for the United States ahead of friendlies against Ecuador on March 21 and Chile five days later.  The 24-man roster is the second put together by manager Gregg Berhalter since taking over the U.S. team back in December. But whereas his first camp in January was comprised entirely of domestic players, this get-together sees nine performers playing abroad while the remainder are with MLS clubs. Of the 15 MLS players that were invited, 14 took part in the January camp.”We thought it was important to tie some of the themes of last camp into this next camp and to have some consistency in the personnel made a lot of sense,” said Berhalter. “We still think we’re able to evaluate a new group of players, and we think that is going to be valuable as we move into the Gold Cup.”That said, the roster assembled is closer to what will look like a full-strength side, though there are some notable absences. Toronto striker Jozy Altidore is still not fully recovered from a recent knee injury. Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan was not included, nor was Hannover 96 striker Bobby Wood.A USSF spokesman said that the U.S. U23 team — the side that will attempt to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 2008 games in Beijing — is also planning to play a pair of matches during the upcoming international window. Berhalter indicated that the scheduling of those games played a role in determining who was called up to the full team and who will play for the U23s. It’s likely that this is why Werder Bremen forward Josh Sargent and Celtic winger Tim Weah were excluded from the full team.  “We had to make decisions for this camp and we looked at the players in a number of different buckets,” said Berhalter. “For example, we have some younger guys that aren’t getting the game time that they would have expected and they’re still age-eligible for the Olympics, so we think it’s a great opportunity for them to play two international games with the Olympic team.”We have other players that we have evaluated thoroughly in the January camp and we’re going to bring back in the future, but not in this camp. That’s another group. Then we have some guys that are returning from injury and we thought now is not the right time to subject them to the intensity of international soccer and the national team.”The squad is a bit older than some those in other recent camps, with an average age of 25 years, 261 days. It also average 21 caps. Among the more experienced call-ups are Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (143) and Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin (57).Berhalter also took the opportunity to pick some players who have been out of the U.S. mix for extended periods. Defenders Tim Ream of Fulham and Atlas center-back Omar Gonzalez were called in for the first time since 2017.”We have been saying all along that we thought it was important to have a veteran presence in the national team,” he said. “I think it’s really important when you talk about the history, the heritage and culture of what it means to play for the national team.”In Omar and Tim’s case, they’re both playing at a high level, they’re both playing every week and we thought this would be a good camp to evaluate their performance.”Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris was called up for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee early last year. He scored two goals for the Sounders in the season-opening 4-1 win over FC Cincinnati.”We’re excited for Jordan,” said Berhalter. “He’s a player that we had contact with in January Camp and it will be great to see him live and in person on the field.”Most of all, Berhalter will be looking to build on the concepts that he established in his inaugural camp last month.”Our goal is to keep making progress. Building on the themes of last camp, building on the style of play of last camp, but also now evaluating a new group of players,” Berhalter said.”We made progress in the first camp and it’s now asking if we can take it to another level. When we are done with this camp, it’s important that we have a good idea of our strongest group of players heading into the Gold Cup.”

FULL U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals)

GOALKEEPERS: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, BEL; 3/0), Sean Johnson(New York City FC; 6/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0)

DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg, GER; 36/3), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas, MEX; 48/3), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 4/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 2/0), Matt Miazga (Reading, ENG; 11/1), Tim Ream (Fulham, ENG; 26/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, ENG; 57/0)

MIDFIELDERS: Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, GER; 9/1), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, CAN; 143/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 7/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke, GER; 7/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, GER; 23/9), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 7/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 13/0)

FORWARDS: Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 2/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 25/5), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 42/6)

What Josh Sargent and Tim Weah being off the USMNT means for “The Process”

If there is such a thingBy Parker Cleveland  Mar 14, 2019, 7:00am PDT Stars and Stripes

The second wave of friendlies under new USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter has some shape now that the roster has been announced. The team that he’s called in seems… underwhelming. There’s Michael Bradley poised to continue his steady march toward breaking the USMNT record for caps, the anonymous college graduate at left back, an entire forward line filled with MLS players with only one that scored double digit goals last season, and a center back that scored an own goal in World Cup qualifying. What is this?Where are the kids? Where are the players that are testing themselves at the highest level? WHERE ARE TIM WEAH AND JOSH SARGENT? Is this what fans want to overpay to see? Is this the best that Gregg Berhalter can do? A roster that looks like 15/24 of a January camp with Tyler AdamsChristian Pulisic and Weston McKennie mixed in? Is everyone who says SUM controls USSF right and is this roster the shooter on the grassy knoll in the flesh?At the very least it’s disappointing and at the worst it seems like a step back in terms of the work that American Manager Dave Sarachan did at expanding the player pool in his year as interim manager. So what are we supposed to make of this?

The good: this is “The Process”

Let’s give the US Soccer Federation more credit than it deserves and think that it’s making decisions with the “long game” in mind. Suspend your belief in reality for just a minute and step back and look at how the roster fits into “The Process.”Obviously, Sargent and Weah aren’t on the team sheet. Addressing their omission the coach noted, “We’re looking at this from the big picture standpoint. The big picture is Tim and Josh have the opportunity to play at the U-23 level and gain experience. I see them very much as part of the group moving forward, this is a way for them to keep playing and get on the field.”That’s nice; they’re in the group going forward and are with the U-23s for this camp. On its face, it would appear that US Soccer is prioritizing getting back into the Olympics on the men’s side. If so, the thinking that the youngsters would have time to get some experience under a new U-23s coach, which the article linked above also mentions will be hired shortly, makes sense. It is still three years and then some between now and the 2022 World Cup kicking off and there’s a lot that needs to happen in that time. One thing that will come up is the 2020 Olympics, a tournament the US men have only qualified for once in the past four times it’s been held.Concacaf U-23 qualifying has not been scheduled (for 2016 it occurred in October 2015), but holding Weah, Sargent, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Antonee Robinson and other promising players out of the senior squad for now would give them time to gel under a new coach. That time will be more valuable to prep for Olympic qualifying than playing a pair of friendlies that will let Berhalter assess the player pool ahead of the Gold Cup.The 2020 Olympics are also a way to turn the page for the USMNT. The failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was in some ways the end of a chapter that began with failing to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Those teams were full of players who took a different track and focused their development and careers in MLS. The current crop of U-23s, at least its brightest members, are choosing to challenge themselves at the highest level in Europe and not repeat the mistakes of the “lost generation” that had its ultimate failure in Trinidad & Tobago.If the goal is a successful run in the 2022 World Cup, this is the right roster for Berhalter to call in, “The Process” is working, and everything is fine. Of course, that’s only if it means that the players who will make the biggest impact in that tournament are taking the field in Tokyo next summer.

The bad: there is no “The Process”

There’s no way that Sargent and Weah should be behind Corey Baird, Jonathan Lewis, and Christian Ramirez in the depth chart and no way that they don’t have a higher upside for 2022 than Gyasi Zardes. There is room on the roster for them. On top of that, their clubs are under no obligation to release them for a U-23 camp. Plus, if the goal was to have them playing meaningful soccer against tough competition, friendlies against senior players for two tough South American teams would be just that.In its recent decisions, such as extending Jurgen Klinsmann with a massive contract before ever coaching a World Cup game, hiring Bruce Arena to try and pick up the pieces after Klinsmann’s early qualifying losses, alienating a top dual-national prospect, creating a general manager position that seemed to be aimless that few candidates were interested in, and seemingly pre-selecting the USMNT manager without a competitive hiring process (you know, again), USSF has exercised foresight like it was planning a music festival on Pablo Escobar’s island in the Bahamas. Is that changing?A good sign is that there are exciting young players in Europe who could make a big difference with the Stars and Stripes ahead of 2022, but does that mean there’s a “Process” that the federation set in motion to make that happen? The crop of players choosing to play in Europe and not MLS it might make it seem like US Soccer is thinking more strategically. Another way to look at it is that the young talented players that are choosing to go abroad over MLS are making the case for long-term planning easier for the federation to take credit for.Whatever Berhalter says, we don’t know why Sargent and Weah are being sent to the U-23s. If this is not “The Process,” then Weah and Sargent not being called in to the senior team is quite simply just another in a long line of bad decisions.

Premier League title race: Who has the best fixtures in the run-in? Manchester City or Liverpool?

Mark CritchleyThe IndependentMar 10, 2019, 10:19 AM  photos

Premier League title race: Who has the best fixtures in the run-in? Manchester City or Liverpool?

Eight games remain in the Premier League season, with champions Manchester City and challengers Liverpool the only teams left in contention to win the Premier League title.The two clubs are currently separated by just one point, after their respective wins over Watford and Burnley this weekend.The competitive standard they have both set has simply been too difficult for the rest of the pack to keep up with.At this rate, one of Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola will end in second place having managed one of the Premier League’s best-ever runners-up.And whether City defend their crown or Liverpool end their 29-year wait for a domestic title will depend in part on how their fixtures fall in these final weeks and months.By calculating the average points-per-game home and away of each top-flight club, we can weigh up the difficulty of their run-ins and see where the title may be won and lost.

Manchester City

Current position: 1st

Points: 74

Average home/away points of opponents: 1.33

Remaining fixtures

30/03 Fulham (A)

06/04 Cardiff (H) *

14/04 Crystal Palace (A)

20/04 Tottenham (H)

24/04 Manchester United (A)

28/04 Burnley (A)

04/05 Leicester (H)

12/05 Brighton (A)

* Subject to change due to FA Cup

City’s schedule comes with two reminders of the last time they contested a Premier League title race with Liverpool five years ago.The champions travel to Crystal Palace on the same afternoon that Liverpool host Chelsea, just as they did on a pivotal April day of the 2013-14 campaign.And if that was not eerie enough, Brendan Rodgers will be given the chance to enact revenge when Leicester City visit the Etihad on the penultimate weekend.But the key game in the remainder of this title race is likely to be City’s trip to Old Trafford on 24 April.The Manchester derby will be City’s most difficult test. It will also be a game in hand over Liverpool, who play Fulham next weekend while their rivals are in FA Cup action.It comes at a challenging time too. City host Tottenham four days before playing United, then face a tough trip to Burnley four days later.Six points away to Fulham and at home against Cardiff will be expected.The champions will also hope that Brighton are all but on the beach rather than fighting to stay up on the final day. Chris Hughton’s side can be a tough nut to crack at the Amex.

Liverpool

Current position: 2nd

Points: 73

Average home/away points of opponents: 1.32

Remaining fixtures

17/03 Fulham (A)

31/03 Tottenham (H)

05/04 Southampton (A)

14/04 Chelsea (H)

21/04 Cardiff (A)

26/04 Huddersfield (H)

04/05 Newcastle (A)

12/05 Wolves (H)

When comparing the home and away points-per-game totals of Liverpool and City’s remaining opponents, the difference is 0.01 of a point in Liverpool’s favour.In other words, there is no meaningful difference in difficulty when comparing the remaining schedules of the two title contenders.Liverpool’s remaining away days are against bottom-half clubs, which can be a double-edged sword at this time of the season.Fulham, Southampton and Cardiff are all currently fighting for the points they require to retain their top-flight status, even if some look more doomed than others.Newcastle, meanwhile, are in excellent form and will be no pushovers at St James’ Park on the penultimate weekend of the campaign.Two ‘top six’ clubs visit Anfield before the end of the season. Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham arrive at the end of the month and have struggled of late.Chelsea have not travelled particularly well under Maurizio Sarri but have already won at Anfield this season in the EFL Cup.Huddersfield’s form on the road is woeful and Jan Siewert’s men may well be relegated by the time they turn up on Merseyside.But Wolverhampton Wanderers are not ideal final day opponents and Anfield itself could be a gift or a curse if it does come down to the very last game.

Verdict

It remains very close to call though, with a point advantage and a relatively even schedule, City must be considered favourites.How Guardiola’s side negotiate their commitments in other competitions next month is likely to be the deciding factor.Their league sequence of Palace away, Tottenham at home, United away and Burnley away comes at a key moment in their season as a whole.A probable Champions League quarter-final second leg falls in the middle of that spell and a possible semi-final comes right after it, the midweek before Leicester’s visit.Add in a likely FA Cup semi-final, which would force the Cardiff game to be rearranged, and City’s April suddenly appears quite hectic.  Liverpool could be involved in European action as well, of course, though there is a sense at Anfield that domestic success is their priority.

Four things we learned: Arsenal v. Man United

Joe Prince-Wright

NBC Sports•Mar 10, 2019, 5:45 PM

LONDON — It was a case of unlucky 13 for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he lost for the first time as Manchester United manager in the Premier League at Arsenal on Sunday.

The Gunners scored in each half through Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyangto push themselves into the driving seat in the top four battle as they won a ninth-straight home game. United missed numerous glorious chances and hit the woodwork twice as their heroic midweek win at PSG seemed to catch up with them.

Here’s a look at what we learned from a gripping encounter in north London.

EMERY HAS INSTILLED STEEL

It wasn’t pretty from Arsenal, but they got the job done and kept a clean sheet, and it is clear that Unai Emery has instilled a steely resolve into this Gunners team. In recent weeks they’ve held firm against the rampant attacks of Tottenham and Man United in the Premier League, and on Sunday it took a lot of courage to dig deep and fight back after their disappointing midweek defeat at Rennes in the Europa League. By the end of Arsene Wenger‘s Arsenal reign, they had become a weak-minded, fragile bunch of players. There is now a fighting spirit and grit to their play which complements their free-flowing attacking prowess. Despite various setbacks along the way this season, one thing that has improved drastically under Emery is their defensive organization. And despite that improved defensive solidity, helped mainly by Sokratis’ arrival, they have also scored more goals (63) than they had at this point last season. With three goals conceded in their last five PL games, if Arsenal’s defense keeps this up it will get them into the top four. Coupled with turning the Emirates into a fortress, the Gunners have finally added some steel to their silky attack.

UNITED’S MIDFIELD MUDDLE COSTS SOLSKJAER

25 minutes into the game Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had seen enough from his midfield. He switched the formation from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 because Fred and Nemanja Matic were left woefully exposed to Arsenal’s fluid attacks. Young shifted to center back, Diogo Dalotwent to right wing-back and all of a sudden United had more control. Pogba was drifting around aimlessly early on, not sure if he was playing in the center or on the left of midfield, and it was all a bit of a muddle. Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay were badly missed alongside Matic, and although Fred gave away a penalty kick, he didn’t play too badly. United’s failure to finish chances was their biggest downfall on Sunday, as Solskjaer’s fine unbeaten run is over. Injuries, constant personnel changes and the PSG win in midweek caught up with them, but there is still plenty of life left in their top four quest.

LUKAKU GOES COLD IN FRONT OF GOAL

After scoring twice in each of his last three outings, Romelu Lukaku was bang on form heading into this game. Moments before Arsenal took the lead he somehow hit the crossbar from close range, and before half time he gave Bernd Leno just enough time to claw the ball away after he rounded him. In the second half Lukaku was clean through again but was denied and it just wasn’t his day in front of goal. The Belgian striker still caused problems with his runs and combination play with Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, but he had an off-day in front of goal. Lukaku going stone cold in front of goal was the main reason why Man United failed to get anything from this game. And the fact that only 14 percent of Lukaku’s 113 Premier League goals have come against “big six” opposition (16 in 75 appearances) will add fuel to the fire of those saying Anthony Martialmust replace him in the starting lineup.

TOP 4 BATTLE BLOWN WIDE OPEN

The race to finish in the top four of the Premier League got real this weekend. Tottenham lost at Southampton. Chelsea drew at home against Wolves. And Arsenal beat Man United. Arsenal now sit in fourth on 60 points (just one point short of third-place Spurs), Man United are in fifth on 58 points and Chelsea are in sixth on 57 points with a game in hand.In the matchday programme Arsenal skipper Laurent Koscielny said that this was a “crucial game” for the Gunners and their season. It’s cliche, but every game between now and May 12 is huge for Emery’s Arsenal project. And the same can be said for Pochettino, Sarri and Solskjaer at their respective clubs.

PREVIEW | INDY DEPART FOR QUEEN CITY CLASH AGAINST CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE

By IndyEleven.com, 03/13/19, 8:00PM EDT  Boys in Blue gear up for second consecutive road match of the season

Indy Eleven at Charlotte Independence – #CLTvIND
Friday, March 15, 2019 – 7:00 P.M. EST

Sportsplex at Matthews Stadium – Matthews, NC

Watch/Listen Live:Streaming Video: ESPN+ ($)
WEEK 2 | SHOOTING FOR THE FIRST THREE POINTS

Indy Eleven aim to capture the first three points of the season against Charlotte Independence in the team’s second road game in as many weeks. The Boys in Blue look to improve their all-time record against Charlotte, which currently stands at 1W-1D-0L.Indiana’s Team fell in their first match of the 2019 USL Championship season 2-1 on the road against Saint Louis FC. Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie’s side featured several new faces during the matchup, some of which included defender Neveal Hackshaw and forward Josh Penn. Hackshaw excelled in his Boys in Blue debut as he completed nearly 90 percent of his passes, acted as a stiff presence in the back third, and scored Indy’s only goal of the match in the 61st minute. Youngster Penn also caused havoc down the flanks for Saint Louis, as the 18-year-old nearly scored a goal in the 19th minute and almost assisted forward Dane Kelly in the 48th minute. Despite his best effort, the USL Championship all-time leading goal scorer watched his header clang off the post. Even though Indy dominated possession and created seven chances, the side fell 2-1 on the road. The focus is now claiming points in Charlotte.“For us, we’ve played a competitive game now and we’ve learned things from that game that we could improve on in practice,” said Rennie. “The start of the season is tricky for us. There’s a lot of away games that’ll be quite tricky, so we need to really dig in and truly get results to set us up for the rest of the season.”Charlotte Independence begin their 2019 USL Championship season against Indy Eleven on Friday night after having a bye week in league’s opening weekend. The side will play its first competitive match after a preseason loss to 2018 Major League Soccer champs Atlanta United on March 2, finishing the preseason with a 3W-1D-1L record. Charlotte, now with first-year head coach Jim McGuiness leading the charge, will look to bounce back from a 2018 USL Championship season that saw the side finish 11th in the Eastern Conference standings. Charlotte’s defense could prove to a soft spot in the side after allowing 57 goals in the 2018 season, the fourth most goals conceded in the Eastern Conference. The Independence were able to move the efficiently in the midfield last season, completing 80 percent of passes played throughout the game.

INDY ELEVEN PLAYER TO WATCH: MF TYLER GIBSON

Midfielder Tyler Gibson was one of four FC Cincinnati players signed in the offseason by Coach Rennie. Gibson’s presence in the midfield can be felt most with his quality of play. The 28-year-old navigates the ball with precise accuracy through passing channels, helping to facilitate counter attacks and control the pace of the game.During the match against Saint Louis, Gibson completed 91 percent of the passes he played. He also completed 88 percent of the long balls he played through the midfield. Accurate passing isn’t a new concept to the midfielder, who averaged 84-percent passing accuracy last season.

CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE PLAYER TO WATCH: MF JORGE HERRERA

The man that will martial the midfield of Charlotte Independence is veteran Jorge Herrera, something the midfielder has been doing since 2015. His 106 appearances for Charlotte have led to the Columbian finding the back of the net a total of 36 times.The 38-year-old led Charlotte in goal scoring last season, scoring 13 goals in 30 appearances. He also moved the ball well through the midfield, averaging just under 80-percent passing accuracy and creating four assists for his teammates. The Boys in Blue midfield will need to keep a close mark on the midfielder in order to keep the first clean sheet of the season.

