Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Euro squads released, Navas out of Copa America Centenario

Yesterday's Scores
World Cup Qualifying- OFC
Solomon Islands 0-1 Fiji
(Krishna PK 85')

Papua New Guinea 2-2 Tahiti
(Gunemba 45+1', 64')-(A. Tehau 66', T. Tehau 76')

New Caledonia 7-0 Samoa
(Kayara 18', 30', Nemia 28', Lolohea 38', Wadriako 53', Cexome 79', Dahite 89')

Headlines
The entire list of squads for Euro 2016 has been announced. That star studded tournament kicks off in France next week Friday, June 10. Several nations are making their first appearance at the tournament thanks to the expansion of the field to 24 teams. Some notable mentions are  the inclusion of Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford for England and the lack of Marco Reus in Germany's final squad.

Costa Rica have taken a big blow in their Copa America hopes. Star goalkeeper Keylor Navas will miss out on the tournament as he recovers from an achilles tendon injury. The Real Madrid keeper has battled the ailment throughout the season and did play the full 120 minutes plus penalties as Real won the Champions league on Saturday. Costa Rica's Copa America campaign kicks off on Saturday after the USA and Colombia open the tournament on Friday night.

Today's Matches
MLS
Philadelphia Union v. columbus Crew- 7pm
D.C. United v. Seattle Sounders- 8pm
Portland Timbers v. San Jose Earthquakes- 10:30pm

US Open Cup- Third Round
Jacksonville Armada FC v. Charleston Battery- 11am
Fort Lauderdale Strikers v. Richmond Kickers- 7pm
Rochester Rhinos v. Lansdowne Bhoys FC- 7pm
Indy Eleven v. Louisville City FC- 7:30pm
New York Cosmos v. Jersey Express- 7:30pm
Carolina Railhawks v. Charlotte Independence- 7:30pm
Chattanooga FC v. Harrisburg City Islanders- 7:30pm
Tampa Bay Rowdies v. FC Cincinnati- 7:30pm
Miami FC v. Wilmington Hammerheads FC- 8pm
Rayo OKC v. Oklahoma City Energy FC- 8pm
Saint Louis FC v. Minnesota United FC- 8pm
Des Moines Menace v. San Antonio FC- 9pm
La Máquina FC v. L.A. Wolves FC- 9pm
Sacramento Republic FC v. Kitsap Pumas- 10:30pm
Arizona United SC v. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC- 10:30pm

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Kaka joins Brazil for Copa America

Yesterday's Scores
MLS
Sporting Kansas City 0-1 D.C. United
(Kamara 86')

NASL
Ottawa Fury 1-2 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
(Haworth PK 80')-(Santos 8', Gentile 65')

USL
Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1-1 Orange County Blues
(Phillips 32')-(Meeus 90+9')

North American League Tables

Headlines
It is finally official. Jose Mourinho has been announced as Manchester United's new manager. He has signed a three year deal at the club which is pretty much the limit of how long he can stay anywhere. He is the third manager to take control there since Sir Alex Ferguson left after their 2012 title.

Despite an injury scare, Cristiano Ronaldo will, in fact, start today's UEFA Champions League final against crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid. Ronaldo had injured his thigh a couple weeks ago and was questionable for the final right up until yesterday, when manager Zinedine Zidane announced he would play in the huge match.

Spanish international midfielder Sergio Busquets has signed a five year extension with Barcelona. The 27 year old has been a mainstay with the Spanish champions for many years now, and has won just about every major honor possible in Spain. The new contract contains a buyout clause of £152 million, should any team feel like opening their checkbook for him.

Douglas Costa is going to miss Copa America with thigh injury and will be replaced by Orlando City's Kaka. He has scored 29 times in 91 appearances for Brazil, it is unclear what sort of role he will play this summer, but his presence will at least help the young Brazilian squad in a leadership capacity. MLS will surely tout this  as a victory for its league, especially after Sebastian Giovinco was snubbed by Italy for Euro 2016.

Croatia has been hit with an empty stadium sanction for fascist and discriminatory chants aimed at Israel and Hungary during friendlies back in March. They will have to play World Cup qualifiers against Turkey on September 5 and Finland on October 9 without fans in the stadium. They have also been fined 150,000 Swiss Francs (about $151,000). Croatia has been sanctioned before, so this is a recurring problem, not a first time offense.

Today's Matches
UEFA Champions League- Final
Real Madrid v. Atletico Madrid- 2:45pm- FOX

MLS
Vancouver Whitecaps v. Houston Dynamo- 6pm
New York Red Bulls v. Toronto FC- 7pm
Columbus Crew v, Real Salt Lake- 7:30pm
New England Revolution v. Seattle Sounders- 7:30pm
Montreal Impact v. LA Galaxy- 8pm
Chicago Fire v. Portland Timbers- 8:30pm
Colorado Rapids v. Philadelphia Union- 9pm
San Jose Earthquakes v. FC Dallas- 10:30pm

NASL
Jacksonville Armada v. Indy Eleven- 7pm- ESPN3
New York Cosmos v. Rayo OKC- 7pm- ONE World Sports
Miami FC v. FC Edmonton- 8pm- beIN
Minnesota United v. Tampa Bay Rowdies- 8pm- ESPN3

USL
Rochester Rhinos v. Bethlehem Steel- 6pm- YouTube
Richmond Kickers v. FC Montreal- 7pm- YouTube
FC Cincinnati v. Harrisburg City Islanders- 7pm- YouTube
Orlando City B v. Charlotte Independence- 7:30pm- YouTube
Charleston Battery v. Louisville City- 7:30pm
New York Red Bulls II v. Pittsburgh Riverhounds- 10pm- YouTube
LA Galaxy II v. Arizona United- 10:30pm- YouTube
Sacramento Republic v. Swope Park Rangers- 10:30pm- YouTube

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Mourinho and Manchester United have a deal

Yesterday's Scores
Liga MX Playoffs- Final First Leg
Pachuca 1-0 Monterrey
(Jara 61')

USL
Portland Timbers 2 1-0 Seattle Sides 2
(Bijev 25')

Headlines
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United have stuck a deal that will make him the club's manager. The three year deal appears to have settled the image rights that were holding things up. He is already courting new signees as well. Lots of talk has linked him with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and the Swede appears to have made his decision on where he will move to once his PSG contract expires at the end of next month. He just isn't saying what that decision is,yet.

Today's Matches
MLS
D.C. United v. Sporting Kansas City- 7pm- UniMas

NASL
Ottawa Fury v. Fort Lauderdale Strikers- 7:30pm- ESPN3

USL
Colorado Springs Switchbacks v. Orange County Blues- 9pm- YouTube

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Benitez staying at Newcastle despite relegation

Yesterday's Scores
MLS
Orlando City 2-2 Philadelphia Union
(Molino 68', Larin 71')-(Barnetta 52', Tribbett 75')

Full match recap

USL
St. Louis FC 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps 2
(Hardware 62')-(Levis 23')

San Antonio FC 0-0 Rio Grande Valley

Headlines
Rafa Benitez is staying at Newcastle despite his relegation opt out clause. The former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager was brought on specifically to help Newcastle remain in the Premier League and will now now trusted with getting them back there as quickly as possible. He only won three of ten matches in charge there, but that included a 5-1 drubbing of Tottenham on the final day of the season. Given a full off-season to construct a side and the lesser competition in the Championship, I have faith that Rafa can get Newcastle back to the top tier for 2017-18.

