Tuesday’s soccer news starts with the Leagues Cup round of 16. Weather concerns moved Philadelphia vs the Red Bulls to tonight, leaving two games on Monday’s schedule. Queretaro and New England drew 1-1 at Gillette Stadium with Queretaro advancing 4-3 on penalties. Queretaro’s Jamie Valencia scored in the 46th and Esmir Bajraktarevic equalized in the 78th. New England failed to convert in the 4th and 5th rounds of penalties while Queretaro went four for four.
“The ball didn’t move quick enough, and we didn’t get players high enough up the field,” New England assistant coach Richie Williams said. “When we did have opportunities, our last ball wasn’t great, our service wasn’t great, and we just didn’t create enough.”
Monday’s other game saw Charlotte beat Houston 2-1 at Shell Energy Stadium. The Dynamo took the lead from a 10th minute Corey Baird goal with Charlotte’s Patrick Agyemang equalizing in the 80th minute. An own-goal put Charlotte up for good in the 81st.
Aron Johannsson subbed out in the 27th minute of Valur’s 4-2 win over KA Akureyri in the Urvalsdeild karla. Tryggvi Haraldsson opened the scoring for Valur in the 11th, Orri Kjartansson doubled the lead in the 21st, and Haraldsson scored again in the 39th. KA Akureyri pulled a goal back in the 50th. Patrick Pedersen made it 4-1 Valur in the 54th. KA Akureyri scored again in the 73rd. Emmanuel Sabbi wasn’t in the squad for Odense BK’s 2-1 home loss to Viborg in the Superliga. Viborg opened the scoring in the 28th with OB’s Bashkim Kadri equalizing in the 72nd. Viborg scored again in the 80th minute.
Also in the soccer news, the two USMNT players in the Eredivisie will see their seasons begin this weekend. Ricardo Pepi’s PSV is home to FC Utrecht on Saturday and Djordje Mihailovic’s AZ Alkmaar hosts Go Ahead Eagles on Sunday. It’s an interesting time in the Dutch topflight following a season where Ajax finished in 3rd-place, six points behind PSV and two points ahead of AZ. PSV opens the third round of Champions League qualifying later at home with Sturm Graz while AZ is in the third qualifying round of the Europa Conference League at FC Santa Coloma on Thursday.
With the expectation of a return to form for Ajax, it’s one again the standard story in the Eredivise with PSV and Feyenoord also the likeliest competition for the title. Feyenoord won in 2022-23 with a seven-point lead over PSV, only losing twice. They finished with a +51 goal difference to PSV’s +49 and Ajax’s +48, with all of the teams in the top six at +23 and higher and goal difference turning negative at 8th-place.
In 2021-22, Ajax won the Eredivisie by two points over PSV with a goal difference of +79 to PSV’s +44. PSV last won the title in 2017-18 by four points over Ajax, but trailed them on goal difference +48 to +56. What that highlights is the expectation for plenty of scoring for teams in contention in the Netherlands. PSV lead the league last season with 89 goals, three more than 3rd-place Ajax and eight more than the champions Feyenoord.
AZ’s 2022-23 finish was six points and one place in the table better than what they did in 2021-22, scoring four more goals at 68. Their final day of the season loss to PSV was the difference between 4th-place and passing Ajax for 3rd. That was also the difference between the Europa League qualifiers and Europa Conference League qualifying. With those kind of margins in a league trying to hold onto its current 5th-place ranking in UEFA’s association coefficient in advance of the changes to UEFA’s tournaments next season, they need success from their clubs in Europe. The difference between 5th and 6th is an extra Champions League place in the expanded tournament.
WEDNESDAY’S SOCCER TV
Club friendlies on ESPN Deportes: Red Bull Salzburg vs Internazionale at 1pm and AC Milan vs Panaitolikos at 2:30pm. Copa Sudamericana on beIN Sport: Goias vs Estudiantes at 6pm. Copa Libertadores on beIN Sport: Boca Juniors vs Nacional at 8pm. USL Championship on ESPN2: Colorado Springs vs FC Tulsa at 9pm. Liga Nacional on Fox Deportes: Vida vs Genesis at 9pm. Central American Cup on FS2:
Motagua vs Sporting San Miguelito at 10pm.
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Photo by Andrew Katsampes – ISIPhotos.com