Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CONCACAF Champions League: Olimpia, Club America, Alajuelense Advance to Quarterfinals; Cruz Azul, Comunicaciones, Timbers Eliminated; DC United Blank Tauro FC In Panama

The final week of CONCACAF Champions League group-stage play commenced on Tuesday with four games.

Group Four:

At Panama City, Panama:

Conor Shanosky scored the only goal of the match in the 24th minute as DC United, who had already locked up the Group Four title and a berth in the quarterfinal round, defeated Tauro FC 1-0 on the road to clinch a top-four seed in the Round of Eight.

FINAL GROUP FOUR STANDINGS:

1. DC United (GP: 4; GD: +5; PTS: 12)
2. Waterhouse FC (GP: 4; GD: +2; PTS: 6)
3. Tauro FC (GP: 4; GD: -7; PTS: 0)

DC United won Group Four and clinched a berth in the quarterfinal round.



Group Five:

At Tegucigalpa, Honduras:

Antony Lozano scored twice (4', 54') as CD Olimpia defeated the visiting Portland Timbers 3-1 and won Group Five due to head-to-head away goals.

FINAL GROUP FIVE STANDINGS:

1. CD Honduras (GP: 4; GD: +6; PTS: 9)
2. Portland Timbers (GP: 4; GD: +10; PTS: 9)
3. Alpha United (GP: 4; GD: -16; PTS: 0)

CD Honduras, due to the head-to-head road-goal advantage (2-1), won Group Five and advanced to the quarterfinal round.



Group Six:

At Alajuela, Costa Rica:

Armando Alonso's goal in the second minute proved to be enough for Alajuelense as the hosts salvaged a 1-1 home draw with Cruz Azul and won the Group Six title and a berth in the quarterfinal round.

FINAL GROUP SIX STANDINGS:

1. LD Alajuelense (GP: 4; GD: +1; PTS: 6)
2. Cruz Azul (GP: 4; GD: +2; PTS: 5)
3. Chorrillo FC (GP: 4; GD: -3; PTS: 4)

LD Alajuelense won Group Six and advanced to the knockout stage.



Group Eight:

At Mexico City:

Oribe Peralta scored both goals (34', 51') in Club America's 2-0 Group Eight-clinching home victory over CSD Comunicaciones.

FINAL GROUP EIGHT STANDINGS:

1. Club America (GP: 4; GD: +16; PTS: 10)
2. CSD Comunicaciones (GP: 4; GD: +5; PTS: 7)
3. Puerto Rico Bayamon FC (GP: 4; GD: -21; PTS: 0)

Club America won Group Eight and advanced to the quarterfinal round.

UEFA Champions League, Group H: Luiz Adriano's Quintuple Helps Shaktar Deliver A Fist Beating (Frontier Style, Of Course) To BATE; Dragons Top Visiting Athletic

Two games were played on Tuesday as UEFA Champions League Group H action reached the halfway point.

At Barysaw, Belarus:
Luiz Adriano leads Shakhtar parade at BATE
Luiz Adriano scored five---count 'em---five goals (PK-28', 37', 40', 44', PK-82', that's him celebrating after scoring one of them)---four of them in the first half---as Shaktar Donestsk destroyed FC BATE Borisov 7-0 on the road. 

At Porto, Portugal:
Quaresma the Porto hero as Athletic fall short
Ricardo Quaresma scored the winning goal in the 75th minute (that's him celebrating afterward) as FC Porto defeated visiting Athletic Bilbao 2-1.

AFP/Getty Images photos

GROUP H STANDINGS:

1. FC Porto (GP: 3; GD: +7; PTS: 7)
2. Shakhtar Donetsk (GP: 3; GD: +7; PTS: 5)
3. FC BATE Borisov (GP: -12; PTS: 3)
4. Athletic Bilbao (GP: 3; GD: -2; PTS: 1)

UEFA Champions League, Group : Blue Tuesday At Chelsea, Schalke Rack Up Home Wins

Group G action in the UEFA Champions League reached the midway point on Tuesday with two games.

