SHORT CORNERS – SOCCER NEWS, NOTES AND RUMORS

FULHAM IN EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL, LIVERPOOL FALL IN SEMIFINALS

If you had bet in August that Fulham FC would be the last English team remaining in European competition this season, you would be a rich person indeed.

Fulham, powered by two late goals, pushed past Bundesliga side Hamburg Thursday Night at Craven Cottage to advance to the Europa League Finals on May 12.

Ironically, the 2010 Final will be played in Hamburg at the HSH-Nordbank Arena where Fulham managed a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Semifinals.

Fulham will be playing Athletico Madrid who eliminated Liverpool FC and thus ended the dreams of an all-English Final.

Liverpool dropped the first leg 1-0 in Madrid but came out firing at Anfield and scored just before the half on a goal by Alberto Aquilani on a cross from Yussi Benayoun. Liverpool could not finish Athletico off and after 90 minutes the tie was even at a goal a piece.

In the Extra Period Benayoun scored again putting Liverpool ahead but the return of nemesis Diego Forlan ruined dreams of an all-England final in the 102nd minute. The former Manchester United striker struck home on a cross from Jose Antonio Reyes.

RANGERS IRRITATED BY BOSTON GLOBE FALSE CLAIM

Glasgow Rangers are attempting to finalize a deal to play arch-nemesis and Old Firm rivals Glasgow Celtic at Fenway Park in Boston but it appears the ‘Battle of Boston’ has already begun. Rangers are offended by a Boston Globe article suggesting that fans of the club were to blame for the 1971 Ibrox disaster.

The article was critical of Rangers fans in general and the club is preparing a formal complaint to the Globe.

BUDDLE NAMED MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER PLAYER OF THE MONTH

In what will come as a surprise to no one who watches Major League Soccer, Edson Buddle of the Los Angeles Galaxy was named MLS Player of the Month for April. Buddle’s 7 goals in 5 matches may have had something to do with it.  He has every one of LA’s goals this season and has propelled the team to a 4-0-1 record.

PACHUCA WIN CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Pachuca scored a wonder goal in the 93rd minute to beat Cruz Azul on aggregate Wednesday night and claim the CONCACAF Champions League title and secure a place in the World Club Cup. Cruz Azul had won the first leg 2-1 in Mexico City last Wednesday.

EMILIO RE-SIGNS WITH DC UNITED

Luciano Emilio was struggling to find a team and DC United were struggling to find goals. So why did the last few weeks of negotiations regarding Emilio and DC have to happen? DC had clearly stated that they didn’t want the Brazilian and yet would do nothing to secure a deal to get the player to another team.

“I am very frustrated with this situation,” Emilio told The Washington Post earlier this month. “I am not happy they are keeping me from working.”

Sometime Wednesday the penny dropped in the DC United offices and they realized they needed goals very badly in a season where they have yet to secure a point and they had a former league MVP how was itching to play sitting around waiting.  Emilio was signed to a 3-month contract.

SUMMER FRIENDLY UPDATE: HOUSTON DYNAMO v CD ÁGUILA

(From Dwain Capodice-MLSSoccer.com) The Houston Dynamo announced on Wednesday that the second annual Dynamo Charities Cup will be played on June 19 at Robertson Stadium against El Salvador club CD Águila.

“Águila is one of the top clubs from El Salvador, and they have a long history and tradition,”  Dynamo Chief Operating Officer Chris Canetti said.

The Dynamo Charities Cup was started last year to raise money for Dynamo Charities, the charitable arm of the Dynamo. The first match featured Mexican club Monterrey, which Houston defeated 2-1 in October.

RUMORS AND RUMBLINGS

The LA Times reports that the Galaxy could be after Real Madrid strike icon Raul or AC Milan wizard Ronaldinho after the World Cup to replace the career threatened David Beckham and potentially Europe bound Landon Donovan.

Leeds defender Rui Marques has been linked with Toronto FC as a post World Cup signing.

Mo Johnston is following me on Twitter.

FURTHER READING

NORTH AMERICA

IT’S TOO EARLY TO PANIC BUT THE STATUS QUO IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH (DAVE DIR-3RD DEGREE.NET)

US SOCCER CEO SEES PROGRESS AMID CHALLENGES (ORRIN SCHWARTZ-DAILY HERALD)

PORTLAND NO PLACE FOR ENGLISH RETIREES (BRUCE CONSTANTINEAU-VANCOUVER SUN)

MO BY THE NUMBERS (THE 24TH MINUTE)

WORLD

JOSE MOURINHO DELIGHTED BY ‘GREATEST WIN OF MY CAREER’ (BBC SPORT)

THE SILENCE THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES: NO ONE HAS ASKED RAFA TO STAY (IAN HERBERT-THE INDEPENDENT)

CAN MAGATH PRODUCE ANOTHER MIRACLE? (GREG DUKE-CNN)

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