There’s a lot of ground to cover this week, so let’s get right to it.
Sebastien Le Toux talks with MLS Reserves and touches on a number of topics including his departure from Philly, the fact he’s since hired an agent, his reception in Vancouver, and his feelings on Philly and Union fans.
Speaking of the Union, we’re less than a week away from the local XI opening its third season on the road in Portland. Here’s a quick primer on the Timbers, who begin their second season in MLS.
The Union will bring its third ever homegrown player with them to Portland. Cristhian Hernandez, who scored the game-winner in a 1-0 win over Everton back in July, has signed with the club. Hernandez, who attended St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey, is a Mexican citizen, and thus will occupy an international roster spot. The 18-year old Hernandez joins Jimmy McLaughlin and Zach Pfeffer as homegrown players on the Union roster.
Here’s a really cool piece by the New York Times about chanting and singing at soccer matches in Europe.
The Champions League Round of 16 resumes with two matches this afternoon. Arsenal hosts A.C. Milan at The Emirates. The Gunners dropped the first leg at the San Siro 4-0. Zenit travels to Portugal to face Benfica. Zenit captured the first-leg with a 3-2 win in St. Petersburg. There are two games tomorrow. Apoel and Lyon (Lyon holds a 1-0 lead) and Barcelona, leading Leverkusen 3-1, return to the Camp Nou looking to close out the German club and book their ticket to the quarterfinals.
I may toss my hat in the ring for the vacant Chelsea job. Per The Guardian, the bookmakers have named Barca’s Pep Guardiola, Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez as the favorites to be the next person to be fired by Roman Abramovich. Neither Spurs boss Harry Redknapp nor Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers want the gig.
Bolton and US International midfielder Stu Holden, who has battled back from injury after injury, is rehabbing in Wilmington, Delaware. ESPN’s Leander Schaerlaeckens spent time with Disco Stu and finds him chomping at the bit to return. I think all fans of the USMNT are eager to see Holden return.
Former Union color analyst Kyle Martino has been tapped by NBC as its lead MLS analyst. He’ll join Arlo White as the lead MLS announcing duo. Martino will be stationed on the field, between the two benches, in much the same way Pierre McGuire is for the NHL on NBC.