MATCHUP TO MARK: INDY FW DANE KELLY VS CHARLOTTE FW DOMINIC ODURO

Friday night’s matchup will feature two prolific strikers in Indy Eleven’s Dane Kelly and Charlotte Independence’s Dominic Oduro. Both forwards have impressive resumes in regards to scoring goals, as Kelly is the USL Championship all-time leading goal scorer and Oduro spent 16 years in MLS.Kelly looks to open his goal scoring account with Indy Eleven on Friday after nearly getting things going against Saint Louis. The forward, who signed with the Boys in Blue in mid-January, struck the post against Saint Louis after youngster Josh Penn played him a cross. Then a dozen minutes later, the Jamaican saw his well-placed penalty kick saved by Saints goalkeeper Jake Fenlason. With a mind for the back of the net, Kelly will be eager to capitalize on any goal scoring opportunity that comes his way.Kelly’s opposite will be 16-year MLS veteran, forward Dominic Oduro. One of the paciest forwards ever to play in MLS, the 33-year-old has featured for sides like FC Dallas, Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls, Chicago Fire, Toronto FC and Montreal Impact. He’s used his searing speed to score 63 goals in 346 appearances. In addition to scoring the goals, the native of Ghana can create them as well. The Charlotte forward has assisted on 32 goals during his extensive career. Each forward will look to put their mark on Friday’s fixture as the two players look to score their first goals for their clubs. Indy’s backline will need to work hard to keep tabs on the pacey Oduro, and Charlotte will need to mark the Kelly in the 18-yard box in order to keep a clean sheet against an Indy Eleven side they have yet to defeat.Don’t miss a second of the Boys in Blue on the road. All home and away USL Championship matches are available at your fingertips with ESPN+. New users can click here or visit plus.espn.com to start a seven-day free trial.

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3/8/19  Champions League Stunners, Indy 11 Season opener Sat, MLS Wk2, Full TV Game Schedule

Ok I simply have to start with Champions League this week as there were unbelievable upsets and hard to figure VAR reffing decisions that dominated this week as favorites Real Madrid, PSG and AS Roma all lost. The biggest collapse was Real Madrid – the holders, 3 time Defending UCL Champions, losing AT HOME 3-1 to Ajax.  The Dutch squad with a roster full of players on the A and B team that make less per month than Real Madrid’s Garreth Bale makes.  Yes the entire squad.  Wow !!  In Paris – PSG made their annual exit at the Sweet 16 level complete as they gave up their 2-0 lead by losing 3-3 (away goal difference) to Man United.  PSG outplayed, outpossessed and outshot the EPL miracle workers but it was VAR that laid the final nail in the coffin – as a 91st minute call for hand ball on a defender turning and jumping on a shot sailing over the goal was called hand-ball and Man U won on the last second PK to send PSG and GK Buffon packing.  See below to see the call and decide for yourselves.  As a ref – I would not have called it a hand ball?  Fellow refs out there thoughts?   Either way the Champions League the top level of club soccer in the world continues to show why it is must see TV – even if we can’t see all the games because TNT/BR live stinks!  Enjoy this week’s games remember kickoffs are 4 pm this week not 3 pm because of daylight savings.

Tues Mar 12                                    Champions League

4 pm BR Live/Uni Desp               Man City 3 vs Schalke 2  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

4 pm    TNT                                     Juventus 0  vs   Atletico Madrid 2 

10 pm Yahoo SportsOL                  Santos Laguna vs NY Red Bulls CCL

12 am Yahoo Sports                        Houston Dynamo vs Tigres

Weds, Mar 13                                CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

4 pm TNT                                         Bayern Munich vs Liverpool 

4 pm BR Live                                  Barcelona 0 vs Lyonnais  0

9 pm ET Yahoo Sports OL            Atlanta United   vs Monterrey  CCL

INDY 11

Finally our Indy 11 get underway on their 2nd season in USL on the road this Saturday afternoon in St. Louis at 2 pm on ESPN+.  An improved roster helps the 11 kick off the new season as they will have many more Saturday night home games at Lucas Oil Stadium this season.  Meanwhile – its not too late to get your season tickets for just $99 for the season. Check out season reviews below on the OBC and the USL as the Eleven are being picked as high as #4 in the league and some have us favored to represent the Eastern Division in the playoffs with the newly revamped roster that the Boys in Blue have added.   Get your season ticket package today by visiting IndyEleven.com/season-tickets or by calling 317-685-1100. First home game is Sat, March 30th vs Hartford Athletic at 7 pm at the Luke!  Season kicks off tonight at 10 pm on ESPN+ with Seattle Sounders 2 vs Rio Grande Valley.

Big Games on TV this Week

Fifth place EPL squad Arsenal hosts 4th place Man United on Sunday at 12;30 pm on NBC as the battle for the top 4 comes to a head.  Champions League Tues/Wed 3 pm on TNT.  Atlanta United hosts Cincy FC at 5 pm on ESPN Sunday, while LAFC hosts Portland after at 7 pm on FS1.

Carmel FC and Carmel Dad’s Club – Dick’s Shopping Days are this Weekend 3/9-3/10 Sat/Sun at Clay Terrace 20% off

Indy 11

Indy 11 Add New Fire Power – Indy Star Kevin Johnson

Indy 11 Tips Hand in Eleven Pre-season Final – Kevin Johnson – SocTakes.com

Indy 11 Sign former West Brom Midfielder Do Heon Kim –

Indy 11 sign New Defender & Forward

Indy 11 Draw Nashville SC in Final Preseason Game

Indy 11 Stadium Proposal Passes the Senate – Indy Star

Full Schedule Released

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

USL Western Conference Preview – Soctakes.com

USL Power Rankings – Indy 11 4th

USL Picks-

Sellouts Welcome New teams in the league

USL Champions Campaign

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE  

Zidanes Return Signals Big Changes at Real Madrid are Coming – Jonathan Wilson SI

A rested Zidane ready to Return to Madrid refreshed – SI

Crazy happenings in Champions League – SI

PSG is Robbed by Ref, Var & Man United

UEFA backs Ref over Man U bad call vs PSG

PSG proves again they are Europe’s Biggest Losers – ESPNFC

Player ratings PSG

Why Real Madrid suffered their darkest night in UCL History – Marcotti ESPNFC

Bale Was Supposed to Replace Ronaldo – Why He’s Soon Out Too-  Sid Lowe

POLL: Who stays and who goes from Real Madrid?
Carvajal: Read Madrid’s ‘s— season’ is already over
Real Madrid Player Ratings: Kroos, Nacho worst of a bad a bunch

Spurs plan to play UCL quarters at home

Roma fires coach after loss

De Rossi Saddened to lose via Var

Real Madrid Coach to Be out Soon – Mourino the Target

Top Ten Teams World Wide Rankings – ESPNFC Shaka Hislop

MLS

MLS Week 2 What to Watch For – Arch Bell – ESPNFC

MLS predictions: Atlanta United favored to repeat

MLS Statues – who Deserves the Next Statue

MLS story lines: Will Zlatan dominate?

FC Cincy’s First Ever Goal in MLS at Seattle last weekend

Ibra out vs FC Dallas with Injury – New MF Joe Corona could play

EPL

Klopp defends Salah Goal Record this month

As Liverpool Stumbles Klopp says he prefers to chase Title from behind-NBCSN

Chelsea’s Higuain Seems to Have Hit Stride

GAMES ON TV

Fri, March 8  

10 pm ESPN+                                        USL Seattle Sounders 2 vs Rio Grande Valley

Sat, March 9 

9:30 am FS1                                            Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg (Brooks)

9:30 am FS2                                            Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Stuttgart

9:30 am Fox Soccer +                                              RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Ausburg

10 am NBCSN                                        South Hampton vs Tottenham

10:15 am beIN Sport                                               Atletico vs Leganes

12:30 pm NBCSN                                Man City vs Watford

1 pm ESPN+                                            Chicago Fire vs Orlando City SC

2 pm ESPN+                                           USL- St Louis vs Indy 11

3:30 pm Univision                              Dallas vs LA Galaxy

Sun, March 10 

8 am NBCSN                                           Liverpool vs Burnley

10 am NBCSN                                        Chelsea vs Wolverhampton

10 am ESPN2                                         Inter vs SPAL  (Italy)

12:30 pm NBC                                      Arsenal vs Man United

3 pm ESPN+                                            NYCFC vs DC United (Rooney)

5 pm ESPN                                               Atlanta United vs FC Cincy

7:30 pm FS1                                           LAFC vs Portland Timbers

Tues Mar 12                                           Champions League

4 pm  BR Live/Uni Desp                     Man City 3 vs Schalke  2 

4 pm  TNT                                              Juventus 0  vs  Atletico 2 

10 pm Yahoo SportsOL                   Santos Laguna vs NY Red Bulls CCL

12 am Yahoo Sports                          Houston Dynamo vs Tigres

Weds, Mar 13  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

4 pm TNT                                             Bayern Munich 0 vs Liverpool 0 

4 pm BR Live                                       Barcelona 0  vs Lyonnais  0

9 pm ET Yahoo Sports OL            Atlanta United   vs Monterrey  CCL

Fri, March 15

3:30 pm FS2                                         Borussia M’Gladbach vs Frieburg

Sat, March 16 

10:30 am FS1                                         Schalke (McKinney) vs RB Leipzig (Adams)

9:30 am FS2                                            Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Stuttgart

9:30 am Fox Soccer +                                              RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Ausburg

11 am NBCSN                                        Bournmouth vs New Castle United

1 pm ESPN+                                            Chicago Fire vs Seattle Sounders

1:30 pm Fox Sport 2                                                 Hertha vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

2 pm ESPN+                                            Columbus Crew vs Dallas (Matt Hedges)

2 pm ESPN+                                           USL- St Louis vs Indy 11

3:30 pm Univision                              Dallas vs LA Galaxy

Sun, March 17 

8:30 am Fox Sports 1                                               Bayer Leverkusen vs Werder Bremen

10:15 am NBCSN                                 Fulham vs Liverpool

10 am ESPN2                                         Lazio vs Parma (Italy)

12:30 pm NBC                                      Everton vs Chelsea

1 pm Fox Sport 2                                Bayern Munich vs Mainz

3:30 pm ESPN+                                    Milan vs Inter

3 pm Fox Sport 1                                NYCFC vs LAFC

3:45 pm beIN Sport                                                  Real Betis vs Barcelona

5 pm Fox Sport 1                                Cincinnati vs Portland (1st Cincy home MLS Game)

Plenty of new faces, added firepower up the ante for Indy Eleven in 2019

Kevin Johnston, Special for IndyStarPublished 9:33 a.m. ET March 8, 2019

There are plenty of new faces on the Indy Eleven’s roster this season as the club pushes for a USL Championship title. Matthew Glenesk, Wochit

After the Indy Eleven sputtered out 4-1 in the first round of the 2018 United Soccer League playoffs to rival and eventual-champion Louisville City FC — Indy’s first year in the USL Championship — expectations are elevated this year.With the breadth of talent coach Martin Rennie assembled in the offseason, the 2019 Eleven are looking more like a team expected to contend for a title alongside Louisville as opposed to last year’s iteration that finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and looked overmatched when it mattered most.“I think that there are opportunities for everybody, and I think that guys will get time and get chances to play,” Rennie said of his roster depth. “It’s nice to have those options. I think we’ve got a lot more pace, a lot more danger going forward than we maybe had before, so I think that’s going to help us during the season.”Indy bulked up its roster by tapping into the FC Cincinnati well and by bringing in some of the most accomplished Division 2 attackers available.

More: Eleven owner talks about stadium, MLS and ‘good bill’ from lawmakers

More: Eleven stadium deal now would require team cash and MLS buy-in up front

NEW FACES

Four notable new guys — defender Paddy Barrett, goalkeeper Evan Newton and midfielders Kenney Walker and Tyler Gibson — all come from FC Cincinnati, the team with the best record in the USL last season that has since moved on to Major League Soccer. All four have a solid chance to start in the Eleven’s opener Saturday at St. Louis.Indy also signed USL all-time leading scorer Dane Kelly, forward Ilija Ilic from Louisville City and striker Thomas Enevoldsen from Orange County SC. Kelly captured the league’s Golden Boot award with 18 goals in 2017, Ilic was a key offensive component of Louisville’s title run and Enevoldsen bagged 20 goals and 10 assists last year.We have a lot of talented players, so anyone can make that break to score or set up that goal,” Kelly said of the team’s attacking options. “So hopefully once the league starts, we can get a lot of goals.”Other newcomers include: goalkeeper Mario Perez, defenders Neveal Hackshaw, Lucas Farias, Mitchell Osmond and Macauley King, midfielder Do-Heon Kim, forwards Joshua Penn and Alioune Diakhate.Brad Ring, the former IU standout who had played with the Eleven since their inaugural season, announced his retirement this offseason.

WHO’S BACK

Left wingback Ayoze and center back Karl Ouimette return this season. Both are likely to remain starters when healthy.The only other familiar faces from the 2018 roster are captain Matt Watson, midfielder Nico Matern, winger Tyler Pasher, forward Eugene Starikov and backup goalkeeper Jordan Farr.

PROJECTED STARTING XI (3-4-3)

In what looked like a regular-season dress rehearsal Saturday against Nashville SC in the team’s final preseason match, here’s essentially what Rennie rolled out:

View image on Twitter

 

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The only thing to note is that the lineup played more like a 3-4-2-1, with Pasher and Ilic clearly playing deeper than Kelly, who was constantly staying even with the last defender in search of a dangerous run in behind the defense. Pasher and Ilic also regularly swapped sides, so look for plenty of interchange between them.Rennie utilized a few different formations last season, so it’s entirely possible he diverts from this setup. But that’s how it appears Indy is set to begin its 2019 campaign if Saturday was any indication.

SEASON OPENER AND 2019 GOALS

The Eleven will visit St. Louis FC for their season opener 2 p.m. Saturday with their focus squarely on one game and one game only, according to Rennie. But the undercurrent of unfinished playoff business will surely flow underneath Indy’s subconscious throughout the season — especially with raised expectations.“The main thing I’m thinking about is just the first game of the season,” Rennie said. “And get on with that. That’s our first goal, you know. Win that game, and we’ll go from there.”“I’m trying to score as many goals as I can,” Kelly added. “But definitely we’re trying to get a championship in Indy, for sure.”Indy Eleven season prediction: a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference table, a win in their first home playoff match and a loss in the conference semifinals.

 

Opinion: Rennie tips hand in Eleven’s preseason finale

March 7, 2019by Kevin Johnston

Photo credit: Robbie Mehling/Soc Takes

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Indy Eleven manager Martin Rennie somewhat prides himself on being cryptic about his lineups and tactics, especially during the preseason.

The first time I interviewed him and inquired about his coaching philosophy shortly after he took the job, he told me he didn’t want to give away too much before the regular season started, which was many weeks away. He’s also a stickler at times when it comes to formations. It doesn’t matter what the USLsoccer.com match center shows nor what the bird’s-eye view from the press box leads you to believe. If you try to pin him down with a question about a specific formation, he generally deflects it with something like, “No, that was just our usual, 4-4-2, 4-3-3.”

In a sense, I get it. It’s quite common for lineups to completely change from offense to defense, and even more common to tinker with everything as a match wears on. For example, Gregg Berhalter religiously played a 4-2-3-1 while at the helm of Columbus Crew SC, but when his side transitioned from offense to defense it essentially morphed into a 4-2-2-2. Again, I get it from the coaching side of things. That said, after observing Indy’s 0-0 draw against Nashville SC with a keen eye Saturday afternoon at Arad McCutchan Stadium, I’m ready to face the “2019 Martin Rennie Challenge” head on. If Saturday truly was a regular-season dress rehearsal of sorts, which Indy’s gaffer hinted at, it was crystal clear how he intends to set up his squad.“I think more so than other preseason games, this was more of like kind of putting our team together a little bit with an eye towards next week,” Rennie said after the match. “So, I think we certainly learned some good things and see some things we need to work on, but overall it was a performance I was happy with and I think there’s a lot more to come.”Spoiler alert: his lineup involves an influx of central defensive midfielders. Pics or it didn’t happen, right?The most accurate and pedantic way to label it is a 3-4-2-1. For the sake of not being a pedantic dimwit, let’s call it a 3-4-3. A 3-6-1 might also suffice, but — OK, I’ll stop, 3-4-3 it is. Here’s exactly how the Eleven took the pitch Saturday, which I have every reason to believe is precisely — or very close to — how they’ll line up this Saturday against St. Louis FC in the regular-season opener:

One thing to note is that there was quite a bit of side swapping between Tyler Pasher and Ilija Ilic, as the arrow indicates. Rennie has either deliberately asked them to switch flanks often to constantly give the defense a different look, or given them the green light to roam about the attack more so than other players and it’s happening naturally as a result of that extra freedom.

Up front, Dane Kelly was consistently central on the last defender, ever a threat with his finishing ability and pace. Pasher and Ilic were clearly playing a little deeper.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of this particular setup was central midfielder Matt Watson essentially playing as a right wingback. Rennie vaguely indicated that he’s pleased with what he’s seen from his captain in the role.

“I think he looks good in that position and we’ve got other guys who can do it as well,” he said.

Photo credit: Robbie Mehling/Soc Takes

With extra bodies in the midfield, Indy mostly controlled the middle of the park against Nashville SC, but it’ll be interesting to see how this group does defensively on a faster surface with more pressure coming their way. Saturday’s preseason match featured a patchy pitch and 40-degree temperatures, so neither side appeared too comfortable nor sharp in the final third.

Of course, none of this is top-secret intel. The Indy Eleven Live Twitter account put the starting XI out there for public consumption, it was simply a matter of observing and connecting the dots. But the sometimes-guarded Rennie finally provided a glimpse Saturday — after mixing in several trialists in all his prior preseason lineups — as to what we might see from Indy early in the season.

Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KJboxing.

 

Major League Soccer 2019 predictions: Atlanta United favored to repeat; SKC, LAFC in hunt

USA TODAYPublished 10:00 a.m. ET March 1, 2019 | Updated 7:38 p.m. ET March 4, 2019

MLS commissioner Don Garber, sees the future of the league as one that continues to grow and serve the “soccer nation” he sees developing. Autumn Allison, Nashville Tennessean

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With the 2019 Major League Soccer season kicking off this weekend, we surveyed the USA TODAY Sports team of writers for their predictions on how the new season will shake out.

Can Atlanta United become the first repeat MLS Cup winner since the LA Galaxy did it in 2011-12? Which players will define the season? Which teams win trophies?

Pat Brennan, Cincinnati Enquirer
(@PBrennanENQ)

MLS Cup winner: Atlanta United

MLS Cup finalists: Atlanta United vs. Sporting Kansas City

Supporters’ Shield: Atlanta United

U.S. Open Cup winner: Atlanta United

MVP: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy)

Golden Boot: Josef Martinez (Atlanta United)

Jim Reineking, USA TODAY Sports
(@jimreineking)

MLS Cup winner: Atlanta United

MLS Cup finalists: Atlanta United vs. Seattle Sounders

Supporters’ Shield: Sporting Kansas City

U.S. Open Cup winner: Philadelphia Union

MVP: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy)

Golden Boot: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Martin Rogers, USA TODAY Sports
(@RogersJourno)

MLS Cup winner: LAFC

MLS Cup finalists: LAFC vs. Atlanta United

Supporters Shield: Sporting Kansas City

U.S. Open Cup: Seattle Sounders

MVP: Pity Martinez (Atlanta United)

Golden Boot: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy)

Nate Scott, For the Win
(@aNateScott)

MLS Cup winner: Atlanta United

MLS Cup finalists: Atlanta United vs. Sporting Kansas City

Supporters’ Shield: New York Red Bulls

U.S. Open Cup winner: Sporting Kansas City

MVP: Josef Martinez (Atlanta United)

Golden Boot: Josef Martinez

2019 STORYLINES: Can Atlanta United repeat? Will Zlatan dominate?

ESPN’S CHAMPION: MLS’s ‘potential is limitless’

ONLY THE BEGINNING? Major League Soccer reaching new heights

JOZY ALTIDORE: Minorities should be inspired by riches of MLS

DAILY SPORTS, DELIVERED: Get the best sports news in your inbox!

