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Pre-Match Thread: Arsenal vs. FC Koln - Europa League

Arsenal vs FC Koln
Competition: Europa League
Kick-off: 8:05pm, Thursday, September 14th.
Location: Emirates Stadium
Team news:
Arsene Wenger will rest a host of first-team players when Arsenal begin their Europa League campaign at home to FC Koln, but Alexis Sanchez and Jack Wilshere may feature.
Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka, Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette have all been left out of the squad
Wenger says the best way of returning to the Champions League next year is via a top-four Premier League finish.
"We did that for 20 years," he said.
"We got 75 points last year and overall, I am humble enough to be happy to win every competition," added the Frenchman.
"I think the best way to do it is through the Premier League."
Wenger has included Chile forward Sanchez in his squad for Thursday's game.
The 28-year-old - Arsenal's top scorer last season with 30 goals in all competitions - was close to joining Manchester City this summer before the Gunners pulled out of a £60m deal.
Opta stats:
  • This is the seventh consecutive season Arsenal have faced German opposition in Europe - they've faced Bayern Munich in four of those (2012/13, 2013/14, 2015/16 and 2016/17), Borussia Dortmund in three (2011/12, 2013/14 and 2014/15) and Schalke once (2012/13).
  • Arsenal and Cologne faced each other in the 1970/71 Fairs Cup, with the Gunners losing on aggregate on away goals. Arsenal won the home leg 2-1 at Highbury with goals from Frank McLintock and Peter Storey.
  • This is Arsenal's first European match not played in the Champions League since the 2000 UEFA Cup final, which they lost 4-1 on penalties to Galatasaray after a 0-0 draw.
  • Cologne's last European match against English opposition came in September 1995 - they routed Spurs 8-0 in an Intertoto Cup match.
  • In European competition proper, Cologne's last win over English opponents was in December 1976, beating a QPR side featuring Frank McLintock in the UEFA Cup.
  • The Gunners haven't lost a home game on a Thursday since Boxing Day 1974, losing 2-1 to Chelsea at Highbury - they've won eight and drawn three since.
  • Including qualifiers, Cologne will be the 64th different team Wenger has faced in European competition as Arsenal manager - he has registered at least one win over 56 of the previous 63 (89 per cent).
  • Lacazette has been involved in 10 goals in his last 10 starts in the Europa League (eight goals, two assists).
  • Of players to have featured in the Europa League for at least 600 minutes since 2009/10, Mesut Ozil has the best minutes per assist ratio, averaging an assist every 110 minutes. Ozil featured in the 2009/10 Europa League, assisting six goals in eight matches for Werder Bremen.
  • In three of Arsenal's last four European competition campaigns outside of the Champions League, the Gunners have reached the final - 1994 and 1995 Cup Winners' Cups and 2000 UEFA Cup final.
Betting:
Arsenal are just 4/9 with Sky Bet to make a winning start to their Europa League campaign, with Cologne up against odds of 11/2, while the draw is priced at 7/2. The Gunners are joint outright favourites at 7/1 alongside AC Milan, while their German opponents are given a 33/1 chance. Lacazette and Olivier Giroud head the first goalscorer betting at 11/4 apiece, while Artjoms Rudnevs is considered the visitors' main threat at 10/1 to open the scoring.
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[Match Thread] Juventus Turin - Borussia Dortmund (CL, RO16)

Juventus FC2 - 1Borussia Dortmund
Champions League, round of 16, first leg
Stadium: Juventus Stadium, Turin
Kick off: 20:45 CET (UTC+1)
Referee: Antonia Mateu (Spain)
The Teams
Team Juventus FC Borussia Dortmund
Subreddit /Juve /BorussiaDortmund
Group 2nd place, GD 7:4, WLLWWD 1st place, GD 14:4, WWWWLD
Line-up 4-3-1-2 4-2-3-1
Buffon (GK) (C) Weidenfeller (GK)
Evra Schmelzer
Chiellini Kirch 45'
Bonucci Hummels (C)
Lichtsteiner Ginter 32'
Pogba Sahin
Pereyra 36' 79' Gündogan
Marchioso Reus 18'
Padoin 85' Mkhitaryan
Coman 88' Aubameyang
Morata 42' Blaszczykowski 75'
Bench Storari (GK) Langerak (GK)
Caceres Piszczek 32'
Ogbonna Immobile 75'
Tevez 13' 88' Kagawa
Vidal 48' 85' Kehl
Pirlo 36' Sokratis 45'
Llorente Ramos
Coach Allegri Klopp
Unavailable players:
  • Juventus FC: Asamoah (injured), Romulo (injured), Marrone (injured), Matri (injured)
  • Borussia Dortmund: Kampl (sick), Großkreutz (injured), Subotic (injured), Durm (injured), Bender (injured)
Outlook
The 2 teams met each other a total of 7 times, including the UEFA-Cup final of 1993 and the Champions League final of 1997. In general, Turin won 4 times, Dortmund twice, once they drew. In the CL alone however, Dortmund won twice and Juventus only once. The total goal difference is 15:10 in favour of Juvents, in the CL however Dortmund claims again the lead with 6:5 goals.
The stats couldn't possibly closer for this old international rivalry that decided 2 international competitions so far. The squads have a total market value of €322m. vs. €318m., average player market values of €11.9m. vs. €10.6m, both have 19 players in national teams, the total amount of club members are just as equal at 111'000 vs. 115'000. The (literally) most valuable players are both estimated at ~€50m be it Pogba or Reus, and neither looks to leave their club any time soon.
Juventus is unbeaten at home for 46 matches running now, the last time someone took a win off away from them in their stadium was a German team - Bayern Munich, in the 2nd leg of the CL RO8 of 2012/13.
  • Juventus FC key players: Buffon, Pirlo, Pogba, Tevez
  • Borussia Dortmund key players: Hummels, Kagawa, Reus, Aubameyang
Betting odds - according to bet365.com
Win Turin Draw Win Dortmund
2.00 3.40 4.33
0 - 1 goals 2 or more goals 4 or more goals
2.75 1.40 4.33
  • Juventus FC advances to the RO8 - 1.80
  • Borussia Dortmund advances to the RO8 - 2.00
  • Lowest odds for exact results - 1:0 (for 6.00), 1:1 (for 6.00)
Match Updates
0' Kick-off
1' Immobile with the first shot of the game, goes 1m over the bar of his fellow Italians.
3' Dortmund with two smaller fouls, but neither called. Ref seems to not want to interrupt the game too much today.
4' Buffon not as good with his feet as with his hands, causing a throw in. The following throw in ends up being a mare because the ref somehow isn't statisfied, ends up with a throw in for Juventus in the end.
6' Juve with decent passing around the box, getting 2 subsequent corners, but not much more.
13' 1-0 Tevez! Who else could possibly bring Juve the lead? A quick counter attack over Morata, followed by a terrible mistake from Weidenfeller. The goalkeeper let a rather weak shot deflect directly to Tevez who just had to tap it in. Which he did, in best striker fashion.
18' 1-1 Reus, following the 2nd blatant individual mistake of the game. Chiellini slipping and losing the ball (not sure if you can really blame him for slipping here) in the build up and Reus leavues Buffon absolutely no chance in the 1on1 against Buffon. With this, Dortmund has the very least an important away goal.
21' Morata completely free on the penalty spot, but his header is neither placed nor strong, it goes wide. The chance was much better than what he made from it.
26' Marchioso with a header after a free kick, Weidenfeller completely underruning the ball. Dortmund is lucky that Juves headers are ill placed so far, and Weidenfeller should look to get some security back into his game.
28' Pogba with a very rough tackle on Piszczek, but no card. Seems like Juve is picking up Dortmunds higher physicality, the ref might want to keep this in check or it could end poorly. The mood is heating up quite a bit.
32' Dortmund (1/3) - Piszczek, Ginter, Klopp forced to rearrange his defence after Pogba basically got rid of Piszczek.
36' Juventus (1/3) - Pirlo, Pereyra, I'm not sure what happened to Pirlo but I wouldn't be exactly surprised if it was because of a rough tackle as well.
40' Vidal with a studs up tackle on Immobile, again no yellow, and honestly that would be a very orange-y yellow card. This is starting to be a completely pathetic ref performance.
42' 2-1 Morata, out of nowhere! Dortmund took the game over for the last 15min, but a single combination from Vidal to Pogba to Morata leaves the Dortmund defense completely disoriented. No one marking Morata who just has to tap it in.
45' Halftime. Weird game so far, Dortmund started rough but then turned it around to play well. In total two goals from individual mistakes, and Juve scoring twice just as Dortmund is looking stronger. The referee too afraid to show a card in a game where frankly, Vidal is lucky to still be on the field after his challenge on Immobile amongst other stuff, not even starting to talk on all the other unnecessary fouls from either side. Here's to hope the 2nd half is less phsyique and more play.
45' Dortmund (2/3) - Sokratis, Kirch
46' 2nd half is on, my friends!
48' Vidal, and I dare to say: finally. This challenge was just as reckless as the one on Immobile, if he continues this he won't finish the game.
53' Juve with their 5th corner of the game, and that's a dangerous one. Weidenfeller with a minor insecurity letting the ball drop in his knee but he saves it directly after.
56' Dortmund with a combination through the center, ends up with Immobile open on half-right position. His shot is a rather easy one for Buffon. Replay shows that a handball call might've been possible here, I'm not sure so let's wait for a gfy on that. I think most agree there was nothing close to a penalty happening here, if you look at him even moving his arm away.
58' Hummels losing the ball in build up, luckily for Dortmund Juve doesn't push their advantage properly.
60' Pogba with his hand in Kirchs face, ref doesn't bother calling it. Sorry folks but I can't not make it sound like a complete joke what this alleged referee is doing. It was nothing vicious at all, but hand in face is one of the clearest calls out there.
62' Tevez with a great chance from a great position roughly 8m in front of the goal, but he can't quite control it, so his attempt goes very wide.
67' I have to say, Dortmund is rather clueless in the 2nd half so far. Even after a gifted corner, Dortmund doesn't even come close to create a proper chance.
70' Tevez free to shoot from the edge of the box after Dortmund is a bit disordered in their defence, it goes wide by just a few inches. Wiedenfeller doesn't seem to have gotten it.
72' A long ball and a lack of communication between Ginter and Weidenfeller forces Weidenfeller to first smash it away, then tackle down Ginter as I think Tevez was approaching.
74' A shot from Immobile goes roughly 1m over the bar, Buffon recognizing this and not even trying to save it.
75' Dortmund (3/3) - Immobile, Blaszczykowski - Aubameyang going as striker now, Kuba on the right wing, same as last weekend against Stuttgart. The Italian fans whistling Immobile off the field, which is no surprise as they were whistling him throughout the entire game.
77' Ginter slipping basically on the same spot as Chiellini leading up to the temporary equalizer, Tevez taking the attempt but Weidenfeller saves it. The following corner is as dangerous as most Juve corners so far, but it goes over the bar.
78' An incomplete pass allows Juve to play out a 3v3, but offside players force an unideal pass which gets intercepted on a great sliding tackle.
79' Pereyra for a professional foul from behind on Mkhitaryan.
85' Dortmunds central defense disordered yet again, Pereyra gets through open in front of the goal, but his shot misses to post just narrowly.
85' Juventus (2/3) - Vidal, Padoin, even though Vidal cooled a bit down it's a smart decision from Allegri before he somehow gets himself send off.
88' Juventus (3/3) - Tevez, Coman. He who opened the scoring tonight gets to take a shower earlier, Juve looking to defend their lead over the time now.
89' Dortmund with a good chance on a counter, but they completely mess it up and it leads to nothing.
90' It's over, Juventus wins the first leg at home 2-1 against Dortmund.
Highlights - the place for gifs
cppn02 and his gifs, I'll only put major events in the thread, visit his post for more moving images.
Statistics
Juventus FC 90' Borussia Dortmund
47% Possession 53%
10 Shots 12
55% Duells 45%
412 total passes 463
80% Passing accuracy 80%
8 Fouls 9
4 Offsides 1
Streams
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[Pre Match Thread] Manchester City vs Feyenoord [Champions League - Group Stage - Matchday 5]

Manchester City F.C. vs. Feyenoord
Competition : Champions League – Group Stage - Matchday 5 (Group F)
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Date: Tuesday, 21 November
Kick-off : 19:45 BST | 20:45 CET | 14:45 Central USA
Referee : Ivan Kružliak
Assistants : Martin Balko, Tomaš Somolani
Fourth official : Roman Slyško
Manchester City F.C.
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Line Up – Ederson, Walker, Mangala, Otamendi, Danilo, Gundogan, Yaya Toure, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Sterling, Aguero (C)
Substitutes - Bravo, Foden, Delph, Silva, Fernandinho, Diaz, G Jesus
Sidelined – Mendy, Stones
Form Guide
All competitions - W W W W W
Champions League - L W W W W
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
"We are already qualified but for the draw for the last 16 you never know. It is better [to win your group and] play the second leg at home. I will prepare and the players will prepare to win the game. The Champions League is a prestigious competition. We will play to win.
John Stones will be out between 4-6 weeks. All of the month he will be out. Hopefully he will recover well for the end of January. To win trophies we need all the squad, especially important players like John and Vinny. We have to play 12 games in a short space of time with only three central defenders, and one of them is a risk in Vincent, who is only just back. We have Manga [Eliaquim Mangala], Vincent [Kompany] and Nico[lás Otamendi] and of course Kyle [Walker], Danilo and Fernandinho as well. Benjamin Mendy, I think, can [play there] as well. We have options in that position. We will find a solution. It will not be a problem.
The favourites are Barcelona, Real Madrid etc. For people to put us there is a big honour. We haven't done anything yet. We have a big history to build in Europe."
Pep Guardiola
Feyenoord
Manager: Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
Line Up - Jones, Haps, Tapia, Van Beek, Diks, Vilhena, Toornstra, Amrabat, Larsson, Boetius, Berghuis
Substitutes - Vermeer, St. Juste, Nelom, Nieuwkoop, Jørgensen, Basacikoglu, Kramer
Sidelined
Form Guide -
All competitions - D D L D W
Champions League – L L L L
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
"Our aim is to get a result, as with any game. We have to be honest – not all teams are equal and we know who we're playing against: one of the best teams at the moment in Europe.
They won't be using all of their top team but it's still going to be a good team and we have to be on our toes to get a result. It's a tall order. Everybody would agree but at the end of the day, we're here to show what we're made of and go for gold. It's possible but not easy.
Striker Nicolai Jørgensen felt today not quite fit. Bart Nieuwkoop and Sam Larsson are strong, also [Renato] Tapia is fresh. We have an important match this weekend against Groningen. We don't want to run any risks tomorrow with players that have any small complaints.“
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
HEAD-TO-HEAD
City have played Feyenoord only once (in the group stage earlier this season), and the match resulted in a 4-0 win for City.
ODDS
Book Man City DRAW Feyenoord
William Hill 1.14 9.00 17.00
Bet 365 1.14 9.50 21.00
Bwin 1.12 9.50 19.50
Tipico 1.10 10.00 20.00
Payout odds in multiples of 1, i.e. odds of 2.60 means a total payout of €2.60 if you place a winning bet of €1.
