Thursday, October 30, 2014

MLS Cup Playoffs: BWP's Double Helps Red Bulls Oust Defending Champs; Get DC United Next

At Harrison, New Jersey:

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice late in the second half (77', 90') as the New York Red Bulls came from behind Thursday to dethrone defending champions Sporting Kansas City 2-1 in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference knockout playoff match.

New York will host DC United in the opening match of an Eastern Conference two-game semifinal series on Sunday at 1:00 PM Pacific Time (Univision Deportes) with the return contest set for Washington on November 8 (11:30 AM Pacific Time, NBC).

Goats' Replacement In Los Angeles

That was the word that was announced on Thursday as Major League Soccer announced that a new expansion club will start play in the City of Angels (or at least in the vicinity of Los Angeles) beginning in 2017.

For the time being, the club is being called the Los Angeles Football Club.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MLS Cup Playoffs: Michel's Late PK Sends Hoops Past Caps And Into Conference Semifinal Series Against Sounders

At Frisco, Texas:

Michel's penalty kick in the 84th minute carried FC Dallas To a 2-1 home victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Western Conference one-game knockout playoff as the Major League Soccer Cup Playoffs commenced on Wednesday.

The Hoops will next take on the newly-crowned Supporters' Shield winners, the Seattle Sounders in a two-game Western Conference semifinal series, which begins this coming Sunday at Frisco, Texas (6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, ESPN 2), with the return match to be played in Seattle on Monday, November 10 (7:30 PM Pacific Time, NBCSN).

Monday, October 27, 2014

Club Deportivo Chivas USA, R.I.P.

Well, friends and neighbors, what has been suspected for quite some time became official on Monday as Major League Soccer announced that the Goats will cease operations immediately.

This is timed with the planned Los Angeles expansion club that is set to start play in 2017.

Also, the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City will switch to the Western Conference next season to accompany the arrival of the two new expansion clubs, New York City and Orlando City.

Having begun play in the same year as Real Salt Lake (2005), Chivas USA had an awful first year.  Then, under first Bob Bradley, then Preki, the Goats made the playoffs four straight years (2006-09).  They even finished atop the Western Conference standings in 2007.

During that four-year run, the Los Angeles Galaxy failed to make the playoffs in three of those years----including David Beckham's first two seasons with the Galaxy.

But the Goats never advanced beyond the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs and after 2009, never took part in them again.

The club, which had been owned by the owner of Mexico's Chivas de Guadalajara, was purchased by MLS prior to the start of this season but the problems continued. There had been criticisms of the club under the previous management as they operated as nothing more than a minor-league farm club for their more famous Mexican parent club.

At least at the end, the Goats managed to win three of their final four games.

At times this year, attendance for Goats games at the StubHub Center drifted between poor and pitiful.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

CAF Champions League Final:

At Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo:

Lema Mabidi scored twice (PK-45'+3, 77') as AS Vita Club battled visiting ES Setif to a 2-2 series-opening draw on Sunday as the two-match final of the CAF Champions League.  Ndombe Mubele (OG-17') and Akram Djahnit (59') each scored a goal for the Algerian club.

The series will conclude this coming Saturday as Setif, Algeria.

The winner will advance to December's FIFA Club World Cup, set to play in Morocco.

MLS: BWP Ties Regular Season Scoring Record As Red Bulls Dump SKC; Crew, Goats (In Likely Finale) Bag Sunday Wins As Regular Season Ends

Three games were played on Sunday as Major League Soccer's regular season came to a close.

At Columbus, Ohio:

Jairo Arrieta (13') and Bernardo Anor (90') each scored a goal as the Columbus Crew assured themselves of avoiding the fourth vs. fifth place knockout playoff with a third-place Eastern Conference finish following their 2-1 home win over the Philadelphia Union.

At Carson, California:

Felix Borja scored the only goal of the match in the 32nd minute as Chivas USA, in what may have been the final contest of their existence after ten years, racked up their third victory in their last four games with a 1-0 home win over the San Jose Earthquakes and finished seventh in the Western Conference. 

