Saprissa knocks Sporting KC out of CCL contention

An away-goal advantage sees Saprissa onto the next round after shutting out Sporting KC, 2-0 Thursday.

Tim Howard Everton 76

Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind

Tim Howard and Everton stayed undefeated in the UEFA Champions League, Jose Torres scored, and more in the Americans Abroad’s midweek action.

Alfredo Morales USMNT 75

As he finds success on the club level, Morales also making progress with USMNT

Alfredo Morales has settled in as a starter for Bundesliga 2-leading FC Ingolstadt, and his club success has led to a chance to impress on the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Saprissa knocks Sporting KC out of CCL contention

SportingKC-Sapressa-USAToday

By TATE STEINLAGE 

Sporting Kansas City entered the night needing only a draw to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals for the second-straight year. Standing in their way, though, were Deportivo Saprissa and a rowdy “Monster’s Cave” crowd.

It proved to be too much in the end for the defending MLS Cup champions. Heiner Mora and Ariel Rodriguez scored for Saprissa, eliminating a two-goal deficit in Group 2 to jump Sporting KC in the standings on away goals, en route to a 2-0 shutout victory.

“I thought we battled,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said over the phone after the game. “We’re playing away from home at their place, we’re going to push the game — they know they have to run after it — and we’re going to try to not open ourselves up.

“From that point of view, I thought we did some good things. Unfortunately, they scored two and we couldn’t get one in.”

Rodriguez celebrated the feat with thousands chanting and screaming his name. It was his goal in the 47th minute that punched Saprissa’s ticket into the next round. Dates and matchups for the quarterfinals will be announced by CONCACAF at a later date.

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Posted in CONCACAF Champions League, Featured, MLS- Sporting Kansas City | 7 Comments

Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind

Tim Howard Everton 76

By FRANCO PANIZO

Everton’s stranglehold on Group 5 did not get tighter, but the club is still sitting pretty after grabbing another result on the road.

The Toffees remained atop their UEFA Europa League group after the third round of matches on Thursday, securing a valuable point in a scoreless draw at French club Lille. Tim Howard helped Everton stay undefeated at the midway point of their group stage campaign, making three saves to record his first cleansheet of the 2014-15 competition. The Premiership club now looks like a good bet to advance, as two of their final three matches in this phase of the tournament are at home.

While Howard and Everton’s chances of moving in the Champions League were raised, Jose Torres made sure his team stayed alive in their respective tournament. Torres scored a superb game-winner on Wednesday by bending a free kick into the top near corner of Tigres’ 2-0 Copa MX quarterfinals win against Toluca. The goal was his first of the season.

There was another positive development in England’s second division, as Emerson Hyndman started and played 73 minutes in Fulham’s 3-3 draw with Rotherham United on Tuesday. The appearance was Hyndman’s first in about a month, and ended a three-game spell of inactivity for the young midfielder.

Here is how the Americans Abroad performed during the midweek action:

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 5 Comments

Must-See Goal: Erik Lamela

Erik Lamela Tottenham

Posted in European Soccer, Must-See Goals, Must-See Videos | 9 Comments

RSL roll over Chivas USA in regular season finale

JoaoPlataRSL1-ChivasUSA2014 (USATODAYSports)

Photo by Russ Isabella/USA TODAY Sports

By TYLER GRAY 

SANDY, Utah. — Chivas USA had beaten Real Salt Lake the two previous encounters this season, but RSL had the final say on Wednesday evening.

RSL strolled to a 2-0 victory over Chivas USA at Rio Tinto Stadium thanks to goals from forward Alvaro Saborio and midfielder Kyle Beckerman, with Chivas USA finishing the match with ten men due to a silly red card from Marvin Chavez. It was the third-straight shutout for RSL as they wrapped up their regular-season schedule.

“It feels great,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said following the match. “Obviously we’re extremely blessed to have such an incredible group of men in that locker room. As far as the staff, we came together quickly; that started in the preseason. It’s a great group to work with. We are all passionate about the team. But we still all have a lot of work to do and that is exciting. It’s a credit to the guys in the locker room; to the core group of that have been here for a while.”

RSL had already secured the opening goal in the 36th minute via a penalty kick after Saborio was taken down in the box by Bobby Burling during a free kick. Saborio took his penalty well, rifling a shot to the left, not showing any hesitation to give his squad a 1-0 lead with his eighth goal of the year.

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Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Chivas USA, MLS- Real Salt Lake | 3 Comments

Impact pleased with strong CCL group stage campaign despite late slip up

Frank Klopas Montreal Impact 55

Photo by Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports
 

By FRANCO PANIZO

HARRISON, N.J. — Conceding a late equalizer was not the way the Montreal Impact had hoped to finished things, but not even that was enough to stop them from feeling good about what they had accomplished.

The Impact saw their perfect record in the CONCACAF Champions League come to an end on Wednesday night, as late strike from Connor Lade saw the New York Red Bulls grab a 1-1 draw in their rainy and cold Group 5 finale at Red Bull Arena.

Lade’s goal put the a small dent in Montreal’s otherwise strong campaign in group play, but the struggling MLS club was still plenty pleased with remaining undefeated in the tournament at 3-0-1, finishing atop the group, and moving on to the knockout rounds of the competition next spring.

“You want to be able to close games out, so we weren’t able to do that, but I think we’re still feeling very good as a group, winning the group and then advancing,” said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. “That was one of our goals before the season started: winning the Canadian Cup and advancing in CCL. I think that was very important.”

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Posted in CONCACAF, CONCACAF Champions League, International Soccer, Major League Soccer, MLS- Montreal Impact | Leave a comment

As he finds success on the club level, Morales also making progress with USMNT

Alfredo Morales USMNT 75

By FRANCO PANIZO

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Jurgen Klinsmann often encourages his U.S. Men’s National Team players to push themselves to the highest levels, but one youngster who recently went against that line of thinking and has reaped tremendous benefits is Alfredo Morales.

Morales is an every-game starter for FC Ingolstadt these days, which is part of the reason that they are enjoying an incredible and undefeated start to their season. The 24-year-old Morales’ performances in central midfield have helped the club post a 6-0-4 to reach the top of the 2. Bundesliga table, and also seen him reenter the U.S. picture after being out of it for quite some time.

That Morales finds himself in these favorable situations is not simply down to him working hard. Rather, a calculated decision made on his part in May 2013 to move away from childhood club Hertha Berlin, which had gained promotion to Germany’s top tier, paved the way for him to enjoy these successes. It was a difficult choice, but a necessary one.

“Sometimes there is the point where you have to move, you have to go somewhere,” Morales told SBI. “Because I play for Hertha Berlin 13 years and when you come from the whole youth system and you know everybody – I love the city, I love the club, everything’s cool – but sometimes you’re always like a little boy.

“Yeah, maybe I could play there but now I decided to go the 2. Bundesliga and I think it’s the best decision I could make.”

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, U.S. Men's National Team | 11 Comments