Odds at 12:00 GMT. Just a look at how the bookies rate this game, and not an endorsement for betting/gambling.
MATCH FACTS
Manchester City
  • City, who had never played Feyenoord before matchday one, have won two of their previous three home games against Dutch clubs, drawing the other – although they conceded two goals in each match.
  • The Citizens' first two such engagements were both 3-2 UEFA Cup victories against FC Twente, in the 1978/79 first round second leg (4-3 on aggregate) and the 2008/09 group stage. Most recently, City were held 2-2 by AFC Ajax in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage.
  • City are unbeaten in their last 12 home fixtures in the UEFA Champions League (W9 D3), qualifying included, since a 2-1 Juventus reversal on matchday one in 2015/16. The Juve loss was their fourth in six matches at the City of Manchester Stadium, with just one win in that run. This season they have beaten Shakhtar (2-0) and Napoli (2-1) in Manchester.
  • Josep Guardiola's men took seven points at home in last season's group stage, beating VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (4-0) and FC Barcelona (3-1) before a 1-1 draw with Celtic FC.
  • Third in last season's Premier League, City are making a seventh straight UEFA Champions League appearance – they have now progressed to the round of 16 for five campaigns in a row.
  • Last term, Guardiola's team came second in their section and lost on away goals to AS Monaco FC in the last 16 (5-3 home, 1-3 away).
Feyenoord
  • Feyenoord's record in England is W2 D3 L5. They have lost on three of their last four visits, most recently a 4-0 reverse at City's local rivals Manchester United FC in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League group stage.
  • After Feyenoord lost 3-1 at Napoli and 3-1 at Shakhtar in this season's group stage, the Dutch club's 3-0 victory at R. Standard de Liège in the UEFA Europa League group stage on 12 December 2014 remains their only win in their last 17 European away games (D3 L13).
  • Feyenoord's last away victory in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final, was a 1-0 triumph at Newcastle United FC on 24 September 2002, their last UEFA Champions League game in England. They have since lost all six away games in the competition, qualifiers included.
  • Having lifted a first Eredivisie title in 18 years last season, Feyenoord are in the last 32 of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2002/03, when they were eliminated in the first group stage.
  • The Rotterdammers lost in the third qualifying round in both 2012/13 (to FC Dynamo Kyiv) and 2014/15 (to Beşiktaş JK).
Will be updated as more information emerges
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[Pre Match Thread] Shakthar Donetsk vs Manchester City [Champions League - Group Stage - Matchday 6]

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Manchester City F.C.
Competition : Champions League – Group Stage - Matchday 6 (Group F)
Venue: Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist, Kharkiv, Ukraine
Date: Wednesday, 6 December
Kick-off : 19:45 BST | 20:45 CET | 14:45 Central USA
Referee : Benoît Bastien
Assistants : Hicham Zakrani, Frédéric Haquette
Fourth official : Julien Pacelli
Shakhtar Donetsk
Manager: Paulo Fonseca
Line Up - TBA
Substitutes - TBA
Sidelined – Kryvtsov, Malyshev, Srna (suspended)
Form Guide -
All competitions - W W W L L
Champions League – W L W W L
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
"If we look at City's performances this season, I think we can call them if not the best then definitely one of the best teams in the world right now. I have had similar deciders in my career but this is the first time I have had such a game in the Champions League.
From a tactical point of view this game will be very interesting and challenging. It will differ from all the matches we usually have in our league. If you ask me whether our tactics will work, I'll answer 'yes'. At least I believe they will. But it's going to be very difficult because we know that City are headed by one of the best coaches.
We are very pleased that Brazil coach [Tite] will come to Kharkiv to watch this game. I think he'll be watching not only our players but City's as well. For sure, if such a person watches you from the stands it can be extra motivation, and I hope this will be the case with our Brazillians.
We are not going to follow the game in Rotterdam. We will be doing our job here and if we do it well, if we play our best football, that match will not matter. We know Napoli will do their best to get the necessary result at Feyenoord.“
Paulo Fonseca
Manchester City F.C.
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Line Up – TBA
Substitutes - TBA
Sidelined – Stones, Mendy, De Bruyne (suspended)
Form Guide
All competitions - W W W W W
Champions League - W W W W W
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
"David Silva had little problems in the last minute and I wasn't sure he would be able to play [tomorrow] so he stayed in Manchester. The other players are here. We travelled to Ukraine to win and I promise you we will do our best tomorrow. We are happy to be here and we'll play for our prestige. We have to show respect to ourselves, Shakhtar, Napoli and this competition.
It will be a very tough game because Shakhtar are a very good team. I watched their game at Napoli and although they lost, they played the first half amazingly. Our first game also showed me what I expected. I played against Shakhtar many times and it was always the same – very difficult. I like Shakhtar's defensive organisation and their midfield is also very good with Marlos, Taison, Fred, Stepanenko and others. Ismaily, the left-back, really impressed me in Manchester.
I hope we'll meet again in Ukraine soon, in Kyiv for the Champions League final. At least we will try to do it. However, the best football doesn't always give you best results, especially in this tournament where you can play only 45 minutes not properly and be out. Now I'm not concerned if we play the best football or not [in Europe]. For me, the most important thing is that we continue to play at the same good level as last month. We just want to believe in what we do.
(On his upcoming 100th game coaching in the UCL) Well, it's a nice number. I've had a lot of games in this marvelous competition and I hope I will enjoy many more. I will be happy to be a manager at this level [in the future too]. Let's not compare my Barça and City – we are still too young to be compared with that Barcelona side. Now I will just try to achieve some success with City."
Pep Guardiola
HEAD-TO-HEAD
  • Shakhtar and City have met only once so far (earlier in this season’s group stage), resulting in a 2:0 win for City
ODDS
Book Shakhtar DRAW Man City
William Hill 3.00 3.25 2.40
Bet 365 3.00 3.50 2.50
Bwin 2.95 3.30 2.45
Tipico 2.85 3.30 2.45
Payout odds in multiples of 1, i.e. odds of 2.60 means a total payout of €2.60 if you place a winning bet of €1.
Odds at 12:00 GMT. Just a look at how the bookies rate this game, and not an endorsement for betting/gambling.
MATCH FACTS
Shakhtar Donetsk
  • The Donetsk side have won both home fixtures so far, beating Napoli 2-1 on matchday one and Feyenoord 3-1.
  • Shakhtar are unbeaten at home to English visitors (W4 D2); their most recent experience was a 1-1 draw with City's neighbours Manchester United FC in the 2013/14 group stage.
  • The Pitmen's record against Premier League clubs, home and away, is W4 D3 L6.
  • Shakhtar are playing their UEFA Champions League home games in Kharkiv this season due to the political situation in Ukraine, and have won only five of their last 14 home matches in the competition proper, group stage to final.
  • Márcio Azevedo, Taison and Marlos all called the OSK Metalist Stadion home before joining Shakhtar from FC Metalist Kharkiv.
  • Shakhtar are making their seventh group stage appearance in eight seasons and their 12th in total – all since 2000. They have got to the last 16 on three occasions: 2010/11 (when they reached the quarter-finals), 2012/13 and 2014/15.
  • In 2016/17, the Ukrainian team lost to BSC Young Boys in the third qualifying round (2-0 home, 0-2 away, 2-4 on penalties). They eventually made it to the UEFA Europa League round of 32, going down to RC Celta de Vigo (1-0 away, 0-2 home aet).
  • That Celta defeat ended Shakhtar's five-game winning run at home, and is their only defeat in their last 12 home matches in Europe (W9 D2).
Manchester City
  • City can join a club of six teams to have won all six games in a UEFA Champions League group stage.
  • Raheem Sterling has scored in four successive UEFA Champions League matches.
  • Before this season, all four of City's encounters with Ukrainian clubs had involved FC Dynamo Kyiv.
  • City's record in Ukraine is W1 L1. They were beaten 2-0 at Dynamo in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16 (1-2 aggregate) but overcame the same opponents at the same stage of the UEFA Champions League five years later (3-1 away, 0-0 home).
  • Their overall record with Ukrainian sides is therefore W3 D1 L1.
  • This season, the Citizens have won 4-0 at Feyenoord and 4-2 at Napoli.
  • City did not win away in last season's competition, losing at AS Monaco FC (1-3) and FC Barcelona (0-4) and drawing at Celtic FC (3-3) and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (1-1). They have won just three of their last nine European away fixtures (D3 L3).
  • The Barcelona match was City's biggest European defeat, home or away.
  • Third in last season's Premier League, City are making a sixth successive UEFA Champions League appearance – they have progressed to the round of 16 or beyond in each of the last four campaigns. On the only other occasion they won their group, 2015/16, they got as far as the semi-finals.
  • Last term, Guardiola's men came second in their section and lost on away goals to Monaco in the last 16 (5-3 home, 1-3 away).
Will be updated as more information emerges
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[Pre Match Thread] Manchester City vs AS Monaco [Champions League - Round of 16 - Leg 1]

Manchester City F.C. vs A S Monaco FC
Competition Champions League – Round of 16 – Leg 1
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Date: Tuesday, 21 February
Kick-off : 19:45 BST | 20:45 CET | 13:45 Central USA
Referee : Antonio Mateu
Assistants : Javier Aguilar, Pau Cebrián
Fourth official : Teodoro Sobrino
Manchester City F.C.
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Line Up – Caballero, Sagna, Stones, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Yaya Touré, Sané, Silva (C), De Bruyne, Sterling, Agüero
Substitutes - Bravo, Zabaleta, Fernando, Nolito, Navas, Delph, Iheanacho
Sidelined – Gabriel Jesus (foot), Kompany (leg)
Form Guide
All competitions - W W W W D
Champions League - D L W D D
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
All of Europe is going to watch us, to analyse us, to kill us if we don't win, to say how good we are when we win and that experience is beautiful to me.
I am really impressed [with Monaco]. They are physically strong, the full-backs play like wingers, the wingers play like attacking midfielders and the strikers are fighters and in the box they are killers. They don't need too many chances to score goals. A complete team – the most successful team in Europe in terms of scoring goals.
Pep Guardiola
A S Monaco FC
Manager: Leonardo Jardim
Line Up - Subasic, Glik, Raggi, Mendy, Sidibé, Fabinho, Bakayoko, Silva, Lemar, Mbappé, Falcao
Substitutes - De Sanctis, Diallo, Touré, Dirar, Moutinho, Carrillo, Germain
Sidelined – Jemerson (suspended), Boschilia (knee)
Form Guide -
All competitions - W W W W D
Champions League - D D W W L
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
We have changed a lot of players over the last three seasons and we're back in the last 16 again. That's great because it shows that despite all the changes we're still able to play at the top level. We have only two or three players left from the team that took on Arsenal a couple of years ago.
This is our 11th game, taking into account qualifying matches, and we always try to play the same way. These two teams love to play football and have technical players. The two coaching staffs work well. But in other respects we cannot compare, such as in the respective transfer budgets.
Leonardo Jardim
COACH & PLAYER LINKS
  • This is Guardiola's first duel with French opponents since his Barcelona side beat Olympique Lyonnais 6-3 on aggregate in the last 16 in 2009. As a player, he was in the Barcelona side that overcame Paris 1-0 in the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final. He had helped Barcelona to home (2-0) and away (1-0) victories over Monaco in the 1993/94 UEFA Champions League group stage.
  • Leonardo Jardim's first encounter with English opposition came as coach of the SC Braga side that beat Birmingham City FC twice (3-1 a, 1-0 h) in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League group stage. The next season, as Olympiacos FC boss, he faced Arsenal in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage, losing 3-1 in London but winning 2-1 at home.
  • Yaya Touré was a Monaco player in 2006/07, making 27 Ligue 1 outings and scoring five goals.
  • Bacary Sagna faced Monaco five times with AJ Auxerre between 2004 and 2007 (W2 D2 L1).
  • João Moutinho was in the FC Porto team beaten 4-0 at City in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 on 22 February 2012. Fernando and Nicolás Otamendi also featured for Porto that night.
  • During his 2014/15 loan at Manchester United, Radamel Falcao figured as an 83rd-minute substitute in a 4-2 derby home win over City. On loan at Chelsea in 2015/16, the Colombian was a late replacement in a 3-0 loss at City.
  • Falcao struck Porto's winner in a 2-1 first-leg home success over Arsenal in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (agg 2-6). He hit a hat-trick against Chelsea for Club Atlético de Madrid in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup.
  • Djibril Sidibé made his home debut for France as a replacement for Sagna during a 4-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying win in October 2016.
  • Aleksandar Kolarov scored a free-kick goal for Serbia in a 1-1 friendly draw with France in Belgrade in 2014.
  • Have played together:
Fernando & Radamel Falcao (FC Porto, 2009–11)
Fernando, Nicolás Otamendi & João Moutinho (FC Porto, 2010–13)
Bacary Sagna & Djibril Sidibé (France)
Fernandinho & Fabinho (Brazil)
ODDS
Book Man City DRAW Monaco
William Hill 1.62 4.20 5.50
Bet 365 1.62 4.33 5.75
Bwin 1.62 4.33 5.50
Tipico 1.57 4.20 5.70
Payout odds in multiples of 1, i.e. odds of 2.60 means a total payout of €2.60 if you place a winning bet of €1.
Odds at 10:00 GMT. Included to show how the bookies rate the outcome probabilities. This is not an endorsement for gambling. Bet responsibly if you really must. Don’t be an idiot.
MATCH FACTS
Manchester City
  • Raheem Sterling is a booking away from a ban.
  • City had won their last four fixtures in all competitions before Saturday's FA Cup draw at Huddersfield Town AFC. The winners of the replay will travel to Middlesbrough FC in the quarter-finals.
  • Gabriel Jesus broke a metatarsal bone in his right foot early on in the 2-0 victory at AFC Bournemouth on 13 February.
  • Jesus went into the Bournemouth match having scored three goals in his first four appearances in English football.
UEFA Champions League squad changes
  • In: Kelechi Iheanacho, Gabriel Jesus, Yaya Touré
  • Out: Angeliño, İlkay Gündoğan, James Horsfield, Pablo Maffeo, Billy O'Brien
AS Monaco
  • Kamil Glik will incur a suspension with his next booking, while Jemerson serves a one-match ban.
  • Monaco have won 11 of their 15 games in all competitions since matchday six, losing once – 3-1 at home to Olympique Lyonnais on 18 December.
  • Jardim's men will play Paris in the French League Cup final on 1 April.
  • Monaco have also made progress in the French Cup, where they will meet Olympique de Marseille on 1 March in the last 16, having beaten AC Ajaccio (2-1) and third-tier FC Chambly (5-4 AET) in 2017.
  • Not including the Chambly game, the principality team have scored four goals or more in a match on 11 occasions this season.
  • Falcao has scored 13 goals in his last 14 appearances in all competitions.
  • Kylian Mbappé, 18, has registered two hat-tricks since the beginning of December, his most recent treble coming in a 5-0 defeat of FC Metz on 11 February.