At Kansas City, Kansas:

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice (15', 70') as he wound up the season with an MLS single-season record-tying 27 goals (equaling the recored first set in 1996 by Roy Lassiter of the Tampa Bay Mutiny and matched in 2012 by the San Jose Earthquakes' Chris Wondolowski).  The New York Red Bulls leapfrogged Sporting Kansas City into fourth place in the Eastern Conference with their 2-0 road victory and will host SKC in an opening round playoff game this coming Thursday.



FINAL MLS STANDINGS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

1.   DC United (GP: 34; GD: +15; PTS: 59)
2.   New England (GP: 34; GD: +5; PTS: 55)
3.   Columbus (GP: 34; GD: +10; PTS: 52)
4.   New York (GP: 34; GD: +5; PTS: 50)
5.   Kansas City (GP: 34; GD: +7; PTS: 49)
6.   Philadelphia (GP: 34; GD: 0; PTS: 42)
7.   Toronto FC (GP: 34; GD: -10; PTS: 41)
8.   Houston (GP: 34; GD: -19; PTS: 39)
9.   Chicago (GP: 34; GD: -10; PTS: 36)
10. Montreal (GP: 34; GD: -20; PTS: 28)

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

1. Seattle (GP: 34; GD: +15; PTS: 64)
2. Los Angeles (GP: 34; GD: +32; PTS: 61)
3. Real Salt Lake (GP: 34; GD: +15; PTS: 56)
4. FC Dallas (GP: 34; GD: +10; PTS: 54)
5. Vancouver (GP: 34; GD: +2; PTS: 50)
6. Portland (GP: 34; GD: +9; PTS: 49)
7. Chivas USA (GP: 34; GD: -32; PTS: 33)
8. Colorado (GP: 34; GD: -19; PTS: 32)
9. San Jose (GP: 34; GD: -15; PTS: 30)



The 2014 MLS Cup playoffs will get underway this coming Wednesday.

Knockout Round:

Wednesday, 6:00 PM Pacific Time:

FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (Western Conference)

Thursday, 5:00 PM Pacific Time:

New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City (Eastern Conference)



Conference Semifinals (all two-game total-goals series):

Eastern Conference:

This coming Saturday, 1:00 PM Pacific Time:

Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution, Game #1

Next Sunday, November 2, 1:00 PM Pacific Time:

New York-Kansas City winner vs. DC United, Game #1

Saturday, November 8, 11:30 AM Pacific Time:

DC United vs. New York-Kansas City winner, Game #2

Sunday, November 9, 2:00 PM Pacific Time

New England vs. Columbus, Game #2



Western Conference:

This coming Saturday, 5:00 PM, Pacific Time:

Real Salt Lake vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, Game #1

Next Sunday, 6:00 PM Pacific Time:

Dallas-Vancouver winner vs. Seattle Sounders, Game #1

Sunday, November 9, 4:30 PM Pacific Time

Los Angeles vs. Real Salt Lake, Game #2

Monday, November 9, 7:30 PM Pacific Time

Seattle vs. Dallas-Vancouver winner, Game #2




Saturday, October 25, 2014

MLS: Marco Pappa Smurfs A Pair As Sounders Blank Galaxy To Clinch Supporters' Shield; Despite 2-0 Road Win Over Hoops, Timbers Still Eliminated From Playoffs After Caps Victory Over Hapless Rapids

Saturday marked the next-to-last day of Major League Soccer's regular season as five games were contested.

At Seattle:

Marco Pappa smurfed a pair of goals late in the contest (85', 90'+5) as the Seattle Sounders blanked the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 and won the Supporters' Shield for the first time in their MLS history.  The Sounders will have home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs.

At Montreal:

In a battle of the two MLS clubs that advanced to the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Champions League, Fabian Espindola's equalizer in the 86th minute lifted DC United to a 1-1 road draw with the Montreal Impact, whose goal came in the 27th minute from Marco Di Vaio, in his final contest before his planned retirement.

At Foxborough, Massachusetts:

Lee Nguyen scored the only goal of the match in the 36th minute as the New England Revolution locked up second place in the Eastern Conference with their 1-0 home victory over Toronto FC.

