Tuesday’s soccer news starts with this week’s UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg openers and a meeting of USMNT players. Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea hosts Timothy Weah’s Lille later today, a meeting of the 3rd-place team in the Premier League and the 8th-place team in Ligue 1.
Chelsea’s situation in the Premier League is an issue simply because 3rd-place is 13 points behind 1st-place Manchester City and seven back of 2nd-place Liverpool. Those gaps in points make it unlikely that Chelsea is going to push any higher. Still, this is a team that last season trumped the rest of the Premier League hierarchy by finishing 4th but winning the Champions League.
“We had many games throughout our year together where we created many chances but struggled a bit in the conversion,” Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said in advance of the opener with Lille. “Now at the moment it’s a time where we struggle to create too many big chances for our strikers and I think this is a normal period in a long season. We are well aware of it but like most of the time in football, there’s not one way to solve a problem.”
In Wednesday’s other round of 16 opening leg, Weston McKennie’s Juventus is at Villarreal, 6th in La Liga. Juve is in 4th-place in Serie A, seven points behind 3rd-place Napoli and 2nd-place Inter Milan. League leaders AC Milan has a two-point lead at the top of the table, nine points ahead of Juventus.
We have a 50-50 chance of making it through to the next round,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Our aim is to make it through but we won’t achieve that after the first-leg alone…. I want to see the team play well when in possession and keep focused when we don’t have the ball. We need to ensure the episodes work in our favor. Above all, it will be a game where patience is key.”
Moving to the soccer news, Borussia Dortmund expects Gio Reyna to be out for two weeks. CBS Sports’ Jonathan Johnson talks to USMNT and Lille forward Timothy Weah. Soccer America’s Brian Sciaretta interviews USMNT and Venezia player Tanner Tessmann. The NY Times’ Andrew Das reports on the women’s players lawsuit potential settlement with US Soccer. MLSsoccer’s Matthew Doyle works through the championship chances for MLS teams. ESPN’s Noah Davis gives MLS expansion season advice.
WEDNESDAY’S SOCCER TV
USWNT vs Iceland at 9pm on ESPN2. UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-legs on CBS: Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United at 3pm and Galavision: Benfica vs Ajax at 3pm. Copa Libertadores on beIN Sport: Bolivar vs Universidad Catolica at 5:15pm. beIN En Espanol has America Mineiro vs Guarani at 5:15pm. Concacaf Champions League round of 16 second-legs on FS1: NYCFC vs Santos de Guapiles at 6pm with NYCFC up 2-0 and UNAM Pumas vs Saprissa at 10:30pm with that series tied 2-2. FS2 has Colorado vs Comunicaciones at 8:15pm with Comunicaciones leading 1-0. Recopa Sudamericana on beIN Sport: Athletico-PR vs Palmeiras at 7:30pm ET.
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Photo by David Klein – CSM via ZUMA Wire – ISIPhotos.com