Wednesday’s soccer news starts with MLS clubs going in opposite directions at the Leagues Cup. Sporting Kansas City opted for an experimental lineup, the polite way of saying that they treated their game with Club Leon as an obligation. Losing 6-1 at home, Sporting exits the Leagues Cup in the opening round.
Down three goals from Leon’s Santiago Colombatta (16th) and Omar Fernandez (27th, 44th), Cameron Duke scored for Sporting in the 61st minute. Leon responded immediately with a 62nd minute goal from Angel Mena. Jean Meneses extended the lead in the 72nd with Victor Davilia finishing off the scoring in the 78th minute.
(T)he reality is that I’m not going to risk guys that have high [physical] loads,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “I’m not going to risk them. I’m just not going to. And so obviously, it was a very young team in a lot of respects. And that is what it is. That’s the decision I had to make. And anybody wants to make a criticism to the team, they can make it at me, I’ll take the blame on it. I’m the coach, no problem. Bring it on, I’ll take it.”
Alright, let’s start with the concept of coach’s discretion in American professional soccer. Maybe when a single-entity league decides on behalf of its member clubs to participate in a tournament it partially owns, all of those member clubs can commit to fielding as close to first choice lineups as possible. In turn, the league can figure out a way to address adding to fixture congestion. Then maybe this sort of thing doesn’t happen.
It didn’t in Seattle where the Sounders shutout Tigres 3-0. Raul Ruidiaz converted a penalty in the 23rd with Fredy Montero scoring in the 64th. Nicolas Lodeiro made it 3-0 in the 70th. Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland made one save to keep the clean sheet. In fairness to Sporting Kansas City’s situation, Seattle didn’t have an MLS game over the weekend and doesn’t play again until Sunday when they’re at Portland. Sporting is back at it on Saturday night at FC Dallas.
Moving to Champions League qualifying third round second-legs, Jordan Siebatcheu was once again the hero for Young Boys, scoring twice in their 3-1 home win over Cluj and advancing to the playoff round 4-2 on aggregate. Falling behind in the 4th minute, Siebatcheu equalized in the 23rd and scored again in the 42nd. Nicolas Ngamaleu added a goal in the 35th. Cluj played a man down from a 63rd minute red card.
In Europa League third round second-leg qualifying, Mix Diskerud’s Omonia needed extra time and penalties to see off Flora, after trailing 2-1 in regulation with the series 2-2 on aggregate. Andronikos Kakoullis scored for Omonia in the 43rd with Flora equalizing on the night in the 48th and on aggregate in the 88th. Diskerud subbed out in the 105th minute with Flora seeing red at the end of extra time. Omonia advanced to the Europa League playoffs.
Mark McKenzie was on the bench for KRC Genk’s 2-1 loss at Shakhtar Donetsk, losing 4-2 on aggregate. Trailing 2-0 to goals in the 27th and 76th, Genk’s Cyriel Dessers scored in the 90th minute. KRC Genk drops to the Europa League group stage. Richy Ledezma wasn’t in the squad for PSV’s 1-0 win at Midtjylland to take the series 4-0 on aggregate. Bruma scored three minutes into stoppage time. In England’s League Cup, Lynden Gooch wasn’t in the squad for Sunderlands 2-1 win at Port Vale. Josh Hawkes scored in the 40th with Aiden O’Brien doubling the lead from the penalty spot in the 50th. Jamie Proctor scored for Port Vale in the 67th minute.
PSG makes its signing of Lionel Messi official. The Guardian’s Paul Doyle covers Lionel Messi’s unveiling as a PSG player. SI’s Jonathan Wilson asks about PSG now and also what happens with Barcelona. The NY Times’ Rory Smith asks about the state of the game in Europe with PSG loading up on talent. The Independent’s Miguel Delaney asks about the downside of what PSG is doing. BBC Sport’s Harry De Cosemo goes ahead and ranks PSG’s attack. The Athletic’s Michael Cox asks about the rest of Ligue 1 in the wake of PSG’s offense. Football Italia’s Susy Campanale reports on a potential 20230 World Cup bid from Italy.
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