Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind | Soccer By Ives

By FRANCO PANIZO

Pachucas season may not have gone as well as expected, but forJose Torres, Herculez Gomez and Marco Vidal,that doesnt matter anymore as the club reached the Apertura playoffs.

Facing a must-win situation, Pachuca reached the Apertura Liguilla with a 2-1 road victory over Necaxa in the clubs season finale. Torres started and went the distance in the match while Vidal came off the bench to help preserve the lead with a 35-minute performance. Gomez did not play.

Another trio of Americans also enjoyed success this week in the form of goals. Stuart Holden (who also added an assist) netted his first Premier League goal, the winner in Bolton Wanderers 3-2 victory over Wolves. Michael Bradley scored the second in Borrussia Moenchengladbachs 4-0 rout of FC Cologne. Benny Feilhaber hit a game-winning penalty kick in stoppage time in AGF Aarhus 1-0 win against Viborg.

Here is how the Americans Abroad did this weekend:

England

PREMIERSHIP

Tim Howardstarted, played 90 minutes and and made three saves in Evertons 2-1 loss vs. Arsenal on Sunday.Clint Dempseystarted and played 90 minutes in Fulhams 0-0 draw vs. Newcastle United on Saturday.Eddie Johnsoncame off the bench and played 1 minute for Fulham.Brad Friedelstarted, played 90 minutes and made two saves in Aston Villas 2-2 draw vs. Manchester United on Saturday.Brad Guzandressed but did not play for Aston Villa.Eric Lichajcame off the bench and played 2 minutes for Aston Villa.Marcus Hahnemannstarted, played 90 minutes and made three saves in Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 loss vs. Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.Jonathan Spectordressed but did not play in West Ham Uniteds 0-0 draw vs. Blackpool on Saturday.Stuart Holdenstarted, played 90 minutes, had an ASSIST and scored a GOALin Bolton Wanderers 3-2 win vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

http://video.rutube.ru/ff2adf77a2f814d61974bda393491053

CHAMPIONSHIP

Conor Doylecame off the bench and played 5 minutes in Derby Countys 2-0 loss vs. Leicester City on Saturday.Zak Whitbreaddid not dress in Norwich Citys 3-3 draw vs. Reading on Saturday. He is recovering from a calf injury.

LEAGUE ONE

Frank Simekstarted and played 90 minutes in Carlisle Uniteds 3-2 win vs. Southampton on Saturday.Mike Grellastarted and played 90 minutes for Carlisle United.Anton Peterlindid not dress in Plymouth Argyles 1-0 loss vs. Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.Jemal Johnsondressed but did not play in Milton Keynes Dons 2-0 win vs. Brentford on Saturday.

Scotland

Maurice Edudid not dress in Rangers 2-0 win vs. Aberdeen on Saturday. He is recovering from a knee injury.Dominic Cervidid not dress in Celtics 1-0 win vs. St Mirren on Sunday.

Spain

Jozy Altidoredressed but did not play inVillarreals 3-1 loss vs. Barcelona on Saturday.

Italy

Oguchi Onyewudid not dress in AC Milans 1-0 win vs. Inter Milan on Sunday.

Germany

BUNDESLIGA

Steve Cherundolostarted, played 68 minutes and received two yellow cards in Hannover 96s 1-0 win vs. Mainz on Saturday.DaMarcus Beasleydressed but did not play for Hannover 96.Michael Bradleystarted, played 90 minutes and scored a GOALin Borussia Moenchengladbachs 4-0 win vs. FC Cologne on Saturday.

http://video.rutube.ru/01cc3b7bee492f4b8592c3529c80e997

Jermaine Jonesstarted and played 63 minutes in Schalke 04s 2-2 draw vs. VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.Ricardo Clarkdressed but did not play in Eintracht Frankfurts 0-0 draw vs. Werder Bremen on Saturday.Daniel Williamsdressed but did not play in SC Freiburgs 1-0 win vs. TSG Hoffenheim on Sunday.

BUNDESLIGA 2

Kenny Cooperdid not dress in TSV 1860 Munichs 0-0 draw vs. Energie Cottbus on Sunday. He is recovering from an ankle injury.David Yeldellstarted, played 90 minutes and made five saves in MSV Duisburgs 2-2 draw vs. Alemania Aachen on Sunday.Luis Roblesstarted, played 90 minutes and made four saves in Karlsruhes 1-1 draw vs. FC Erzgebirge Aue on Friday.Amaechi Igwedid not dress in FC Ingolstadt 04s 2-1 loss vs. SC Paderborn 07 on Sunday. He is recovering from a knee injury.

France

LIGUE 1

Carlos Bocanegraand St Etiennes match vs. Valenciennes on Saturday was postponed.Charlie Daviesdid not dress in Sochauxs 1-1 draw vs. Brest on Saturday.

