The soccer news starts with the conclusion of the 2019 Concacaf Champions League round of 16. Atlanta United pulled off a multi-goal comeback in their series with Herediano, winning 4-0 at home and 5-3 on aggregate. Josef Martinez scored in the 1st minute with Julian Gressel scoring in the 9th. Martinez scored again in the 63rd with Leandro finishing off the goals in the 83rd. Brad Guzan made three saves to keep the clean sheet. Atlanta plays Monterrey in the quarterfinals.
Sporting KC dominated Toluca, winning 2-0 on the road to finish off the 5-0 shutout. Gerso Fernandes put Sporting up on the night in the 8th minute. Toluca went a man down in the 61st with Krisztian Nemeth converting the ensuing penalty a minute later. Tim Melia kept the clean sheet without needing a save. Sporting KC plays Independiente in the quarterfinals.
"Physically, there's no doubt that as we continue to move on and have the games that we do, we're going to have to move the team around a little bit," Sporting coach Peter Vermes said. "But some of that stuff's going to have to be done when we get to LA tomorrow and then Saturday try to figure out where the guys are. That's going to be a constant - us taking inventory after each game - and then I don't want to look too far down the road, but we've got to always keep an eye on that next game and how you're going to approach it as well."
Also in the soccer news, Fulham's latest Premier League loss led to a coaching change. After dropping three points at Southampton on Wednesday, the club responded by dismissing manager Claudio Ranieri on Thursday. With Fulham 19th in the Premier League table and 10 points from even the mention of safety, a coaching change isn't exactly a surprise. Scott Parker now takes over on an interim basis.
“Claudio walked into a difficult situation, inheriting a side that gained only one point in its prior eight matches, and he provided an immediate boost by leading our Club to nine points in his first eight matches as manager," Fulham chairman Shahid Khan said. "Though we were unable to maintain that pace thereafter, I am grateful for his effort. Claudio leaves Fulham as our friend and he will undoubtedly experience success again soon.
As always in these types of situations, it's an open question whether or not there's enough time for anybody to try to mount a great escape from the relegation zone. Ranieri finds himself in what's now an equally common situation for managers. He didn't get the transfer windows to make the squad his own. It's an interesting run-up to Sunday's London derby with Fulham hosting Chelsea. The Guardian's Paul Wilson on the brief Ranieri era at Fulham.
Yahoo's Doug McIntyre on the new MLS season. Toronto FC announced a new contract fr Jozy Altidore. MLSsoccer's Matthew Doyle previews the 2019 MLS season by putting clubs in tiers. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jonathan Tannenwald profiles Union sporting director Ernst Tanner. Pro Soccer USA's Ben Ferree looks at the Columbus Crew.
The NY Times' Andrew Das reports that CONMEBOL isn't interested in the US Soccer Federation's offer for a tournament in the United States in 2020. American Soccer Now's Brian Sciaretta lists the US youth players who could factor this year.
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Photo by Eric Rossitch - Atlanta United