Jose Mourinho is having his arrival at Manchester United delayed by image rights. Apparently, Chelsea own the rights to the name "Jose Mourinho" until 2023. This has provided a snag in contract negotiations between him and his prospective new club. The rights can be transferred to United fairly easily, but there could be large sums of money involved. I doubt the delay will be long and we shall still hear some official announcement by the end of the week

Houston Dynamo have struggled this season. Their slow start has them at the bottom of the Western Conference and well out of the early playoff race. As a result, they have sacked manager Owen Coyle. They are calling it a mutual parting of ways, but what does it matter. He clearly didn't do well in MLS and has sunk Houston into a pretty deep hole. You can say he was never given the support to build a winner, but there wasn't exactly much time to do that either.

Today's Matches
Liga MX Playoffs- Final First Leg
Pachuca v. Monterrey- 9:06pm

USL
Portland Timbers 2 v. Seattle Sides 2- 10pm- YouTube

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Midweek MLS Madness: Sloppy and wild second half leads to Philly-Orlando draw

Orlando City 2-2 Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia has been very successful in their own home, but when facing challenging teams outside of their friendly confines, things have been a little dicey. Tonight they travelled to central Florida for some midweek action against Orlando City, who are unbeaten Camping World Stadium.

It took 35 minute for the game to see any real action. That was when the Union got a taste of the highly skilled duo of Kaka and Cyle Larin. A counter attack resulted in a two on one break with the Canadian linking up with the Brazilian legend, who ultimately got tripped by Andre Blake in the penalty area. The ensuing penalty kick was stopped defiantly by the perpetrator himself. Blake dove to get his paws to the sub par effort from Kaka to keep the match scoreless. That would sum up the first half action as the rest of the time featured the two sides knocking the ball around and occasionally littering with harmless shots.

The second half had more of a fiery start. A free kick for Philly in the 52nd minute resulted in a wonderful goal for the Union. Ken Tribbett's initial take was from quite a distance away, but Chris Pontius got his head to it and played it perfectly to Tranquillo Barnetta for the volley and goal. It was Barnetta's second goal of the season, the other was also against Orlando.

The Union would spend the next several minutes owning the ball and setting themselves up with a couple more half decent chances. Within minute of the goal, a creative free kick move from them almost resulted in a quick second goal. A strong move from CJ Sapong a few minutes late almost paid off as well. They could have had a penalty just after the hour mark too after a late challenge brought plenty of shouts from the Union squad.

Orlando caught a break to find their 68th minute equalizer. Some poor defensive communication between the Philly back line and Blake on a long ball into the penalty area led to a collision and a loose ball that Kevinolino pounced on a knocked into the gaping net. That gave the home side a lot of life that led to a go ahead goal just three minutes later. Kaka got some momentum along the tough like and played a cross in to Larin's chest. The ball may or may not have actually made it across the line, but the referee called it a goal. Goal line technology could have come in handy here, as my MLS Live feed didn't show a conclusive angle showing the ball going over the line.

The Union would storm back and score in the 75th minute to tie it back up. A short corner led to a cross in towards Sebastian Le Toux. Le Toux played it back to Tribbett, who banged it home for his first career goal.

The match would slow down a bit after that equalizer. Both teams would have a few decent cracks at goal, but nothing stuck. The Union had a free kick from just outside the penalty area in the final minute of stoppage time after Matteos was sent off for a flying karate kick, but Barnetta couldn't repeat his game winner from the last match between these two sides and it ended all square.

What looked like the prototypical sloppy midweek MLS match turned into a prototypical sloppy MLS goal fest in the final half hour. The defending was rather suspect, but the match overall was pretty fun to watch.

The table doesn't carnage due to this result. The Union remain on top of the East by two points and Orlando City still sits in sixth.

Hooligan's Wake Up: Mourinho getting closer to United

Yesterday's Scores
USL
Harrisburg City Islanders 2-1 Toronto FC II
(Wilson 25', Wheeler 28')-(James 90+3')

OKC Energy 2-1 Real Monarchs
(Konig 28', Andrews 37')-(Sandoval 23')

Headlines
Varying reports have stated that Jose Mourinho has agreed to some terms of a contract to become Manchester United's next manager. Salary and length have supposedly been agreed upon, but some smaller personal terms are still being discussed. Expect a formal announcement of Mourinho's hiring this week, though.

Liverpool have signed some goalkeeper competition for Simon Mignolet. Jurgen Klopp has brought in Loris Karius from his former club of Mainz to provide as a worth second option behind the Belgian international. He kept nine clean sheets for Mainz in the Bundesliga last season.

The Premier League released its payments table yesterday. This represents the divvying of league funds to clubs based on league wide television revenue. Half the money is split evenly between the teams while the rest is based on finish in the table, number of times appearing on national television, and other factors. Arsenal made more than £100 million, the most out of every club despite finishing second. Most of their excess came from their many domestic television appearances. Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Manchester United all made more than the champions Leicester City did. With the Premier League's new television deal kicking in for next season, the club finishing in last (which was Aston Villa this season) could go from making about £66 million to more than what Arsenal made at the top of this list.

The long awaited announcement of Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka has been made. The midfielder joins the North London club from Borussia Monchengladbach for about £30 million. The Swiss international midfielder hopes to bring some leadership and stability to a rather inconsistent Arsenal midfield from last season. This news is no schocker. Pictures of Xhaka in Arsenal colors had leaked out over the weekend, so it was only a matter of time before this became official.

Today's Matches
MLS
Orlando City v. Philadelphia Union- 7:30pm

USL
St. Louis FC v. Vancouver Whitecaps 2- 8pm- YouTube
San Antonio FC v. Rio Grande Valley- 8:30pm- YouTube

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Van Gaal out at United, Mourinho getting ready to move in

Yesterday's Score
Bundesliga Pro/Rel Playoff- Second Leg
Nurnberg 0-1 Eintracht Frankfurt (1-2 on aggregate)
(Seferovic 56')

Frankfurt manages to stay in the top flight with this win over Nurnberg. That means only two sides from the 2. Bundesliga will join the first division for next season, Freiburg and Red Bull Leipzig.

Headlines
There was one story that truly mattered yesterday and that was the sacking of Louis Van Gaal as Manchester United's manager. While the outward reason for his firing was their failure to advance in the group stage of the Champions League and their inability to crack the top four this season, there were also many hints of dissent amongst the players and a general unhappiness with his managerial style. In the end, not oven the FA Cup could save him as it has for many managers before.

This opens the door for Jose Mourinho to take his seat at the helm of the most valuable club in England. Can he have success there? Sure, he can. In the same way he was successful at Chelsea, Real Madrid, and seemingly every other stop during his career. He will win a lot in his first couple seasons and wear out his welcome by the third. He won't be at United for very long, but he will win the league at least once before he departs in flames. 

In the meantime, we can enjoy his rivalry with Arsene Wenger again and his heated battles with Pep Guardiola. The Manchester Derbies over the next couple of years will be some of the most interesting matches in all of Europe next year just because of those two. There is also Mourinho's wildly entertaining post game press conferences that should keep non-United fans interested in the club for at least a couple seasons.