LIGUE 2

Quentin Westbergdressed but did not play in Evian Thonon Gaillards 3-1 win vs. Le Mans on Friday.

Greece

Freddy Aduand Aris Salonika play Iraklis on Monday.

Belgium

Sacha Kljestancame off the bench, played 1 minute and received a yellow card in RSC Anderlechts 2-1 win vs. Gent on Sunday.

Denmark

SUPERLIGA

Michael Parkhurststarted and played 90 minutes in FC Nordsjaellands 2-1 win vs. Lyngby on Sunday.Marcus Tracydid not dress in Aalborg BKs 2-2 draw vs. Midtjylland on Saturday. He is recovering from a knee injury.Chris Rolfedid not dress for Aalborg BK. He is recovering from a hamstring injury.

VIASAT DIVISION

Benny Feilhaberstarted, played 90 minutes and scored a penalty kickGOALin AGF Aarhuss 1-0 win vs. Viborg on Sunday. You can see the goal here.

Norway

Steve Clarkdressed but did not play Honefoss BKs 2-1 extra time win vs. Ranheim in the promotion/relegation playoff on Sunday.

Mexico

Jose Torresstarted and played 90 minutes in Pachucas 2-1 win vs. Necaxa on Friday.Herculez Gomezdressed but did not play for Pachuca.Marco Vidalcame off the bench, played 35 minutes and received a yellow card for Pachuca.Edgar Castillodressed but did not play in San Luis 1-0 loss vs. Cruz Azul on Saturday.Sammy Ochoacame off the bench and played 7 minutesin Estudiantes Tecos U.A. de G.s 1-0 loss vs. Santos on Saturday.Sonny Guadarramastarted and played 72 minutes in Atlantes 1-1 draw vs. Toluca on Sunday.

How do you see Torres, Vidal, Gomez and Pachuca faring in the LIguilla? How much confidence do you think Holden is playing with right now? Do you think Bradley should get a new goal celebration? Impressed by Feilhabers clutch goal?

Share your thoughts below.

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Western Conference Final: Galaxy vs. FC Dallas: Match Night Commentary | Soccer By Ives

BY ADAM SERRANO

Theres only one ticket left to be punched for Toronto and MLS Cup.

The Los Angeles Galaxy take on FC Dallas in the Western Conference Final with the right to play the Colorado Rapids on the line. The Galaxy are looking to make it to back to the Cup Final for the second year in a row, but once more a team from the Lone Star State stands in their way. FC Dallas is seeking their first berth in the Final and led by their MVP candidate, David Ferreira, FCD is alegitimatecontender to knock off LA.

I will be providing commentary throughout the match, live from Home Depot Center so please feel free to follow along here. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):

FINAL Total team effort by Dallas tonight. They were buzzing around the field and deserved the result. What a performance by FCD to earn the Western Conference Trophy. For those followingalong at home. Hyndman has his Butter Leather jacket back on. Credit to the players like McCarthy, Ferreira, who all did the extra mile to give Dallas a victory. Thats all from me tonight. Thank you for following along with LA based coverage this year. This is Adam Serrano.

More on this match later. The final is FC Dallas 3 LA Galaxy 0

FINAL – THATS IT! FC DALLAS 3 LOS ANGELES GALAXY 0. FC Dallas is going to MLS Cup to face the Colorado Rapids!

93rd Minute Hartman with a great save on a Beckham free kick. Remember when Ricketts won GK of the Year? Yeah, I dont either

90th Minute Silence is deafing here, only the Angel City Brigade is keeping up the noise level. LA seems content to just play out the clock. Two minutes of stoppage.

88th Minute McCarthy comes out for Alexander. In a way he was my MVP of the night a dominant performance that I can best describe as buzzing, who was your MVP of the night?

86th Minute Lost in the malaise of the defeat was Eddie Lewis being pulled for Kirovski. The end of a great career, but not enough in the tank tonight. What was your favorite Lewis memory?

85th Minute Yellow cards beginning to fly from the Galaxy. Hyndmantryingto get off as many players as possible now. Arena wants to make sure that they chip FC Dallas as much as possible.

76th Minute – The Galaxy have their axes out now and are looking to hack out Dallas in the worse way possible. Expect a Red card to come soon.

73rd Minute GOAL DALLAS!!!! Good Night Los Angeles. 3-0 with Marvin Chavez with the goal, but Harris was offside. What was a great season for Los Angeles is about to end in flames.

72nd Minute Buddle on the sidelines receiving treatment and LA continuing to fail with the final touch.

