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Friday Kickoff: Monterrey salvages late draw, Villa talks to Solskjaer and more

Suazo (Reuters Pictures)

Santos Laguna was on the verge of a momentum-seizing victory in the first leg of the Mexican clausura final before a familiar foe struck for some late heroics.

Humberto Suazo scored on a stoppage time penalty kick following a foul from Felipe Baloy to cancel out Oribe Peralta's second-half goal and salvage a 1-1 draw for Monterrey at Estadio Tecnologico Thursday night. American striker Herculez Gomez was on the bench for Santos but did not play.

Even with the draw, Santos Laguna maintain a slight advantage on away goals while heading back home for Sunday's second leg with a chance to seal some revenge for falling to Los Rayados in the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Highlights from the match and a few more stories to get your Friday going are after the jump:



Molde coach and former Manchester United standout Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has begun talks with Aston Villa to discuss the club's coaching vacancy, reportedly flying to Birmingham on Villa American owner Randy Lerner's private jet. 

Solskjaer currently coaches up-and-coming American winger Josh Gatt and guided Molde to the Norwegian championship last season and a place in this summer's upcoming UEFA Champions League.

Solskjaer's coaching career is still in its infancy, with last year's campaign at Molde being his first coaching job, though he did coach the Manchester United reserves after his playing career ended in 2007. Should he leave Molde, he would replace Alex McLeish, who was ousted by Aston Villa earlier this week.  


Liverpool's coaching search will not end with Swansea City boss Brendan Rodgers.

Rodgers, who has three years remaining on his contract with Swansea, turned down Liverpool's request to interview him, forcing the Reds to look elsewhere. Wigan's Roberto Martinez has reportedly accepted an interview request and is among the leading candidates.

"Swansea City can confirm that an approach from Liverpool FC to speak to manager Brendan Rodgers was officially received by club chairman Huw Jenkins this morning," the club said in a statement on Friday. The club is pleased to confirm that Brendan has declined the current opportunity to speak to the Anfield club about the vacant position. The Swansea manager is currently working hard to strengthen the squad in readiness for the new Barclays Premier League campaign."

Rodgers guided the Swans to an 11th-place finish in their first season after being promoted from the League Championship, and Rodgers has become a hot coaching commodity for those searching for new management.


Argentine clubs took bragging rights over Brazilian ones in the first legs of Thursday's Copa Libertadores quarterfinal series.

Boca Juniors topped Fluminense 1-0 and Velez Sarsfield defeated defending champion Santos by the same scoreline to keep the Brazilian opposition from finding any away goals as they head to their respective second legs.

Pablo Mouche scored seven minutes into the second half to propel Boca Juniors, which had a man advantage for the final 56 minutes after a red card to Carlinhos.

Velez Sarsfield managed to contain Santos' Neymar-led attack and defended well enough to let Mauro Obolo's first-half header stand up as the only strike. Boca Juniors and Fluminense play their second leg next Wednesday, while Santos will look to overturn their deficit to Velez Sarsfield next Thursday. 


This summer's Community Shield match in England will be taking place at an unusual location.

Villa Park will host the match between FA Cup winner Chelsea and league champion Manchester City on August 12. The match is usually played at Wembley Stadium, but with the Olympic soccer tournament final happening the day before at Wembley and the Olympics closing ceremony happening on the same day, the game needed to find another venue.


Who do you think will win the Mexican liguilla? Do you think Solskjaer would be a good fit for Villa? Think Rodgers made the right choice in turning down a Liverpool interview? Surprised by the Copa LIbertadores results?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Baloy did not even touched the ball. He did fouled Suazo. It was a penalty. In fact Baloy should had been given a second yellow.

    Peralta is a true warrior.

  2. The Norwegian league is ranked 26th in Europe. The EPL is ranked #1.

    “making a mistake if he leaves a Champions League side for VIlla,”

    It’s not like he would be leaving Bayern Munich or even Ajax. Molde is probably not going to last all that long in the Champions League.

    Villa are a crap team, should have been relegated and have a pretty shaky situation and if OGS took the job and flamed out, yeah it would be a mistake but on the other hand, if he got offered the job and thought the situation was half way decent, it would be pretty hard to turn it down.

    EPL manager jobs don’t come your way very often.