UEFA Champions League squad changes
  • In: Franco Antonucci, Dylan Beaulieu, Jorge
  • Out: Mehdi Beneddine, Corentin Jean, Adama Traoré
Will be updated as more information emerges
submitted by crashlog to soccer [link] [comments]

[Pre Match Thread] Bayern München vs Atlético Madrid [Champions League - Semi Final - Leg 2]

Bayern München (0) vs (1) Atlético Madrid
Competition : Champions League – Semi Final – Leg 2
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Date: Tuesday, 03 May
Kick-off : 19:45 BST | 20:45 CET | 13:45 Central USA
Referee : C. Çakιr
Assistants : C. Satman, T. Ongun
Fourth official : S. Ok
Bayern München
Manager: Josep Guardiola
Line Up – Neuer, Ribéry, Martinez, Lewandowski, Costa, Alonso, Boateng, Lahm (C), Vidal, Müller, Alaba
Substitutes - Ulreich, Tasci, Thiago, Rafinha, Götze, Coman, Kimmich
Sidelined – Robben (groin), Badstuber (ankle)
Form Guide
All competitions - W W W L D
Champions League - D W W D L
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
We mustn't think about how many goals we must score. We need think first about defending well and controlling the game. We want possession and we want goals. Atleti defend very well, but they are also going good up front. It is complicated to play a team like them. They know each other so very well. We will create chances, if perhaps not too many.
It will be my last game in the Champions League here in Munich and I have always been treated absolutely wonderfully. In Germany you play a little differently, and I tried to adapt some things. I have learned a lot here. We have achieved a lot during my time here, but it is always really difficult to make the final of this competition.
Josep Guardiola
Atlético Madrid
Manager: Diego Simeone
Line Up - Oblak, Juanfran, Godin, Gimenez, Filipe Luis, Gabi, Augusto, Koke, Saul, Griezmann, Torres
Substitutes - Moyá, Savic, Lucas, Thomas, Carrasco, Correa, Vieto
Sidelined – Tiago (broken leg)
Form Guide -
All competitions - W W W W W
Champions League - D W L W W
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
Football is a fantastic sport and there's a variety of ways to play it, depending on the players at your disposal. Our work over the last few years is paying dividends now. We have experienced guys mixed with some new players and they are all really great to work with them. That is reflected by our results. We were sharp in the first leg and we will see how sharp we are tomorrow; and how sharp Bayern are. Every game is different. We want to win, that's our plan. We want to play well and enjoy our success. But above all, what matters most is that we make the final.
Diego Simeone
HEAD-TO-HEAD
Before the first leg, the teams had played only twice before, in that 1974 European Cup final – both sides' first. Atlético were seconds away from taking the trophy at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels when Luis Aragonés gave them a 114th-minute lead, only for Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck to level six minutes later.
The sides on 15 May 1974 were:
Bayern: Maier, Hansen, Beckenbauer, Schwarzenbeck, Breitner, Roth, Zobel, Kapellmann, Torstensson (Dürnberger 75), Müller, Hoeness.
Atlético: Reina, Melo, Heredia, Eusebio, Capón, Adelardo, Aragonés, Salcedo (Alberto 85), Ufarte (Becerra 60), Irureta, Gárate.
Two days later, the teams returned to the Heysel Stadium for what would be the only final replay in European Cup history, and this time Bayern ran out 4-0 winners thanks to two goals each from Uli Hoeness (28, 82) and Gerd Müller (56, 69). It was the first of what would be three successive final wins for Bayern.
The sides on 17 May 1974 were:
Atlético: Reina, Melo, Heredia, Eusebio, Capón, Adelardo (Benegas 59), Aragonés, Salcedo, Gárate, Alberto (Ufarte 65), Becerra.
Bayern: Maier, Hansen, Beckenbauer, Schwarzenbeck, Breitner, Roth, Zobel, Kapellmann, Torstensson, Müller, Hoeness.
ODDS
Book Bayern DRAW Atlético
William Hill 1.55 3.80 6.50
Bet 365 1.57 4.00 7.00
Bwin 1.60 4.00 6.50
Tipico 1.57 4.00 6.50
Payout odds in multiples of 1, i.e. odds of 2.60 means a total payout of €2.60 if you place a winning bet of €1.
Odds at 14:15 GMT
MATCH FACTS
Bayern München
  • Bayern drew 1-1 at home with VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday. The result, coupled with Borussia Dortmund's 5-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg, means they must wait until next weekend for another chance to clinch their fourth successive Bundesliga title.
  • The Mönchengladbach fixture was Guardiola's 100th Bundesliga game in charge of Bayern. His record reads: W80 D11 L9.
  • Jérôme Boateng (out since 22 January, groin) made his return against Mönchengladbach, playing 68 minutes.
  • Guardiola's side face Dortmund in the German Cup final on 21 May.
  • Lahm has made more UEFA Champions League appearances than any other German player. The 32-year-old played his 104th game in the first leg against Atlético, surpassing Oliver Kahn's tally of 103.
  • Robben (adductor) has been out since 13 March.
  • Badstuber fractured an ankle in training on 13 February and will miss the rest of the season.
Atlético Madrid
  • Atlético have won their last seven games in all competitions.
  • The Rojiblancos have kept six successive clean sheets in all competitions. Jan Oblak has 23 to his name in the Liga this term, more than any other goalkeeper in Atlético's history, overtaking Thibaut Courtois's 20 in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
  • Godín aggravated a hamstring injury during Atlético's 1-0 win at Athletic on 20 April, two weeks after recovering from the same problem, and has missed the last three matches as a result.
  • On Sunday Godín and Yannick Carrasco (out since 23 April, ankle) were both passed as fit for the trip to Munich.
  • Griezmann has scored 30 goals in all competitions this season, his most recent strike coming in the 1-0 defeat of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid on Saturday.
  • Tiago (out since 28 November, leg) is still sidelined.
RESULTS NEEDED TO ADVANCE
Bayern München
WIN: 2-0, or by any other two goal or higher margin
Atlético Madrid
DRAW: (regardless of score)
WIN: (by any margin)
LOSS: 2-1, or any higher series by a one goal margin
PENALTIES
BAYERN "WIN": 1-0 after Extra Time
I will update the line-ups as the information emerges.
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The American/Canadian second division, the North American Soccer League, kicks off in two days. Here's my preview for those who want to learn a little more.

Whether you knew it or not, the North American Soccer League (NASL), America's second division, is kicking off in two days' time. There's been a whirlwind of activity in the preseason, with new teams coming in, broadcast deals being signed, and recognizable players joining up. I'm someone who follows the league pretty closely, and while I'm certainly not an expert analyst, I've taken some time to put together a capsule for each club competing to provide a brief introduction to the league.
With that said, a quick overview of the NASL and its structure: The NASL is the second tier of U.S./Canadian soccer, having formed in 2011 after breaking away from the USL First Division. It is in no way connected to MLS. Twelve teams will compete in 2016 across two seasons - Spring and Fall. The Spring Season, being previewed here, consists of 10 games and will only feature 11 teams (Puerto Rico FC enters in the Fall). The Fall Season starts in July and will consist of 22 games. At the conclusion of the Fall Season, four teams - the Spring and Fall Season winners, along with the two remaining teams with the best overall records - will enter the Championship playoffs for a chance to win the Soccer Bowl Trophy.
For a short recap on last season, you could watch my attempt at making a season review video. Oh, and be sure to check out /NASLSoccer! I'm over there a lot, and it's a good place to learn more.
Got it? Alright, let’s get started.
Team Name: Carolina RailHawks
Location: Cary, North Carolina
Manager: Colin Clarke
Stadium: WakeMed Soccer Park
History: Founded in 2006, Carolina was one of the breakaway members from the USL First Division that formed the NASL. The team's name is mean to represent both the rail lines that run directly across from the field and the hawks that are indigenous to the area. The RailHawks play their home games at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. In 2015, the RailHawks' owners, Traffic Sports, were indicted in a FIFA corruption scandal, leading to the sale of the club to local tech entrepreneur Stephen Malik.
2015 In Review: Carolina got off to a promising start in the spring, taking 14 points from 10 games and winning a 3rd place finish in the standings. Led by the creativity in the midfield of club legend Tiyi Shipalane and the goals up front from former Rangers striker Nacho Novo, the RailHawks picked up some good results at the beginning of the Fall Season as well. From that point, though, the wheels came off, particularly in road matches. Out of 10 away matches in the Fall, Carolina took just a single point. In the end, the result was 7th place in the Fall, and 6th in the combined table.
2016 Preview: The RailHawks marked their 10th anniversary in style off the field, inking a local TV deal, making stadium upgrades, and promising higher investment in the club. They doubled down on their commitment by re-signing club captain Connor Tobin as well as key players Tiyi Shipalane and Nazmi Albadawi. Then, they cleaned up by signing several high-level players, such as NASL Best XI midfielder James Marcelin, and former RailHawks Matt Watson and Akira Fitzgerald, who had most recently spent time in MLS. Carolina are the perfect example of a revamped and growing NASL: They've found a new owner who is excited and willing to spend, and they've invested all around the club and have reloaded their roster. Expect the RailHawks to challenge from right out of the gate in 2016.
Key Players: Ty Shipalane, MF; Connor Tobin, MF; Nazmi Albadawi, MF
One to Watch: Marvin Ceballos, MF. The Guatemalan international has been described as a "natural #10" by manager Colin Clarke and has the potential to be a breakout star for Carolina this year.
Predicted Finish: 4th. I think they fly under the radar as a well put-together team, and pressure from FIFA scandal gone. This prediction could blow up in my face.
Team Name: FC Edmonton
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Manager: Colin Miller
Stadium: Clarke Stadium
History: Edmonton is a growing team, having only formed in 2010, just in time for the first NASL season. The Eddies are slight rivals with Minnesota United, participating in the Flyover Cup and raising money for charities together. Edmonton is currently the furthest west of all NASL teams, and has struggled with attendance figures as well as play on the field. Their best season finish was 5th place, and the closest they've been to a championship was the league's quarterfinals in its first year of existence.
2015 In Review: Despite progress made in 2014, things turned south for the league's northernmost club in the Spring Season of 2015. Two wins meant a 10th place finish out of 11. The Eddies' relief came in the form of a Canadian Championship cup run, in which they came inches away from defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the semifinal, only to be knocked out by a goal in the last seconds of stoppage time. In the fall, results picked up for Edmonton. Lance Laing marked his record third appearance in the league's Best XI with eight goals and seven assists throughout the Spring and Fall Seasons, but the team suffered when he was on international duty with Jamaica. The team's playoff hopes fell away during the final five games of the season, during which they found only one point. FC Edmonton finished 5th in the Fall and 7th in the combined table.
2016 Preview: Edmonton would seem to be in a spot of trouble. Over the offseason, winger Lance Laing, who put the Eddies on his back at times, left to join Minnesota United. So, FC Edmonton made some changes. In the front office, they added Jay Ball as general manager; Ball played a significant role in the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada. On the field, they brought back Daryl Fordyce, the club's all-time leading scorer, and made a splash by signing Canadian international Nik Ledgerwood from Germany. Manager Colin Miller called it the most promising offseason in club history, and proceeded to sign the Senegalese center back Papé Diakité and Jake Keegan, 2nd-top scorer in the League of Ireland last season. With the roster set, Edmonton toured Great Britain, showing well in several friendly across the pond. With a lackluster history and a star player missing, Edmonton will look to defy the odds in 2016.
Key Players: Albert Watson, DF; Daryl Fordyce, FW; Nik Ledgerwood, DF/MF
One to Watch: Allan Zebie, MF. An FC Edmonton youth product and Canada youth international, Zebie, only 22, has established himself as the Eddies' regular right back. This year, he could move to a whole new level.
Predicted Finish: 6th. Laing is gone, but most of the roster returns, aided by savvy signings.
Team Name: Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Manager: Caio Zanardi
Stadium: Lockhart Stadium
History: As one of the members of the original NASL, the Strikers have a history dating back to 1977. The team signed some of the world's finest players, including Gordon Banks, George Best, and Gerd Müller. After moving to Minnesota, a second Strikers team popped up in Fort Lauderdale in 1988, playing for six years in the American Soccer League (ASL) and the American Professional Soccer League (APSL). The current incarnation, founded in 2006 as Miami FC, rebranded into the Strikers before the first season of the new NASL. In 2014, after a loss in the NASL final, the club made international headlines when Brazilian legend Ronaldo joined their ownership group. In 2015, the low-budget club shocked the league by once again making the playoffs.
2015 In Review: Following the Spring Season, there weren't many optimists left in the Strikers camp. After dumping most of 2014's star players (Fafà Picault, their star player, went to Europe; Pecka moved to Real Salt Lake), the firing of head coach Günter Kronsteiner, and the flop of much-hyped signing Leo Moura, Fort Lauderdale limped to an 8th place finish in the Spring. The Fall was a different story. After re-signing Kronsteiner, a young Strikers team turned it all around. Fluminense loanees Marlon Freitas and Stefano Pinho shined, with Pinho topping the NASL scoring charts and winning the league MVP award. James Marcelin joined Pinho in the league's Best XI, and midfielder PC just missed out. The Strikers finished 4th in the Fall, and a win against Jacksonville on the last day propelled them to 4th in the overall standings as well, giving them a semifinals spot. The fairy tale ended in New York, with the Cosmos coming from behind to win 2-1 en route to the NASL Championship game.
2016 Preview: For the past two years, Fort Lauderdale has been the surprise team of the league. This year, the rest of the NASL will be as prepared as they can, but the Strikers still present a bit of a mystery. After squeezing into the playoffs in 2015, the team once again dismantled its roster, letting go of manager Günter Kronsteiner (again), watching the league's MVP and top scorer Stefano Pinho leave for Minnesota, and parting ways with Best XI midfielder James Marcelin, who signed with Carolina.
In response, Fort Lauderdale ramped up operations: They created a reserve team in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), announced a whole wave of staff appointments, expanded partnerships and advertisements, got a TV deal, hosted an international tournament, and toured China. They also made some big-name signings, inking World Cup winner Kléberson, Brazilian veterans Adrianinho & Bruno Cardoso, U.S. youth internationals and UEFA Champions League-experienced players. And they unveiled their new jerseys on a yacht. Yeah, what can I say? The Strikers have big ambitions, and they've moved on from being a low-budget side that scraped past other teams. So will new investment bring more success? We'll have to see.
Key Players: Kléberson, MF; PC MF; Adrianinho, MF
One to Watch: Matheus Carvalho, FW. Carvalho has a solid pedigree, having played a few minutes for Monaco in last year's UEFA Champions League. It's possible he could be a welcome surprise in South Florida.
Predicted Finish: 7th. So much change on this roster, and several star players past their primes.
Team Name: Indy Eleven
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Manager: Tim Hankinson
Stadium: Carroll Stadium
History: After years of calls for a professional soccer team in Indianapolis from the Brickyard Battalion (the Eleven's main supporter group), the dream was finally realized in 2013. That year, legendary American soccer executive Peter Wilt announced that he would become the president of Indy Eleven, a team that started play in 2014. Despite struggles on the field, Indy Eleven became the first American soccer team to sell out all its home games in its inaugural home season. Wilt left on good terms in 2016 to pursue a Chicago NASL project.
