By Amon Kehr
Italy out of the World Cup
Italy has failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. Italy needed to beat Sweden in its UEFA qualifying playoff series to qualify. Italy was only in the playoff because it finished second in its group. Italy was unfortunate to draw into a group with Spain, which is also a major European power. The first match in Sweden ended 1-0 with Sweden getting the lone goal from Jakob Johansson. The second leg, which was played in the San Siro in Milan, finished 0-0 with Italy unable to score in front of their fans.
With 60 years of World Cup experience, Italy is one of the premier powers in world soccer and it is one of the biggest soccer countries to fail to qualify for the World Cup in in the last few cycles. Although Italy is not the only major country not qualifying, with Netherlands, United States and Chile also failing to qualify, it is the most shocking of the four because of its pedigree. Italy will now have to wait until the 2022 World Cup to get itself back to the pinnacle of international soccer.
MLS conference finals
A rematch of last year’s MLS final seems likely after this past Tuesday’s matchups. The first match was between the Columbus Crew and Toronto FC. The match, which was played at Mapfre stadium in Columbus, ended 0-0. Columbus has continued to survive in the playoffs despite the rumors surrounding the club that it is moving to Austin, Texas. The owner, Anthony Precourt, has expressed his displeasure with the Columbus market. Precourt said he feels he would be better suited financially if he moved the team to Austin.
The other game was between the Houston Dymano and Seattle Sounders. The match ended 2-0 with the Sounders looking poised for their second straight trip to the final. The Sounders got off to a quick lead with a goal from Gustav Svensson. The game got away from the Dynamo quickly. Jalil Anibaba was sent off for a dangerous challenge in the 28th minute. With the Dynamo having only ten men, they quickly conceded another goal to Seattle striker Will Bruin. This is Bruin’s first season with Seattle after spending the past five seasons with the Dynamo, where he scored 50 goals. The Dynamo look unlikely to move on to the final with Seattle having a two goal advantage with two away goals. A rematch between Seattle and Toronto seems to be a strong possibility.