Outside the Box: buses, balls, & bait

The Major League Soccer playoffs are coming thick and fast. FC Dallas managed its way through a penalty shootout in Portland to set up the rematch with Seattle from last season on Tuesday, but it was the Eastern Conference that has made headlines all over the world.

Orlando City and NYCFC went to a penalty shoot out. Pedro Gallese appeared to make the save to win the game for the Lions, only to have VAR rule that his feet were off the line and the referee produce a second yellow card followed by a red.

FIFA and IFAB suspended the law during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July 2019 because it was crappy and negatively affecting the sport. MLS decided they would hold on to it until after this season because they couldn’t possibly change a rule early now that we’re forgetting that VAR was brought in halfway through a season.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Orlando try to sub on Brian Rowe and the fourth official sure enough holds up the board and lets him run on…But everyone knows you can’t sub a player during the shootout, right? Apparently not Allen Chapman and co, who were told they would not play any further part in the rest of the postseason.

Long story short, defender Rodrigo Schlegel goes in goal and looks absolutely like a fish out of water until…

Olympique Record

Andre “Was going to be the best coach of all time” Villas-Boas has an unwanted mark on his managerial record as Marseille broke the record for most consecutive defeats in the competition with 13.

The 1993 winners last won a Champions League game on Feb 22, 2012, winning 1-0 at home to Inter Milan in the Round of 16. They lost 2-1 away in the second leg, advancing on away goals, before losing 2-0 in both legs of the quarter-final against Bayern Munich.

This was the first time in six seasons OM had qualified for the Champions League with games at home to Olympiacos and away to Manchester City to spare their blushes further.

Take a Seat

I’ve heard of players dropped for missing the team bus, but Club Brugge’s Emmanuel Dennis was left out of the team to face Borussia Dortmund after throwing a temper tantrum at not being able to sit where he wanted.

The Belgian side lost 3-0 in Dortmund, and Dennis will be back in contention for the weekend’s league game after the Nigerian apologized to his teammates, coach, and the team president.

Don’t Touch

On the subject of bans that should be avoided by any sane adult, Preston North End’s Darnell Fisher may have topped Emmanuel Dennis as he bizarrely grabbed Callum Paterson’s junk at a corner.

I’ve known players to do some weird things to put an opposition player off at a corner, but what was he thinking?

The FA did indeed look at it and issued a three-match ban for violent conduct.

Bait and Switch

Former Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott may have come out of retirement accidentally.

The 38-year-old Loans Manager at Citeh had agreed to play in an exhibition game for Spanish third tier side Racing Murcia – who had also attempted to lure Samuel Eto’o – until the team announced that Lescott would be playing in the Copa del Rey against La Liga side Levante.

Lescott is said to be considering the offer but confirmed it will not get in the way of his work on TV or with Manchester City.

Barca Slashes The Budget

Fans of midtable Barcelona will cast a jealous eye towards Madrid, wishing they too could get a little bit of that government cash to pay the bills.

Barca’s board had warned of a likely financial collapse of the member-owned club, but have made an agreement with players to slash the wage bill by $146m over the next three years as the Catalans look to repair the damage done by recently ousted president Josep Bartomeu.

A mass of high-dollar thirty-somethings has led to the sport’s largest wage bill and the worst Barca side in over 30 years. Add to that a series of expensive transfers that haven’t lived up to the price tag – with the club only just about to start paying Antoine Griezmann’s $142m fee.

Play Like a Girl

That’s not an offensive line by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it was on the helmet of one of many Texans taking to the field for college football games this weekend.

Wylie’s Sarah Fuller serves as a first-choice goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s newly crowned SEC champion women’s soccer team, but the former D’Feeters keeper also served as kicker for the Commodores football team in Missouri.

Fuller became the first female to log a snap in a Power Five football game with the second half kick off. Unfortunately that was her sole involvement as Vandy moved to 0-9 with a 41-0 loss to Mizzou.

What’s On

We’ve got a whole load of derbies, some Champions League, Copa Libertadores, a little FA Cup action, and of course FC Dallas traveling to Seattle to slay the giant on Tuesday night. Bon appetit!

Saturday, November 28:
6:30am – Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool (Premier League) – Peacock
8:30am – Stuttgart v Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
9:15am – Valencia v Atletico Madrid (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
11:00am – Benevento v Juventus (Serie A) – ESPN+
11:30am – Peterborough Utd v Chorley (FA Cup) – ESPN+
2:00pm – Real Madrid v Deportivo Alaves (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS

Sunday, November 29:
7:00am – Barcelona v Osasuna (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
8:00am – Southampton v Manchester Utd (Premier League) – NBCSN
8:45am – Marine v Havant & Waterlooville (FA Cup) – ESPN+
10:30am – Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League) – NBCSN
1:45pm – Napoli v Roma (Serie A) – ESPN+
2:00pm – Real Sociedad v Villareal (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
7:00pm – Columbus Crew v Nashville SC (MLS) – ESPN
9:00pm – Monterrey v Pumas (Liga MX) – TUDN

Monday, November 30:
11:30am – Leicester City v Fulham (EPL) – NBCSN
1:00pm – Maritimo v Benfica (Liga NOS) – Gol TV
1:45pm – Canvey Island v Boreham Wood (FA Cup) – ESPN+

Tuesday, December 1:
12:00pm – Shakhtar Donetsk v Real Madrid (Champs. League) – CBS All Access / UniMas / TUDN
2:00pm – Atletico Madrid v Bayern Munich (Champs. League) – CBS All Access / UniMas / TUDN
4:15pm – River Plate v Athletico-PR (Copa Libertadores) – beIN SPORTS
8:30pm – Seattle Sounders v FC Dallas (MLS) – FS1

Wednesday, December 2:
12:00pm – Istanbul Basaksehir (Champs. League) – CBS All Access / UniMas / TUDN
2:00pm – Juventus v Dynamo Kyiv (Champs. League) – CBS All Access
6:30pm – Internacional v Boca Juniors (Copa Libertadores) – beIN SPORTS
8:00pm – Sporting Kansas City v Minnesota Utd (MLS) – FS1

Thursday, December 3:
12:00pm – AC Milan v Celtic (Europa League) – CBS All Access / TUDN
2:00pm – Arsenal v Rapid Wien (Europa League) – CBS All Access / UniMas
6:30pm – Gremio v Guarani (Copa Libertadores) – beIN SPORTS

Friday, December 4:
11:30am – Barnsley v Bournemouth (EFL-C) – ESPN+
1:30pm – Hertha Berlin v Union Berlin (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
2:00pm – Nimes v Olympique Marseille (Ligue 1) – beIN SPORTS

Saturday, December 5:
6:00am – Hamburg SV v Hannover 96 (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
7:00am – Levante v Getafe (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
8:30am – Eitracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
9:15am – Sevilla v Real Madrid (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
11:00am – Juventus v Torino (Serie A) – ESPN+
11:30am – Bayern Munich v RB Leipzig (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
2:00pm – Montpellier v PSG (Ligue 1) – beIN SPORTS

Sunday, December 6:
8:00am – Roma v Sassulo (Serie A) – ESPN+
10:30am – Arsenal v Tottenham (EPL) – TBA
1:45pm – Sampdoria v AC Milan (Serie A) – ESPN+
2:00pm – MLS Eastern Conference Final – ESPN3
5:30pm – MLS Eastern Conference Final – FS1

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