Nothing is official, yet. But expect Manchester United to hire The Special One before the week is out.

This also means the future of Ryan Giggs is in flux. The long time captain at Old Trafford had been serving as assistant manager under Van Gaal and could be offered a new role at the club. As a result, he is mulling his options, including leaving the club to pursue a career in managing. 

In non-Manchester United news, FIFA has fired their interim secretary general for giving himself unapproved bonus payments totalling millions of dollars. Markus Kattner was appointed to the position after Jerome Valcke was dismissed and banned for 12 years for his ethics violations. He was being replaced as secretary general by Fatma Samoura, the first woman and first African to hold the position, but was still active at the time of his firing.

Today's Matches
USL
Harrisburg City Islanders v. Toronto FC II- 7pm- YouTube
OKC Energy v. Real Monarchs- 8pm- YouTube

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Barca wins Spain double

Yesterday's Scores
MLS
Portland Timbers 4-2 Vancouver Whitecaps
(Valeri PK 4', McInerney 29', Asprilla PK 78', Nagbe 82')-(Manneh 49', Morales PK 84')

LA Galaxy 1-1 San Jose Earthquakes
(Wynne OG 83')-(Alashe 87')

Copa del Rey- Final
Barcelona 2-0 Sevilla
(Alba 97', Neymar 120+2')

Barcelona becomes the fourth major European club to end their season with a domestic double. Spain, Germany, France, and Italy all had the same league and cup champion.

Liga MX Playoffs- Semi-Final Second Leg
Pachuca 2-1 Leon (3-2 on aggregate)
Novaretti OG 22', Lozano 90+3')-(Hernandez 60')

The late winner sends Pachuca to the Liga MX Clausura final against Monterrey.

NASL
Ottawa Fury 1-0 Jacksonville Armada
(De Jong 88')

FC Edmonton 1-0 Carolina RailHawks
Fordyce PK 79')

New York Cosmos 2-1 Tampa Bay Rowdies
(Dunk 32', Bover 40')-(Heinemann 17')

USL
Harrisburg City Islanders 3-1 Bethlehem Steel
(Wheeler 14', 15', Warshaw 63')-(Fernandes 17')

Orlando City B 2-1 Rochester Rhinos
(Barry 41', 57')-(Dos Santos 86')

Seattle Sounders 2 1-1 LA Galaxy II
(O'Jong 43')-(Romney 81')

Full match recap

Today's Match
Bundesliga Pro/Rel Playoff
Nurnberg v. Eintracht Frankfurt- 2:30pm- FS1

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Van Gaal almost out of United, Mourinho ready to move in

FA Cup- Final
Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United
(Puncheon 78')-(Mata 81', Lingard 110')


MLS
New York City 0-7 New York Red Bulls
(McCarty 3', 51', Wright-Phillips 42', 45+1', Muyl 56'. Veron 83', Baah 89')

Chicago Fire 1-0 Houston Dynamo
(Alvarez 3')

Toronto FC 0-0 Columbus Crew

New England Revolution 2-4 FC Dallas
(Agudelo 23', Nguyen PK 26')-(Akindele PK 5', 90', Harris 36', Castillo 70')

Orlando City 1-1 Montreal Impact
(Larin 43')-(Piatti 4')

Sporting Kansas City 1-3 Real Salt Lake
(Dwyer 50')-(Martinez 32', Davis 45+2', Movsisyan 53')

Seattle Sounders 0-1 Colorado Rapids
(Sjoberg 43')

Full MLS recap

DFB Pokal- Final
Bayern Munich 0-0 Borussia Dortmund (4-3 on penalties)

Bayern Munich send Pep Guardiola off to Manchester with a victory in the German Cup. He may not have won the Champions League while at the club, but he did win four Bundesliga titles and ended with a domestic double. His tenure was certainly not a failure.

Coppa Italia- Final
AC Milan 0-1 Juventus
(Morata 110')

Juve completes the Italian double with their cup final victory over AC Milan.

Coupe de France- Final
Olympique Marseille 2-4 Paris-St. Germain
(Thauvin 12', Batsuyahi 87')-(Matuidi 2', Ibrahimovic 47', 82', Cavani 57')

Zlatan rounds out his PSG tenure with a brace as PSG finishes landing every trophy in France this season.
Liga MX Playoffs- Semi-Final Second Leg
Monterrey 0-0 Club America- 9:30pm

NASL
Indy Eleven 4-2 Minnesota United
(Zayed 16', Gordon 49', Braun 75', Paterson 90+7')-(Pinho 54', Lowe 69')

Rayo OKC 1-2 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
(Michel PK 62')-(Angulo 33', Nunez 70')

USL
FC Montreal 0-1 New York Red Bulls II
(Flemmings 90')

Wilmington Hammerheads 0-1 Charleston Battery
(Ferguson 33')

Richmond Kickers 0-0 Louisville City

Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-1 Toronto FC II
(Moloto 68', Hertzog 72')-(Johnson 83')

Tulsa Roughnecks 2-5 St. Louis FC
(Carpio 29', Ochoa 37')-(Herrera 9', 53', 70', 78', Musa 84')

San Antonio FC 0-1 OKC Energy

Rio Grande Valley 4-1 Swope Park Rangers
(Rodriguez 12', 25', Luca 88', Garcia 90+2')-(Salloi 39')

Real Monarchs 3-1 Orange County Blues
(Velazco 50', 69', Sundly 60')-(Stevanovic 6')

Arizona United 1-3 Colorado Springs Switchbacks
(Ringhof 21')-(Suggs 8', Gonzalez 33'. Robinson 77')

North American League Tables

Headlines
The saga of Louis Van Gaal took an interesting turn after his side won the FA Cup yesterday. Where there were some that thought the trophy would save his job, Manchester United appears to be moving in a different direction. They are prepared to dismiss Van Gaal and name Jose Mourinho as his successor. This may or may not be a smart move for Manchester United's long term future, but it certainly is an entertaining one. I am in favor of The Special One coming to United for no other reason than he is a fun guy to have around after a match. Chelsea went from being the most fun team to follow because of their ineptitude and Mourinho's defiance of it to being a boring mid-table side that nobody wanted to watch after he left. I look forward to hate-following Manchester United a little closer next season if this indeed happens.

Arsenal, who didn't sign a single outfield player last summer, are close to their first signing of the window. Borussia Monchengladbach's Granit Xhaka is prepared to move to North London for a fee of more than £30 million. Photos of him in an Arsenal kit leaked out onto the internet yesterday, causing many to think a deal is very, very close.

The USMNT has released its official 23 man roster for Copa America. Lots of familiar names grace Jurgen Klinsmann's list:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Ethan Horvath (Molde IK).

Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur).