 

MLS Statues: Who else deserves the David Beckham treatment?

Mar 4, 2019Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

Saturday marked the unveiling of David Beckham’s statue outside the LA Galaxy stadium, a testament to the remarkable era in Major League Soccer that began with his arrival in 2007. (It’s also an era that will continue when Beckham’s franchise, Inter Miami CF, begin league play in 2020.)

Beckham moved to the U.S. over a decade ago following an illustrious career at Man United and Real Madrid. The league’s designated player rule — known as the Beckham rule — has allowed MLS clubs to attract high-profile players such as Thierry Henry, David Villa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the years since. Beckham was a force on the field, with 18 goals and 40 assists in 98 appearances over five seasons, helping the Galaxy win back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012.

This recognition got us thinking: Who else will merit the bronzed treatment when they retire given their services to the beautiful game in the USA? We present five such choices, players who impacted the league in their own way and would be seriously statue-worthy.

Landon Donovan: The American

 

Why he’s worthy: When it comes to leading lights in the modern MLS era, few come close to matching Donovan’s impact.The Galaxy have no shortage of candidates to have their likeness put up in front of Dignity Health Sports Park. There were Mauricio Cienfuegos and Cobi Jones from the team’s early years. Robbie Keane was arguably the league’s best player for much of his time with LA, too, which is why the decision to put a David Beckham statue in front sparked a considerable debate in Galaxy circles.But Donovan wasn’t just the face of the team; he was the face of an entire league when MLS was at one of its lower points and the term “designated player” was still a few years away. In that moment, there were no Beckhams or Henrys to share the media spotlight.Donovan delivered on the field as well. The Galaxy won four MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields and a U.S. Open Cup crown during Donovan’s time in Los Angeles, with the California kid making a massive contribution. He finished his career with the most goals (145) and assists (136) in MLS history and proved remarkably durable despite being a marked man for the entirety of his career.There will always be those who think Donovan’s career would have been better served by his spending more time in Europe — and he’s still playing, having switched to indoor soccer in 2019 — but there’s no doubting his contributions to the Galaxy and MLS.

What the players think

— “[Donovan] for everything he’s done for U.S. Soccer, and LA and San Jose.” — Nick Besler, MF, Real Salt Lake

David Villa: The icon

 

Why he’s worthy: Villa will be the prevailing face of NYCFC for as long as it operates. No small feat for someone who was here just four years.

Not every designated player delivers. In New York City FC’s inaugural season back in 2015, it had two such performers in Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo who fell well short of expectations. Lucky for NYCFC that it struck gold with David Villa.The sprightly Spanish striker’s contributions came at a critical time in the club’s admittedly brief history. He was the first player signed by the organization in 2014 and he gave the fledgling club some instant street cred. He was the proverbial face of the franchise in the league’s biggest media market and his performances on the field also helped NYCFC establish a foothold in New York.Villa scored at least 15 goals in each of his four league seasons. He won the league’s MVP award in 2016 and was a Best XI selection in 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately for NYCFC fans, Villa’s heroics weren’t enough to lead his team to a trophy, but he’ll be remembered for laying a foundation in a manner that oozed class and professionalism.

What the players think

— “If New York wants to do that, they can definitely do that. [Villa] had a great impact there.” — Matt Hedges, DF, FC Dallas

Chris Wondolowski: The eternal scorer

 

Why he’s worthy: Mr. Consistency has scored goals against everyone, even keeping up his pace over time.

Sometime in the not-so-distant future, Chris Wondolowski will have the career MLS scoring record all to himself. All but four of those 144 goals will have come in the colors of the San Jose Earthquakes, too, but it isn’t just goals for which the Danville, California, native will be remembered. He’ll also be hailed for the way he went about getting there.His Quakes teams have enjoyed scant success, with just four playoff appearances in his 11 seasons, but it’s never stopped the veteran striker from going about his business with seemingly superhuman levels of consistency. He has hit double figures in goals nine seasons in a row, with his professionalism beyond reproach. That was never more evident than in the darkest moment of his career, when he missed a glorious opportunity for the U.S. against Belgium that could have put the Americans in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup. He could have gone into a funk, but Wondolowski did what he’s always done: He put his head down, kept working and has continued to excel for his club.The Quakes had a glorious spell at the beginning of this century and boasted some fantastic players, including Landon Donovan, whose eventual move to rivals the LA Galaxy made him persona non grata to some. But in terms of Wondolowski’s level of performance and longevity, he towers over them all.

What the players think

— “He should have one whether he breaks the record or not.” — Jeff Attinella, GK, Portland Timbers

Sebastian Giovinco: The playmaker

 

Why he’s worthy: Giovinco wasn’t the only star brought to Toronto FC, but he almost single-handedly delivered a treble in 2017.

MLS teams have made big signings for the past decade, but Sebastian Giovinco’s arrival before the 2015 season, was different. At age 28, he was a little younger than the typical European star who came to the league, and from the get-go, he was utterly dominant. He won MVP honors in 2015 with 22 goals and 16 assists, and scored at least 18 goals across all competitions in each of his four seasons.Giovinco’s effect on the entire Toronto FC team was immense. While he wasn’t the only big-ticket arrival during that period — Jozy Altidore also joined that season, while Michael Bradley arrived the year before — his efforts sparked a revival at BMO Field. The Reds qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 2015 and Toronto later reached the peak of MLS, capping off its ascent with a domestic treble in 2017.

The abrupt manner of Giovinco’s departure, in which he joined Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal before the 2019 season, was far from ideal, but the heights Toronto reached in recent years are due in large part to the Italian’s influence.

What the players think

— “As a former player I’d give it to Giovinco … He did a lot for this league, he was an unbelievable player. He changed Toronto, changed that whole team, got them a championship. So yeah, I think he deserves it.” — Alejandro Bedoya, MF, Philadelphia Union

Bradley Wright-Phillips: The scorer

 

Why he’s worthy: Wright-Phillips has a remarkable century of goals in MLS, but he has some way to go to match his famous father, Ian Wright, who managed a record 179 for Arsenal.

When the New York Bulls signed Bradley Wright-Phillips in 2013, it seemed like an afterthought. He’d been toiling away in England’s third tier for the previous two seasons and arrived in MLS during the days when the likes of Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Dax McCarty called Red Bull Arena home. As it turned out, Wright-Phillips has not only outlasted them all, he’s become the biggest legend in the club’s history. Yes, even bigger than the massive presence that was Henry.

Wright-Phillips has amassed 106 goals in 171 league matches, good for eighth on the all-time MLS list. Health permitting, he’ll crack the top five by season’s end. His longevity is even more impressive given the willingness of the Red Bulls to part with other beloved players. Both McCarty and Sacha Kljestan have been traded away but Wright-Phillips proved adaptable to these changes, having bought into the higher-tempo pressing style that was instituted by Jesse Marsch in 2015 and continued by his successor Chris Armas.When it comes time to put a player’s bronzed likeness in front of RBA, it will be Wright-Phillips who gets the nod.

What the players think

–“[Deserves one for his] loyalty to the club, amount of years he’s been here. He’s broken records. Absolutely adored by the club and the fans.” — Aaron Long, DF, New York Red Bulls

— “I think he’s just been instrumental for the league; he’s a good example for everyone to follow. Stayed with the same team, very loyal, scores a bunch of goals. Carries himself the right way with the media, with his teammates, with everything. He’s just a good example of what we need to strive for.” — Paxton Pomykal, MF, FC Dallas

Other players worthy of a statue

Who else would make the cut? We asked some MLS players for their picks in preseason.

— “Michael Bradley. That guy is a leader upon leaders, man. Even on the national team that guy’s had such an illustrious career. That guy leads at every given possibility. Even at meals. That guy is a legend.” — Reggie Cannon, DF, FC Dallas

— “I’d like to see someone who’s been in the league longer, so I’d go with Dax McCarty and give him some nice ginger flow and maybe a red rocket, it would be pretty epic.” — Jonathan Campbell, DF, Seattle Sounders

— “Someone who has changed the sport for MLS … I can talk about Zack Scotthere with the Sounders, what a wonderful guy. Came up from the USL and made a name for himself.” — Cristian Roldan, MF, Seattle Sounders

— “First one that comes to mind is Landon [Donovan], obviously. Just what he’s done in this sport and this country. I guess I’d be remiss though if I didn’t say someone like Preki. A Wizards legend. He’s one of the better players that this league’s seen.” — Graham Zusi, DF, Sporting Kansas City

— “They should build a Nick Rimando and a Kyle Beckerman statue simultaneously and they should go up together for a huge unveiling in Salt Lake.” — Jeff Attinella, GK, Portland Timbers

— “I think Jimmy Conrad. He’s a guy that I think is a very historical figure for this league, you know even after his playing career. He’s still kind of been at the forefront of allowing us to bring a little humor and be a little chill and off-the-cuff a little with MLS.” — C.J. Sapong, FW, Chicago Fire

— “Kyle Beckerman, because he’s been in the league 20 years now. He’s an iron man and a good representative for MLS.” — Justen Glad, DF, Real Salt Lake

 

Why Real Madrid suffered their darkest night in Champions League history

Mar 5, 2019Gabriele MarcottiSenior Writer, ESPN FC

The poison of blame, recrimination and scapegoating was already flowing through the veins of Madridismo — the collective noun encompassing the hefty slice of humanity that swears loyalty to that other White House, on La Castellana avenue in the Spanish capital — before they even stepped on the pitch for what would be Real Madrid’s darkest night in Champions League history.Two defeats — at home in the past week — to archrival Barcelona, the yin to their yang, had meant Real Madrid were out of the Spanish Cup and, barring divine intervention, out of the race for the Spanish title. The Champions League was all they had left. It is the biggest prize in the club game and a competition they had won four times in the past five years. Making it five out of six seemed unthinkable, but then, so did winning three straight, and they had managed that feat the year before. In a season when there is no dominant European club, Real Madrid had reason to hope despite their struggles elsewhere.Real’s European dreams were bolstered by the unlikeliest of opponents in this round of 16. Ajax is a historical giant of football — only five teams have won more European Cups — albeit in the way General Electric is a historical giant of industry: the game has evolved, the revenues that grease the machines flow to the big clubs in the big leagues.Ajax hadn’t even qualified for the Champions League for the past four seasons, and the last time they even reached the round of 16 of the competition was 13 years ago, when more than half of their starting lineup was in elementary school. More importantly, the first leg, in Amsterdam, had finished with a 2-1 Real Madrid victory — they hadn’t played well, but they had won because, well, that’s what winners do — and that meant that Madrid could win, draw or even lose the game 1-0 and still advance to the quarterfinals.

– POLL: Who stays and who goes from Real Madrid?
– Carvajal: Read Madrid’s ‘s— season’ is already over
– Real Madrid Player Ratings: Kroos, Nacho worst of a bad a bunch

Instead the bottom fell out. The game kicked off and within 20 minutes Ajax were 2-0 up. By the 62nd minute, Real Madrid trailed by three goals, meaning (because of the away goals rule) they would have to score three to advance. When they pulled one back to narrow the deficit, Ajax immediately hit back with an improbable looping free kick to make it 4-1. Which is how it ended, though by that point much of Europe’s largest stadium had emptied, expelling sullen, white-clad Madridistas into the night.

As upsets go, this wasn’t Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson in Tokyo. This was more like the quiet, scrawny young buck challenging the Alpha Male and forcing him out of the pack. Partly through his fresh legs and fearlessness, partly because his opponent doesn’t realize he’s a little less quick and less fierce and a little too arrogant.

Real Madrid are out of the Champions League before the semifinal stage for the first time since 2009-10. Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Exhibit A in the arrogance file is captain Sergio Ramos. He picked up a yellow card in the first leg — his third of the tournament, meaning he was suspended for this game — and later boasted that he had done it intentionally. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t force [them to give me a yellow],” Ramos said, knowing he’d serve his suspension in the second leg against Ajax and therefore be available for the quarterfinal. Ramos later retracted his comments, but UEFA, the game’s governing body, wasn’t impressed and slapped him with an additional one-game suspension.

That sort of attitude — from your longtime club captain no less — percolates throughout a side. But it’s only a small part of the picture.

The stock explanation is that Real Madrid’s early exit — the first time they’ve failed to reach the quarterfinals in nine years — is partly due to the summer departures of coach Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo, who decamped to Juventus. But that’s simplistic. Ronaldo is staring down the barrel of an early Champions League exit, too, with Juve trailing Atletico Madrid by two goals. As for Zidane, the reality is that last season’s Champions League crown was a smoke-and-mirrors affair.

Real Madrid finished the 2017-18 season third in La Liga, a whopping 17 points off the pace. In the Champions League, they suffered through the knockout stage, particularly at home, at the Bernabeu, a place where the crowd are quick to turn. “They are like the crowd at the Opera. They have very high standards, and they will gladly boo if you don’t meet them … regardless of whether you win, draw or lose” said Carlo Ancelotti, who won the Champions League with Real Madrid in 2013-14, kicking off this cycle of success.Real Madrid were outplayed for long stretches at home by Paris Saint-Germain, they lost 3-1 to Juventus (and only advanced thanks to a last-ditch penalty) and in the semifinals against Bayern, they were the beneficiaries of major a goalkeeping blunder. In fact, they have now lost three of their last 10 home games in the Champions League and the last four straight in all competitions. You wonder if, for all the experience out there, performance anxiety played a part too.

Truth be told, the club did realize that a rebuild was necessary after last season. It’s just that, as so often happens in every sport, if you do it cautiously, try to reload instead and put your faith in the wrong players, you pay a price. Julen Lopetegui, the “system” manager chosen to replace the more orthodox Zidane, had a poor start to the season and was fired after 14 games. Rising stars like Isco, Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos did not immediately go to the next level, for a variety of reasons. Veterans like Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, who were meant to blossom now that they were out of Ronaldo’s shadow, wilted instead, particularly the Welshman: Once the most expensive player in the world, now Bale is a figure of scorn at the Bernabeu.

This is the end of a cycle that, probably, should have ended a year ago but was extended thanks to the unique combination of talent and experience, spit and gravel. With nothing left to play for, Real Madrid now embark on their longest offseason in 42 years. That’s the last time they were out of the running in every competition in early March. As defender Dani Carvajal said after the match, Real’s “s— season” is over.

Bale was supposed to be Real Madrid’s hero after Ronaldo left. Instead, he’s headed for the exit too

Mar 7, 2019Sid LoweSpain writer

They were never going to kiss Gareth Bale‘s feet, even less so after his agent said they should, but they might have offered a little encouragement. As it turned out, even that was too much to ask for.On Wednesday night, Real Madrid were two goals down after half an hour against Ajax, losing 3-2 on aggregate, when Bale appeared on the touchline ready to replace Lucas Vazquez. The unthinkable was happening: the European Champions were on their way out unless someone could change this and come to their rescue. Madrid had to score. They needed someone; they needed him.

Real’s fans might not have chosen him, even with Lucas limping off. Marco Asensio was on the bench — he’d be forced to join them six minutes later when Vinicius departed as well, with ruptured knee ligaments — and Isco was in the stands. But he was the man they were getting: the man with the best goals-per-minute record of anyone in the squad, second top-scorer for the club this season, the man who came on in the final in Kiev and did that.

This was supposed to be Gareth Bale’s year, with Cristiano Ronaldo leaving in the summer for Juventus. It sounds a bit silly — it is a bit silly, perhaps — when in all those previous years he won four European Cups, a Copa del Rey and the league, scored in two European Cup finals and got a penalty in the shootout in the third, when he’s the scorer of arguably the greatest cup final goal ever and the greatest European Cup final goal, too. But there is something in it.

Bale is a man equipped to be Real’s saviour, hero of another hour but still, on Tuesday at the Bernabeu, there was still no huge roar, no shout, no “come on!” There wasn’t even a: “go on, then: prove us wrong.”Instead, there were whistles.So, this is it. Over. Something has broken between fans and a player when they don’t even cheer you out of convenience, need or some shared objective. Even if it wasn’t over and even if there was some way back in this match, which, as it turned out, there wasn’t. Not long before half-time, Bale hit the post, but Ajax scored two more to defeat the European champions and eliminate them three years after — 1012 days on — from the last time it happened.”Here lies a team that made history,” the front cover of the sports daily Marca said. The team that had won four of the past five Champions League were out, an era ended.Perhaps it already had ended, and this defeat was just confirmation. It was a “s— season” according to Dani Carvajal, one that ended early with Madrid winning nothing, knocked out of all three competitions — the Copa del Rey, the league (more or less) and the Champions League — in the space of seven days. The first season post-Ronaldo was over in March, ending in disaster. The first Gareth Bale Season — and maybe the last.The reaction to Bale’s introduction suggested that there is no way back for him at the club. It’s hard to avoid the feeling that this has no solution now. At least not an easy one. Had he rescued them, perhaps there would have been hope, some chance of a rapprochement. But it didn’t happen, and it can’t really happen now: there is nothing left to win, no grand stage remaining for a huge, redemptive performance.Real Madrid will not play a truly meaningful game for almost six months.As the media and the fans reacted, one question was repeated: whose fault is it? Some have looked higher, to the president: there were chants of “Florentino resign!” after the game. Some to the manager, and there were a few chants for Jose Mourinho, although most recognise that this is not a mess entirely of manager Santi Solari’s making and didn’t expect him to carry on anyway. His position is almost irrelevant in all of this.Some have looked to players, collectively and individually. Marcelo, already gone and left out once more, has not been blamed this time because he was absent, although he has been blamed in the past. Toni Kroos, who admitted that they have “all been below our level, myself included,” has been criticised. So too has Sergio Ramos, watching the disaster unfold from inside a glass-fronted box where he sat serving a suspension he admitted he’d sought.So too has Bale, although perhaps less so in the immediate aftermath of the disaster than in the build-up to it.Post-defeat, the classic reaction from fans — as it always is with supporters everywhere — has been to demand more commitment and to demand signings. In Bale’s case, those demands intersect. Polls have drawn up long lists of players they want in and even longer lists of players they want out. Bale is near the top. In truth, he already was, even before Wednesday.The difficulty is finding an exit strategy that works for everyone or a solution that allows him to stay. A Madrid manager that likes him, plays him and backs him is the ideal scenario from his point of view, giving him that freedom up front. But it feels like the tide is turning and that some in power have turned too, given the manner in which this has become entrenched. A way out is harder than it looks: his age, price and salary guarantee that.After last season’s European Cup final, when he came on and scored twice, he said he could not spend another season like it, namely sitting on the bench. He was reassured that he wouldn’t. More than that, he was reassured that he would play a central role, especially as he wasn’t the only one threatening to go that night. Ronaldo did too, and Ronaldo did go.The opportunity was there to step from the shadows — but he couldn’t. Marcelo admitted that he couldn’t really converse with Bale. Thibaut Courtois said that he didn’t join the team for meals because it was too late. He said they called Bale “the golfer.” TV cameras caught him watching a golf competition on his mobile as he walked into the ground away at Levante.The criticism was fierce. It was absurd, too. On a basic level, he was being accused of … liking golf and going to bed early.As accusations go, they’re not the most heinous crimes. Nor is his limited ability to speak Spanish, although that too was a recurring theme and an increasingly bitter one; at times, it was presented as the ultimate evidence that he should be booted out. You don’t need to be able to ask the way to the train station in order to win the European Cup.But it is true that it ran deeper, that those accusations came together to offer up a portrait of a player who was a little separate from his dressing room, a man who had not fully integrated and of a dressing room that wasn’t particularly pleased about that. He had always been quiet, except with Wales; he’d always been a little different. And it is unfair that his timidity was taken to be dismissiveness, but it was understandable too. Just as it was understandable that Bale should be annoyed that teammates should say so publicly and effectively expose him like that, throwing him to the wolves.ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti predicts Real Madrid’s disastrous UCL exit to Ajax will be the catalyst for major changes at the Bernabeu.Speaking of understandable, the feeling grew that he and they just didn’t understand each other, although it wasn’t just about language. The fact that Bale’s teammates said that was concerning. The fans grew irritated, some whistles followed — not so unusual at Madrid and not so unanimous, but they were there. Some sections of the media, so protective of Spanish players for whom they often campaigned, went for him. Often viciously so. You’d think he was responsible for everything.

