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Fuel Soccer Talk: Liverpool are Champions: MLS news & Notes: What to watch for in France

A champions morning to you!

Liverpool celebrates well-deserved Champions League title

Only 108 seconds were needed to banish the Champions League final heartbreak of a year ago. And once Mohamed Salah dispatched his early penalty against Tottenham, Liverpool was on the path to a sixth European title with a 2-0 victory on Saturday. And a year after defeat in the final to Real Madrid, Juergen Klopp has his first title after four years as Liverpool manager.

Tottenham midfielder Moussa Sissoko’s arm gifted Liverpool the early penalty opening — blocking Sadio Mane’s shot after 21 seconds — and Salah converted from the spot after a video review check.

It was a huge victory for Liverpool after falling just short of the Premier League title to Manchester City. Losing the Champions League final would have been a devastating blow to the Reds. And it didn’t take long for Klopp and the Champions League-winning Reds to return home from Madrid and begin their celebrations immediately. The victory parade was scheduled for Sunday morning — 11 a.m. local time — as the players took to the buses to share their sixth European Cup/Champions League title with the faithful fans.

Would you rather win the Premier League or the Champions League?

MLS News & Notes from around the league

New England 2, LA Galaxy 1: Bruce Arena did not want to be a distraction for his New England Revolution side when they visited the LA Galaxy on Sunday evening. He wasn’t, as the Revs claimed a win in Arena’s first match on the sidelines with his new team, defeating his former club 2-1 at Dignity Health Sports Complex. The Galaxy were forced to replace Sebastian Lleget early on after the winger suffered a hamstring injury in the opening minutes. They remain second in the West, though they’ve now lost three consecutive home matches. The Revs have quietly put together a four-game unbeaten run since the coaching change, and have only conceded three goals during the span — a massive improvement from the 18 allowed in the previous four games.  – German Sferra 

LAFC 3, Portland Timbers 2: Los Angeles Football Club crashed the party of the grand re-opening of renovated Providence Park with a 3-2 win over the Portland Timbers Saturday night. Brian Fernandez provided a late lifeline with a stunning bicycle kick six minutes from full time in a match that had a nasty tone, especially in the final quarter hour and in the 12 minutes of second-half stoppage time. This game had everything we hoped — a terrific tifo, some great goals, some feistiness on the field and in the technical areas before and after the match. More of this please.– Dylan Butler

FC Dallas 2, Seattle Sounders 1: The Seattle Sounders scored three goals on Saturday night, but unfortunately for them two of those goals were for the other team, as they lost 2-1 to FC Dallas in a weather-delayed match. The game was delayed an hour and 47 minutes due to storms and lightning in the vicinity of Toyota Stadium. Dallas entered the match winless in their last six games, while Seattle were coming off their first loss in seven matches. Dallas were perhaps a bit fortunate to have two own goals make the difference in their favor, but they were the stronger side overall on the night and kept the Sounders at bay. Seattle will be disappointed to lose a second straight game, but with Arreaga finding his footing in MLS and Joevin Jones making his return, they can chalk the result up to it being an unusual game. – Alicia Rodriguez

For more excellent coverage of this weekend’s MLS action  

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup: Things to Watch

Finals Threepeat – The Rubber Match?

Japan won the Women’s World Cup in 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany, defeating the U.S. on penalty kicks after the two teams played to a 2-2 draw in the final. Four years later in Vancouver, the U.S. scored a decisive 5-2 win over Japan in the finals settling the score on the pitch and not on penalty kicks. It’s back across the pond for 2019 and a rematch between Japan and the U.S. would be an exciting finish in France. Japan will again be led by veteran players Rumi Utsugi of Reign FC and Saki Kumagai of two-time reigning UEFA Champions League winners Olympique Lyon. But like the U.S., Japan, which has had great success at U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cups in recent years, is getting younger. “We’ve got a lot more young players in the squad now and obviously the coach is different as well,” Utsugi told FIFA.com. “So, everything feels new. I think, for upcoming tournaments, one of our strengths will be that we all have a shared perspective. That said, you can see individuality from different players, which is quite exciting and motivating. From a personal standpoint, I feel that I need to step up.”

10 PLAYERS TO WATCH IN FRANCE

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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