9/17/18 Champ League Tues/Wed, CHS Ladies Pack the House Fri Night 9/21 – Free Admin with Jersey, Indy 11 home 9/26


Carmel High School

The 4th ranked Carmel High Girls face #3 Noblesville tonight away and #19 Brebeuf Thurs and Zionsville Sat at home at Murray Stadium all at 7 pm.  Saturday night 9/21 is PACK THE HOUSE NIGHT- SENIOR NIGHT.  FREE ADMISSION if you wear your Carmel FC or Carmel Dad’s Club Jersey! 

chs_packhouse922

Champions League Group Stages

So Champions League group stages are back –not sure yet how the heck to watch the games.  First things first – find TNT on the your Cable because that is the channel that will be carrying Champions League this season unfortunately.  As much as folks complained about Fox Sports coverage – wait till you see TNT’s coverage.  They are running 30 minute pregame and post game shows – with Tim Howard and Stu Holden and others but man the production coverage is ah interesting.  Anyway the new 1 pm games are welcome as we’ll get to see 1 game at 1 pm and the other at  3 pm this year rather than having all the games kickoff at 2:45 pm on 2 channels.  Now the catch is TNT is only going to show 1 game at a time on TV – (I have no idea how to watch the 2nd game – Univision online maybe?  I will update you if I figure it out this week). Meanwhile we do get some beautiful games this week Tues gives us Liverpool hosting PSG at 3 pm on TNT, while Monico travels to Atletico.  Barcelona will host PSV on TNT at 1 pm Tues, while Wednesday gives us defending Champs Real Madrid vs Roma on TNT at 3 pm while Valencia hosts Juve.

Indy 11

The Eleven will be on the road Saturday at 2nd place Pittsburg at 7 pm on ESPN+ before returning home Wed night, Sept 26 vs the Tampa Bay Rowdies as the 11 present Faith and Family night. and of course discount tickets below $15 are available Click here for Discount Tickets for the Game and enter 2018 INDY as the promo code.   Just 2 home games left before the playoff so get plans to catch a game before the playoffs get underway.  

MLS

Former MLS Champion Toronto FC will take aim at Mexico’s Liga MX Champion Tigres in Wednesday Night’s Campeones Cup game at 8:15 on ESPN2.

GAMES ON TV

Tues, Sept 18  

1 pm TNT                          Barcelona v PSV

1 pm                                    Inter vs Tottenham

3 pm TNT                            Liverpool vs PSG

3 pm                                    Monico vs Atletico Madrid

Weds, Sept 19  

1 pm TNT                          Ajax vs AEK Athens  

1 pm                                    Man City vs Olympique Lyonnais  

3 pm TNT                           Real Madrid vs Roma  

3 pm                                    Valencia vs Juventus  

8:15 pm ESPN2                  Toronto vs Tigres Campeones Cup 

Sat, Sept 22     

7:30 am NBCSN            Fulham vs Watford  

9:30 am FS 1                  Hoffenheim vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

10 am NBCSN                Liverpool vs Southampton  

12:30 pm NBC               Brighton vs Tottenham

12:30 pm beIN Sport    Gatafe vs Atletico Madrid

12:30 pm Fox Soccer  Schalke (McKinney) vs Bayern Munich

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Espanol vs Real Madrid

7:30 pm ESPN+            Columbus Crew vs Colorado

7 pm eSPN+                    Pittsburg vs Indy 11

Sun, Sept 23     

8:30 am NBCSN            West Ham vs Chelsea  

9:30 am FS 1                  Bayern Leverkusen vs Mainz

11 am NBCSN                 Arsenal vs Everton

12 noon FS1                   Frankfurt vs RB Leipzig

1 pm ESPN                       Philly Union vs Sporting KC

2:45 pm beinSport    Barcelona vs Girona

7 pm FS1                           LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders

7 pm ESPN+                    Vancuover vs Dallas (Matt Hedges)

Weds, Sept 26  

7 pm myIndytv             Indy 11 vs Tampa Bay Rowdies

8:30 pm

8 pm ESPN+                    DC United vs Min United

Thurs, Oct 11

7:30 pm FSI                     USA vs Colombia (Tampa)

Thurs, Nov 15

3 pm ESPN2                    England vs USA (Wembley)

Sat, Nov 20

3 pm ESPN2                    Italy vs USMNT

Indy 11 Game Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

EPL Schedule

Champions League

US Christian Pulisic due back for Dortmund Champions League Clash Tues

Champions League Questions

Can Real Madrid win without Renaldo?

Rest Harry Kane for Tottenham vs Inter Milan – Are You Crazy?

Liverpool Skip UCL to Win the EPL – No Way Says Gary Neville – We are Contenders for Both

Buffon Travels with PSG Tim Weah Stays home however in clash with Liverpool Tues 3 pm

Klopp Defends Neymar Dives

Renaldo Finally Scores Goals for Juve

Gareth Bale – Anger fueled UCL Final Bike in Final last Year

Champions League Times Change

MLS Campeones Cup on ESPN2

Tigres, Toronto release Campeones Cup squads

Toronto’s Vazquez: Tigres are best team in Mexico

TFC want to show in Campeones Cup CCL run no fluke

Long-term Campeones Cup broadcast deal signed

Warshaw: Campeones Cup TFC’s chance to redeem 2018

Seltzer: The top 10 Liga MX vs. MLS encounters

Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic to return for Champions League clash

4:21 AM ETStephan UersfeldGermany correspondent

United States international Christian Pulisic is set to return to Borussia Dortmund’s squad for their Champions League match at Club Brugge.Pulisic is set to return to the BVB squad after missing the last two league matches with muscular problems, having last played in the 4-1 win over RB Leipzig on Aug 26.The 19-year-old will make his 100th senior Dortmund appearance on Tuesday if selected.Having started their Bundesliga campaign with two wins and one draw, Dortmund will look to return to winning ways in Champions League, where they have not won since a 4-0 victory over Benfica on March 8, 2017.But they will be without forward Paco Alcacer and midfielder Thomas Delaney.When departing for Brugge early on Monday, Dortmund were without Alcacer — who scored on his debut for the club on Friday, but he also picked up a muscle injury — and Delaney, who is also nursing a minor injury.

Champions League questions: Can Madrid win without Ronaldo? Can Juventus win with him?

From a neutrals point of view, the FC panel feel the 2018/19 Champions League group stage will be full of mouth-watering fixtures. (5:09)

11:59 AM ETMichael CoxESPN.com writer

  • FacebookThe Champions League group stage begins with 31 teams attempting to deny Real Madrid a fourth straight triumph. All of the main contenders have questions to answer, so we asked Michael Cox to look at one key issue for each of the likely challengers.

CAN GARETH BALE COMPENSATE FOR LOSS OF RENALDO

The major surprise from the European Cup holders’ summer was not that Real Madrid sold Cristiano Ronaldo, but that they did not really replace him. Kylian Mbappe, Eden Hazard and Neymar seemed the obvious choices, but instead Madrid are taking the very un-Real approach of expecting others to step up. Fortunately, there is certainly the potential within the ranks for individual development.Gareth Bale will relish the opportunity to become the main man, while Karim Benzema can focus on scoring himself rather than teeing up Ronaldo and Marco Asensio is one of Europe’s most talented youngsters. Isco, meanwhile, might become a key tactical weapon rather than flitting around, almost separated from the tactical system. Ultimately, though, Ronaldo scored a goal a game, so every attacker must improve his goal return to compensate.

DOES RONALDO AFFECT JUVES TACTICAL DISCIPLINE ?

Juventus have regularly reached the latter stages of the Champions League in recent years and were beaten finalists in 2015 and 2017. Their advantage over every other side in the competition is their tactical acumen: their defensive ability combined with the flexibility that comes naturally to Italian sides. But will the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo affect that?Ronaldo is not particularly keen on taking defensive responsibility and, while he is considered an outright centre-forward rather than a wide player, Juve boss Max Allegri has sometimes asked strikers to retreat into a deep block. That is a relatively unfamiliar role for the ex-Real Madrid man and so, while Juve have more star quality, they have perhaps lost some tactical harmony.

CAN LIVERPOOL COMPETE ON 2 FRONTS?

Liverpool played in May’s Champions League final and have improved this season but their status as Premier League title contenders means that Jurgen Klopp’s resources will be stretched, given the Reds will be desperate not to drop any points in their bid to dethrone Manchester City.That scenario could make it difficult to compete on two fronts, especially as their manager’s high-energy system drains legs and there is suspicion it increases the likelihood of injuries. Liverpool have a better squad — newcomers like Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho have been unable to break into the first XI — but it is notable that Klopp’s sides have usually mounted a serious challenge at home or abroad, rather than both.

WHAT SYSTEM DOES KOVAC USE WITH BAYERN MUNICH? 

We have become so accustomed to the same old names touring Europe’s major clubs as manager that, when one of the big sides takes a chance on the boss of a smaller side, it comes as something of a surprise.

Niko Kovac impressed while in charge of Eintracht Frankfurt — his parting gift in May was a German Cup final win over Bayern — but expectations are greater at Bayern in terms of tactics and man management. Ultimately, Kovac has not yet been tested against Europe’s elite and, as Carlo Ancelotti found last season, the Bayern dressing room can be difficult to win over.

WHO WILL DOMINATE BARCA MIDFIELD ??

It felt strange when Xavi Hernandez left Barcelona three years ago and it feels more odd now that his old mate Andres Iniesta has also departed. Although not always a regular last season, he often saved his best performances for big games, dictating the midfield passing with grace and patience.

Without him, Philippe Coutinho provides flashes of inspiration more than metronomic passing quality, while Ivan Rakitic always seems better playing a supporting role rather than leading the midfield. Sergio Busquets operates in a very different role to Iniesta, so it might be down to Lionel Messi to play deeper than ever, starting moves more than

CAN MAN CITY DEFEND WELL ENOUGH TO COMPETE IN UCL? 

Winning a knockout competition usually depends upon keeping key clean sheets along the way, but Manchester City have never looked entirely convincing at the back under Pep Guardiola. He has created a technical side that plays without a conventional defensive midfielder and has increasingly attempted to use technical centre-backs.

John Stones and Aymeric Laporte have been favoured this season, but Stones remains liable to mistakes and Laporte is a similar operator rather than a defensive rock. City conceded three goals against Liverpool in the first half hour of last season’s quarterfinal, essentially putting an end to their Champions League ambitions. They will need to be more solid this time around.

WILL MOURINHO EVEN BE HERE FOR KNOCKOUT STAGE FOR MAN U? 

The obvious question remains the most important factor in assessing Manchester United’s likely European performance. Mourinho’s “third-season syndrome” caused problems during his time at Real Madrid and Chelsea, and United’s form so far this season has been thoroughly unconvincing, with their manager still uncertain about his preferred combinations in midfield and in defence.Mourinho made his name in this competition, triumphing with Porto in 2004 and winning his second European Cup with Inter in 2010, but nine seasons since his last Champions League success, he must prove he can compete with Europe’s best and lead a club for a sustained period.

IS PSG TESTED ENOUGH IN ITALY TO COMPETE IN ULC?   

Not since Porto beat Monaco in 2004 has a club from outside Spain, England, Germany and Italy reached the Champions League final. PSG might seem the most likely to “break in” but, despite their riches, the French giants have not been able to progress even as far as the semifinals. A major reason for this is that they are simply not tested enough in Ligue 1, even if it does keep them physically fresh.PSG’s domestic games are not only too easy to sustain the requisite level for Champions League winners, but they are also entirely difficult tactically; they always dominate possession and usual have to break down a deep defence. In Europe, when pressed and outpassed and on the back foot, PSG can be exposed.

IS HARRY KANE TOO TIRED FOR TOTTENHAM? 

It seems bizarre to speculate about a possible decline in Harry Kane’s scoring ability, considering last season was his most prolific to date — he netted 41 goals in all competitions — and he won the World Cup’s Golden Boot in the summer. However, he looks less mobile and sharp and his shot totals have declined significantly: An average of almost five per game in last season’s Premier League has dropped to half that number.There is more to his game than goals and he has played a good supporting role for a strike partner with more energy: Raheem Sterling for England and Lucas Moura at club level. But Spurs have come to depend upon Kane’s prolific scoring ability and, if he does not find top form in the spring, it is difficult to imagine them going deep in the Champions League.

WHAT ROLE DOES GREIZMAN PLAY FOR ATLETICO MADRID  ? 

The nature of Antoine Griezmann’s decision about where to play this season left a bitter taste, especially given he chose to announce it in a video on social media, but the decision itself was a huge boost to Spanish and European football. Rather than becoming yet another big name at Barcelona, he remains the only true superstar at Atletico.

That is crucial for Diego Simeone’s side, an otherwise solid, brilliantly organised team that would lack individual magic without the French forward. Griezmann can play upfront alongside Diego Costa but has increasingly showed an ability to drop deep, orchestrate play and provide penetrative passes. That role might be more important in the Champions League, as Atletico attempt to break down tighter defences than they encounter in La Liga.

CAN ANCELOTTI HELP NAPOLI PLAY NOW THAT WE KNOW THEY ARE GOOD? 

Carlo Ancelotti essentially made his name by succeeding in European competition, taking Milan to two European Cup triumphs before winning another with Real Madrid. Indeed, his sides have often fared better in the Champions League than in domestic league play. However, in recent years Ancelotti’s overall tactical acumen has been questioned.Last season’s failure at Bayern Munich, from where he was sacked before the end of September, was particularly notable. His players felt that training sessions lacked the requisite intensity and complexity and there is a sense that Ancelotti remains a laissez-faire manager in an era that demands game plans that are more intricate. Napoli’s new manager is seeking to prove he has not been left behind.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino: ‘Crazy’ to rest Harry Kane against Inter Milan

9:43 AM ET

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has said it would be “crazy” not to play Harry Kane against Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.England striker Kane struggled to make an impact in Saturday’s Premier League home defeat to Liverpool but has denied that he is suffering from burnout after the World Cup.And Pochettino, speaking at a news conference ahead of the game at the San Siro, said Kane — who has scored twice in the Premier League this season — would be starting.”I think we would be crazy to think different. I don’t know what you expect from me, or what you think my answer should be,” he said.”He’s one of the best strikers in the world. I don’t care that he wasn’t great [against Liverpool]. He’s going to score goals and he’s going to perform in the way that we want and expect, no problem.”Pochettino said he did not feel Kane was struggling after the World Cup, adding: “If you say it’s only Harry, I don’t like it when people point the finger at some players.”It’s always collective and we need to help him, to give the ball in a better position for him. But it’s a collective thing, not just Harry.”It’s not a problem. Of course there is a challenge with nine players [having been] involved until the end of the World Cup, but I’m not going to complain.”When you win, you win. When you lose, yes of course you need to talk about different things, but I’m not worried.”We are going to win a lot of games. We have trust in the squad. Of course we need to improve, but we’re in a very good way.”Meanwhile, Inter boss Luciano Spalletti rejected suggestions that Kane looked tired, saying his movement is that of a striker at the top of his game.”No, I don’t agree,” Spalletti told a news conference when asked whether Kane appeared to be struggling. “We’ve watched Tottenham’s games and we saw him working hard in every situation. In terms of metres run, he has the numbers you’d expect from a strong striker.”Tottenham rely heavily on him because he’s someone who can drop short, but then often the move ends with a cross to him. He’s good at finding the players who run off him with his layoffs.”

Liverpool to skip the Champions League? No thanks, Gary Neville – we’re contenders

9:18 AM ETSteven KellyLiverpool blogger

Jurgen Klopp sounded as nonplussed as everyone else when asked how what he thought of Gary Neville’s theory regarding Liverpool’s strategy for the season.

The former Manchester United defender-turned pundit had suggested Liverpool should forget the Champions League, “kick it into touch” and focus all their energies on the Premier League. Such comments were ill-timed at best and provocative at worst — though many supporters assumed the latter since relations between Liverpool and United are always strained.Klopp simply asked how such a plan could even be activated. He also made a remark about it being something that could only be hatched up at a desk, not by somebody who actually has to do the job. Whether that was an indirect barb aimed at Neville’s failed attempt at coaching Valencia for four months, only the German can say for certain. But the reality for Klopp isn’t any less disconcerting.His first full season at Anfield ended with a top-four place, aided significantly by having no European commitments — unlike his main rivals.His second saw further progression. Liverpool remained in fourth spot for the Premier League but augmented that with a fine Champions League campaign that ended with defeat in the final.For Klopp’s third full season, it would be a big step backwards if Liverpool were to just focus on one competition, however prestigious.The club’s owners made their own statement with over £250 million spent on Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita, Alisson and others; if the team are to progress, there must be a proper title challenge as well as a long run in Europe.It’s obviously a monumental task, but there is no rational alternative. Football clubs, at this level anyway, must keep going forward. Treading water is no longer an option.Try telling those Liverpool fans packed into Anfield on Tuesday for the first group match against Paris Saint-Germain that it doesn’t matter, that three points against Southampton this Saturday were more important. You’d be laughed out of the ground.Was Neville’s idea ever a serious one? It could be taken as a criticism: that Liverpool don’t have the squad to compete on two major fronts. But the Reds’ European record is far superior to that of United — the one area where they still have bragging rights.Klopp taking it easy on the continent this season still wouldn’t help United though. Neville claims his days of “hating Scousers” — as the Old Trafford chant regularly contended — are over. But he freely admitted that Liverpool’s current quality wasn’t to his liking. The largely indignant reaction to his words have no doubt been music to Neville’s ears, particularly as there is every chance Liverpool might not make much progress in this year’s competition anyway.They’ve drawn a far stronger group than last year. Maribor were easily dispatched last time, while the top-seed ranking of Spartak Moscow felt more like a bureaucratic stipulation than a measure of quality. Liverpool proved that emphatically by thumping Russia’s champions 7-0. It was with the group’s other team, Sevilla, that Liverpool had their problems.This time, PSG’s star-studded forward line of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani are more than a match for Liverpool’s own breath-taking forward line. Napoli have been excellent for years, their quality helping Maurizio Sarri secure the coveted Chelsea job. Red Star Belgrade aren’t the same side that won the Champions League in 1991, but Serbia is certainly no easy place to go.Were Liverpool to fall at the first hurdle, they’d inevitably have to revise their approach like any other club. History isn’t on their side. Given straight entry into the Champions League group stage, they’ve failed on all three occasions to progress any further: 2002, 2009 and 2014.So far this season, one game a week has been manageable. Five wins out of five is proof of that. Now comes the hardest part of any season at the highest level. There’ll be two games a week for most of the next three months, followed by the traditional Christmas fixture overload.Far from capitulating and saving his best players for one competition, Klopp needs to juggle his squad judiciously and hope injuries are kept to a minimum. Sacrificing Europe couldn’t be done without making it obvious. Even if they finish third in their group, they’d still have to drop into the Europa League and fulfil those fixtures anyway.Ultimately Liverpool fans will be delighted their club is playing on the minds of rivals. Jose Mourinho’s insistence that Liverpool should be under pressure to challenge for the title was a transparent attempt to deflect from his own arduous circumstances. Has Neville suggested Manchester United should sacrifice Europe in order to give local rivals City a greater fight for the Premier LeagOscar Wilde once wrote “there’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about.” Liverpool are in a good place. Any unease in their rivals is resounding proof of that.