While Bale has been hugely successful and boasts a superb goal-scoring record — he has 101 goals at the club — it has not always felt enough. It is strange in a way that doubts surround a player who has done what he has done, but they do. He was the world’s most expensive player and for all the goals he got, there were all the goals he didn’t, the games he missed through injury. He has played only 50 percent of Madrid’s minutes since he arrived.Instead of sympathy, at times those injuries were presented almost as if they were his fault. There was this sense that while he was decisive, he did not always dominate. The goals he scored on the biggest stage almost came to be used against him: the fans wanted them every week.Especially this season, his season. This year, Madrid have collapsed; it’s a collective malaise but it singles out individual players, fingers pointing their way. Much has been made of Madrid’s failure to replace Ronaldo and his goals — rather less has been made of their defensive disasters, curiously enough — and that means Bale, among others. Modric suggested that some players could have stepped up this season. Again, many took that to mean Bale. He has 13 goals and has found Vinicius and Lucas playing ahead of him.Last year, in Kiev, he came on as a sub and did that, ending in another European Cup win. In Madrid on Tuesday night, he came on as a sub and hit the post, ending in defeat.As Bale stood there on the touchline, there was an opportunity, maybe a last chance to rescue Madrid and rescue himself, his relationship with them, but it wasn’t to be. Maybe it never was.

3/5/19  Champions League Tues/Wed, Indy 11 Season opener Sat, USA Wed 7 pm FS1, MLS Wk2, Full TV Game Schedule

Sorry Soccer fans – had a crazy week last week so couldn’t properly preview the MLS season which got off to a roaring start in week 1.  New comer Cincy FC scored its first goal on the road at Seattle before being trampled 4-1 – a good return to form for US and Seattle winger/forward Jordan Morris coming off last season’s early ACL injury as he started and scored in 80+ minutes of play.  More on MLS week 2 on Friday.

We quickly move to Champions League this week and next as Tottenham carries a commanding lead to Dortmund on Tuesday on TNT at 3 pm – where US Christian Pulisic will probably not play. Real Madrid return home with 2-1 lead over Ajax Tues at 3 pm but will not have superstar defender Sergio Ramos on suspension for a Red Card.

Wed Paris St. Germain take a 2-1 lead and a 2 away goal lead back to Paris vs Man United at 3 pm on TNT while Porto will look to sneak pass AS Roma as they have the 1-1 lead heading back home at 3 pm.  CCL action returns as 4 MLS teams are still alive in the competition Tues/Wed of this week and next games at 8 & 10 pm on Yahoo Sports online.

Tuesday

3  pm TNT  —                                          Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Tottenham
3 pm Univsion Desportes             Real Madrid 2-1 Ajax

Wednesday

3  pm TNT  —                                     Paris Saint-Germain (2)  Man United (1)
3 pm Univsion Desportes             FC Porto 1-1 AS Roma

USA

The USA Ladies have had their hands full in 2 draws at home in the She Believes Cup vs Japan then England.  They can regain their footing with a win over Brazil on Wed night on Fox Sports 1.

INDY 11

Finally our Indy 11 get underway on their 2nd season in USL on the road this Saturday afternoon in St. Louis at 2 pm on ESPN+.  An improved roster helps the 11 kick off the new season as they will have many more Saturday night home games at Lucas Oil Stadium this season.  I will have a more intense season preview on Friday.  Meanwhile – its not too late to get your season tickets for just $99 for the season.  Get your season ticket package today by visiting IndyEleven.com/season-tickets or by calling 317-685-1100. First home game is Sat, March 30th vs Hartford Athletic at 7 pm at the Luke!

Carmel FC and Carmel Dad’s Club – Dick’s Shopping Days are this Weekend Sat/Sun at Clay Terrace 20% off

 Champions League

UCL Predictions this week

Tottenham are good enough to win UCL –goal.com

Spurs can end it with 3-0 lead on the road

Spurs looks to finish off Dortmund – NBCSports.ocm

Sancho of Dortmund Still has Lots to Learn –

Missing Ramos will hurt Madrid vs Ajax

Ramos to be Suspended 2 games not just 1?

Will Cavani Return for Man United Game?

United Injury Crisis won’t be Better for PSG Game

Neymar to Real Madrid?

USA

US Ladies look to regain footing for Brazil

U.S. women’s tie with England is entertaining but ‘frustrating’

U.S. women settle for draw in SheBelieves Cup opener with Japan

USWNT has plenty to prove in SheBelieves Cup

Indy 11

Indy 11 Draw Nashville SC in Final Preseason Game

Indy 11 Stadium Proposal Passes the Senate – Indy Star

Indy 11 Announces Ownership Group of from Around Indiana

Full Schedule Released

Indy 11 Signs USL Championship All time Leading Scorer DC United’s Dane Kelly

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

GAMES ON TV

Tues Mar 5                            Champions League

3 pm TNT                              Ajax 1 vs Real Madrid 2 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live/Uni Desp       Dortmund (Pulisic) 1 vs Tottenham 3 

7 pm Fox Sports 1               USA Ladies vs Brazil – She Believes Cup

8 p.m. ET   Yahoo Sports OL   Independiente vs Sporting KC

10 p.m. ET  Yahoo Sports —     Houston Dynamo vs Tigres

Weds, Mar 6  

3 pm TNT                               PSG vs Man United  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live                        FC Porto vs AS Roma

8 pmET Yahoo Sports online  Independiente vs Sporting KC  CCL

10 pm ET Yahoo Sports OL      Monterrey vs Atlanta United  CCL

Fri, March 8  

2:30 pm FS2                          Werder Breman (Stewart) vs Schalke (McKinney) 

10 pm ESPN+                          USL Seattle Sounders 2 vs Rio Grande Valley

Sat, March 9 

9:30 am FS1                        Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg (Brooks)

9:30 am FS2                        Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Stuttgart

9:30 am Fox Soccer +      RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Ausburg

10 am NBCSN                     South Hampton vs Tottenham

10:15 am beIN Sport       Atletico vs Leganes

12:30 pm NBCSN              Man City vs Watford

1 pm ESPN+                        Chicago Fire vs Orlando City SC

2 pm ESPN+                        USL- St Louis vs Indy 11

3:30 pm Univision            Dallas vs LA Galaxy

2 pm ESPN+                        USL- St Louis vs Indy 11

Champions League state of play: how will the last-16 ties be decided?

Adam Hurrey,The Telegraph 34 minutes ago

Some are seemingly done and dusted, others nicely poised, one or two simply too close to call: the Champions League’s last-16 business will be concluded over the next two midweeks. Four English sides, to varying degrees of confidence, are still in the mix – but will that still be the case when the quarter-final draw is made on March 15?Here is the state of play for all eight ties, and how each of them might be decided in the second leg…

Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham

State of play

Tottenham lead 3-0 on aggregate

Mauricio Pochettino’s half-time adjustments at Wembley helped turn the tie overwhelmingly in Spurs’ favour, with Jan Vertonghen and substitute Fernando Llorente turning a slender 1-0 lead into a handsome three-goal advantage to take to north-west Germany.

How can Spurs absorb the likely Dortmund cavalry charge?

Lessons have surely been learned from last season’s careless Champions League exit to the rather more canny Juventus, and Spurs are now largely a rock-solid proposition even without a three-goal cushion. Sitting back and defending needn’t be an option for Pochettino – Spurs have the firepower to finish the job in clinical style.

Where do the dangers lie for Pochettino?

The first 20 minutes or so at a raucous, hopeful Westfalenstadion. Spurs conceded early against PSV at Wembley and then home and away against Barcelona in the group stages, while Hugo Lloris will need to avoid the rushes of blood previously seen away to PSV, among others.

The good news? It isn’t a terrible time to be playing Dortmund: they’ve won just once in their last seven games, let a 3-0 lead slip against Hoffenheim in the last 15 minutes, went out of their domestic cup on penalties to Werder Bremen and, on Friday, lost 2-1 at lowly Augsburg.

Prediction: Tottenham to keep Dortmund at arm’s length for long enough to prevent any second-leg jitters.

Real Madrid vs Ajax

State of play

Real Madrid lead 2-1 on aggregate

Despite a first-half, eleven-shot onslaught in Amsterdam, Real Madrid somehow emerged – with the sort of luck earned only by winning the Champions League three years in a row – with two away goals and a lead to take back to the Bernabeu.

What hope do Ajax have in Madrid?

Well, their chances have been improved slightly by 1) the Dutch FA postponing their Eredivisie game against PEC Zwolle, which was due to be played three days before the second leg against Real, and 2) Sergio Ramos getting himself suspended for the return match (and another on top) by picking up an “intentional” yellow card in Amsterdam.

Sergio Ramos will be suspended for Real after his first-leg yellow card –A fluid front three caused the Real defence plenty of problems in the first leg and, with Ramos sidelined, an upset shouldn’t be ruled out.Recent form certainly gives Ajax hope: before their nine-day rest, they put 10 goals past NAC Breda and Den Haag, while Real have lost three of their last four, including a double dose of Clasico misery at Barcelona’s hands.

Prediction: Ajax to pose plenty of questions at the Bernabeu…and then Real to find an answer, as always.

Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester United

State of play

PSG lead 2-0 on aggregate

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first – and only – setback as Manchester United’s caretaker manager means they have it all to do at the Parc des Princes on March 6th. Even without Neymar and Edinson Cavani by his side, Kylian Mbappe looked a class apart, and his goal at Old Trafford put PSG firmly in the driving seat for the home leg.

How can United turn things around?

Paul Pogba’s suspension, after his late sending-off at Old Trafford, could be a terminal blow to their chances: he has scored or created 16 goals in his last 15 games as United clambered back into the top four reckoning and swept past Chelsea in the FA Cup. In his absence, Solskjaer will need other players to step up and – with an injury crisis taking hold – that means Romelu Lukaku taking responsibility.Lukaku ended a nine-game goul drought with a brace apiece against Crystal Palace and Southampton and it will be his penalty-area presence in pursuit of the two-goal deficit that will make or break United’s slender Champions League hopes in the return leg.

Will Neymar be back for PSG?

Absolutely not – he has returned home to Brazil to continue rehab on his fractured metatarsal – but PSG will likely have Cavani and Thomas Meunier available again for the second leg, just in case United’s task wasn’t hard enough.

Prediction: United to struggle to land a significant early blow, and PSG to safely progress.

Porto vs Roma

State of play

Roma lead 2-1 on aggregate

Textbook Champions League scenario: Roma were sitting pretty after 19-year-old Nicolo Zaniolo scored twice in the space of six minutes at the Stadio Olimpico, only for Porto to snatch a late away goal. It’s all set up for a fascinating return leg in Portugal.

Who would the English sides prefer to avoid in the quarter-finals?

With memories of Roma’s stirring near-comeback against Liverpool in last year’s semi-final still fresh, no trip to the Italian capital would be ideal for any of the Premier League quartet if they make it through to this season’s quarterPorto’s solid-looking record this season (32 wins from 42 games) belies a relatively weak Champions League group, while title rivals Benfica came from a goal down to beat them on Saturday and move top of the table.

Prediction: Roma to sneak through, but they might have to score an away goal of their own.

Manchester City vs Schalke

State of play

Manchester City lead 3-2 on aggregate

A VAR-tastic first leg in Gelsenkirchen went City’s way, then Schalke’s, then City’s again – Pep Guardiola has a one-goal lead to play with at the Etihad on March 12th.

So, are City home and dry now?

Guardiola – while delighted with the result in Germany – couldn’t hide his despair at City’s sloppiness. “We’re not ready to fight for the Champions League,” he said afterwards. “We gifted the goals. If that happens in another stage… We are a nice team to watch, but we don’t know how far we’ll get.”File that one under Kicks Up the Backside. Manchester City at the Etihad, though, are a rather more clinical and merciless prospect and – even with the early-spring distractions that come with fighting on all four fronts – they will surely not make life too hard for themselves in the second leg. But they do have a habit of it. They have spent 150 minutes (nearly a quarter of the time) trailing in the Champions League this season, which – given the less than stellar opposition – has to be a worry for Guardiola as his side tackle the business end of a competition on which his City reign will ultimately be judged.

Prediction:City to take a small step closer to the quadruple, but with bigger domestic and European tests to come.

Juventus vs Atletico Madrid

State of play

Atletico Madrid lead 2-0 on aggregate

Perennial Champions League business-enders Juventus have it all to do after being well and truly Diego Simeone-d by the crotch-grabbing Diego Simeone and his Atletico side.

Just how lively is the second leg going to be?

2-0, “they” say, is the most dangerous scoreline in football. Not if you’re Atletico Madrid. They have been a welcome anti-hero in the Champions League over the last six years or so – scrapping for every goal, every point, every tie they can find – and they’ll be no different in Turin. That will only turn the screw for Juventus, who are yearning for their first Champions League triumph in 23 years, after losing two finals in the last four seasons. They will have to bring the fight to Atletico in the second leg but, unfortunately, that’s precisely Atletico’s bag, even without the suspended Diego Costa.In his place, they have Alvaro Morata, dripping with footballing narrative, ready to score a crucial goal against a former employer in the Champions League once again. Have we forgotten anyone? Ah, yes…

Is this Ronaldo’s final stand in the Champions League?

“I have five Champions Leagues,” Cristiano Ronaldo sneered in the mixed zone of the Wanda Metropolitano after the first leg. “You have none.”It’s a fact, but not one that is going to come in handy on March 12th. Ronaldo knows only the last hurdles of the Champions League race – he has reached the semi-finals every year since 2010 – but even his steam is surely running out, and he has just one goal in his six European games this season.”For sure we will have to suffer in Turin,” Simeone signed off in Madrid, but it looks rather more like Ronaldo who will be feeling the pain when this tie is done. Schadenfreude will never lift a European Cup, but it can still cut you deep.

Prediction: An Atletico Madrid defence with a two-goal lead in their pocket? You do the math(s).

Bayern Munich vs Liverpool

State of play

0-0 after the first leg

“Not a dream result but a good one”. Jurgen Klopp declared himself satisfied with a clean sheet at Anfield, but this is certainly the most finely-poised tie of the round.

Will Liverpool rue drawing a blank at home?

Perhaps, but the away-goal anxiety now switches to the Allianz Arena, where Bayern will not be inclined to defend as deep as they did at Anfield. A formidable Champions League home record – they have won 22 of their last 26 there – is one thing, the latent threat of a Liverpool sucker-punch quite another.With Virgil van Dijk returning from suspension to shore up the defence, Liverpool will be confident of sucking up the Germans’ pressure and then hitting them on the counter. This is different territory to last season, when Liverpool racked up 13 goals in their first legs against Porto, Manchester City and Roma, but they are certainly better equipped to handle cagey chess matches this year.Is there a but? There is. Liverpool have drawn a blank in their last three crunch games – Bayern at home, Manchester United and Everton away – and there is no longer a sense that Mohamed Salah just needs to turn up in order to guarantee himself a goal. If, when and how Liverpool score will say a great deal about how this second leg unfolds.

Prediction: A coin-toss of a knockout tie, but a Liverpool away goal could be decisive.

Barcelona vs Lyon

State of play

0-0 after the first leg

After a first half in Lyon in which either side could have been out of sight, the hosts eventually settled for a goalless draw to take to Barcelona on March 13th.

Do Lyon really have it in them to resist Barcelona at the Nou Camp?

The first leg showed some ominous signs of things to come: Barcelona attempted 25 shots, eight of which were blocked and only five found the target. Lionel Messi alone had nine efforts at breaking the deadlock, and it would take a brave punter to bet on Lyon keeping a clean sheet where so few others have. The Nou Camp swarm is ready to go.

Prediction: Barcelona 3 (Messi 14, pen 34, 67) Lyon 0.

RECAP | INDY ELEVEN, NASHVILLE SC DRAW IN PRESEASON FINALE

By IndyEleven.com, 03/02/19, 10:15PM EST

Boys in Blue’s preseason concludes with a split result

ndy Eleven’s preseason series comes to a close following a nil-nil draw to USL Championship Eastern Conference rivals Nashville SC. Saturday’s result sees Indy with a 1W-2D-2L overall record through the preseason before heading into the regular season with a clean slate.“I thought today was a good performance against one of the stronger teams in our league,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “We were trying to get guys through the full 90 minutes, just like we would in a proper game…But we defended well and handled the game well. I’m happy with that. Just looking forward to the season now.”Indy Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton was forced to make an early save four minutes into the match. Boys in Blue midfielder Tyler Gibson was quick to return the favor two minutes later with a header on frame off a corner kick, but the nodded hit was caught by Nashville goalkeeper Connor Sparrow.Much of the first half was played in the midfield as both sides battled for attacking opportunities. Nashville had numerous free kicks from long distance that failed to materialize into dangerous plays. Indy Eleven midfielder Tyler Pasher had two shots in the 23rd and 28th minutes that were deemed offside and ended over the crossbar, respectively.Boys in Blue forward Ilija Ilic came close to finding the afternoon’s opening goal in the 44th minute after a play into Nashville’s box from forward Josh Penn, but his headed effort was blocked by defender Liam Doyle before crossing the goal line.
Indy continued its offensive push with a trio of on-target shots, all of which were saved by Nashville’s keepers. Half-time substitute forward Thomas Enevoldsen played a cheeky backheel pass through to defender Karl Ouimette deep into Nashville’s 18-yard box for a near-post shot in the 56th minute. Penn followed up with a shot nearly 10 yards out toward the lower left corner of the goal two minutes later.Forward Dane Kelly forced a lateral-dive save from Nashville goalie Matt Pickens in the 68th minute, seven minutes after the keeper subbed in, with a heavy hit near the top of the penalty box.The Music City side asked the final question in the 84th minute with a shot within Indy’s 18-yard box. Newton stood his ground and firmly contained the ball, keeping it a comfortable distance from goal.Coach Rennie will seek continued improvement from his squad as his sights turn to the team’s first fixture of the regular season a week from today against Eastern Conference newcomers Saint Louis FC.“The whole preseason, even in the beginning before preseason started, was about getting fit; about learning what we want to do and improving our play,” Rennie said. “We’ve done that well. Obviously, things count now that points are at stake every game. We need to really keep working on the way that we play. We need to keep improving and get ready for what will be a big game next week.”

Don’t miss your chance to see the Boys in Blue this season. Season Ticket packages for the 2019 USL Championship season are on sale now for a low as $99. Get your season ticket package today by visiting IndyEleven.com/season-tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.