2015 In Review: After a disappointing first year on the field, things didn't get much better in 2015 for Indy Eleven, though they did once again lead the league in attendance. Star player Kléberson picked up a season-ending achilles injury, and the Eleven won only one in their first eight matches. That record, combined with an embarrassing U.S. Open Cup defeat at home to USL's Louisville City FC, led to the firing of head coach Juergen Sommer. His replacement, interim coach Tim Regan, won the final two games to elevate Indy to 5th in the Spring. However, any playoff aspirations fell away in the Fall, as a string of bad results climaxed with a 7-1 loss in Fort Lauderdale en route to a 9th place finish in the Fall Season and combined standings. Indy could find a silver lining with the strong performances of several youngsters, such as Dylan Mares and Duke Lacroix.
2016 Preview: With one of the largest fanbases in the league and some of the worst performances, Indy are under pressure to finally turn around its performance. To start, they stripped down most of the team to just a couple of players, and hired long-time manager Tim Hankinson to construct a rebuild. Hankinson piled on MLS experience, inking Jon Busch, Siniša Ubiparipović, Justin Braun, Lovel Palmer, and Gorka Larrea, among others. Preseason did not go well, with most friendlies ending in defeat or stalemate to lower-division and university teams, and several players picking up injuries. That said, this Eleven squad is better than any other that has taken the field, and have a good mix of senior players and up-and-comers that are ready to deliver.
Key Players: Dylan Mares, MF; Brad Ring, MF; Siniša Ubiparipović, MF
One to Watch: Duke Lacroix, FW. It's time to meet the 22-year-old forward every soccer fan in Indianapolis is talking about. Lacroix got a chance last year, and electrified on the wing. This season, he'll hope to earn a starting job.
Predicted Finish: 8th. If one of the new central striker signings turns good, they'll have a real chance in this league. If not? Expect the same as before.
Team Name: Jacksonville Armada FC
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Manager: Tony Meola
Stadium: Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
History: Announced on July 25, 2013, Jacksonville's team was christened as Armada FC on February 18, 2014. The Armada was the only expansion side to join the league in 2015, lead by the ownership collective Sunshine Soccer Group and club president Steve Livingstone. The team chose to play at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and quickly established themselves in the top tier of NASL attendances, although they didn't do as well on the field.
2015 In Review: Jacksonville got off to a fast start, with Jemal Johnson scoring seconds into their first game as the Armada went on to win three out of its first five. That was the best run of form the team would see all year. After finishing a respectable 6th in the Spring, the Armada fell into a slump, finishing last both in the Fall Season and combined table. The team fired its first manager, José Luis Villarreal, after attempting to give him a co-managerial role with Guillermo Hoyos. The club later fired Hoyos after giving him a contract through 2019 months earlier.
2016 Preview: The Armada began their offseason with a big statement of intention, hiring former USA goalkeeper Tony Meola as head coach. After an unsuccessful inaugural year, much of 2015's roster did not make it back. Instead, Jacksonville refined it by looking to the lower leagues. They signed NASL Best XI midfielder Richie Ryan, USL MVP Matt Fondy, and USL Defender of the Year Bryan Burke, in effect establishing a small collection of some of the best players below MLS last season. Just before the season began, the Armada suffered a blow as young standout Akeil Barrett transferred to the Swedish second division. Yet, after a preseason that included promising signings and friendlies, Jacksonville seem ready to move up the table.
Key Players: Alhassane Keita, FW; Mechak Jérôme, DF; Matt Fondy, FW
One to Watch: Charles Eloundou, FW. Once a highly-touted prospect, Eloundou, 21, saw his career stall with the Colorado Rapids (MLS). Now settled in Jacksonville, this year may be his opportunity to shine.
Predicted Finish: 9th. Good first steps, but still a lot to do after finishing bottom of the table last year.
Team Name: Miami FC
Location: Miami, Florida
Manager: Alessandro Nesta
Stadium: FIU Stadium
History: Unrelated to the original Miami FC (now the Fort Lauderdale Strikers), this team was founded in 2015 and kicked off in 2016. Miami attracted international attention with its ownership (entrepreneur Riccardo Silva and former Italy legend Paolo Maldini) as well as its first head coach (Maldini's Italy teammate Alessandro Nesta). The team began play at FIU Stadium.
2016 Preview: Expansion teams are often an enigma, and the organization of Miami FC is no different. Founded in the eye of a storm of MLS rumors (Miami Beckham United FC?), the brains behind Miami FC will likely want to get off to a running start in order to attract the sort of attention with soccer fans that can make them viable in the city and sustainable into the future. To that end, Miami brought in two star: Dario Cvitanich, who has scored goals and seen success with big clubs all over the world, and Wilson Palacios, the English Premier League veteran with nearly 100 Honduras caps under his belt. Mostly, though, the roster is filled out by players with NASL experience (Pablo Campos, Jaimé Chavez, etc.) and up-and-comers looking to make a name for themselves. In many ways, this is a similar approach that other past expansion teams have taken, with mixed results. The real question for 2016 might be just how well Miami FC establishes a fanbase in an unknown market.
Key Players: Wilson Palacios, MF; Darío Cvitanich, FW; Matuzalem, MF
One to Watch: Blake Smith, MF. Making his return to North American soccer after a year in hiatus, Smith is an unknown quantity. However, if he re-creates the kind of success he saw in Montreal and Indy, he could be a vital part of Miami's attack.
Predicted Finish: 11th. Similar construction as previous expansion teams may yield similar results.
Team Name: Minnesota United FC
Location: Blaine, Minnesota
Manager: Carl Craig
Stadium: National Sports Center
History: Professional soccer in Minnesota began with the Minnesota Kicks of the old NASL, but Minnesota has had a continuous presence of professional soccer since the founding of the Minnesota Thunder in 1990. When that team folded due to the financial shadiness of owner Dean Johnson, a new series of teams all slightly related to one another emerged. The NSC Minnesota Stars were launched in 2010, but the ownership of National Sports Center in Blaine, MN lasted only a season before the NASL took over the team. In 2011, the Stars won the Soccer Bowl for the first time in the new era of the NASL. In 2012, the team rebranded as Minnesota Stars FC and again went to the final, where they lost to Tampa Bay in penalties. The team was league-owned at the time and many fans and players thought that without a win in the final (thinking the league wouldn't dare let its champion fold), the team would no longer have a future. However, after the crushing loss, news began to leak out that the team had found an owner. In 2013, Dr. Bill McGuire (formerly of United Healthcare Group) purchased the Minnesota Stars and rebranded them as Minnesota United FC.
The team is supported by the Dark Clouds, a supporters group founded in the Thunder days. They are known for their bizarre brand of "Jackassery," which is ecstatic support that opposes macho, wannabe hooliganism. They have a gameday zine called the Jackassery Times-Heckler and worship the god DETHLOON. The club announced a move to Major League Soccer in 2017 or 2018, pending the construction of a downtown stadium.
2015 In Review: Buoyed off the field by an MLS expansion announcement, Minnesota continued to show stellar performances on it. Although star player Miguel Ibarra transferred to Mexican club Léon, replacements brought in (including Ibson and Khalif Alhassan) proved to be up to the challenge. A fourth place finish in the Spring was strong, if not ideal. In the Fall, an incredible run of eight wins in 10 matches led to a 2nd place finish. United were 3rd in the overall standings, and Christian Ramirez scored the second-most goals in the league, just missing a second consecutive Golden Boot. In their playoff semifinal in Ottawa, Ramirez's penalty gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead, but an equalizer and extra time winner from opposition forward Tom Heinemann led to an end to their season.
2016 Preview: This could be Minnesota's last year in the NASL, and they're offseason move show a determination to leave with a trophy in both hands. In preparation for the move to MLS, Manny Lagos (manager since 2010) became Sporting Director, and assistant Carl Craig moved up to become head coach. The team returns all four of its Best XI players from 2015: Justin Davis, Ibson, Christian Ramirez, and Kevin Venegas. It made further inroads by signing two other Best XI members: Lance Laing, who carried FC Edmonton and became a regular with Jamaica, and Stefano Pinho, who was named the league's best player and won the Golden Boot with Fort Lauderdale. Is there any stopping this team? Well, while United obviously has an unparalleled attack, there are questions on the defensive side, with the team having lost preseason games 0-4, 0-4, and 1-3 to MLS sides. If defense does not turn out to be a problem, though, this is a side that could really challenge for both the league title and a position deep in the U.S. Open Cup.
Key Players: Christian Ramirez, FW; Stefano Pinho, FW; Justin Davis, DF
One to Watch: Greg Jordan, MF. Minnesota are clearly looking for MLS-ready players this year, and Greg Jordan could be a sleeper pick to move up with them. Since falling out of favor in Philadelphia, he's had a dependable two seasons with the Loons, and will look to step up his game in 2016.
Predicted Finish: 3rd. May take some time for new players to settle, and who know how MLS move will divert their focus, but they'll be competitive no matter what.
Team Name: New York Cosmos
Location: Hempstead, New York
Manager: Giovanni Savarese
Stadium: Shuart Stadium
History: The New York Cosmos brand is one of the greatest in all of world soccer, and their teams in the original NASL were arguably better than any American sides that have come before or since. Centered around players like Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto, Franz Beckenbauer, and of course, the legendary Pelé, New York won five Soccer Bowls and became a global phenomenon. Since the team folded, there have been many attempts to revive it. This one is the first to get a real team on the field. The modern iteration of the Cosmos kicked off in the Fall Season of 2013, won the championship the same year, and won it again in 2015 with Real Madrid legend Raúl.
2015 In Review: After announcing the signing of illustrious Spanish forward Raúl, the Cosmos cemented their place as the biggest spenders with the biggest names in the NASL. 2015 marked the final seasons for Raúl and fellow former Spanish international Marcos Senna, and New York looked to send them off with a storybook ending. In the Spring Season, everything went to plan, with the Cosmos winning the title by a point and securing a playoff spot early. A high point came in the team's U.S. Open Cup victory over New York City FC on penalties, though they would later be knocked out by the New York Red Bulls. The Cosmos stayed strong in the Fall with a 3rd place finish, benefitting through performances from NASL Young Player of the Year Leo Fernandes (on loan from Philadelphia Union) and team MVP Ayoze. The Cosmos won the combined season with 56 points, edging Ottawa on goal differential. In the semifinal, the Cosmos came from behind to beat Fort Lauderdale 2-1. Hosting the Championship, relatively new signing Gastón Cellerino scored a hat trick in a 3-2 victory as Raúl and Senna lifted their final trophy.
2016 Preview: With the retirement of Raúl and Marcos Senna, the departure of star winger Walter Restrepo and formerly on-loan Leo Fernandes (both to Philadelphia), and the exit of championship hero Gastón Cellerino, this could have been a transition year for New York. But the New York Cosmos don't rebuild. They reload. This offseason, the Cosmos put together one of the most stunning collections of signings this league has ever seen. To recap: The two biggest names are Niko Kranjčar and Juan Arango, both vastly experienced players who have played at the very top of world soccer; senior internationals include Jairo Arrieta (Costa Rica), David Ochieng (Kenya), Michael Lahoud (Sierra Leone), Yohandry Orozco (Venezuela), and Yasmani Duk; other signings include Gabriel Farfan (MLS/Liga MX experience) and two U.S. youth internationals. On paper, it is hard to argue any team is better than the Cosmos. How the pieces of the puzzle come together is the only question left.
Key Players: Danny Szetela, MF; Niko Kranjčar, MF; Juan Arango, MF
One to Watch: Yohandry Orozco, MF. So, get this, right? There's player in his prime, who plays regularly for his country, had experience with Wolfsburg, and he's coming to the NASL? You'd better believe it, and Orozco has all the skills to make a huge impact.
Predicted Finish: 1st. I've been wrong before with this team, but there's just too much talent to deny.
Team Name: Ottawa Fury FC
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Manager: Paul Dalglish
Stadium: TD Place Stadium
History: A longtime candidate for expansion, Ottawa was welcomed into the league in 2011, with the Ottawa Fury name being decided in 2013. The Fury were a fromer PDL franchise, and brought a history of support with it. The club shares a new stadium (as well as ownership) with the Canadian Football League Ottawa RedBlacks. In 2015, the team surged to the Championship final, but lost to the New York Cosmos.
2015 In Review: Few would have predicted Ottawa Fury's run to the NASL Championship after the Fall Season. Despite making a splash by bringing in Canadian international Julian De Guzman, the results failed to come, and the Fury found themselves in 9th place. In the Fall, though, coach Marc Dos Santos' plan clicked. A back line marshaled by NASL Best XI goalkeeper Romuald Peiser and defender Rafael Alves recorded eight shutouts, and an offense led by the connection between midfielder Siniša Ubiparipović (eight assists total) and forward Tom Heinemann (12 goals total) resulted in one loss in 20 games, and a Fall Season title. Heinemann's two goals in the semifinal knocked out Minnesota United, but the Fury ultimately fell short of the Championship in New York, losing 3-2 to the New York Cosmos.
2016 Preview: After falling short in the Championship, the Ottawa Fury had the offseason from Hell. First, Manager of the Year Marc Dos Santos left to be an assistant and reserve team coach for Sporting Kansas City (MLS). Then, many of the key players in the run to the final chose to part ways: Tom Heinemann, who scored every playoff goal, went to Tampa Bay; Colin Falvey, Ryan Richter, and Mason Trafford, who all started on the back line in the Championship, moved on; Best XI midfielder Richie Ryan left for Jacksonvile, playmaker Siniša Ubiparipović went to Indy, and starting winger Andrew Wiedeman moved to Cinicinnati in USL. Reinforcements have come, mostly in the form of other lower league players, but almost all will have to prove themselves before being considered adequate replacements. If I have to pick one out, the signing to keep an eye on will be Marcel De Jong, the Canadian international brought in who should play as a left back. The Fury will also be bolstered by the return of goalkeeper Romuald Peiser, who won the league's Golden Glove in 2015 and was named /NASLSoccer's player of the year.
Key Players: Julian de Guzman, MF; Rafael Alves, DF; Romuald Peiser, GK
One to Watch: Mauro Eustáquio, MF. Last year, Eustáquio impressed in the midfield when filling in for injured players. With so many departures, the youngster now has a chance to play well and force his way onto the Canadian national team.
Predicted Finish: 10th. This team got completely picked apart in the offseason. They could turn out okay, but they'll have work to do to prove me wrong.
Team Name: Rayo OKC
Location: Yukon, Oklahoma
Manager: Alen Marcina
Stadium: Miller Stadium
History: A fierce battle between the NASL and USL PRO for a team in Oklahoma City ended with both leagues announcing expansions in the city. The USL put together Oklahoma Energy FC in 2013. Meanwhile, the owners of Oklahoma City FC, a Premier Development League (PDL) team, decided to run an NASL side, but an ownership group breakup in 2014 caused a delay to the project. Eventually, Spanish La Liga club Rayo Vallecano partnered with the organization to form what is now known as Rayo OKC. The team name was announced in November 2015, and began play at Miller Stadium in 2016.