Gianluigi Buffon travels but US Timothy Weah out of PSG squad for Liverpool clash

play

With Neymar and Kylian Mbappe watching from the stands, Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a simple win over Saint-Etienne at the Parc des Princes. (2:17)

11:22 AM ETJonathan JohnsonPSG correspondent

Experienced Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has travelled with his teammates to Liverpool for Tuesday’s opening Champions League Group C encounter despite the first of a three-match suspension for the Italian legend.Buffon, 40, and compatriot Marco Verratti are both banned for the Anfield clash with last season’s beaten finalists because of suspensions incurred last campaign, while Dani Alves and Layvin Kurzawa are both out injured — and U.S. international Timothy Weah is not included.PSG coach Thomas Tuchel is able to call on star attacking trio Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar, while captain Thiago Silva has shaken off a knock from last week’s home win over Saint-Etienne to be present in the squad and Lassana Diarra is also there.

Youth academy graduate Garissone Innocent has been drafted in to ensure that there is a third goalkeeper behind Alphonse Areola and Sebastien Cibois, while fellow homegrown gems Stanley N’Soki and Moussa Diaby have also made the cut. Summer signings Juan Bernat and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are in the group but unregistered Jese Rodriguez, and youth academy products Antoine Bernede, Colin Dagba and Kevin Rimane miss out along with Weah.Without Buffon, Verratti, Alves and Kurzawa, Tuchel is far from at full strength, but the German manager should still be able to align a good starting XI against former Borussia Dortmund predecessor Jurgen Klopp.

Antoine Griezman: I am at the top with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe

ESPN FC’s Shaka Hislop wonders if Antoine Griezmann’s recent trophy success is enough to catapult him into the Ballon d’Or discussion. (3:59)

5:18 AM ETRobbie DunneReal Madrid blogger

Antoine Griezmann has said that although he is a different player to Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, he is “at the top” in football.Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann, a World Cup winner with France, is targeting the Ballon d’Or after the disappointment of not being nominated for FIFA’s The Best award.”There are different ways to look at football,” he told Diario AS. “It’s obvious that I’m a different player to Cristiano, Messi, Neymar or [Kylian] Mbappe.”I’m at the top but I can get better. I want to be the most complete I can be. I’m not going to score 50 goals, but I look to help in attack and work for the team.”Asked whether he was dining at the same table as Messi, he said: “Yes, I think so. But I know other players will emerge for sure. At that table, there are nice pictures I have, and I enjoy it there, but I know that I can get better.”Having turned down a move to Barcelona in the summer, Griezmann said he believed in the prospect of future success with Atletico.”Saying no to Barcelona shows Atletico’s greatness, [coach] Diego Simeone, my teammates,” he said.”If they were bad, I’d be gone. But I have confidence in Simeone, in the club and in my teammates. I want to make them grow and I have confidence in them to make me grow.”We have helped each other a lot and everything is very positive so that this keeps improving.”Griezmann missed out on nomination for The Best award despite his World Cup and Europa League wins and said it was a shame that no France player had made the list.”There’s nothing we can do,” he said. “It’s FIFA’s award and it’s a pity that there were no World Cup winners nominated. We had a great World Cup and the whole team deserved an award.”I think the Ballon d’Or has more prestige, more history. I have it in the back of my head. I have three months to give everything, and then we’ll see what happens.” Griezmann has scored just once for Atleti this season as they have taken only five points from 12 in their worst start under Simeone, but after suffering a tough period last year he said he believed things could turn.”I was quite bad,” he said. “I don’t know, I saw everything very bad. I was thinking that it was everyone else’s fault and I didn’t feel good.”When I’m not feeling good off the field, on the field I’m worse too. But with the help of Simeone, my teammates, Godin, who I spent a lot of time with, and with the help of my partner…we turned it around.”Diego Costa arrived, who helped me on the field, and it got better from January until now.”Griezmann added that Simeone “asks me to play between the lines and not to drop too deep, but sometimes I see the team needs a pausa [someone to slow things down], and I will drop in that case.”When I see my teammates defending, I don’t say to myself that I will stay up front and they’ll bring the ball up to me. I prefer to help for the good of the team.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp defends Neymar over dive claims before PSG game

9:11 AM ETGlenn PriceLiverpool correspondent

LIVERPOOL — Jurgen Klopp has defended Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar over accusations he goes to ground too easily.Neymar drew widespread criticism for his theatrics during this summer’s World Cup, with the Brazilian later admitting he sometimes exaggerated his reactions.But speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League encounter with PSG on Tuesday night, Klopp said Neymar is well within his right to defend himself when targeted by opponents.”When I saw a few things at the World Cup, I know people were talking about that when it looked like he made a bit more of situations,” Klopp told a news conference on Monday. “It was, for me, a completely a normal reaction because players are really going for him. That’s the truth.”He wants to protect himself and I understand that as well. If an opponent gets a yellow card then he’s much closer to a red card. So I see it from that perspective.”I thought it’s smart that he saves himself. He doesn’t have to be worried because we don’t go for him against us. We play football and we want to win the ball.”We don’t try to act in these kind of things. We try to avoid passes to him and him winning challenges and all that stuff, which is a big job to do, to be honest. I’m not sure if it is even possible to avoid his quality 100 percent. I’m pretty sure it’s not.”At the World Cup, he was not fit. He already had an injury and everybody could see that, but nobody asked him. When he played he really tried to take responsibility to play for his country [while] not being fit. Belgium played an outstanding game against Brazil, but if Neymar is fit then Brazil wins it. That’s how it is. He was injured and he had to save himself a bit. That’s all.”I don’t think he’s a person who wants to act because if you are like that then you cannot play the football he plays.”I don’t think about these kind of things, to be honest. He got rested at the weekend so he will be 100 percent fresh for us. He’s not injured anymore so we will see the full package of Neymar — the football package. We still have to cope with that and that’s what we try to do.”Jordan Henderson, meanwhile, stressed that Neymar’s perceived diving has not been part of Liverpool’s preparation for the Group C opener.”That’s not something we’re really thinking about, to be honest,” the Liverpool captain said. “Neymar’s a world-class player and a tough opponent.”I’m sure it’ll be difficult as a team for us to stop him but we’re capable of stopping him and the rest of the team because we’ve proved that against top players before.”He obviously gets kicked a lot, so he needs to try and use it as best as he can. For us, we just need to treat it as a normal game. He’s just one of many good players in the team. It won’t just have to be him, we’ve got to stop the whole team, which will be difficult. But we’re a good team as well and we can certainly cause them problems.”Meanwhile, Roberto Firmino remains a doubt for Liverpool’s European opener with the eye injury he sustained against Tottenham Hotspur on the weekend.Hospital examinations confirmed Firmino suffered an abrasion of the eye after being caught by Spurs’ Jan Vertonghen in the second half at Wembley.”If we play today, no chance,” Klopp said. “But we all hope that he has a chance for tomorrow.”First of all, that’s good news that it will be close. I think everybody who saw the picture after the game was shocked.”We had first contact with him after he was in hospital and that was a big relief for all of us.”It’s painful, nobody wants to have that, nobody needs that. He will be fine — we only don’t know exactly when. It’s another 30 hours until the game, so we

Champions League 2018-19 – Group A Fixtures

Fixtures — Champions League

Atletico Madrid won the Europa League against Marseille last season after crashing out of the Champions League group stage and Diego Simeone’s side will be eager to emerge as a strong force in the competition.The Liga side have typically done well in past years to go far in the competition, but they’ve fallen to city rivals Real Madrid at the final stage twice.Borussia Dortmund have been handed a particularly unfavourable draw once again, as they too were eliminated in the group phase last year – unable to overcome the likes of eventual winners Real as well as Tottenham, who ended up as table-toppers.Club Brugge and Monaco are underdogs in this year’s Group A though they are two sides not to be underestimated. The French side finished second in their domestic league last season, only one spot behind the force that is Paris Saint-Germain.

Champions League 2018-19 – Group A Squads

Atletico Madrid:  Adan, Jan Oblak; Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, Santiago Arias, Stefan Savic, Juanfran, Lucas Hernandez, Jose Maria Gimenez; Thomas Partey, Jorge Koke, Saul Niguez, Thomas Lemar, Rodrigo Rodri, Gelson Martins, Vitolo, Cristian Rodriguez; Antoine Griezmann, Nikola Kalinic, Angel Correa, Diego Costa, Dario Poveda, Borja Garces, Victor Mollejo

Borussia Dortmund:  Roman Burki, Marin Hitz; Dan-Axel Zagadou, Abdou Diallo, Achraf Hakimi, Raphael Guerreiro, Jeremy Toljan, Manuel Akanji, Lukasz Piszczek, Marcel Schmelzer, Julian Weigl, Omer Toprak; Thomas Delaney, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Sergio Gomez, Mahmoud Dahoud, Christian Pulisic, Shinji Kagawa, Axel Witsel, Jacob Bruun Larsen; Jadon Sancho, Francisco Paco Alcacer, Maximilian Philipp, Marius Wolf

Monaco:  Daniel Subasic, Diego Benaglio, Loic Badiashile; Antonio Barreca, Jemersen, Djibril Sidibe, Julien Serrano, Andrea Raggi, Kamil Glik, Benoit Badiashile Mukinayi, Amamy Toure, Benjamin Henrichs, Yannis N’Gakoutou-Yapende, Jean Eudes Aholou, Kevin N’Doram, Marcos Paul Rony Lopes, Youri Telemans, Adama Traore, Youssef Ait Bennasser, Aleksandr Golovin, Nacer Chadli, Samuel Grandsir, Han-Noah Massengo, Tristan Muyumba; Radamel Falcao, Stevan Jovetic, Jordi Mboula, Pietro Pellegri, Moussa Sylla, Sofiane Diop, Gobe Gouano

Club Brugge:  Karlo Letica, Ethan Horvath; Luan Peres, Benoit Poulain, Matej Mitrovic, Dion Cools, Stefano Denswil, Saulo DeCarli, Brandon Mechele, Clinton Mata, Sofyan Amrabat, Krepin Diatta, Siebe Schrijvers, Marvelous Nakamba, Thibault Vlietinck, Hans Vanaken, Ruud Vormer, Mats Rits, Arnaut Groeneveld; Wesley, Jelle Vossen, Rezaei Kaveh, Emmanuel Bonaventure

Toronto FC take aim at Tigres, Campeones Cup: “It’s a game we’ve earned”

September 17, 201810:30AM EDTJames GrossiContributor

TORONTO – Fresh off extending their playoff hopes for another week with a rollicking 5-3 home winover the LA Galaxy on Saturday night at BMO Field, the same questions remain for Greg Vanney as Toronto FC prepare for a cup final on Wednesday night.Tigres UANL come to town midweek for the inaugural edition of the Campeones Cup, a match that pits the MLS Cup champions against the Campeon de Campeones from Liga MX (8:15 pm ET | ESPN2, Univision in USA; TSN, TVAS in Canada).“That’s the million-dollar question,” said Vanney post-match about his team selection. “We’ll have some rotation. [But] there is still a trophy on the line, we still want to go for it; it’s a home game. We’ll do so understanding that we have an important game on Saturday as well.”Toronto’s league push for survival continues this weekend with a tricky away fixture against the New York Red Bulls (Saturday, 5 pm ET | TSN –        full TV and streaming info).“This is an important game, for the league and our fans,” added Vanney of Campeones Cup. “This is a cup that is going to become important over the years.”That it falls in such a busy, crucial spell does not distract from the glistening trophy that was displayed on the touchlines at halftime and around BMO Field on Saturday.“It’s tough, but it’s an important fixture,” said Alex Bono. “Another chance to add hardware to our trophy case. For us, that’s been special – we’ve been really good at doing that the last few years. When there is an opportunity to add a trophy, we’ve taken advantage of that. It’s a good opportunity, a unique opportunity, we’ll go into it trying to take a trophy home.”Under Vanney’s tenure, TFC have won an MLS Cup, a Supporters’ Shield, two Eastern Conference Championships and three Voyageurs Cups. They were penalty-kick shootouts away from winning the Concacaf Champions League in April, and another MLS Cup in 2016.“It’s a game that we’ve earned with everything that we put into last year,” said Michael Bradley. “Around the world these types of games are big games, prestigious games, games where the spotlight comes on bright. We’re very much looking forward to it.“It’s a chance to lift another trophy,” he added. “It’s a very good team, we know them. We’re going to recover and get ready for an exciting game.”With the focus on the league, Vanney has not invested much time on scouting Tigres, a side with whom Toronto played two epic legs in the CCL quarterfinals in March.“I haven’t much, in terms of their performances or their results,” said Vanney. “I looked at their roster just to see which guys were back.“They certainly didn’t get any worse and added a couple more guys that will probably make them better,” he observed. “They’re going to be as strong, and deeper, than they were when we faced them six months ago. It will be interesting.”To keep their postseason aspirations alive, Bradley said that Toronto have adopted a “knockout mentality.” That could serve them well on Wednesday.And both sides will come in with a chip on their shoulder: Tigres for having been knocked out of CCL by TFC, and Toronto with how the shootout ended in Guadalajara and how their season has gone since.“It’s going to be a tough game,” said Jonathan Osorio, the 2018 CCL Golden Boot winner. “It’s the first time that this cup has happened. It’s very exciting for both leagues, very good for North America. It’s going to be a game both teams are going to want. Every team plays to win trophies; this is another trophy.“Tigres has been a great team for the last few years now,” he added. “Those two games against them were very tough, very intense, high-tempo games. I don’t expect anything different when we play them in the Campeones Cup.”

 

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9/14/18 US Youngsters beats Mexico, Indy 11 lose play Sat , Liverpool @ Spurs Sat, Champ League Tues/Wed, CHS Girls Pack the House Fri 9/22 Free Admin with Uni

CHS

The 4th ranked Carmel High Girls face #3 Noblesville 9/17 away and #19 Brebeuf Thurs and Zionsville Sat at home at Murray Stadium all at 7 pm. Saturday night is PACK THE HOUSE NIGHT- SENIOR NIGHTFree admission if you wear your Carmel FC or Carmel Dad’s Club Jersey!! Just $5 for adults.

USA vs Mexico

So the US beat Mexico for the first time in a while at home in Nashville on Sept 11.  I thought the US military presence and the 9/11 tribute along with the tribute to Dempsey were cool.  The Game – well this was Mexico’s Youngsters vs the US youngsters and honestly it was a very even game.  I thought Mexico was a little better in the 1st half as caretaker manager Dave Sarachan started 4 defensive mids in the game.  Don’t ask me what the heck the proves – seriously 4 d-mids in the midfield?  Obviously it was a cluster on disorganization until Weston McKinney of Schalke got hurt (bruised knee-should be ok) and the US were forced to sub.  On came Julian Green and wham we shot 3 times in the last 8 minutes until the half.  After half Green came out as a forward running off Bobby Wood and things started to open up.  The combination of Mexico going down a man after a straight red card – and the insertion of natural left back Antonee Robinson for Leijah and everything changed.  Robinson served no fewer than 3 perfect crosses leading to the game winning goal for Tyler Adams in the 65th minute.  The US attack came alive with the man advantage and they should have scored another to give us that ever popular dos a cero finish.  Instead we got Uno a Cero – and of course any win over Mexico is a good thing anywhere, anytime!  Overall I thought the D looked good with Miazga cementing his spot on the back line while Carter Vickers also played well.  New Goalie Zach Steffan of Columbus made a mistake with a handball outside the box but overall he played very well and made some key saves.  Its definitely time to sign a new head coach – Sarachan has does a fine job but his personel decisions over the past few games has been CLUELESS.  4 Dmids vs Mexico?  Maybe vs Brazil but not Mexico?  We need to find other creative players besides Pulisic who can make things happen – playing 4 Dmids does nothing to help us do this?  I also would have like to have seen back-up GK ____ get a half of play.  Continued really weird decision by Sarachan just reminding us exactly why HE IS NOT THE GUY to take this program forward.  Hopefully that new US Coach decision will be made before the new International window in November.

EPL Huge Games

So 2 huge games between contenders this weekend as League Leaders and undefeated Liverpool and Mo Salah and Mane travel to face Tottenham and Harry Kane on Saturday at 7 am on NBCSN.  CNBC gives us Chelsea hosting Cardiff City at 10 am, while Man City will host Fulham at 10 on NBCSN before surprisingly undefeated Watford will host Man United at 12:30 pm on NBC.  Nothing worth watching Sunday.

Champions League Group Stages Sort-of

So Champions League group stages are back – Unfortunately I don’t think you can see most of the games.  Yes TNT outbid Fox Sports and will officially carry like 2 games a day only 1 at a time however.  So while the rest of the World gets to chose from Barcelona and Messi or Tottenham and Harry Kane Tuesday at 1 pm  – we in the US will get just the Barcelona vs PSV game on Tues on TNT.  Yes it seems after getting Champ League and Europa League soccer for the last few years on cable TV on Fox 1 & 2 and Fox Soccer – we in the US now get screwed unless you are willing to pony up and pay for ONLINE only coverage.  Makes me sick and I am not sure I will be promoting these games as much anymore.  In a good way Champions League has added 1 pm games to the 3 pm line-up which gives us 2 good games per day – unfortunately there are 3 good games on at 3 pm and 2 at 1 pm– good luck watching them.  I will see if any bars are showing the other games and let you know as watching my precious Atletico Madrid vs Monaco is going to have me teed off on Tuesday I assume.  Interesting the rumors amid Spain’s La Liga statement they may bring a regular league game to Miami next year that the Champions League Final might come to New York City in 2021.

Indy 11

Our Boys in Blue at 12-9-8 have fallen to 5th overall in the USL with their1st loss in 9 matches this on the road at Penn 0-1 Wednesday night.  The Eleven will be on the road Saturday at the 2nd place Pitts7 pm on ESPN+ before returning home Wed night, Sept 26 vs the Tampa Bay Rowdies as the 11 present Faith and Family night. and of course discount tickets below $15 are available Click here for Discount Tickets for the Game and enter 2018 INDY as the promo code.   Just 2 home games left before the playoff so get plans to catch a game before the playoffs get underway.  