USL Championship Preseason
Indy Eleven 0:0 Nashville SC
Saturday, March 2, 2019 – 3:00 p.m. EST
Arad McCutchan Stadium – Evansville, IN

Scoring Summary:
N/A

Disciplinary Summary:

IND – Paddy Barrett (Yellow card) 55’
Indy Eleven lineup (L–>R): Evan Newton (GK); Ayoze Garcia (Josh Penn 18’), Karl Ouimette, Neveal Hackshaw, Paddy Barrett, Matt Watson, Tyler Gibson, Kenney Walker (Trialist 76’), Tyler Pasher (Thomas Enevoldsen 46’), Ilija Ilic (Trialist 66’), Dane Kelly

U.S. women’s national team out to find footing against Brazil (again)

By Graham Hays | Mar 4, 2019espnW.com

It is overwrought to suggest that the United States women’s national team needs to take long hard looks in the mirror just yet. But if some measure of self-reflection is in order, the team faces the right opponent in the final game of the SheBelieves Cup. For better or worse, Brazil has often held up that mirror for the Americans.It is entirely possible that Tuesday’s game between the U.S. and Brazil will be an afterthought in the outcome of the tournament. England and Japan are tied atop the standings, each two points ahead of the U.S. Either can clinch the title with a win in Tuesday’s first game in Tampa. ADVERTISEMENT

After draws in its first two games, the only scenario by which the U.S. retains the title in the four-year-old event is if England and Japan play to a draw and the U.S. beats Brazil by at least two goals while erasing Japan’s advantage in total goals scored (5-4). Even England manager Phil Neville painted Tuesday’s opening act as the main attraction, albeit with a noticeably rosy prediction for the Americans in the nightcap.”It is a final. It’s the final of the competition,” Neville said of the impetus on both England and Japan to play for a win. “I think if we draw on Tuesday, then USA will win the SheBelieves Cup because I think they’ll score goals past Brazil. … I could see USA scoring three or four goals there.”

If so, and whether or not it means the hosts finish the night with a trophy, it might be one more instance of the U.S. approaching a pivot point and finding Brazil waiting.Take a quick look back.

Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

With the Women’s World Cup just around the corner, USA coach Jill Ellis could use a commanding performance from her team.

Sept. 27, 2007: In a strong contender for the all-time low ebb of the women’s national team, the U.S. lost to Brazil 4-0 in a World Cup semifinal in China. Equally remembered for Hope Solo’s comments afterward about being replaced as starter, more went wrong than one lineup change. The U.S. won the subsequent third-place game, but the tournament marked the end of Greg Ryan’s run as coach and the nadir of an era when attendance dwindled and influence waned.

Aug. 21, 2008: Back in China the next year for the Olympics under new coach Pia Sundhage, the U.S. lost its opening game but then went on a run that culminated with a 1-0 win against Brazil in the gold-medal game. Hinting at drama to come from the team, Carli Lloyd scored what proved to be the winner in extra time. Suddenly, the U.S. could counter back-to-back World Cup disappointments with back-to-back Olympic gold medals and new energy.

July 10, 2011: How might history be different if not for the added minutes at the end of extra time in a World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil? For all the positive Olympic momentum from 2008, it would have meant little had the U.S. endured its earliest exit from a major tournament. That was possible after Brazil took the lead early in extra time. Then Brazil wasted time, Megan Rapinoe picked out Abby Wambach’s head, and a second golden era was well and truly born.

July 30, 2017: It needn’t be a major tournament to matter. Staging the Tournament of Nations for the first time, the U.S. lost its opening game against Australia — its first loss to the Matildas. In the midst of a revolving door of player auditions after Olympic disappointment, the U.S. was a team in search of continuity and perhaps identity. It was also down 3-1 and heading for a second loss in a row with 12 minutes to play. The epic rally culminated in Julie Ertz’s 89th-minute winner, fitting for a game in which she found her new home in midfield.

Aug. 2, 2018: Another year, another Tournament of Nations. The U.S. capped a title run with a 4-1 demolition of Brazil. Although it included a draw against Australia, the U.S. vastly outplayed all three opponents in the event last year. With the roster largely settled, the three performances were the embodiment of the attacking, almost marauding style that coach Jill Ellis wanted to develop.

That Brazil was often the opponent in consequential games is both a coincidence and selective. There are, of course, other meaningful games in the team’s recent history. It would be possible to make a list with Sweden. But Brazil’s presence isn’t random. Forever dependent on themselves more than, say, institutional or infrastructure support back home, the Brazilians play. Any game will be physical, and it will be about your soccer beating their soccer. The way they play gives opponents the opportunity to magnify their own strengths — or weaknesses.

More from espnW.com

U.S. women’s tie with England is entertaining but ‘frustrating’

U.S. women settle for draw in SheBelieves Cup opener with Japan

USWNT has plenty to prove in SheBelieves Cup

Tuesday night might not be a pivot point in the long-term course of the program, but it could go a long way to defining the momentum, not to mention the tenor of the conversation, this spring.

By themselves or in tandem, the games against England and Japan were disappointing in the results but not without positives in the play. On its own, a 3-1 loss to France in January was explicable — an American lineup at less than full strength at the end of the team’s preseason losing to a French team whose players are in the middle of their league seasons. Wins at Scotland and Portugal to close out 2018 were workmanlike but achieved the desired results.

However, when all of those factors start to accumulate in short order, from difficulty scoring goals abroad to a penchant for costly mistakes at home, June 11 begins to feel uncomfortably soon.

“They’re a team that can look at you, and they’re good enough tactically to be able to try and exploit or implement things to make you have challenges,” Ellis said of England after the 2-2 draw. “That’s exactly what we need. Are we doing enough to imprint our game on our opponent? Those are things, good takeaways, in terms of this and our confidence in staying with the things we believe, being true to who we are.”

What the U.S. could use right about now is a commanding performance without caveats.

Asked after the draw against the U.S. what separated his team from other contenders, Neville eventually settled on the idea that England was enjoying itself.

“It’s probably slightly different for the USA because when you’re on the top, you’re there to be shot at,” Neville said. “We’re actually a team that’s actually enjoying the moment.”

The U.S. has enjoyed a lot of memorable games against Brazil. It wouldn’t hurt to enjoy Tuesday night.

Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999.

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2/18/19 Champions League Tues/Wed, Help Indy 11 Park, MLS in CCL, Full TV Game Schedule

Swamped at Work so not much time this week.  Champions League is off to an interesting start as my Dortmund with US Youngster Pulisic starting was in the game until the 80th minute mark.  That’s when Tottenham scored again on a set play and added 1 more to give them a commanding 3-0 victory at home.  Disappointing as Dortmund with injuries to Rues, and both center backs managed to break down again.  That’s the 2nd straight game my band of yellow has given up 3 goals 2 of them in the last 15 minutes.  Good to see Pulisic get the start and go 80 minutes as he had several good runs and a shot that almost scored in the first 15 minutes.  Of course Real Madrid was the first test of VAR – and of course VAR ruled in the Defending Champs favor on an offside goal by Ajax.  It was the right call however – and the Galaticos take a 2-1 lead back to the Bernabéu for the 2nd leg in early March.

Great games this week as EPL League leaders and 2nd place finishers last year Liverpool host Bayern Munich Tuesday on TNT and Juventus and Ronaldo travel to Atletico Madrid on Wed 2:45 pm on TNT.  Schalke and US star McKinney will host Man City Wed at 2:45 pm on BR Live and Univision Desportes.  Lyonnais will of course host Barcelona and Messi Tues on BR Live and Univision Desportes.  Tons of stories below on Champions League!

Tues, Feb 19 

3 pm TNT                    Liverpool vs Bayern Munich 

3 pm Uni Desportes      Lyonnais vs Barcelona 

Wed, Feb 20 

3 pm  BR Live/Uni Des   Schalke (McKinney) vs Man City

3 pm  TNT                    Athletico Madrid vs Juventus 

The 2019 CONCACAF Champions League is set to kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and you can watch live streams with Yahoo Sports.The matches will be available through the Yahoo Sports app on Google Play, as well as on desktop at Yahoo Soccer’s home page. The 11th edition of the CCL, will include 16 teams from across North and Central America and the Caribbean, including reigning MLS Cup champion Atlanta United, Liga MX Apertura champion Tigres UANL, Liga MX Clausura champion Santos Laguna, and other marquee clubs like CF Monterrey, New York Red Bulls, Sporting KC and Toronto FC. Fans will get to see big names from both the United States and Mexican national teams in action, including Jozy Altidore, Hugo Ayala, Michael Bradley and Miguel Layun, as well as 2018 MLS MVP Josef Martinez for Atlanta United.

CCL Champions League – MLS & Mexico and others

Tues,  Feb. 19 at 8 p.m.    Yahoo Sports Online    Toronto FC At Independiente (Panama),

Tues Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. ET  Yahoo Sports — Houston Dynamo At Guastatoya (Guatemala),

Wed Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. ET   Yahoo Sports NY Red Bulls At Atletico Pantoja (Dom Rep),

Thurs Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. ET    Yahoo Sports        Sporting KC  Vs. Toluca (Mexico),

Thurs Feb. 21 at 10 p.m. ET    Yahoo Sports    Atlanta United at Herediano (costa Rica)

Tues Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. ET    Yahoo Sports —     Houston Dynamo hosts  Guastatoya

Tues Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.  yahoo sports                    Toronto  FC  Vs. Independiente,

Wed Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. ET  Yahoo Sports –           NY Red Bulls at Atletico Pantoja

Thurs Feb. 28 at 10 p.m. ET   Yahoo Sports         Sporting KC At Toluca

Indy 11 Needs our Help 

Please show your support for Professional Soccer in Indiana by contacting your legislator TODAY!  Please visit www.eleven-park.com and help us with this important effort.We are asking you to send your state legislators a message thru the website www.eleven-park.com to ask your legislative leaders to strongly support Senate Bill 543.The bill will allow the construction of Eleven Park, a new transformational neighborhood development in Indianapolis that would include apartments, office space, retail and a hotel – all anchored by a new, world-class multi-purpose soccer stadium.The Eleven Park proposal creates NO new taxes and does not call for any existing money from city or state governments.  Eleven Park is a win for Indy Eleven, a win for Indianapolis, and a win for Indiana, a state that is full of soccer players and fans.  It is time to fully capture a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the future of soccer in Indiana.  Please join us in supporting Senate Bill 543.   www.eleven-park.com

Champions League

Bayern Braced for Klopp Reunion at Liverpool & Champ League Predictions

German Giants Represent Everything Klopp isn’t in Champions League Clash

Liverpool Mustn’t Look Ahead to United Clash as Bayern Comes to Town

Robben picks Anfield as his ‘worst stadium’

PSG’s Neymar targeting UCL quarterfinal return

Are we heading for a generation without elite scorers?

Dortmund made to pay for inexperience by ruthless Spurs

Pulisic blames Dortmund ‘mentality’ for loss

Spurs ‘mean business’ after huge win – Winks

Vertonghen a perfect 10 as Spurs brush aside Dortmund

Ramos could face extra ban for deliberate yellow

Real Madrid suffered then hit Ajax back – Solari

‘Stop selling fear’ – how PSG’s calmness overcame United

PSG’s Di Maria: I expected Man Utd fans’ abuse

Solskjaer has much to prove after being outsmarted by Tuchel

Verratti 9/10, Di Maria 8/10 as PSG seize first leg vs. Utd

Zaniolo’s brace clinches Roma win over Porto

CONCACAF Champions League kicks off on Yahoo sports – Can MLS win?

WORLD

Joint Celebration shows growing Rapport of Ronaldo and Dybala

FA Cup Round-Up

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be Named United Boss says Giggs

Klopp needs to think smart, focus on the Premier League

Indy 11

Help Soccer in Indy today –  www.eleven-park.com

Indy 11 Announces Ownership Group of from Around Indiana

Full Schedule Released

Indy 11 Signs USL Leading Scorer Thomas Enevoldsen

Indy 11 Signs USL Championship All time Leading Scorer DC United’s Dane Kelly

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

GAMES ON TV

Mon, Feb 18  

2:30 pm ESPN+           Chelsea vs Man United FA Cup

Tues, Feb 19  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm TNT                    Liverpool vs Bayern Munich

3 pm Uni Desportes      Lyonnais vs Barcelona

8 p.m.    Yahoo Sports Online    Toronto FC At Independiente (Panama),

10 p.m. ET  Yahoo Sports — Houston Dynamo At Guastatoya (Guatemala),

Wed, Feb 20  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm  BR Live/Uni Des  Schalke (McKinney) vs Man City

3 pm  TNT                     Athletico Madrid vs Juventus 

8 p.m. ET   Yahoo Sports NY Red Bulls At Atletico Pantoja (Dom Rep),

Sun, Feb 24  

9 am NBCSN              Man United vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS1                  Hannover vs Frankfurt

10:15 am beIN sport    Athletico Madrid vs Villarreal

11:30 am ESPN+         Chelsea vs Manchester City – League Cup

12 noon FS2                 Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Bayer Leverkusen

2:45 pm beIn Sport      Levante vs Real Madrid

Mon, Feb 25  

2:30 pm FS2                 RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Hoffenheim

Wed, Feb 27  

2:45 pm NBCSN        Chelsea vs Tottenham

3 pm  beIN Sport                     Real Madrid vs Barcelona – Copa Del Rey El Classico’   

7 pm Fox Sport 1                     USA Ladies vs Japan  – She Believes Cup

Sat, Mar 2

7:30 am NBCSN                     Tottenham vs Arsenal

9;30 am FS2                            Schalke (McKinney) vs Dusseldorf

10 am NBCSN                        Man United vs Southampton

12:30 pm NBCSN                  West Ham vs New Castle United (Yedlin)

12:30 pm FS2                         Borussia Mgladbach (Johnson) vs Bayern Munchen

2:45 pm beIN Sport            Real Madrid vs Barcelona El Classico

4 pm Fox                             USA Ladies vs England – She Believes Cup

8 pm Fox Sports 1                  La Galaxy vs Chicago Fire  MLS

10 pm Fox Sports 1               Seattle Sounders vs FC Cincy MLS

Sun, Mar 3

7:30 am NBCSN                     Watford vs Leicester City

9 am FS2                 Schalke (McKinney) vs Dusseldorf

9 am NBCSN                          Fulham (Ream) vs Chelsea

11:15 am NBCSN                                 Everton vs Liverpool 

12:30 pm FS2                         Wolfsburg vs Werder Bremen (Stewart)

2:30 pm ESPN+                      Napoli vs Juve

6 pm Fox Sports 1                 DC United (Rooney) vs Atlanta United (Martinez) MLS

8:30 pm ESPN                       Los Angeles FC vs Sporting KC 

TuesMar 5                             Champions League

3 pm TNT                              Ajax 1 vs Real Madrid 2 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live/Uni Desp       Dortmund (Pulisic) 1 vs Tottenham 3 

7 pm Fox Sports 1               USA Ladies vs Brazil – She Believes Cup

Weds, Mar 6  

3 pm TNT                               PSG vs Man United  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live                        FC Porto vs AS Roma

Fri, March 8  

2:30 pm FS2                          Werder Breman (Stewart) vs Schalke (McKinney) 

10 pm ESPN+                          USL Seattle Sounders 2 vs Rio Grande Valley

Bayern braced for Klopp reunion at Liverpool

CIARAN FAHEY  Associated Press  Feb 17, 2019, 7:48 PM

MoreBERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich knows all too well how tough an opponent Juergen Klopp can be.Now in his fourth season at Anfield, the former Borussia Dortmund coach is facing Bayern for the first time while leading Liverpool.Bayern visits Liverpool for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 game on Tuesday, mindful that it didn’t always come out on top against Klopp during his time at Dortmund.While Bayern defeated Klopp’s Dortmund side in the 2013 Champions League final, Klopp had the upper hand in the 2012 German Cup final, which Dortmund won 5-2. Klopp also led Dortmund to successive league titles at Bayern’s expense in 2011 and 2012.Personally I like Juergen Klopp a lot,” said Bayern president Uli Hoeness, who revealed that he almost signed Klopp to take over before the club decided on Jurgen Klinsmann in 2008.Also Tuesday, Lyon hosts Barcelona.On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid welcomes Juventus, and Schalke hosts Manchester City.Liverpool has not lost a European match at Anfield since the 3-0 group stage defeat to Real Madrid in 2014 and Bayern has questions over its defense ahead of its trip.The Bavarian powerhouse conceded twice to relegation-threatened Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Friday, when Leon Goretzka scored an own-goal after just 13 seconds – the quickest own-goal in 56 years of the league. Bayern won 3-2.”We’ll have to deliver a whole other performance on the day, especially in defense,” Bayern coach Niko Kovac said, warning of the danger posed by “the three up front,” referring to Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.Liverpool also had the luxury of a week without a game before Bayern’s visit, due to its early FA Cup exit. The team spent four days at a training camp in Marbella, Spain.

“Our little preparation for the rest of the season,” Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said.Bayern winger Kingsley Coman is an option for Kovac after fears of an injury sustained in Augsburg proved unfounded. Coman scored twice, set up David Alaba’s winner and struck the crossbar in Augsburg, while he also underlined his growing importance to the side with the winning goal against Hertha Berlin in the German Cup.Liverpool will have to cope without central defender Virgil van Dijk as he serves a UEFA suspension for the first leg. Klopp faces the prospect of having to deploy midfielder Fabinho alongside Joel Matip with Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren both injured.While Liverpool is accustomed to deep runs in Europe – winning the Champions League in 2005 and reaching the final in 2007 and last season – the club has not won the English league since 1990.Although a chance to pull away from Manchester City at the top of the Premier League was squandered with two recent draws, Liverpool is still only behind City on goal difference and has a game in hand.Here’s a look at the other Champions League games this week:

LYON VS. BARCELONA

Barcelona is back in good spirits after ending a three-game winless streak and extending its comfortable lead in the Spanish league at the weekend.But it heads into the game against Lyon showing signs it still hasn’t recovered its best form despite having a whole week to prepare before a hard-fought 1-0 home win against Valladolid in the league on Saturday.Lionel Messi and most of his teammates struggled, and the team looked off both in attack and in defense.Arthur’s absence in midfield has become a problem for coach Ernesto Valverde, as the young Brazilian was the main player controlling the team’s pace. Arthur needs a few more weeks to recover from a hamstring injury.The game could go a long way to deciding Lyon coach Bruno Genesio’s chances of keeping his job.Although Genesio guided Lyon to the last 16 without losing a group game, long-serving club president Jean-Michel Aulas has yet to say whether Genesio will stay on next season.Genesio will have to find a way to beat Barca without Nabil Fekir, the main provider and scorer in Lyon’s attack, who is suspended.With Fekir absent, Netherlands forward Memphis Depay has the chance to put in the kind of performance to help him fulfill his wish of joining a bigger club next season.

ATLETICO MADRID VS. JUVENTUS

Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to Madrid with his Juventus side hitting its stride at just the right time and Atletico should be worried – the former Real Madrid forward has scored 22 goals in 31 matches against Atletico.The Bianconeri are on a seemingly unstoppable march to a record-extending eighth successive league title in Italy and could be forgiven for relaxing slightly.While the 3-0 defeat at Atalanta in the Italian Cup ended its chances of a treble, followed by a 3-3 draw against Parma, it appears to have been just a blip with Juve then beating Sassuolo and Frosinone, 3-0 each time.”Yes, we are in a good condition,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Apart from the setback against Parma we are doing well, and we are at a particularly important moment.”Ronaldo scored again against Frosinone on Friday to take his tally to 19 in Serie A. He also showed as good an understanding with Paulo Dybala as he has had with Mario Mandzukic, who joined Juventus from Atletico in 2015.Allegri was able to rest several players for Friday’s match while also giving a run to key defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, back from injury.Atletico has not looked convincing in the Spanish league, scraping a 1-0 win at relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano on Saturday after two defeats.

