Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hooligan's Wake Up: China spoils Wambach send off, Platini boycotts ethics committee

Plenty of stories filled our Wednesday, including Abby Wambach's final game with the US Women's National Team and some comments she made before the match. Also, more cup ties from throughout Europe, Michel Platini boycotting the FIFA Ethics Committee, and another MLS free agency signing.

Yesterday's Scores
Women's International Friendly
United States 0-1 China
(Wang Shuang 58')

This match was pretty much an Abby Wambach testimonial and I believe the USWNT got a little caught up in the pomp and circumstance. It was obvious from the very get go that their game plan was to pump as many balls into the box as they could with Wambach as the target and it resulted in a lot of forced passes and missed opportunities. Once she was ceremonially subbed off on the 72nd minute, the attack opened up a little bit (much like it did for the World Cup semifinal against Germany when she was benched), but China's bus was long parked. China's goal was a fluke deflection off a USA defender that caught Hope Solo off guard, and that was enough for the visitors to have the USWNT their first home loss in 11 years.

But the result was never what mattered. What mattered was a celebration of one of, if not the greatest woman to ever play soccer. Abby Wambach has more international goals than any human, she has the fifth most caps in USA history, and pretty much brought women's soccer into the forefront single handedly. Her goal against Brazil at the death of the match set up the penalty shootout that led the USA to the 2011 World Cup final and endeared her to an entire generation of American soccer fans. Although out was clear that her time was up during the championship run off this past summer, she was still a key part of the team that won it all and made this victory tour possible.

So farewell, Abby. You've brought us moments we will never forget on the pitch, and have been an inspiration to girls with athletic dreams everywhere. Now, I look forward to watching you continue that effort in whatever awaits you.

German DfB Pokal
Nurnberg 0-2 Hertha Berlin
(Darida 32', Brooks 65')

VfB Stuttgart 3-2 TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
(Niedermeier  21', Werner 99', Sunjic 118')-(Baffo 6', Ademi 110')

FC Augsburg 0-2 Borussia Dortmund
(Aubameyang 61', Mkhitaryan 66')

TSV 1860 Munich 0-2 Vfl Bochum
(Heberer 39', Hoogland 44')

The German Cup quarterfinalists are topped off by Hertha Berlin, Stuttgart, Borussia Dortmund, and Bochum.

Spanish Copa del Rey
Athletic Bilbao 6-0 Real Balompedica Linense (8-0 aggregate)
(de Marcos 9', Eraso 49', Etxeitia 56', Sola 62', Garcia 67', Rico 89')

Eibar 4-0 Ponferradina (4-3 aggregate)
(Borja 45+2', Enrich 62', Verdi 73', Arruabarrena PK 85')

Getafe 3-1 Rayo Vallecano (3-3 aggregate)
(Leon 8', Vergini 23', Vasquez 31')-(Bangoura 52')

Málaga 0-1 Mirandes (1-3 aggregate)
(Junior 73')

Valencia 2-0 Barakaldo (5-1 aggregate)
(Mine 8', Negredo 31')

Real Sociedad 1-1 Las Palmas (2-3 aggregate)
(Canales 46')-(Jose 37')

Athletic Bilbao, Eibar, Rayo Vallecano, Mirandés, Valencia, and Las Palmas move on to the round of 16.

Coppa Italia
AS Roma 0-0 Spezia (2-4 on penalties)

Fiorentina 0-1 Carpi
(De Gaudio 76')

Napoli 3-0 Hellas Verona
(El Kaddouri 4', Mertens 12', Callejon 75')

Juventus 2-0 Torino
(Zaza 28', 51', Dybala 73', Pogba 82')

Roma, Carpi, Napoli, and Juve move on to the quarters.

Ahead of her final match with the US Women's National Team, Abby Wambach caused quite a stir by saying she would fire Jurgen Klinsmann if she were in charge of US Soccer. She cited his lack of attention to youth programs as her main reason, as well as his reliance on foreign born players who are eligible to play for the USA through one of their parents.

Pep Guardiola, who is out of contract at Bayern Munich at the end of this season, will supposedly shed some light on his future next week. This comes at a curious time as Bayern Munich are still in the thick of the Bundesliga title race as well as in the Champions League round of 16. The speculation is that he will leave the German giants, perhaps in favor of a move to the Premier League.

Former Colorado Rapids defender Drew Moor has become the second MLS player to sign a free agent contract. The former Rapids' captain signed a deal with Toronto FC, hopefully shoring up a defense that suffered when compared to their talented attack.

Mexican businessman Gabriel Brenner has purchased a controlling stake in Houston Dynamo. He takes over majority control of the club, and BBVA Compass Stadium, as well as the NWSL's Houston Dash. Houston had been owned by Phil Anschutz, who also owns LA Galaxy. Thus the era of the same person or group owning multiple teams in MLS has officially come to an end.

The Chelsea board of directors are in the process of determining the future of Jose Mourinho. The met for upwards of nine hours on Tuesday and more yesterday. The board will hold a vote, but the final decision will still come to majority owner Roman Abramovich.

The COPA America final is set for New Jersey's MetLife Stadium next summer on June 26. The Rose Bowl has usually served as the home for major international matches, but that is changing this time around.

Michel Platini, who was supposed to appear on front of FIFA's ethics committee, has decided to boycott the hearing. He believes that the panel set to hear his appeal will be biased and that the case has already been prejudged, despite the ethics committee saying otherwise.  The case will still be judged, fairly (at least as fair as FIFA can get), with or without the UEFA president there, but it's still pretty bad form not to show up to your own defense hearing.

Real Madrid and their intra-city rivals Atletico Madrid are both being probed for violating transfer regulations. While no specific charges were listed, sources say that they are similar to those that caused Barcelona to receive a one year ban on registering new players. The Madrid clubs could face similar sanctions.

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