News Roundups are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning with quick hits on what you may have missed and what is still to come in The Beautiful Game.
Here’s what you may have missed, what is still developing and to come. And here’s to helping bring you, the fan, up to speed, Ahead of the Game, and most importantly, send you off into the weekend.
Wednesday’s Roundup: Wednesday Roundup — March 14, 2018
U in Preview: U in Preview — Matchday 2: Columbus Versus Philadelphia
Sapong Signs New Contract
On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Union announced the club has agreed to terms with last season’s club-leading goalscorer, CJ Sapong.
Sapong signed a new contract with the Union, which ensures the United States international will remain under contract in Chester through 2019 with a club option for 2020.
Curtin: Bořek Dočkal 100% Will Play Against Columbus
Speaking at his Wednesday press conference, Philadelphia manager Jim Curtin said that the Union’s newest signing, Bořek Dočkal, will “100 percent” play a role in Saturday’s match against Columbus Crew SC.
Here’s the full quote from the gaffer:
“Happy with where he’s [Dočkal] at. The ankle is fully healed. It will be a matter of deciding the minute load. He’ll play a role in this game; that is 100 percent certain barring an injury or something freakish happening the rest of the way. He’ll play a role one way or another in this match; is it as a starter or is it reserve that’s still to be determined.”
Last time out it was Union Homegrown midfielder Anthony Fontana who started in the Czech internationals place, at the CAM position. Fontana logged a solid 65 minute shift and scored on his MLS and Philadelphia Union debut.
It is predicted, by many in the Union media sphere, that Dočkal will start, but not finish, the match on Saturday. Curtin revealed that the Union’s new No. 10 is still not fit to last a full 90′.
U in Preview: Columbus
It’s the U in Preview.
Before every match, Philly Football Daily previews the Philadelphia Union and their opponent that week, analyzing predicted Starting XI’s, potential game-changers, and much, much more.
In the latest U in Preview, PFD Editor-in-Chief Jason Hannigan previews the Union’s upcoming league match at home, against the unbeaten Crew. Check it: U in Preview — Matchday 2: Columbus Versus Philadelphia
Major League Soccer
Phoenix Unveils Stadium Renderings
USL club Phoenix Rising is, well, rising and they’re raising their chances of Major League Soccer expansion, too, with breathtaking new stadium renderings that were unveiled on Thursday.
MLS commissioner Don Garber capped league expansion at 28 clubs. Los Angeles Football Club were No. 23, Nashville and Miami were No. 24 and No. 25 respectively. Phoenix Rising is currently taking the steps necessary to be named one of the remaining three expansion clubs.
Last month, Phoenix added Chinese billionaire Alex Zheng, who is also an investor in Ligue 1’s OGC Nice (France), to its ownership group. This week, on Thursday, the club unveiled renderings of a proposed 21,000-seat, $250 million stadium it hopes to build northeast of Arizona State University.
And, as MLS fans know, soccer specific stadiums are a must for expansion sides. Check out Rising’s renderings below:
Seattle Out, Toronto and New York Through
Seattle Sounders were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League in Guadalajara Wednesday night, falling to Mexican side Club Deportivo Guadalajara 3-0 in the match and 3-1 on aggregate.
Clint Dempsey’s lone goal in the home leg proved not enough, as the Sounders were outclassed by Guadalajara Wednesday night. Goals were provided by Oswaldo Alanís (50′), Javier López (55′), and José Godínez (80′).
Chivas will host the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals, which begin on Tuesday, April 4. New York were dominant in their quarterfinal matchup against Club Tijuana, routing The Xolos 5-1 on aggregate.
New York is not the only MLS side to have taken care of Mexican opposition in this year’s competition.
Reigning MLS Cup champion Toronto Football Club stunned Liga MX giants Tigres UANL, drawing the Mexican club 4-4 on aggregate, but going through on away goals. TFC will visit Club América for the first leg of the semifinals on Monday, April 3.
United States to Host Bolivia in Memorial Day Friendly
On Thursday, the United States Soccer Federation announced the Men’s National Team will play a Memorial Day friendly against Bolivia at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA.
It will be the first of three Summer matches for interim manager Dave Sarachan’s USMNT. After the match against Bolivia, the United States is set to visit Ireland in Dublin on June 2 and France in Lyon on June 9.
Kickoff for the Memorial Day (May 28) match against Bolivia is slated for 7 PM EST. Tickets are set to go on sale to the general public on Thursday, March 22.
Chicago Withdraws 2026 World Cup Bid
According to a spokesperson for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Windy City has officially withdrawn its bid to host matches for the proposed 2026 World Cup in North America.
City officials cited a lack of assurances from FIFA, the world football governing body, as their reasoning for rescinding their bid to host future Summer matches. Chicago’s Soldier Field was formerly on a list of 32 potential venues stage the 2026 tournament.
Yanks Abroad: US U-20 International Impressing in Portugal
United States U-20 international Keaton Parks is reportedly turning heads in Portugal, having recently been promoted from second division side, Benfica B, to Benfica’s first team.
Parks has scored 6 goals in 21 appearances with the second division side, and the American has since featured four times for the first team. Benfica manager Rui Vitoria says Parks will have more chances to impress with the first team this upcoming preseason.
Benfica currently sit two points behind league leaders FC Porto.
ICYMI: Barcelona Rout Chelsea, More Messi Milestones
Lionel Messi continued his historic season, scoring twice in Barcelona’s rout of Chelsea on Wednesday.
Messi’s first goal came in the third minute, making it the fastest goal the Argentine has ever scored for club or country. Messi nutmegged Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois on route to his 99th career Champions League goal.
The Argentine’s second goal on the night, another nutmeg on Courtois, came in the 63rd minute and was another milestone for Messi.
That goal, which sealed Barcelona’s place in the quarterfinal, was the 100th career goal for Messi in the European tournament. Messi is the fastest player to reach that milestone.
Watch Messi hit the century mark.
Better than Ronaldo? According to these stats, the Argentine most certainly is.
Mark Hughes Appointed Manager of Southampton
On Thursday, after a dreadful run of form under former manager Mauricio Pellegrino, in which Southampton picked up just one win in 17 matches, the Saints appointed former Stoke City boss Mark Hughes as the club’s next manager.
Hughes has been out of work since January, after the Englishman packed his bags and left Stoke. The new Saints’ boss will take charge of the team in its FA Cup tie against League One side Wigan at the weekend.
Southampton currently sit 17th in the Premier League, just one point above relegation sides Crystal Palace and Stoke City.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Premier League table, as it currently stands.
Besiktas Charged After Cat Invades Pitch
No, you cannot make this stuff up. And no, you cannot allow cats onto the pitch either.
Turkish club Beşiktaş J.K. have been charged by UEFA for “insufficient organization” after allowing a cat to run onto the field during Wednesday’s Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.
The match was stopped early in the second half after the animal apparently jumped from an advertising board and ran onto the field of play.
Thanks for reading Friday’s News Roundup. Check back here, on Monday morning, for the latest happening in The Beautiful Game. Cheers.