Montella Leads Fiorentina In Coppa Italia Semi vs High-Powered Atalanta

“The important thing is that we won to stay right up there and we’ll give our best,” Atalanta forward Josip Ilicic revealed to reporters at Sky Italia following his side’s excellent 2-1 win over Napoli on Monday. “It’s good in a way that we started the season badly, because we had time to make up for it and now we want to keep that momentum going to the end.

“We’re in the Coppa Italia semifinal too and as we’re at that stage, we want to win it all. We’re giving nothing up. We know the sides challenging for a Champions League spot are very strong, but we want to be there too.”

If there was ever an indication that Atalanta were not going to take it easy on Wednesday night in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal with Fiorentina, this was it. 

Canadian viewers can watch the Coppa Italia LIVE on FloFC

Whilst many would prioritize a valid chance to reach the coveted top four spots in Serie A this term, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men will relish the chance to go full throttle towards both of their remaining objectives this season, going forward in harmony with their style of play. 

“We haven’t said that we’re in the running for the Champions League, but we’re up there, so we’ll wait and see,” the veteran coach told Sky Italia after the match with Napoli. “There is also the Coppa Italia and reaching the final would be a great satisfaction for the city of Bergamo. The thing we have to focus on is that we are there and we won’t let go now.”

Their full-on attacking mantra saw them defeat Juventus—holders of the trophy during the last four consecutive campaigns—by a 3-0 scoreline in the quarterfinal, and the Viola will have to be ready once again for their no-holds-barred approach.

The first leg, now almost two months ago, saw a pulsating 90 minutes at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence, a match that finished 3-3. Yet Atalanta may find a different Viola than the one they faced in February, spearheaded by a new man in charge.



After former boss Stefano Pioli quit his position when poor results led to an unprovoked attack on his character by the club, the Viola hierarchy proceeded to turn to their former coach Vincenzo Montella in order to steady a quickly sinking ship.

The team may have only secured one draw and one defeat since his arrival, but a look behind the scores sees a solid performance in a 0-0 with Bologna in the former AC Milan man’s first game back in Florence and a superb performance despite a 2-1 defeat away to Juventus. 

The Tuscans shocked the Old Lady when defender Nikola Milenkovic found the back of the net after just four minutes, but just like so many other sides who faced the Serie A champions this term, they were made to pay for missed chances in the opening 45 minutes. Federico Chiesa was unlucky not to score, hitting the woodwork on two separate occasions as Montella’s men played high-tempo football, beating the Juve offside trap time and time again with their pacy counterattacks.

“I liked the attitude,” Montella admitted after his first match in charge. “The way we took the field and were able to organize before attacking. We weren’t able to keep it up for the 90 minutes, but the numbers would prove that we were more dangerous. We missed some luck, but I liked our spirit. We have plenty to work on as these players are new to me, but I liked that they were unhappy because they didn’t win at the end.” 

The phrase “organization before attacking” was something that was certainly seen during this weekend’s match with Juve, as the new man has worked on a fault with the midfield that was glaringly obvious and unaddressed during Pioli’s tenure. 

This could see Atalanta face a different prospect during the second leg, and one that will provide them with a stern test indeed. Neutrals will still see two sides that love to attack and pour forward at every given opportunity, but Fiorentina now have a stable midfield base from which to build upon.


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

First Half Own Goal Gives D.C. United Huge Victory Over Portland Timbers

In 90 minutes of rain, D.C. United emerged victorious in the Pacific Northwest, benefitting from an own goal in a 1-0 win against the Portland Timbers. Bill Tuiloma knocked in Ulises Segura's cross in the 25th minute, giving United their second consecutive win, both of which came away from the friendly confines at Audi Field. The win elevated the Black-and-Red to fourth place in the Eastern Conference, a position that could change depending on other results on Sunday.

D.C. United In Position To Solidify Playoff Position With PDX Trip

After two weeks off for the international break, D.C. United are back in action on Sunday afternoon as they travel cross-country to take on the Portland Timbers. A win could see the Black-and-Red vault back into fourth place in the Eastern Conference after they were surpassed midweek by Toronto FC, who moved into fourth on the goal differential tiebreaker. Both teams currently occupy a playoff spot at the moment but need a win to cement their standing.

4 Notes From The Opening Rounds Of The Concacaf Nations League

The opening two rounds of the Concacaf Nations League are in the books, and we now have a clearer picture of which nations might punch their tickets to bigger and better things or tumble down into a lower league. 

Final 4 Weeks Of MLS Season Should Provide Plenty Of Drama

With the new schedule this year, Major League Soccer has a couple more sprints before the finish of the 2019 season. With the new playoff schedule, the second season is much shorter this year, after having to deal with the November international window smack dab in the middle of the playoffs. This year the playoffs are sandwiched between the October and November FIFA windows, which will help produce an MLS Cup winner in a whirlwind of a playoff schedule.

The Gap Between US & Mexico Is Widening On The International Stage

Rewind the tape to last September, when the USA and Mexico faced off in a friendly in Nashville. Tyler Adams helped the USMNT grab a 1-0 victory under the guidance of interim manager Dave Sarachan. What might be most memorable from that game, though, was the towering center back Matt Miazga reminding Mexican youngster Diego Lainez just how much shorter the then 18-year-old was than Miazga.

Trinidad & Tobago Struggle In Opening Rounds Of Concacaf Nations League

Though it may have been just a consolation prize considering their last-place finish in the Hex, Trinidad & Tobago’s shocking win over the United States at the tail end of 2017 was ample reason for the small nation to celebrate. 

4 Games Left To Decide D.C. United's MLS Playoff Standing

The last time D.C. United took the field in a competitive MLS game, they did their playoff chances a world of good. In a crucial showdown against the Montreal Impact on August 31, the Black-and-Red repeatedly punched their opponents in the mouth over the first 45 minutes of the game, picking up a 3-0 win that massively helped ease the pressure on a playoff race that was rapidly tightening up.

Concaclusions, Ep. 1: Nations League Matchday 1 & Mexico Dominate USA

null

From clutch finishes to a surprise resignation, the last week of Concacaf action featured just about everything imaginable as the inaugural Nations League is now underway. Away from the opening round of the tournament, Mexico were busy flexing their muscles in front of a rain-soaked crowd at MetLife Stadium. 

The Favorites Roll, Curaçao Narrowly Beats Haiti & More From Days 2 & 3

null

The past two days of the Concacaf Nations League has provided plenty of drama, decisive results, and world-class goals for everyone to enjoy. With games across all three leagues in the competition, some storylines are already beginning to play out throughout the competition, as we move on to the second match day, beginning on Monday.

Unexpected Concacaf Twist: Gustavo Matosas Stepping Down Because Of Boredom

The Concacaf Nations League began play this week and is sure to provide plenty of drama on the field over the next couple of months. Countries are vying to move to the semifinal round, or avoid relegation, or even jump up a league through promotion. There's always some element of unpredictability in these games, leading to shock results and standout performances from unheralded players.