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

Today's Matches
MLS
Portland Timbers v. Vancouver Whitecaps- 4:30pm- ESPN
LA Galaxy v. San Jose Earthquakes- 7:30pm- FS1

Copa del Rey- Final
Barcelona v. Sevilla- 3:30pm- ESPN2

Liga MX Playoffs- Semi-Final Second Leg
Pachuca v. Leon- 9:06pm

NASL
Ottawa Fury v. Jacksonville Armada- 2pm- ESPN3
FC Edmonton v. Carolina RailHawks- 4pm- ESPN3
New York Cosmos v. Tampa Bay Rowdies- 6pm- ONE World Sports

USL
Harrisburg City Islanders v. Bethlehem Steel- 6pm- YouTube
Orlando City B v. Rochester Rhinos- 7:30pm- YouTube
Seattle Sounders 2 v. LA Galaxy II- 8pm- YouTube

It Happened in America: New York is emphatically red

New York City 0-7 New York Red Bulls
Dax McCarty got the Red Bulls off to the right start only three minutes in. His header of a Sacha Kljestan corner gave the red half of New York the early lead in hostile territory. City did well to win a few corners after conceding the goal, but things would be far from rosy for them. The first half was a very chippy one with the sides coming together to trade shouts after hard challenges multiple times. A couple cards were shown, but both sides kept all 11 men on the pitch.

Red Bulls would double their lead in the 42nd minute with some wonderful outside play from Mike Grella that led to a laser of a cross aimed at Steven Wright-Phillips, who blsted through Josh Saunders for the second goal. Wright-Phillips would strike again in stoppage time. During another spell of sustained possession by Red Bulls, a ball floated his way and he was able to bicycle kick it home.

The second half continued the Red Bull domination. Dax McCarty headed another corner home in the 51st minute to make it 4-0. Minutes after coming on as a substitute, Alex Muyl scored his first career MLS goal after an awful turnover in New York City defensive third in the 56th minute. After that, the defensive subs poured in and New York Red Bulls cruised to their fourth victory over their Manhattan rivals in four tries. But not before a sixth was added by Gonzalo Veron in the 83rd and a seventh by Gideon Baah in the 89th.

Chicago Fire 1-0 Houston Dynamo
Holy cow a win for Chicago. The worst team in the league got themselves a much needed victory in front of their home crowd against Houston, who aren't in much better shape. The two last place sides combined for a flurry of shots, but only one third minute goal from Chicago's Arturo Alvarez. After that early tally, Houston ended up controlling 62.7% possession while only managing to take ten shots. Chicago was much more effective with their relative lack of possession. Their 20 shots mark a season high for the Fire, but don't expect it to be the sign of any massive turnaround.

Toronto FC 0-0 Columbus Crew
Toronto's home stand continues in unexciting fashion as the Crew came to town. They were looking to adjust to life without Jozy Altidore, who injured his hamstring again last week. They will also have to learn to play without Michael Bradley, who departs for Copa America in a week. They didn't do to well with him in the lineup here. Columbus bossed play for the majority of the match while only allowing Toronto to take eight shots. The Crew have returned to their old ways of struggling to score. Despite all their chances at goal, nothing went in and they had to settle for a scoreless draw.

Orlando City 2-1 Montreal Impact
A match on turf means no Didier Drogba for Montreal, but that didn't matter early on. Ignacio Piatti has been picking up the slack when the Ivorian star is out and he did that again in the fourth minute of this one. After holding on for most of the half, Montreal would concede the equalizer shortly before the whistle. Cyle Larin found it for Orlando City in the 43rd minute. The match looked like it was on a crash course for a draw until Larin struck again with an 87th minute for Orlando.

New England Revolution 2-4 FC Dallas
Dallas got off to a hot start by earning a penalty in the fourth minute. Michael Barrios collided with Bobby Shuttleworth on his way to a ball in the penalty area. Shuttleworth was probably luck to have escaped with only a yellow card on the play. Tesho Akindele buried the ensuing penalty kick to give Dallas the lead. Barrios eventually had to leave the match thanks to the challenge. New England would fight back. they would his a post shortly after the goal and then get level with a header from Juan Agudelo at the 23 minute mark. Lee Nguyen's picture perfect free kick set up the chance. Two minutes later, they won a penalty as Nguyen charged into the box after a corner and he knocked the penalty off the crossbar and in. Dallas would continue the thunderous first half by scoring off a 36th corner. Atiba Harris provided the headed finish that deflected off Shuttleworth's hand.

The second half wasn't nearly as exciting as the first. Fabian Castillo did give Dallas the lead in the 70th minute, though. Akindele provided the finishing blow on a 90th minute counter attack by beating Shuttleworth to a through ball in the penalty area. That moved Dallas ahead of Colorado atop the West for a couple hours.

Sporting Kansas City 1-3 Real Salt Lake
On a rainy night in Kansas City, it was RSL getting in front in the 32nd minute. Juan Manuel Martinez put it home, although he may have been offside. It got worse for Kansas City just before the break. Brad Davis tapped home an own goal in the second minute of stoppage time to stretch the deficit to two goals. Dom Dwyer opened the second half strong for SKC. He collected a long through pass and buried his shot to cut into the RSL lead in the 50th minute. Their hope was dashed within three minutes as Yura Movsisyan got behind the Kansas City backline to restore Salt Lake's two goal lead in the 53rd. That was all that mattered from this very efficient match from Real Salt Lake. They took a total of six shots on the night and all three that went on target went in. This win jumps them to third place in the West while SKC falls down to seventh.

Seattle Sounders 0-1 Colorado Rapids
The top team in the Supporters Shield standings traveled to Seattle, who are having all the trouble in the world scoring goals right now. Zac MacMath had to step up big in the opening ten minutes. His best moment came after Clint Dempsey split the defense in twain, he had to step off his line to deny the USMNT forward of what could have been an easy goal. His strong play allowed Colorado to take the lead at the end of the half. Axel Sjoberg provided the 43rd minute finish. The Sounders were then able to pelt the Rapids' goal with shots in the second half. Their best chance was off a corner that was cleared off the line at the last possible moment. Colorado was somewhat threatening on the counter attack, but the match was more about their defense keeping Seattle at bay. Although thy have the fewest goals in the league, they still are able to put together chances. They just can't seem to finish them.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

It Happened in England: Manchester United ends trophy drought with FA Cup win

Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester United
There was one honor remaining in England as Crystal Palace and Manchester United met at Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup final. Palace had never been crowned champions of this competition and were only playing in their second ever Final. United, while having won the competition 11 times, have been without this trophy since 2004 and it is the only major club trophy that captain Wayne Rooney had uet to lift.

Manchester United enjoyed possession for the early portions of the match. Despite the control, their chances in the opening 20 minutes weren't exactly there. It was Palace with one of the better chances early on. Connor Wickham was sprinting to collect a long pass against Chris Smalling, who dragged the forward down. The free kick was given, but Wickham wasn't much deterred by the challenge and was able to keep going after the whistle and had what could have been the opening goal. Instead, a yellow went to Smalling and a fairly harmless free kick followed.

United started to pose more of a threat after 20 minute had gone by. Dangerous shots forced saves out of Wayne Hennessey. Corners found attacking heads for near misses. They weren't able to turn any of them into goals, however, and the first half ended scoreless.

The second half would bring the entire match to life. After a few United chances that included yet another post, Crystal Palace would snag the first goal in the 78th minute. Jason Puncheon, who was left out of the starting 11, collected a wide pass as he was barely onside, to knock the ball past David De Gea.

Manchester United had an excellent response four minutes later. Juan Mata found the equalizer after Wayne Rooney did the yeoman's work in setting up the chance. Mata blasted home Marouane Fellaini's knockdown off Rooney's pass and United were level. No other goals in the second half sent the match into extra time.

