Friday Kickoff: La Liga schedule released; Pinto resigns from Los Ticos; and more

GarethBaleRealMadrid1-BarcelonaCopaDelReyFinal2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Fans of La Liga only have to wait one more month until the start of the 2014/2015 season.

The Spanish league announced their schedule on Thursday, with the first weekend of games set to take place 30 days from today. The Big Three of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona start off the season against Cordoba, Rayo, and Elche, respectively.

The first big match of the season comes in the third weekend, Sept. 14, when Real Madrid and new signings Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez host their city rivals and defending champion Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona made waves this summer when they completed the signing of controversial forward Luis Suarez, and adding juice to the fire is that Suarez could make his Barcelona debut in the first El Clasico of the season, on October 25/26. Suarez was banned by FIFA for four months due to biting Italy’s Georgio Chiellini, but the ban is completed on Oct. 25. If the match is scheduled on Oct. 26, Suarez could theoretically make his debut, though he’ll surely be far from match fit.

Here are some more stories to start off your Friday:

COSTA RICA MANAGER PINTO RESIGNS

The man who led Costa Rica to a record finish at the 2014 World Cup will no longer coach the team.

Manager Jorge Luis Pinto has decided to resign from his position after reaching an impasse in negotiations for a new contract, ending his second spell as Los Ticos boss. Pinto took over the Costa Rican squad in 2011 and guided them to second place in the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying as well as taking Costa Rica farther than they have ever gone at the World Cup.

Los Ticos shocked everyone by winning their group at the World Cup, filled with three former champions, and going undefeated in the process. Costa Rica beat Greece in penalty kicks to advance to the quarterfinals but fell to the Netherlands in penalty kicks in that round.

REUS RETURNS TO TRAINING

Borussia Dortmund received a boost this week as Marco Reus returned to training ahead of schedule.

The 25-year-old midfielder suffered a poorly-timed ankle ligament injury just days before the start of the World Cup last June, losing his place in the squad and being forced to watch the tournament from home. However, just 46 days after the injury, Reus was on the field to start light training ahead of a full return.

If the rehabilitation continues, Reus could be back as soon as September, according to Kicker.

QUICK KICKS

Olympique Marseille have announced that they will not play their home matches in the Stade Velodrome this season. (REPORT)

Former El Tri boss Javier Aguirre has been appointed as manager of the Japan National Team. (REPORT)

Jeremy Mathieu has admitted that he took less money to move to Barcelona. (REPORT)

AS Roma have completed the loan signing of defender Davide Astori and young forward Tonny Sanabria. (REPORT)

Swansea City have signed Ecuadorian winger Jefferson Montero on a four-year contract. (REPORT)

Everton are nearing the signing of Bosnia and Herzegovina midfielder Muhamed Besic. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Suarez making his Barca debut against Real Madrid? Do you see Costa Rica missing Pinto in the next World Cup? Glad to see Reus back on the field?

Share your thoughts below.

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38 Responses to Friday Kickoff: La Liga schedule released; Pinto resigns from Los Ticos; and more

  1. SilverRey says:

    Huge mistake by Costa Rica! Pinto had that team clicking. Whatever he is demanding they are probably going to give to the next coach anyway…

    • User222 says:

      Pinto probably wanted something in the neighborhood of Jurgen’s… USSF could probably find Pinto a good coaching opportunity within the youth program, say for example an all- Hispanic American U-23.

      • Johannes Kinz says:

        No thanks, how about the best American U-23.

      • cformusic says:

        this is either a lame attempt at humor..or maybe you’re just lame

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        Let’s give him the head coaching job. Let JK recruit and hold press conferences.

        In all seriousness, Pinto was probably the most impressive coach at the WC. (Perkiman the only rival.) They were organized, effective, brave. Costa Rica is insane not to find a way to keep him.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          In fairness, given their performance, Pinto may have sought eyepopping cash on the theory either I get paid here or a Big Club pays me something in that neighborhood to coach them.

          But then Bradley may have had similar ideas and now he’s coaching in Norway.

          • Mason says:

            Eh… Bradley resigned after losing a GC final to MEX.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              Eh…..Bradley then went to Egypt and did a decent job, shopped his services to Europe after that contract, Staebek is what he got. Point is Pinto may be overrating the club market value of NT coach success.

              But thanks for trying.

              • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

                dude, he got canned when Ghana opened the floodgates on Egypt in the first leg of the last round of qualis. Bob didn’t quit fishing for cash.

              • beachbum says:

                Pinto’s situation and Bradley’s similar? come on Imperative, they are actually quite different.

                And Bradley overrated his club value after his national team run? how? all he did was take the challenge to be an American coach abroad, take on some new territory.

                and how did circumstances regarding his departure from the USMNT indicate anything you are claiming it resembles Pinto’s?

              • The Imperative Voice says:

                Have we forgotten historical context? Egypt was in turmoil, domestic league shut down, and he managed to get them all the way through to the final Ghana series. There were “where will Bob go” stories and then Staebek it was.