At Frisco, Texas:

Darlington Nagbe (43') and Maximiliano Urruti (81') delivered the goals as the Portland Timbers blanked FC Dallas 2-0, ending the Hoops' eight-match home winning streak and knocked the hosts into a Wednesday opening-round knockout playoff.  The Timbers moved into the Western Conference's final playoff spot---for the time being.

At Vancouver, British Columbia:

Kendall Waston scored the only goal of the match in the 70th minute as the Vancouver Whitecaps blanked the visiting Colorado Rapids (who ended the season on a 14-match winless skid) 1-0 and snatched----and clinched---the final Western Conference playoff berth.  Goalkeeper David Ousted made five saves to preserve the shutout (his 13th of the season)---and the victory that knocked the Portland Timbers out of post-season play.

AFC Champions League Final: Western Sydney Wanderers Take Series Opener 1-0 At Home

At Sydney, Australia:

Tomi Juric scored the only goal of the match in the 64th minute as the Western Sydney Wanderers defeated visiting Al-Hilal 1-0 in Saturday's opening contest of the two-game AFC Champions League Final.

The series will conclude next Saturday at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  The winner of this series will play in December's FIFA Club World Cup, set to take place in Morocco.

Friday, October 24, 2014

MLS: Stoppage-Time Goal Lifts Fire To Home Victory, Spoils Dominic Kinnear's Finale As Dynamo Head Coach

At Bridgeview, Illinois:

In the lone Friday Major League Soccer contest, Florent Sinama-Pongolle scored the winning goal in the first minute of second-half stoppage time as the Chicago Fire came from behind to upend the visiting Houston Dynamo 2-1 in the season finale for both clubs, ruining the finale for Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear, who's leaving to take over as head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes next year.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CONCACAF Champions League: Sporting KC Falls To Saprissa In Costa Rica; Eliminated From Tournament; Club Lion Overpowers Isidro Metapan On Final Night Of Group-Stage Play

Group-stage play in the CONCACAF Champions League concluded on Thursday with two games.

Group Two:

At San Jose, Costa Rica:

Heiner Mora (22') and Ariel Rodriguez (46') each scored a goal as Deportivo Saprissa blanked visiting Sporting Kansas City 2-0 and snatched the Group Two title and a berth in the quarterfinal round.

FINAL GROUP TWO STANDINGS:

1. Deportivo Saprissa (GP: 4; GD: +3; PTS: 7)
2. Sporting Kansas City (GP: 4; GD: +3; PTS: 7)
3. Real Esteli  (GP: 4; GD: -6; PTS: 2)

Deportivo Saprissa, by scoring more away goals in head-to-head competition with Sporting Kansas City (1-0), won Group Two and advanced to the quarterfinal round.

Group Seven:

At Leon de los Aldamas, Mexico:

Jose Ruiz (55', 65') and Yamilson Rivera (81', 89') each scored twice in the second half as Club Leon broke open what was at halftime a scoreless stalemate and demolished visiting Isidro Metapan 4-0 in the tournament finale for both clubs.

FINAL GROUP SEVEN STANDINGS:

1. CS Herediano (GP: 4; GD: +7; PTS: 10)
2. Club Leon (GP: 4; GD: +4; PTS: 7)
3. Isidro Metapan (GP: 4; GD: -11; PTS: 0)

CS Herediano advanced to the quarterfinal round.



Here are the match-ups for the quarterfinal round two-game series (set to start in the Spring of 2015) with the game-one hosts listed first.

LD Alajuelense (Costa Rica) vs. DC United (United States)

Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica) vs. Club America (Mexico)

CD Olimpia (Honduras) vs. CS Herediano (Costa Rica)

Pachuca (Mexico) vs. Montreal Impact (Canada)



Here are the match-ups for the two-game series in the semifinal round, with the game-one hosts listed first:

Pachuca-Montreal Impact winner vs. Alajuelense-DC United winner

Olimpia-Herediano winner vs. Saprissa-Club America winner

Slated for later in the Spring is the two-match final for a berth in the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup.




