Saturday, August 01, 2015

MLS: Busy Start To August

Eight games are on the Saturday Major League Soccer schedule.  The hosts are listed first and all times are Pacific.

At New York:

Ignacio Piatti scored twice (32', PK-84') as the Montreal Impact knocked off New York City 3-2 on the road, spoiling Frank Lampard's debut with the Citizens.

At Washington:

DC United vs. Real Salt Lake, 4:00 PM

At Chester, Pennsylvania:

Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls, 4:00 PM

At Foxborough, Massachusetts:

New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC, 4:30 PM

At Orlando, Florida:

Orlando City SC vs. Columbus Crew SC, 4:30 PM

At Kansas City, Kansas:

Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo, 5:30 PM

At Commerce City, Colorado:

Colorado Rapids vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 6:00 PM

At Seattle:

Seattle Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:00 PM 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Europa League Qualifying: Hammers Blow Two-Goal Lead, Settle For Game-One Draw; Saints Dominate Vitesse

The third round of Europa League qualifying continued on Thursday with 28 games.

At Almaty, Kazakhstan:

Bauyrzhan Islamkhan scored the winning goal in the 22nd minute as FC Kairat held off visiting Aberdeen 2-1 in game one.  Kenny McLean scored in the 69th minute to keep the Dons alive in the series.

At Boras, Sweden:

Simon Lundevall scored the winning goal in the 76th minute as Elfsborg defeated visiting Odds BK 2-1 in their series opener.  The Norwegian club stayed alive in the series thanks to Olivier Occean's penalty kick in the 21st minute.

At Thessaloniki, Greece:

Lucas Perez Martinez scored the only goal of PAOK's series-opening 1-0 win over visiting Spartak Trnava in the 82nd minute.

At Graz, Austria:

Igor Portnyagin scored the winning goal in the 61st minute as Rubin Kazan knocked off Sturm Graz 3-2 in game one on the road.

At Liberec, Czech Republic:

Herolind Shala scored the game winner in the 84th minute as Slovan Liberec held off visiting Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-1in the opening contest of their two-game series. Ahmed Abed scored in the 89th minute to keep the Israeli club in the series.

At Larnaca, Cyprus:

Javid Huseynov's penalty kick in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time lifted Gabala FK to a 1-1 series-opening road draw with Apollon Limassol.  Georgios Kolokoudias scored for the Cypriot club in the 14th minute.

At Solna, Sweden:

Marcelinho scored the game-winning goal in the 15th minute as Atromitos downed AIK 3-1 on the road in their series opener.

At Innsbruck, Austria:

Johannes Aigner's successfully-converted penalty kick in the 50th minute carried Rheindorf Altach to a series-opening 2-1 win over visiting Vitoria de Guimaeres.  Toze kept the Portuguese club alive in the series with his score in the 71st minute.

At Krasnodar, Russia:

Andreas Granqvist (45') and Pavel Mamayev (PK-59') delivered the goals as FC Krasnodar blanked visiting FC Slovan Bratislava 2-0 in the opening match of their two-game series.

At Zurich, Switzerland:

Fatos Beciraj successfully converted a penalty kick in the 63rd minute as FC Dinamo Minsk took the opening match of their series with FC Zurich 1-0 on the road.

At Zilina, Slovakia:

Matej Jelic (26') and Jakub Paur (73') provided the tallies as MSK Zilina blanked visiting Vorskla Poltava 2-0 in game one.

At Alkmaar, Netherlands:

Jop van der Linden (PK-17') and Vincent Janssen (63') each scored once in AZ Alkmaar's series-opening 2-0 home win over Istanbul Basaksehir.

At Thun, Switzerland:

The opening contest between FC Thun and visiting FC Vaduz ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

At Targu Mures, Romania:

Romain Hamouma scored twice late in the second half (75', 83') as Saint-Etienne dominated ASA 2013 Targu Mures 3-0 in the opening match of their two-game series.

At Debrecen, Hungary:

Tobias Mikkelsen scored twice (52', 87') as Rosenborg BK knocked off Debreceni VSC in the opening contest of their series.

At Tirana, Albania:

Jakub Rzezniczak scored the go-ahead goal in the 51st minute to carry Legia Warsaw to a 2-1 lead on the road against FK Kukesi.  However, the match was abandoned after a Legia Warsaw player was hit on the head by an object thrown from the crowd.

At Skopje, Macedonia:

Baze Ilijoski scored the only goal of FK Rabotnicki's series-opening 1-0 victory over visiting Trabzonspor in the 23rd minute.

