Saturday night was bittersweet for DC United. Charlie Davies recorded a hat trick, but the 3-0 victory cost United Chris Pontius, who will very likely miss the remainder of the season following a tibia fracture suffered in a collision with David Junior Lopes.
Between five and nine games remain for MLS clubs as the jockeying for playoff qualification continues. One team currently on the outside looking in? Star-studded NY.
After ten years of playing with AC Milan, Andrea Pirlo will be playing with a new club next year. Although Milan was successful this year, Pirlo struggled with injuries and form. The additions of Kevin Prine-Boateng and Mark Van Bommel pushed Pirlo down the pecking order. At 31 Pirlo’s better years are behind him, but he could still be great addition to clubs in Italy. His passing is still sharp and he still has a full good years left in his boots.
A goal was all Porto needed to beat Braga for the Europa Cup. The Columbian striker Falco scored the only goal, which was his 17 in the European competition. (more…)
Tonight’s main event kicks off at 10:00 PM ET (Fox Soccer Channel) in front of a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City. Real Salt Lake host Monterrey in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final following a brilliant effort the MLS side to take a 2-2 draw out of hot and humid Monterrey in the first leg. It may not quite be the “Lake Placid moment for U.S. soccer” that RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey says it will be if RSL prevails, but it would certainly have a place in MLS’ landmark victories.
Watching with Lagerway will be RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who won’t be able to participate in tonight’s match due to yellow card accumulation but will be able to enter the field for the medal and trophy presentation.
Oh yeah, and there’s another game at 2:45 PM ET…one which, for Barcelona skipper Pep Guardiola, can’t come any sooner. Guardiola launched an expletive-filled response to Jose Mourinho’s earlier comments – in which he claimed Guardiola had joined a whole new group of coaches: those who complain about correct calls – that are sure to stoke the fires even more…at least for those watching, as Guardiola believes a war of words will have no impact on those playing.
MAURA GLADYS- Self-analysis tends to be an American characteristic by nature, but that’s even more evident with Major League Soccer. The growth of Major League Soccer has been an obsession of America’s soccer media since the league’s beginning in 1996. Each major milestone in the league’s progression is hyped and celebrated. Each rising star is The Next Face of American Soccer.
This tendency to over-analyze is interesting in the case of Real Salt Lake. The Utah squad is on the verge of winning the CONCACAF Champions League and earning a spot in next year’s Club World Cup, something no American squad has ever done. (more…)
Things Fernando Torres and Thierry Henry have in common? Fame, fortune, and goal droughts. At least until Saturday night. While the Spanish striker continues to struggle to find the back of the net for Chelsea, Henry ended his frustration for the Red Bulls, scoring in the 87th minute to send New York to a 3-0 victory over San Jose. Bulls boss Hans Backe believes it to be Henry’s finest performance yet for the club.
Stuart Holden or not, Bolton Wanderers will be headed to Houston this summer to take on the Dynamo in the Dynamo Charities Cup. For now, however, Bolton are focused on apologizing to fans for the 5-0 thrashing suffered to Stoke in the FA Cup semifinal.
Real Salt Lake has arrived in Monterrey, Mexico ahead of Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League Final first-leg (10:00 PM ET). The early arrival will help Jason Kreis’ side prepare for heat and humidity – two elements the team rarely faces in the friendly confines of Rio Tinto stadium.
Saprissa defeated Olimpia 2-1 in Costa Rica to advance into the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal 3-1 on aggregate. They’ll meet Real Salt Lake, already waiting after beating the Columbus Crew.
The first match of the two-leg affair will take place in Rio Tinto Stadium on March 15 with the return trip scheduled for April 5. It’s the most difficult test in the history of RSL, and a victory would do wonders for MLS’s regional credibility.
The brilliant Eric Cantona says the best moment of his career was kicking that dude in the face.
“When I did the kung fu kick on the hooligan, because these kind of people don’t have to be at the game. I think maybe it’s like a dream for some, you know sometimes to kick these kind of people. So I did it for them. So they are happy. It’s a kind of freedom for them. So I speak about that because maybe they felt it. Because they felt something special physically. Maybe it was a different feeling. It’s a great feeling, but different.”
What began as a tightly contested 0-0 first leg draw turned into a relatively comfortable win for Real Salt Lake in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Two goals from Javier Morales and a goal each for Alvaro Saborio and Andy Williams led Real to a 4-1 victory and a semifinal date with either Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica or Honduran side CD Olimpia. Columbus mustered a single goal in the 49th minute through Andres Mendoza, but could never pull level after Saborio opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. Highlights here.
With the win, Real Salt Lake has become the first MLS side ever to advance to the tournament’s semifinals.
BRENT LATHAM – The group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League is done and dusted, and there are two MLS teams of the original five remaining in the fray. That’s twice as good as last year, when only Columbus made it among a field that refused to take the tournament seriously.
Things are different this year, as what seems like a league-mandated change of attitude has meant that MLS teams are taking the CCL as seriously as possible amidst their busy late season schedules.
That didn’t help – or stop – Los Angeles and Seattle from crashing out disappointingly, while TFC did about as well as could be expected from a team that qualifies on the basis of being Canadian champion and nothing more.
But between the two remaining MLS teams – Columbus and RSL – it’s hard to argue an MLS team couldn’t feasibly win the knockout stage when the tournament resumes early next year, and represent the league for the first time at the FIFA Club World Cup in December 2011. (more…)
Our man Noah Davis was in the stands celebrating his birthday while watching the Red Bulls capture the Eastern Conference crown. No word on his whereabouts since… Nevertheless, an impressive Dane Richards strike in the 17th minute followed by a late Joel Lindpere goal against a relatively lackluster New England Revolution side gave New York fans something to cheer about.