The soccer news starts with mission improbable for at least a couple of the MLS teams trying to get to the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals. With the usual caveats that anything can happen with at least 90 minutes left to play, there are some obvious problems for Toronto FC and Atlanta United.
Losing 4-0 at Independiente, Toronto faces a home leg later tonight where the scenario seems unlikely. Pulling back all of those goals without giving up anymore is a tough ask, but that's the job with the quarterfinals on the line.
“We have to be looking short and long term about our vision of how we want to play and win games," Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney told James Grossi on the club's official site. "Chasing a 4-0 game is not a smart play. We need to go one goal at a time, get one goal every 20 minutes, and set ourselves up to be in a position to push the game into extra time and finish it off there."
Atlanta United trails Herediano after a 3-1 away loss, playing their home game on Thursday at their USL team's stadium. That scheduling issue means a tiny crowd by Atlanta's standards and that different environment could be a factor. It's also hard to downplay what a round of 16 exit would look like for the first games under new coach Ronald de Boer.
"We’re going to try to improve every day, so this is just the first step and are going to make a lot of steps forward," de Boer told atlutd.com's Rayn Catanese. "I’m confident in that, and hopefully by next Thursday we have time to get our revenge and show everyone that we’ve learned from this experience and are better for it. 3-1 is a good result for Herediano, but I have confidence also that we can score two goals at home."
Moving to USMNT players in Europe, Tyler Adams played the second-half in RB Leipzig's 1-1 home draw with Hoffenheim. Trailing from the 22nd minute, Willi Orban equalized for Leipzig in the 89th. Both teams finished with 4 shots on goal.
We've got to be content with a point. We could have scored a second, but Hoffenheim could have too. Changing from 5 at the back to a 4-4-2 gave us a distinctly better hold on the game. At the end of the day, the draw is alright," RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick said. "We took a risk and sent Willi up front at the end. He got his brace against Hannover from set-pieces, and now he's scored from open play. It's a great story for him!"
Eric Lichaj's Hull City beat Millwall 2-1 at home in the Championship. Markus Henriksen put Hull up in the 8th minute with Millwall equalizing in the 34th. Marc Pugh scored in the 42nd minute. Hull City is 11th in the Championship, tied on points with 10th-place PNE and 12th-place Sheffield Wednesday at 47.
Romain Gall's Malmo lost 2-1 at Oster in group C of the Svenska Cupen. Trailing from the 51st, Malmo's Marcus Antonsson equalized from the penalty spot in the 54th minute. Osters scored their winner in the 89th to go top of the group after two games. They lead Malmo and Falkenberg 6 points to 3.
In the Copa MX round of 16, Omar Gonzalez's Atlas lost 4-2 on penalties at Dorados after finishing scoreless. Joe Corona's Tijuana advanced 4-3 on penalties after drawing 1-1 at home with Alebrijes de Oaxaca. Luis Chaves scored for Tijuana in the 9th minute with Alebrijes de Oaxaca equalizing in the 17th. Tijuana plays at Morelia in the quarterfinals.
AS's Conrado Valle interviews Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez. The Telegraph's Sam Wallace talks to former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. The Guardian's Stuart James on former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. The Guardian's Stuart James on ">Leicester City's move for Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.
Yahoo Sports' Joey Gulino with Chelsea fining Kepa Arrizabalaga for not subbing out in the League Cup final. The Blackpool Gazette's Matt Scrafton reports on the latest with Blackpool's reorganization.
"The Concacaf Champions League kicked off this past week and when it comes to U.S. teams winning CCL in the modern form, it is a long and ugly history of futility."@AlexiLalas breaks down MLS's varying success in the CCL ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/dQp1Sppty5— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 26, 2019
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