At Gelsenkirchen, Germany:
Schalke see off Sporting with late penalty
Eric Choupo-Moting delivered the winning goal with his successful penalty kick in the third minute of second-half stoppage time as Schalke defeated visiting Sporting CP 4-3.  Here's the Royal Blues' Chinedu Obasi, celebrating with his teammates and the coaching staff after having leveled the match for the hosts in the 34th minute.

At London:
Chelsea set new club record with Maribor win
Eden Hazard closed out the scoring with his late second-half double (PK-77', 90') as Chelsea scored thrice in each half in their 6-0 home annihilation of NK Maribor.  Here's the wily oldtimer Didier Drogba celebrating with teammates after he successfully converted a penalty kick in the 23rd minute for the Blues (his first goal for Chelsea since converting his winning shootout spot kick in the 2012 final against Bayern Munich).

AFP/Getty Images photos

GROUP G STANDINGS:

1. Chelsea (GP: 3; GD: +7; PTS: 7)
2. FC Schalke 04 (GP: 3; GD: +1; PTS: 5)
3. NK Maribor (GP: 3; GD: -6; PTS: 2)
4. Sporting CP (GP: 3; GD: -2; PTS: 1)

UEFA Champions League, Group F: Tuesday Wins For Barca, PSG

Two games were played in Group F of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

At Nicosia, Cyprus:
Cavani ensures Paris patience pays off at APOEL
Edinson Cavani scored the only goal of the match in the 87th minute as Paris Saint-Germain defeated APOEL FC 1-0 on the road.  That's him (left) with APOEL's Joao Guilherme.

At Barcelona:
Irresistible Barcelona brush Ajax aside
Neymar (7'), Lionel Messi (24', that's him, celebrating), and Sandro Ramirez (90'+4) each scored a goal as Barcelona defeated visiting Ajax Amsterdam 3-1.

AFP/Getty Images photos

GROUP F STANDINGS:

1. Paris Saint-Germain (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 7)
2. Barcelona (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 6)
3. Ajax Amsterdam (GP: 3; GD: -2; PTS: 2)
4. APOEL FC (GP: 3; GD: -2; PTS: 1)

UEFA Champions League, Group E: Second-Half Goals Enable Horses To Erase Two-Goal Deficit, Gain Draw With Guests Citizens; Bayern Run Roughshod Over Roma In Italy

Eight games were played on Tuesday as group-stage play in the UEFA Champions League resumed.  Two of those contests took place in Group E.

At Khimki, Russia:
CSKA comeback thwarts City
Goals from Seydou Doumbia (65', that's him [left] celebrating here with teammates) and Bibras Natkho (PK-86') enabled CSKA Moscow to come back from a two-goal deficit and gain a 2-2 draw with visiting Manchester City.  Sergio Aguero (29') and James Milner (38') delivered the scoring for the Citizens.

AFP/Getty Images photo


At Rome:

Arjen Robben scored twice (8', 30', that's him celebrating with teammates after his opening tally) as Bayern Munich scored five goals in the first half en route to a 7-1 road demolition of AS Roma.

AFP/Getty Images photo

GROUP E STANDINGS:

1. Bayern Munich (GP: 3; GD: +8; PTS: 9)
2. AS Roma (GP: 3; GD: -2; PTS: 4)
3. Manchester City (GP: 3; GD: -1; PTS: 2)
4. CSKA Moscow (GP: 3; GD: -5; PTS: 1)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

MLS: Crew Knock Off Red Bulls On Road; Sounders Erase Two-Goal Deficit, Gain Road Draw With Galaxy, Stay In Driver's Set For West Title And Supporters Shield

Two games were played in Major League Soccer on Sunday.

At Harrison, New Jersey:

Aaron Schoenfeld scored twice (17', 80') and Ethan Finlay once (34') as the Columbus Crew defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-1 on the road in a battle of playoff-bound clubs.

