Chile wins 2nd straight Copa America title as Messi misses


Chile wins 2nd straight Copa America title as Messi misses

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Lionel Messi still awaits his first title with Argentina's national team.

Messi put his penalty kick over the crossbar, Francisco Silva converted Chile's shootout finale and La Roja won their second straight Copa America title by beating Argentina 4-2 on penalty kicks following a 0-0 tie Sunday night.

Playing two days after his 29th birthday, Messi lost a final for the third year in a row following an extra-time defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup and a penalty-kicks loss to host Chile in last year's Copa America. The five-time FIFA Player of the Year has won four Champions League titles and eight La Liga crowns with Barcelona, but has never taken a trophy with Argentina's senior team.

For its 100th anniversary, South America's championship was expanded to 16 nations and played in the United States, and Argentina was hoping to win its first major title since 1993.

In an ill-tempered match that included an ejection on each side and eight yellow cards, the match was scoreless through regulation and 30 minutes of extra time, with Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain missing a clear goal-scoring opportunity for the third straight final. Argentina outshot Chile 16-4 and La Roja collapsed three, four and even five defenders around the bearded Messi, then chopped down the diminutive attacker when he tried to accelerate toward the goal.

Messi, who scored five goals in the tournament, had a free kick 28 yards out in the 115th minute after Francisco SIlva fouled him, but the ball deflected off the wall and over the crossbar. Messi's 35-yard free kick was headed on target by Aguero in the 10th minute of extra time, and Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo jumped extended his right hand to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved the opening kick by Arturo Vidal, and up stepped Messi, the best player of his generation and considered alongside Brazil's Pele and Argentina's Diego Maradona as the sport's greatest ever. While he won the titles at the under-20 and Olympic (under-23) levels for Argentina, in the minds of many he needs a title with his nation's senior team to solidify his place as one of the greats.

Messi sent his shot over Bravo — his Barcelona teammate — and into the stands. Messi turned, bowed his head and clenched both fists in frustration.

Nicolas Castillo and Charles Aranguiz converted their kicks for Chile, and Javier Mascherano and Sergio Aguero made theirs, leaving the teams tied 2-2 after three rounds.

Jean Beausejour put Chile ahead, and Bravo dived to his right, saving Lucas Biglia's shot and bringing up Silva, a 30-year-old midfielder. Messi briefly pulled his jersey of his face, as if not wanting to watch.

Romero dived to his left and the shot went in to his right, giving Chile another title.

Messi crouched over, as if in pain, then got up, took off his captain's armband and walked to the bench, where he was consoled by Angel Di Maria. After Messi came back on the field, Aguero put a hand on one of Messi's shoulders. And new FIFA President Gianni Infantino gave Messi a pat on the back when Messi came onto the podium with his teammates for his second-place medal. Messi almost immediately took it off.

It was the fourth final loss for Messi, who also played for Argentina in its penalty-kicks loss to Brazil in the 2004 final.

A crowd of 82,076 at MetLife Stadium — the largest to see a soccer game in New Jersey — raised the tournament total to just under 1.48 million. The average of 46,119, nearly double the 25,223 in Chile last year, will be used by the U.S. Soccer Federation as evidence it deserves to host a World Cup again, likely as part of a bid for the 2026 tournament.

Brazilian referee Heber Lopes became the focus in the first half, ejecting a pair of defenders: Chile's Marcelo Diaz in the 28th minute and Argentina's Marcos Rojo in the 43rd. After issuing six yellow cards during a World Cup qualifier between the nations in March, Lopes handed out eight yellows, including one to Messi for diving in the 40th minute, and the two reds.

Diaz got his first yellow for hacking down Messi about 28 yards out in the 16th minute, then got his second for obstructing a charging Messi about 30 yards out. Rojo received a straight red when he slid into Arturo Vidal from behind and poked away the ball, but Vidal's leg bent awkwardly under his body as he fell.

Higuain had the best first-half chance in the 21st minute when he picked up a giveaway from Gary Medel, dribbled in and chipped the ball over Bravo only to have it roll wide of the far post. It was almost the exact time he broke in alone during the World Cup final against Germany and also shot wide. Higuain also missed a tap-in of Ezequiel Lavezzi's cross during the final minute of regulation in last year's final, then sent his penalty kick during the shootout over the crossbar.

Revs coach Friedel, GM Burns on Soccer Hall of Fame ballot

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Revs coach Friedel, GM Burns on Soccer Hall of Fame ballot

FOXBORO -- New England Revolution coach Brad Friedel has been named to the ballot for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2018 elections. In addition, general manager Michael Burns is one of nine former players eligible for election as a Veteran candidate. 
Friedel is in his first year of eligibility after completing his playing career in 2014 as one of the most acclaimed American goalkeepers in history. In addition to earning 82 career caps and appearing in six FIFA World Cup matches, Friedel enjoyed a 17-year career in the English Premier League, where he made 310 consecutive starts in goal and ranks among the top 10 all-time with 132 clean sheets. He has won many individual honors over the years, including being named Major League Soccer goalkeeper of the year in 1997, English Premier League goalkeeper of the year in 2003, and the U.S. Soccer Federation’s men’s athlete of the year in 2002. 
Burns, who played in 75 international matches for the USMNT between 1992 and 1998, remains on the ballot as a Veteran candidate. Now in his seventh season as General Manager of the Revolution, Burns was a member of the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup squads, and competed in the 1992 Olympics Games. His club career was highlighted by a seven-year playing career in Major League Soccer from 1996-2002, where he made 75 total appearances for New England, San Jose, and Kansas City. 
In addition, former Revolution players Taylor Twellman (2002-09) and Steve Ralston (2002-09) remain on the 2018 Player ballot. 
Voting begins today and runs through Monday, March 26 for the Player, Veteran Player, and Builder categories. The results of voting will be announced at a later date, and the grand opening of the National Soccer Hall of Fame is set for the weekend of October 20-21, 2018.

Tierney scores in 93rd minute, Revs beat Rapids, 2-1

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Tierney scores in 93rd minute, Revs beat Rapids, 2-1

FOXBORO - Chris Tierney scored on a free kick in the 93rd minute to give the Revolution a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids in the Revs' home opener on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

Wilfried Zahibo drew a foul against Niki Jackson to set up Tierney, whose left-footed shot went through with a deflection off Colorado's wall.

Jackson, who was making his MLS debut, tied it in the 66th minute for the Rapids. He raced behind the central defense on Johan Blomberg's diagonal cross and crossed in front of goalkeeper Matt Turner to get his head on it.

Diego Fagundez opened the scoring for the Revolution (1-1-0) in the 48th minute, settling Cristian Penilla's short cross with one touch and finishing a low shot into the middle of the goal.

© 2018 by The Associated Press.