GAMES ON TV

Fri, Sept 14 

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1    Dortmund (Pulisic)  vs Frankfort

2:45 pm beIN Sport  PSG (Weah) vs St Etienne

Sat, Sept 15     

7 am beIN Sport      Atletico Madrid (Greisman) vs Eibar)

7:30 am NBCSN     Tottenham vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS 1          Bayern Munich vs Bayern Leverkusen

10:15 am beIN Sport  Real Sociadad vs Barcelona

10 am CNBC            Chelsea vs Cardiff City

10 am NBCSN         Man City vs Fulham  

12:30 pm NBC               Watford vs Man United 

12:30 pm Fox Soccer  Mgladbach (Johnson) vs Schalke (McKinney)

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Athletic Club vs Real Madrid

3:30 pm Univision      Colorado vs Atlanta United

7 pm ESPN+                    Toronto vs LA Galaxy

7 pm eSPN+                    Pittsburg vs Indy 11

Sun, Sept 16     

8:30 am NBCSN      Wolverhampton vs Burnley

9 am ESPN+            Juve vs Sassuolo

9:30 am FS 1           Werder Bremen vs Numberg

11 pm NBCSN                Everton vs West Ham United

1 pm ESPN                       DC United (Rooney) vs NYRB

5 pm FS1                           Chicago Fire vs Orlando City

Tues, Sept 18  

1 pm TNT                          Barcelona v PSV

1 pm                                    Inter vs Tottenham

3 pm TNT                           Liverpool vs PSG

3 pm                                    Monico vs Atletico Madrid

Weds, Sept 19  

1 pm TNT                          Ajax vs AEK Athens  

1 pm                                    Man City vs Olympique Lyonnais  

3 pm TNT                          Real Madrid vs Roma  

3 pm                                    Valencia vs Juventus  

Weds, Sept 26  

7 pm myIndytv             Indy 11 vs Tampa Bay Rowdies

8 pm ESPN+                    DC United vs Min United

Thurs, Oct 11

7:30 pm FSI                     USA vs Colombia (Tampa)

Thurs, Nov 15

3 pm ESPN2                    England vs USA (Wembley)

Sat, Nov 20

3 pm ESPN2                    Italy vs USMNT

Indy 11 Game Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

EPL Schedule

USA

US Beats Mexico 1-0 3 points Arch Bell ESPNFC

US Boss praises Tyler Adams in Victory over Mexico Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Player Ratings – Jason Davis ESPNFC

Growth of Adams and Miazga and Rivalry with Mexico offsets Dull Play – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Mexico lost Focus after Miazga mocking of Lainez

US played a Dirty Game – Says Mexico – ESPNFC

Mexico vs US 5 minutes – Highlights

Mexico Player Ratings

Weston McKinney leaves game with Knee Sprain

Pulisic Probably out for Frankfurt game for Dortmund

WORLD & EPL

W2W4 – EPL This Weekend

Expect Goals in Battle of Klopp Liverpool vs Pochettino Spurs

Champions League Draw

Tough Draws for EPL Teams – ESPNFC

Liverpool and PSG have tough draw with Napoli in the Group

Liverpool will start Alisson in Goal for Champs League

Renaldo should help Juve win Champs League

Champions League Group Stages Start Tues/Wed Fantasy Picks

Usain Bolt Would be a Good Defender

Champions League Final in NY 2021??

Tues, Sept 18  

1 pm TNT                          Barcelona v PSV

1 pm                                    Inter vs Tottenham

3 pm TNT                         Liverpool vs PSG

3 pm                                    Monico vs Atletico Madrid

Weds, Sept 19  

1 pm TNT                          Ajax vs AEK Athens  

1 pm                                    Man City vs Olympique Lyonnais  

3 pm TNT                          Real Madrid vs Roma  

3 pm                                    Valencia vs Juventus  

Goalies

Great Saves during the International Break Areola, Donarumma, DeGea,

France vs Germany GK Areola or Neuer?

US GK Steffen vs Brazil saved by Miazga

US GK Zach Steffen Great Saves vs France

Zach Steffen Top GK for MLS Columbus Crew

EPL Saves of the Week 3  Foster, Putricio

Hart Saves PK for WestHam

Save of the Week – National Womens SL –

Saves of the Week – USL

MLS Save

Indy 11

Indy 11 lose 0-1 at Penn

Forward Eugene Starikov on USL Team of Week

Indy 11 Flow the Goals in Pounding of Red Bulls – Bloodyshambles

IIndy 11 Discount Tickets for 9/26 Game!   (Code 2018Indy)

Indy 11 Game Schedule

USL League Standings

Soccer Saturday – Radio Show 9-10 am on 1070 the Fan

Parking passes at Gate10  Events is $11 with advance purchase. $15 day of.  Save $$$ by buying early.

Get Your Tickets to be with the BYB

The Boys in Blue get a week-long rest after a 22-day, 7 game stretch. The BYB will be following the team for two away games this month. For those who cheer the team on from Indiana, there will be watch parties and home games to get your beautiful game fix.  9/26 v Tampa Bay Rowdies (7pm) is Faith & Family Night. Don’t wait, get your BYBTIX today.  It is also the evening for us to celebrate the original live mascot, Loki/Victorio. Watch for more information as the date approaches.
9/22 Sat 7 pm watch party v Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Union Jack in Broad Ripple ~watch for the BYB as we drown out the Puddle Poodle fans with our traveling crew.

9/26 Wed 7 pm Indy 11 vs Tampa Bay Rowdies Home

indy11926game

Click here for Discount Tickets for the Game and enter 2018 INDY as the promo code.

Premier League W2W4: Can Liverpool win at Spurs? Will Watford stun Man United?

3:14 AM ETNick MillerESPN.com writer

Ahead of each round of fixtures in the Premier League, W2W4 looks at the main storylines to keep an eye on.

  1. Liverpool can prove just how much they’ve improved

It’s always difficult to get a handle on the truth when teams win games while not playing especially well. Do we assume that those results were semi-flukes and that a crash is coming? Or is it a sign that if they can collect maximum points without reaching their own maximum, then the rest of the league had better watch out? It’s not that Liverpool have been bad in their four fixtures so far, simply that there’s been a strong sense there is plenty more to come from them.The trip to Tottenham at the weekend obviously represents their toughest test of the season so far, but it’s also a useful barometer for how much the Reds have improved on last term’s biggest weakness: away games at their immediate rivals. It’s just over a year since they were battered 5-0 at Manchester City, and around 11 months from the day Spurs took them apart at Wembley. Last season Liverpool lost five league games, and four of them were against rivals (add the 2-1 loss at Manchester United and the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to the list).In theory, everything is there. Liverpool now have arguably the best defence in the Premier League (assuming Alisson’s aberration against Leicester last time out was merely that) and a midfield improved by Naby Keita and eventually Fabinho, while that whirling, twirling, goalscoring forward line is still in place. Saturday is the time to turn theory into reality, and prove that those first four games have merely been them warming up.

  1. What’s eating Harry Kane? Is anything eating Harry Kane?

It’s been a weird six months or so for Harry Kane. Over most of that spell, Kane has looked sluggish, often off the pace, seemingly a man either playing through an injury or an extended period of bad form. But in that time, he’s won the Golden Boot at the World Cup, bagged two in Tottenham’s first four matches, dismissed the admittedly slightly silly notion of an “August curse” with a goal against Fulham and scored at Old Trafford.But he undoubtedly doesn’t look himself. The problem isn’t fatigue, according to Mauricio Pochettino anyway. “We know Harry Kane well and have worked with him the last more than four years, and we know this is not a situation that worries us,” he said on Thursday. So who knows what the problem really is. Who knows if there is actually a problem. What we do know is that if he excels against that brilliant Liverpool back five on Saturday, the problem can’t be that big.

  1. Would Watford beating United even be an upset?

It’s easy to forget that Watford were heading for relegation when Javi Gracia arrived in January. Now, having avoided the drop comfortably, they go into Saturday’s game against Manchester United with a perfect record from four games, and among the finest compliments that could be paid to Watford and Gracia is that it probably wouldn’t register as an upset if they won. Last weekend’s win at Burnley will convince precisely nobody that things are fine and dandy at United, Jose Mourinho’s side still looking barely anything like a side that could challenge for the league title. Throw their defeat at Vicarage Road last season in alongside Watford’s fine form, and you’ve got the strong potential for this to be an implausible fifth win from five for Gracia’s men.

  1. Will Burnley’s slow start become a crisis?

This week Joe Hart insisted there is more to come from Burnley. There had better be, really — otherwise this is going to be a very long season ahead for Sean Dyche’s men, who have gained just a single point from their four games so far. Last season, a game against a newly promoted side might have looked appetising for the more established Clarets, but only one of them and this weekend’s opponents Wolves have looked like they belong in the top flight so far this season.The distraction of the Europa League was the reason that many thought Burnley might struggle, but with that out of the picture and a week or so to breathe during the international break, Dyche’s side now have no excuses. Should they lose to Wolves, everyone will wake up to the potential season of struggle at Turf Moor.

  1. The latest step towards VAR is taken

The most interesting part of this weekend might not happen on the pitch, but rather in a windowless room somewhere in west London. For the first time in the Premier League, video assistant referees will be trialled in five games on Saturday to fully test whether the system can be made to work in concurrent games, as opposed the single cup matches for which it has been used in England so far.This is most certainly a dry run, because there will be no contact between the men watching the Premier League’s bank of VAR monitors and anyone at any of the grounds. Indeed, one wonders just how much use the trial will be, given that one of VAR’s key components is how it meshes with the officials at the games. But this feels like a box-ticking exercise, necessary admin on the path towards VAR being implemented in all 380 Premier League games over a season. VAR is coming, whether we like it or not.

U.S. boss Dave Sarachan praises ‘winner’ Tyler Adams in victory vs. Mexico

1:02 AM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan hailed the contribution of midfielder Tyler Adams in leading his side to a 1-0 victory over archrival Mexico on Tuesday night.The New York Red Bulls midfielder scored the only goal, latching onto a low crossing pass from Antonee Robinson and side-footing home from 12 yards past Mexico keeper Hugo Gonzalez in the 71st minute. The goal came just four minutes after Mexico forward Angel Zaldivar was sent off for a late tackle on U.S. midfielder Wil Trapp.”This kid’s a beast,” Sarachan said of Adams. “I mean, when you look at data and analytics and at the volume of work he does in 90 minutes … you guys on the outside see a good part of it, but the data backs it up. He’s just a winner, this kid.”The goal was Adams’ first at the international level and came in just his seventh international appearance. But the 19-year-old has been making an impression on Sarachan in all facets of his game.”I think I’ve been really pleased in terms of [Adams’] growth with the ball in tight spots,” Sarachan said. “We know he can run and cover ground and win tackles and compete. But at the next level, can you have a presence with the ball in picking your spots? It just keeps getting better.”It’s not perfect, but I think he’s shown that he’s emerging. Everyone’s starting to look up to him a little bit. When the game was getting crazy, Tyler was trying to calm it down; real good night for him.”For his part, Adams said he was thrilled to stand out.”It was a gritty game like I expected. Obviously, getting a sniff of that at the youth national team level, I kind of knew what to expect because [there were] a lot of young faces from their team as well. So going out there and competing was the most important part,” Adams said.”Obviously to grab my first goal is pretty cool on this day, but to recognize all the people as well that went through such a tragic day, it’s nice for us to get a win. The U.S. is all about pride and character, and I think we showed our character today.” For many of the U.S. players, the match was a first encounter with Mexico at the senior level and the win was even more emotional given that it came on the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took nearly 3,000 lives.”Playing here against Mexico on 9/11, it was an important night on many fronts, but from a soccer perspective, overall again I was pretty pleased in terms of the effort, and in terms of the collective, the way we made it hard on Mexico to create a lot of chances,” Sarachan said. “I thought the first half, once again it could have been a little better in terms of our use of the ball and being a little dangerous.”The U.S. was forced into a 40th minute substitution when midfielder Weston McKennie was forced out of the match with a left knee sprain. Sarachan brought on Julian Green and then switched to a 4-4-2 formation to start the second half. The forced change ended up benefiting the Americans as it not only increased the effectiveness of the U.S. attack, but it helped defensively as well, as Trapp had Adams deployed alongside him.”I had toyed with the idea of playing two forwards to start the match,” Sarachan said. “Weston took a knock. We kept an eye on him and he did need to come off and we felt that by adding Julian [Green], it was just another player that could hold up play for us. And I knew with Wil [Trapp] and with Tyler [Adams], they could certainly cover the middle of the midfield. I thought [adding Julian] gave us a little more of an opportunity to be dangerous going forward.”The game, which had been fairly subdued for the first 65 minutes, came to life after a confrontation between U.S. defender Matt Miazga and Mexico midfielder Diego Lainez. The flashpoint was followed quickly by Zaldivar’s red card and Adams’ goal.For the U.S. it proved to be a positive introduction to a rivalry that has been plenty heated over the years. Sarachan, a veteran of many past encounters with El Tri, was pleased that his side kept its cool.”This group definitely got a real taste of [the rivalry] over the last 72 hours after the Brazil match. As I’ve said, a lot of these young guys have played Mexico at the youth level, so it’s not new to them, but we knew that at some point in the game, things might boil over and I think our guys showed great composure.”I think that’s one of the things going into games against CONCACAF opponents is having composure in moments where it could lead to maybe a red card or something. They got a good taste of it today.”For Sarachan, the win ended the current fixture window on a positive note.”We’ve talked a lot about the tactics and the soccer, but the thing that we tried to keep talking to this group about is: What’s the identity of this team? When fans watch this team, what do they come away with? We nitpick on the technical side, but you saw a team tonight that played aggressively, competed hard and won most of their duels. I think that’s been a constant over the time I’ve had the group and over the past two games against Brazil and Mexico.”I thought tonight was a little bit better with the ball. Still an area to improve, for sure. But this team, it was a real collective effort from the first guy to the 22nd. As a staff, what else can you ask for?”

Tyler Adams gives U.S. youth a 1-0 win over Mexico in fiery friendly

11:34 PM ETArch Bell, U.S. writer

Three points from Nissan Stadium as the U.S. claimed a 1-0 win over rival Mexico in Tuesday’s international friendly.

  1. U.S. doesn’t dazzle but does enough to win

There was a lot of talk following the U.S. defeat against Brazil about this young group of Yanks needing to be braver and more creative in attack. But for 67 minutes playing 11-on-11, they were anything but on Tuesday night in Nashville, Tennessee.This time, a lack of experience cannot be faulted. Yes, this was another young U.S. squad on the field, but it wasn’t like Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Andres Guardado and Rafa Marquez were playing for El Tri. This was an equally inexperienced Mexico side, and after being on the end of a 4-1 pasting from Uruguay on Friday night, the visitors were the better side for a good chunk of the match.For the U.S., “going forward” (if you can call it that) consisted of the defense circulating the ball around before one of the center-backs — usually Matt Miazga — hoofed it up to Gyasi Zardes surrounded by two Mexican defenders. Unsurprisingly, possession would be lost and Mexico would go back to being in control and the U.S. would invite further pressure. The one time Zardes did hold up the ball, he drew a foul to give the U.S. its best chance of the first half with a dangerous free kick from right outside the Mexico area. That was pretty much it in attack, outside of a quick spurt before halftimeThe lack of any U.S. threat played right into Mexico’s hands. The El Tri midfield dominated and had all the time it wanted to switch and spread out the field, allowing the likes of Jose Abella and “wonderkid” Diego Lainez to operate down the right flank and look for the deep runner

The only time U.S. fans were treated to any spice was when Miazga and Lainez were barking at each other midway through the second half. Angel Zaldivar’s 67th-minute red card then tipped the balance in the U.S.’s favor. After struggling against Brazil, Antonee Robinson came off the bench and showed why he can be a part of the national team’s future by getting forward and crossing for Tyler Adams, who did well to convert following a long sprint into the penalty area.It was a nice moment for this young group of Yanks — beating Mexico is always a positive — but it does not cover up what was largely a listless performance.

  1. Trapp as the No. 6 is not working

Wil Trapp is a favorite of still-interim coach Dave Sarachan, but Tuesday night only reinforced what was seen on Friday: playing him as the defensive midfielder in the 4-1-4-1 is not working.

Trapp’s distribution was lacking against Brazil; too many of his passes between the lines failed to reach their targets. While one could cut him some slack for Brazil’s working him over in midfield — Brazil does that to a lot of players — his lack of influence against Mexico was alarming, even though Trapp’s teammates weren’t exactly lining up to receive the ball. Things got better for Trapp in the second half, but the humbling pressure he received from Lainez and his inability to link raise red flags for his role moving forward.Perhaps that role will be given to Adams or another player in the pool — wouldn’t Jonathan Gonzalez have been nice? — but there is enough of a body of work at this stage to conclude that Trapp is not the solution in a critical position.

  1. Lainez is the real deal

There were moments last Friday against Uruguay when Lainez showed why the likes of AS Roma are on the hunt for his services, and he backed that hype up against the U.S. on Tuesday, too.In the opening 45 minutes, he was the best player on the field. His move to break Trapp’s ankles toward the end of the first half will be the meme of the night, but there were plenty of other instances in which the 18-year-old put his stamp on the affair, including some aggressive play to fend off several U.S. players and win back possession.The exchange of words with Miazga will go down as one of those ridiculous “It’s Never A Friendly When These Two Teams Meet” narratives going forward, but one has to like the spirit of the young Club America man facing up to the bigger and taller Miazga. That fearlessness will serve him well as he looks poised to be a part of this rivalry for years to come.

Antonee Robinson 6/10 for sparking U.S. victory over Mexico as a sub

12:22 AM ETJason DavisU.S. soccer writer

It took 70 minutes for the fire to show up in the latest edition of the “CONCACAF Clasico,” but when it did, it sparked an American goal and an eventual 1-0 win for Dave Sarachan and his young squad.

Positives

After more than an hour of limited attacking success, the U.S. took control of the game after Angel Zaldivar’s red card. With no reason not to push their advantage, the Americans used the width provided by left-back Antonee Robinson and a late-arriving midfield run from Tyler Adams to make it count. The U.S. was generally solid defensively, with Mexico limited to 10 shots over 90 minutes.

Negatives

The American attack was rudderless until Mexico’s red card opened up space. When the U.S. was able to get on the ball — and it was not nearly enough — the plan seemed to be to knock it around the back before playing a low-percentage long ball to Gyasi Zardes. The lack of creativity allowed Mexico to dictate terms and exploit gaps in the American defense.

Manager rating out of 10

4 — Sarachan’s lineup included a known-quantity veteran in Eric Lichaj playing out of position on the left, a choice that allowed Mexico to dominate in that area of the field. The interim head coach’s decided lack of fire at halftime — after 45 minutes of little to no threat from the attack — was disappointing. The first substitution was forced on him, but Sarachan does get some credit for introducing Robinson and changing the Americans’ fortunes. The choice to insert Julian Green centrally and leave Kellyn Acosta wide was a head-scratcher.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Zack Steffen, 6 — Made a solid save off a header in the first half. Lucky to avoid a card — possibly red — when he appeared to handle the ball outside of the box.

DF Shaquell Moore, 5 — Played a passable game on both sides of the ball. Did well in a couple of one-on-one defensive situations.

DF Cameron Carter-Vickers, 6 — Did not stand out, which is a good thing for a center-back.

DF Matt Miazga, 6 — Brought energy and fight to the game, with his confrontation with Diego Lainez helping turn the game in the USMNT’s favor. Beaten occasionally but responded well.

DF Eric Lichaj, 3 — Miscast as a left-back behind Timothy Weah, which allowed Mexico plenty of space to attack up the USMNT flank. Committed numerous silly errors with distribution, leading to turnovers.

MF Wil Trapp, 4 — Rarely influenced the game from his deep position, with passes that failed to stress Mexico’s midfield. Struggled with defensive moments, especially when isolated.

MF Kellyn Acosta, 5 — Committed several turnovers with loose passes when miscast on the right side. Struggled to provide width. Sprung Robinson for the cross that led to the U.S. goal.

MF Tyler Adams, 6 — Excellent run from deep resulted in the lone goal of the game. Looked most influential and involved once U.S. went up a man.

MF Weston McKennie, 4 — Came off five minutes before halftime with an injury. Never found the game on either side of the ball. Missed several chances to set up the U.S. break with loose passes.

MF Timothy Weah, 5 — Mishit several crosses, but seemed to be the only American looking to shoot. Had no connection with Lichaj behind and disappeared for large stretches.

FW Gyasi Zardes, 5 — Set on an island for an hour and forced to battle with defenders for 50/50 balls in the air. Won a foul in a dangerous area with a smart dummy but was limited in influence otherwise.

Substitutes

MF Julian Green, 5 — Entered for McKennie in the first half and played in a central position. Added an edge to the U.S. attack but was often too slow with the ball.

DF Antonee Robinson, 6 — Changed the game when introduced for Lichaj in the 56th minute. Provided an excellent cross on the ground to set up Adams’ goal.