69TH Minute – la earns a corner. Buddlegetspushed to thegroundand is down. He seemed to have gotten hit on that play. No luck from Buddle today as his headers are just off.

66th Minute – Another move that comes a bit late. Birchall enters for Kovalenko. The Galaxy are hoping that he displays somestrengthgoing forward, but right now hes been outmanned by McCarthy, who is just ALL over the place.

64th Minute – LA beginningto run out of options. Beckhams crosses which were on target last week are just not there for the Galaxy right now.

61st Minute – LA starting to put some more pressure in the Dallas end. Jovan Kirovski on the bench warming up. Looks like hell be coming in soon. Chavez on the break, but MISSES Harris. LA dodges a bullet.

58th Minute – LA fans attempting to will the Galaxy back into the match. BTW Magee was removed for Cazumba. About 5 minutes too late for Bruce Arena.

56th Minute – Shea with the ball played wide by Ihemelu. Shea sends in a GREAT pass to John that skirts past the LA defense for John to easily put in the back of the net. Dallas up 2-0! On the other end Donovan nearly cuts the lead in LA. LA needs a goal in the next few minutes.

55th Minute GOAL!!! GEORGE JOHN!!!!!!

52th Minute WOW! What was Magee doing.Was Benitez offside there? Because that was just a baffling decision.

50th Minute – Hartman and Magee collide as the Galaxy subs get up along the sideline. Birchall, Stephens and Kirovski appearing to work the hardest.

49th Minute -LA earn a corner, but Dallas takes it away with a foul. Harris NEARLY gets behind the defense, but no luck. This one is getting tense.

46th Minute – Franklin goes down after hitting heads with Ferreira. Both men shake off the cobwebs and play on.

46th Minute – No Birchall at the half as both teams stay the same. Five minutes to save the World by JT playing on the loudspeakers as we kick off. More like 45 minutes to save the Galaxys season. Were off.

HALFTIME – Looking at LAs bench. Who do you bring in for a sub? Birchall, Stephens and Kirovski are the only options off the bench. Last year, the Galaxy were brought down for not having a second scoring option and this year

45th Minute Hartman wraps up a chance by Lewis. Hes incredibly motivated tonight and the whistle blows. FC Dallas up 1-0 at the half.

45th Minute LA tries to strike back on the counter, but chooses to settle. Not the best service into the box from the Galaxy so far. One minute of stoppage.

44th Minute – Dallas earns a corner. Ferreira will stroll to the corner flag.

39th Minute Let me hear from you. Should Marrufo be a bit more generous with the cards in this match or is he calling a good game by letting them play?

39th Minute Could have easily been a second yellow for Kovalenko after bringing down Ferreira. There will be a red tonight.

37th Minute LA is starting to press just a bit. Theyre looking for that goal before the half, but FCDs defense is putting in a great display. Rough stuff as Marrufo allows Donovan to be brought down. This is playoff soccer folks.

32nd Minute YELLOW CARD – Kovalenko brings down Chavez and picks up a yellow card. That will severely limit his physical game. Or not knowing Dema.

31th Minute JUST WIDE!! Donovan beats Hartman but he gets a finger tip on it. LA corner

28th Minute Harris plays the ball to Chavez who hits Ferreira with a beautiful pass. The Colombian confidently puts the ball in the back of the net and gives Dallas a 1-0 lead. Strap your seatbelts in folks its about to get real.

26th Minute – GOAL!!! DAVID FERREIRA!!!!

25th Minute JUST OVER THE BAR! Juninho fires a shot that just misses the top of Hartmans net. LA wants that first goal and they want it bad.

24th Minute SAVE!!! Hartman comes up big again after Beckhams free kick bounces into the box. What a save. LA loses possession and Hernandez will take the goal kick for Hartman.

21st Minute SAVE!!! Hartman with a cracker of a save on a Juninho LASER. LA with the corner kick, but Dallas clears and gains possession.

20th Minute Both clubs seemingly feeling each other out right now. LA with the lionshare of possession, but not much to show for it.

17th Minute Juninho brings down Dax with a little bit of the rough stuff to give FCD a free kick at the edge. Little in the ways of attack from Dallas so far, but their counter is too dangerous for LA to neglect

14th Minute – LA Reject being sung to Hartman. Thats pretty surprising. Perhaps theyre singing it to Ugo.

12th Minute -Ihemelu THROWS Beckham to the turf in the box, but no call. High paced and highly physical right now expect some cards in this match.

10th Minute – Wow. Incredible sequence with both teams playing back and forth missing some clear chances. A Press box colleague just screamed out so its gonna be that kind of game. LA earns a throw in after Donovan gets into with Jackson. A lot of fire right now.

8th minute SAVE!!!!! MAGEE with a chance that Hartman saves. Jackson with a foul on Beckham for a free kick. LA knocking on the door.