At Brondby, Denmark:

Omonia held hosts Brondby IF to a series-opening 0-0 deadlock.

At Bordeaux, France:

Andre Poko (53'), Cheick Diabate (PK-74'), and Nicolas Maurice-Belay (80') each scored a goal as Bordeaux dominated visiting AEK Larnaca 3-0 in game one.

At Charleroi, Belgium:

Ruslan Malinovskyi scored twice (70', 89') as Zorya Luhansk blanked Charleroi 2-0 on the road in their series opener.

At Liege, Belgium:

Anthony Knockaert scored the game winner in the 28th minute as Standard Liege held off visiting FK Zeljeznicar 2-1 in game one.  Ognjen Delmic kept the Bosnian club in the series with his goal in the 64th minute.

At London:

Fernando Boldrin (71') and Angelo Ogbonna (OG-82') provided the scoring that enabled FC Astra Giurgiu to erase a two-goal deficit and gain a series-opening 2-2 road draw with West Ham United.  Enner Valencia (23') and Mauro Zarate (51') each tallied once for the Hammers.

At Bilbao, Spain:

Javier Eraso scored twice (12', 49') as Atletic Bilbao blanked visiting Inter Baku 2-0 in the opening contest of their two-game series.

At Lisbon, Portugal:

Carlos Martins scored twice (23', 41') as Belenenses held off visiting IFK Gothenburg 2-1 in their series opener.  Haitam Aleesami kept the Swedish club in the series with his goal in the 58th minute.

At Turin, Italy:

Ognjen Ozegovic scored twice (58', 90'+1) as Vojvodina found themselves halfway to a berth in the playoff round after their series-opening 4-0 road demolition of Sampdoria.

At Split, Croatia:

Andrija Balic (67') and Tomislav Kis (90'+3) each scored once as Hajduk Split blanked visiting Stromgodset 2-0 in game one.

At Southampton, England:

Graziano Pelle (36'), Dusan Tadic (PK-45'+1), and Shane Long (84') each scored a goal as Southampton dominated visiting Vitesse 3-0 in their series opener.

At Klagenfurt, Austria:

Jonas Hofmann scored the only goal of Borussia Dortmund's series-opening 1-0 road win over Wolfsberger AC in the 14th minute.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Kaka, David Villa Pace MLS All-Stars Past Spurs

At Commerce City, Colorado:

Kaka (PK-19') and David Villa (22') each scored a goal in the first half on Wednesday as the Major League Soccer All-Stars held off England's Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in the MLS All-Star Game.

Harry Kane scored the lone Spurs goal in the 37th minute.

Copa Libertadores Final: Series-Opening Goose Eggs For Tigres And River Plate

At San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico:

Wednesday's opening match of the Copa Libertadores Final between Tigres and visiting River Plate ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

Win or lose, the Argentinian club will represent CONMEBOL in December's FIFA Club World Cup, since Mexico, as a CONCACAF member-nation, cannot represent South America in the CWC.

Europa League Qualifying: Lions Take Series Opener On Road

At Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic:

Benjamin Verbic scored the only goal of the match in the 51st minute on Wednesday as FC Copenhagen took the opening contest of their two-game series with FK Jablonec 1-0 on the road as the third round of Europa League qualifying commenced.

Sore Winner

Make that, sore unemployed winner.

UEFA Champions League Qualifying: Red Bull Salzburg, Bhoys, Basel Take Series Openers; Rapid Battle Back To Grab Home Draw With Ajax

Six games were played on Wednesday as the third round of UEFA Champions League qualifying continued.

At Helsinki, Finland:

The opening contest between HJK Helsinki and Kazakhstan's FC Astana ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

At Wals-Siezenheim, Austria:

Andreas Ulmer (51') and Martin Hinteregger (PK-89) each delivered a goal as FC Red Bull Salzburg blanked visiting Malmo FF 2-0 in the opening contest of their two-game series.

At Bucharest, Romania:

Fernando Lopes dos Santos Varela's equalizer in the 81st minute enabled Steaua Bucharest to salvage a series-opening 1-1 home draw with Partizan Belgrade in a match that was played behind closed doors as ordered by UEFA.  Miroslav Vulicevic scored for the Serbian club in the 62nd minute.

At Poznan, Poland:

Marc Janko scored the winning goal in the 77th minute as FC Basel took the opening contest of their series with Lech Poznan 3-1 on the road.

At Glasgow, Scotland:

Dedryk Boyata scored the only goal of the match in the 82nd minute as Celtic posted a series-opening 1-0 home victory over Qarabag.

