Featured Matches
Previous
Tottenham Hotspur
AEL
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 1
Game Details
Internazionale
Stjarnan
6
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 9 - 0
Game Details
Hull City
KSC Lokeren
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
FK Astra Giurgiu
Lyon
0
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Krasnodar
Real Sociedad
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Lokomotiv Moscow
Apollon Limassol
1
4
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 5
Game Details
Metalist Kharkiv
Ruch Chorzow
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Krasnodar
Real Sociedad
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Omonia Nicosia
Dinamo Moscow
1
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Neftchi Baku PFC
FK Partizan Belgrade
1
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 5
Game Details
PAOK Salonika
Zimbru Chisinau
4
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 1
Game Details
FK Astra Giurgiu
Lyon
0
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Rostov
Trabzonspor
0
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Shakhter Soligorsk
PSV Eindhoven
0
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Sheriff Tiraspol
Rijeka
0
3
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 4
Game Details
Hajduk Split
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
0
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Twente Enschede
FK Qarabag
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Asteras Tripolis
3
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 3
Game Details
FC Midtjylland
Panathinaikos
1
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 6
Game Details
Feyenoord Rotterdam
FC Zorya Luhansk
4
3
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 4
Game Details
FC Zürich
FC Spartak Trnava
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
Torino
RNK Split
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Sparta Prague
PEC Zwolle
3
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
St Etienne
Karabükspor
(4) 1
(3) 0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
HJK Helsinki
3
3
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 5
Game Details
Debrecen
BSC Young Boys
0
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Internazionale
Stjarnan
6
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 9 - 0
Game Details
Hull City
KSC Lokeren
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Borussia Monchengladbach
FK Sarajevo
7
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 10 - 2
Game Details
Villarreal
Astana 1964
4
0
ESPNDeportes FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 0
Game Details
CD Nacional de Madeira
Dinamo Minsk
2
3
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 5
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
AEL
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 1
Game Details
Dinamo Zagreb
Petrolul Ploiesti
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Club Brugge
Grasshoppers Zürich
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Legia Warsaw
Aktobe Lento
2
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Rio Ave
Elfsborg
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Waterhouse
Tauro FC
4
1
FT
Game Details
Olimpia
Alpha United
3
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Alajuelense
Chorrillo FC
1
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Danubio F.C.
Deportivo Capiatá
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 5
Game Details
Fluminense FC
Goiás EC
2
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Caracas F.C.
Inti Gas Deportes
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
César Vallejo
Millonarios
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 3
Game Details
Criciúma
São Paulo
2
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Sport
EC Vitória
0
1
LIVE 90' +5'
Leg 1
Game Details
Deportivo Cali
UTC
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Wilstermann
Peñarol
0
4
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 6
Game Details
Banfield
Tigre
1
0
FT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Lanús
1
0
FT
Game Details
Quilmes
San Lorenzo
0
3
FT
Game Details
Gremio
Santos FC
0
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Unión Española
Universidad de Chile
0
1
FT
Game Details
Pumas Generalena
Limon
0
0
FT
Game Details
Next

Marcotti: Platini's missed opportunity

FIFA 14 hours ago
Read
Apr 11, 2007

MLS Primetime launches on Thursday night

Thursday Night Futbol, anyone? OK, so the phrase isn't ingrained in the American sporting lexicon like the NFL's weeknight offering is. Chances are it never will be. Yet Thursday's match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas represents ESPN's first midweek soccer broadcast it has gone to the trouble of actually promoting. And for most fans, that's long overdue.

In previous years, the burden of marketing MLS games fell on the league itself, but with the league garnering a rights fee for the first time in its history, that responsibility now falls on ESPN, as well as other broadcasters who have jumped on the league's TV bandwagon.

That means more promotion and a commitment to higher-level broadcasts. Of course, it will take more than that to pry people's eyes from other prime-time lineups. What will keep fans glued to the game are dynamic, attacking players. Fortunately, Thursday's game contains plenty of those performers.

The skinny

Los Angeles, after missing the playoffs last year for the first time in the team's history, spent the offseason retooling its roster and secured a credible 0-0 tie against defending champion Houston, giving credence to the theory that the Galaxy are a team on the rebound.

Dallas finished first in the Western Conference last year but was dumped in the first round of the playoffs by Colorado. Coach Colin Clarke was fired and replaced by his assistant Steve Morrow, who proceeded to ax some of his higher-paid, veteran players, replacing them with performers both young and skillful. Dallas looked a bit overwhelmed at times this weekend against Real Salt Lake, but managed to rally for a 2-2 tie.

Five story lines to follow

1. Cobi's final home opener

Almost lost amid the David Beckham hype machine was the announcement that this will be Cobi Jones' final MLS season. Although there are nine or more other active players who were around for the league's inaugural season in 1996, Jones is the only one to have spent his entire MLS career with one team. And if his performance in last week's tie with Houston is any indication, the former U.S. international still has something left in the tank.