5th Minute – A bit surprising that Hyndman left the butter leather jacket at home tonight. For some that has to be a bigger surprise than having Cunningham on the bench. This must be the lucky jacket that we heard of last week. What do you think?

3rd Minute Inswinger is cleared by Dallas and FCD will go on the attack. Something that I do not expect to say very often tonight with this line-up.

2nd Minute – LA earns the corner, Beckham to take the chance.

1st Minute – And.Here.We.Go! Penultimate MLS match of the season. LA vs. FCD.

PREGAME: The key players tonight for me are as follows: For FCD: Kevin Hartman, David F erreira and Atiba Harris and for LA: Donovan Ricketts, Dema Kovalenko and Landon Donovan. These three will have a major impact on this match.

PREGAME: Miss LA Galaxy is leading the team s out the tunnel with the Western Conference Trophy in tow.

PREGAME: Apologies for the delay in the Commentary. HDC internet is spotty and lets hope that it doesnt give too much trouble tonight.

PREGAME: If youre following along tonight, let me hear from you. Where are you coming from and who are you supporting.

PREGAME: Good atmosphere so far. Expect a capacity crowd at the HDC.

PREGAME: Big surprise is that Jeff Cunningham is on the bench for FCD. Looks like Dallas will plan to pack the back and hit LA on the counter.

PREGAME: Here are the line ups:

LOS ANGELES GALAXY

MageeBuddle

Donovan-JuninhoBeckham

-Kovalenko

Lewis-DeLaGarzaGonzalezFranklin

-Ricketts

FC DALLAS

Harris-

Shea-Ferreira-Chavez

-McCartyHernandez-

Benitez-Ihemelu-John-Jackson

-Hartman-

PREGAME

FC Dallas clinches spot in MLS Cup Final with a convincing 3-0 victory over Galaxy | Soccer By Ives

Photo by David Bernal/ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

In the end, it wasnt that close at all.

A match that was billed as the true final by many, ended with more of a whimper than a bang.

FC Dallas earned its first trip to MLS Cup with a convincing 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy. The victory clinched the first MLS Cup Final appearance for the FC Dallas franchise and gave MLS its second straight final without the Supporters Shield winner.

FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman stole the show against his old club with six saves on the night to propel Dallas into the Final. After contemplating retirement when he was cut by the Kansas City Wizards before the start of the season, to sit one win away from MLS Cup means the world to Hartman.

We showed a great amount of fortitude against a pretty good team to get a pretty convincing win, said Hartman. When youre contemplating retirement and then youre able to get into the MLS Cup Final, its pretty rewarding.

It was a physical game throughout the first half with referee Jair Marrufo allowing much of the contact between the two teams to slide. In the early part of the match, the Galaxy dominated possession and began to pressure Hartman, who routinelypreservedthe stalemate. FCD used their explosive counter attack to take the lead in the 26th minute when Marvin Chavez found David Ferriera, who froze the Galaxy defense and beat Donovan Ricketts with a right-footed strike.

Dallas doubled their lead in the 54th minute of play. Brek Shea streaked down the left side and played in a ball that trickled past the Galaxy defense to George John, who slammed it in for a 2-0 lead. FC Dallas would add a third in the 73rd minute when a Marvin Chavez goal firmly placed FCD into the MLS Cup Final.

We controlled the game a bit more after that first goal and became more confident, said FC Dallas Captain Daniel Hernandez. When that second goal fell for us, I felt that we dominated the whole second half. I have a great deal of respect for LA because they had a great year, but after that first goal, we were able to dominate them.

The Galaxy dominated the chances early as they sought to put FC Dallas on their heels early. Time and time again however, former Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman proved too difficult to beat. His best save came in the 21st minute off a save from Galaxy midfielder Juninho, who broke free of the defense and fired a rocket that Hartman stopped.Throughout the match, Los Angeles struggled time and time again to find its greatest weapon, MLS MVP candidate Edson Buddle. Buddle found contact with every touch of the ball as the FCD defense closed in on Buddle with every opportunity.

In addition to Buddles inability to perform, David Beckham, who was soinfluentialagainst the Sounders struggled to make an impact on the night. Beckhams struggled to connect as FC Dallas defense was able to outwork the Galaxy to eachopportunity and clear any chances. Following the match, the Galaxy announced that Beckham was nearly pulled from the match at the half with anabductorstrain. With screams of joy easily heard from FC Dallas celebrating next door, Bruce Arena spoke of a season that ended due to missed opportunities.

We have no excuses, Arena said. We were outplayed. but maybe a couple of calls didnt go our way, but thats part of it. We were beaten on most matchups on the field, and we were out-coached. Dallas deserved the victory.