                It’s not a perfect parallel but nor is it irrelevant to the discussion.

              • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

                Imperative, if your point was that they both are/were attempting to translate relative success (achieving over expectations) into a forward career move then the comparison is relevant. But that’s not what you said. Your whole point was that Pinto “sought eyepopping cash” similar to Bradley. Pinto walking away from contract negotiations is not comparable to Bob getting fired, then aspiring to push the envelop of international acceptance and respect for American coaches. The presumed intent in each case is opposite.

              • beachbum says:

                Hi Imperative, see Marcelo’s reply. I have forgotten no historical context, I’m reminding you of it actually :)

          • beachbum says:

            on Bradley, what are you talking about? sounds like some typical BS

          • Grubbsbl says:

            Imperatives comparative analogy is actually interesting. He is stating both coaches succeeded in taking unfancied sides to another level. The point is if Pinto is holding out for big money, Jürgen like control over the program, or an offer from a top club, he may be overestimating his market value. I think it sucks, but that appears to the reality.

            • beachbum says:

              Bradley never held out for Jurgen money or total control…comparing him to Jurgen in that instance makes sense but not Bradley. Further, Bradley was not riding the crest of the WC but the nadir of the Gold Cup…quite opposite cicumstances.

              And the part about overvaluing national team success to the club level opportunity…perhaps Pinto, but Bradley? he was left no options at the national team level at any level of pay or control whereas Pinto’s thing appears to be about pay and maybe both

        • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

          Algeria’s coach was also outstanding. Was so impressed with them against Argentina, South Korea, and Germany.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      CR is usually pretty good so it’s not all the coach, but they did well this summer and with the same coach might have built from there to challenge us. It might have been different if the snow game was postponed.

      You can’t get one sponsor to cover this cost for a final 8 team?

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        They made it out of the group once before, 1990 and lost thier first second round game. They finished 32nd in 2006, didn’t qualify in 2010 and now they make the quarter finals. Don’t know how you can make that statement.

        • Tony in Quakeland says:

          Sorry – clicked submit too soon. They were well organized and did it withouth any single star. It’s never “all” the coach, but clearly something was vastly different this time

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          “Not all the coach?” Can’t make that statement????????

          Made 2002 and 2006. In 2002 in particular they were #1 in qualifying. Eliminated in 2002 by 1st Brazil and 3rd place Turkey teams. Knocked out of 2010 play in games by 4th place Uruguay.

          The team has been strong before. Not this strong but my point was there’s enough latent quality it’s not all the coach.

          They thrashed us as usual in CR and but for the snow game would have been close in the table. CR may have cut off their nose to spite their face but this is still a top 3-4 team regardless of the coach.

  2. The Imperative Voice says:

    If I understand right, is OM playing its first home game agaist Montpelier at Montpelier? Fun season for their fans to look forward to……

    I also like the way “L’Olympique de Marseille présente, une nouvelle fois, toutes ses excuses à ses supporters.” I know it’s a false cognate but presented excuses to the supporters indeed.

  3. timmytwoshoezzz says:

    Anyone read French or have the backstory on Marseille? I wonder why they won’t play their home games in their own stadium?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The official announcement is vague and terse, they say they were not able to reach a reasonable agreement and the radical position of the local government left them no other choice. Long on rhetoric short on facts.

      • beto says:

        City owned stadium cost too much $$ in rent. Its like DCU at RFK but way worse.

        Too bad bc the Vélodrome is beatiful. I don’t know where the other place is…but ya i bet fans are outraged

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Except that’s not the US, where exactly does OM expect to play but Marseille, and they’re not going to build the team a palace to keep them, like here.

  4. James says:

    No word on Yedlin? ESPN says its a done deal

  5. beachbum says:

    Pinto was awesome, will be interesting to see how Costa Rica progresses

  6. The Imperative Voice says:

    Rumor is Houston is working on signing Luis Garrido, which would be the requisite step back we have to take after signing Beasley. Conceptually I assume we will try to plug the middle with Garrido and Clark but that still won’t hide Horst and Brunner IMO. And we won’t win the whole thing without better striking, even if some other areas get fixed and the team gels, the Cup losses pretty much already tell you that much.

  7. Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

    I admit he did wonders with CR in the WC, but not a big fan of this guy. In response to the Campbell fall down- Besler red card in qualification: “I am worried about Campbell,” Pinto said on Costa Rican TV, transcribed by Diez.hn in Honduras. “I hate the licit gesture from the United States for putting a camera behind the coach’s area. They’re not going to refute that, but we should not allow that. It’s a camera that confuses regulations. It’s an aggressive act and it’s resentful of the United States.” In the same video, he refuses to condemn the laser pointers on Dempsey’s face, and the stadium cutting Dempsey’s mic for the pregame address. Classy

    Good coach. Not a fan.

  8. MiamiAl says:

    Ha ha ha! Japan just went from bad to worse…