At Carson, California:

Clint Dempsey (69') and Lamar Neagle (72') each scored a goal three minutes apart for the Seattle Sounders, who battled back from a two-goal deficit to gain a 2-2 road draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy and maintain, thanks to more wins than Los Angeles, the lead in the races for both the Western Conference title and the Supporters' Shield.  Baggio Husidic (45'+1) and Marcelo Sarvas (50') each delivered a goal for the Galaxy.



MLS STANDINGS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

1.    y-DC United * (GP: 33; GD: +15; PTS: 58)
2.    x-New England (GP: 33; GD: +4; PTS: 52)
3.    x-Kansas City (GP: 33; GD: +9; PTS: 49)
4.    x-Columbus (GP: 33; GD: +9; PTS: 49)
5.    x-New York (GP: 33; GD: +3; PTS: 47)
6.    z-Philadelphia (GP: 33; GD: +1; PTS: 42)
7.    z-Toronto FC (GP: 33; GD: -9; PTS: 41)
8.    z-Houston (GP: 33; GD: -18; PTS: 39)
9.    z-Chicago (GP: 33; GD: -11; PTS: 33)
10.  z-Montreal (GP: 33; GD: -20; PTS: 27)

NOTE: With Sporting Kansas City and Columbus level on points with 49, SKC have more wins than the Crew (14-13).



WESTERN CONFERENCE:

1.    x-Seattle* (GP: 33; GD: +13; PTS: 61)
2.    x-Los Angeles* (GP: 33; GD: +34; PTS: 61)
3.    x-FC Dallas (GP: 33; GD: +12; PTS: 54)
4.    x-Real Salt Lake (GP: 33; GD: +13; PTS: 53)
5.       Vancouver* (GP: 33; GD: +1; PTS: 47)
6.       Portland (GP: 33; GD: +7; PTS: 46) 
7.       Colorado (GP: 33; GD: -18; PTS: 32)
8.       Chivas USA (GP: 32; GD: -31; PTS: 30)
9.       San Jose (GP: 33; GD: -14; PTS: 30)

NOTE:  With Seattle and Los Angeles level on points (61), the Sounders have more wins (19-17), with Chivas USA and San Jose level on points (30), the Goats have more wins than the Earthquakes (8-6).

y-Clinched conference regular-season title

x-Clinched berth in MLS Cup Playoffs

*-Clinched berth in group stage of 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League

z-Eliminated from playoff contention



Saturday, October 18, 2014

MLS: Reds Miss Playoffs Again After Impact Gain 1-1 Draw In Toronto (Crew Clinch Playoff Berth And Whitecaps Lock Up CCL Berth As Result); DC United Lock Up Eastern Conference Title And CCL Berth; Hoops, Philly Win

Five games were on the Saturday Major League Soccer schedule.

At Toronto:

Felipe Martins' equalizer in the 39th minute lifted the nine-man Montreal Impact to a 1-1 road draw with ten-man Toronto FC.  Warren Creaville scored in the 20th minute for the Reds, whom for the eighth consecutive season, failed to make the MLS Cup Playoffs (they're still awaiting their playoff debut).  The draw locked up the final available Eastern Conference playoff berth for the Columbus Crew---and a CONCACAF Champions League berth for next season to the Vancouver Whitecaps, who assured themselves of being the Canadian MLS club with the highest point total.

At Commerce City, Colorado:

Blas Perez converted a penalty kick for the only goal of the match in the 55th minute as FC Dallas climbed into third place in the Western Conference standings following their 1-0 road win over the struggling Colorado Rapids.

At Chester, Pennsylvania:

Pedro Ribeiro scored the winning goal in the 71st minute as the Philadelphia Union knocked off visiting Sporting Kansas City 2-1.