Europa League: Group Stage At Midway Point

Group-stage play in the Europa League reached the midway point on Thursday with 23 games.

Group A:

At Villarreal, Spain:

Luciano Vietto scored what proved to be the winning goal in the 57th minute as Villarreal dominated visiting FC Zurich 4-1.

At Monchengladbach, Germany:

Ibrahima Traore scored twice (11', 67') as Borussia Monchengladbach made mince meat of visiting Apollon Limassol 5-0.

GROUP A STANDINGS:

1. Villarreal (GP: 3; GD: +7; PTS: 7) 
2. Borussia Monchengladbach (GP: 3; GD: +5; PTS: 5)
3. Apollon Limassol (GP: 3; GD: -8; PTS: 3)
4. FC Zurich (GP: 3; GD: -4; PTS: 1)



Group B:

At Turin, Italy:

Cristian Molinaro (35') and Amauri (58') each delivered a goal in Torino's 2-0 home blanking of HJK Helsinki.

At Bruges, Belgium:

Victor Vazquez delivered the stoppage time equalizer (90'+2) that enabled Club Brugge to salvage a 1-1 home draw with FC Copenhagen.  Daniel Amartley scored for the Lions in the 89th minute.

GROUP B STANDINGS:

1. Torino FC (GP: 3; GD: +3; PTS: 7)
2. Club Brugge (GP: 3; GD: +3; PTS: 5)
3. FC Copenhagen (GP: 3; GD: +1; PTS: 4)
4. HJK Helsinki (GP: 3; GD: -7; PTS: 0)



Group C:

At London:

Harry Kane delivered a hat trick (13', 76',81') and Erik Lamela added a double (30', 66') enabled Tottenham Hotspur to smother visiting Asteras Tripoli 5-1.

At Belgrade, Serbia:

Four different goal scorers, starting with Veli Kavlak in the 18th minute, each tallied once as Besiktas went to the Serbian capital and demolished Partizan Belgrade 4-0.

GROUP C STANDINGS:

1. Besiktas (GP: 3; GD: +4; PTS: 5)
2. Tottenham Hotspur (GP: 3; GD: +4; PTS: 5)
3. Asteras Tripoli FC (GP: 3; GD: -2; PTS: 4)
4. Partizan Belgrade (GP: 3; GD: -6; PTS: 1)



Group D:

At Glasgow, Scotland:

Stefan Scepovic (73') and Stefan Johansen (79') each tallied once as Celtic held off visiting FC Astra Giurgiu 2-1.

At Wals-Siezenheim, Austria:

Alan Carvalho produced a hat trick (14', 45', 52') as FC Red Bull Salzburg doubled up visiting Dinamo Zagreb 4-2.

GROUP D STANDINGS:

1. Celtic FC (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 7)
2. FC Red Bull Salzburg (GP: 3; GD: +3; PTS: 7)
3. Dinamo Zagreb (GP: 3; GD: +1; PTS: 3)
4. FC Astra Giurgiu (GP: 3; GD: -6; PTS: 0)



Group E:

At Estoril, Portugal:

Yuri Zhirkov scored the winning goal in the 80th minute as Dynamo Moscow defeated Estoril 2-1 on the road.

At Eindhoven, Netherlands:

Nikolaos Karelis' equalizer in the 87th minute lifted Panathinaikos to a 1-1 road draw with PSV Eindhoven.  Memphis Depay scored for the hosts in the 44th minute.

GROUP E STANDINGS:

1. Dynamo Moscow (GP: 3; GD: +3; PTS: 9)
2. PSV Eindhoven (GP: 3; GD: 0; PTS: 4)
3. Estoril (GP: 3; GD: 0; PTS: 3)
4. Panathinaikos (GP: 3; GD: -3; PTS: 1)



Group F:

At Milan, Italy:

Inter Milan battled visiting Saint-Etienne to a 0-0 stalemate.

At Kiev, Ukraine:

Muarem Muarem scored the only goal of the match in the 21st minute as Qarabag FK blanked FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-0 on the road, becoming the first club from Azerbaijan to win a UEFA group-stage contest.

