Photo by Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports
By CAITLIN MURRAY
D.C. United didn’t need to bring its first team to Panama. The Black-and-Red had already qualified clinched a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
But even with a small roster of mostly second-stringers and reserve players, DCU kept up its winning ways, clinching a 1-0 win over Tauro FC on Tuesday to finish perfect in the CCL group stage and nab an all-important a top-four seed in the tournament’s knockout round.
The DCU fielded Tuesday night was hardly the squad that has dominated the Eastern Conference in Major League Soccer, but the motley crew weathered a spirited surge from Liga Panameña to hold onto an accidental lead.
Photo by Don Liebig/UCLA Athletics
By AARON CRANFORD
The Washington Huskies suffered their first Pac-12 loss of the season a week ago to UCLA, but they don’t have to wait long for a chance to exact revenge.
The SBI No. 4 Huskies take on the No. 5 Bruins on Thursday night, in the marquee match of a stacked schedule of midweek college matches. Washington will be at home, and will be looking to shake a recent slump against a UCLA side coming off an impressive 3-0 rout of Oregon State.
With freshman Abu Danladi scoring two goals Sunday and being named Pac-12 Player of the Week, the Bruins won’t need to rely strictly on star midfielder Leo Stolz, who scored the winner against Washington last week.
No. 1 Indiana fell to No. 25 Maryland Sunday, and their week is only becoming tougher as they play No. 17 Notre Dame on Wednesday. Notre Dame is on a roll, having won three straight matches, but the Fighting Irish will have to earn it on the road against a tough Hoosiers squad.
The Hoosiers are led by Jamie Vollmer, who has a team-high four assists this year. Vollmer provided some key passes in the Maryland match, but none of his teammates could find the back of the net.
Here is a rundown at the top midweek college matches this week:
Photo by Steve Dykes/USA TODAY Sport
By RYAN TOLMICH
Despite being on opposite ends of the current MLS playoff spectrum, the Portland Timbers and D.C. United enter Tuesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League action with an eye on the knockout round.
Both sides head into Tuesday undefeated in CCL play, although the Timbers still have everything to play for as the team heads down to Honduras to take on Olimpia, who they previously topped, 4-2, within the friendly confines of Providence Park.
The Timbers face a favorable scenario for advancement, as either a win or a draw would secure a spot in the knockout stages. Even a one-goal loss would be good enough to see the Timbers through via a tiebreaker.
In addition to advancement, the Timbers could go so far as lock up the top overall seed in the next stage, as the team currently stands out with Mexico’s Pachuca as the two teams who can finish with the highest goal differential amongst those who could finish with all 12 points. Continue reading
Photos by USA TODAY Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — For most players, this month’s U.S. Men’s National Team camp was just part of the initial phases in the beginning of a new four-year cycle.
For Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando, it was much more than that.
Guzan and Rimando continued their competition for the starting U.S. goalkeeper spot left vacant by Tim Howard in August, each trying to make a case for why they should be the one to fill the big gloves left behind by the veteran. What is at stake for them is not only a chance at becoming the first-choice goalkeeper ahead next summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, but also the opportunity to potentially be in the driver’s seat for when World Cup qualifying rolls around in a couple years’ time.
Having spent so many camps together in recent years serving as Howard’s understudies, the two men have maintained a friendly relationship in the midst of this competition. But make no mistake, both Guzan and Rimando are fully aware that there is a golden ticket to be won.
“You don’t become a professional to sit on the bench,” Guzan told SBI. “You always want to play – whether you’re with your national team, your club team. You don’t get to the highest level of being able to represent your country by taking the easy way, so you want to play games, you want to be the guy that’s called upon to make big saves.
“For me, it’s a huge opportunity and something that I’m looking forward to.”
Photo by John Rieger/USA TODAY Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
Less than two years after departing the club for Wigan Atletic, Roger Espinoza is pushing for a return to Sporting KC.
Wigan manager Uwe Rosler revealed Tuesday that the Honduran midfielder is looking to leave the club with aims of making a return to Sporting KC for family reasons.
“Roger came twice to me and wanted to leave the club. He wanted to go back to Kansas,” Rosler said. “I think after he came back after the World Cup he struggled to find an appetite for football.
“His family is in the States, it was very difficult. I have never dealt with a player who has been at a World Cup, and I think for Roger it was a new experience… He came back and wanted to go back to Kansas, he was homesick.” Continue reading
Photo by Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY Sport
By RYAN TOLMICH
After a three-week break, the UEFA Champions League is back in action Tuesday with the first wave of the group stage’s third round.
Tuesday’s action is highlighted by a clash between Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and Serie A powerhouse Roma, who sit first and second in the difficult Group E, respectively. Both teams feature plenty of attacking talent, as Bayern wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben will look to outshine Roma speedsters Gervinho and Juan Manuel Iturbe.
Meanwhile, Tuesday also features a clash of two clubs with world famous academy systems as Barcelona take on Ajax at Camp Nou. The two teams currently sit second and third in their group behind Paris Saint-Germain who hosts APOEL.
In other action, Tuesday boasts a Copa MX clash between Santos Laguna and Chivas de Guadalajara, four CONCACAF Champions League group stage finales and the continuation of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship as Martinique takes on Costa Rica while Mexico takes on Jamaica.
If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump): Continue reading