The first period of extra time spelled disaster for the Red Devils. Chris Smalling, who had been shown yellow for his challenge on Wickham earlier in the match, drew a second yellow for a hard foul and was sent off. It was only the fourth sending off in FA Cup Final history.

Crystal Palace would fail to capitalize on the manpower advantage and would only find despair after going up a man. They controlled the ball for the first five minutes of the second extra period, but things went sour for them against the run of play. Manchester United would overcome being a man down and find a goal in the 110th minute. It was Jesse Lingard's blast of a toe poke from the top of the penalty area providing the finish and the FA Cup winner.

This was Manchester United's first trophy since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, who watched this one from the stands. Will it be enough to save Louis Van Gaal's job at United? We shall wait and see, but we have seen FA Cups keep managers around despite suboptimal performance in the league before.


Hooligan's Wake Up: Rogers to Celtic

Yesterday's Scores
MLS
Philadelphia Union 1-0 D.C. United
(Marquez 90+1')

USL
Portland Timbers 2 1-3 Vancouver Whitecaps 2
(Belmar 27')-(Greig 1', Saifu 19', Haynes 74')

Headlines
There had been some talk about the USA and Mexico coming up with a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup, but Sunil Gulati denies those rumors. He says that US Soccer has had no discussions with Mexico and is going to wait until bidding rules come out in October before discussing the USA's bid any further. There is no reason for the USA to host the World Cup together with Mexico. Both nations are plenty capable of holding the event themselves and do not need the support of the other to get it done.

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers has taken on the vacancy at Glasgow Celtic in Scotland. After three years at the helm in Liverpool, Rogers now hopes to get his career back on track in the Scottish Premiership, which Celtic just won this season.

Today's Matches
FA Cup- Final
Crystal Palace v. Manchester United- 12:30pm- FOX

MLS
New York City v. New York Red Bulls- 3pm- FOX
Chicago Fire v. Houston Dynamo- 5pm
Toronto FC v. Columbus Crew- 5pm
New England Revolution v. FC Dallas- 7:30pm
Orlando City v. Montreal Impact- 7:30pm
Sporting Kansas City v. Real Salt Lake- 8:30pm
Seattle Sounders v. Colorado Rapids- 10pm

DFB Pokal- Final
Bayern Munich v. Borussia Dortmund- 2pm- ESPN3

Coppa Italia- Final
AC Milan v. Juventus- 2:45pm

Coupe de France- Final
Olympique Marseille v. Paris-St. Germain- 3pm

Liga MX Playoffs- Semi-Final Second Leg
Monterrey v. Club America- 9:30pm- Univision Deportes

NASL
Indy Eleven v. Minnesota United- 7:30pm- beIN
Rayo OKC v. Fort Lauderdale Strikers- 8pm- ONE World Sports

USL
FC Montreal v. New York Red Bulls II- 3pm- YouTube
Wilmington Hammerheads v. Charleston Battery- 5pm- YouTube
Richmond Kickers v. Louisville City- 7pm- YouTube
Pittsburgh Riverhounds v. Toronto FC II- 7pm- YouTube
Tulsa Roughnecks v. St. Louis FC- 8pm- YouTube
San Antonio FC v. OKC Energy- 8:30pm- YouTube
Rio Grande Valley v. Swope Park Rangers- 8:30pm- YouTube
Real Monarchs v. Orange County Blues- 9pm- YouTube
Arizona United v. Colorado Springs Switchbacks- 10:30pm- YouTube

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Night MLS: Union jump to first place with late winner over D.C.

Philadelphia Union 1-0 D.C. United
This game wasn't very aesthetically pleasing for the vast majority of the 90 minutes. There were opportunities for both sides, but nothing was going in until the final minutes. Alvaro Saborio was the main culprit providing chances for United. He was never able to penetrate the wall of James Blake, however. On the other side Tranquillo Barnetta hit the woodwork early on and had a couple more quite threatening shots throughout the game. Union won it in the first minute of second half stoppage time. Richie Marquez's boot latched onto a Sebastian Le Toux cross for the goal that sent Philadelphia Union to the top of the Eastern Conference pile.

While Union are now in the lead, at least until the end of tomorrow, D.C. United are down in sixth place. five points off Philly's pace.

Hooligan's Wake Up: MLS salaries released, Football League looking to expand

Yesterday's Scores
Bundesliga Pro/Rel Playoff- First Leg
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Nurberg
(Gacinovic 65')-(Russ OG 43')

Liga MX Playoffs- Semi-finals First Leg
Leon 1-1 Pachuca
(Rocha 23')-(Lozano 12')

US Open Cup- Second Round
New York Pancyprian-Freedoms 0-1 Jersey Express

Headlines
The draw for the third and fourth rounds of the US Open Cup was made yesterday. NASL sides will join the tournament in the third round and the winners will move on to face MLS level opposition. Interesting pairings include the first ever Oklahoma City derby between the NASL's Rayo OKC and OKC Energy of the USL and La Maquina FC against L.A Wolves, both amateur sides, which guarantees that there will be a non-pro side facing the LA Galaxy in the next round.

Jacksonville Armada FC v. Charleston Battery- winner plays Orlando City
Fort Lauderdale Strikers v. Richmond Kickers- winner plays D.C. United
Rochester Rhinos v. Lansdowne Bhoys FC- winner plays New York Red Bulls
Indy Eleven v. Louisville City FC- winner plays Chicago Fire
New York Cosmos v. Jersey Express- winner plays New York City
Carolina Railhawks v. Charlotte Independence- winner plays New England Revolution
Chattanooga FC v. Harrisburg City Islanders- winner plays Philadelphia Union
Tampa Bay Rowdies v. FC Cincinnati- winner plays Columbus Crew
Miami FC v. Wilmington Hammerheads FC- winner plays Real Salt Lake
Rayo OKC v. Oklahoma City Energy FC- winner plays FC Dallas
Saint Louis FC v. Minnesota United FC- winner plays Sporting Kansas City
Des Moines Menace v. San Antonio FC- winner plays Houston Dynamo
La Máquina FC v. L.A. Wolves FC- winner plays LA Galaxy
Sacramento Republic FC v. Kitsap Pumas- winner plays Seattle Sounder
Arizona United SC v. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC- winner plays Colorado Rapids
Portland Timbers v. San Jose Earthquakes- Fourth Round Matchup

You may have noticed that Charleston Battery, who lost to The Villages SC in the second round, are in the third round. That's because The Villages fielded an ineligible player in their match agaisnt Charleston. Pablo Vaz, who came on as a sub in the 86th minute, had already played in the Open Cup qualifying rounds back in the fall for Boca Raton FC, thus making him ineligible to play for any other team in the tournament, This same slip up put LA Wolves in the second round over Ventura County. Wolves are now in the next round facing La Maquina with the chance to take on the Galaxy.

The MLS Players Union released salary info for every MLS player yesterday. Kaka is the league's top earner with an annual salary of $7.16 million followed closely by Sebastian Giovinco at $7.11 million. The average MLS player earns $316,777.33, but that is skewed heavily by the top designated players. The median number, which is a better measure for central tendency with this many high end outliers, is only $117,000, which is $5,000 more than last year's figure. The entire salary list can be found here.