FW Bobby Wood, NR — Managed a few touches in a cameo, was unable to turn on the ball when set up with a chance in the 81st minute.

MF Christian Roldan, NR — Two touches for the midfielder in a few minutes.

DF DeAndre Yedlin, NR — Contributed two defensive interventions in limited time.

Growth of Tyler Adams, Matt Miazga and rivalry with Mexico offset U.S. dull play

9:31 AM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For 65 minutes, Mexico and the U.S men’s national team played one of the dullest matches in the rivalry’s long and storied history.The match was ragged to say the least. While Mexico midfielder Diego Lainez showed off some slick dribbling moves at times, El Tri was largely kept at bay by a U.S. defense led by Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers. But that was more than could be said for the U.S. attack, which looked lethargic and predictable, especially in the first half.Then the match came to life, and a rivalry that is very much in a state of transition received an injection of fuel in the form of some new heroes and villains. Miazga tangled with Lainez in an amusing exchange that saw the 5-foot-5 Mexico midfielder square up to the 6-foot-4 Miazga. Miazga then poked fun at his lack of height.

It wasn’t quite U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu staring down Mexico forward Jared Borgetti during a World Cup qualifier back in 2005, but the exchange still had the same effect. The U.S. team kept its composure while Mexico lost its. El Tri forward Angel Zaldivar was sent off for a late challenge on Wil Trapp two minutes later, and a match that had already begun to tilt in the U.S. team’s favor soon saw the home side running downhill. In the 71st minute, substitute Antonee Robinson broke down the left wing and his centering feed found the late arriving Tyler Adams to convert with a first-time finish.”I feel like after the 60th minute, when I start to make those late runs, that midfielders can’t really track me,” said Adams. “It was good timing, and the ball just trickled right to me. It was one of the weirdest things. Watching it was like in slo-mo, the ball just came to me and I was able to finish it.”The U.S.-Mexico rivalry has long been characterized by the dynamic that while El Tri had the skill, the U.S. had the mental edge. That changed during the last cycle, with Mexico excelling on both fronts and winning a World Cup qualifier on U.S. soil for the first time in more than 40 years. And while this was nothing close to Mexico’s first team, the same was true for the U.S, and collectively it grasped the game’s mental challenges better than its rivals.”It was normal. We talked a little smack. It’s part of the game,” said Miazga about his set-to with Lainez. “It’s mental warfare. We got in their heads and they got a red card right after that. You saw what happened. We took control and we won the game.”Adams, for one, appreciated Miazga’s willingness to engage in some jawing.”Typical Miazga, I love that from him,” he said. “It gets the guys going. He’s not [going] to back down from someone like that. At the end of the day, your teammates see that, and you want to keep going and back your guy up. And the next tackle is going to be a tough one. That’s another one that you want to win that one and we were aggressive … For us, we kept our composure to the best of our ability, no stupid yellows and we moved on from it.”The goal also amounted to a bit of redemption for Robinson. The U.S. defender was given a torrid time last Friday by Brazilian attacker Douglas Costa, who torched him in the run-up to the Selecao‘s first goal. Coming on as a substitute, Robinson rebounded to play a critical role in the match.”I didn’t have it too much on my mind, the Brazil game,” said Robinson. “I just thought I’ve got to go out and do my best whenever I’m needed.”There is a strong impulse to dismiss friendly results, but this one has value. It adds an additional building block or two as this program lurches forward and tries to rebuild. And it provides some needed experience for encounters with El Tri down the road.But there is also no reason to get carried away. The soccer the U.S. played was downright brutal at times, and it’s worth noting that it took a forced substitution — Weston McKennie going off with a sprained left knee and being replaced by Julian Green — combined with a change of formation at halftime for the U.S. to begin to get on top in the match.The change involved Green operating as a second forward and it was clear that having an extra body in the attack in closer proximity to Gyasi Zardes made the U.S. more dangerous. The move had the added benefit of placing Adams alongside Trapp. In the first half, Trapp was asked to provide the primary shield in front of the back line and he was neither mobile enough to track the likes of Lainez — who looks an immense talent — nor rugged enough to win his individual duels.With Adams by his side in the second half, Trapp stepped into passing lanes more confidently and was overall more of a defensive presence. It seemed to lift his attacking game as well.And so for what seems like the millionth time, the U.S. showed once again that it is much more comfortable operating out of a two-striker alignment. U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan said he had “toyed” with the idea of playing with a second forward prior to the match, before ultimately deciding to start the game with the 4-1-4-1 that has been used during the bulk of his tenure. But it’s pretty clear that in the absence of a creative force like Christian Pulisic, the U.S. simply has to have an additional forward on the field to generate any kind of sustained attack.

The use of two holding midfielders will also need to be examined, as well as Trapp’s place in the lineup. Historically he has fared better with someone at his side, and these days with the Columbus Crew that man is the Brazilian Artur. Having someone like Adams next to him on a full-time basis might have the same effect.

That will be on Sarachan’s mind when the team reconvenes next month for friendlies against Colombia and Peru. But so will the growth of players like Adams and Miazga, who look to be mainstays in this rivalry for years to come.

Mexico lost focus after Matt Miazga mocked Diego Lainez, needs ‘Tuca’ Ferretti’s guidanceTaylor Twellman explains why the United States’ win over Mexico didn’t answer all the questions about the rebuilding USMNT squad. (1:33)

9:46 AM ETTom MarshallMexico correspondentEmail

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United States’ 1-0 victory over Mexico will be remembered mainly for Matt Miazga mocking Diego Lainez’s height in the second half.It was an incident and a photo that will go down in the collective consciousness of the relatively young U.S.-Mexico soccer rivalry. It gave a spark to a game that threatened to be stale. The giant U.S. defender making fun of the skillful, diminutive 18-year-old laid down a marker for the new generation in a Clasicothat needed a jump start.

The moment was especially poignant because Club America’s Lainez is not just a teenage hopeful, but Mexico’s brightest young talent; a player who received an offer from Serie A side Roma a matter of weeks ago and whose dribbling dazzled against the U.S. And while U.S. fans applauded Miazga for his bravado, Mexico fans could rightly be impressed by Lainez’s maturity in playing down the importance of it all.”The [incident] with the two-meter center-back and the beloved little [Lainez] will be useful to him,” said 64-year-old Mexico interim coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti in a news conference after the game. “He’ll remember it the rest of his life and it’ll help him.”Ferretti is right. It will be an incident that Lainez won’t forget and, underneath the portrait of calm he showed as he gave interviews after the defeat, there’ll be a steely resolve insideLainez’s time to prove that talent beats size when it comes to soccer will surely come further down the road in games against the United States.But what that road will look like for Lainez and Mexico is the real issue at present. The Miazga story was the main headline, but there were deeper takeaways on the night from El Tri‘s perspective.Mexico has now lost four consecutive games for the first time since 2001, and while that is no cause to panic — given that only two or three of the 19 players available on Tuesday for El Tri would likely be in Mexico’s “A” squad — a 4-1 loss to Uruguay and a 1-0 defeat to the United States is not a great start for this group of youngsters.As Ferretti suggested, these players need to be “polished” and it was concerning that after the Miazga incident, Mexico’s players seemed to lose focus, with Angel Zaldivar seeing red two minutes later in the 67th minute and the team going on to concede a goal in the 71st.Ferretti accepted Mexico lost control a little after the incident and said it was “normal” after the red card.In reality, it was a lack of game intelligence that — coupled with the loss to Uruguay last Friday — really drove home the fact that the absent Europe-based players really are a long way ahead of this new generation, however much potential it has.Ferretti has got the narrative just right. He’s pleaded for patience from the press for this group of players and the reaction to two losses has been a long way from the hostility handed out to former coach Juan Carlos Osorio.A Mexico red card helped turn the tide in the United States’ favor, as Tyler Adams’ first international goal stood up as the winner in Nashville.What we don’t yet know yet is whether Ferretti will be given the keys to manage the generational change El Tri requires. We’ve heard the Brazilian come closer than ever to accepting his interest in the job, but it’s no guarantee given that Tigres are unlikely to let him leave easily.And the Mexican federation also needs to think long and hard about whether Ferretti is the right manager.Certainly, the last week has been substantially different than under previous coach Osorio. There was a more closed feel to the national team and no real access for the press, but Ferretti has been jovial and engaged in news conferences, joking around and participating in training ahead of the U.S. game. He even laid down his authority when he sent Hirving Lozano, Erick Gutierrez, Guillermo Ochoa and Raul Jimenez back to Europe instead of hanging around for the U.S. game.On the pitch, Ferretti swapped from a 4-2-3-1 formation against Uruguay to a loose 5-3-2 against the United States, showing versatility, but missing out on the results. And the possession-based style we’ve seen for years at Tigres was evident, although it will take time to get up to full speed with that.The overriding question resolves around Ferretti’s future, with the youngsters showing enough to suggest that the raw material for a gradual generational change is there. The key now is finding someone to manage it.

Mexico’s Angel Zaldivar on red card: U.S. played ‘dirty game’

1:36 AM ETTom MarshallMexico correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Angel Zaldivar was sent off for Mexico’s 1-0 loss to the United States on Tuesday and pulled no punches in criticizing the opposition’s attitude.

The Chivas forward saw red in the 67th minute, two minutes after 6-foot-4 defender Matt Miazga had appeared to mock 5-5 Mexico forward Diego Lainez about his height.

Miazga was then photographed waving off Zaldivar as he left the field, something which irked the 24-year-old.”You see what their values are, they don’t know how to win,” Zaldivar told Univision afterward. “They poked fun, [and] tried to play a dirty game that honestly we don’t think is how you should play. That’s their game and we couldn’t do anything about it.”Mexico coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti suggested that the incident will serve Lainez moving forward.”The [incident] with the two-meter center-back and the beloved little [Lainez] will be useful to him,” said the 64-year-old. “He’ll remember it the rest of his life and it’ll help him.”Ferretti added that he was disappointed in the loss but confident that the young group of players have a bright future.”I’m upset, honestly,” said Ferretti in the post-match news conference. “I feel bad. But this is about results and performance and I think that a lot of players have made us realize that there is raw material that needs to be polished, molded and given the opportunity it deserves.”Ferretti said that Mexico had been marginally the better side until Zalivar’s red card — which the coach said could’ve been a yellow — and that the United States hadn’t caused much danger until Tyler Adams’ goal in the 71st minute.”Until the sending off it was a good game from both [teams], with the flow in our favor,” stated Ferretti. “If my memory serves me their first chance was the goal and it was one game until the red card. Having a player less is complicated, it happened today and the numeric superiority came into effect.”The current Tigres manager was once again asked about his future and replied that he has already talked about what would be required for him to take over on a permanent basis.”We all know the situation,” Ferretti said. “Hopefully there is a decision soon one way or the other. The cards have been laid on the table.”Ferretti had stated on Monday that there is a buy-out clause in his contract with Tigres, although ESPN Mexico reported Tuesday that the Mexican federation is not willing to pay it.

 

Advanced scouting: Top fantasy soccer picks for every Champions League tier

Gareth Bale is one of the best players in the world, so it’s no surprise to find him among our top picks for Champions League fantasy. KIKO HUESCA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

1:53 PM ETDavis Mattek

The Champions League group stage begins on Tuesday, September 18 and with it, the most exciting and competitive soccer tournament in the world gets underway. The World Cup every four years is fantastic but the high-level play in the UEFA Champions League dwarfs what was on display this summer in Russia. The best players in the world, with their most optimal sets of teammates, take the field.A few things you need to know before entering the eight-tier ESPN Fantasy game for the Champions League: The group stage games are normally quite high scoring as there are matchups where clearly superior teams from England, France, Spain, Germany and Italy play smaller teams from other European nations. The best plan is to play attackers from heavy favorites in the betting markets and rack up goals, assists, shots on goal and chances created as our game rewards those stats much more heavily than defensive stats.What follows are notes to help you make your selections in all eight tiers of the first set of choices for Matchweek 1.

Tier One Forward

This is likely the tier that your captain is going to come from, as it contains the games’ best. Barcelona is the biggest favorite in the betting markets and they have a projected goal total of over 3 (around 3.3 projected goals). Lionel Messiis the cream of the crop that includes Neymar, Luis Suarez and Kylian Mbappe. Neymar does all things for PSG but has a much tougher matchup against Liverpool while Barca plays PSV Eindhoven, a team from the Netherlands. Messi scored 6 goals with 2 assists in 8 UCL starts last season while shooting 4.4 times per contest. Messi is also likely the best choice for your captaincy.

The second tier of forward is more difficult as we go away from the true superstars of the game. Lorenzo InsigneMemphis Depay, and Alexis Sanchez have the best chance of accruing what we call “peripheral” statistics. That means outside of just goals and assists, they will create chances, get shots on goal and generally provide value to your fantasy team even if they are unable to get on the score sheet. Depay has a tough matchup against Manchester City but he is his team’s primary free-kick and corner-kick taker which adds assists and chance created points. Insigne is on the road against Red Star Belgrade, a team that Napoli should be much better than, but playing on the road in Eastern Europe is notoriously tough. The best pure goalscorer on the slate is Robert Lewandowski but if he doesn’t score, he is likely sitting on your lineup with a lackluster score on the road against tough Portugese side Benefica.

Tier One Midfielder

For many people, this tier will be the hardest decision they have to make. Christian Eriksen is the primary engine in Tottenham Hotspur’s attack and they play at home against mediocre Italian side, Inter Milan. David Silva and Raheem Sterling offer a lot of passes completed and chances created upside for Manchester City (particularly Silva), while Phillipe Coutinho has the same cushy matchup as a massive favorite that Messi does. However, the class of this group is likely Gareth Bale who is classified here as midfielder and has nine appearances for club and country this soccer season and has 8 goals and 2 assists, including 3 goals in 3 La Liga starts. Bale is one of the five best footballers in the world while healthy and a home matchup against a dilapidated Roma side is not discouraging for his value. If not for Messi in this slate, Bale would be my captain selection.

Tier Two Midfielder

This is an incredibly deep tier of players and I expect that it will be one of the most wildly different among fantasy managers. There is not one clear player that leaps out over the rest. Arturo Vidal is the biggest name and has the great matchup against PSV, but he is less of an attacking player and more of a pure central midfielder. Vidal’s upside lower than someone like Isco or Marco Asensio, two attacking midfielders for Real Madrid. Isco is my favorite selection of this group as he is the creative engine for Madrid with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, but I see merit in Asensio as a differential, Arjen Robben as a high upside play for Bayern Munich on the road against Benefica, and also Dele Alli as a potential goals plus assists plus chances created monster, if he is fit to play for Spurs.

Tier Three Midfielder

Educated soccer fans will get a fairly decent edge when we get to Tier Three. We are presented with two Shaktar Donetsk mids in Alan Patrick and Maycon, both of whom have an advantageous matchup against Hoffenheim. Patrick is a huge sleeper in this tier as he is fresh from Brazil and seems to be Shaktar’s next in the line of talented young Brazilians that stretches from Douglas Costa, Luiz Adriano, and Willian. Manuel Fernandes is a similar value as he takes all of the set pieces and is the primary creator for Lokomotiv Moscow who have an easier matchup at home against Turkish side Galatasaray. I also think Benefica central midfielder Pizzi is a high upside play as he has been tearing up his home league and the UCL qualifiers with 6 goals and 2 assists in club play so far this season. Pizzi also takes corner and penalty kicks for Benefica.

 

Tier One Defender

Benjamin Mendy for Manchester City is the cream of this crop. He has been an attacking force for the best attacking team in the EPL so far in 2018 and plays more like a winger than a defender. Sergio Ramos does take penalty kicks for Real Madrid and will get some blocks and interceptions and Joao Cancelo for Juventus is a very attacking-minded fullback but this tier starts and ends for me with Mendy.

Tier Two Defender

Alex Telles is the primary set piece taker for FC Porto and is very talented from open play as well. Telles had 3 goals and 13 assists in his league campaign last season and will post stats more like a central midfielder than a defender. Lukasz Pischek is another talented attacking defender but his set piece role will be non existent and the club does play away in Belgium. Most of the other options here are center backs (who will not generate many offensive stats) or full backs for teams who are not expected to attack very often.

Goalkeeper

While there are more ways for goalies to get points than in other fantasy scoring systems (smothers, claimed crosses and punches) the best way for goalies to get points will be through saves and clean sheets. We do want some save opportunities as just 10 points for a clean sheet is not great. David De Gea plays for a strong Manchester United team but they do seem to funnel shots his way and he is the best GK in the world, making him the top option. Man City’s Ederson has very strong win-to-0 odds as does Barca’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

RECAP | INDY ELEVEN FALL FOR FIRST TIME IN NINE MATCHES AGAINST PENN FC, 0-1

By James Higdon, 09/12/18, 10:45PM EDT “Boys In Blue” concede second half goal in close contest against Harrisburg side

rough night for Indy Eleven as they fall on the road to Penn FC, 0-1. A second-half goal by Penn midfielder and former “Boys in Blue” midfielder Paulo Junior saw Indy’s unbeaten streak halted at nine. The loss marks the first for the Circle City side since falling on the road to the Tampa Bay Rowdies on July 21.“It was a game where I thought that in the first half we actually played quite well,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “We created a few decent openings, but we didn’t manage to take chances that we had created in the half.  We felt that overall the conditions were quite difficult, and I think they [Penn FC] adapted and adjusted to those conditions a little better than we did.”Both sides held off minimal scoring opportunities throughout the first half. Penn came out strong with a solid first look at goal in the eighth minute by forward Aaron Dennis that went just wide of the right post. Nine minutes later, Penn midfielder Richard Menjivar played an in-swinging cross from the corner to the top of Indy’s six-yard box, where defender Tiago Calvano leapt up for a header. The Penn Captain’s attempt narrowly missed its mark as it lofted out around the left post.Where Penn asked questions, Indy responded. Indy’s first look at goal came in the 25th minute when defender Ayoze’s 40-yard free kick rocketed towards goal. Though the cross was on target for goal and for defender Karl Ouimette to follow up with a header if necessary, Penn goalkeeper Romuald Peiser managed to get his gloves on the ball first. Forward Eugene Starikov, who scored two of Indy’s three goals last time out, followed up with an attempt four minutes later. The 29-year-old controlled a cross by Eleven goaltender Owain Fon Williams deep into Penn’s half for a chip over Peiser, only for the shot to veer around the back post.Eleven forward Jack McInerney had his sights set on the leading goal in the opening moments of the second half on a breakaway play, but the striker’s low shot was denied. Seth Moses found a similar chance at distance in the 82nd minute, but the low strike flew directly into the keeper’s arms. Though Penn had several opportunities in the second half, the Harrisburg based side managed to only capitalize on one chance in the 57th minute.  Paulo Junior beat the ball around Eleven defender Reiner Ferreira with a slight touch, freeing the former “Boys in Blue” midfielder for a shot to the far post. The goal, assisted by Penn defender Harri Hawkins, was Paulo Junior’s third since joining Penn in June.“I think ultimately we lost the game because Paulo Jr. got free and scored a good goal.  There wasn’t really too much between the teams other than that,” Rennie said. “Obviously we are disappointed tonight because it didn’t go our way.  It was the first time that we have lost in a long time, so we need to brush ourselves off and now come back and go on a really good run between now and the end of the season.” The “Boys in Blue” are on the road again 10 days from now to take on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. After that, “Indiana’s Team” return home on Wednesday, September 26, for Faith and Family Night against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Fans can buy tickets to the midweek match at IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.