GROUP F STANDINGS:

1. Inter Milan (GP: 3; GD: +3; PTS: 7)
2. Qarabag FK (GP: 3; GD: -1; PTS: 4)
3. Saint-Etienne (GP: 3; GD: 0; PTS: 3)
4. FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (GP: 3; GD: -1; PTS: 1)



Group G:

At Rijeka, Crotia:

Andrej Kramaric delivered a hat trick (63', 71', PK-76') as HNK Rijeka defeated visiting Feyenoord Rotterdam 3-1.

At Liege, Belgium:

Sevilla held home-standing Standard Liege to a 0-0 stalemate.

GROUP G STANDINGS:

1. Sevilla (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 5)
2. Standard Liege (GP: 3; GD: +1; PTS: 4)
3. HNK Rijeka (GP: 3; GD: 0; PTS: 4)
4. Feyenoord Rotterdam (GP: 3; GD: -3; PTS: 3)



Group H:

At Krasnodar, Russia:

Kevin De Bruyne scored twice (46', 80') as VfL Wolfsburg defeated FC Krasnodar 4-2 on the road.

At Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France:

Everton held hosts LOSC Lille Metropole to a 0-0 deadlock.

GROUP H STANDINGS:

1. Everton (GP: 3; GD: +3; PTS: 5)
2. VfL Wolfsburg (GP: 3; GD: -1; PTS: 4)
3. LOSC Lille Metropole (GP: 3; GD: 0; PTS: 3)
4. FC Krasnodar (GP: 3; GD: -2; PTS: 2)



Group I:

At Bratislava, Slovakia:

David Lafata (56'), Tiemoko Konate (61'), and Ladislav Krejci (81') delivered the goals in Sparta Prague's 3-0 road domination of FC Slovan Braitislava.

At Bern, Switzerland:

Guillaume Hoarau (52') and Leonardo Bertone (90'+2) each scored once as BSC Young Boys blanked visiting Napoli 2-0.

GROUP I STANDINGS:

1. Sparta Prague (GP: 3; GD: +3; PTS: 6)
2. BSC Young Boys (GP: 3; GD: +5; PTS: 6)
3. Napoli (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 6)
4. FC Slovan Bratislava (GP: 3; GD: -10; PTS: 0)



Group J:

At Aalborg, Denmark:

Nicolaj Thomsen scored twice (39', 90'+1) as Aalborg BK dominated visiting Dynamo Kiev 3-0.

At Bucharest, Romania:

Raul Rusescu scored twice (17', 46') to power Steaua Bucharest past visiting Rio Ave 2-1.

GROUP J STANDINGS:

1. Steaua Bucharest (GP: 3; GD: +5; PTS: 6)
2. Dynamo Kiev (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 6)
3. Aalborg BK (GP: 3; GD: -2; PTS: 6)
4. Rio Ave (GP:3; GD: -5; PTS: 0)



Group K:

At Barysaw, Belarus:

Dynamo Minsk settled for a 0-0 home draw with Guingamp.

At Thessaloniki, Greece:

Juan Manuel Vargas scored the only goal of the match in the 38th minute as Fiorentina defeated PAOK FC 1-0 on the road.

GROUP K STANDINGS:

1. Fiorentina (GP: 3; GD: +7; PTS: 9)
2. Guingamp (GP: 3; GD: -1; PTS: 4)
3. PAOK FC (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 3)
4. FC Dinamo Minsk (GP: 3; GD: -8; PTS: 1)



Group L:

At Trabzon, Turkey:

In the lone Thursday Group L contest, Trabzonspor, with goals from Mustapha Yatabare (54') and Kevin Constant (87') blanked visiting Lokeren 2-0.

GROUP L STANDINGS:

1. Legia Warsaw (GP: 3; GD: +3; PTS: 9)
2. Trabzonspor (GP: 3; GD: +2; PTS: 6)
3. Lokeren (GP: 3; GD: -2; PTS: 3)
4. FC Metalist Kharkiv (GP: 3; GD: -3; PTS: 0)