The Football League is looking to expand England's professional ranks. At the moment there are four divisions comprised of 92 clubs. A new proposal aims to expand to five 20 team divisions, bringing the total number of clubs to an even 100. This idea, if accepted by 90% of the 72 clubs below the Premier League, would create a League Three with 20 teams and adjust the number of clubs in the Championship through League Two down to 20. The plan hopes to be in place for the 2019-2020 season. Other than no club getting relegated from the bottom tier after the 2019-19 season, no plan to fill in the eight new clubs has been established.

Why is the Football League proposing this? They hope it will cut down on fixture congestion that has plagued the English game for some time now. It will also create more space for the scheduling of cup matches throughout the season and get more weekend matches.

At least 90% of the Football League must approve by next year's annual meetings for it to go through.

Today's Matches
MLS
D.C. United v. Philadelphia Union- 7pm- UniMas

USL
Portland Timbers 2 v. Vancouver Whitecaps 2- 10:30pm- YouTube

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Sevilla takes Europa League

Europa League- Final
Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla
(Sturridge 35')-(Gameiro 46', Coke 64', 70')

MLS
Toronto FC 1-1 New York City
(Johnson 42')-(Poku 16')

New York Red Bulls 1-0 Chicago Fire
(Grella 58')

Full MLS recap

Liga MX Playoffs- Semi-Finals First Leg
Club America 1-0 Monterrey
(Martinez 47')

US Open Cup- Second Round
FC Cincinnati 2-1 Indy Eleven NPSL
Charlotte Eagles 0-2 Charlotte Independence
Richmond Kickers 3-0 Aromas Café FC
Wilmington Hammerheads 6-0 Miami Fusion FC
Louisville City FC 1-1 Detroit City FC (3-1 in penalties)
Rochester Rhinos 7-0 Southie FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0-2 Lansdowne Bhoys FC
West Chester United SC 0-2 Harrisburg City Islanders
Charleston Battery 2-2 The Villages SC (2-4 in penalties)
Chattanooga FC 0-0 Reading United AC (4-1 n penalties)
Saint Louis FC 2-0 AFC Cleveland
Mississippi Brilla FC 0-0 OKC Energy (9-10 in penalties)
San Antonio FC 3-1 Corinthians FC of San Antonio
Des Moines Menace 2-0 Tulsa Roughnecks
Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1-0 Harpo’s FC
La Maquina 2-0 Sacramento Gold
FC Tucson 0-5 Arizona United SC
Kitsap Pumas 1-0 Sounders FC U-23
Sacramento Republic 5-0  CD Aguiluchos USA
L.A. Wolves FC 1-1  Orange County Blues (4-2 in penalties)

A few professional clubs were upset this round. First off, Lansdowne Bhoys took care of Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The Villages upset Charleston Battery after penalties. Tulsa Roughnecks fell to Des Moines Menace. Finally, in the final match of the night, L.A. Wolves downed Orange County Blues in penalties. There were some almosts too as Detroit City FC came oh so close to defeating Louisville  City and Mississippi Brilla lost an epic shootout to OKC Energy. Overall, there were four USL sides to drop out of the 17 who were in the tournament.

Headlines
John Terry had himself a one year offer from Chelsea and he has decided to take it. The 35 year old defender has been with the club since he was 14 and he will stay for at least one more year. It was thought that this would be his final year at the club as recently as this week. He even had Stamford Bridge rented out to play one final game there. Instead, it looks like he will be around for at least one more season.

After being relegated from the Premier League for the first time, Aston Villa have now been sold off. American billionaire Randy Lerner has sold the club to Chinese businessman Dr. Tony Xia for £60 million. This will come as welcome news to Villa supporters who have protested against Lerner's ownership for quite some time.

Today's Matches
Bundesliga Pro/Rel Playoff- First Leg
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Nurnberg- 2:30pm


Liga MX Playoffs- Semi-Finals First Leg
Leon v. Pachuca- 9:06pm

US Open Cup- Second Round
New York Pancyprian Freedoms v. Jersey Express- 7:30pm

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Midweek MLS Madness: New York City goes atop the East

Toronto FC 1-1 New York City
New York City came into the night tied for first on points with Montreal. Toronto was playing another home match as they catch up from their massive road trip to start the season. New York City got off to the better start. After Josh Saunders robbed Sebastian Giovinco of a breakaway within ten minutes, Kwadwo Poku's 16th minute shot took s slight deflection and made its way into the net. Toronto would equalize before halftime and, for once, Sebastian Giovinco wasn't involved. A Mo Babouli free kick found Josh Williams, who tapped a pass to a wide open Will Johnson for the 42nd minute tap in goal. Giovinco did have a free kick just before the break, but Saunders dove to get his paws on it before it could do any damage.

Toronto had a few half chances and one great chance to take the lead in the second half. Their best chance game 15 minutes from time when a Giovinco shot was saved and the rebound came straight to Jay Chapman. Saunders was quick to recover though and he kept the game even.

The point moves New York City ahead of Montreal atop the East, but their main contenders all have a game or two in hand, so I don't expect them to keep that place for very long. Toronto is one of those contenders. They are two points back in fourth with a match in hand over them,

New York Red Bulls 1-0 Chicago Fire
This match was midweek MLS at it's finest. Despite Mike Grella's 58th minute goal, last place Chicago was the better team for the rest of the night. They outshot the Red Bulls 14-7 despite having 65-35 possession disadvantage. The only thing that kept Chicago off the board was poor shooting when it mattered the most. They defended well, New York's only shot on target was the goal. Grella's goal was a pretty shot on a transition move that no keeper was going to stop, let alone Sean Johnson. The win puts New York into fifth place and leaves the Fire down in the cellar with only seven points through ten matches.

Hooligan's Wake Up: Dos Santos says no to Mexico for Copa America

Yesterday's Score
Premier League
Manchester United 3-1 AFC Bournemouth
(Rooney 43', Rashford 75', Young 87')-(Smalling OG 90+3')

Full match recap
Final European League Tables

Headlines
Giovani Dos Santos was in line to receive a Mexico call up for this summer's Copa America, but the star forward has turned his country down. Dos Santos is perfectly healthy, he jsut did not wish to play in the tournament. LA Galaxy sure won't complain. They will be without multiple big players, such as Robbie Keane for Euros nand Gyasi Zardes for Copa America, so having Gio around will help. Mexico should be fine too, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is in the form of his life right now in the Bundesliga and should be able to pick up the slack.

DeAndre Yedlin is the property of Tottenham right now, but spent the season on loan with Sunderland. He played a fair amount in the northeast as part of their efforts to survive the relegation fight and now the Black Cats want to keep him around. They have offered Spurs £2 million to sign the left back/midfielder permanently. I, for one, hope Tottenham accept the offer. Yedlin needs playing time and that's something he isn't likely to get considering the depth at left back at Spurs.

One thing that has wrecked Italian football over the years has been repeated match fixing scandals. Another one may have just popped up on Serie A's final day. A few betting companies noticed a large spike in bets relating to the Napoli-Frosinone match last weekend. Abnormal numbers of wagers for a Frosinone red card and Napoli winning were popping up and, wouldn't you know it, A Frosinone player was sent off 13 minutes in and Napoli won 4-0. These types of things don't go unnoticed these days and an investigation has kicked off into the odd series of coincidences.