FC Dallas now sets their sights on MLS Cup Final against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday November 21st at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada. Dallas enters the final having knocked off the defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake in the first round and then the 2010 Supporters Shield winners in the Conference Final.

For a club that was not tabbed by many to be a legitimate threat for MLS Cup, confidence is brimming.

Were a bunch of hardworking guys, Schellas brought in the right guys and we play to our system. I dont think were under dogs and we showed that tonight, said McCarthy. We are going to be ready because we know that its going to be a dogfight up in Toronto.

Maryland tops UNC to take ACC title | Soccer By Ives

By JOHN BOSCHINI

No. 3 Maryland again showed why they are a strong favorite to hoist the College Cup as the Terrapins won their fourth ACC championship with a 1-0 victory over No. 4 North Carolina, who went down to 10 men after Michael Farfan was shown a straight red card in the first half.

The Terrapins benefited from two closedecisionsfrom referee Mike Landis in the first half. In the 34th minute, Farfan left his feet andcollidedwith John Stertzer, who was a gametime decision with an ankle injury. Landis showed Farfan UNCs first straight red card of the season and the Tar Heels were without their best player player.

UNC head coach Elmar Bolowich wouldnt comment on the decision after the game, saying he didnt seek an explanation from Landis.

Im not going to comment on the referees, Bolowich said.

Maryland had taken the lead 20 minutes earlier when Enzo Martinez was whistled for a handball inside the box. Junior Matt Kassel stepped up and sent Scott Goodwin the wrong way and Maryland had an early lead.

It wasnt intentional at all, said Martinez. My hand was just beside me, I cant chop my hand off, the ball just hit me there. Id understand if I raised my hand or something but the ref saw what he saw.

Surprisingly, the Tar Heels were a vastlyimprovedside after losing arguable their best player.

[The red card] had sort of a twisted effect on the game, said Cirovski. On the one hand, you thought wed have the ball a little more and wed have some chances. But I think it inspired them to a much higher level.

In the second half, it was all UNC as Maryland, who had zero shots after the intermission, was content to sit behind the ball and absorb pressure. North Carolina should have had an equalizer when Martin Murphy rounded Zac MacMath but Alex Lee cleared the shot off the line.

I probably got a little undisciplined by leaving my feet but thankfully I gave enough time for some guys to get back on the line, MacMath said. We ended up having three or four guys back there and it just so happened Alex got his chest out there and cleared it.

MacMath, who was named the tournament MVP with a 0.33 goals against average and a penalty kick save in the tournament, bailed the Terrapins out on numerous occasions. Redshirt senior Jason Herrick said that Maryland wanted to push on and get an insurance goal but as North Carolina increased its pressure, defense became the Terrapins priority.

We really wanted to press them from early on, Herrick said. We had a bunch of chances but we couldnt manage to get the second goal but we held on.

Marylands winning streak, which dates back to Oct. 1, increases to 13 games and the Terrapins should enjoy a lofty seed.

This was one of our stated goals and now this is one of our completed goals, Cirovski said. We have one more stated goal to go and thats what were going to focus on.

ACC All-Tournament Team

Jason Herrick, MarylandMatt Kassel, MarylandZac MacMath, Maryland (MVP)Jalil Anibaba, North CarolinaMichael Farfan, North CarolinaEnzo Martinez, North CarolinaCasey Townsend, North CarolinaKirk Urso, North CarolinaCraig Sutherland, NC StateHunter Jumper, VirginiaAmit Aburmad, Boston College

European Weekend Rewind: Chelsea stunned, Milan tops Inter and more | Soccer By Ives

By IAN HOLLIDAY

Chelsea almost never loses at Stamford Bridge, so a 3-0 home defeat to a mid-table team is big news, particularly since the three goals scored by Sunderland Sunday were the first three the Blues had allowed at the Bridge all season. Chelsea remains the team to beat in the Premier League, but with only two points separating them from second-placed Arsenal, the Blues need to work that much harder to hold on to the title.

Chelseas loss was easily the weekends biggest surprise, but the weekends biggest match-up came in Italy, where the Milan derby pitted Zlatan Ibrahimovic against the club where he built his reputation. So when AC Milan was awarded a fifth-minute penalty, there was little doubt who would step up to take it. Ibrahimovic buried the spot kick, providing the difference in the 1-0 victory, as Inter failed to create quality chances, even after Milan went down a man in the 6oth minute.

In Spain, Barcelona created some separation at the top of La Liga with its 3-1 defeat of third-placed Villarreal on Saturday. But the Catalan club remain one point behind Real Madrid, which pulled out a 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

One of the weekends more entertaining matches came in Germany, where Kaiserslautern rallied from 3-0 down in the 50th minute to earn a 3-3 draw with VfB Stuttgart. Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund extended its Bundesliga lead to seven points, and Brest continued to top the Ligue 1 standings despite its 1-1 draw with Sochaux in France.