**2016 Preview: As much of an enigma I've said Miami FC have been as an expansion team, it's safe to say Rayo OKC have been even more of a mystery. The organization was derided at first, dismissed due to the involvement from a struggling foreign team and its juxtaposition to the already-successful Energy. However, its initial roster has made fans sit up and take notice. Five World Cup veterans and nine national team players headline the squad, which includes illustrious Greek striker Georgios Samaras. Rayo has built its team using players with experience in European leagues (say, Yuma and Juanan) and players who have found success in MLS (Michel, Sebastian Velasquez) and the NASL (Billy Forbes, Erick Norales). Expansion teams typically take time to fare well, but if there's any that might have a chance at making a first impression by challenging for a title, this could be the one.
Key Players: Robbie Findley, FW; Derek Boateng, MF; Georgios Samaras, FW
One to Watch: Billy Forbes, FW. Over the past two years, Billy Forbes has become the breakout sensation of the league with the San Antonio Scorpions. With the Scorpions dissolving, Rayo OKC won their most prized asset in Forbes, who should certainly get a look-in from former San Antonio coach Alen Marcina.
Predicted Finish: 5th. So much talent, but need to build some chemistry and fan support.
Team Name: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Manager: Stuart Campbell
Stadium: Al Lang Stadium
History: An original NASL team, the Rowdies won a championship in their first year (1975) and continued to impress until the league collapsed in 1985. The Rowdies kept playing in lower leagues until 1993. In 2008, the team was reborn again, with the vision of recreating its old glory days. However, because of legal problems, the team simply went by FC Tampa Bay until 2012, when the old moniker returned, along with a Soccer Bowl title won on penalties over Minnesota Stars FC. In 2014, the team was purchased by St. Petersburg businessman Bill Edwards, who promised to take the Rowdies to the next level.
2015 In Review: Following a frustrating 2014 season, manager Ricky Hill got the boot, and the Rowdies began building a new roster with the prolific coach Thomas Rongen. Under Rongen, the ball started to roll, and the Rowdies finished 2nd in the Spring Season, just one point behind the New York Cosmos. In July, Tampa Bay made waves by signing former U.S. international Freddy Adu. However, the Fall Season got off to a rough start. After securing only seven points in eight games, Rowdies owner Bill Edwards fired Rongen and general manager Farrukh Quraishi. Under new manager Stuart Campbell, Tampa Bay fell further, eventually finishing 8th in the Fall and 5th overall, missing out on the playoffs by just two points.
2016 Preview: In the third year of the Bill Edwards era, Tampa Bay is under big pressure to finally make the playoffs. The Rowdies haven't been the loudest team in the offseason, and have perhaps been overshadowed by some of their neighbors in Florida, but the transition from 2015 to 2016 has been smooth. Key players were re-signed, including defensive rock Tamika Mkandawire, Freddy Adu, and 2014 MVP Georgi Hristov. They bet big on bringing in Tom Heinemann, the striker who lit Ottawa's season on fire in the second half of 2015. And they brought in a good collection of supplementary players, such as Neil Collins (200+ games in the English Football League), Danny Mwanga (100+ MLS games) and Eric Avila (170+ MLS games). The Rowdies toured England in the preseason, scoring some impressive results (a draw with Stoke City; a win over Notts County). After an offseason that was, for once, not quite tumultuous, it may be Tampa's time to shine in 2016.
Key Players: Georgi Hristov, FW; Tom Heinemann, FW; Freddy Adu, MF
One to Watch: Darwin Espinal, FW. Only 21, Espinal is already having an impact on Honduran youth national teams. He's got several good forwards to compete with on this roster, but he could well become one of the best.
Predicted Finish: 2nd. This could be the year it all comes together for the Rowdies.
Predicted Spring Standings:
Place Club
#1 New York Cosmos
#2 Tampa Bay Rowdies
#3 Minnesota United FC
#4 Carolina RailHawks
#5 Rayo OKC
#6 FC Edmonton
#7 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
#8 Indy Eleven
#9 Jacksonville Armada FC
#10 Ottawa Fury FC
#11 Miami FC
Opening Weekend Schedule:
Saturday, April 2
Time (ET) Home Away U.S. TV
3:00 CAR MNU ESPN3
7:00 FTL MIA beIN
7:30 TBR IND OWS
8:00 OKC FCE ESPN3
Sunday, April 3
Time (ET) Home Away TV
6:00 NYC OTT OWS
To follow all the excitement and keep up with the latest news this season, make sure to visit and subscribe to /NASLSoccer - the home of the NASL on reddit. Feel free to add any comments or questions below.
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[Pre Match Thread] Manchester City vs Real Madrid [Champions League - Semi Final - Leg 1]

Manchester City F.C. vs Real Madrid C.F.
Competition : Champions League – Semi Final – Leg 1
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, UK
Date: Tuesday, 26 April
Kick-off : 19:45 BST | 20:45 CET | 13:45 Central USA
Referee : C. Çakιr
Assistants : C. Satman, T. Ongun
Fourth official : S. Ok
Manchester City F.C.
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Line Up – Hart, Sagna, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva, De Bruyne, Aguero
Substitutes - Caballero, Mangala, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Delph, Sterling, Iheanacho
Sidelined – Touré, Nasri (unregistered)
Form Guide
All competitions - W W W D W
Champions League - W W D D W
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
It's very important to enjoy the semi-final as it's not something we achieve every year. The players know that. It's important not to be comfortable because we're at this stage. Everyone wants to continue, to play the final. We'll see a City team that will play to win.
We won't just try to defend to reach the final. I have always tried to have a team who play good football, play well. We need a hot heart and a cold mind ... We need our emotions under control.
Manuel Pellegrini
Real Madrid C.F.
Manager: Zinedine Zidane
Line Up - Keylor Navas, Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Bale, Lucas Vázquez, Benzema
Substitutes - Casilla, Varane, James, Kovacic, Jesé, Isco, Danilo
Sidelined – Ronaldo, Lazo (suspended)
Form Guide -
All competitions - W W W W W
Champions League - W W W L W
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
We are in a decent vein of form, probably the best of the season. We are going to do the best we possibly can to score and try not to concede. It's a game and tie that is 50/50. You can prepare all you want for a big game but then the game can turn out totally different to how you envisaged it. The important thing is to give 150%.
Our opponents are a great side. If you give them space they can hurt you. The players get between the lines and cause problems. When we've not got the ball we must keep it tight and defend; when we have the ball we'll try and hurt them. The players are really focused. In 2014, there was a similar atmosphere in the dressing room.
Zinedine Zidane
HEAD-TO-HEAD
The clubs' only competitive fixtures came in the 2012/13 group stage, when Madrid twice came from behind to win 3-2 in Spain on matchday one. City led twice courtesy of Edin Džeko (68) and Aleksandar Kolarov (85) but Madrid responded through Marcelo (76) and Karim Benzema (87) before Cristiano Ronaldo snatched a 90th-minute victory.
The teams at the Santiago Bernabéu on 18 September 2012 were:
Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Khedira (Modrić 73), Xabi Alonso; Di María, Essien (Özil 65), Ronaldo; Higuaín (Benzema 73).
Manchester City: Hart; Maicon (Zabaleta 74), Kompany, Nastasić, Clichy; Javi García; Silva (Džeko 63), Y Touré, Barry, Nasri (Kolarov 37); Tévez.
It was 1-1 in Manchester, Sergio Agüero's penalty cancelling out Benzema's tenth-minute strike. Madrid ended with ten men as Álvaro Arbeloa collected a second yellow card in fouling Agüero to concede that spot kick.
The sides at the City of Manchester Stadium on 21 November 2012 were:
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasić; Maicon, Y Touré, Silva, Nasri (Tévez 60), Kolarov (Javi García 46); Agüero (Milner 88), Džeko.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrão; Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Di María (Albiol 87), Modrić (Callejón 68), Ronaldo; Benzema (Varane 75).
Those four points helped José Mourinho's Madrid finish second in Group D, behind Borussia Dortmund; City, then managed by Roberto Mancini, ended bottom with three points having not won a game.
ODDS
Book Man City DRAW Real Madrid
William Hill 3.00 3.20 2.45
Bet 365 3.00 3.50 2.45
Bwin 3.00 3.50 2.40
Tipico 3.00 3.50 2.40
Payout odds in multiples of 1, i.e. odds of 2.60 means a total payout of €2.60 if you place a winning bet of €1.
Odds at 12:00 GMT
MATCH FACTS
Manchester City
  • City's last two UEFA Champions League campaigns ended in round of 16 defeat by Barcelona, in2013/14 and 2014/15.
  • The 3-1 aggregate win against Dynamo Kyiv in this season's round of 16 – 3-1 away, 0-0 home – was City's first European Cup knockout victory. Aside from those Barcelona defeats, their only previous tie was a 2-1 aggregate loss to Fenerbahçe SK in the 1968/69 first round.
  • City claimed their second knockout win with a 1-0 home defeat of Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-final second leg, completing a 3-2 aggregate success.
  • Manuel Pellegrini's side have won three and drawn one of their five home UEFA Champions League games this season, although they did suffer a 2-1 loss to Juventus on matchday one.
  • The Manchester club have already met Spanish opposition in this season's competition, beating Sevilla FC 2-1 at home and 3-1 away in the group stage.
  • City's home record against Spanish sides is W3 D2 L2, both defeats coming against Barcelona. Overall it is W5 D3 L7.
  • Their record in two-legged ties with Spanish sides is W1 L3.
  • City may have never been in the semi-finals before, but Pellegrini's Villarreal CF team got this far in 2005/06, losing 1-0 to Arsenal FC over two legs
Real Madrid
  • While Madrid are in the last four for the sixth season running, they have lost five of their last six UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Of those ties, they suffered four defeats and picked up one draw away from home, the sole exception the 4-0 victory at FC Bayern München in the 2013/14 second leg.
  • Madrid lost their last away game in the UEFA Champions League, going down 2-0 at VfL Wolfsburg in the quarter-final first leg – they won the return 3-0 to progress. They had previously collected three wins and a draw away from home this campaign.
  • The 2-1 loss at Juventus in last season's semi-final first leg is the other of only two defeats in Madrid's last 12 European away games, with eight victories in that time.
  • Madrid have won on their last three visits to England, against Tottenham Hotspur FC (1-0, 2010/11), Manchester United FC (2-1, 2012/13) and Liverpool FC (3-0, 2014/15).
  • The Merengues are unbeaten in their last eight games against English clubs (W6 D2) since a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in the 2008/09 round of 16 second leg – their heaviest UEFA Champions League loss.
  • Madrid's record in two-legged ties against English opponents is W7 L4.
  • The Spanish side's record in England is W6 D3 L5; overall it is W13 D9 L10.
I will update the line-ups as the information emerges.
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Match Thread: 2012 FA Community Shield - Chelsea FC vs Manchester City [13:30BST/8:30am EDT]

2012 FA Community Shield - Final - Chelsea FC v Manchester City
Kick-OFF: 13:30 BST (8:30 am EDT)
Venue: Villa Park
Capacity: 42,788
Location: Birmingham, England
Weather Forecast 74°F (23°C), Scattered T-Storm ☾, Humidity 72%, Precipitation 60%
Referee: Kevin Friend (England)
Sideline assistants: Michael McDonough, Richard West
4th official: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)
Join the /soccer IRC chat
Match Hashtags: #Communityshield, #CFC, #MCFC
Pre-Match Thread
Live comments feed for this thread: reddit-stream
2011/2012 Season
Manchester City Won The 2011/2012 FA Premier League
Chelsea FC Won 2012 FA Cup and the 2012 Uefa Champions League
FA Community Shield The 2012 FA Community Shield is a football match to be played on 12 August 2012 between the winners of the previous season's Premier League and FA Cup competitions. The match will be contested by the 2012 FA Cup winners, Chelsea, and the champions of the 2011–12 Premier League, Manchester City. The 2012 Community Shield will not be played at its usual venue, Wembley Stadium, as the stadium is due to host the final of the 2012 Olympic football tournament on the same weekend as the proposed date for the Community Shield.[2] Instead it will be played at Aston Villa's home ground Villa Park, in Birmingham. It will be the first time since the fixture was played at Maine Road in 1973 that the Community Shield has been hosted at a venue other than Wembley (old and new) and the Millennium Stadium
Chelsea FC
Winners (4): 1955, 2000, 2005, 2009
Runners-up (5): 1970, 1997, 2006, 2007, 2010
Manchester City
Winners (3): 1937, 1968, 1972
Runners-up (5): 1934, 1956, 1969, 1973, 2011
Form guide
Chelsea: WLWLWD
Man City: WWWWWW
Betting Odds
Man City 6/5, draw 12/5, Chelsea 9/4
Opta Stat
Opta stat: Since the start of the Premier League, only seven of the 20 Charity/Community Shield winners have gone on to win the league title
Broadcasts:
Internet Streams:
LiveTV.ru
The First Row
WiZiWiG
LSHunter TV
ATDHE
Stream2Watch
Chelsea FC
Coach: Roberto Di Matteo
Possible Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
# Pos. Name Club  
1 GK Petr Cech Chelsea FC
2 DF Branislav Ivanovic Chelsea FC RED
4 DF David Luiz Chelsea FC
26 DF John Terry Chelsea FC ©
3 DF Ashley Cole Chelsea FC Yellow
12 MF Mikel Obi Chelsea FC
8 MF Frank Lampard Chelsea FC
7 MF Ramires Chelsea FC YELLOW
10 MF Juan Mata Chelsea FC OUT
17 MF Eden Hazard Chelsea FC OUT
9 FW Fernando Torres Chelsea FC Goal
Bench:
# Pos. Name Club  
22 GK Ross Turnbull Chelsea FC
25 DF Gary Cahill Chelsea FC
34 DF Ryan Bertrand Chelsea FC IN
16 MF Raul Meireles Chelsea FC
5 MF Michael Essien Chelsea FC
35 FW Lucas Paizon Chelsea FC
23 FW Daniel Sturridge Chelsea FC IN
Manchester City
Coach: Roberto Mancini
Possible Starting XI: 4-4-2
# Pos. Name Club  
30 GK Costel Pantilimon Manchseter City
15 DF Stefan Savic Manchester City YC' OUT
5 DF Pablo Zabaleta Manchester City
4 DF Vincent Kompany Manchester City YELLOW
13 DF Aleksandar Kolarov Manchester City
42 MF Yaya Youre Manchester City Goal
34 MF Nigel De Jong Manchester City
7 MF James Milner Manchester City
7 MF Sami Nasri Manchester City Goal
32 FW Carlos Tevez Manchester City Goal
16 FW Sergio Agüero Manchester City
Bench:
# Pos. Name Club  
63 GK Eirik Holmen Johansen Manchester City
22 DF Gaël Clichy Manchester City IN
28 DF Kolo Toure Manchester City
62 MF Abdul Razak Manchester City
11 MF Adam Johnson Manchester City
21 MF David Silva Manchester City
10 FW Edin Dzeko Manchester City
CFC HT Statistics MCFC
2 Goals 3
5 Shots 5
2 On Goal 4
2 Corners 6
7 Fouls 7
0 Offsides 0
2 Yellow 1
1 Red 0
45% Possession 55%
Transfer
# Pos. Name From Amount
21 FW Marko Marin Weder Breme £6.5 million
17 MF Eden Hazard Losc Lille £32 million
00 DF George Brady Cannes £0.25 million
00 MF Thorgan Hazard Lesn £0.88 million
11 MF Oscar Internacional £25 milllio
# Pos. Name To Amount
11 FW Didier Drogba Shanghai Shenhua Free Transfer
17 DF Jose Bosingwa Un-Attached Free Transfer
21 FW Salomon Kalou Losc Lille Free Transfer
53 FW Marko Mitrovic Brescia Free Transfer
60 GK Rhys Taylor Southend United Free Transfer
Loaned Out
Manchester City
# Pos. Name From Amount
Out
# Pos. Name To Amount
20 MF Owen Hargreaves Unattacched Released
35 MF Gai Assulin Racing Santander Released
12 GK Stuart Taylor Unattached Released
Loan Out
# Pos. Name To Amount
- DF Wayne Bridge Brighton & Hove Albion Free
Wiziwig.tv have every streams on the net so check it out first
So, football, welcome back. Here we go.... **
2min Good early break from City as Nasri looked to weave his way through Chelsea's back line but an errant touch allows Ramires to bring the ball away.