SCHALKE VS. MANCHESTER CITY

Man City was given a kind draw against a Schalke side clearly struggling in its second season under coach Domenico Tedesco.Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home against Freiburg was indicative of the Gelsenkirchen-based team’s season to date – an unattractive game of few chances with midfielder Suat Serdar sent off before the break for a studs-up challenge.Schalke has won only six of its 22 league games so far and languishes in 14th place in the 18-team standings. It could yet be drawn into a relegation fight before the season is out.The contrast could hardly be greater.City, in its Premier League title defense, is ahead of Liverpool at the top on goal difference.Coach Pep Guardiola had the luxury of resting some leading players on Saturday for the FA Cup win over fourth-tier side Newport. Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva were not summoned from the bench and Sergio Aguero had the afternoon off entirely.The team was back in training on Sunday ahead of the trip to Germany.A European trophy has eluded City since the Abu Dhabi takeover 11 years ago, with the semifinals the furthest the team has progressed in the Champions League.

Liverpool vs Bayern: German giants represent everything Jurgen Klopp isn’t in Champions League clash

Simon Hughes  The IndependentFeb 18, 2019, 2:26 AM

It was the small hours in Kiev and though he had lost the Champions League final to Real MadridJurgen Klopp

was wearing his cap back to front and singing along with a man in a Liverpool shirt whose nickname might make you think first of cabaret.Andreas Frege – or Campino as he is known – was born in Dusseldorf but his mother was English. He had fallen in love with the club Klopp now managed after Borussia Monchengladbach were beaten in the Uefa Cup final of 1973. Football was Campino’s passion but his talent was in music and Klopp became a fan of his group, Die Toten Hosen – translated directly as ‘The Dead Pants.’Campino believed in punk rather than floorshows. His band did not exist solely to promote causes but were prepared go that way. Though not associated with any political party, The Dead Pants have made stands against xenophobia and racism, they supported Greenpeace in a campaign to end nuclear testing and had once posed without clothes in the name of animal rights group, PETA.Amongst their later initiatives related to Bayern Munich’s domination of German football, releasing a song in 2000 spiked with antipathy. In ‘Bayern’, Campino would yell: “Many things can happen/Many things can come to pass/One thing I know for sure. Never in my life would I go to Bayern! (Never go to the f**king Bayern!).”A reaction was projected and a rebuke, perhaps, intercepted because in the closing stages of that video, a portly figure in club blazer loomed into view. It was supposed to be Uli Hoeness – the president of Bayern – who looked into a television screen, and after hearing the lyrics muttered instantly to himself: “This is the kind of filth that will choke our society at some point.”It has been said that Bavaria has the wealth of Hertfordshire and the attitude of Yorkshire. It annoys those outside the region that it seems to consider itself as a moral base, where intentions, standards and achievements cannot be seriously questioned, certainly not without a ferocious response.Klopp, of course, faces the institution he went up against when he was coach of Borussia Dortmund for the first time in a competitive match since taking over at Anfield, not just on just sporting terms but on a spiritual level as well. While it is assumed outside Germany that Klopp will eventually find his way to Munich as a coach, see who he associates with and understand his history by listening to those that know him well and it appears less likely, though not impossible.The story about Klopp being considered by Bayern eleven years ago is well known. It was Hoeness, in fact, who wanted Klopp the most, telling the other board members: “I’ve got a good feeling about this guy.” It was Hoeness too who called Klopp first, a manager who in his seven seasons at Mainz had achieved promotion and European football as well as relegation. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern’s chairman, feared that at 40 years old, he was not experienced or high-profile enough. Instead, Bayern went for Jurgen Klinsmann – a national hero and a Bayern legend – who was sacked nine months later, with Philipp Lahm revealing that players felt unsure what to do under Klinsmann and often met to discuss tactical strategy because so little information was forthcoming from their coach.In Raphael Honigstein’s book, Bring the Noise, it was Hoeness who called Klopp again, two days after their initial conversation with the news, “We’ve gone for the other Jurgen.” Klopp, according to Mainz’s sporting director Christian Heidel, “was a little hurt” by the suggestion that Klinsmann was similar to him when Klopp was clearly the more experienced club coach and later that day, the local reporter in the town could remember him taking training in a bad mood. That the approach became public knowledge through Hoeness was a good thing for Klopp, however, because everyone now knew how highly he was regarded.Hoeness admitted, “We signed the wrong Jurgen,” when three years later Klopp led Dortmund to the first of successive Bundesliga titles. In 2011, Bayern finished third – ten points behind, though perhaps the bigger achievement was the defence of their title twelve months on when a more competitive Bayern came back at them but still finished eight adrift.The atmosphere between Klopp and Bayern changed when Bayern signed some of Dortmund’s best players and wrestled back the initiative. Klopp would then compare them to a James Bond villain hell-bent on global domination, saying they were “like the Chinese – they see what other people are doing and copy it – just with more money,” he said after losing the German Cup final to Bayern in 2013.

This argument was engulfed two years later when Matthias Sammer – a former Dortmund player and manager and now in his position of technical director at Bayern, indicated that he believed other clubs were not working hard enough to compete with his new employer. Klopp pounced: “If I were him, I’d thank God that someone had the idea of hiring me every time I walk into the Bayern training ground,” he fired back. “I don’t know if Bayern would have got one less point without Sammer.”When asked to recall the period, Jorg Jakub, the editor of Kicker magazine, described Klopp as being “like a new boxer in the ring, though he was not just about words – he’d already backed it up.”Few managers, presidents and certainly players had the courage to criticise Bayern publically with such provocation before, knowing what follows whenever this happens: with Bayern hitting back ten times harder.An example of this only came last week when Dietmar Hamann told Sky TV in Germany that Robert Lewandowski had lost his edge. The striker’s agent was the first to respond with Maik Barthel questioning Hamann’s “tactical understanding”, before Lewandowski called Hamann’s comments “flat-out stupid.” It was only after he scored in a 3-1 victory over Schalke that Hasan Salihamidzic weighed in to the debate, with the club’s latest sporting director claiming Hamann was waging a campaign against the player, describing the former Liverpool midfielder as “a problem” for the television company.In 2014, Lewandowksi became one of the players Klopp lost to Bayern, though it was the transfer of Mario Gotze that hurt him the most. “It was not just the manner, it was the mere fact it could actually happen,” one source told the Independent, who spoke about Klopp’s reaction to the news, comparing it to the unexpected death of a young family member. “Klopp thought Bayern’s tentacles stretched far but not that far.”In Building the Yellow Wall, Uli Hesse remembered the press conference ahead of Dortmund’s match with Mainz in 2013 when Klopp knew Gotze was going to leave but nobody else in the room did. It was one of the occasions Klopp showed restraint. Bayern’s timing had been devastating and it had the potential to undo much of Klopp’s fine work in the last weeks of a season where they would reach the club’s first Champions League final in sixteen years.When Klopp was asked what he thought about Hoeness’ suggestion that the Bundesliga was in danger of creating “Spanish conditions” as Bayern and Dortmund were seemingly capable of pulling away from the rest of the competition in the same way as Barcelona and Real Madrid, Klopp could have fired up discussion but instead, he spoke about his fears for “Scottish conditions” where Celtic – following the demise of Rangers – had been able to become so much better than everyone else, hoovering up all of the talent and reducing the level of threat from elsewhere.“I think that when the new Bayern squad is announced in the summer, we will find what Hoeness has said isn’t altogether supported by the team that has been assembled,” Klopp responded, with reporters believing he was referring to Bayern’s recruitment of Pep Guardiola as coach. By then, it was well known that they also wanted to sign Lewandowski. Though that would happen twelve months later, Klopp was, in fact, referring to Gotze’s decision to leave him, a twenty-year-old who’d been with Dortmund since he was nine: someone he’d given a professional debut at seventeen. Above everything – and Klopp told Gotze this – he believed he was making a mistake by joining Bayern and Guardiola, and this was proven to be right.“Klopp could only drop vague hints during the Mainz press conference,” Hesse wrote. “With the Real Madrid game coming up [in the Champions League semi-final], he couldn’t afford to break the stunning news and cause a commotion. So, it was somebody else who did it.”Nobody is quite sure who leaked the story about Gotze’s departure – triggered by a clause in his contract – but it surely could not have been anyone with a healthy interest in Dortmund because it landed in the tabloid Bild less than 24 hours before the first leg with Real. “They tried to destroy us,” Hans-Joachim Watzke, Dortmund’s CEO, claimed of the club they would lose to in the European showdown that followed at Wembley a month later.Klopp still thinks Franck Ribery should have been sent off in that final when the score was deadlocked at 1-1. He was also furious (understandably) when a headed goal which should have stood against Bayern in another German Cup final was ruled out.Since moving to England it is said Bayern have faded from Klopp’s thoughts simply because they are not the competition any more. “The rivalry for him now is Everton, Manchester United and City,” was the message last week. The feeling was, when Klopp eventually leaves Liverpool, he’d sooner manage the German national team. “Jurgen is a strong character and he likes working around other strong characters,” said another source. “Where he draws the line is interference and at Bayern, maybe there is a bit too much of that.”

How to watch the 2019 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League with Yahoo Sports

The 2019 CONCACAF Champions League kicks off this week right here at Yahoo Sports, the official English-language broadcaster of the region’s top club competition.For the five MLS teams involved in the tournament, the goal is clear: to break Mexico’s stranglehold on the silverware and become the first squad from the top league in the United States and Canada to hoist the trophy. No MLS team has won the competition since it switched to its current format over a decade ago. In fact, only two MLS teams have ever reached the summit in North and Central America and the Caribbean: D.C. United in 1998, and the LA Galaxy three years later.  Meantime, Liga MX teams have won all 10 Champions League titles. Just three of those victories came against MLS teams, no surprise considering how much deeper Mexican sides are than their salary-capped counterparts from north of the border. When Club America beat the Montreal Impact in 2015, it did so with a payroll that was 10 times higher than the MLS side.  Still, there is evidence that American and Canadian entries are getting closer. Real Salt Lake narrowly lost to Pachuca in 2011, and in 2018 Toronto beat America and Tigres in consecutive knockout stage home-and-home series before falling to C.D. Guadalajara on penalty kicks.Could this be the year that an MLS team finally wins the title (and clinches the FIFA Club World Cup berth that comes with it?) Here’s how the league’s five reps stack up.

Atlanta United 

Why they can win it:

Barely two months removed from winning MLS Cup, the Five Stripes were arguably the best team in league history last season. Sure, they lost coach Tata Martino (to Mexico’s national team), playmaker Miguel Almiron (Newcastle United) and experienced left back Greg Garza (expansion Cincinnati FC) this winter. But Atlanta added the reigning South American player of the year in 25-year-old Argentine national teamer Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez, and also re-upped Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez, whose 31 regular season goals in 2018 set a league record.

Why they can’t:

The club’s new manager, Dutchman Frank de Boer, has never coached outside Europe and therefore can’t possibly be prepared for the unique challenges playing on the road in Latin America: bumpy fields, difficult travel, constant gamesmanship on and off the pitch. Scheduling conflicts will force Atlanta, which averaged an MLS-record 53,000-plus fans last season, to play its Feb. 28 match versus Costa Rica’s Herediano at a 10,000-seat venue in suburban Kennesaw instead of downtown at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. And while the Martinez-Martinez combination looks great on paper, it might take time for the sort of telepathic understanding that Almiron and Josef Martinez enjoyed to develop.

Round of 16 matchup (winner decided by aggregate goals):

At Herediano (Costa Rica), Feb. 21 at 10 p.m. ET
Vs. Herediano, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. ET

Houston Dynamo

Why they can win it: Funny things happen in tournament play. Guadalajara was terrible in Liga MX last season but somehow found a way to win it all. (The club didn’t even qualify for the CCL this year.) Montreal was 45 minutes away from beating mighty America in the 2015 finale, just a few months after finishing the 2014 MLS season last overall. So who cares if the Dynamo missed the playoffs last season? Tomas Martinez can pass and Alberth Elis and Mauro Manotas can score. Besides, Elis’ fellow Hondurans Boniek Garcia, Maynor Figueroa and Romell Quioto, as well as four-time U.S. World Cup rep DaMarcus Beasley, give Wilmer Cabrera’s team a ton of experience in CONCACAF.

Why they can’t: Depth, or rather the lack of it. Houston had the lowest payroll of any MLS team in 2018, and it wasn’t particularly close. With one of its three designated player slots unused, there just isn’t much offense on the roster after Elis, Martinez, Monotas and Quioto. And while Beasley, Garcia and Figueroa are grizzled veterans, they’re also 36, 35 and 34 years old, respectively.

Round of 16 two-leg matchup:

At Guastatoya (Guatemala), Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. ET
Vs. Guastatoya, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. ET

New York Red Bulls

Why they can win it: The Red Bulls know the tournament inside out, having participated in it every year since 2014. After reaching the semifinals a year ago, they went on to win the MLS Supporters’ Shield as the regular season champ. And with the exception of Tyler Adams, who left this winter for the German Bundesliga, coach Chris Armas’ first-choice starting lineup returns intact.

Why they can’t: There’s no reason they can’t. Of the five MLS teams involved this year, it feels like New York might have the best chance. Then again, the departure of Adams leaves a huge hole in the midfield and in the dressing room. Star striker Bradley Wright-Phillips is also about to turn 34.

Round of 16 two-leg matchup:

At Atletico Pantoja (Dominican Republic), Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. ET
Vs. Atletico Pantoja, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. ET

Sporting Kansas City 

Why they can win it: Free-agent signing Rodney Wallace, a Costa Rican World Cup vet, adds even more CONCACAF experience to a roster full of it. (SKC has played in the CCL three times since 2014.) And with Peter Vermes at the helm, there’s no doubt that Sporting will be one of the best-drilled teams in the competition.

Why they can’t: It remains to be seen if center back mainstay Matt Besler can immediately replicate the chemistry he and the since-traded Ike Opa had with new Hungarian center back Botond Barath. And while Vermes gets more value out of his roster than any GM/technical director in MLS, the truth is that small-market Kansas City isn’t in the same financial ballpark as some of the clubs it will face.

Round of 16 two-leg matchup:

Vs. Toluca (Mexico), Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. ET
At Toluca, Feb. 28 at 10 p.m. ET

Toronto FC

Why they can win it: No MLS team has come closer than TFC did last year. The Reds have plenty to prove after missing the playoffs last season, and while Sebastian Giovinco is gone, you can be sure that the remaining nucleus of the roster, led by captain Michael Bradley, will be bent on making another deep run.

Why they can’t: Striker Jozy Altidore is coming off ankle surgery and can’t be expected to duplicate his scoring exploits of a year ago. And TFC isn’t scaring anyone without keychain-sized dynamo Giovinco, who looked like the best player in CONCACAF in almost single-footedly leading Toronto to the 2018 finale.

Round of 16 two-leg matchup:

At Independiente (Panama), Feb. 19 at 8 p.m.
Vs. Independiente, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.

The 2019 CONCACAF Champions League is set to kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and you can watch live English-language streams with Yahoo Sports.The matches will be available through the Yahoo Sports app on iOS

and Google Play, as well as on desktop at Yahoo Soccer’s home page. The 11th edition of the CCL, sponsored by Scotiabank, will include 16 teams from across North and Central America and the Caribbean, including reigning MLS Cup champion Atlanta United, Liga MX Apertura champion Tigres UANL, Liga MX Clausura champion Santos Laguna, and other marquee clubs like CF Monterrey, New York Red Bulls, Sporting KC and Toronto FC.Fans will get to see big names from both the United States and Mexican national teams in action, including Jozy Altidore, Hugo Ayala, Michael Bradley and Miguel Layun, as well as 2018 MLS Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

MVP Josef Martinez.For more information, see the CONCACAF Champions League’s official press release.

Indy 11 Needs our Help 

Please show your support for Professional Soccer in Indiana by contacting your legislator TODAY!  Please visit www.eleven-park.com and help us with this important effort.We are asking you to send your state legislators a message thru the website www.eleven-park.com to ask your legislative leaders to strongly support Senate Bill 543.The bill will allow the construction of Eleven Park, a new transformational neighborhood development in Indianapolis that would include apartments, office space, retail and a hotel – all anchored by a new, world-class multi-purpose soccer stadium.The Eleven Park proposal creates NO new taxes and does not call for any existing money from city or state governments.  Eleven Park is a win for Indy Eleven, a win for Indianapolis, and a win for Indiana, a state that is full of soccer players and fans.  It is time to fully capture a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the future of soccer in Indiana.  Please join us in supporting Senate Bill 543.   www.eleven-park.com

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Sam’s Army- http://www.sams-army.com , American Outlaws  http://www.facebook.com/IndyAOUnite

 

2/08/19 US Wins 2-0, Champions League Sweet 16, EPL Race Tightens, Madrid Derby Sat, Indy 11 Pre-Season Starts, Full TV Game Schedule

Our US National Team is now 2-0 under new manager Gregg Berhalter as the US scored a 2-0 home win over Costa Rica.  The US again had good build up – though not the complete control they had last week – still they won the battle of possession again both outshooting and outplaying the TICOS on the night and both goals again scored in the flow of play not on set pieces.  Ltetget was fantastic with an early assist and a late goal as he trumpeted his return to the national team after his injury last year.  I also loved that the US changed tactics some in the 2nd half after a 1st half with no goals – they spread out more – used the wingers more and found a way to score 2 goals with the improved wing play.  Overall it was nice to see the US actually look like a coached team again.

Games this weekend for US Players overseas.  We’ll see if Christian Pulisic gets time after scoring a beautiful goal in a German Cup game this week – Dortmund faces Hoffenheim at home at 9:30 Sat on FS2 as they try to hold onto 1st place in the Bundesliga.  Of course Dortmund travel to Tottenham on Wed for Champions League play as well at 3 pm on BR Live – we’ll see if he gets a start in 1 of comes off the bench?  Fulhman and defender Tim Ream host a red hot Man United at 7:30 am on NBCSN before Liverpool faces Bournemouth at 10 am on NBCSN.  Weston McKennie continues to start and star for Schalke as they face Bayern Munich at 12:30 pm on Sat on FS2, while they face Man City on the 20th in Champions League play.  For those who have Fox Desportes – new RB Leipzig American sensation Tyler Adams a starter of 3 straight wins for the Red Bulls will host US Defender John Brooks and Frankfurt at 9;30 am on Sat as well.  Sunday gives us American Youngster Forward Josh Stewart, who has come off the bench for 6 of the last 7 games for Werder Bremen hosting Ausburg at 9:30 am on FS1.  On NBCSN Sunday Tottenham will host Leicester City at 9 am, while Man City hosts Chelsea for the big EPL game of the weekend at 11 am on NBCSN.  Finally Monday we get Deandre Yedlin and New Castle traveling to Wolverhampton at 3 pm on NBCSN.