At Vienna, Austria:

Florian Kainz (48') and Robert Beric (76') each scored a second-half goal as Rapid Vienna overcame a two-goal deficit and salvaged a 2-2 series-opening home draw with Ajax Amsterdam.  Davy Klassen scored both goals for the Dutch giants (25', 43').

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

UEFA Champions League Qualifying: APOEL, Monaco, Panathinaikos, Skenderbeu Take Series Openers

The third round of UEFA Champions League qualifying commenced on Tuesday with the opening game of each of nine two-match series.

At Khimki, Russia:

Kehinde Fatai (15') and Ladislav Krejci (57') each scored a goal as Sparta Prague gained a series-opening 2-2 road draw with CSKA Moscow.  Alan Dzagoev (14') and Zoran Tosic (53') provided the scoring for the Horses.

At Chisinau, Moldova:

Hamdi Salihi scored twice (50', PK-73') as Skenderbeu Korce took the opening match with Milsami Orhei 2-0 on the road.

At Heming, Denmark:

Tomas De Vencenti scored twice in a three-minute first-half span (30', 33') as APOEL FC upended FC Midtjylland 2-1 on the road in their series opener.

At Tel Aviv, Israel:

Ajdin Mahmutovic (17') and Milan Petrzela (21') each scored a goal as FC Viktoria Plzen held off Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-1 on the road in the opening match of their two-game series.

At Athens:

Marcus Berg (37') and Nikos Karelis (PK-65') each scored once as Panathinaikos came from behind and took the opening contest of their series with Club Brugge 2-1.  Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo scored for the Belgian club in the 10th minute.

At Istanbul, Turkey:

The opening contest between Fenerbahce and visiting Shakhtar Donetsk concluded in a 0-0 stalemate.

At Bern, Switzerland:

Layvin Kurzawa (64'), Guido Carrillo (72'), and Mario Pasalic (75') each scored a goal during an 11-minute span in the second half as AS Monaco defeated BSC Young Boys 3-1 on the road in the opening game of their series.

At Szekesfehervar, Hungary:

Paulo Vinicius Souza dos Santos' late equalizer (89') enabled Videoton to salvage a series-opening 1-1 home draw with FC BATE Borisov.  Nemanja Milunovic scored in the 56th minute for the Belorussian club. 

At Zagreb, Croatia:

Ola Kamara's equalizer in the 21st minute carried Molde FK to a series-opening 1-1 road draw with Dinamo Zagreb.  Angelo Henriquez scored in the 18th minute for the hosts.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rose Bowl To Host US-Mexico Playoff For Confederations Cup Berth

The Rose Bowl at Pasadena, California will host the October 9 playoff between Mexico and the United States for CONCACAF's 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup berth.  El Tri won the CONCACAF Gold Cup title on Sunday while the US won the same tournament in 2013.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

EL TRI PROVE TOO MUCH FOR REGGAE BOYZ, WIN SEVENTH CONCACAF GOLD CUP BERTH; WILL PLAY TEAM USA IN PLAYOFF FOR CONFEDERATIONS CUP BERTH

At Philadelphia:

Andres Guardado (31', that's him celebrating here), Jesus Corona (47'), and Oribe Peralta (61') each scored a goal on Sunday as Mexico won their seventh CONCACAF Gold Cup title 3-1 over Jamaica.

The largely pro-Mexican crowd of 68,930 at Lincoln Financial Field was the largest to see a soccer match in the City of Brotherly Love.

El Tri will take on the United States (who won this tournament in 2013) in a one-game playoff for the CONCACAF berth in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.  The match is slated to take place on Friday, October 9 on American soil at a venue which would be announced on Monday.

USA Today Sports photo

CAF Champions League: Late Equalizer Gains Road Draw For Al-Hilal As Group-Stage Play Reaches Midway Point

At Tetouan, Morocco:

Andrezinho delivered the game-tying goal in the 77th minute to lift Al-Hilal Omdurman to a 1-1 Group A Sunday road draw with Moghreb Tetouan as group-stage play in the CAF Champions League reached the midway point.  Abdeladim Khadrouf scored for the hosts in the 70th minute.

Group A Standings:

1. Al-Hilal Omdurman (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 5)
2. TP Mazembe (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 5)
3. Smouha Sporting Club (GP: 3; GD: -3; PTS: 3)
4. Moghreb Tetouan (GP: 3; GD: -1; PTS: 2)

Europa League Qualifying

Here are the match-ups for the third round of Europa League qualifying, which will start with one game on Wednesday (which will be indicated here) and 28 more on Thursday.  The return games of all 29 games are tentatively set for Thursday of next week.  The series-opening hosts are listed first.