At Washington:

Chris Pontius (31') and Eddie Johnson (53') provided the scoring as DC United locked up their first Eastern Conference regular-season title since 2007 by holding off the visiting Chicago Fire 2-1.  The win also locked up a berth in next season's CONCACAF Champions League for DC.

At Santa Clara,California:

In the San Jose Earthquakes' final home match at Buck Shaw Stadium (they move to a new soccer-specific facility a mile away next season), they were held to a 0-0 draw by the Vancouver Whitecaps, who now hold a one-point lead over Portland for the final Western Conference playoff berth with one game remaining. A victory at home next Saturday over struggling Colorado would lock up that playoff berth for the Whitecaps, whom because of Toronto's home draw with Montreal, locked up a berth in the group stage of next season's CONCACAF Champions League (their debut appearance).

Friday, October 17, 2014

MLS: A Six-Save Night For Nick Rimando Carries RSL To Scoreless Road Draw With Timbers

At Portland, Oregon:

In the lone Friday Major League Soccer contest, goalkeeper Nick Rimando made six saves to help Real Salt Lake gain a 0-0 scoreless deadlock on the road against the Portland Timbers.

RSL, who already locked up a playoff berth, find themselves two points ahead of FC Dallas for third place in the Western Conference standings while the Timbers, now with one regular-season match left (next Saturday at FC Dallas), find themselves level with Vancouver for the Western Conference's fifth and final playoff berth (which Portland technically holds due to superior goal differential).  The Whitecaps will visit already-eliminated San Jose Saturday night in the Earthquakes final game at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

As A Wise Old Philosopher Once Said.......

Stupid is as stupid does.

MLS: Lee Nguyen's Double Lifts Revs To Comeback Win Over Dynamo In Houston

At Houston:

In the lone Thursday night Major League Soccer contest, Lee Nguyen scored twice in the second half (65', 87') as the New England Revolution moved three points ahead of Sporting Kansas City in second place in the Eastern Conference standings (while keeping alive their outside shot at overtaking DC United for the conference's regular-season title) following their 2-1 come-from-behind road victory over the Houston Dynamo, spoiling Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear's final home match (he's leaving at the end of the season to take over the San Jose Earthquakes).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

MLS: Dynamo Eliminated From Playoff Berth After Home Defeat To DC United (Red Bulls Clinch Playoff Berth As Result); Hoops Knock Off Galaxy At Home, Lock Up Playoff Berth

Two games were played on Sunday in Major League Soccer.

At Houston:

Taylor Kemp (42'), Fabian Espindola (64'), and Eddie Johnson (87') each produced a goal as DC United defeated the Houston Dynamo 3-1, eliminating the hosts from playoff contention and clinching an MLS Cup playoff berth for the New York Red Bulls.  DC United, by gaining a draw in either of their final two regular-season matches, can lock up the Eastern Conference's regular-season title and a berth in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League.  The match was suspended for 72 minutes during the 22nd minute due to a lightning delay.

At Frisco, Texas:

Fabian Castillo delivered the game-winning goal in the 87th minute as FC Dallas came from behind to upend the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 and lock up an MLS Cup playoff berth.  The defeat prevented the Galaxy from moving into first place in both the Western Conference and Supporters' Shield races.



MLS STANDINGS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

1.   x-DC United (GP: 32; GD: +14; PTS: 55)
2.   x-New England (GP: 32; GD: +3; PTS: 49)
3.   x-Kansas City (GP: 32; GD: +10; PTS: 49)
4.   x-New York (GP: 32; GD: +5; PTS: 47)
5.      Columbus (GP: 32; GD: +7; PTS: 46)
6.      Toronto FC (GP: 32; GD: -9; PTS: 40)
7.   z-Houston (GP: 32; GD: -17; GD: 39)
8.   z-Philadelphia (GP: 32; GD:  0; PTS: 39)
9.   z-Chicago (GP: 32; GD: -10; PTS: 33)
10. z-Montreal (GP: 32; GD: -20; PTS: 26)

NOTE:  With New England and Sporting Kansas City level on points with 49, the Revolution have more wins (15) and SKC (14).  With Houston and Philadelphia level on points with 39, the Dynamo have more wins (11) than the Union (9).