EL CLASSICO, MADRID DERBY, CHAMP LEAGUE

El Classico 1 was well – just a Copa Del Rey game and you could tell.  Barcelona left a slightly injured Messi on the bench until the 70th minute, Bale came on too as both teams threw their stars in to try to steal a win but the 1-1 start stayed even as Real Madrid tried to steal the lead on the road while the Barca fans were disappointed.  Both teams used back-up keepers (by the way I don’t know how Kaylar Navas is not the starter – he had like 3 spectacular saves and the goal was not his fault).  Either way anytime we get extra Classico’s its good – the return leg at the Bernabeau on Feb 27th.   Meanwhile Real Madrid must ready for the Madrid Derby vs 2nd in the La Liga Table Atletico Madrid this Sat at 10:15 am on beIN Sport. Which by the way I must say – god bless beIN Sport and their coverage of both La Liga and the Spanish Cup games – its so nice to be able to watch the games on TV and not have to pay an extra fee to get it.  (I know I pay the $10 sports fee package which gives me beIN Sport and 15 other sports channels – but with BR LIVE taking Champions League and ESPN+ stealing the FA Cup, Italian League, and German Cup games – on a pay for watch only formats not on TV – well it SUCKS!  And the new word is the New CONCACAF Nations League games featuring the US Men’s National Team has been sold to some online group I have never heard of.  I will NOT pay money to watch the US Men play online only.  Honestly I can’t express how much I miss Fox Sports TV Coverage of Champions League over the past few years.  Sometimes as many as 4 games on 4 different channels, the games replayed over and over all night.  I know many fans don’t like Big Red Alexi Lalas, and who can forget or forgive FOX for trying to force FOX lead announcer Gus Johnson on us that season trying to call Real Madrid vs Juventus –but man it beats the hell out of what is happening now.  I have no idea how or where I am watching next week’s big Champions League Games. Top 16 teams in the World and we get to miss 8 of them each week on Live TV – really TICKS ME OFF!!  If they don’t show Liverpool or Dortmund I am going to really be upset.  Anyway we get a revitalized and suddenly competitive Man United hosting Paris St Germain on Tuesday at 3 pm on TNT as PSG is Neymar-less for this first game.  Then Wed we get hopefully Tottenham (- an injured Harry Kane) vs Dortmund and hopefully a substituting American Christian Pulisic at 3 pm on TNT.  But probably it will be that exciting new group from Ajax hosting Defending Champions Real Madrid on TNT and I will be scrambling online to find Univision Desportes so I can watch Dortmund for Free – Man this Stinks!!

Tues, Feb 19  

3 pm TNT                    Liverpool vs Bayern Munich CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm Uni Desportes      Lyonnais vs Barcelona

Wed, Feb 20  

3 pm TNT                   Schalke (McKinney) vs Man City CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live/Uni Des     Athletico Madrid vs Juventus

 INDY 11

The Indy 11 bounce back onto the scene next week with their first pre-season game at Grand Park this weekend and an offer to Join the Indy 11 as they show the City’s Love for Soccer to the Indiana Legislature on Thurs at 11 am -1 pm downtown at the Statehouse with Free Lunch for fans wishing to attend.  The 11 have signed some exciting new players including some standout’s from last season’s USL Champion FC Cincinnati who didn’t make the cut for the team joining the MLS this season.  Also learn about the new ownership group and huge plans for a new stadium complex below.  Of course the Indy 11 season opener is Saturday night, March 30th – make your plans now to be there!!

Indy11Statehouse

Free Lunch for fans at the State House

USA

Lessons from Berhalter’s 1st Month as US Manager – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Berhalter wanted more Aggressive US vs Costa Rica – Jeff C – ESPNFC

Player Rankings vs Costa Rica – Jason Davis ESPNFC

Lletget Goal and Assist in Win vs Costa Rica

Lletget Vanquishes Demons in US Win over Costa Rica – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

US vs Costa Rica – What We learned – Stars and Stripes

Five thoughts on USA vs Costa Rica – Stars and Stripes

USA vs. Costa Rica, 2019 friendly: SSFC Player Rating s Man of the Match

Tim Weah scores, assists in Celtic win

WORLD & Champions League  

Champions League Predictions – Mark Odgen ESPNFC

Improved Real Madrid pushes Barca to Draw in 1st Leg of Copa Classico – SI

Has Neymar Fulfilled Potential ?  Gab Marcotti ESPNFC

Why Abolishing the Away Goal Rule is the Way to Go – SI Jon Wilson

Big Clubs Lack Respect over VAR Talks as VAR Sets in for Final 16 of UCL

PSG Must Recover from Jan before Clash with Man United

PSG Thoughts on United Ahead of Big Clash

Manual Neuer Still Unsure as Bayern Ready for Liverpool

Champions League Needs to Change Format – ESPNFC old story

EPL

What to Watch For EPL – Weekend – EPSNFC

Liverpool Lack of Depth Starting to hurt their EPL Bid mark Odgen EPSNFC

Klopp on Title Pressure – We are Fine

Man City Need Aguero to Keep Scoring to catch Liverpool

Man City’s Ability to Score Makes Them Legit for Title Race – Michael Cox ESPNFC

Hazard Says He’s Made a Decision Where He Will Play Next Year – Won’t Tell

Black Cat Wanders the Pitch at Everton Game

Indy 11

 Date And Time

Thu, February 14, 2019

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM EST

Please join us for a lunch with legislative leaders, Indy Eleven players, and the Indiana soccer community.By joining us – and helping us spread the word, we can show Indiana leaders that soccer is the globe’s most popular sport and the world’s game needs a permanent home in our state.Please RSVP today so that we can adequately track attendees and be able to plan for a fun event.Complimentary lunch will be provided by Indy Eleven 

Click Here to Register to Come and Enjoy Free Lunch Provided by Indy 11

Indy 11 Pre-Season Schedule at Grand Park

Indy 11 Announces Ownership Group of from Around Indiana

Indy 11 Proposes $550 Million Development that Includes 20K Seat Stadium – IBJ

Full Schedule Released

Indy 11 Signs USL Leading Scorer Thomas Enevoldsen

Indy 11 Signs USL Championship All time Leading Scorer DC United’s Dane Kelly

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

MLS

Columbus Saved the Crew from Moving – Now What

Toronto Signs US Striker Terrence Boyd from Germany

MLS Spoiling Start of IU Defender Andrew Gutman’s  Pro Career with Celtic

GAMES ON TV

Sat, Feb 9

7:30 am NBCSN                     Fulham (Ream) vs Man United

9;30 am FS2                            Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Hoffenheim

10 am NBCSN                        Liverpool vs Bournemouth

10:15 am beIN Sport          Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid (Madrid Derby) 

Sun, Feb 10  

9 am NBCSN              Tottenhan vs Leicester City

9:30 am FS2                  Werder Bremen (Stewart) vs FC Ausburg

11 am NBCSN            Man City vs Chelsea

12 noon ESPN2            Sassuolo vs Juventus

2:45 pm beIn Sport      Athletic Club vs Barcelona

Mon, Feb 11  

3 pm NBCSN              Wolverhampton vs New Castle United (Yedlin)

Tues, Feb 12  

3 pm TNT                   Man United vs PSG  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live                AS Roma vs FC Porto

Wed, Feb 13  

3 pm TNT                   Ajax vs Real Madrid  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live??           Tottenham vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

Tues, Feb 19  

3 pm TNT                    Liverpool vs Bayern Munich CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm Uni Desportes      Lyonnais vs Barcelona

Wed, Feb 20  

3 pm TNT                   Schalke (McKinney) vs Man City CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live/Uni Des     Athletico Madrid vs Juventus

Sun, Feb 24  

9 am NBCSN              Man United vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS1                  Hannover vs Frankfurt

10:15 am beIN sport    Athletico Madrid vs Villarreal

11:30 am ESPN+         Chelsea vs Manchester City – League Cup

12 noon FS2                 Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Bayer Leverkusen

2:45 pm beIn Sport      Levante vs Real Madrid

Mon, Feb 25  

2:30 pm FS2                 RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Hoffenheim

Wed, Feb 27  

2:45 pm NBCSN         Chelsea vs Tottenham

3 pm  beIN Sport        Real Madrid vs Barcelona – Copa Del Rey El Classico’   

7 pm Fox Sport 1         USA Ladies vs Japan  – She Believes Cup

Sat, Mar 2

7:30 am NBCSN                     Tottenham vs Arsenal

9;30 am FS2                            Schalke (McKinney) vs Dusseldorf

10 am NBCSN                        Man United vs Southampton

12:30 pm NBCSN                  West Ham vs New Castle United (Yedlin)

12:30 pm FS2                         Borussia Mgladbach (Johnson) vs Bayern Munchen

2:45 pm beIN Sport            Real Madrid vs Barcelona El Classico

4 pm Fox                                USA Ladies vs England – She Believes Cup

8 pm Fox Sports 1                  La Galaxy vs Chicago Fire  MLS

10 pm Fox Sports 1               Seattle Sounders vs FC Cincy MLS

Sun, Mar 3

7:30 am NBCSN                     Watford vs Leicester City

9 am FS2                                 Schalke (McKinney) vs Dusseldorf

9 am NBCSN                          Fulham (Ream) vs Chelsea

11:15 am NBCSN                  Everton vs Liverpool  

12:30 pm FS2                         Wolfsburg vs Werder Bremen (Stewart)

2:30 pm ESPN+                      Napoli vs Juve

6 pm Fox Sports 1                 DC United (Rooney) vs Atlanta United (Martinez) MLS

8:30 pm ESPN                       Los Angeles FC vs Sporting KC  

TuesMar 5                             Champions League

3 pm TNT                              Ajax 1 vs Real Madrid 2 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live/Uni Desp       Dortmund (Pulisic) 1 vs Tottenham 3  

7 pm Fox Sports 1                USA Ladies vs Brazil – She Believes Cup

Weds, Mar 6  

3 pm TNT                               PSG vs Man United  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live                        FC Porto vs AS Roma

Fri, March 8  

2:30 pm FS2                          Werder Breman (Stewart) vs Schalke (McKinney)  

10 pm ESPN+                          USL Seattle Sounders 2 vs Rio Grande Valley

Champions League predictions: Manchester United to beat PSG? Liverpool lose?

4:00 AM ETMark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC

The path to the 2019 Champions League final in Madrid has become clear following the draw for the round of 16, which has thrown together some of Europe’s biggest clubs.Heavyweight clashes between Liverpool and Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Juventus, and Ajax and Real Madrid ensure that some of the most successful clubs in the game will be facing elimination at the first knockout stage.The draw has been kinder to leading contenders such as Manchester City and Barcelona, but who will come out on top when the Champions League resumes?

SCHALKE vs. MANCHESTER CITY

It might lack glamour, but Manchester City’s pairing with Schalke is a dream draw for the Premier League champions.Schalke, who qualified as runners-up behind Porto in Group D, are languishing in the bottom half of the Bundesliga, having won just six league games all season. Coach Domenico Tedesco has a squad low on the quality needed to worry City, so this tie should be a formality for Pep Guardiola’s team.Leroy Sane will return to Germany to face his former club, and it really should be a happy homecoming for the City winger in what is likely to be a mismatch. As for omens, City’s only European title — the 1970 Cup Winners’ Cup — came after beating Schalke en route to the final.

Who will go through? Manchester City

ATLETICO MADRID vs. JUVENTUS

Arguably the tie of the round sees two of the Champions League’s unluckiest clubs collide. Atletico and Juventus have each reached, and lost, two finals during the past decade and both have pushed the boat out financially to ensure that 2019 is their year.Atletico, who host the final at their own Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, brought in Diego Costa, though he has suffered from poor form and injury, as well as Thomas Lemar and Alvaro Morata. They also retained the services of Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin. Juventus gambled heavily on Cristiano Ronaldo and also brough Leonardo Bonucci back to the club after a year in Milan.This tie is very close to call. Both possess outstanding defences, terrific work rate and quality forwards, but Atletico’s determination to play in their own final might just swing things in their favour.

Who will go through? Atletico Madrid

MANCHESTER UNITED vs. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

When the draw was made in mid-December, this tie threatened to be the biggest mismatch of the round, with Manchester United in crisis and PSG cruising at the top of Ligue 1, having won their qualification group ahead of Liverpool and Napoli.But within 24 hours of the pairing being made, Jose Mourinho was sacked by United, whose subsequent revival under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given them real hope of success against the French champions. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have been two of the big beneficiaries.PSG, meanwhile, have been beset with problems. Neymar will miss both legs because of injury, as might Edinson Cavani, Adrien Rabiot continues to be overlooked because of a contract dispute and there are fitness concerns over Marco Verratti. A 2-1 Ligue 1 defeat at Lyon on Feb. 3 also dented confidence.

Who will go through? Manchester United

TOTTENHAM vs. BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Tottenham made it into the knockout stages only after a final-day draw against Barcelona in the Camp Nou earned second spot in Group B for Mauricio Pochettino’s team and the subsequent pairing with Dortmund, who they beat twice in last season’s group stage, looked give them a route to the quarterfinals.Despite Lucien Favre’s team topping the Bundesliga, the Premier League side appeared to have the edge, but injuries to Harry Kane and Dele Alli will rule the England pair out of the first leg and could also see them miss the return game in Germany. Dortmund, meanwhile, boast attacking quality that includes Jadon Sancho.This tie is now a tough one to call, but although Spurs appear slight favourites on current form, will it be enough?

Who will go through? Tottenham

LYON vs. BARCELONA

Barcelona still regard last season’s Champions League as a missed opportunity after being humiliated by Roma in the quarterfinals, crashing out after a 3-0 defeat in the Stadio Olimpico. But their mission to make amends by winning this season’s competition in Madrid has been boosted by the pairing with Lyon, who will see qualification for this stage as success in itself.Lyon beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and drew with the English champions in France during the group stage, but they will be heavy underdogs against Lionel Messi & Co.Barcelona’s biggest danger will not be the unpredictable talents of Lyon’s Memphis Depay; it will be the threat of complacency. But after the defeat in Rome last season, don’t expect them to fall short again.

Who will go through? Barcelona

AJAX vs. REAL MADRID

A real clash of European heavyweights, with the reigning champions Real coming up against Erik ten Hag’s resurgent Ajax team.Ajax emerged as runners-up behind Bayern Munich in Group E and did so with an unbeaten record, despite the inexperience of their team. Matthijs de Ligt (19) and Frenkie de Jong (21) are the young stars driving Ajax back to prominence, with the experienced Dusan Tadic netting eight goals in 12 European games this season.Real, meanwhile, have been poor in defence of their trophy, with managerial upheaval and the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo hitting them hard. They qualified as group winners, despite losing twice to CSKA Moscow, and should have the pedigree to beat this young Ajax team, but don’t rule out the Dutch outfit.

Who will go through? Real Madrid

LIVERPOOL vs. BAYERN MUNICH

A tie worthy of the final, with both clubs possessing the pedigree to target success in Madrid.Bayern have been inconsistent under Niko Kovac, however, with the perennial German champions five points adrift of leaders Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. They will be without Thomas Muller for the first leg at Anfield following his red card against Ajax, although Liverpool will also miss the suspended Virgil van Dijk in that game.Liverpool top of the Premier League and will be favourites on current form, with former Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp relishing a return to Germany. But it is a tough draw for both teams and the pendulum could swing back toward Bayern, who are unlikely to be fazed by the Anfield atmosphere in the first leg.

Who will go through? Bayern Munich

ROMA vs. PORTO

Roma are struggling in sixth position in Serie A, but have great experience throughout their squad and memories of last season’s run to the last four should make them slight favourites in this tie.Porto are difficult to gauge, having qualified as winners of the weakest group ahead of Schalke, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow, but they top their domestic league and are still unbeaten in Europe this season. In Moussa Marega, they have a forward in Champions League form, with five goals in six games.

Who will go through? Roma

Indy Eleven proposes $550 million development that includes stadium

January 10, 2019   Mickey Shuey

IBJ Podcast: Will a $550M, mixed-use development help Indy Eleven win funding for a stadium?

January 21, 2019

Ideas abound on where to put Indy Eleven soccer stadium

January 18, 2019

Eleven Park would include a 20,000-seat stadium, a boutique hotel, retail and office space and about 600 apartments. (Rendering courtesy of Indy Eleven)

The Indy Eleven on Thursday unveiled a proposal for a $550 million mixed-use real estate district that would include a 20,000-seat outdoor soccer stadium as the team continues its quest to join Major League Soccer.The project includes a financing plan that would require action from the City-County Council and the Legislature. Team owner Ersal Ozdemir told IBJ that the club is working with the city of Indianapolis and the Capital Improvement Board to create detailed plans for the public-private development.Ozdemir said he envisions the development, called Eleven Park, as a “transformational urban project” within the city. Plans for the district include lodging, office and retail space, public spaces, an underground parking structure and apartments. The focus, Ozdemir said, is to create a long-term, sustainable home for soccer in Indianapolis.“We wanted to make a major impact, not just a stadium,” he said. “Whether you like sports or not, it’s hard to argue with this project because of (what it involves).”Ozdemir said discussions with city and state officials have included where the development would best be located, noting there are “several sites in downtown Indianapolis” and one elsewhere that are viewed as good fits for the team. He declined to share the locations but said the team hopes to finalize the selection soon.The proposed stadium, slated to be ready for the 2022 season opener, would be surrounded by multiple apartment and office buildings, offering tenants views of the field from their windows.  The development is expected to include 600 apartments, more than 100,000 square feet of retail space, 150,000 square feet of office space and a 200-room boutique hotel. The office space would be geared toward technology-driven companies and already has received interest from undisclosed multiple parties, according to Ozdemir.  Ozdemir, who owns the Indianapolis construction and development firm Keystone Group, said the stadium design allows for future expansion if the team’s fan base continues to grow or if MLS increases its minimum stadium capacity, which currently is 20,000.He said the stadium would include a section specifically for team fan club Brickyard Battalion, designed for fans who generally spend the entire game on their feet.  Melina Kennedy, president of the CIB, said her group “generally supports” the Eleven Park concept.“The CIB applauds Indy Eleven for looking ahead to future needs and taking a developer-led approach to protect taxpayers and support their vision to integrate the sports experience into the overall community development efforts for the state,” she said in a written statement.

Funding the project

Kennedy wasn’t available to discuss the proposed financial structure of the project, which differs from those used to build Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, largely because the Eleven plan includes adjacent development that could generate tax revenue to help pay for the project. Like both of those stadiums, the Eleven proposal would redirect tax revenue to fund construction. The Eleven Park proposal calls for enactment of new Professional Sports Development Area, or PSDA, and tax-increment financing district overlays limited to the park’s boundaries, as well as a 10 percent ticket tax.The overlays would capture all tax revenue generated within the district for the purpose of funding construction of the stadium.Developer-backed bonds would be issued to pay for the stadium, which is estimated to cost $150 million. Tax overlays on revenue generated by the rest of the development, which would be funded with $400 million in private investment, would be expected to cover payments on the bonds..The city would issue the bonds for the stadium and other public parts of the development (including parking and the plaza area) with the understanding that the team would cover any shortfalls. Developer-backed bonds have become a favored tool of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration to help pay for major real estate projects.In a written statement, Taylor Schaffer, Hogsett’s deputy chief of staff, said: “Indy Eleven has continued to update the city on their work to construct a permanent home for their team, and we are encouraged by their current focus on a taxpayer-friendly strategy that is backed by private development.”She said the city remains “interested in the prospects and possibilities presented by a top-tier, financially sustainable professional soccer team in Indianapolis.”Under Ozdemir’s proposal, while much of the other development at Eleven Park would remain under the control of investors in the project, the stadium would be owned by the CIB and leased to the team. It also would be made available to high school, college and other professional soccer games.Ozdemir said the team is prepared to sign a long-term lease for the stadium and remain in Indianapolis, as well as commit to cover all operating costs for the stadium. The team’s headquarters and operations would move from its downtown and Westfield Grand Park offices to the new facility.The Eleven played its 2018 season in Lucas Oil Stadium on a rent-free basis. But Ozdemir said the stadium is too large to be a long-term solution. He pointed to difficulty in scheduling games and the desire for the team to have “a permanent home” in Indianapolis.