FC Zurich (Switzerland) vs. FC Dinamo Minsk (Belarus)

Kairat (Kazakhstan) vs. Aberdeen FC (Scotland)

MSK Zilina (Slovakia) vs. FC Vorskla Poltava (Ukraine)

AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands) vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Turkey)

Bordeaux (France) vs. AEK Larnaca (Cyprus)

PAOK FC (Greece) vs. Spartak Trnava (Slovakia)

Targu Mures (Romania) vs. Saint-Etienne (France)

Debreceni VSC (Hungary) vs. Rosenborg BK (Norway)

Jablonec (Czech Republic) vs. FC Copenhagen (Denmark): This series will open on Wednesday

FC Thun (Switzerland) vs. FC Vaduz (Liechtenstein)

Belenenses (Portugal) vs. IFK Gothenburg (Sweden)

Sampdoria (Italy) vs. Vojvodina (Serbia)

Kukesi (Albania) vs. Legia Warsaw (Poland)

Charleroi (Belgium) vs. Zorya Luhansk (Ukraine)

Sturm Graz (Austria) vs. Rubin Kazan (Russia)

Elfsborg (Sweden) vs. Odds BK (Norway)

Southampton FC (England) vs. Vitesse Arnhem (Netherlands)

Slovan Liberec (Czech Republic) vs. Ironi Kiryat Shmona (Israel)

Apollon Limassol (Cyprus) vs. Gabala (Azerbaijan)

Wolfsberger AC (Austria) vs. Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

AIK (Sweden) vs. Atromitos (Greece)

Standard Liege (Belgium) vs. FK Zeljeznicar Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

West Ham United (England) vs. FC Astra Giurgiu (Romania)

Athletic Bilbao (Spain) vs. Inter Baku (Azerbaijan)

FC Rabotnicki (Macedonia) vs. Trabzonspor (Turkey)

Brondby (Denmark) vs. Omonia (Cyprus)

SC Rheindorf Altach (Austria) vs. Vitoria de Guimaeres (Portugal)

Hajduk Split (Croatia) vs. Stromgodset (Norway)

FC Krasnodar (Russia) vs. Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia)

UEFA Champions League Quailfying

Here are the match-ups for the third round of UEFA Champions League qualifying, with the game-one hosts listed first as the opening contests will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday and the return contests to take place next week.

CHAMPIONS ROUTE:

Lech Poznan (Poland) vs. FC Basel (Switzerland)

Milsami Orhei (Moldova) vs. Skenderbeu Korce (Albania)

HJK Helsinki (Finland) vs. Astana (Kazakhstan)

Celtic FC (Scotland) vs. Qarabag (Azerbaijan)

Steaua Bucharest (Romania) vs. Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)

FC Midtjylland (Denmark) vs. APOEL FC (Cyprus)

At Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) vs. Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic)

Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) vs. Molde FK (Norway)

Videoton FC (Hungary) vs. FC BATE Borisov (Belarus)

FC Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) vs. Malmo FF (Sweden)

LEAGUE ROUTE:

Panathinaikos (Greece) vs. Club Brugge (Belgium)

BSC Young Boys (Switzerland) vs. AS Monaco (France)

CSKA Moscow (Russia) vs. Sparta Prague (Czech Republic)

Rapid Vienna (Austria) vs. Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Fenerbahce (Turkey) vs. Skakhtar Donetsk (Donetsk)

MLS: David Villa Leads Way For NYCFC Against Lions; DCU Erase Two-Goal Deficit, Top Philly; Caps Top Quakes

Three games were contested in Major League Schedule on Sunday.

At New York:

David Villa (45', 67') scored twice as New York City defeated visiting Orlando City 5-3. Cyle Larin produced a hat trick (50', 61', 85') for the Lions.

At Washington:

Alvaro Saborino (37'), Nick DeLeon (66'), and Fabian Castillo (87') each produced a goal as DC United overcame a two-goal deficit and upended the visiting Philadelphia Union 3-2.

At Vancouver, British Columbia:

Mauro Rosales (5'), Kendall Watson (32'), and Octavio Rivero (PK-56') each scored a goal as the Vancouver Whitecaps downed the visiting San Jose Earthquakes 3-1.