USL Regular SeasonIndy Eleven 0:1 Penn FCWednesday, September 12, 2018 – 6:30 p.m.FNB Field – Harrisburg, PA 
Scoring Summary:PEN – Paulo Junior (Harri Hawkins) 57’

Indy Eleven lineup (4-3-3, L–>R): Owain Fon Williams (GK); Reiner Ferreira, Brad Rusin, Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette; Ayoze (Dylan Mares 66’), Nico Matern (Nathan Lewis 86’), Matt Watson(C); Eugene Starikov, Ben Speas (Seth Moses 66’), Jack McInerneyIndy Eleven bench: Ben Lundgaard (GK); Brad Ring, Dylan Mares, Juan Guerra, Seth Moses, Soony Saad, Nathan Lewis

Penn FC lineup (5-3-2, L–>R): Romuald Peiser (GK); Harri Hawkins, Tiago Calvano (C), Kyle Venter, Marco Franco, Miguel Jaime, Richard Menjivar; Walter Ramirez (Lucky Mkosana 70’), Dan Metzger (Haruna Shaibu 90+1’), Paulo Junior; Aaron Dennis (Prince Baffoe 88’)Penn FC bench: Sean Lewis (GK), Saalih Muhammad, Prince Baffoe, Calvin Rezende, Lucky Mkosana, Haruna Shaibu, Jorge Rivera

Earn your Degree While You Watch Your Kids Soccer Practice – ½ the time and cost of Traditional Schools

 

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9/11/18 USA vs Mexico Tonight 8:30 ESPN/ Indy 11 Wed 9/12 6:30 with BYB at Union Jack or on ESPN+

So I am going to assume we will get a highly motivated young US squad tonight as they face our nemisis and greatest rival in Soccer Mexico tonight at 7:30 pm on ESPN on 9/11 in Nashville.  Not sure how many US fans will be there – tickets still in the $85-$130 range for level 1 seats and $55 in LEVEL 3 – mighty expensive. Still I suspect we will get a much nastier US team tonight.  I thought the US boys played well against Brazil last Thursday in a 2-0 loss that should have been 1-0 as that penalty call as pathetic.

Tomorrow night we get the Indy 11 traveling to Penn as they look to continue to battle for playoff position as they now stand at 4th in the league but with only a 2 pt lead on 4 other squads.

USA

Has US vs Mexico Lost some of its Bite? ESPNFC Jeff Carlisle

Future is Now for USA vs Mexico Rivalry – SI – Planet Futbol

Youthful US Team Gets a Lesson from Brazil – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

US Must Get More Creative on Offense – ESPNFC

9/11 Match Will be Emotional and Powerful says Trapp

What We Learned from USA vs Brazil – Stars and Stripes

Best Kept Secret LOL – Greg Berhalter Leading Candidate for USMNT

Indy 11

Indy 11 Flow the Goals in Pounding of Red Bulls – Bloodyshambles

Indy 11 Claim 3 Pts at Home vs NY Red Bulls II

Indy 11 Discount Tickets for 9/26 Game!   (Code 2018Indy)

Indy 11 Game Schedule

USL League Standings

Soccer Saturday – Radio Show 9-10 am on 1070 the Fan

Parking passes at Gate10  Events is $11 with advance purchase. $15 day of.  Save $$$ by buying early.

Get Your Tickets to be with the BYB

The Boys in Blue get a week-long rest after a 22-day, 7 game stretch. The BYB will be following the team for two away games this month. For those who cheer the team on from Indiana, there will be watch parties and home games to get your beautiful game fix.  9/26 v Tampa Bay Rowdies (7pm) is Faith & Family Night. Don’t wait, get your BYBTIX today.  It is also the evening for us to celebrate the original live mascot, Loki/Victorio. Watch for more information as the date approaches.

9/12 Wed watch party v Penn FC (6:30pm) at Union Jack in Broad Ripple
9/22 Sat 7 pm watch party v Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Union Jack in Broad Ripple ~watch for the BYB as we drown out the Puddle Poodle fans with our traveling crew.

U.S.-Mexico rivalry: Has it lost some bite or is it as strong as ever?

5:54 PM ETJeff CarlisleTom Marshall

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Landon Donovan being hit with urine bags at the Azteca, Rafa Marquez head-butting Cobi Jones and the legend of Dos a Cero. Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride’s goal in the 2002 World Cup last 16 or El Tri scoring four unanswered goals to win the 2011 Gold Cup. These are the moments and personalities that have come to define the U.S.-Mexico rivalry, but not one of the players involved will be in the starting XIs on Tuesday in Nashville (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET).Tuesday’s game is a bit of a clean slate, with new faces and new (interim) managers figuring each other out. Unfamiliarity tends not to breed contempt, so will just their third meeting since 2015 — and, it must be stressed, in a friendly — be as epic and full-blooded as those games in the past?The biggest stars of the current crop — Christian Pulisic and Hirving Lozano — won’t be present in Nashville, and so the likes of Tim Weah and Diego Lainez will do their part. But with the generational shift comes the sense that something has been lost in terms of the pure animosity that characterized the rivalry for decades, although it wouldn’t take much to ignite tempers anew.ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle and Tom Marshall talked to people on both sides of the rivalry to get a sense of where things are heading.

There’s still some fire

For the current crop of U.S. players, many of whom are still finding their feet at the international level, perhaps all that’s needed is a bit more time and exposure. A player like New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams has already experienced it: He was part of the U.S. under-20 squad that won the 2017 U-20 CONCACAF championship, defeating Mexico 1-0 along the way.Is it as intense as a match at the senior level? Perhaps not, but it gives players a taste of what is to come when there’s a World Cup spot or trophy on the line.”You can tell that those games are bit different than every other game you play in,” Adams said. “That Mexico game just had a different edge to it. Right from the first whistle, guys were laying in tackles. At that point in the game you can tell it’s going to be really scrappy, it’s going to be tough and it’s going to be hard to find a win.”‘s something different. The players from before are no longer there, but it remains a Clasico because we’ve played each other at youth levels,” Seattle Sounders midfielder and holder of four U.S. caps Cristian Roldan said.Players who came through the El Tri ranks in similar fashion agree.”As much as it may be a friendly, a game against the United States is more than a simple game,” Santos Laguna and Mexico defender Jose Abella said.Yet players from the most recent era of the rivalry feel like U.S. vs. Mexico is waiting for the next player to redefine it.

A rivalry waiting for its next heroes and villains?

“The [Javier Hernandez] ‘Chicharitos,’ the [Miguel] Layuns, for as much as they say this is a rivalry, they didn’t have the moments that Rafa Marquez had,” ex-U.S. forward and current ESPN analyst Herculez Gomez said. “They didn’t really see this dominance over the U.S. and see it snatched out of their hands. And the Landon Donovans for the U.S. are gone.”For well over a decade, Donovan was public enemy No. 1 south of the border, defining the rivalry, and with good reason. Six of his 57 international goals came against El Tri, including his first in an October of 2000 friendly as well as his last in a World Cup qualifier in 2013. Then there was the biggest dagger of them all, the header that clinched victory in the round of 16 at the 2002 World Cup. And yes, all of those U.S. wins came with the “dos a cero” scoreline.Donovan drew even more ire when he reportedly urinated on the Estadio Jalisco field before a practice session in the run-up to an Olympic qualifier. It wasn’t until very late in his career, with a stint at Club Leon and an ad campaign urging U.S. fans to cheer for Mexico at the 2018 World Cup, that the ire directed at Donovan began to subside.Then there was Marquez, Mexico’s counterpoint. The Michoacan native was 23 when he head-butted Jones and received a red card as El Tri slumped to a 2-0 loss to the United States at the 2002 World Cup. Frustration got the better of Marquez again in 2009, when he kicked out at U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard and again saw red as Mexico lost 2-0 to the U.S. in World Cup qualifying in Columbus, Ohio.Marquez might be the most detested Mexico player in history for U.S. fans, but perhaps there is an element of jealousy mixed in with the hate. No U.S. player in history has come close to enjoying the kind of success at club level as Marquez did at Barcelona, where he won two Champions League titles and La Liga four times.The current Atlas sporting president also had the last laugh, at least on the field. With pretty much his last touch in a Mexico shirt against the United States, Marquez headed in from a corner to hand El Tri a famous 2-1 victory in World Cup qualifying — and doing it in the Columbus stadium the U.S. had thought made it invincible.But with Marquez and Donovan retired, there is a sense those battles on the pitch are also gone — for now, at least.”I don’t want to say [the rivalry] gets diluted in a sense, but you definitely feel like those bad-blood moments [are gone],” Gomez said. “I don’t know how many players on both rosters have really [experienced] that.”Francisco Gabriel De Anda, a former Mexico defender and part of the 1998 Gold Cup-winning squad, agreed.”The intensity has lowered a lot. Before the 2002 World Cup and in the years after the rivalry grew a lot because of what happened in Korea and Japan. I think the rivalry has shrunk, and when you go to the United States to play in Columbus, it’s not so complicated. And when they come to Mexico there isn’t the same hostility, the atmosphere around the game isn’t as hostile, so I think the rivalry has decreased a lot.”For the longest time, Columbus was the U.S.’s not-so-secret weapon; now known as Mapfre Stadium, it added plenty to the rivalry’s mystique. It was first used against Mexico during a 2001 World Cup qualifier and was referred to as the “La Guerra Fria” due to the freezing February temperatures that El Triwanted no part of.Goals from Josh Wolff and Earnie Stewart paced the U.S. to a 2-0 win, and was the genesis not only of Dos a Cero but of using Columbus as the preferred venue to play Mexico in competitive matches. The juju was so strong that there was belief that it was actually keeping the margin down; case in point was when Clint Dempsey missed a late penalty during a World Cup qualifier in 2013 that would have made the score 3-0.”I was behind that goal, I remember it,” former U.S. international Frankie Hejduk said during a 2016 interview. “It was already 2-0 at the time, it was going to be 3-0. He hits a solid shot, but there was a little wind, and the wind [whispers] ‘Dos a Cero.’ And he missed the penalty.”Even though the curse of Columbus has been broken, the clash still carries bite wherever the games are played. Players currently featuring in top European leagues and experiencing rivalries there still think their CONCACAF clash has bite.”I think definitely it’s a different aspect when you play club and country,” said Weston McKennie, who plays for German club Schalke 04 and who’s arguably the future of the U.S. midfield. “Of course the Schalke-Dortmund rivalry is one of the biggest ones in Europe, but I think coming in with your national team to play Mexico is a different feeling than that.”Of course I have sense of what rivalry is now that I’ve played in the derby, but it’s something I’m really looking forward to, especially playing on 9/11, it will have significant meaning I think.”

A rivalry that must be experienced

those who have already experienced a U.S.-Mexico match, there is general agreement that there’s only so much you can do to prepare teammates for what lies ahead. U.S. defender DeAndre Yedlin said that at some point the players simply have to experience it for themselves.”When I played in my first one, I asked around, ‘What’s it like?'” he said. “The guys would try to explain it to me, but you can’t get a good grip on it until you actually play in it. I’ll let them experience it for themselves and they’ll do just fine.”Yedlin certainly has plenty of experience now, having played against Mexico six times, including the 1-1 draw in the Estadio Azteca back in June 2017. That match marked just the third time the U.S. avoided defeat in that venue in a World Cup qualifier.U.S. coach Dave Sarachan added, “You’ve got to live it. You can teach players history, which I try to do, and give them a real perspective. Now when they get on the field and really feel it, I think this rivalry will begin to heat up even more for these guys.”Yet there’s also an element of intrinsic motivation. Club America’s Edson Alvarez sees the fact that Mexico has a large fan base in the United States as an extra motivation to defeat the Stars and Stripes on their turf.”It is a strong rivalry and I think even more for Mexicans that live in the United States,” Alvarez told ESPN FC. “So it means a lot for me because we are the Mexican national team, their team. To play the United States in their country and win against their team, it’s very satisfying. To give Mexicans living in the United States a victory is great.”Even though players are divided on where the rivalry stands in 2018, the fans are no less emphatic about how they feel.”This goes beyond a game,” said Sergio Tristan, founder of U.S.-based Mexico fan club Pancho Villa’s Army. “Losing to the U.S. as a Mexican-American, you don’t hear the end of it because we live, work and play soccer with their fans on a weekly basis. It’s personal. We expect to win, and we want these young kids to get a taste of victory against our rivals early on.”A win this week cements a winning mentality against the U.S. for the next generation.”How will it play out among the home fans in Nashville? Dan Wiersema, communications director for the American Outlaws, said that the group was originally allocated enough tickets for three sections for Tuesday’s game but sold out only two of them.Wiersma acknowledged that there have been concerns about ticket pricing: Tickets in the supporters’ section for Tuesday’s match are $78 for AO members and $85.50 for non-members. (The cost is considerably lower, around $33, for next month’s match against Colombia.) But with the pain of World Cup qualifying failure still present, there is also a bit of a wait-and-see approach from some members.”It sure would be nice to get a victory,” Wiersema said. “That would feel like we could truly hit the reset button — beat our regional rivals, feel a bit of love in our hearts again.”

U.S. must get more creative vs. Mexico; who will fill Brooks void: W2W4

5:22 PM ETJeff Carlisle, Arch Bell and Jason Davis

U.S. faces Mexico in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET) in a friendly but with seemingly plenty still on the line. How will Dave Sarachan, Tim Weah & Co. fare against El Tri in their first meeting since June 2017? Jeff Carlisle, Arch Bell and Jason Davis pick out what to look for on the U.S. side.

The goal is clear: Create more in attack

Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Brazil witnessed the kind of U.S. attack to which we’ve grown accustomed over the years: huff, puff and hope to score on set pieces. Granted, that’s often the case when you’re limited to 35.4 percent possession, but heading into Tuesday’s grudge match against Mexico, the aim for the U.S. will be to show that its corps of young attackers can threaten the opponent in a wider variety of ways.U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan admitted as much in Monday’s news conference, though to hear him tell it, the key for an improved offense will be a more cohesive, aggressive defense.”In terms of just the movement off the ball, when we do look to step and apply pressure, it has to be a little more of a collective effort as opposed to individuals on their own because what happens is now space opens up for teams that are good with ball that can pick you apart a little bit,” he said.Where that happens will be interesting to watch. Mexico isn’t on par with Brazil, mind you, but El Tri is plenty adept at playing a possession game and threading passes into dangerous spots.So will the U.S. press high or retreat into a low block? It’ll certainly have to do plenty of the latter at some point, and it seems sensible to go for that option rather than press high. But if the U.S. needs more of a collective effort in defense, it will need the same in attack.That process starts by taking better care of the ball when possession is gained, which in turn should allow some of the faster wide players like Antonee Robinson, DeAndre Yedlin and Shaq Moore the chance to break on the counter. Central midfielders like Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams will need to contribute to the attack as well. It’s the best way for this crop of young U.S. players to get back on an upward trajectory. — Jeff Carlisle

How will the defense shape up without Brooks?

Arguably the best performer for the U.S. in Friday’s 2-0 loss to Brazil was center-back John Brooks. This was the Brooks who was very good during the 2016 Copa America Centenario, not the error-prone player from 2018 World Cup qualifying. But Brooks won’t be available on Tuesday against Mexico, leaving a pretty sizable gap in the middle of the U.S. defense.Fortunately for kinda-sorta interim boss Dave Sarachan, Matt Miazga will be around to anchor the back. The Nantes man ranked right up there with Brooks for man of the match honors against the Selecao and he is fully deserving of another start against El Tri.But who will fill in for Brooks on Miazga’s left? Perhaps a pairing with New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long might be in the making. Long has been good this season, and having the experienced Miazga (even though Miazga is two years younger) alongside him would temper any nerves.Viral moment aside, DeAndre Yedlin did little of note in attack for the U.S. and was plagued by a few too many giveaways at right-back. Still, he’s the most experienced player on the current squad and should get the nod over alternatives like Moore or Eric Lichaj. Because of club issues, Moore has yet to play a single official minute for Spanish second-division side Reus, while it is at the other full-back position that Lichaj could get the nod.The question is whether Sarachan should continue with Robinson, who struggled against Brazil, or play it safe with the versatile and more experienced Lichaj. It’s no secret that left-back has been a weakness for the U.S. for pretty much forever and Robinson has the wheels to help in attack, something that is sorely needed as evidenced by Friday’s blunt performance.It might not be popular with fans, but sticking with Robinson and instilling some confidence would be worthwhile in the long term. As the United States and Mexico face off in Nashville, Herculez Gomez ponders whether the longtime rivals have more in common than they think.With so many new faces getting their chance at the dawn of a new cycle, we’re not lacking for areas of focus with a young U.S. national team. Everything is a work in progress, including the Americans’ confidence. Before they earn their way back to the World Cup — the most obvious goal during this “reboot” — they’ll need to re-establish a place among the elite of CONCACAF. Mexico represents the best the region has to offer even as El Tri goes through its own process of injecting younger players into the national team mix.eating Mexico on American soil could set the tone for the next four years and build the crucial belief the U.S. needs for the new cycle. The rivalry has long been a part of the identity of the United States and falling behind the Mexicans so obviously has been damaging to the national team’s psyche.Players who are expected to be part of the core for the next four years for the U.S. will have their first chance to strike a blow against the country that the Americans are most often measured against. The lack of competitive stakes makes it tough to pin down the value in most friendlies, but games against Mexico in any context mean more. For players like Zack Steffen, McKennie, Adams and Miazga, Tuesday’s match will ramp up the nerves and serve as a test of their ability to rise to the occasion. The next head coach, still unknown at this point, could use the information provided by Tuesday’s performance in determining whom can be trusted when the games actually matter.Without a significant veteran presence in this current squad, it is incumbent upon someone to step into a leadership role. Yedlin is the most experienced and Wil Trapp has been given the armband; they, or others, must take charge and help maintain composure and focus in a game where emotions will be running higher than they might in the average friendly.The Americans don’t have a match that means anything competitively until next summer’s Gold Cup. For the time being, the closest they can get to a game that matters is any match against Mexico. Can the young group with the interim head coach beat Mexico and use the victory to launch into the new cycle? — Jason Davis

The Future is Now for the USA vs. Mexico Rivalry

QUICKLY The stakes are low and the cast of characters has changed, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing on the line when the USA and Mexico renew their rivalry in Nashville.By AVI CREDITOR September 11, 2018

For the last number of years, the USA-Mexico rivalry has been defined by a pretty set cast of characters. Sure, some names have come and gone, but, over the last four years anyway, the nucleus has been rather stable.Bradley. Dempsey. Altidore. Howard. Chicharito. Guardado. Marquez. Ochoa.On Tuesday in Nashville (TV coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET, with first kick expected after 9), none of them will be involved as both Concacaf foes look toward the future. As is the case after one World Cup cycle concludes and another begins, new faces are ushered in as teams cast an eye on who may be key components of another qualifying run. Nothing is set in stone regarding the past rivalry stalwarts, some of whom may still have roles going forward (save for Dempsey and Marquez, who have retired). And with a pair of interim managers at the helm, it’s quite possible that much of what happens at Nissan Stadium will have little bearing going forward.It’s still USA vs. Mexico, though, and there’s no such thing as an empty rivalry bout. Here are three subplots to keep an eye on in the latest edition of their storied history:

JONATHAN GONZALEZ, IN THE FLESH

The Jonathan Gonzalez USA-Mexico story diverged into a number of directions when the California-born announced his allegiance to El Tri at the beginning of the year. And while the conversations had in the aftermath were necessary and asked some tough questions of the U.S. federation, they often steered beyond the player itself and veered into bigger-picture themes.Well, here, for the first time, Gonzalez will get to show the U.S. and its supporters what they’re missing. A former teammate of Tyler Adams on the U.S. U-20 national team and a halftime substitute vs. Uruguay on Friday, Gonzalez is expected to play a big role under interim manager Tuca Ferretti in this match. It hasn’t exactly been nine months of meteoric growth for Gonzalez since his allegiance change. He wasn’t taken to the World Cup by Juan Carlos Osorio (given Mexico’s midfield options at the time, his inclusion always appeared to be a bit of a long shot), and he had to earn his place again in Monterrey’s starting lineup (in the current Apertura campaign he’s started all of Los Rayados’ eight matches) after it switched managers. He’s fully in frame for the 2022 cycle, though, and he’s out to earn his place on the national team he selected. The boo birds might come out from the U.S. faithful (and even then, they might be outnumbered in the stands by cheers from the devoted El Tri fans who will surely turn out in droves), and they’re entitled to do that, but it’s not as if his choice was an acrimonious one. Gonzalez described the difficulty in his choice and the confidence he has in it for ESPNFC this week, and he’ll surely have a bit of added motivation to show well against the team he could have been playing for instead.