Approval process

Team representatives said they are working with legislative leaders on the Eleven Park project. It is unclear, however, which lawmakers are working on a bill.Ozdemir said public-input sessions would be held for the TIF district overlay, which would require approval by the Indianapolis City-County Council.State lawmakers would have to approve the creation of the PSDA for the district.State Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis, said he’s interested in seeing the proposal but would be cautious about moving forward without having a specific site determined. He suggested having experts analyze potential locations to determine which could generate the biggest economic impact.“I think when you have a project of this size, we should make sure that we make an educated decision on where that’s going to go,” Moed said.But he doesn’t think that would delay lawmakers from voting on a bill this legislative session, which is scheduled to wrap up in April.A bill authorizing the Indy Eleven PSDA is expected to be filed in the Senate, but the issue could get folded into other legislation that would provide more funding for the Capital Improvement Board.Moed said his other concern is making sure most—if not all—of the investment risk is on the team, rather than taxpayers.“We need to make sure the deal is done right, so taxpayers are protected,” Moed said.

New approach

The Eleven Park proposal differs greatly from an unsuccessful pitch for a new stadium that the team rolled out in 2015, both in its funding and overall design. The previous proposal called for a publicly funded, $82 million freestanding stadium with few additional elements.The push, backed by several lawmakers and then-Mayor Greg Ballard, died in the General Assembly. An alternative proposal to renovate the Eleven’s home at the time—the Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium on the IUPUI campus—was shot down by the team.Sports business expert and consultant Mark Rosentraub said the Eleven’s new proposal, including its scope and funding mechanisms, is generally a good fit for the city, even if it doesn’t result in scoring an MLS franchise. The team moved to the Division 2 United Soccer League in 2018 after spending its first four years in the North American Soccer League. Its long-term goal is to play in the top-tier MLS.Rosentraub said one strength of the plan is that it doesn’t rely on much public funding, outside of what’s generated within the district itself.“This could fit well with the (city’s) plans,” said Rosentraub, a professor of sports business at the University of Michigan and a former professor at IUPUI. “That’s what you try to encourage; what you don’t want is to throw down a stadium that has nothing happening around it. … This project seems to do a lot more than that.”Professional soccer teams generally play 15 to 18 home games per season, meaning the stadium wouldn’t be a year-round traffic driver for the area, he said. The inclusion of apartments, retail and office space makes it a more viable project because the area wouldn’t be solely reliant upon soccer for revenue.However, Rosentraub expressed skepticism about Indianapolis’ ability to absorb another major sports franchise should a future MLS bid be successful.“I don’t know if the market can sustain three teams at the (highest) level,” he said. “The Indy Eleven right now is in a very sweet spot in the economy, when you think about … what the market can support.”Rosentraub said he would say the same thing if a proposal were made to replace the AAA Indianapolis Indians with a Major League Baseball team.He said that even if the Eleven remain indefinitely in the USL, the stadium project would be a boon for the team as it seeks to grow its fan base. The Eleven’s ticket sales have been on the rise, with crowds averaging more than 12,000 last year.

MLS hopes

Ozdemir has long said he doesn’t think the addition of another high-level sports franchise would hinder growth for other local teams. He also is confident there are enough soccer fans in central Indiana to make an MLS squad here viable.As part of his quest to land an MLS franchise, Ozdemir has sought to bring in other investors. An announcement is expected within months on a new investor group for both the team and the Eleven Park development. (Nate Feltman, a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal, is an adviser to Ozdemir but does not have a direct financial stake in the team.)The buy-in fee for an MLS franchise is around $200 million—a price Ozdemir has said he and investors in the team would be willing to pay. A bid by the team in 2017 fell short, and future bids are likely to face stiff competition, so it’s unclear how long the Eleven will have to wait to get another shot at the league.Before it missed out on landing a franchise two years ago, the Eleven announced a handful of new investors, though those commitments were never formalized. The announced backers included auto dealer Andy Mohr; Elwood Staffing President Mark Elwood; Heritage Environmental Services President Jeff Laborsky; and Mickey Maurer, a shareholder in The National Bank of Indianapolis and IBJ Corp.IBJ reporter Lindsey Erdody contributed to this story.

BREAKING NEWS | INDY ELEVEN ANNOUNCES OWNERSHIP GROUP

By IndyEleven.com, 01/24/19, 1:15PM EST

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Ownership group includes several successful state business, civic leaders

Indy Eleven Professional Soccer today announced it would expand its ownership structure from current sole owner; Ersal Ozdemir, to include business and civic leaders from across Indiana.  New investors will acquire shares in the Indianapolis-based United Soccer League Championship franchise. The additional owners will expand the team’s statewide profile. “To us, ‘World’s Game, Indiana’s Team’ is more than a motto, it is our mission,” said Ersal Ozdemir, owner and chairman of Indy Eleven. “By welcoming this successful group of business and civic leaders from across our great state to our team, we send a strong signal that Indy Eleven is a true Indiana success story that is poised for the next level.”
The ownership group additions include:

  • Brian Bauer, President, IU Health Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Don Gottwald, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer, KAR Auction Services, Inc., Carmel, Ind.
  • Shane Hageman, President, Hageman Group, Carmel, Ind., Indianapolis, Ind., Remington, Ind.
  • Jeffrey A. Laborsky, President and CEO, Heritage Environmental Services, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Fred Merritt, President, LFM Investments, Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind., Carmel, Ind.
  • Quinn Ricker, President and CEO, Ricker Oil Company, Anderson, Ind.
  • Chris Traylor, Co-President, Traylor Bros., Inc & Representative of Traylor Family Capital, Evansville, Ind.

The ownership group announcement closely follows the appointment of top sports executive Greg Stremlaw as the team’s chief executive officer and the unveiling of Eleven Park, a transformative neighborhood development proposed to include office space, apartments, retail, a boutique hotel and public areas – all anchored by a 20,000 seat multi-purpose soccer stadium, of which Indy Eleven will be the primary tenant. Indy Eleven emphasized the value that the new investors will bring to the club.“Thanks to our dedicated fans, Indy Eleven grew out of its first facility and has set attendance records since moving to our current home at Lucas Oil Stadium,” said Stremlaw. “With these new investors, we will continue to strive toward offering a best-in-class experience for our fans, both in the stands and on the field.  We are lucky to have such distinguished business and civic leaders joining our team.” For one new member of the ownership group, the future is bright.I am excited to join the Indy Eleven family,” said Merritt. “Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and I am extremely proud to be able to be part of the team that will secure the future of soccer in Indiana for generations to come.” “I look forward to being a part of Indy Eleven and seeing the Eleven Park project grow,” said Laborsky. “It’s a project that will not only help cement soccer in the state of Indiana, but also create employment opportunities and improve quality of place in Indianapolis for families and businesses alike.”Those individuals and organizations being added to the ownership group are being given the opportunity to invest in the proposed Eleven Park development alongside Keystone Group, an Indianapolis-based real estate development, construction and investment company.  Additional investors are expected to be announced in the coming months.  The first match of Indy Eleven’s 2019 USL Championship season is scheduled for March 9 with the home opener scheduled for March 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Tickets are available by visiting IndyEleven.com.

Good Riddance: Why UCL Abolishing the Away-Goal Rule is the Way to Go

By JONATHAN WILSON February 08, 2019  SI

Friday, perhaps, a great unfairness will be removed from at least some of the sport’s premier competitions. There are no guarantees, and UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was denying Thursday that it would happen, but there are indications that UEFA will vote to stop using the away-goals rule to settle two-legged ties that finish level on aggregate. If it does, it will mark the end of 55 years of an arbitrary rule that never made sense and never achieved what it set out to do, while repeatedly finishing ties prematurely.There are countless examples of games being destroyed by the away goals rule. Take, for sake of choosing a high-profile example, the Champions League semifinal between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in 2012. Bayern led 2-1 after the first leg. At the Bernabeu, Madrid attacked furiously from the start and scored twice in the opening 14 minutes. Bayern was then forced to attack and made it 3-3 on aggregate from a 27th-minute penalty–at which point, the game died. Bayern, as the away side, settled back to absorb pressure, and Madrid, terrified of conceding another away goal that would have meant it had to score twice, went into its shell. And so was laid bare the danger of a rule that means not all goals count equally.”I believe the tactical weight of the away goal has become too important,” Arsène Wenger said at a conference in 2008. “Teams get a 0-0 draw at home and they’re happy. Instead of having a positive effect, it has been pushed too far tactically in the modern game. It has the opposite effect than it was supposed to have at the start. It favors defending well when you play at home.”

WILSON: The Determining Factors for Eden Hazard’s Big Decision

It was true then and remains so now. Or take the example of a team that goes away from home and, in difficult circumstances, defends brilliantly before, with 30 seconds remaining, conceding a sloppy goal. Why is that side better off than one that does exactly the same but makes its mistake 30 seconds into the second leg? Why does drawing 0-0 at home at 1-1 away take you through when drawing 1-1 at home and 0-0 away puts you out? It’s entirely irrational.Ah, the apologists for the away-goals rule will say, but fewer goals are scored away, so you’re rewarding something that’s harder to do.

There are also fewer goals scored in the first half than the second: does anybody think we should decide drawn ties on first-half goals? (Which would, after all, encourage attacking play from the start.)Abolish the away-goals rule, its defenders say, and away teams will simply look to shut games down.

To which the only possible response is to ask whether they have actually watched a game in the past decade. Nobody can defend anymore. In part that’s because of the structure inequalities within the game that have meant elite sides rarely have to bother defending in domestic competition, but it’s also due to a series of enlightened law changes. The evolution of the offside law and the increasingly robust stance taken against intimidatory behavior and tactical fouling have made it almost impossible simply to shut games down. The problem has been addressed by looking at its causes, rather than cosmetically addressing the symptom, which was all the away-goals rule ever did.

WILSON: What’s Behind Neymar’s Series of Poorly Timed Injuries?

The away-goals rule was first introduced by UEFA in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965, primarily to do away with the need for match replays, which were costly and difficult to arrange. Given the penalty shootout had not yet been invented and the only alternative was tossing a coin, it probably seemed the least of the available evils. And back then, it made a certain sense. At the time, away teams won only 16% of European matches–around half the figure today. Travel was gruelling, conditions far less homogenous and often hostile for the away side. Damage limitation became the obvious strategy. In the European Cup in 1964-65, for instance, three of the 30 ties featured a first-leg advantage of two goals or more being overturned in the second leg. Trying to persuade an away team that it was better to lose 3-1 than 2-0 was probably a justifiable aim.It didn’t work. The away-goals rule was introduced over a three-year period in the European Cup, initially only for the early rounds, suggesting even those who first adopted the rule felt it was somehow a little disreputable. In the five seasons before the change, away teams averaged 1.20 goals per game in the European Cup; in the five seasons after, they averaged 1.05 goals.The away-goals rule isn’t merely anachronistic and arbitrary. It doesn’t merely randomize and spoil football. It not only has no relevance to the modern game–it never worked in the first place. Let it go.

Lessons from Berhalter’s first month as U.S. manager: Wing play will be key, Lima stands out

Feb 4, 2019Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

As January camps go, the 2019 edition invited significantly more scrutiny than any other in recent memory. It was elevated even when you compare it to two years ago, when Bruce Arena was returning for his second go-round and attempting to kick-start what would ultimately be a failed effort to qualify for the World Cup.This year, you had a manager (Gregg Berhalter) making his first foray into the international game. With that, there were questions about how he would go about implementing his style, the extent to which he would duplicate what he did when he was managing the Columbus Crew, and what players would emerge from the camp with their reputations enhanced. (After all, there are always a few.)More than anything, Berhalter and the players assembled were there to learn, and suffice to say, plenty of data points were on display for observers of the U.S. men’s team over the past month.Here’s what stood out.

  1. Berhalter’s tactical plan is taking root

Throughout January, Berhalter indicated that when it came to his tactical approach, there would be some familiar elements from his time at Columbus but some new wrinkles as well. Berhalter proved true to his word in friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica.There was an emphasis on flank play and against Costa Rica on Saturday, the likes of Paul Arriola and Jonathan Lewis excelled. But there was an added wrinkle of having right-back Nick Lima tuck inside next to whatever holding midfielder happened to be on the field that day. What ensued was a 4-4-2 when the U.S. was defending in its own half, and almost a 3-2-4-1 when possession was gained.Lima’s positioning when the U.S. had the ball also provided an extra body in midfield to help win possession back when the ball turned over. It also allowed Lima to jump into the attack when the opportunity presented itself. He had a highlight-reel sequence against Panama that saw him win the ball with a perfectly timed tackle and then deliver a pinpoint cross for Walker Zimmerman to head home. Against Costa Rica, Lima nearly bgged a goal when he hit the post with blast from outside the box.Defensively, there was nothing fancy as the U.S. looked rock-solid in both outings.Given that the U.S. appeared to be in stasis during the second half of 2018, the sight of Berhalter throwing out some tactical nuances is a welcome development. It will be interesting to see how things progress against tougher opponents.

  1. New candidates for the first XI

The January camp didn’t disappoint in terms of players emerging who could go on to play bigger roles in 2019. Lima, with his aggressive defending and sharp play in the attacking half, was arguably the month’s biggest winner but he wasn’t alone. The central defensive tandem of Aaron Long and Zimmerman was dependable throughout and while Matt Miazga is back getting playing time overseas — this time with Reading — the two put themselves in position to apply some pressure on the players in front of them.

On the wings, Lewis, Arriola and Corey Baird all had bright moments over the two games. In the center of midfield, Cristian Roldan was a positive two-way presence in both matches.

At the moment, it seems unlikely that these performances will result in a seismic change to the U.S. starting XI when the March friendlies roll around. But progress at international level is usually made in incremental steps, not quantum leaps. At least now there is some depth that Berhalter will feel more comfortable calling on should the need arise.

  1. There is creativity but it needs careful development

One of the concerns at the end of last year was the lack of creativity in the U.S. attack. While the quality of the opposition in the past two weeks wasn’t as formidable as what the U.S. faced last year, Djordje Mihailovic and Sebastian Lletget showed flashes of the kind of skill that this team needs if they are to compete.

Mihailovic performed well against Panama, suffered through a brutal first half against Costa Rica and then, like the rest of his teammates, rebounded in the second before being subbed off in the 63rd minute. Mihailovic made way for Lletget, who was an absolute difference-maker against the Ticos, getting a goal and an assist. Whether these players can push on to make bigger contributions will in large part depend on how they fare with their clubs. Mihailovic is still in the process of getting back to full strength following the torn ACL he sustained at the end of 2017. If he’s given the keys to the Chicago Fire attack in 2019, he’ll gain the kind of experience that can allow him to avoid the poor stretch he had in the first 45 against Costa Rica.Lletget has long been a player in search of a dedicated position, and one would think his skill on the ball would land him an attack-minded role. But the LA Galaxy midfield remains crowded. If he can find a way to stay on the field in 2019, he may yet play a bigger role under Berhalter.Meanwhile, Lewis showed how effective he could be coming off the bench but is another player who needs to earn more consistent playing time with this club. He only recorded 219 minutes last year with New York City FC; that will need to increase in order for him to make more headway with the national team.

  1. U.S. needs to better handle the press

While Panama were fairly easy to play against in terms of moving the ball out from the back, Costa Rica troubled the U.S. plenty with some aggressive midfield play.

The U.S. midfield, Wil Trapp in particular, wasn’t winning many midfield duels against the Ticos in the opening half. The good news is that the U.S. dealt with matters better after halftime. Whether that was due to Costa Rica getting tired, better play from the U.S., or some combination of the two is open to debate, but ultimately the home side carried much more of the play in the second half and were well worth the two goals scored. playWould the U.S. have played better against Costa Rica had Michael Bradley been on from the start? He certainly acquitted himself well against Panama though given the opponent, that should have been expected. Trapp, it must be said, was among those who upped his game in the second half vs. Costa Rica on Saturday, stretching the field with his long-range passing. Either way, how the U.S. fares against teams inclined to press will bear watching going forward.

  1. There’s reason for cautious optimism

Results of games at the conclusion of a January camp can invite false positives. In this case, the two opponents were far from full strength, but the same can be said of the U.S. team, and imagine the hue and cry if they had failed to prevail in both games.It’s also worth noting that the Berhalter era is still in its opening stages. As it should, the January camp served its purpose in terms of laying down a foundation regarding style, the environment and identifying some players who may have a future at the national team level.Most important of all, there is now an eagerness to see how quickly Berhalter is able to impart his philosophy when most of the full team convenes in March for games against Ecuador and Chile.

Paul Arriola a menace in 7/10 showing as U.S. beats Costa Rica

Feb 2, 2019Jason DavisU.S. soccer writer

Following a shaky first half against a quick, physical Costa Rican team, the United States improved in the second period, found a pair of late goals and closed out Gregg Berhalter’s first camp with a 2-0 victory over the Ticos at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, on Saturday.

Positives

Although the Americans were not as dominant against Costa Rica as they were against Panama on Tuesday night, Berhalter’s team stayed the course, stuck to its tactics and eventually earned a deserved victory. The hosts handled themselves well enough defensively to ensure they could continue creating chances on the attacking end of the field.

Negatives

Whether it was the higher quality of opponent or the unshaken rust on players still working back to full sharpness, the U.S. did not play well in the first half. Neither of the advanced midfielders, Djordje Mihailovic nor Cristian Roldan, shined in the opening 45 minutes. It required the introduction of a pair of substitutes to push the Americans forward and help secure a win.

Manager rating out of 10

7 — Two victories in two games is an excellent way for Berhalter to start his U.S. head-coaching tenure, regardless of how they came. His tactical approach wasn’t as obviously successful in this match as it was against Panama, but the continued entrenchment of his ideas in a victory can be chalked up as a positive. Again, his substitutes made a significant difference, a credit to his plan.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)

GK Zack Steffen, 6 — Not much to do on the day. Provided strong distribution from the back and stayed calm under high pressure from Costa Rica.

DF Nick Lima, 6 — Helped the Americans take over the game in the second half. Hit the post with shot in the 54th minute. Less involved centrally than against Panama.

DF Walker Zimmerman, 6 — Played simple defensively; was aggressive with his passing from the back. Failed to connect longer passes at a high rate. Had several important clearances.

DF Aaron Long, 5 — Shaky with the ball. Stepped into midfield to both good and bad effect, putting pressure on Costa Rica with the Ticos in possession.

DF Daniel Lovitz, 4 — Slow and indecisive in possession under pressure, with a pair of poor turnovers. Struggled to commit a necessary tactical foul after Costa Rica moved to counter.

MF Wil Trapp, 6 — Drastically improved after halftime, particularly with distribution. Sprayed the ball into space to help set up chances for the U.S. Key in the buildup to the goal.

MF Djordje Mihailovic, 5 — Improved in the second half after struggling in the first 45 to make space matter under the forward line. Played an excellent ball wasted in the end, provided decent set-piece service.

MF Cristian Roldan, 5 — Quiet and uninvolved for most of the first half. Improved with the rest of team in the second half. Missed an excellent chance in the 51st minute and hit the post with a good shot 14 minutes later.

FW Paul Arriola, 7 — A menace on the wing with stretches on both sides of the field. Consistently the most dangerous American until Sebastian Lletget’s entry, rewarded with a goal in the 88th minute.

FW Corey Baird, 5 — Relatively limited playing high up the field on the right side. Lacked the touch to turn a couple of good passes from teammates into chances.

FW Gyasi Zardes, 5 — Showed plenty of industry and provided a decent holdup option through 78 minutes. Lacked the necessary technique to turn touches into danger. Good on the defensive side of the ball.

Substitutes

MF Sebastian Lletget, N/R —Man of the match for the U.S., pressing space and providing creative play after coming on in the 63rd minute. Crashed the back post for the opening goal in the 80th minute; assisted on the second eight minutes later.

FW Jonathan Lewis, N/R — Athleticism and crossing ability changed the attacking outlook. Hit the long cross to Lletget for the first goal.

FW Christian Ramirez, N/R — A few missed passes, had a few good touches. Flicked the ball on for Lletget that resulted in Arriola’s goal. A strong, 12-minute appearance.

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