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Around the Leagues: Cup Finals Across the Pond

By William Strome, 05/18/21, 12:30PM PDT

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Domestic silverware is on the table this week in Italy and France while the first leg of the Clausura semifinals kickoff on Wednesday

Republic FC made it two wins from two matches to start the 2021 USL Championship regular season after earning a 3-1 win over Las Vegas Lights FC on May 12 at Heart Health Park. 

But the boys in Old Glory Red weren’t the only club in the league to light up the scoreboard over the last week – as Colorado Springs Switchbacks slammed home four goals to triumph 4-0 over Sporting Kansas City II, Charlotte Independence blanked Charleston Battery, 3-0, and New Mexico United picked up a 3-1 win over Austin Bold. 

The ESPN Game of the Week did anything but disappoint, as Tampa Bay Rowdies claimed a 2-1 win over Phoenix Rising FC in a clash of last season’s conference winners. 

Major League Soccer

Late winners and fantastic finishes were the reoccurring storylines from this past weekend in Major League Soccer. 

On Saturday, Atlanta United won it with a last gasp winning strike in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Marcelo Moreno netted the game’s only goal to lift Atlanta to 1-0 win over Montreal Impact. Hours later in Minnesota United’s match, Robin Lod netted his team’s only goal of the game in the 90+4 minute as well, giving United a 1-0 win over FC Dallas. 

The following day, New England’s Adam Buksa scored in the 86th minute to give the Rev’s a 1-0 win over Columbus Crew SC while the five-goal thriller between FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami saw Gonzalo Higuain bag a brace including the winner in the 85th minute to seal a 3-2 victory. 

A former Republic FC midfielder recently featured in DC United's 1-0 loss against Orlando City SC on Sunday as Drew Skundrich made his second straight start for the club from the nation's capitol after recently signing from USL-side Loudoun United. 

National Women's Soccer League

The NWSL had no shortage of entertaining action this past weekend as well with five fixtures on the weekend slate. 

Two of the matches – Racing Louisville hosting Kansas City and North Carolina Courage visiting OL Reign – ended scoreless but Gotham FC managed to grab a 1-0 win over Saturday over Houston Dash. 

The following day, Portland Thorns fired five goals past the Chicago Red Stars backline to earn a commanding 5-0 victory while a pair of late second half strikes from Alex Morgan and Ashley Hatch meant Orlando Pride and Washington Spirit shared the spoils, 1-1. 

The action continues this coming weekend including a Friday night showdown between Racing Louisville and Washington Spirit in Kentucky. Sunday’s biggest bout is between Portland Thorns and OL Reign – who recently signed USWNT star Rose Lavelle for the 2021 campaign. 

Major European Leagues

Across the pond, Tuesday’s slate sees a replay of the weekend’s FA Cup Final where Leicester City triumphed over Chelsea to hoist the domestic silverware. But their midweek match has massive implications in the race for UEFA Champions League spots as the Foxes sit in third on 66 points while the fourth-place Blues trail by just two points.

Hot on Chelsea’s tail is Liverpool in fifth on 63 points, meaning the race for the final top four spots will come down to Survival Sunday this weekend.  

Wednesday’s European schedule includes a pair of Cup Finals with domestic silverware on the line. 

In Italy, Atalanta and Juventus are set to clash in the Coppa Italia which will be played in Reggio Emilia, Italy inside the Citta del Tricolore. The Old Lady of Italy has lifted the trophy a total of 13 times, most recently in 2017-2018 which was Juve’s fourth straight time earning a victory in the Cup Final. The last time Atalanta lifted the coveted trophy was the 1962-1963 campaign and was the only time Atalanta won the trophy. 

Another Cup Final is also set to play out on Wednesday in France between Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France. The match will take place inside the Stade de France as PSG looks to claim the trophy for the 14th time. PSG has made an appearance in the Cup Final each of the last seven years, winning the competition in five of the last six. 

In Mexico, Wednesday also marks the first leg of the Liga MX Clausura semifinals when Pachuca go head-to-head with Cruz Azul before the two meet again in the second leg on Saturday. On Thursday, Santos Laguna will host Puebla with the second leg set to take place this Sunday. 

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