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

1. x-Seattle (GP: 32; GD: +34; GD: 60)
2. x-Los Angeles (GP: 32; GD: +34; PTS: 60)
3. x-Real Salt Lake (GP: 32; GD: +13; PTS: 52)
4. x-FC Dallas (GP: 32; GD: +11; PTS: 51)
5.    Vancouver (GP: 32; GD: +1; PTS: 46)
6.    Portland (GP: 32; GD: +7; PTS: 45)
7. x-Colorado (GP: 32; GD: -17; PTS: 32)
8. x-Chivas USA (GP: 32; GD: -31; PTS: 30)
9. x-San Jose (GP: 32; GD: -14; PTS: 29)

NOTE: With Seattle and Los Angeles level on points at 60, the Sounders, with 19, hove more wins than the Galaxy (17)..

x-Clinched berth in MLS Cup Playoffs

z-Eliminated from playoff contention   

OFC Champions League: Lupe ole Soaga Advance To Group Stage

The preliminary round for a group-stage berth in the OFC Champions League concluded on Saturday with two games played at Apia, Samoa.

In the opener, Stuart Kelly scored the only goal of the match in the 83rd minute as Puaikura FC from the Cook Islands knocked off Lotoha'apai United 1-0, eliminating the Tongan club from contention.

In what proved to be an anticlimatic nightcap, Silao Malo delivered a hat trick (21', 48', 53') as Samoa's Lupe ole Soaga, who already locked up the group-stage berth with the Lotoha'apai United defeat, demolished SKBC (short for the Samoan Korean Baptist Church) from American Samoa 6-0.

FINAL PRELIMINARY GROUP STANDINGS:

1. Lupe ole Soaga (GP: 3; GD: +8; PTS: 9)
2. Puaikura FC (GP: 3; GD: 0; PTS: 4)
3. Lotoha'apai United (GP: 3; GD: +1; PTS: 3)
4. FC SKBC (GP: 3; GD: -9; PTS: 1)

Lupe ole Soaga advanced to the group stage, which will take place in Fiji during the period of April 17-25, 2015. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

MLS: Revs, RSL Lock Up Playoff Berths; Another BWP Goal Helps Red Bulls Inch Closer To Playoffs; Dramatic Comeback Road Win For Crew (Philly Eliminated); Goats Make It Two Wins In A Row

Five Major League Soccer games were contested on Saturday.

At Montreal:

Kelyn Rowe (16') and Lee Nguyen (69') each scored a goal as the New England Revolution gained a 2-2 road draw with the Montreal Impact and locked up an MLS Cup playoff berth.  Marco Di Vaio scored both of the Impact's goals (12', 39').

At Chester, Pennsylvania:

Ethan Finlay (78'), Justin Meram (79'), and Jairo Arrieta (83') each scored a goal during a five-minute period in the final quarter-hour enabled the Columbus Crew to erase a two-goal deficit and upend the Philadelphia Union 3-2 on the road, eliminating the hosts from MLS Cup playoff contention in the process.

At Harrison, New Jersey:

Bradley Wright-Phillips (26'; his 25th goal of the season), Ruben Bover (36'), and Dax McCarty (45') each scored a goal as the New York Red Bulls inched closer to the playoffs after having defeated visiting Toronto FC 3-1.

At Sandy, Utah:

Nev Grabavoy (23') and Sebastian Velasquez (29') delivered the scoring as Real Salt Lake blanked the visiting (and once again shorthanded) San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 and clinched a playoff berth for the seventh consecutive season.

At Carson, California:

Kris Tyrpak (65') and Felix Borja (85') produced the scoring as Chivas USA came from behind to defeat the visiting Colorado Rapids 2-1 for their second straight win and climbed out of the Western Conference basement.