Here is a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europes top leagues:

ENGLAND

Chelseas surprise loss opens up the race at the top of the Premier League. With their 2-1 win over Everton, Arsenal take sole possession of second place, just two points off the pace with 26 points. Behind them is Manchester United, which needed goals from Federico Macheda and Nemanja Vidic in the last nine minutes of the match just to earn a draw at Aston Villa. Still, the result was a welcome change for the Red Devils, who have grown accustomed to surrendering, not scoring, in the last 15 minutes of matches this season. Those three clubs are clearly the class of the league at the moment, with everyone else clumping together behind them. Leading the pack is Manchester City, which limped to its second consecutive 0-0 home draw on Saturday against Birmingham City.

Aston Villa 2, Manchester United 2

Manchester City 0, Birmingham City 0

Newcastle United 0, Fulham 0

Tottenham 4, Blackburn 2

West Ham United 0, Blackpool 0

Wolverhampton 2, Bolton 3

Wigan Athletic 1, West Bromwich Albion 0

Stoke City 2, Liverpool 0

Everton 1, Arsenal 2

Chelsea 0, Sunderland 3

SPAIN

If there was any doubt that the La Liga title race would be contested between Barcelona and Real Madrid, it was put to rest this weekend when Barca defeated its closest rival Villareal handily 3-1. A second-half brace from Lionel Messi proved to be the difference in a match that the visitors never looked like winning. The result puts Barca one point behind Real Madrid, which needed an 82nd-minute goal from Gonzalo Higuain to defeat Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

Athletic Bilbao 1, Almeria 0

Atletico Madrid 3, Osasuna 0

Barcelona 3, Villarreal 1

Malaga 1, Levante 0

Mallorca 0, Deportivo la Coruna 0

Racing Santander 0, Espanyol 0

Real Zaragoza 1, Sevilla 2

Hercules 2, Real Sociedad 1

Sporting Gijon 0, Real Madrid 1

Valencia 2, Getafe 0

ITALY

The Milan derby got the headlines, but the more important result may have been Lazios 2-0 defeat of Napoli. With the victory, the club ended its 2-match losing streak and kept pace with AC Milan at the top of the table. Lazio now trails the Rossoneri by just one point at the top of the Serie A table, and lead third-placed Napoli by four. Lazio wasnt the only Roman club to play a big match this weekend, as AS Roma earned a 1-1 draw at Juventus. After a dismal start to the season, Roma has quietly climbed to sixth place, just one point behind Juve for Italys final Champions League spot.

Fiorentina 1, Cesena 0

Juventus 1, AS Roma 1

Lazio 2, Napoli 0

Bari 0, Parma 1

Udinese 4, Lecce 0

Sampdoria 0, Chievo 0

Palermo 3, Catania 1

Cagliari 0, Genoa 1

Inter Milan 0, AC Milan 1

GERMANY

All of a sudden, Borussia Dortmund has a seven point lead in the Bundesliga. Since defeating then-unbeaten Mainz on Halloween, Dortmund has won two in a row, while Mainz has been going in the opposite direction, dropping two in a row. Now, Dortmund is all alone at the top with 31 points, while Mainz is still stuck on 24, and has fallen to third place behind Bayer Leverkusen. Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Michael Bradleys Borussia Moenchengladbach got a much-needed victory on Saturday, defeating FC Cologne 4-0 to climb within one point of safety. Bradley got the second goal in the rout.

Borussia Dortmund 2, Hamburg 0

Werder Bremen 0, Eintracht Frankfurt 0

Kaiserslautern 3, VfB Stuttgart 3

FC Cologne 0, Borussia Moenchengladbach 4

VfL Wolfsburg 2, Schalke 04 2

St. Pauli 0, Bayer Leverkusen 1

Mainz 05 0, Hannover 96 1

Hoffenheim 0, SC Freiburg 1

Bayern Munich 3, Nurnberg 0

FRANCE

The most impressive result of the weekend was certainly Lilles 5-2 defeat of Caen, which pulled the club within a point of Brest for the Ligue 1 lead. Lille showed composure after surrendering a late goal that reduced its lead to 3-2, slotting home two stoppage-time goals to pad their lead. Meanwhile, seven-time champions Lyon is slowly climbing up the table. After a slow start, the club has 19 points through 13 matches, good for eighth place in the league on goal differential, but still three points off the pace in the wide open French table.