THE FUTURE IS NOW FOR THE RIVALRY

Gonzalez is far from the only rising star involved in this game. There’s Cruz Azul midfielder Roberto Alvarado and Club America forward Diego Lainez, two youth stars who have come through Mexico’s impressive youth system and appear set for larger roles with the senior national team–all while being ogled by European clubs.On the U.S. side, there’s no Christian Pulisic or Josh Sargent, but their young counterparts like Tim Weah, Weston McKennie and Adams are set to be fixtures from here on out. There’s no real nastiness or lingering bitterness between this cast of actors yet, and this will be their first attempt to establish themselves against the players they’ll be compared to and surely be seeing in qualifiers, Gold Cups and beyond in the coming years.

THE USA HASN’T BEATEN MEXICO IN OVER THREE YEARS

The USA’s all-time record vs. Mexico isn’t great, with the Americans staring at a 19-37-14 all-time clip entering this match. Since the turn of the century, though, fortune has favored the Americans, to the tune of a 13-7-6 mark. The most recent history belongs to Mexico, though. El Tri has gone 2-0-1 in the last three meetings, starting with the Concacaf Cup playoff in October 2015 that sent Mexico to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and continuing with a 2016 triumph in Columbus that forever altered the aura surrounding their bogeyman World Cup qualifying destination.Opportunities to play against one another don’t come along that frequently, and there’s no guarantee they’ll meet in next summer’s Gold Cup, either–they haven’t played on that stage since 2011. So with a chance to get one on the all-time scoreboard and to end a few-year streak of futility, the U.S. would be hard-pressed to put some emphasis on the result, no matter the circumstances around the match–for psychological reasons, if nothing else.

U.S.’s 9/11 match against Mexico ‘powerful, emotional, exciting’ – Wil Trapp

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Sep 10, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United States captain Wil Trapp said the team’s Sept. 11 match against rivals Mexico will be “powerful, emotional and exciting” for the team.On Tuesday, the U.S. will face Mexico in a friendly that will take place at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium (8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). The day will mark the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attack that saw two jetliners crash into the towers that comprised the World Trade Center, resulting in the collapse of both buildings.Another plane was also flown into the Pentagon on the same day and a fourth plane crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania after passengers thwarted an attempted hijacking. In total, 2,996 people were killed in the attacks.”Any time you get to play Mexico it’s a special day,” said U.S. captain Wil Trapp. “To be playing on 9/11 is even more powerful, emotional, exciting I think for all of us as players because of what that day means to our country, what it symbolizes in terms of what happened as well as the heroism that came out of it. It will be an exciting game for us as players, there will be a lot of emotions wrapped into it.”In a bid to drive home the day’s significance, U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan took the players to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City prior to last Friday’s friendly against Brazil.”It was very powerful,” said Sarachan about the visit during Monday’s news conference. “We all know the ages of these guys, some of them were one year old…some were under the age of six. But I think they walk away from that with a greater understanding of the sacrifice that took place that day, and the game [Tuesday] on 9/11 wont’ be lost on the players.”Trapp said that visiting the memorial was “an emotional rollercoaster in a lot of ways.” The team was accompanied by first responders who shared their memories of the day, and for Trapp hearing their stories was the most powerful aspect.”Policemen that were in the rubble, digging people out, it was incredible to talk to them,” said Trapp.Trapp was eight years old at the time of the attack, and recalled watching what transpired on television before being sent home from school for the day.”You’re trying to put things together in your mind, but you still don’t understand what’s going on,” he said. “They send you home from school, you talk to your parents about it, and then it starts to take more shape.”He added, “The power of what happened and how we responded as a people — firefighters, policeman, normal citizens — it just brings a pride to how Americans can rally together and make a terrible day one that we saw the best in people.”As for what will take place Tuesday, Trapp acknowledged that he and his teammates will be playing a game, but they will also be representing their country on what remains a day fraught with emotion.He said, “9/11 is such a day that will live in infamy in our country, and our responsibility is to step out onto the field with pride and bravery.”

U.S. boss Dave Sarachan: We must show no fear, create more vs. Mexico

10, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan said that part of what he has tried to establish since taking over late last year was “getting our identity back.”The U.S. is set to face arch-rivals Mexico in a friendly on Tuesday (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET), one that’s likely to see several U.S. players experience the rivalry for the first time. Speaking at his pre-match news conference ahead of the game, Sarachan stressed what that identity consists of.”It’s going to look like a team that’s going to compete, that plays with no fear, is aggressive, that’s not afraid and I think when we get beyond that into the tactics and systems, that will all be an organic process as we develop players,” he said. “The foundation of being a U.S. soccer team and what that brings each and every time is critical and I think this group has sort of established that.”Sarachan later clarified his remarks to state that the team’s identity has had those qualities in the past, but needs to be instilled from the beginning when working with younger players.”I don’t think if you look at last year, or [the last] two or five years, that the team didn’t compete or play with heart,” he said. “But I think with the young group that needs to be reinforced each and every time we get together and that’s still an important component to what we’re about.”In terms of Tuesday’s match, 15 players on the current 22-man roster will be facing Mexico for the first time at the senior level. But Sarachan isn’t concerned about that level of inexperience, especially since some have played against Mexico at the youth level.”I think these players understand the significance,” he said.Sarachan said he plans to make between four and six changes to the lineup that started against Brazil. Wolfsburg defender John Brooks and D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola, who both started Friday’s 2-0 defeat at MetLife Stadium, have already been released back to their respective clubs.He’s also looking for an improved performance from his attack.”I think a few things that we talked about — and hope to improve upon — is having the game a little bit more on our terms, and by that I mean in terms of a little bit more possession, a little more quality when have the ball, a little more imagination and creativity when we get into good sports going forward,” he said.”The balance of when we don’t have the ball versus not having the ball the other night against Brazil was a little tipped, and we knew that. I thought defensively our shape and collective effort against Brazil was good, and I expect the same against Mexico. But I’d like to see us be a little more useful with the ball, get into a little more advanced positions and threaten a little bit more.”Sarachan added that on the defensive side of the ball, he’d like to see his side have more coordination in terms of when to press the opponent.”It has to be a little more of a collective effort as opposed to individuals on their own because what happens is now space opens up for teams that are good with ball that can pick you apart a little bit,” he said.”Having watched the film, I thought in a general sense we were pretty good but I think that part can be improved, and this group has played enough together in the system that we play where I think they understand the improvements that need to be made on that end.”Tuesday will likely see Mexico midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez play against the country of his birth. Gonzalez, a dual U.S.-Mexico national, opted to pledge his international allegiance to El Tri last year, a move that saw the U.S. Soccer Federation come in for considerable criticism given that the player had represented the U.S. at the youth level.

Sarachan insisted that Gonzalez’s decision was personal, and that the player had “a good understanding of weighing out his options.””Every person has to make those important decisions, and Jonathan had to make his,” said Sarachan. “I don’t think any more beyond that to be honest. I think it’s obviously worked in the reverse cases for us as well. As we move along, there’s probably going to be more examples of that.”In the case of Jonathan, he made that choice, it was a personal decision that he had to make, and there’s not much more to it in my mind. We’ll be approaching this game and looking at personnel and looking at Jonathan and evaluate him because he’s on the other side. Personal decisions, I respect that.”

Youthful U.S. get first real reality check as Neymar, star-studded Brazil put on a show

Sep 7, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Three points from MetLife Stadium on Brazil’s 2-0 win over the United States in an international friendly.

  1. Youth is served for U.S. while Brazil feasts

The talent gap between the two sides was laid bare as the respective lineups were handed out. Brazil had five players who were regular starters during the 2018 World Cup, and another five who were reserves. Right-back on the night Fabinho was the lone interloper. The U.S. featured five outfield starters currently playing in one of the top five European leagues, but the vast majority of the players starting the match are still finding their way at the international level.Of course, much the same was said before last June’s 1-1 tie with France, though Les Bleus dominated that match. This encounter started in much the same fashion with Brazil patiently moving the ball and probing for openings. On the rare occasions when the U.S. got the ball, it couldn’t keep possession for any appreciable amount of time.The difference on this night was that it didn’t take long for Brazil to translate its dominance into goals. In the 11th minute, Douglas Costa collected the ball on the right wing, and with Antonee Robinson overcommitting and taking a bad angle, the Brazilian raced down the right flank to deliver a cross that Roberto Firmino duly volleyed into the open net from point-blank range.Brazil continued on as it had before, and it wasn’t until just over 30 minutes had passed that the U.S. had enough confidence to believe it could actually threaten the visitors’ goal. Weston McKennie was twice thwarted by the Brazil defense. His first chance was blocked by Thiago Silva after good work from Wil Trapp and Julian Green during the buildup, while his second opportunity from a corner saw his shot go straight into the gut of goalkeeper Alisson.

The United States were given a real reality check by Brazil at MetLife Stadium. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

That proved to be a brief respite as Brazil continued to attack the left side of the U.S. defense, doubling their lead just before half-time with the help of a highly dubious penalty decision. Trapp was judged to have hauled down Fabinho as he darted in from the right wing, though there appeared to be minimal contact. Neymar calmly slotted home the ensuing spot kick and Brazil were cruising.Not much changed in the second half. It took a save from Zack Steffen combined with a fantastic clearace from Matt Miazga to deny Neymar a second after another lovely pass from Costa. Neymar then went close again a few minutes later with a shot from distance.For the U.S., McKennie threatened from another set piece midway through the second half, but his effort went wide, while Trapp had a long-distance effort that forced a sharp save from Alisson.As is often the case, the U.S. battled hard, but this match served as reminder that this young group has a long way to go.

  1. Youthful U.S. given first real reality check

During Sarachan’s now seven games in charge, there have been moments when his young side has showed its inexperience. The loss last June to Ireland comes to mind when game management was an issue.Yet this was the first time this group has been humbled. Brazil is one of the best sides in the world. But it’s also difficult to find many positive performances among the U.S. contingent on the attacking side of the ball.Steffen impressed once again in goal and had no chance on either of Brazil’s two on the night. Miazga, while beaten on the opening goal, improved as the game went on. Trapp hustled and had a few bright spots in the attack and was unlucky to concede the penalty. McKennie had some dangerous moments in front of goal, and Tyler Adams did his bit to break up some Brazilian attacks.The USMNT’s limitations in attack were once again evident however, with set pieces providing the best and really the only opportunities on the night. There was little created from open play, and wide players like Paul Arriola and Green offered little.Matters will no doubt improve when Christian Pulisic returns to the side, but the U.S. needs more than just one attacking orchestrator. Despite all of the playing time given to young players over the last 10 months, the questions of who can join Pulisic in providing a consistent creative threat seems no closer to being answered.With a game against archrivals Mexico just four days away, this group of players will now need to regroup quickly. It’s possible the game will be easy to shrug off. It was Brazil after all, and there will be no shortage of adrenalin against Mexico. But El Tri has shown itself to be team that can dominate possession as well, and it is bound to receive considerable support from the crowd. It will be up to the team’s senior leadership — a group that includes DeAndre Yedlin and Trapp — to lift the team’s spirits and move it back in a positive direction.

  1. Neymar flashes the style; Firmino, Costa repay Tite’s faith

Neymar was the star attraction heading into this match, and he had his moments when he entertained the announced crowd of 32,489 fans. That included a trademark flop in the first half in which U.S. defender Yedlin could be heard asking the referee, “Did you watch the World Cup?” (It was a foul though.) But there was also the usual assortment of tricks and flicks, and it took Miazga’s aforementioned clearance to deny the Brazil captain a goal from open play.But the biggest winners on the night for Brazil were Firmino and Costa.It’s worth noting that neither player started a game at the recently concluded World Cup. Though they each were impactful coming off the bench, they were deemed second choice to the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Willian, respectively.In this match, Firmino and Costa justified their spots in Tite’s starting lineup, granted, the duo will face tougher matchups than what they saw on this night. All the more reason to show well with the Brazil-hosted Copa America less than a year away.Costa simply had his way with U.S. left back Robinson, continually shaking free to either deliver a pinpoint cross or cut inside to send the U.S. defense into scramble mode. Firmino’s first-half goal was one of the easiest he’ll ever score at international level, but his movement to shake free from the attentions of Miazga was nonetheless effective. Costa continued his domination into the second half and nearly set up Neymar for a second before Miazga’s clearance.With Brazil set to face El Salvador on Tuesday in Landover, Maryland, that seems a likely stage to give minutes to some less experienced players. But when the games get tougher, both Firmino and Costa have done enough to keep their spots in the lineup.

USA vs. Brazil: What We Learned

The USMNT fell against a star-studded Brazil side on Friday. It happens. But the real question is, what did we learn from that test to the young American squad?

By Adnan Ilyas@Adnan7631  Sep 8, 2018, 7:30am PDT

The United States trotted out a squad with only 4 players with more than 10 caps against a Brazilside angry from a disappointing World Cup and stocked with European stars. As a result, the game was mostly defensive for the USMNT, with the Americans barely holding 35% of the possession. But, for the most part, the youngsters held on, losing 2-0 from an early goal and a suspect penalty. Here’s what we learned from the whole affair.

Antonee Robinson is Fast. He’s not Douglas Costa Fast.

Earlier this year, Antonee Robinson burst onto the national team scene with quick and exciting bursts up the left flank. It looked like the USMNT might have finally found an answer at left back that truly worked. Well, this match against Brazil showed that Robinson is still a work in progress. Players with tremendous speed often rely heavily on their pace, especially on defense. Alas, Robinson was not an exception, at least not in this match. And, it turned out, Brazil has a number of fast players, with arguably the fastest, Douglas Costa, lined up against Robinson. That situation was highlighted early with the opening goal. Costa peeled out wide, received a long pass, and then burned Robinson down the flank to put in a sublime cross that Fermino buried into the net. And that was merely the start. Brazil systematically attacked down the wing, especially down the US left side. And Robinson was repeatedly exposed, though the team didn’t concede from play again. The good news is that, at 21, Robinson has time to grow. He actually showed some growth during the game, taking up better positions as the match progressed, and even making an important stop on a break away. There’s still a lot to look forward to with this young player.

Miazga Took Center Stage

While Robinson had a tough time out on the left, the center backs had a much better showing. While Brooks was left in the cold by Firmino on the opening goal, the pairing, and Miazga in particular, had a good display. While Brazil found purchase on the wings, the center was left almost entirely impassable. Time and time again, Neymar would attempt to dribble through to goal, only to run into the brick wall that was Matt Miazga. His passing was mostly good and his positioning was great. In general, Miazga made Yedlin and Brooks look better. Which is exactly what the USMNT needs considering how much flux the position has been in over the last few years.

Artist’s Block

While the defenders were mostly on top of things in the back, defending alone won’t win you games. Unfortunately, the US was limited and lackluster in attack. In particular, there was a clear gap in the connection between Bobby Wood and the midfield line. In total, Wood attempted 12 passes, completing 11 of them. Only one was in the final third, and only one was a forward pass. All told, the USMNT generated just 2 shots on target, and only threatened whatsoever off of set pieces. This team has a huge, glaring Pulisic-shaped hole. And this game goes to show just how badly the team needs to learn to distribute the scoring and chance creation because, if Pulisic, who is out from this international week due to an injury, were to miss a crucial game, this team could be in trouble.

People Aren’t Buying It (OBC -ah empty stadiums in Europe too dude – less than ½ full!!)

We’ve talked about how the USMNT has attendance problems before, but surely, this time, for a game against the celebrated Brazilian national team, the most successful international team in the world, surely the stadium would be packed, right? Er, nope.  This has been a systemic problem for years. The team does not draw well enough to fill the stadiums the team plays in and, as a result, the stadium is left half empty, even with the scores of Brazil fans. At this point, soccer is popular in this country. We cannot blame the populous for not caring because we have seen repeatedly, whether by looking at MLS attendance numbers, World Cup viewing numbers, international club viewing numbers, or by other visiting national teams, that people really do want to watch soccer. USSF is not doing a good job organizing and promoting these games and they are charging too much. At some point, this sort of a bad look needs to sink in. But yes US Soccer is charging too damn much for tickets for games like this.  OBC Make Level 3 seats $10 each – and fill it with soccer kids – work with local soccer clubs to fill the upper level.  Then charge out the ass for Level 1.

DeAndre Yedlin Cut His Hair

The US is not exactly known for its hair game. Indeed, we are better known for having excellent but bald players, specifically in goal. And, probably since the amazing debacle in 2002, the USMNT’s players have mostly leaned towards the conservative side for their choices in hairstyle.That is, aside from DeAndre Yedlin.Yedlin was one man willing to experiment with his hair. He was willing to go for the wild and the creative. Blonde highlights? No problem. Dreads? Can do. It was a single solo effort to at least try to elevate the American hair game.Until now.

Gregg Berhalter leading candidate for USMNT?