4min Luiz gives away a free kick and from it Tevez nearly profits. Nasri turns the ball back in and Lampard clears.
5min Lampard is caught late by De Jong - the latest in a steady line of fierce tackles.
8 MIN, Milner intercepts a Mata pass that was meant for Torres. Chelsea haven't quite got going in an attacking sense yet.
11 MIN, Savic booked for the earlier challenge on Hazard.
31 MIN' Ramires is carded for a blatant trip on Nsari. Yaya Toure all the while chirping at the referee
40 MIN' GOAL Torres strikes! VIDEO
42 MIN' Kevin Friend has sent off Ivanovic for a lunging tackle provoking familiar scenes as both sets of players surround the ref. He went in two-footed but his feet weren't high. Unfortunate I'd say. VIEO
49 MIN' Torres is in the mood here, as he charges at City again and draws a block from Kompany. Yellow for City's skipper.
52 MIN' GOAL Yaya Toure slots it home.
GOAL Tevez with a stunner! What a strike! He took the ball from Nasri, cut inside and laced a shot into the top corner past a motionless Cech. Man City 2-1 Chelsea.
Now Cole is booked for a petulant kick on Tevez
79MIN ' GOAL Bertrand pulls one back after Pantilimon spills Sturridge's low shot.
90 MIN' FULL TIME - An entertaining game and a deserved win for City. The game changed on Ivanovic's sending off, which was harsh to say the least. Tevez and Toure looked very good indeed, while Mata and Hazard failed to fire for the Blues. City will beat the team to beat in the Premier League on this evidence. As curtain raisers for the season go, this was a good Run.
Im stopping the live feed for only important updated it taking up most of my viewing time, Sorry
GIF: Yaya Toure kicks Fernando Torres in the face
David Luiz is ruining the damn game his fault for both Tevez and Nasri goal. Tevez goal he should have pressure him to pass or simply don't let him drive in from the wing. Nasri goal who was he marking. Gary Cahill was the best choice to partner JT. And what is it with this it just a friendly. It's also for the bragging right and also a huge boost for your squad. Fans pay good amount of money to see them play and this is what we're seeing a very unprofessional Chelsea team making all types of unprofessional tackles. and come on Luiz
Im sorry for using the thread to vent my anger
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[Pre Match Thread] Manchester City vs AS Monaco [Champions League - Round of 16 - Leg 1]

Manchester City F.C. vs A S Monaco FC
Competition Champions League – Round of 16 – Leg 1
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Date: Tuesday, 21 February
Kick-off : 19:45 BST | 20:45 CET | 13:45 Central USA
Referee : Antonio Mateu
Assistants : Javier Aguilar, Pau Cebrián
Fourth official : Teodoro Sobrino
Manchester City F.C.
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Line Up – Caballero, Sagna, Stones, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Yaya Touré, Sané, Silva (C), De Bruyne, Sterling, Agüero
Substitutes - Bravo, Zabaleta, Fernando, Nolito, Navas, Delph, Iheanacho
Sidelined – Gabriel Jesus (foot), Kompany (leg)
Form Guide
All competitions - W W W W D
Champions League - D L W D D
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
All of Europe is going to watch us, to analyse us, to kill us if we don't win, to say how good we are when we win and that experience is beautiful to me.
I am really impressed [with Monaco]. They are physically strong, the full-backs play like wingers, the wingers play like attacking midfielders and the strikers are fighters and in the box they are killers. They don't need too many chances to score goals. A complete team – the most successful team in Europe in terms of scoring goals.
Pep Guardiola
A S Monaco FC
Manager: Leonardo Jardim
Line Up - Subasic, Glik, Raggi, Mendy, Sidibé, Fabinho, Bakayoko, Silva, Lemar, Mbappé, Falcao
Substitutes - De Sanctis, Diallo, Touré, Dirar, Moutinho, Carrillo, Germain
Sidelined – Jemerson (suspended), Boschilia (knee)
Form Guide -
All competitions - W W W W D
Champions League - D D W W L
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
We have changed a lot of players over the last three seasons and we're back in the last 16 again. That's great because it shows that despite all the changes we're still able to play at the top level. We have only two or three players left from the team that took on Arsenal a couple of years ago.
This is our 11th game, taking into account qualifying matches, and we always try to play the same way. These two teams love to play football and have technical players. The two coaching staffs work well. But in other respects we cannot compare, such as in the respective transfer budgets.
Leonardo Jardim
COACH & PLAYER LINKS
  • This is Guardiola's first duel with French opponents since his Barcelona side beat Olympique Lyonnais 6-3 on aggregate in the last 16 in 2009. As a player, he was in the Barcelona side that overcame Paris 1-0 in the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final. He had helped Barcelona to home (2-0) and away (1-0) victories over Monaco in the 1993/94 UEFA Champions League group stage.
  • Leonardo Jardim's first encounter with English opposition came as coach of the SC Braga side that beat Birmingham City FC twice (3-1 a, 1-0 h) in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League group stage. The next season, as Olympiacos FC boss, he faced Arsenal in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage, losing 3-1 in London but winning 2-1 at home.
  • Yaya Touré was a Monaco player in 2006/07, making 27 Ligue 1 outings and scoring five goals.
  • Bacary Sagna faced Monaco five times with AJ Auxerre between 2004 and 2007 (W2 D2 L1).
  • João Moutinho was in the FC Porto team beaten 4-0 at City in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 on 22 February 2012. Fernando and Nicolás Otamendi also featured for Porto that night.
  • During his 2014/15 loan at Manchester United, Radamel Falcao figured as an 83rd-minute substitute in a 4-2 derby home win over City. On loan at Chelsea in 2015/16, the Colombian was a late replacement in a 3-0 loss at City.
  • Falcao struck Porto's winner in a 2-1 first-leg home success over Arsenal in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (agg 2-6). He hit a hat-trick against Chelsea for Club Atlético de Madrid in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup.
  • Djibril Sidibé made his home debut for France as a replacement for Sagna during a 4-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying win in October 2016.
  • Aleksandar Kolarov scored a free-kick goal for Serbia in a 1-1 friendly draw with France in Belgrade in 2014.
Have played together:
Fernando & Radamel Falcao (FC Porto, 2009–11)
Fernando, Nicolás Otamendi & João Moutinho (FC Porto, 2010–13)
Bacary Sagna & Djibril Sidibé (France)
Fernandinho & Fabinho (Brazil)
ODDS
Book Man City DRAW Monaco
William Hill 1.62 4.20 5.50
Bet 365 1.62 4.33 5.75
Bwin 1.62 4.33 5.50
Tipico 1.57 4.20 5.70
Payout odds in multiples of 1, i.e. odds of 2.60 means a total payout of €2.60 if you place a winning bet of €1.
Odds at 10:00 GMT. Included to show how the bookies rate the outcome probabilities. This is not an endorsement for gambling. Bet responsibly if you really must. Don’t be an idiot.
MATCH FACTS
Manchester City
  • Raheem Sterling is a booking away from a ban.
  • City had won their last four fixtures in all competitions before Saturday's FA Cup draw at Huddersfield Town AFC. The winners of the replay will travel to Middlesbrough FC in the quarter-finals.
  • Gabriel Jesus broke a metatarsal bone in his right foot early on in the 2-0 victory at AFC Bournemouth on 13 February.
  • Jesus went into the Bournemouth match having scored three goals in his first four appearances in English football.
UEFA Champions League squad changes
  • In: Kelechi Iheanacho, Gabriel Jesus, Yaya Touré
  • Out: Angeliño, İlkay Gündoğan, James Horsfield, Pablo Maffeo, Billy O'Brien
AS Monaco
  • Kamil Glik will incur a suspension with his next booking, while Jemerson serves a one-match ban.
  • Monaco have won 11 of their 15 games in all competitions since matchday six, losing once – 3-1 at home to Olympique Lyonnais on 18 December.
  • Jardim's men will play Paris in the French League Cup final on 1 April.
  • Monaco have also made progress in the French Cup, where they will meet Olympique de Marseille on 1 March in the last 16, having beaten AC Ajaccio (2-1) and third-tier FC Chambly (5-4 AET) in 2017.
  • Not including the Chambly game, the principality team have scored four goals or more in a match on 11 occasions this season.
  • Falcao has scored 13 goals in his last 14 appearances in all competitions.
  • Kylian Mbappé, 18, has registered two hat-tricks since the beginning of December, his most recent treble coming in a 5-0 defeat of FC Metz on 11 February.
UEFA Champions League squad changes
  • In: Franco Antonucci, Dylan Beaulieu, Jorge
  • Out: Mehdi Beneddine, Corentin Jean, Adama Traoré
Will be updated as more information emerges
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[Pre Match Thread] Manchester City vs Real Madrid [Champions League - Semi Final - Leg 1]

Manchester City F.C. vs Real Madrid C.F.
Competition : Champions League – Semi Final – Leg 1
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, UK
Date: Tuesday, 26 April
Kick-off : 19:45 BST | 20:45 CET | 13:45 Central USA
Referee : C. Çakιr
Assistants : C. Satman, T. Ongun
Fourth official : S. Ok
Manchester City F.C.
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Line Up – Hart, Sagna, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva, De Bruyne, Aguero
Substitutes - Caballero, Mangala, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Delph, Sterling, Iheanacho
Sidelined – Touré, Nasri (unregistered)
Form Guide
All competitions - W W W D W
Champions League - W W D D W
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
It's very important to enjoy the semi-final as it's not something we achieve every year. The players know that. It's important not to be comfortable because we're at this stage. Everyone wants to continue, to play the final. We'll see a City team that will play to win.
We won't just try to defend to reach the final. I have always tried to have a team who play good football, play well. We need a hot heart and a cold mind ... We need our emotions under control.
Manuel Pellegrini
Real Madrid C.F.
Manager: Zinedine Zidane
Line Up - Keylor Navas, Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Bale, Lucas Vázquez, Benzema
Substitutes - Casilla, Varane, James, Kovacic, Jesé, Isco, Danilo
Sidelined – Ronaldo, Lazo (suspended)
Form Guide -
All competitions - W W W W W
Champions League - W W W L W
Pre-Match Press Conference Statements
We are in a decent vein of form, probably the best of the season. We are going to do the best we possibly can to score and try not to concede. It's a game and tie that is 50/50. You can prepare all you want for a big game but then the game can turn out totally different to how you envisaged it. The important thing is to give 150%.
Our opponents are a great side. If you give them space they can hurt you. The players get between the lines and cause problems. When we've not got the ball we must keep it tight and defend; when we have the ball we'll try and hurt them. The players are really focused. In 2014, there was a similar atmosphere in the dressing room.
Zinedine Zidane
HEAD-TO-HEAD
The clubs' only competitive fixtures came in the 2012/13 group stage, when Madrid twice came from behind to win 3-2 in Spain on matchday one. City led twice courtesy of Edin Džeko (68) and Aleksandar Kolarov (85) but Madrid responded through Marcelo (76) and Karim Benzema (87) before Cristiano Ronaldo snatched a 90th-minute victory.
The teams at the Santiago Bernabéu on 18 September 2012 were:
Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Khedira (Modrić 73), Xabi Alonso; Di María, Essien (Özil 65), Ronaldo; Higuaín (Benzema 73).
Manchester City: Hart; Maicon (Zabaleta 74), Kompany, Nastasić, Clichy; Javi García; Silva (Džeko 63), Y Touré, Barry, Nasri (Kolarov 37); Tévez.
It was 1-1 in Manchester, Sergio Agüero's penalty cancelling out Benzema's tenth-minute strike. Madrid ended with ten men as Álvaro Arbeloa collected a second yellow card in fouling Agüero to concede that spot kick.
The sides at the City of Manchester Stadium on 21 November 2012 were:
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasić; Maicon, Y Touré, Silva, Nasri (Tévez 60), Kolarov (Javi García 46); Agüero (Milner 88), Džeko.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrão; Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Di María (Albiol 87), Modrić (Callejón 68), Ronaldo; Benzema (Varane 75).
Those four points helped José Mourinho's Madrid finish second in Group D, behind Borussia Dortmund; City, then managed by Roberto Mancini, ended bottom with three points having not won a game.
ODDS
Book Man City DRAW Real Madrid
William Hill 3.00 3.20 2.45
Bet 365 3.00 3.50 2.45
Bwin 3.00 3.50 2.40
Tipico 3.00 3.50 2.40
Payout odds in multiples of 1, i.e. odds of 2.60 means a total payout of €2.60 if you place a winning bet of €1.
Odds at 12:00 GMT
MATCH FACTS
Manchester City
  • City's last two UEFA Champions League campaigns ended in round of 16 defeat by Barcelona, in2013/14 and 2014/15.
  • The 3-1 aggregate win against Dynamo Kyiv in this season's round of 16 – 3-1 away, 0-0 home – was City's first European Cup knockout victory. Aside from those Barcelona defeats, their only previous tie was a 2-1 aggregate loss to Fenerbahçe SK in the 1968/69 first round.
  • City claimed their second knockout win with a 1-0 home defeat of Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-final second leg, completing a 3-2 aggregate success.
  • Manuel Pellegrini's side have won three and drawn one of their five home UEFA Champions League games this season, although they did suffer a 2-1 loss to Juventus on matchday one.
  • The Manchester club have already met Spanish opposition in this season's competition, beating Sevilla FC 2-1 at home and 3-1 away in the group stage.
  • City's home record against Spanish sides is W3 D2 L2, both defeats coming against Barcelona. Overall it is W5 D3 L7.
  • Their record in two-legged ties with Spanish sides is W1 L3.
  • City may have never been in the semi-finals before, but Pellegrini's Villarreal CF team got this far in 2005/06, losing 1-0 to Arsenal FC over two legs
Real Madrid
  • While Madrid are in the last four for the sixth season running, they have lost five of their last six UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Of those ties, they suffered four defeats and picked up one draw away from home, the sole exception the 4-0 victory at FC Bayern München in the 2013/14 second leg.
  • Madrid lost their last away game in the UEFA Champions League, going down 2-0 at VfL Wolfsburg in the quarter-final first leg – they won the return 3-0 to progress. They had previously collected three wins and a draw away from home this campaign.