Monaco 0, Arles 0

Montpellier 1, Toulouse 0

Marseille 1, Lens 1

Brest 1, Sochaux 1

Valenciennes v. St. Etienne (postponed)

Bordeaux 2, AS Nancy Lorraine 1

Caen 2, Lille 5

AJ Auxerre 2, Stade Rennes 1

Lorient 1, Paris St. Germain 1

Lyon 1, Nice 0

What did you think of this weeks matches? Surprised by Chelseas loss? Impressed by Barca, Real Madrid, or AC Milan? Think anyone can catch Dortmund?

Share your thoughts below.

MLS Cup Final is set: Who’s your pick? | Soccer By Ives

The MLS Cup Final few people outside of Colorado and the Dallas/Ft. Worth area could have seen coming has arrived, and while we can spend time dwelling on the fact that some teams expected to be there arent, its time to focus on the two teams who did what they needed to do to reach the final.

FC Dallas and Colorado met twice this season, tying both matches. Their most recent meeting, on Oct. 9th, finished a 2-2 tie at Pizza Hut Park. Jeff Larentowicz scored both for Colorado while Milton Rodriguez and David Ferreira netted for Dallas.

Here is our question for you. Who do you see winning Sundays MLS Cup Final? Cast your vote here:

poll by twiigs.com

Who is my pick? Ill save that for later in the week. For now, tell us who you picked and why. Think FC Dallas speedy attack will be too much for the Rapids? See Omar Cummings going wild on the Dallas back-line?

Share your thoughts below.

College conference tournament roundup | Soccer By Ives

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Champions were crowned all around the country as conference tournaments drew to a close on Sunday.For some, a conference victory was their only chance to punch a ticket to the Big Dance while others simply secured a higher seed in tonights NCAA selection.

In the Big 10, Michigan claimed its first-ever conference title with a 4-1 victory over hosts Penn State. Freshman Soony Saad became the nations leading scorer with his 18th goal of the season just four minutes into the match. Justin Meram followed with a brace of his own before Hamoody Saad added a second-half penalty kick. Drew Cost netted a goal for the Nittany Lions before the half but it was little more than a consolation. Unranked in the most recent top 25, Michigan moves off the bubble and into the NCAA tournament while Penn State, who recieved votes but remained unranked, will have to wait for the committees decision.

In the Big East, Louisville remained undefeated with a penalty kick shootout victory over Providence. It remained scoreless until the 83rd minute when Colin Rolfes bullet from 20 yards out seemingly secured the title for Louisville. But the Friars had other plans. In the 88th minute, Matt Marcin converted a penalty kick and the game went to overtime. Neither team could manage a golden goal and Louisville goalkeeper produced two fine saves in the shootout to give Louisville its first-ever Big East tournament title.

Akron ended its season on a high note by capturing the Zips fourth-consecutive MAC title with a 4-0 rout of Western Michigan. All four goals came in the second half. Darlington Nagbe opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a shot into the upper right hand corner from just inside the 18-yard box. Scott Caldwell doubled Akrons lead by slotting it into the right-hand side of the goal after receiving a cross from Ben Speas. Darren Mattocks continued to show why hes one of the best freshman in the country with his 14th and 15th goals of the season in the 55th and 69th minute respectively.

Butler needed penalty kicks but the Bulldogs won the Horizon League title and kept their undefeated season intact with a shootout victory over Green Bay. Austin Oldham opened the scoring for the Bulldogs in the 36th minute with a shot from 15 yards out. Green Bay netted an equalizer in dramatic fashion when David Bernhardsson scored in the 89th minute. After a scoreless overtime period, Butler goalkeeper Fabian Knoppler saved three consecutive penalty kicks to give Butler the victory.

Here is the full list of conference champions. All 22 schools secured automatic berths to the NCAA tournament

America East: UMBCAtlantic Coast: MarylandAtlantic Sun: ETSUBig East: LouisvilleBig South: Coastal CarolinaBig 10: MichiganBig West: UC-Santa BarbaraColonial Athletic: William MaryConference USA: South CarolinaHorizon League: ButlerIvy League: Pinceton*Metro Atlantic: St. PetersMid-American: AkronMissouri Valley: BradleyMountain Pacific: Sacramento StateNortheast: MonmouthPac-10: California*Patriot: BucknellSouthern: UNC-GreensboroSummit: OaklandWest Coast: Santa Clara*

*Conference champion was chosen by conference record instead of conference tournament

Mid-Day Ticker: Edu out for ‘a few games’, Rooney nears return and more | Soccer By Ives

By AVI CREDITOR

United States midfielder Maurice Edu escaped serious damage to his knee, but hell still be spending a couple of weeks on the sideline, according to his teams manager.