By LaRoja96 on Sep 8, 2018, 3:25pm PDT 23 

I gotta tell you guys something that’s really gonna blow you’re minds. Ready? Ok! What I have to tell you is that since October 10, 2017, the USMNT still doesn’t have a head coach! Cue the dramatic music! But seriously, we still don’t have a head coach.Ever since October of last year, Bruce Arena’s former assistant Dave Sarachan was appointed by US Soccer as the Interim Head Coach of the USMNT to lead them through several friendlies that US Soccer had scheduled. During his time at the helm, Sarachan has laid the foundations for the next generation of USMNT players, giving debuts to about 18 players, some of the notable ones being Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah and throwing Zack Steffen(who has been tipped to be the #1 goalkeeper going forward) in the mix as well. This was something we fans have desired since the failure in Trinidad and Tobago. Sarachan has done an honest job steering the ship and has kept all of his rosters young, one of the reasons I call Sarachan Grandpa Sarachan. Let’s be real, we all know he gave the young guys some hard candy along the way along with juice boxes and orange slices.USMNT General Manager Ernie Stewart has been the man leading the charge to find Dave Sarachan’s replacement before the end of the year, most likely by November. I know what you are all thinking “why is this process taking so long?” “We need a Head Coach now!!” Yes yes I know some people here and on American Soccer social media have grown a bit impatient waiting for the new head coach to be hired, but the kind of coach Stewart has said he wants to hire is a “legacy coach”, a coach that can leave a lasting effect on the USMNT for years to come even after said coach leaves. In a way, Jurgen Klinsmann was supposed to be that kind of coach for the team but didn’t work out as well as former USSF President Sunil Gulati had wanted.During the search for a new head coach, plenty of names have been throw around to see who would make the best candidate. I’m sure the names you all heard thrown around were Tata Martino, David Moyes, Juan Carlos Osorio, Carlos Queiroz, Jorge Sampaoli and even MLS American coaches such as Gregg Berhalter, Jesse Marsch, Peter. Vermes, Greg Vanney, free agent Caleb Porter and even current U20 Head Coach Tab Ramos. Shoot even Jose Mourinho was thrown into the mix as funny and unrealistic as that will be. Stewart has claimed that the coach must speak English which to a certain degree makes sense since the players and coach must have better communication with each other.As I said above, Stewart will make the hire before the end of the year which points to an MLS coach possibly being hired. Juan Carlos Osorio, after leaving the Mexico job had been considered somewhat of a favorite for the job but is now the head coach of Paraguay. So after him, who else is the favorite for the job? According to people from ESPN, beIN Sports USA and even Ives Galarcep from Goal.Com, the one name at this moment of time who is considered a favorite for the job is current Columbus Crew Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. Berhalter is a coach who has been considered by some to one day coach the USMNT however after the failure, some people had considered a favorite to take the job sooner rather than later.Berhalter, since coming to Columbus has managed to get his team playing pretty soccer, despite the teams very limited budget in buying better players. Berhalter has also been called by many as “the striker whisperer” with his own tactics helping the striker score a lot of goals(for those unfamiliar with Berhalters tactics, here’s a video explaining it https://youtu.be/nKCW4mvhbxE). His system involves using a 4 2 3 1, with the defenders pushing high. A formation like this could perfectly suit the player pool to its full potential. With everything that’s going on right now, it does seem like the stars are aligning perfectly for Berhalter to be the next USMNT Head Coach(and no his brother Jay Berhalter won’t be involved in the search).what do you guys think! Will Berhalter be the next USMNT Head Coach? Would you like it or hate it? Leave your comments below and I’ll talk to you all later.

Earn your Degree While You Watch Your Kids Soccer Practice – ½ the time and cost of Traditional Schools

 

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9/6/18 USA vs Brazil Fri 7:30/Mex Tues 8:30, World Nations League Starts Today, Indy 11 Win at home as playoffs loom  

USA

So the US will bring a youthful group into their friendlies with Brazil Friday night 7:30 pm on Fox Sports 1 in NJ, and vs Mexico in Nashville at 8:30 pm in Nashville on ESPN.  Sad to see the injured Pulisic will be not with the team again – but it is really nice to see center back John Brooks back into the fold along with Acosta in the middle.  Will be interesting to see how Dave puts up top with Woods, Zardes and Weah available.  Also what’s our center mid and D mid look like with this young group without Pulisic?  Interesting set of games vs 2 Powerhouse teams – we’ll see if the youngsters can play like they did in France last time out when they grabbed the tie?

WORLD

Excited to see how this Nations League thing looks today as the best teams in Europe begin play this weekend.

MLS

So I got a chance to watch DC United and Wayne Rooney this weekend as they just destroyed 2nd place Atlanta United and man talk about well used Allocation money.  Rooney has lit a fire under this squad as they have won 4 games in 6 as they soar up the Eastern conference standings from last to just 2 games off the last playoff spot.  Perhaps more though – the DC fan based as been re-energized – it was another packed house and it sounded like an EPL game on Sunday night on FS1.  Great to see the passionate fans of DC United packed into the new stadium – the Screaming Eagles are back man.  Oh and Bill Hamid back in goal is spectacular!  You will get a chance to see DC United twice in the next week as they face NYCFC this Sat at 4 pm on Univision and ESPN+, and again next Wed vs Minn United at 7 pm on ESPN+.

Indy 11

Our Boys in Blue have moved up to 4th overall in the USL with their big win over NYRB II at home Wednesday night.  The Eleven will be on the road for a couple of weeks now before returning home Wed night, Sept 26 vs the Tampa Bay Rowdies as the 11 present Faith and Family night. and of course discount tickets below $15 are available Click here for Discount Tickets for the Game and enter 2018 INDY as the promo code.   Just 2 home games left before the playoff so get plans to catch a game before the playoffs get underway.   

CHS

The 4th ranked Carmel High Girls picked up a huge 1-0 win over the #6 Ranked team in the State Penn this past weekend.  They’ll face #2 Noblesville 9/17 away and  Brebeuf at home next week Sept 20.

indy11926game

USA

Weah and US Youngsters Look to Impress vs Brazil – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Pulisic Out hurt, Tim Weah in for US vs Brazil/Mex – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Without Pulisic Brooks and Acosta Return as US faces Brazil and Mexico Brian Struas SI

Youth Leading the Way but Acosta and Brooks Still have  a Role or US – Jeff Carlisle SEPSNF

Why is US Still Looking for a Full time Coach? – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

3 GK vie for Open spot for USA Men

John Brooks to Miss Mexico Game to return to club

What’s the State of the US Team heading into huge Friendlies this week

US Callup May Cost Bobbby Wood at Hannover

18 year old Josh Sargent scores for Werder Breman U23s for 5th time

US Can Be a Top 3 Soccer Country Infantino Says at White House

US Ladies Blank Chile as Lloyd Scores Twice

US Ladies win 2 as World Cup Field Takes Shape – Graham Hayes ESPNW

U.S. roster to face Brazil, Mexico

Goalkeeper: Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)

Defense: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Nantes), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu), Tim Parker (New York Red Bulls), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

Midfield: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Julian Green (Greuther Furth), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain)

Forward: Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)

WORLD

Nations League Gets Started Today

What is the Nations League and How Does it Work? – Dale Johnson ESPNFC

Why a Global Nations League would Outshine the World Cup – Simon Kuper EPSNFC

MLS

Miami Expansion Team unveils name and logo —

Rooney & Villa face off for just 2nd time Ever

Orlando’s Stajduhar Cancer Battle

Goalkeeping

France’s GK Areola was spectacular in Goal vs Germany

Areola Great Save Again

Life as a Third Choice Keeper in the EPL

Indy 11

Indy 11 Claim 3 Pts at Home vs NY Red Bulls II

Indy 11 Discount Tickets for Sat’s Game!   (Code 2018Indy)

Indy 11 Game Schedule

USL League Standings

Soccer Saturday – Radio Show 9-10 am on 1070 the Fan

Parking passes at Gate10  Events is $11 with advance purchase. $15 day of.  Save $$$ by buying early.

indy11926game

GAMES ON TV

Thurs, Sept 6                 

2:45 pm ESPN2             Germany vs France (Eufa Nations League)

Fri, Sept 7

2:45 pm ESPN2      Italy vs Poland  (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm FS1?          Scotland vs Belgium

7:30 pm FS1           USMNT vs Brazil (Metlife)

10 pm FS1?             Mexico vs Uruguay

10 pm Lifetime        Portland Thorns v Seattle Riegn (NWSL)

Sat, Sept 8                      

9 am ESPNews               Northern Ireland vs Boznia

12 pm                                 Switzerland vs Iceland (Eufa Nations League)

12 pm                                 Finland vs Hungary (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm                             England vs Spain (Eufa Nations League)

4 pm univsion               NYCFC vs DC United (Rooney)

10 pm ESPN+                 Portland vs Colorado

Sun, Sept 9                     

12 pm ESPN News      Bulgaria vs Norway  (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm ESPN+             France vs Netherlands (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm ESPNnews   Cypress vs Slovenia (Eufa Nations League)

Mon, Sept 10               

2:45 pm ESPN +           Portugal vs Italy (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm ESPNews       Sweden vs Turkey (Eufa Nations League)

Tues, Sept 11

2:45 pm ESPNews       Spain vs Croatia (Eufa Nations League)

3 pm ESPN+                    England vs Switzerland

8 pm beIN Sport??     Colombia vs Argentina

8:30 pm beIN sport Brazil vs El Salvador

8:30 pm ESPN               USA vs Mexico in Nashville (anyone want to go?)

Weds, Sept 12   

6:30 pm ESPN+             Penn vs Indy 11

8 pm ESPN+                    DC United vs Min United

Fri, Sept 14 

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1      Dortmund (Pulisic)  vs Frankfort

2:45 pm beIN Sport  PSG (Weah) vs St Etienne

Sat, Sept 15     

7:30 am NBCSN     Tottenham vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS 1          Bayern Munich vs Bayern Leverkusen

12:30 pm NBC               Watford vs Man United 

12:30 pm Fox Soccer       Mgladbach (Johnson) vs Schalke (McKinney) 

Sun, Sept 16     

8:30 am NBCSN      Wolverhampton vs Burnley

9:30 am FS 1           Werder Bremen vs Numberg

11 pm NBCSN                Everton vs West Ham United

1 pm ESPN                       DC United (rooney) vs NYRB

5 pm FS1                           Chicago Fire vs Orlando City

Thurs, Oct 11

7:30 pm FSI                     USA vs Colombia (Tampa)

Thurs, Nov 15

3 pm ESPN2                    England vs USA (Wembley)

Sat, Nov 20

3 pm ESPN2                    Italy vs USMNT

Indy 11 Game Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

EPL Schedule

Christian Pulisic out, Tim Weah in for U.S. roster to face Brazil, Mexico

Sep 3, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan has continued with his youth movement for the upcoming international break in naming a 24-man roster for friendlies against Brazil and Mexico, although as expected, the list doesn’t contain injured Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic.All told, 14 of the 24 players named are 23 or younger, while the split between domestic players and those playing abroad is relatively even, with 11 players performing in MLS. Ten of the players are even age-eligible to take part in the 2020 Olympics. “For these matches against Brazil and Mexico, the theme remains the same in that we are using the opportunity against these high-powered opponents to continue building on the foundation that we’ve laid,” said Sarachan. “We felt it was right to continue allowing this group to get valuable experience for the big picture that includes competitive matches in the future with the Gold Cup, Olympic qualifying and World Cup qualifying.”An undisclosed muscle ailment has sidelined Pulisic for the two games. The injury is not believed to be serious, but it was enough for him to miss the Sept. 7 match against Brazil in East Rutherford, New Jersey, followed by the game against archrival Mexico in Nashville, Tennessee, four days later.”I was excited to have Christian be a part of these games in September,” said Sarachan. “As we all know too well, injuries happen and you can never predict timing. It’s disappointing that we won’t have Christian involved.”I know that he wanted to be a part of things, and we certainly wanted him here, but unfortunately he won’t be available. That said, we haven’t had Christian in with the group aside from one game in the past six friendlies, so I feel confident that this group will continue to build on what we have started.”The roster does see the return of some players who were part of the team’s failed qualifying attempt for the 2018 World Cup. Wolfsburg defender John Brooks, healthy after an injury-hit campaign last season, and Colorado Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta make their first appearances since the Americans’ 1-1 draw with Portugal in November. Columbus Crew forward Gyasi Zardes, D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola and LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget are also back in the frame after lengthy absences. They join veterans such as Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin, fresh off scoring his first Premier League goal on Saturday, as well as Hannover forward Bobby Wood.Conspicuous by their absences are the Toronto FC pair of midfielder Michael Bradley and forward Jozy Altidore, but Sarachan appeared to leave the door open for them and other players to be brought back into the team later this year. Last month, Bradley told ESPN FC that there had been discussions between him and Sarachan about his possible involvement for the two upcoming games. Now it is clear that any possible return will have to wait.”With six games remaining in 2018, we felt that at the beginning of the Kickoff Series we wanted to continue where we left off with the makeup of the group,” said Sarachan. “Moving forward into October and November, we will look at a broader mix of players.”Overall, we don’t view the pool in categories by age. We look at what we think is the right blend that will help our team progress and ultimately get results.”Earlier this year, Paris Saint-Germain attacker Tim Weah and Werder Bremen forward Josh Sargent both made their international debuts. In the European club season that has just begun, Weah has seen time with PSG’s first team while Sargent has been playing with Bremen’s second team. This time around, only Weah was called in.”Weah has been included in our roster primarily because he is coming off a very good preseason with PSG’s first team, has logged a lot of first-team minutes and already has a goal to his name this season,” said Sarachan. “With consideration for the senior national team, Timmy has earned the right to be called in.””The decision to leave Josh Sargent off this roster was one made primarily because he is still getting integrated with Werder Bremen,” added Sarachan. “He’s working his way into the first team but has yet to feature for them. The feeling is that he is getting valuable playing time with the club’s under-23 team, evidenced by the minutes he’s played and goals he has scored so far this season. I felt it was best to allow him to continue to train with the first team with the hope of getting minutes in friendlies during the international break.”

U.S. roster to face Brazil, Mexico Friday & Tues

Goalkeeper: Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)

Defense: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Nantes), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu), Tim Parker (New York Red Bulls), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

Midfield: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Julian Green (Greuther Furth), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain)

Forward: Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)

U.S. midfield under the lens vs. Brazil, Tim Weah looks to mimic the rise of teammate Neymar

6:09 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The U.S. men’s national team will face Brazil on Friday at MetLife Stadium in their first match since the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup. The match will mark caretaker manager Dave Sarachan’s seventh game in charge, and he’ll be hoping his youthful side (average age 23) will show well against a Brazil team featuring Neymar and Philippe Coutinho.Here’s what to watch for.

  1. U.S. looking for progress from young midfield

The Americans’ 1-1 draw with France last June was encouraging on some levels, given the pedigree of the opposition and the youthfulness of the U.S. team. The defense and the goalkeeping of Zack Steffen stood out, but France dominated the match territorially, and over the course of the match the play of the U.S. midfield was uneven.With that in mind, the U.S. is hoping to show more fluency when it has the ball. That amounts to a massive challenge for U.S. midfielders such as Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, and Wil Trapp.”I think we just look at being stingy, being difficult to play against,” Trapp said. “We know that Brazil brings different challenges than France did, than Ireland did. But also building upon: How can we be more dangerous moving forward, scoring goals? Yes, we scored in France, but we also look at it as an opportunity where we could have been better attacking.”Sarachan stressed that his side would need to find “the right balance” between attack and defense, and while Brazil’s roster isn’t comprised completely of A-team players, there is still more than enough talent to trouble the U.S. defense.”You look at the quality of their players in terms of breaking down players 1v1, they can go from zero to 60 in an instant just on the amount of game-changers they have on the field at any one moment,” Trapp said.

  1. Weah hoping to follow in the footsteps of club teammate Neymar

It was eight years ago that Neymar made his international debut against the U.S., scoring his first international goal in a 2-0 win at the same venue where Friday’s match will be held. That no doubt will provide an inspiration for his club teammate and U.S. forward Tim Weah.Yet a look at the lineups from that day reveals a cautionary tale as well. The other Brazilian goalscorer was Alexandre Pato, who at the time was just 20 years old but already on the post-Milan downside of his career.Despite scoring his first Ligue 1 goal last month for Paris Saint-Germain, Weah is at a point in his career where he’s not nearly as hyped as Neymar was back then with Santos. But being the son of a former Ballon d’Or winner — and current president of Liberia, George Weah — carries with it a unique burden.”I can’t imagine that’s an easy thing,” Sarachan said. “But he comes off as though he’s trying to be his own self and find his own way, and that’s a pretty mature way to look at things.”Weah’s comments hint strongly at a player with his feet firmly on the ground, able to tune out any outside noise. “Whatever I do, there’s always going to be hate, always people saying, ‘He’s not as good as his dad,'” he said earlier this week. “I just stay focused on my game. Right now, the national team is the most important thing to me, and that’s what I’m focused on. Whether my name is Weah or something else, I always want to give 100 percent.”Of course, Neymar isn’t the only club teammate Weah will be facing, as Thiago Silva and Marquinhos will also both be suiting up for Brazil.”We actually had a chat with all three of them before I came to camp,” Weah said earlier this week. “We laugh about it all the time, we joke about it. It’s a really cool vibe with all those guys, they love me, I love them, and they’re like my brothers. This is my first time being opponents with them, so it’s going to be a great experience.”But then, Weah couldn’t help letting some youthful exuberance seep out.”I hope they’re ready for us. We’re going to be a challenge for them,” he said.

  1. For Brazil, no time to ease off

The match will be Brazil’s first since the disappointment of its World Cup quarterfinal exit to Belgium, and while there is a tendency to shrug off post-World Cup friendlies, there is plenty of work to do for Brazil’s manager, Tite.The 2019 Copa America is less than a year away, and with Brazil hosting the tournament, the usual pressure to perform well is ratcheted up a level or two. For that reason Tite — who after agreeing to stay on with the Selecao is eager to see what he can do over a full cycle — will be looking to get some answers. In particular he’ll be looking to see if inexperienced national team players like Arthur, Fabinho and Richarlison can become long-term options for Brazil.But Tite will have plenty of familiar faces at his disposal as well. Beyond the aforementioned Neymar and Coutinho, Brazil’s squad is loaded with 2018 World Cup participants. Thiago Silva will anchor the defense, Real Madrid’s Casemiro figures to feature in central midfield, and the likes of Willian, Roberto Firmino and Douglas Costa will all be available in attck. Given the youthful nature of the U.S. team, that presents a formidable challenge indeed.

Without Pulisic, Familiar Faces Return as a Youthful USMNT Braces for Upcoming Friendlies

By BRIAN STRAUS September 02, 2018  SI

The games—next Friday against Brazil and Sept. 11 and Mexico—will be about the men on the field. Sunday’s roster announcement, however, is as much about the man who’s missing.Neither Christian Pulisic’s stature nor his potential is at risk. The 19-year-old Pennsylvania product—he’ll turn 20 in a couple weeks—remains the leading light of his generation and the player around whom the next era of the U.S. national team will revolve. But that era, at least as far as the Borussia Dortmund midfielder is concerned, is slow getting started.Pulisic has played just once for the USA since last fall’s World Cup qualifying disaster in Trinidad—and it was a listless performance at the end of a long club season—and he’s out of the team again this week thanks to a muscular injury suffered while on Bundesliga duty. His next chance to play for country will come in the October friendlies against Colombia and Peru. That means that over the course of an entire calendar year, which amounts to more than a third of his pro career, he’ll have worn a U.S. jersey for only 89 minutes.It’s far from scandalous, but it’s almost unheard of for such a key player to remain out of the international loop for so long. There are obvious explanations, from the lack of a summer tournament to Pulisic’s club commitment and injury. He’ll have missed only seven matches. But as coach Dave Sarachan begins to build up the national team’s next generation—once again, his roster is dominated by youth and features 15 men (of 25) who are 23 or younger—Pulisic is missing out on some of the chemistry and culture under development. When he’s ready, and if and when there’s a permanent coach, he’ll almost certainly and seamlessly slide right back in. But the wait is a bit frustrating and strange, and it’ll be worth watching how and where he fits once he’s ready.”I was excited to have Christian be a part of these games in September,” Sarachan said Sunday. “As we all know too well, injuries happen and you can never predict timing. It’s disappointing that we won’t have Christian involved. I know that he wanted to be a part of things and we certainly wanted him here, but unfortunately he won’t be available.“That said, we haven’t had Christian in with the group aside from one game in the past six friendlies, so I feel confident that this group will continue to build on what we have started.”Sarachan has given 18 players their senior U.S. debuts since taking over on an interim basis last fall. Although he’s said on several occasions that re-integrating veterans will be important as next summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup approaches, this week isn’t that time. The USA will train at the New York Red Bulls’ facility in Morris County, NJ, as it prepares for Brazil, which is bringing the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Arthur, Willian and Thiago Silva to the Meadowlands. There’s an imbalance on paper, but Sarachan said he has confidence in his young group. They’ve barely trailed during their 2-1-3 stretch, and showed well (without Pulisic) in a 1-1 draw with impending World Cup champion France in June.”Over the course of the past friendlies we have established a core of players that I felt good about offering opportunities,” Sarachan said. “For these matches against Brazil and Mexico, the theme remains the same, in that we are using the opportunity against these high-powered opponents to continue building on the foundation that we’ve laid. We felt it was right to continue allowing this group to get valuable experience for the big picture that includes competitive matches in the future with the Gold Cup, Olympic qualifying and World Cup qualifying.”So if all goes well, Pulisic will return to a team that’s developing a core and a sense of tactical and interpersonal identity, even if there’s a transition in management (GM Earnie Stewart has been on the job officially for a month). For now, here’s a look at the men who will be in New Jersey and Nashville (for the game against Mexico) this month.