MLS STANDINGS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

1.   DC United (GP: 23; GD: +5; PTS: 38)
2.   Columbus (GP: 22; GD: +1; PTS: 31)
3.   New York Red Bulls (GP: 19; GD: +6; PTS: 29)
4.   Toronto FC (GP: 19; GD: 0; PTS: 28)
5.   New England (GP: 23; GD: -6; PTS: 28)
6.   Montreal (GP: 18; GD: -2; PTS: 24)
7.   New York City FC (GP: 21; GD: -2; PTS: 24)
8.   Orlando City SC (GP: 21; GD: -5; PTS: 24)
9.   Philadelphia (GP: 22; GD: -9; PTS: 22)
10. Chicago (GP: 20; GD: -8; PTS: 19)

NOTES:  With Toronto and New England level on points (28), the Reds have more wins than the Revs (eight to New England's seven);  with Montreal, New York City, and Orlando City level on points (24), the Impact have more wins (seven) than NYCFC and the Lions (six apiece); New York City have the superior goal differential vis-a-viv Orlando City (-2 to the Lions' -5).



WESTERN CONFERENCE:

1.   FC Dallas (GP: 21; GD: +7; PTS: 38)
2.   Vancouver (GP: 22; GD: +5; PTS: 36)
3.   Los Angeles (GP: 23; GD: +8; PTS: 34)
4.   Kansas City (GP: 19; GD: +9; PTS: 33)
5.   Seattle (GP: 22; GD: +4; PTS: 32)
6.   Portland (GP: 2; GD: -4; PTS: 32)
7.   Real Salt Lake (GP: 22; GD: -4; PTS: 29)
8.   Houston (GP: 21; GD: +1; PTS: 27)
9.   San Jose (GP: 20; GD: -5; PTS: 25)
10. Colorado (GP: 20; GD: -1; PTS: 24)

NOTE: With Seattle and Portland level on points with 32, the Sounders have more total wins (ten) than do the Timbers (nine)

ADDITIONAL NOTE: In the race for the Supporters' Shield, with DC United and FC Dallas level on points (38) and wins (11), the Hoops have the superior goal differential (+7 to +5).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

MLS: Impact, Hoops, Dynamo Post Saturday Wins; Crew and Reds Draw; Fire and Revs Too

Five games were contested in Major League Soccer on Saturday.

At Columbus, Ohio:

Sebastian Giovinco (50'), Collen Warner (55'), and Jozy Altidore (PK-89') each scored a second-half goal as Toronto FC erased a three-goal deficit to gain a 3-3 road draw with the Columbus Crew.  Kei Kamara (17'), Tony Tchani (36'), and Ethan Finlay (47') each tallied once for the hosts.

At Montreal:

Laurent Ciman scored the only goal of the match in the 88th minute as the Montreal Impact handed the visiting Seattle Sounders their sixth defeat in their last seven contests 1-0.

At Bridgeview, Illinois:

With goals from Lee Nguyen (28') and Kelyn Rowe (78') enbled the New England Revolution to gain a 2-2 road draw with the Chicago Fire. The hosts' goals came courtesy of Shaun Maloney (PK-44') and Razvan Cocis (75').

At Houston:

Will Bruin (9'), Brad Davis (27'), and Leonel Miranda (88') each talliid once as the Hoston Dynamo dominated the visiting Los Angelels Galaxy 3-0

At Frisco, Texas:

Michael Barrios scored twice (12', 22') as FC Dallas dominated the visiting Portland Timbers 4-1.  It was the Hoops' fifth straight win, their longest such streak since 1999.

CONCACAF Gold Cup: Panama Knocks Off Team USA In PK Shootout, Grabs Third Place

At Chester, Pennsylvania:

After a 1-1 deadlock through regulation time and 30 minutes of scoreless overtime on Saturday, Harold Cummings converted the winning spot kick as Panama knocked off the tournament-hosting United Staes 3-2 in the penalty-kick shootout to claim third place in this year's tournament.

CAF Champions League: El Setif Held To Home Draw By Al-Merrikh

At Setif, Algeria:

In the lone Saturday CAF Champions League contest, Solomon Jabason's equalizer in the 22nd minute carried Al-Merrikh to a 1-1 Group B road draw with El Setif.  Abdelmalek Ziaya scored for the hosts in the 16th minute.

Group B Standings:

1. USM Alger (GP: 3; GD: +3; PTS: 9)
2. Al-Merrikh (GP: 3; GD: +1; PTS: 4)
3. Es Setif (GP: 3; GD: 0; PTS: 4)
4. MC El Eulma (GP: 3; GD: -4; PTS: 0)