Walter Smith said on Rangers team Web site that he will hold Edu out for a few games to let his left knee fully heal before he returns to action. An MRI revealed no major damage, but Smith said that his starting midfielder is still experiencing some soreness and will be held out until hes completely fit. Edu, who suffered the injury in a surprise loss to Hibernian last week, was forced to miss seven months of action after undergoing surgery on that same knee last season.

Should Rangers timeline for Edu hold, he will miss his teams key UEFA Champions League match against Manchester United on Nov. 24.

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:

ROONEY NEARS RETURN

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney could return to action as soon as this weekend after completing his rehabilitation and conditioning stint in Portland, Ore., and returning to England.

Rooney has missed Uniteds last five matches and hasnt played since a 20-minute appearance as a substitute against West Brom on Oct. 16.

Manchester United hosts Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

D.C. TERMINATES ALLSOPPS CONTRACT

Danny Allsopps tenure with D.C. United is over after the two parted ways on Monday. Allsopp scored five goals in his lone Major League Soccer season with United, and he tallied a hat trick in the teams victory over Portsmouth in a friendly over the summer.

Allsopp and midfielder Cristian Castillo were both brought in during the preseason to bolster D.C.s attack. Castillo was cut during the season.

PACHUCA DRAWS MONTERREY

Pachuca and Americans Jose Francisco Torres, Herculez Gomez and Marco Vidal begin their quest to capture the Mexican Apertura Liguilla on Thursday with the first leg of their two-legged tie with second-seeded Monterrey.

Should Los Tuzos get by Humberto Suazos Monterrey, theyd likely have a semifinal date with top-seeded Cruz Azul, which faces Pumas in the quarterfinals.

Happy with how Rangers is dealing with Edus injury? Can you see Rooney returning to form now that hes fit? Disappointed with how Allsopps season turned out for D.C.? Do you think Pachuca can get by Monterrey in the Liguilla quarterfinals?

Share your thoughts below.

SBI’s 2010 MLS Best XI | Soccer By Ives

Selecting the eleven best players in Major League Soccer this season was arguably tougher than in any season before it. Along with the fact that the league has more teams than ever, teams have done much better at bringing in true impact players.

Were not just talking about Designated Players, but players who can come to MLS as relative unknowns and flourish. Players like David Ferreira, Sebastien LeToux and Jamison Olave.

As a matter of fact, the true measure of the improved quality of MLS talent can be found not just in the SBI MLST Best XI first team, but in the second and third teams, where the talent is just as strong.

MLS will unveil its selections for MLS Best XI on Tuesday. SBI will unveil its selections, as voted on by me, Avi Creditor, Adam Serrano, Travis Clark, Michael Nastri and Jose Romero, today.

Here is SBIs MLS Best XI:

SBI MLS BEST XI

GK- Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake

D- Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake

D- Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles Galaxy

D- Heath Pearce, FC Dallas

M- David Ferreira, FC Dallas

M- Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy

M- Sebastien LeToux, Philadelphia Union

M- Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake

M- Dwayne DeRosario, Toronto FC

F- Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes

F- Edson Buddle, Los Angeles Galaxy

2nd TEAM

GK- Kevin Hartman, FC Dallas

D- Chad Marshall, Columbus Crew

D-Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake

D- Tim Ream, New York Red Bulls

M- Steve Zakuani, Seattle Sounders

M- Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Columbus Crew

M- Joel Lindpere, New York Red Bulls

M- Bobby Convey, San Jose Earthquakes

M-Pablo Mastroeni, Colorado Rapids

F- Freddy Montero, Seattle Sounders

F- Omar Cummings, Colorado Rapids

3rd TEAM

GK- Donovan Ricketts, Los Angeles Galaxy

D- Drew Moor, Colorado Rapids

D-Jeff Parke, Seattle Sounders

D-Brandon McDonald, San Jose Earthquakes

M- Daniel Hernandez, FC Dallas

M- Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo

M- Jeff Larentowicz, Colorado Rapids

M- Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders

M-Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake

F-Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake

F- Juan Pablo Angel, New York Red Bulls

What did you think of the selections? Who didnt make the first team that you felt deserved a place? Who is missing from our teams that you feel deserved a spot?

Share your thoughts below.

USA to face Chile at Home Depot Center on Jan. 22nd | Soccer By Ives

As the U.S. mens national team prepares for the final match of 2010 against South Africa on Wednesday, U.S. Soccer has announced the first match of 2011.

The United States will face Chile at Home Depot Center on Jan. 22nd.

The match will take place at the tail-end of the U.S. national teams upcoming training camp in January. MLS-based players and Scandinavian League-based players.

Chile was one of the most exciting teams at the 2010 World Cup, but most of the teams stars are likely to be playing in Europe at the time.

What do you think of the match-up? Which players are you hoping to see face Chile?

Share your thoughts below.