Today's Matches
Europa League- Final
Liverpool v. Sevilla- 2:45pm- FS1

MLS
Toronto FC v. New York City- 7pm
New York Red Bulls v. Chicago Fire- 7:30pm

Liga MX Playoffs- Semi-Finals First Leg
Club America v. Monterrey- 9:30pm

US Open Cup- Second Round
Round two of the US Open Cup introduced the third tier United Soccer League to the fold. Of the league's 29 teams, 18 are playing today agaisnt amateur and semi-pro sides. This is one of the more interesting rounds of the tournament since it presents the chance for some wonderful upsets.

FC Cincinnati v. Indy Eleven NPSL- 7pm
Charlotte Eagles v. Charlotte Independence- 7pm
Richmond Kickers v. Aromas Café FC- 7pm
Wilmington Hammerheads v. Miami Fusion FC- 7pm
Louisville City FC v. Detroit City FC- 7pm
Rochester Rhinos v. Southie FC- 7pm
Pittsburgh Riverhounds v. Lansdowne Bhoys FC- 7pm
West Chester United SC v. Harrisburg City Islanders- 7:30pm
Charleston Battery v. The Villages SC- 7:30pm
Chattanooga FC v. Reading United AC- 7:30pm
Saint Louis FC v. AFC Cleveland- 8pm
Mississippi Brilla FC v. OKC Energy FC- 8pm
San Antonio FC v. Corinthians FC of San Antonio- 8:30pm
Des Moines Menace v. Tulsa Roughnecks- 8:30pm
Colorado Springs Switchbacks v. Harpo’s FC- 9pm
La Maquina v. Sacramento Gold- 10pm
FC Tucson v. Arizona United SC- 10:30pm
Kitsap Pumas v. Sounders FC U-23- 10:30pm
Sacramento Republic v. CD Aguiluchos USA- 10:30pm
L.A. Wolves FC v.  Orange County Blues- 11pm

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It Ended in England: United waft past Bournemouth to finish fifth

Manchester United 3-1 AFC Bournemouth
After a couple days worth of delays for a false bomb scare, Bournemouth and Manchester United finally closed out the Premier League season at Old Trafford. Neither side had much to play for, either. Bournemouth were solidly mid table and United had a Europa League spot wrapped up. Nothing short of a 19 goal victory would lift them above rivals Manchester City for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Manchester United went ahead at the tail end of a largely lifeless first half. In the 43rd minute, Wayne Rooney finished off a surgical passing move through the attacking third with a simple low shot into the net. It was one of only two shots that the Red Devils could muster up despite their 65% possession advantage.

The second half had a little more fire to it, but still little offense for either side. All the goals went Manchester United's way. Marcus Rashford doubled the lead in the 75th minute with another well placed low shot. Ashley Young added the third just three minutes from full time. There was still very little energy coming from the teams as the clock wound down. Clearly both sides just wanted it to be over.

Bournemouth did spoil the clean sheet, and David De Gea's run at the Golden Glove for top goalkeeper. A little excuse me shot took a touch off Chris Smalling for an own goal in the final minute of stoppage time.

United's lack of urgency could likely have been attributed to Saturday's FA Cup Final. The chance for silverware at the end of another rough year for Manchester Untied meant there was little reason to take too many chances against a significantly weaker opponent in a mostly meaningless match. They finish fifth on the season, outside the Champions League and stuck in Europe's second tier competition. They ended 15 goals shy of fourth place Manchester City on goal difference.

Bournemouth finishes their first ever Premier League season in 16th place, five points clear of relegation. A solid finish for the little guys who were expected to go back down as a one and done club.

Final European League Tables

Hooligan's Wake Up: Altidore out 6-8 weeks

Yesterday's Scores
None.

Headlines
Jozy Altidore limped off the pitch during Toronto's wild defeat at home against Vancouver on Saturday. His hamstring injury will keep him out for the next 6-8 weeks, which rules him out of Copa America for the USMNT. This may not hurt the squad as much as you would initially think. Jurgen Klinsmann has plenty of forwards at his disposal that might be more effective goal scorers than Jozy can be at this stage in his career. Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, and Chris Wondolowski are the names that stand out on the preliminary roster. Klinsmann has to submit his final 23 man roster for Copa America by Friday.

Soon to be Chelsea manager and current boss if the Italian National team Antonio Conte has been cleared of any wrong doing in a match fixing scandal. Conte had been suspected of being involved with a series of matches in 2011 involving Siena, whom he was coaching at the time. The dropping of charges against him will mean there will be no prison sentence getting in the way of his managing duties at Chelsea.

The scuffle that occurred at the end of the Chelsea-Tottenham match has had more punishment attached to it. The clubs have been fined a combined £600,000 for the incident. Chelsea was docked £375,000 with Spurs were only hit for £225,000.

The Portland Timbers defense has gone from one of the best in 2015 to one of the worst in 2016. I'm not sure if journeyman defender/midfielder Amobi Okugo can help much, but the Timbers signed him yesterday. Okuo played for Orlando and Kansas City last season and was out of a job before Portland came calling. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In other MLS transaction news, FC Dallas signed Argentinian defender Augustin Jara. Jara was at preseason camp with Dallas on a trial and, since nobody else put in a bid for him, he was eligible to be signed after the transfer window closed last week.

The whole bomb scare at Old Trafford is starting to look like a small embarrassment for United and their security staff. It turns out that the incredibly life like device was a training object used by a private security firm that happened to have been left in an Old Trafford restroom. Nobody picked up on this leading to the entire stadium to be evacuated and the match to be postponed until tonight.

Finally, John Terry has cancelled his farewell match at Stamford Bridge as he weighs whether or not to take Chelsea's offer for next season. The longtime Chelsea captain had rented out the stadium for a private match to round out his career in England. He has not decided whether or not he will take the offer.

Today's Match
Premier League
Manchester United v. AFC Bournemouth- 3pm- NBCSN

Monday, May 16, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Zlatan in talks with LA Galaxy

Today's Matches
Premier League
Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa
(Giroud 5', 78', 80', Arteta 90+3')

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City
(Fabregas PK 66')-(Drinkwater 82')

Everton 2-0 Norwich City
(McCarthy 19', Baines PK 44', Mirallas 48')

Manchester United P-P AFC Bournemouth (Postponed)

Newcastle 5-1 Tottenham
(Wijnaldum 19', PK 73', Mitrovic 39', Aarons 85', Janmaat 86')-(Lamela 60')

West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Liverpool
(Rondon 13')-(Ibe 23')

Stoke City 2-1 West Ham
(Imbula 55', Diouf 88')-(Antonio 23')

Southampton 4-1 Crystal Palace
(Mane 43', Pelle 61', Bertrand PK 75', Davis 87')-(Puncheon 64')

Watford 2-2 Sunderland
(Prodl 48', Deeney PK 61')-(Rodwell 39', Lens 51')

Swansea City 1-1 Manchester City
(Ayew 45+1')-(Iheanacho 5')


MLS
Houston Dynamo 1-0 Real Salt Lake
(Barnes 66')

Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Orlando City
(Dwyer 74', Peterson 79')-(Medranda OG 67')

Portland Timbers 1-1 New York City
(Adi 55')-(Villa 12', McNamara 65')

La Liga
Málaga 4-1 Las Palmas
(Cop 26', Charles PK 45+1', 86', Atsu 84')

Espanyol 4-2 Eibar
(Moreno 13', Asensio 32', Asensio 66', Moreno 76')-(Borja PK 57', Enrich 90')

Rayo Vallecano 3-1 Levante
(Pablo 12', Jozabed 23', Miku 73')-(Verza PK 60')

Real Betis 2-1 Getafe
(Pezzella 56', Castro PK 73')-(Medran 84')

Sporting Gijon 2-0 Villarreal
(Jony 8', Alvarez 79')

Spain ends with a last minute swap in the relegation battle. Sporting Gijon rescues themselves thanks to their 2-0 victory over Champions League qualifiers Villarreal and Getafe's defeat to Real Betis. That means Getafe will go down with Rayo Vallecano and Levante. They will be replaced by Leganes and Alaves with promotion playoffs in June to determine the third spot.

