No Juventus, No Problem: Coppa Italia Is Better Off Without The Old Lady

The Coppa Italia semifinal first leg fixtures have now been finalized, as Lazio take on A.C. Milan on Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. CET and Fiorentina face Atalanta just 24 hours later. There has been much excitement among non-Juventus supporters as the Bianconeri—winners of the last four editions of the competition—have now been eliminated, meaning Italy will see a different winner of the Cup this year.

Ties between these four sides will certainly be closely-matched encounters, setting up plenty of enthralling viewing for partisan and neutral supporters alike.

Of the four teams, Lazio may face the biggest disadvantage as their first leg comes at a time when their fixture list is already clogged with an extremely difficult two-legged Europa League Round of 32 clash versus Sevilla. They may find things easier should they make an exit from Europe before the second-leg of the Coppa Italia semis in April, but could it already be too late by then?

On the opposite side, Gennaro Gattuso finally seems to be having a bit more luck with his Rossoneri squad as the failure of Gonzalo Higuain has been put swiftly behind them with the signings of Lucas Paqueta and Krzysztof Piatek in January. They look to be a force to be reckoned with and it will be tough for Lazio to prevent them reaching the final.

The other half of the draw sees in-form Atalanta face a Fiorentina side that destroyed A.S. Roma by a 7-1 scoreline in the quarterfinal, in what appears to be an evenly-matched affair. Both sides play with the emphasis very much on attack, and there could well be many goals scored over the two legs.

A look at goals scored in the competition so far reveals that the Tuscan side have outscored their rivals nine to two, yet no one, not even top-of-the-table Juventus, have scored more than Atalanta with no less than 48 goals fired in during 22 matches in domestic action.

It is understandable that La Dea have notched up this tally, considering their dynamic front three of Duvan Zapata, Alejandro “Papu” Gomez and Josip Ilicic, but the Viola match them in terms of their prowess with Federico Chiesa, Giovanni Simeone and Luis Muriel in their arsenal. 

What’s for sure is that the Coppa Italia semifinals look more exciting than ever this year and—with apologies to supporters of the Old Lady—are at last no longer a foregone conclusion.  


Chloe Beresford specializes in Serie A for a number of outlets and can be found on Twitter and on Facebook via her page CalcioByChloe.

Preview: Reserves, Newcomers Get Chance For DCU Against Union

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D.C. United will take the field this evening for their penultimate preseason friendly, when they take on the Philadelphia Union at 7 PM ET at Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in Clearwater, Florida. On Saturday, the Black-and-Red grinded out a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies as Paul Arriola found the only goal on the night. However, a very different starting lineup will likely take the field tonight for United, with the last preseason game coming on Saturday against the Montreal Impact.

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Parsing The Numbers: Goal Differential & Home-Field Advantage In The MLS

No matter the sport, it has always been said that there are certain advantages to playing at home. Whether it’s the roaring of the crowd that brings out the best in players, the social pressure placed on the referees or simply the advantages of playing on a familiar pitch, playing at home does significantly increase a team’s likelihood of winning. But just how much does it change a team’s outcome? Are different teams affected differently when playing on their home turf? If so, what are the variables that contribute to these differences? While we here at FloSports have previously looked at the effects of home court advantage in the Euroleague, today we will look at which MLS teams have performed most differently at home versus on the road. 

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Recap: D.C. United, Led By Paul Arriola's Goal, Beat Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0

D.C. United got a first-half goal from Paul Arriola as the Black-and-Red defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0 on Saturday night in St. Petersburg, FL. Playing in the second game of the Suncoast Invitational, Arriola's 34th-minute goal, his first of the preseason, was the only tally of a game that also saw a goal from Wayne Rooney called back by video review. 

Can An MLS Team Win CONCACAF Champions League In 2019?

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Preview: Wayne Rooney, D.C. United Take On The Tampa Bay Rowdies

It’s back to the Sunshine State for D.C. United, this time to take part in the 2019 edition of the Suncoast Invitational hosted by the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The game, which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET, is set to be streamed by the Rowdies on their Youtube page. Al Lang Stadium will be the stage for matches involving the hometown club and MLS sides D.C., Philadelphia and Montreal.