  • The 2-1 loss at Juventus in last season's semi-final first leg is the other of only two defeats in Madrid's last 12 European away games, with eight victories in that time.
  • Madrid have won on their last three visits to England, against Tottenham Hotspur FC (1-0, 2010/11), Manchester United FC (2-1, 2012/13) and Liverpool FC (3-0, 2014/15).
  • The Merengues are unbeaten in their last eight games against English clubs (W6 D2) since a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in the 2008/09 round of 16 second leg – their heaviest UEFA Champions League loss.
  • Madrid's record in two-legged ties against English opponents is W7 L4.
  • The Spanish side's record in England is W6 D3 L5; overall it is W13 D9 L10.
I will update the line-ups as the information emerges.
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TheMonsieur's SupercalifragilisticUpbiparipovic NASL Spring Season Preview

Whether you knew it or not, the North American Soccer League (NASL), America's second division, is kicking off in two days' time. There's been a whirlwind of activity in the preseason, with new teams coming in, broadcast deals being signed, and recognizable players joining up. As someone who follows the league pretty closely, I've taken up the task of putting together a brief capsule for each club competing.
With that said, a quick overview of the league and its structure: The NASL is the second tier of U.S./Canadian soccer, having formed in 2011 after breaking away from the USL First Division. It is in no way connected to MLS. Twelve teams will compete in 2016 across two seasons - Spring and Fall. The Spring Season, being previewed here, consists of 10 games and will only feature 11 teams (Puerto Rico FC enters in the Fall). The Fall Season starts in July and will consist of 22 games. At the conclusion of the Fall Season, four teams - the Spring and Fall Season winners, along with the two remaining teams with the best overall records - will enter the Championship playoffs for a chance to win the Soccer Bowl Trophy.
For a short recap on last season, you could watch my poor attempt at making a video. Oh, and be sure to check out /NASLSoccer! I'm over there a lot, and it's a good place to learn more. We'll even be revealing a redesign tomorrow night just in time for the season!
I'm not an expert analyst, but hopefully this can provide a good introduction for you to each team.
Got it? Alright, let’s get started.
Team Name: Carolina RailHawks
Location: Cary, North Carolina
Manager: Colin Clarke
Stadium: WakeMed Soccer Park
History: Founded in 2006, Carolina was one of the breakaway members from the USL First Division that formed the NASL. The team's name is mean to represent both the rail lines that run directly across from the field and the hawks that are indigenous to the area. The RailHawks play their home games at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. In 2015, the RailHawks' owners, Traffic Sports, were indicted in a FIFA corruption scandal, leading to the sale of the club to local tech entrepreneur Stephen Malik.
2015 In Review: Carolina got off to a promising start in the spring, taking 14 points from 10 games and winning a 3rd place finish in the standings. Led by the creativity in the midfield of club legend Tiyi Shipalane and the goals up front from former Rangers striker Nacho Novo, the RailHawks picked up some good results at the beginning of the Fall Season as well. From that point, though, the wheels came off, particularly in road matches. Out of 10 away matches in the Fall, Carolina took just a single point. In the end, the result was 7th place in the Fall, and 6th in the combined table.
2016 Preview: The RailHawks marked their 10th anniversary in style off the field, inking a local TV deal, making stadium upgrades, and promising higher investment in the club. They doubled down on their commitment by re-signing club captain Connor Tobin as well as key players Tiyi Shipalane and Nazmi Albadawi. Then, they cleaned up by signing several high-level players, such as NASL Best XI midfielder James Marcelin, and former RailHawks Matt Watson and Akira Fitzgerald, who had most recently spent time in MLS. Carolina are the perfect example of a revamped and growing NASL: They've found a new owner who is excited and willing to spend, and they've invested all around the club and have reloaded their roster. Expect the RailHawks to challenge from right out of the gate in 2016.
Key Players: Ty Shipalane, MF; Connor Tobin, MF; Nazmi Albadawi, MF
One to Watch: Marvin Ceballos, MF. The Guatemalan international has been described as a "natural #10" by manager Colin Clarke and has the potential to be a breakout star for Carolina this year.
Predicted Finish: 4th. I think they fly under the radar as a well put-together team, and pressure from FIFA scandal gone. This prediction could blow up in my face.
Team Name: FC Edmonton
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Manager: Colin Miller
Stadium: Clarke Stadium
History: Edmonton is a growing team, having only formed in 2010, just in time for the first NASL season. The Eddies are slight rivals with Minnesota United, participating in the Flyover Cup and raising money for charities together. Edmonton is currently the furthest west of all NASL teams, and has struggled with attendance figures as well as play on the field. Their best season finish was 5th place, and the closest they've been to a championship was the league's quarterfinals in its first year of existence.
2015 In Review: Despite progress made in 2014, things turned south for the league's northernmost club in the Spring Season of 2015. Two wins meant a 10th place finish out of 11. The Eddies' relief came in the form of a Canadian Championship cup run, in which they came inches away from defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the semifinal, only to be knocked out by a goal in the last seconds of stoppage time. In the fall, results picked up for Edmonton. Lance Laing marked his record third appearance in the league's Best XI with eight goals and seven assists throughout the Spring and Fall Seasons, but the team suffered when he was on international duty with Jamaica. The team's playoff hopes fell away during the final five games of the season, during which they found only one point. FC Edmonton finished 5th in the Fall and 7th in the combined table.
2016 Preview: Edmonton would seem to be in a spot of trouble. Over the offseason, winger Lance Laing, who put the Eddies on his back at times, left to join Minnesota United. So, FC Edmonton made some changes. In the front office, they added Jay Ball as general manager; Ball played a significant role in the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada. On the field, they brought back Daryl Fordyce, the club's all-time leading scorer, and made a splash by signing Canadian international Nik Ledgerwood from Germany. Manager Colin Miller called it the most promising offseason in club history, and proceeded to sign the Senegalese center back Papé Diakité and Jake Keegan, 2nd-top scorer in the League of Ireland last season. With the roster set, Edmonton toured Great Britain, showing well in several friendly across the pond. With a lackluster history and last year's star gone, Edmonton will look to defy the odds in 2016.
Key Players: Albert Watson, DF; Daryl Fordyce, FW; Nik Ledgerwood, DF/MF
One to Watch: Allan Zebie, MF. An FC Edmonton youth product and Canada youth international, Zebie, only 22, has established himself as the Eddies' regular right back. This year, he could move to a whole new level.
Predicted Finish: 6th. Laing is gone, but most of the roster returns, aided by savvy signings.
Team Name: Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Manager: Caio Zanardi
Stadium: Lockhart Stadium
History: As one of the members of the original NASL, the Strikers have a history dating back to 1977. The team signed some of the world's finest players, including Gordon Banks, George Best, and Gerd Müller. After moving to Minnesota, a second Strikers team popped up in Fort Lauderdale in 1988, playing for six years in the American Soccer League (ASL) and the American Professional Soccer League (APSL). The current incarnation, founded in 2006 as Miami FC, rebranded into the Strikers before the first season of the new NASL. In 2014, after a loss in the NASL final, the club made international headlines when Brazilian legend Ronaldo joined their ownership group. In 2015, the low-budget club shocked the league by once again making the playoffs.
2015 In Review: Following the Spring Season, there weren't many optimists left in the Strikers camp. After dumping most of 2014's star players (Fafà Picault, their star player, went to Europe; Pecka moved to Real Salt Lake), the firing of head coach Günter Kronsteiner, and the flop of much-hyped signing Leo Moura, Fort Lauderdale limped to an 8th place finish in the Spring. The Fall was a different story. After re-signing Kronsteiner, a young Strikers team turned it all around. Fluminense loanees Marlon Freitas and Stefano Pinho shined, with Pinho topping the NASL scoring charts and winning the league MVP award. James Marcelin joined Pinho in the league's Best XI, and midfielder PC just missed out. The Strikers finished 4th in the Fall, and a win against Jacksonville on the last day propelled them to 4th in the overall standings as well, giving them a semifinals spot. The fairy tale ended in New York, with the Cosmos coming from behind to win 2-1 en route to the NASL Championship game.
2016 Preview: For the past two years, Fort Lauderdale has been the surprise team of the league. This year, the rest of the NASL will be as prepared as they can, but the Strikers still present a bit of a mystery. After squeezing into the playoffs in 2015, the team once again dismantled its roster, letting go of manager Günter Kronsteiner (again), watching the league's MVP and top scorer Stefano Pinho leave for Minnesota, and parting ways with Best XI midfielder James Marcelin, who signed with Carolina.
In response, Fort Lauderdale ramped up operations: They created a reserve team in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), announced a whole wave of staff appointments, expanded partnerships and advertisements, got a TV deal, hosted an international tournament, and toured China. They also made some big-name signings, inking World Cup winner Kléberson, Brazilian veterans Adrianinho & Bruno Cardoso, U.S. youth internationals and UEFA Champions League-experienced players. And they unveiled their new jerseys on a yacht. Yeah, what can I say? The Strikers have big ambitions, and they've moved on from being a low-budget side that scraped past other teams. So will new investment bring more success? We'll have to see.
Key Players: Kléberson, MF; PC MF; Adrianinho, MF
One to Watch: Matheus Carvalho, FW. Carvalho has a solid pedigree, having played a few minutes for Monaco in last year's UEFA Champions League. It's possible he could be a welcome surprise in South Florida.
Predicted Finish: 7th. So much change on this roster, and several star players past their primes.
Team Name: Indy Eleven
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Manager: Tim Hankinson
Stadium: Carroll Stadium
History: After years of calls for a professional soccer team in Indianapolis from the Brickyard Battalion (the Eleven's main supporter group), the dream was finally realized in 2013. That year, legendary American soccer executive Peter Wilt announced that he would become the president of Indy Eleven, a team that started play in 2014. Despite struggles on the field, Indy Eleven became the first American soccer team to sell out all its home games in its inaugural home season. Wilt left on good terms in 2016 to pursue a Chicago NASL project.
2015 In Review: After a disappointing first year on the field, things didn't get much better in 2015 for Indy Eleven, though they did once again lead the league in attendance. Star player Kléberson picked up a season-ending achilles injury, and the Eleven won only one in their first eight matches. That record, combined with an embarrassing U.S. Open Cup defeat at home to USL's Louisville City FC, led to the firing of head coach Juergen Sommer. His replacement, interim coach Tim Regan, won the final two games to elevate Indy to 5th in the Spring. However, any playoff aspirations fell away in the Fall, as a string of bad results climaxed with a 7-1 loss in Fort Lauderdale en route to a 9th place finish in the Fall Season and combined standings. Indy could find a silver lining with the strong performances of several youngsters, such as Dylan Mares and Duke Lacroix.
2016 Preview: With one of the largest fanbases in the league and some of the worst performances, Indy are under pressure to finally turn around its performance. To start, they stripped down most of the team to just a couple of players, and hired long-time manager Tim Hankinson to construct a rebuild. Hankinson piled on MLS experience, inking Jon Busch, Siniša Ubiparipović, Justin Braun, Lovel Palmer, and Gorka Larrea, among others. Preseason did not go well, with most friendlies ending in defeat or stalemate to lower-division and university teams, and several players picking up injuries. That said, this Eleven squad is better than any other that has taken the field, and have a good mix of senior players and up-and-comers that are ready to deliver.
Key Players: Dylan Mares, MF; Brad Ring, MF; Siniša Ubiparipović, MF
One to Watch: Duke Lacroix, FW. It's time to meet the 22-year-old forward every soccer fan in Indianapolis is talking about. Lacroix got a chance last year, and electrified on the wing. This season, he'll hope to earn a starting job.
Predicted Finish: 8th. If one of the new central striker signings turns good, they'll have a real chance in this league. If not? Expect the same as before.
Team Name: Jacksonville Armada FC
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Manager: Tony Meola
Stadium: Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
History: Announced on July 25, 2013, Jacksonville's team was christened as Armada FC on February 18, 2014. The Armada was the only expansion side to join the league in 2015, lead by the ownership collective Sunshine Soccer Group and club president Steve Livingstone. The team chose to play at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and quickly established themselves in the top tier of NASL attendances, although they didn't do as well on the field.
2015 In Review: Jacksonville got off to a fast start, with Jemal Johnson scoring seconds into their first game as the Armada went on to win three out of its first five. That was the best run of form the team would see all year. After finishing a respectable 6th in the Spring, the Armada fell into a slump, finishing last both in the Fall Season and combined table. The team fired its first manager, José Luis Villarreal, after attempting to give him a co-managerial role with Guillermo Hoyos. The club later fired Hoyos after giving him a contract through 2019 months earlier.
2016 Preview: The Armada began their offseason with a big statement of intention, hiring former USA goalkeeper Tony Meola as head coach. After an unsuccessful inaugural year, much of 2015's roster did not make it back. Instead, Jacksonville refined it by looking to the lower leagues. They signed NASL Best XI midfielder Richie Ryan, USL MVP Matt Fondy, and USL Defender of the Year Bryan Burke, in effect establishing a small collection of some of the best players below MLS last season. Just before the season began, the Armada suffered a blow as young standout Akeil Barrett transferred to the Swedish second division. Yet, after a preseason that included promising signings and friendlies, Jacksonville seem ready to move up the table.
Key Players: Alhassane Keita, FW; Mechak Jérôme, DF; Matt Fondy, FW
One to Watch: Charles Eloundou, FW. Once a highly-touted prospect, Eloundou, 21, saw his career stall with the Colorado Rapids (MLS). Now settled in Jacksonville, this year may be his opportunity to shine.
Predicted Finish: 9th. Good first steps, but still a lot to do after finishing bottom of the table last year.
Team Name: Miami FC
Location: Miami, Florida
Manager: Alessandro Nesta
Stadium: FIU Stadium
History: Unrelated to the original Miami FC (now the Fort Lauderdale Strikers), this team was founded in 2015 and kicked off in 2016. Miami attracted international attention with its ownership (entrepreneur Riccardo Silva and former Italy legend Paolo Maldini) as well as its first head coach (Maldini's Italy teammate Alessandro Nesta). The team began play at FIU Stadium.
2016 Preview: Expansion teams are often an enigma, and the organization of Miami FC is no different. Founded in the eye of a storm of MLS rumors (Miami Beckham United FC?), the brains behind Miami FC will likely want to get off to a running start in order to attract the sort of attention with soccer fans that can make them viable in the city and sustainable into the future. To that end, Miami brought in two star: Dario Cvitanich, who has scored goals and seen success with big clubs all over the world, and Wilson Palacios, the English Premier League veteran with nearly 100 Honduras caps under his belt. Mostly, though, the roster is filled out by players with NASL experience (Pablo Campos, Jaimé Chavez, etc.) and up-and-comers looking to make a name for themselves. In many ways, this is a similar approach that other past expansion teams have taken, with mixed results. The real question for 2016 might be just how well Miami FC establishes a fanbase in an unknown market.
Key Players: Wilson Palacios, MF; Darío Cvitanich, FW; Matuzalem, MF
One to Watch: Blake Smith, MF. Making his return to North American soccer after a year in hiatus, Smith is an unknown quantity. However, if he re-creates the kind of success he saw in Montreal and Indy, he could be a vital part of Miami's attack.
Predicted Finish: 11th. Similar construction as previous expansion teams may yield similar results.