Serie A
Chievo Verona 0-0 Bologna

Empoli 2-1 Torino
(Maccarone 12', Zielinski 54')-(Obi 56')

Genoa 1-2 Atalanta
(Pavoletti 58')-(D'Alessandro 52', Kurtic 82')

Lazio 2-4 Fiorentina
(Lulic 2', Klose PK 74')-(Vecino 31', 70', Bernardeschi 40', Tello 45')

Palermo 3-2 Hellas Verona
(Vazquez 28', Maresca 51', Gilardino 64')-(Viviani 48', Pisano 84')

Udinese 1-2 Carpi
(Di Natale PK 79')-(Verdi PK 36, 38')

Italy ends with little change in the relegation race. Although Carpi did their part to try and survive, Palermo held on for three points against last place Hellas Verona to deny them Serie A action next season.Carpi will join Frosinone and Hellas in Serie B next year.

Liga MX Playoffs- First Round Second Leg
Club America 2-1 Guadalajara (2-1 on aggregate)
(Pineda 9', Peralta 64')-(Martinez PK 27')

Pachuca 3-2 Santos (4-3 on aggregate)
(Urretaviscaya 10', 57', Jara 81')-(Renteria 15', Gonzalez 85')

The first round of the Clausura playoffs are in the books. With wins today, Club America moves on to play Monterrey and Pachuca will take on Leon in the semi-finals.

NASL
FC Edmonton 2-1 New York Cosmos
(Plumhoff 13', Diakite 74')-(Orozco 22')

USL
Bethlehem Steel 1-2 FC Montreal
(Choiniere 25')-(Richter 70', Jones 76')

Vancouver Whitecaps 2 3-1 LA Galaxy II
(Greig 3', 17', Davies 21')-(Villarreal 35')

OKC Energy 1-1 San Antonio FC
(Konig 37')-(Garcia 18')

(Mostly) Final European League Tables
North American League Tables

Headlines
The big story of the say was the "suspicious device" found in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand at Old Trafford. After half the stadium was evacuated, the match was soon called off due to the nature of the device. After the stadium had been cleared, bomb squads conducted a controlled explosion of a device that turned out to be a dud anyway. But the match was called off for precautionary reasons. With the fixture still having impact on European places, the match will be played on Tuesday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who's contract at PSG is up at the end of next month, is the latest European linked to a move to MLS. He prefers to play for LA Galaxy, as almost all of them do, but the Philadelphia Union own his "discovery rights," for whatever that's worth. Philadelphia have no intention of landing the prolific Swede since they don't have mountains of cash available to pay his hefty salary demands. So, in what will surely be a display of MLS bureaucracy at is finest, expect them to sell those rights to the Galaxy for a decent chunk of change and for Zlatan to be turning LA into a supposed juggernaut yet again.

Newcastle are going down to the Championship next year, and manager Rafa Benitez, who arrived in March, has a clause in his contract saying he can leave in the event of a relegation. Well, it's decision time for Benitez now that the season is up and his heart is saying he should stay in Newcastle. He says it's  a great club with great opportunity, but he also needs to think about things and analyze his options before deciding for certain.

Today's Matches
None. With European seasons, for the most part, over, the week is going to slim out quite a bit until Copa America and the European Championships begin.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday MLS: NYC downs the champs, SKC remembers how to score

Houston Dynamo 1-0 Real Salt Lake
After inclement weather postponed this game last night, RSL and Houston finally got going this afternoon. There were a couple of nice first half chances for both sides. The best of the lot came at the 40th minute mark when DaMarcus Beasley played in a cross to Erik Torres on the edge of the six, but the attempt thundered off the pitch and over the bar. With that opportunity ending in failure, the match went into the break without a goal.

Houston pounded the goal in the second half. Chance after chance came their way with nothing going in. In the 66th minute that finally changed. After RSL had a goal called back for a foul, Giles Barnes used his pace to beat the RSL defense to a loose ball, continued his run, and pounded home to give the Dynamo the lead. Real Salt Lake didn't exactly mount much of a comeback after that. They had a couple of half chances, but nothing led to an equalizing goal. They have now gone from unbeaten in their first six matches to having lost three out of their last four.

Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Orlando City
Sporting Kansas City have had trouble scoring goals and Orlando have had trouble keeping them out. Both sides inability to put goals home was on display in the first half. Orlando blew chance after chance thanks to poor decision making on final passes and shots. Sporting just couldn't land a shot on target from a threatening position. The goal SKC thought they had was called back on offside.

The near misses for Kansas City continued in the second half. Great shots were put right into the keeper's chest. Quick breaks were spoiled by inaccurate shooting. Orlando broke the scoreless spell in the 67th minute off a corner. The original ball fell to the floor to a sea of legs. After bouncing off several Kansas City legs it bumbled over the line and put Orlando ahead.

Orlando would have their work cut out for them in order to hold the 1-0 lead. Sporting Kansas City seemed to be doing their work for them. More poor shooting, good saves, and even a header off the line continued to foil the home team. At long last, Dom Dwyer floated a header into the net in the 74th minute to end SKC's dry spell. It was their first goal in three games and it came on their 29th shot of the match. Jacob Peterson would score the winner for them five minutes later. He gave himself an open look at a Roger Espinoza cross for the header.

Sporting Kansas City ends their seven game winless streak. It was the first time they had scored more than a single goal since that run began. Orlando is now without a win in six matches and has fallen below the red line.

Portland Timbers 1-2 New York City
The Timbers were looking to rebound from another weak stretch of matches by welcoming New York City to Providence Park. It wasn't good early, despite controlling much of the ball. In the 12th minute, R.J. Allen played a wonderful pass (after handling the ball) to David Villa who fought hard to slot home past Jake Gleeson. The Timbers were getting some opportunities in response. Darlington Nagbe forced a nice save out of Josh Saunders shortly after the goal. They had six first half corners, but couldn't capitalize off any of them.

The Timbers got their breakthrough in the second half, but not after several close calls of failure. After creating a turnover in midfield, Fanendo Adi calmly fired home the equalizing goal in the 55th minute. New York City was not to be dismayed, though. After the Timbers failed on a breakaway with Lucas Melano, a seemingly harmless possession for NYC turned into Tommy McNamara curling a shot into the upper corner to restore the lead in the 65th minute. That would prove to be the winner as any threat Portland had posed all game more or less disappeared in the final half hour.

This marks the third consecutive 2-1 loss for the Timbers, who now reside in the Western Conference basement. It's their first three game skid in four years. On the flipside, New York City has now won three straight and is unbeaten in four. They are level on points with Montreal for the top spot in the East.