  3. Jamie and 2tone,

    I’m sure as US fans y’all are longing to see Gatt blazing down the wing terrorizing opposing defenses because US fans want their own attacking hero but his time as a fullback is a good thing for him.

    OGS is doing the right thing with Gatt.

    He is not a finished product nor is he a star.

    It is worth it to try and see if Gatt can become a good attacking fullback because if he could it would be an easier path to stardom. He is only 19 and more to the point he is not as educated in the basics of the game as a comparable European kid.

    This is a way to jump start the development of his versatility and tactical awareness at the same time. It can only make him a better all around player and increase his chances of making it as a pro in the long run.

    Molde is a selling club and are in the business of developing players like Gatt. It is quite a leap from the 26th ranked league to the EPL even if Molde will get to play a couple of games in the Champions League before they get knocked out.

    Gatt’s future may well be as an attacking winger but giving him a lot of shifts in defense at fullback allows him to see the field better and learn more about how defenders shut down wingers. What better way to learn to attack than by playing defense?

    Brek Shea, as one example, who got a lot better once he put in some time in defense, said as much. And I’m willing to bet both Hyndmann and OGS know a hell of a lot more about developing players than any of us.

  4. Except Gatt isn’t a right back by trade. He’s a winger and only played at right back at times last season due to injuries to other players. But Gatt and Lichaj on the right side together? That I like

  5. Agreed. Gatt is not a defender and the sooner everyone realizes that, the sooner we can move on to bigger issues, like global warming and world peace.

    And after the season I just had to endure under McLeish, I would take Solskjær in a heartbeat. There’s no such thing as a sure thing in football, but I really like the look of this move.

  6. It appeared that Humberto Suazo took a dive. Baloy may have barely touched his toe, but he shouldn’t have left his feet.

  7. If Ole takes the job; I bet that his first signing will be Gatt. VIlla need quality wingers, and Gatt will definitely fill that need.

    He can play LW or RW. And I am tired of seeing this RB bussiness. He is not a very good defender, and Ole wants him as a winger not as a fullback. He has played nothing but winger this season. If I was Ole and accepted the job I would move Lichj to RB and then look for a capable LB.

  8. Major soccer story happening right now in Germany with a hearing underway about the relegation game Tuesday between Hertha Berlin and Dusseldorf, which had to be stopped seven minutes in the second half after Berlin fans threw smoke bombs and flares on the pitch after Dusseldorf went up 2-1. And then late Dusseldorf fans invaded the pitch to celebrate, but with still 90 seconds left in the game. Referee Wolfgang Stark told the hearing today that one of the Berlin players after the game punched, and three or four others verbally attacked him and tried to break into the ref dressing room. Stark has filed criminal charges.

    Newspapers are providing live online updates and it is overshadowing the Champions League Final tomorrow in Munich.

    Do we know yet whether Alfredo Morales is in the USMNT camp yet? Because there is a 50-50 chance this game will be replayed and probably at least three or four Berlin players will be suspended for the attacks on Stark and Morales might be needed. Whatever happens, Hertha is a total mess. I hope Morales can find someway to get transferred to a better environment.

  9. Golazzo from Horrible Peralta.

    I’ve seen Neymar play three times.
    Against Mexico where his role was to dive at the slightest touch, Against Barcelona where he was invisible, and against Velez where he was easily contained by 19 year old Gino Peruzzi.
    If he ever wants to be considered amongst the best he needs to come up big in this games.

  10. Wasn’t Solskjaer trying to talk Gatt up to Fergie this past year? I think he sees a lot of potential in him and would be tempted to bring him along if he moves. I think Gatt at RB and Lichaj at LB could be quite interesting. You would be hard pressed to find a faster tandem on the outside backs

  11. I thought the same doesn’t seem likely though. How instrumental has Gatt been to the club? He is an up and coming talent for sure, but don’t think his brief time at the club would warrant a must have player for Villa.

    Hopefully, Solskjaer takes the position at Villa and brings Gatt along, but I don’t see the later happening.

  12. Gatt just signed an extension for I believe another 3 years. I wonder how much he would cost if Ole tried to pick him up.

  13. I think Solskjaer is making a mistake if he leaves a Champions League side for VIlla, but the dude obviously wants to coach in England, so….

    The good news here is that Villa’s roster is so thin, they could probably use Gatt. Maybe Ole will bring him along.


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