Outside the Box: Few frills, Ivanovic spills

Two and a half months later than expected, the European season is finally starting to wind down. The Premier League season is over, leaving just the FA Cup final on Saturday and the EFL Championship promotion playoff in my home country.

With Liverpool winning the league sometime before COVID, there were at least some Champions League spots to play for. Chelsea had a walk in the park with a 2-0 win over Wolves as Man Utd outfought Leicester over the final spot.

The other end of the table had a little more excitement as Aston Villa, Watford, and Bournemouth tried to avoid joining Norwich in the Championship next season. Bournemouth put up a 3-1 win against Everton but it wasn’t enough as Villa drew 1-1 with West Ham. In case you’re wondering, here’s how the other relegation spot went:

There are questions over Watford captain Troy Deeney. Deeney has been with the yellow-bellies for a decade, but a chance to stay in the Premier League must seem like an attractive option. Sky Sports pressed the line a little too hard in questioning whether the 32-year-old would just retire.

Safe Hands

Former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has been linked with a move to Everton, but not before lifting the Russian Cup with Zenit St Petersburg last week. The problem was he was the only player to get to lift the trophy as he broke it.

Lesson learned, never make a trophy out of glass.

Wakey Wakey

Jurgen Klopp capped off a great season winning the League Managers’ Association Manager of the Year ahead of Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder and Leeds’ Marcelo Bielsa. The Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy was presented via video by the former Man United boss, who even forgave the German for a mistimed wake-up call.

LaLiga Lags

I mentioned Fuenlabrada’s troubles last week as the Spanish second division side had its last game of the season postponed while in prime position to make the playoffs to possibly take the small club from the suburbs of Madrid to LaLiga for the first time.

The Spanish league took the step earlier this week to recommend that Fuenlabrada’s game with Deportivo la Coruna not be played after 28 members of Fuenla’s roster and coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19. Typically outside of a pandemic a team who can’t raise a team would forfeit the game, but that wasn’t the case with Fuenlabrada after the league postponed the game with a team technically available.

Fuenlabrada has appealed to have the game played in Depor’s historic Riazor on August 2. This is the day the club’s quarantine period will end. However, there are fears that the club could even be relegated with Deportivo instead.

Local Soccer Is Firmly Back

North Texas SC had a winning start to their 2020 season at Globe Life Park, getting a 2-1 win over Forward Madison in front of a small number of fans.

Over in Denton, the Roja League ended with an all Little d affair. Denton Diablos fell to the Diablos’ Estudiantes side in the final.

Addison-based Lone Star Republic have been enjoying success in the NISA Independent Cup ahead of a likely bid to join the 3rd tier league.

You may or may not be comfortable attending a larger gathering with the soon-to-return FC Dallas or something more intimate with those mentioned above. The ease of access to watching local games has never been better with North Texas on ESPN+, Diablos and Fort Worth Vaqueros hosting their games on Facebook Live, and LSR hosting feeds on MyCujoo as well as this sweet multiple-camera presentation.

Champions League Has a New Home

TNT gave up the rights to the Champions League and Europa League a little early, which is great because their presentation was garbage! CBS won the rights starting next year, but will now take over next week with the Europa League.

Following on the success of the NWSL Challenge Cup, most games will air on its subscription platform although some games will still be free to air on TUDN.

Earlier today, CBS announced an impressive broadcast team including Peter Schmeichel, Jamie Carragher, and Ruud Gullit. Clive Tyldsley, who is in the middle of an ageism row after being demoted by ITV in the UK, was named lead play-by-play which means they’re just playing the world feed.

Reggie Cannon, Music Connoisseur

When we go to training or in the locker room, we get to hear Reggie Cannon’s takes on music a lot. FC Dallas finally captured one for people to see!

I vaguely remember someone challenged him to come up with a top-50 rappers list on the spot. Naturally, he reeled a list off.

What to Watch

Thursday, July 30:
7:00pm – Philadelphia Union v Sporting KC (MLS) – ESPN

Friday, July 31:
1:45pm – PSG v Lyon (French League Cup) – beIN SPORTS
6:30pm – Orlando City v LAFC (MLS) – FS1

Saturday, August 1:
12:00pm – Arsenal v Chelsea (FA Cup Final) – ESPN+
5:00pm – America v Xolos (Liga MX) – TUDN
7:00pm – San Jose Earthquakes v Minnesota United (MLS) – ESPN2
7:00pm – Union Omaha v North Texas SC (USL-1) – ESPN+
9:30pm – NYCFC v Portland Timbers (MLS) – FS1/TUDN

Sunday, August 2:
11:00am – SPAL v Fiorentina (Serie A) – ESPN+
1:45pm – Bologna v Torino (Serie A) – ESPN+
6:00pm – Hartford Athletic v Loudon United (USL-C) – ESPN+
7:00pm – Santos Laguna v Chivas (Liga MX) – FS1

Monday, August 3:
8:00pm – Portland Timbers II v Tacoma Defiance (USL-C) – ESPN+
9:00pm – Leon v Monterrey (Liga MX) – TUDN

Wednesday, August 5:
12:00pm – Shakhtar Donetsk v Wolfsburg (Europa League) – TUDN/CBS All Access
2:00pm – Manchester Utd v Linz (Europa League) – TUDN/CBS All Access
7:00pm – MLS is Back Semifinal 1 – FS1/TUDN

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