"[Jones] still has that vision," Galaxy coach Frank Yallop said. "He's still got that fight and desire."

2. The return of "The Little Fish"

It's been two years since the Galaxy traded Carlos Ruiz to Dallas for an allocation that eventually was used to acquire Landon Donovan. In that time, Donovan has brought another championship to L.A., while former league MVP Ruiz has had his ups and downs. Yet "El Pescadito" claims there is no special motivation for the game.

"It's not like it's a playoff game," Ruiz said of Thursday's match. "It's a game for three points, and that's it."

The fact remains that Ruiz has not scored against L.A. at the Home Depot Center since his departure. And with the Guatemalan having scored a stoppage-time equalizer against RSL this weekend, you can bet he'd love nothing better than to add to his tally at the expense of his former team.

3. Home Depot debuts

Beckham wasn't the only offseason signing made by the Galaxy. Also added to the roster were All-Stars Joe Cannon and Nate Jaqua, who will make their home debuts Thursday. Both players acquitted themselves well in L.A.'s opener, with Cannon looking especially sharp in goal. Now it will be up to the new acquisitions to raise their respective games in front of the home folks.

4. Dallas' road woes

To say the Home Depot Center hasn't been kind to Dallas is kind of like saying Little Big Horn was a bit tough on Custer. The Hoops have dropped all nine matches they've played at the HDC since it opened in 2003, including the 2005 U.S. Open Cup Final. It's been five years since Dallas even escaped from L.A. with a draw, and the Hoops haven't triumphed in SoCal since 2000, when Jorge Rodriguez's goal secured a 1-0 win.

5. Makeshift defenses

Both sides raised some eyebrows this past weekend with their choice of defensive personnel. Morrow vowed to make changes during the offseason, but a combination of injury and suspension caused him to opt for old standbys Bobby Rhine and David Wagenfuhr at outside back. Yallop deviated from the form book even more, starting rookie Ty Harden in the center of defense and playing Ian Russell -- who had spent his entire MLS career as a midfielder -- at right back.

The return of nominal left back Chris Gbandi might bolster the Hoops' back line, and given their performance against Real Salt Lake, they'll need it. Yallop's outfit kept a clean sheet, making any changes unlikely. Still, both coaches believe they can breach their opponent's defense, and it will be interesting to see how each team holds up.

Five players to watch

1. Landon Donovan, M, Los Angeles

Normally a forward, Donovan seemed to take well to the advanced midfield role Yallop placed him in. Although he failed to score in the opener, he did have his share of dangerous opportunities in front of goal, and if those chances present themselves again Thursday, Donovan likely will get on the score sheet.

2. Ramon Nunez, M, Dallas

Asked to man the same attacking role for Dallas that Donovan fills for the Galaxy, Nunez gave a performance that drew mixed reviews. Some of the blame was placed on the abomination that passes for a field at Rice-Eccles Stadium, but some of it also was down to Nunez himself.

"It was good in parts," Morrow said of Nunez's performance. "I think Ramon knows as well that it can get better. I expect better from him, and I know he can play at a higher level than that."

With the surface at the Home Depot Center expected to be a bit more forgiving, the expectation is that Nunez will deliver a more incisive performance.

3. Chris Albright, M/F, Los Angeles

Among the surprises this past weekend was the sight of Albright, who has made a name for himself as an attacking fullback, lining up at right wing. Granted, Albright entered the league touted as "The Great American Hope" at forward before a barren spell in front of goal saw him move toward the back. Now with the likes of Quavas Kirk injured and Santino Quaranta not fully fit, Albright finds himself closer to goal again. And with Dallas' back line looking vulnerable, expect L.A. to try to use Albright's attacking instincts.

4. Kenny Cooper, F, Dallas

Last year, the 6-foot-3 Cooper was a revelation, scoring 11 goals and showing surprising skill on the ball for a player his size. The former Manchester United reserve continued his scoring ways this weekend, hammering home Dallas' opening goal. To maintain that trend will mean getting the better of Los Angeles left back Ante Jazic, who did much in his last match to blunt the influence of Houston's live-wire midfielder Brian Mullan.

5. Ty Harden, D, Los Angeles

Rookie baptisms don't come any harder than having to mark U.S. international Brian Ching, but Harden held his own against the hulking Houston forward.

"He's playing like he's been there ten years," Yallop said of Harden. "It's only one game, we know that, but Ty has played like that the whole preseason. He's not put a foot wrong."

Although the rookie was able to cope with Ching's size and strength, dealing with Ruiz -- whose off the ball antics try the patience of even the most composed defenders -- will be a different matter entirely. Fortunately, Harden has the services of L.A.'s resident enforcer Tyrone Marshall at his side, and that might help him cope with the gamesmanship that has long been a part of Ruiz's arsenal.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPNsoccernet. He can be reached at eljefe1@yahoo.com.