Team Name: Minnesota United FC
Location: Blaine, Minnesota
Manager: Carl Craig
Stadium: National Sports Center
History: Professional soccer in Minnesota began with the Minnesota Kicks of the old NASL, but Minnesota has had a continuous presence of professional soccer since the founding of the Minnesota Thunder in 1990. When that team folded due to the financial shadiness of owner Dean Johnson, a new series of teams all slightly related to one another emerged. The NSC Minnesota Stars were launched in 2010, but the ownership of National Sports Center in Blaine, MN lasted only a season before the NASL took over the team. In 2011, the Stars won the Soccer Bowl for the first time in the new era of the NASL. In 2012, the team rebranded as Minnesota Stars FC and again went to the final, where they lost to Tampa Bay in penalties. The team was league-owned at the time and many fans and players thought that without a win in the final (thinking the league wouldn't dare let its champion fold), the team would no longer have a future. However, after the crushing loss, news began to leak out that the team had found an owner. In 2013, Dr. Bill McGuire (formerly of United Healthcare Group) purchased the Minnesota Stars and rebranded them as Minnesota United FC.
The team is supported by the Dark Clouds, a supporters group founded in the Thunder days. They are known for their bizarre brand of "Jackassery," which is ecstatic support that opposes macho, wannabe hooliganism. They have a gameday zine called the Jackassery Times-Heckler and worship the god DETHLOON. The club announced a move to Major League Soccer in 2017 or 2018, pending the construction of a downtown stadium.
2015 In Review: Buoyed off the field by an MLS expansion announcement, Minnesota continued to show stellar performances on it. Although star player Miguel Ibarra transferred to Mexican club Léon, replacements brought in (including Ibson and Khalif Alhassan) proved to be up to the challenge. A fourth place finish in the Spring was strong, if not ideal. In the Fall, an incredible run of eight wins in 10 matches led to a 2nd place finish. United were 3rd in the overall standings, and Christian Ramirez scored the second-most goals in the league, just missing a second consecutive Golden Boot. In their playoff semifinal in Ottawa, Ramirez's penalty gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead, but an equalizer and extra time winner from opposition forward Tom Heinemann led to an end to their season.
2016 Preview: This could be Minnesota's last year in the NASL, and they're offseason move show a determination to leave with a trophy in both hands. In preparation for the move to MLS, Manny Lagos (manager since 2010) became Sporting Director, and assistant Carl Craig moved up to become head coach. The team returns all four of its Best XI players from 2015: Justin Davis, Ibson, Christian Ramirez, and Kevin Venegas. It made further inroads by signing two other Best XI members: Lance Laing, who carried FC Edmonton and became a regular with Jamaica, and Stefano Pinho, who was named the league's best player and won the Golden Boot with Fort Lauderdale. Is there any stopping this team? Well, while United obviously has an unparalleled attack, there are questions on the defensive side, with the team having lost preseason games 0-4, 0-4, and 1-3 to MLS sides. If defense does not turn out to be a problem, though, this is a side that could really challenge for both the league title and a position deep in the U.S. Open Cup.
Key Players: Christian Ramirez, FW; Stefano Pinho, FW; Justin Davis, DF
One to Watch: Greg Jordan, MF. Minnesota are clearly looking for MLS-ready players this year, and Greg Jordan could be a sleeper pick to move up with them. Since falling out of favor in Philadelphia, he's had a dependable two seasons with the Loons, and will look to step up his game in 2016.
Predicted Finish: 3rd. May take some time for new players to settle, and who know how MLS move will divert their focus, but they'll be competitive no matter what.
Team Name: New York Cosmos
Location: Hempstead, New York
Manager: Giovanni Savarese
Stadium: Shuart Stadium
History: The New York Cosmos brand is one of the greatest in all of world soccer, and their teams in the original NASL were arguably better than any American sides that have come before or since. Centered around players like Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto, Franz Beckenbauer, and of course, the legendary Pelé, New York won five Soccer Bowls and became a global phenomenon. Since the team folded, there have been many attempts to revive it. This one is the first to get a real team on the field. The modern iteration of the Cosmos kicked off in the Fall Season of 2013, won the championship the same year, and won it again in 2015 with Real Madrid legend Raúl.
2015 In Review: After announcing the signing of illustrious Spanish forward Raúl, the Cosmos cemented their place as the biggest spenders with the biggest names in the NASL. 2015 marked the final seasons for Raúl and fellow former Spanish international Marcos Senna, and New York looked to send them off with a storybook ending. In the Spring Season, everything went to plan, with the Cosmos winning the title by a point and securing a playoff spot early. A high point came in the team's U.S. Open Cup victory over New York City FC on penalties, though they would later be knocked out by the New York Red Bulls. The Cosmos stayed strong in the Fall with a 3rd place finish, benefitting through performances from NASL Young Player of the Year Leo Fernandes (on loan from Philadelphia Union) and team MVP Ayoze. The Cosmos won the combined season with 56 points, edging Ottawa on goal differential. In the semifinal, the Cosmos came from behind to beat Fort Lauderdale 2-1. Hosting the Championship, relatively new signing Gastón Cellerino scored a hat trick in a 3-2 victory as Raúl and Senna lifted their final trophy.
2016 Preview: With the retirement of Raúl and Marcos Senna, the departure of star winger Walter Restrepo and formerly on-loan Leo Fernandes (both to Philadelphia), and the exit of championship hero Gastón Cellerino, this could have been a transition year for New York. But the New York Cosmos don't rebuild. They reload. This offseason, the Cosmos put together one of the most stunning collections of signings this league has ever seen. To recap: The two biggest names are Niko Kranjčar and Juan Arango, both vastly experienced players who have played at the very top of world soccer; senior internationals include Jairo Arrieta (Costa Rica), David Ochieng (Kenya), Michael Lahoud (Sierra Leone), Yohandry Orozco (Venezuela), and Yasmani Duk; other signings include Gabriel Farfan (MLS/Liga MX experience) and two U.S. youth internationals. On paper, it is hard to argue any team is better than the Cosmos. How the pieces of the puzzle come together is the only question left.
Key Players: Danny Szetela, MF; Niko Kranjčar, MF; Juan Arango, MF
One to Watch: Yohandry Orozco, MF. So, get this, right? There's player in his prime, who plays regularly for his country, had experience with Wolfsburg, and he's coming to the NASL? You'd better believe it, and Orozco has all the skills to make a huge impact.
Predicted Finish: 1st. I've been wrong before with this team, but there's just too much talent to deny.
Team Name: Ottawa Fury FC
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Manager: Paul Dalglish
Stadium: TD Place Stadium
History: A longtime candidate for expansion, Ottawa was welcomed into the league in 2011, with the Ottawa Fury name being decided in 2013. The Fury were a fromer PDL franchise, and brought a history of support with it. The club shares a new stadium (as well as ownership) with the Canadian Football League Ottawa RedBlacks. In 2015, the team surged to the Championship final, but lost to the New York Cosmos.
2015 In Review: Few would have predicted Ottawa Fury's run to the NASL Championship after the Fall Season. Despite making a splash by bringing in Canadian international Julian De Guzman, the results failed to come, and the Fury found themselves in 9th place. In the Fall, though, coach Marc Dos Santos' plan clicked. A back line marshaled by NASL Best XI goalkeeper Romuald Peiser and defender Rafael Alves recorded eight shutouts, and an offense led by the connection between midfielder Siniša Ubiparipović (eight assists total) and forward Tom Heinemann (12 goals total) resulted in one loss in 20 games, and a Fall Season title. Heinemann's two goals in the semifinal knocked out Minnesota United, but the Fury ultimately fell short of the Championship in New York, losing 3-2 to the New York Cosmos.
2016 Preview: After falling short in the Championship, the Ottawa Fury had the offseason from Hell. First, Manager of the Year Marc Dos Santos left to be an assistant and reserve team coach for Sporting Kansas City (MLS). Then, many of the key players in the run to the final chose to part ways: Tom Heinemann, who scored every playoff goal, went to Tampa Bay; Colin Falvey, Ryan Richter, and Mason Trafford, who all started on the back line in the Championship, moved on; Best XI midfielder Richie Ryan left for Jacksonvile, playmaker Siniša Ubiparipović went to Indy, and starting winger Andrew Wiedeman moved to Cinicinnati in USL. Reinforcements have come, mostly in the form of other lower league players, but almost all will have to prove themselves before being considered adequate replacements. If I have to pick one out, the signing to keep an eye on will be Marcel De Jong, the Canadian international brought in who should play as a left back. The Fury will also be bolstered by the return of goalkeeper Romuald Peiser, who won the league's Golden Glove in 2015 and was named /NASLSoccer's player of the year.
Key Players: Julian de Guzman, MF; Rafael Alves, DF; Romuald Peiser, GK
One to Watch: Mauro Eustáquio, MF. Last year, Eustáquio impressed in the midfield when filling in for injured players. With so many departures, the youngster now has a chance to play well and force his way onto the Canadian national team.
Predicted Finish: 10th. This team got completely picked apart in the offseason. They could turn out okay, but they'll have work to do to prove me wrong.
Team Name: Rayo OKC
Location: Yukon, Oklahoma
Manager: Alen Marcina
Stadium: Miller Stadium
History: A fierce battle between the NASL and USL PRO for a team in Oklahoma City ended with both leagues announcing expansions in the city. The USL put together Oklahoma Energy FC in 2013. Meanwhile, the owners of Oklahoma City FC, a Premier Development League (PDL) team, decided to run an NASL side, but an ownership group breakup in 2014 caused a delay to the project. Eventually, Spanish La Liga club Rayo Vallecano partnered with the organization to form what is now known as Rayo OKC. The team name was announced in November 2015, and began play at Miller Stadium in 2016.
**2016 Preview: As much of an enigma I've said Miami FC have been as an expansion team, it's safe to say Rayo OKC have been even more of a mystery. The organization was derided at first, dismissed due to the involvement from a struggling foreign team and its juxtaposition to the already-successful Energy. However, its initial roster has made fans sit up and take notice. Five World Cup veterans and nine national team players headline the squad, which includes illustrious Greek striker Georgios Samaras. Rayo has built its team using players with experience in European leagues (say, Yuma and Juanan) and players who have found success in MLS (Michel, Sebastian Velasquez) and the NASL (Billy Forbes, Erick Norales). Expansion teams typically take time to fare well, but if there's any that might have a chance at making a first impression by challenging for a title, this could be the one.
Key Players: Robbie Findley, FW; Derek Boateng, MF; Georgios Samaras, FW
One to Watch: Billy Forbes, FW. Over the past two years, Billy Forbes has become the breakout sensation of the league with the San Antonio Scorpions. With the Scorpions dissolving, Rayo OKC won their most prized asset in Forbes, who should certainly get a look-in from former San Antonio coach Alen Marcina.
Predicted Finish: 5th. So much talent, but need to build some chemistry and fan support.
Team Name: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Manager: Stuart Campbell
Stadium: Al Lang Stadium
History: An original NASL team, the Rowdies won a championship in their first year (1975) and continued to impress until the league collapsed in 1985. The Rowdies kept playing in lower leagues until 1993. In 2008, the team was reborn again, with the vision of recreating its old glory days. However, because of legal problems, the team simply went by FC Tampa Bay until 2012, when the old moniker returned, along with a Soccer Bowl title won on penalties over Minnesota Stars FC. In 2014, the team was purchased by St. Petersburg businessman Bill Edwards, who promised to take the Rowdies to the next level.
2015 In Review: Following a frustrating 2014 season, manager Ricky Hill got the boot, and the Rowdies began building a new roster with the prolific coach Thomas Rongen. Under Rongen, the ball started to roll, and the Rowdies finished 2nd in the Spring Season, just one point behind the New York Cosmos. In July, Tampa Bay made waves by signing former U.S. international Freddy Adu. However, the Fall Season got off to a rough start. After securing only seven points in eight games, Rowdies owner Bill Edwards fired Rongen and general manager Farrukh Quraishi. Under new manager Stuart Campbell, Tampa Bay fell further, eventually finishing 8th in the Fall and 5th overall, missing out on the playoffs by just two points.
2016 Preview: In the third year of the Bill Edwards era, Tampa Bay is under big pressure to finally make the playoffs. The Rowdies haven't been the loudest team in the offseason, and have perhaps been overshadowed by some of their neighbors in Florida, but the transition from 2015 to 2016 has been smooth. Key players were re-signed, including defensive rock Tamika Mkandawire, Freddy Adu, and 2014 MVP Georgi Hristov. They bet big on bringing in Tom Heinemann, the striker who lit Ottawa's season on fire in the second half of 2015. And they brought in a good collection of supplementary players, such as Neil Collins (200+ games in the English Football League), Danny Mwanga (100+ MLS games) and Eric Avila (170+ MLS games). The Rowdies toured England in the preseason, scoring some impressive results (a draw with Stoke City; a win over Notts County). After an offseason that was, for once, not quite tumultuous, it may be Tampa's time to shine in 2016.
Key Players: Georgi Hristov, FW; Tom Heinemann, FW; Freddy Adu, MF
One to Watch: Darwin Espinal, FW. Only 21, Espinal is already having an impact on Honduran youth national teams. He's got several good forwards to compete with on this roster, but he could well become one of the best.
Predicted Finish: 2nd. This could be the year it all comes together for the Rowdies.
Predicted Spring Standings:
Place Club
#1 New York Cosmos
#2 Tampa Bay Rowdies
#3 Minnesota United FC
#4 Carolina RailHawks
#5 Rayo OKC
#6 FC Edmonton
#7 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
#8 Indy Eleven
#9 Jacksonville Armada FC
#10 Ottawa Fury FC
#11 Miami FC
Opening Weekend Schedule:
Saturday, April 2
Time (ET) Home Away TV
3:00 CAR MNU
7:00 FTL MIA
7:30 TBR IND
8:00 OKC FCE
Sunday, April 3
Time (ET) Home Away TV
6:00 NYC OTT
To follow all the excitement and keep up with the latest news this season, make sure to visit and subscribe to /NASLSoccer - the home of the NASL on reddit.
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Live Best goals of 2012/13 Champions League. 02:49 09/06/2020 Live Great goals from 2008/09. 02:42 UEFA Champions League in numbers Avg. goals per game 3.19. Total goals Champions League 2011/2012 page help: Odds Portal lists all upcoming Champions League 2011/2012 soccer matches played in Europe. "B's" column indicates number of bookmakers offering Champions League 2011/2012 betting odds on a specific soccer match. The Champions League is one of the main markets to bet on and so betting on Champions League markets is clear and easy, with almost all betting sites running odds on the competition. 110% up to INR 10,100 It was extremely hard to get any Champions League predictions correct back then as teams with long Champions League betting odds managed to lift the trophy on a few occasions. The tournament then changed completely. It was renamed the UEFA Champions League in the 1992-93 season and expanded with top-ranked countries given up to four places to Football Bets: Tips and The Best Betting Odds. Smarter sports bets. International football news with free bets and sportsbook reviews. About Us; Champions League. September 18, 2012 larry News. The Champions League proper is upon us again and all British sides will be hoping to get off to a good start. Manchester City have the biggest challenge

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