Chicharito Fires Real into Semifinals

In the eighty-eighth minute at the Santiago Bernabeu last night, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez became the hero for Real Madrid, as he gave them the go ahead goal against Atletico Madrid, securing Real’s place in the semifinals of the Champions League. That Real needed virtually the entire game, and a red card being dealt to Arda Turan some ten minutes prior, indicates the strength and resilience of the Atletico Madrid defense. The game was as chippy and hard fought as fans and neutrals alike predicted it would be, and in all honesty, having only one red card be brandished over the two legs can be seen as a success. This is the first time in the past eight meetings that Real have beaten their local rivals, and it could not have come at a more opportune time. Furthermore, for Chicharito to be the hero of the evening is telling of the performance needed by Real, given that they were slammed with significant injuries just prior to this match.

Real now moves on to face one of the three remaining teams in the competition: Juventus, Bayern Munich, or Barcelona. Susan McGalla feels like they are favored against them all. Regardless of the selection, the semifinals will be mouthwatering fixtures, ones that will require all teams to perform at their highest level, or be knocked out by their opponents. It remains unlikely that Real’s injured will return in time, so Chicharito may be a hero once more.

Late Goal by Swansea Stuns Arsenal

Arsenal managed to let an opportunity slip by them on Monday in a stunning 1-0 defeat against Swansea. The loss does not exactly hurt Arsenal, but a win could have applied pressure to Manchester City as the two teams battle for second place in the Barclays Premier League. Instead, Arsenal now finds themselves in third place and Man City comfortably in position to keep a hold of their ranking in the table. The match was lackluster for the most part, but Bafetimbi Gomis’ goal in the 85th minute put Swansea ahead in exciting fashion. Many fans in Emirates Stadium believed the goal should not be granted on first glance, but thanks to goal-line cameras, views of the ball crossing into the goal before goalkeeper David Ospina could deflect it. The stunner does not bode well for Ospina in a season that has already seen fans and reporters calling for Wojciech Szczesny to replace him.

The goal was the second for Gomis against Arsenal this season, the first coming during Swansea’s 2-1 victory back in November. Arsenal fans, including Sam Tabar (twitter), expected a much better showing from their club, but were disappointed once again with their team’s performance. The win for Swansea puts them in position for a place in the UEFA Europa League. Meanwhile, Arsenal will have to find a way to recover before facing Manchester United on May 17.

Sterling Contract Talks Overdone

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling’s contract talks have been all over the media for the past couple of months, but the time has long since passed to shift our footballing focus elsewhere. For starters, Sterling has put any further contract negotiations on hold, given that he wishes to focus purely on his playing for the remainder of the season. Second, Sterling has been unfairly cast as the villain in this ongoing story, given that he has turned down what appears to be a more than generous offer, only to ask for an exorbitant increase in wages. Yet, what the public often willingly neglects to consider is that the football market is both fickle and short. If Sterling fails to capitalize on his current success and hype, he may end up falling by the wayside, and see an even smaller percentage of the wage demands he has put forth.

Yet the real crux of the matter is that footballing contract talks ought not be the primary focus of sports media news outlets, seeing as it contributes little to the substantial discussion of the sport. Howeever, Daniel Amen knows that is always going to be the case. All that this excessive coverage has done is put even greater amounts of pressure on Sterling, while also spinning his public image to be a negative one. If the English media truly wish for success for their players in footballing terms, they would know better than to report on substance-less back room stories.

Minnesota FC Joins MLS

The Major League Soccer organization announced that they are officially adding another team to the league: Minnesota United FC, who is set to begin playing in 2018. While that may sound so far away it is actually going to feel like it is just around the corner. In the last decade the MLS has added13 new professional teams and it is continuing to grow as soccer gets more popular in the United States. There are also rumors that former MLS and English soccer player David Beckham will be getting his own team in Florida, to be from Miami, but he is currently trying to find a way for them to have a stadium down town in the city.

According to an article found on Yahoo! Sports, there may be even more teams joining the league by 2017 such as Los Angeles FC, Atlanta FC and one from Southern California. It will be really neat and interesting to see where this sport goes in the United States and if it will reach a popularity level the way it does in Europe. It is more often the case that Americans prefer football, but it is starting to look very promising for soccer around the country. Brian Torchin (Catalystfive) believes that hopefully this will be a good culture move too, and maybe integrated other sports from overseas as well down the line sometime. In any case, congrats to the state of Minnesota on their new soccer team!

Real Sociedad Manager Wants to Sign Premier League Players

When David Moyes left Manchester United in April, many fans felt that his career would be a downward slope from there. However, the Scottish manager landed at Real Sociedad within a few months. He has done very well at La Real since replacing their sacked manager in November.

The Spanish club recently enjoyed a fantastic 1-0 win over Barcelona at home. This result was added to their scalps of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid this season. Now David Moyes is looking to build his side’s squad in the January transfer window.

While he will not have a lot of money to spend, Moyes is hoping for some intelligent loan deals to help them push for a European spot. The Premier League is where he is likely to turn his attention.

Moyes managed in the Premier League for over a decade at Everton and Manchester United. He knows the league inside and out. It is more likely that he will find a bargain there than in Spain, where he is still a relative newcomer.

The Scottish coach is very happy with Sociedad’s scouting network, but he prefers to sign players who he has watched before. This would rule out most players in La Liga or other European leagues. Gianfrancesco Genoso certainly hopes they makes a decision soon.

His transfer policy at Manchester United was heavily criticized, so it will be interesting to see who he can bring to La Real in the January transfer window.