The soccer news starts with the 3rd-place Champions League teams now looking to advance in the Europa League round of 32. That includes Borussia Dortmund, keeping a USMNT player in European competition this season. It might not be what the Bundesliga club wanted at the start of the season, but the Europa League matters as long as a club remains involved. Manchester United doubled down on that scenario last season, stressing the Europa League as their way of getting into the Champions League for 2017-18. It worked, with Manchester United taking the trophy and using that Champions League spot to advance to this season’s knockout round.
For the eight teams that dropped from the Champions League to the Europa League this season, that’s the target. Borussia Dortmund is still in contention to take one of the Bundesliga’s Champions League spots. They’re currently in 3rd-place, trailing RB Leipzig by a point. RB Leipzig is also considering the Europa League scenario, the other Bundesliga club to drop down from the Champions League. Borussia Dortmund faces Atalanta in this round, an easier Italian assignment than RB Leipzig needing to get past Serie A leaders Napoli.
“We want to win the Europa League,” Borussia Dortmund midfielder and USMNT player Christian Pulisic said. “We want to go out there and show we’re the best team in the competition. That’s the attitude we have going into every game. I’m expecting Atalanta to be strong at the back. They’ll make life difficult for us all over the pitch and we’ll definitely have to fight if we want to progress to the next round.”
Also in the soccer news, the roundup of USMNT players in the midweek Liga MX games starts with Ventura Alvarado not in the squad for Necaxa’s 1-1 draw at Atlas. Jose Torres missed Tigres’ 0-0 draw at Lobos BUAP. Tigres played a man down from the 21st minute. Joe Corona subbed out in the 75th minute for Club America’s 4-1 win over Morelia. Cecilio Dominguez put Club America up in the 5th minute with Morelia equalizing in the 20th. Mateus Uribe scored for America in the 23rd and 37th minutes with Oribe Peralta adding a goal in the 78th.
Omar Gonzalez wasn’t in the squad for Pachuca’s 2-0 home shutout of Tijuana. Michael Orozco and Rubio Rubin missed the game for Tijuana. Angel Sagal scored in the 21st minute with Erick Gutierrez doubling the lead in the 89th. Jonathan Bornstein wasn’t in the squad for Queretaro’s 2-2 home draw with Chivas. Edson Puch put Queretaro up in the 18th with Chivas equalizing in the 46th. Miguel Martinez returned the lead in the 88th, but Chivas came up with an equalizer two minutes into stoppage time.
Jorge Villafana’s Santos Laguna came back to beat William Yarbrough’s Leon 5-1 at home. Landon Donovan was on the bench for Leon. Mauro Boselli scored for Leon in the 2nd minute with Osvaldo Martinez equalizing in the 25th. Santos Laguna’s Djaniny scored a hat-trick in under ten minutes. Djaniny scored in the 31st, converted a penalty in the 35th, and got his third in the 39th. Jonathan Rodriguez added a goal in the 66th minute.
MLSsoccer.com’s Steve Stejskal asks if allocation money era will help MLS in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Oregonian’s Jamie Goldberg talks to Portland Timbers assistant coach and former USMNT player Carlos Llamosa.
The NY Times’ Rory Smith on what losing a Champions League first-leg to Real Madrid means to PSG. The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson on PSG’s loss. Tifo Football’s Seb Stafford-Bloor uses Swansea City as the example for clubs needing to address why they’re in a relegation fight rather than just pushing to stay up at all costs. Inside World Soccer’s David Owen on the financial success of the Bundesliga.
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