GOALKEEPERS

Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)

Steffen, 23, has emerged the clear No. 1 here, although there’s arguably more competition in the player pool than there will be in camp. Brad Guzan, 33, remains part of the long-term picture, and Bill Hamid, 27, soon may get consideration again now that he’s getting minutes in D.C.Steffen has played 225 minutes across three games for the USA this year, yielding one goal.

DEFENDERS

John Brooks (VfL Wolfsburg), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Nantes), Shaquell Moore (Reus Deportiu), Tim Parker (New York Red Bulls), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

The story in back is the return of Brooks, who was limited by injury to four caps last year. He missed the qualifying stretch run, and hasn’t been in with the national team since the November friendly against Portugal—Sarachan’s first match in charge. But he’s been a regular for Wolfsburg at the start of the German season and when healthy, seems a likely U.S. starter.“John Brooks had a difficult season with an extended injury last season with Wolfsburg,” Sarachan said. “To his credit, he put in a lot of work in the offseason, had a strong preseason and has also started off well in their opening game, contributing with a goal and playing 90 minutes in their win against Schalke. Given all that, I’m pleased that he’s able to be back with the group. Center back is an important position and he’s proven that he’s very capable at this level.”

Sarachan’s best XI almost certainly features Ligue 1 newcomer Miazga alongside Brooks, with Yedlin (who scored his first Premier League goal this weekend) at right back. It’s a bit more uncertain at left back. Robinson, 21, got the start against France and has been ever-present so far this season for Wigan. He’ll likely feature in the friendlies. Lichaj is primarily a right-side player, but can switch and did so against Portugal last November. The first-choice left back for much of 2017 was Jorge Villafaña, who just returned to the Portland Timbers and wasn’t brought in by Sarachan.

Long is the only one of the 25 call-ups making his senior camp debut. Long and Parker, who made his U.S. debut before the World Cup, have been key contributors this season at Red Bull Arena.

MIDFIELDERS

Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke 04), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain)

The midfield is this team’s strength, even in Pulisic’s absence, and it gets better with Acosta’s apparent return to form. His move to the Colorado Rapids, even though it involved a precipitous slide down the standings, has provided a spark, and Acosta is in camp for the first time this year.It’ll be interesting to see how he looks with McKennie, another FC Dallas product. The pair played together at the center of a 4-1-4-1 against Portugal last fall. In a similar alignment, which Sarachan has often preferred, Trapp likely would be the defensive midfielder (it was Danny Williams in Portugal). Roldan can play there as well (or McKennie could slide back).“He has worked his way back to good form,” Sarachan said of Acosta. “The change of scenery to Colorado seems to have worked out in that he’s a consistent starter, logging 90 minutes and back to the strong form that we remember seeing during qualifying and the Gold Cup last year. We’re happy to have him back with us.”The wide options are enticing, starting with Weah and Adams (who can play anywhere), and now including Lletget, another player returning to the U.S. fold after a significant layoff. The creative, hard-working midfielder’s international ascendance was derailed by an injury suffered against Honduras in March 2017. The 18-year-old Weah, meanwhile, already has two goals for PSG.Speaking of Lletget, Sarachan said, “He has put himself back at a level to help contribute to the national team. Having a guy like Sebastian gives us different options and he offers a unique skill set to us in midfield.”

And regarding Weah, the manager said, “[He] has logged a lot of first-team minutes and already has a [league] goal to his name this season. … Timmy has earned the right to be called in.”

FORWARDS

Andrija Novakovich (Fotuna Sittard), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 

The U.S. is thinner up front, and Sarachan has deployed the team primarily in a 4-1-4-1 to compensate, in part. Jozy Altidore will turn 29 in November and likely will get another crack down the road, while the likes of Pulisic, Weah, Green, and others can attack from more withdrawn positions. Meanwhile, Sarachan is continuing to give Wood the chance to get back on track while looking at a promising target forward prospect Novakovich.    Wood, 25, scored in the friendlies against Paraguay (penalty) and Ireland and is getting his feet under him at Hannover. Novakovich also made a move, to Sittard in the Eredivisie, and already has two goals.Zardes, meanwhile, has been brilliantly efficient in Columbus, where he leads all U.S.-eligible MLS players with 15 league goals. That’s as many as he scored in 2015-17 combined for the LA Galaxy.

Sarachan saw fit to address Josh Sargent’s absence. The 18-year-old just kicked off his senior club career at Werder Bremen, but he’s already got a senior international goal—he scored against Bolivia in May. Sargent has four goals in six games for Werder’s reserves, who play in Germany’s regionalized fourth tier.

“The decision to leave Josh Sargent off this roster was one made primarily because he is still getting integrated with Werder Bremen,” Sarachan said. “He’s working his way into the first team, but has yet to feature for them. The feeling is that he is getting valuable playing time with the club’s U-23 team, evidenced by the minutes he’s played and goals he has scored so far this season. I felt it was best to allow him to continue to train with the first team with the hope of getting minutes in friendlies during the international break.”Like Pulisic, it would be intriguing to see Sargent in with the national team. But in both cases, there will have to be delayed gratification.

U.S. youth a priority, but experience of Brooks, Acosta still matters

Sep 2, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

Little by little, the veterans for the U.S. men’s national team are coming in from the cold.For the entirety of caretaker manager Dave Sarachan’s spell in charge, his emphasis has been on youth. It’s an approach that is as logical as it is necessary: After the debacle of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, it was important to turn the page and begin to usher in a new generation of players.The roster that Sarachan named for the upcoming friendlies against Brazil on Sept. 7 and Mexico four days later is consistent with that approach. Fourteen of the 24 players named are 23 or younger and include 16 players with seven or fewer international appearances. Included in that latter category is New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long, the only uncapped player on the roster. The biggest absence, of course, is Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic, who is sidelined by a muscle injury that a U.S. soccer spokesperson characterized as “not significant,” but there are a few returnees that Sarachan has opted to bring back, the most notable being Wolfsburg defender John Brooks and Colorado Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta.Both players have the ability to be future mainstays. Whether they reach that level remains an open question.Brooks endured an injury-hit 2017-18 club season with Wolfsburg that not only limited him to just 12 league and cup appearances, but caused him to miss the fateful last World Cup qualifier as well. Beyond his club struggles, Brooks’ form with the U.S. has been all over the place and seems to hint at a player who doesn’t travel particularly well. His best moments with the U.S. have come after lengthy camps such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Copa American Centenario. During shorter international windows, he’s much been more inconsistent as well as prone to injury or illness, as evidenced by him missing the final four World Cup qualifiers.A return to the level he showed at the Copa America, when the Americans reached the semifinals, would be most welcome for Sarachan and whoever succeeds him. The early returns this season are encouraging.”To his credit, he put in a lot of work in the offseason, had a strong preseason and has also started off well in their opening game, contributing with a goal and playing 90 minutes in their win against Schalke,” Sarachan said about Brooks. “Given all that, I’m pleased that he’s able to be back with the group. Center-back is an important position and [Brooks has] proven that he’s very capable at this level.”Acosta’s performances with the U.S. have been steadier, although in a more limited role, mostly as the central midfield sidekick to Michael Bradley. But his play with FC Dallas earlier this year was so poor that he was eventually benched and then traded to the Colorado Rapids. The trade has had the desired effect in that it looks to have rejuvenated Acosta.”[Acosta] is a consistent starter, logging 90 minutes and back to the strong form that we remember seeing during qualifying and the Gold Cup last year,” Sarachan said.One of the wild cards in the group is LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget, who broke his foot back in March of 2017 just minutes after scoring his first international goal against Honduras. His craftiness on the ball is something the U.S. has lacked at times. The fact that he played for Sarachan while the U.S. manager was an assistant in L.A. doesn’t hurt either.”Not only do I know him personally but professionally, I believe he has put himself back at a level to help contribute to the National Team,” Sarachan said. “Having a guy like Sebastian gives us different options, and he offers a unique skill set to us in midfield.”Of course, the center of midfield has become a bit more crowded with the emergence of Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams — both of whom are on the current roster — but there are no guarantees in terms of which players will emerge and who will fall by the wayside. The last cycle in particular saw far too many fall into the latter category. The more competition there is, the better.Sarachan appears mindful of the progress of some of some of his younger players as well. While Paris Saint-Germain’s Tim Weah was included, Werder Bremen forward Josh Sargent wasn’t.”The decision to leave Josh Sargent off this roster was one made primarily because he is still getting integrated with Werder Bremen,” said Sarachan. “I felt it was best to allow him to continue to train with the first team with the hope of getting minutes in friendlies during the international break.”In addition to Brooks, Acosta and Lletget, the likes of D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola and Columbus Crew forward Gyasi Zardes have also been recalled after long absences. But not every veteran has been welcomed back, although in some cases that seems a matter of time. Midfielder Michael Bradley told ESPN last month that there have been discussions between him and Sarachan; the U.S. manager seems open to his return for as long as he remains in his post. Jozy Altidore also still appears to have something to give to the U.S. even as both he and Bradley remain lightning rods for what took place during World Cup qualifying.But experience will be needed at some point during this cycle, if only to pass the torch onto players like McKennie, Adams and defender Matt Miazga. The future will divulge exactly when that is.

U.S. men’s national team is still searching for a full-time coach. What’s taking so long?

1:04 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

It’s telling that about six months ago, U.S. Soccer Federation news releases stopped referring to Dave Sarachan as the “acting head coach” of the men’s national team. It wasn’t that Sarachan was in the running for the full-time job, but it was more an acknowledgement that a permanent hire — if there is such a thing in the world of coaching — wasn’t going to get made anytime soon.Sarachan’s spell in charge has now stretched to 10 months, a span that will include nine games after upcoming matches against Brazil on Sept. 7 and Mexico four days later. And as the timeline for hiring a new manager has gone on and on and on, Sarachan’s contract has been extended multiple times and now stands to run until the end of 2018. With that reality come the inevitable questions. When exactly will the USSF hire a full-time manager? Why is it taking so long? And, of course, whom will they hire? The answer to the second question lies partly in the upheaval since that night in Couva, Trinidad, last October when the U.S. failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. That ultimately begat Sunil Gulati’s decision not to run for re-election as USSF president, and not wanting to make a decision as a lame duck, the decision of men’s national team manager was left to his successor. Along the way, it was decided that whomever was elected would appoint a general manager of the U.S. national team to oversee the search.

Carlos Cordeiro was duly elected as USSF president, and in parallel with the mad dash that occurred in order to secure the hosting rights — along with Canada and Mexico — for the 2026 World Cup, Earnie Stewart was hired as GM in early June. Except Stewart’s tenure didn’t begin (officially, at any rate) until Aug. 1 amounting to another delay, though he could be seen making the rounds in the days leading up to the MLS All-Star Game.So here we are, into September, and a U.S. Soccer spokesperson has confirmed that no interviews have been held, keeping with Stewart’s statement upon being hired that, “It will be process over speed.” One USSF source said the search could drag into November or December.As for what Stewart has been doing with his time, sources indicate he has been reaching out to former players, coaches and executives and getting their input on what they would like to see in a coach. His remit also includes spelling out the broad strokes in terms of style of play; this has figured into Stewart’s conversations as well.There is a question of how much say Stewart will ultimately have in terms of the decision. He will be the one to make a recommendation to the USF hierarchy and board of directors, but it will be USSF CEO Dan Flynn who will do the negotiating in terms of a contract. It may be that Flynn has the final say.For now it is up to Stewart to lead the search. One source indicated that Stewart is leaning toward making a “legacy hire,” one that would leave a lasting imprint on the national team program, as opposed to one whose sole aim is to get the U.S. men back qualifying for World Cups. Granted, legacy was what Gulati had in mind when he hired Jurgen Klinsmann back in 2011, though the USSF technical hierarchy — which, in addition to Stewart, includes chief sport development officer Nico Romeijn and chief soccer officer Ryan Mooney — has stressed that the working environment will be collaborative in nature as opposed to having the manager or the GM make all the decisions.Such an approach points away from proven international managers such as Louis van Gaal and Dick Advocaat, who would no doubt want total control of all team-related matters. That said, Frank de Boer, whom Stewart knows well, is one name that keeps popping up and he’s available, though his most recent managerial stint with Crystal Palace ended after a mere five games.If that doesn’t sound inspiring, it merely points to the fact that the U.S. job isn’t one to attract a slew of international candidates with impressive résumés. Sure, there is less pressure than in other more soccer-mad countries but it isn’t the kind of stepping stone for a manager on the outside to get back to the European elite.It’s also one not worth waiting around for as former Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio, whom sources say was very interested in the U.S. job, has already signed on with Paraguay. Opinions vary as to whether the USSF missed out or dodged a bad hire but at minimum it would have been prudent to talk to a candidate that is as familiar with the U.S. setup as Osorio.With all that in mind, the signs are pointing to the hiring of a manager currently in MLS or at least one with strong ties to the league. Sources have said Stewart prefers a manager familiar with CONCACAF, MLS and the current player pool.Of the coaches currently operating in MLS, Atlanta United’s Tata Martino has the most impressive résumé given his vast experience managing not only Barcelona and Argentina, but also more modest sides like Newell’s Old Boys. But his inability to communicate in English remains a huge stumbling block, not so much in terms of talking to the team — Atlanta seems to have done just fine under such a scenario — but there is a public facing aspect to the job that requires proficiency in English. That could be seen as too big an obstacle and while his contract is up at the end of the season, he seems to be enjoying his time building a juggernaut in Atlanta.LAFC manager Bob Bradley has the most experience of any American given his stints overseas. While Bradley suffered during his time with Swansea City, then of the Premier League, his spell with the L.A. expansion club has been superb. And with Gulati now gone — he was the one who dropped the hammer on Bradley’s stint as U.S. manager back in 2011 in favor of Klinsmann — the dynamics for a return are better than they might have been otherwise.Bradley is no doubt a better manager than he was back then, except that the U.S. has already gone back to an old standby once already with Bruce Arena, an appointment that ended in the aforementioned qualifying failure. The desire to start fresh is likely too strong to overcome.That leaves Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter as the front-runner; in fact, the job appears to be his to lose. His experiences as a player and coach tick plenty of boxes. He spent the bulk of his playing career abroad and secured the UEFA A coaching license, in German no less. He did have a relatively unimpressive spell in charge of Swedish side Hammarby but has since enjoyed a successful five-season spell with Columbus, reaching an MLS Cup final while operating under considerable financial constraints as well as the club’s overt attempt to relocate to Austin, Texas.Berhalter has also drawn praise from MLS international managerial contingent — be it Martino, former NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira, or current Blues boss Domenec Torrent — for his attacking style and tactical acumen. The only question is whether the presence of Berhalter’s brother Jay as USSF chief commercial officer might create the appearance of a conflict of interest, though the credentials compare well to the competition.There are other American candidates as well, including Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes, current RB Leipzig assistant Jesse Marsch and Toronto FC manager Greg Vanney. Current U.S. U20 manager Tab Ramos also figures to get an interview given his links to the younger elements of the current U.S. player pool, though his lack of experience managing at the club level figures to be a mark against him.Of that group, Vermes in particular seems to be the manager most likely to get strong consideration but the SKC manager has operated in a situation where he has had full control of all technical matters, which is at odds with how the USSF says it wants to operate.Meanwhile the search goes on. So too does the wait for a new manager.

Goalkeeper trio called into US camp know they have a unique opportunity

September 5, 20184:35PM EDTDylan ButlerContributorHANOVER, N.J. —

It’s a door that hasn’t really been open for almost a generation.Tim Howard and Brad Guzan clearly established themselves among the pecking order of US national team goalkeepers over the last decade. Before that, it was Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel, and before that Tony Meola. But now a new, younger generation is getting their chance to prove themselves on the international stage. That includes the trio of Alex Bono, Ethan Horvath and Zack Steffen who are among the 25-man roster for upcoming friendlies against Brazil Friday (7:30 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, Univision Deportes) at MetLife Stadium and next Tuesday against Mexico in Nashville. Each are under age of 25, with six combined caps among them. And yet the door for all of them, it would appear, is wide open.“There’s always open competition, even with the veteran guys,” US coach Dave Sarachan said before training Wednesday. “I think we have a good core of young goalkeepers and I think the margins between what we would consider the starter for Friday [and] the next guy that wouldn’t start is very thin. I’m encouraged, but they’re young and they need experience.”The goalkeepers themselves are trying not to put too much emphasis on a somewhat rare opportunity to establish themselves for the year to come. “If you’re looking at it that way then I think it’s only going to cloud your judgement and cloud your mind of what you should be focusing on,” Toronto FC‘s Bono said. “For me it’s about coming in one training session at a time and making sure I’m preparing myself and making sure that I’m making the guys around me better.”At first glance, the favorite would be Columbus Crew SC‘s Steffen. The 23-year-old has three caps, including a spectacular performance in a 1-1 draw against France in Lyon in early June.“It’s a feeling of motivation to get out there and get better and push yourself each day to learn from the coaching staff and players on the field,” Steffen said Tuesday. “We have a long road ahead of us and every spot is open for grabs. We just got to go into training everyday and train like you want to be out there.”After a stellar MLS Cup-winning season a year ago, the 24-year-old Bono has had a rollercoaster third season with Toronto. Clint Irwin has started the last two games — a pair of losses to the Portland Timbers and LAFC — and the defending champions have struggled throughout a trying campaign.

But he views the change of scenery with the USMNT as a positive and something he hopes he can take back with him for the stretch drive of the MLS season. “Obviously I want to have success when I’m in Toronto,” Bono said. “It’s not something that’s easy to push aside, but the change of environment is definitely nice to refresh and get a new staff and some new guys around you to kind of reset yourself and make sure when I get back to Toronto, I’m bringing that confidence back with me and getting geared up for the rest of the season.”Just like the rest of the young core who are hoping to be the backbone of the 2022 World Cup qualifying cycle, the goalkeepers see these games as a chance to prove they belong. “I think it’s important for us as young players within the national team to take with us that it’s our path to create for ourselves,” Bono said. “We have to rely on ourselves to make sure that we continue to get called in and we continue to progress with the national team.”

International break W2W4: Nations League takes its first steps, world champions meet

Sep 5, 2018Nick AmesESPN.com writer

With the international break upon us, and friendlies and Nations League action beginning on Thursday, Nick Ames looks ahead to the biggest story lines of the week of international football.

UEFA’s new brainchild takes its first steps

European football’s governing body must have been doing cartwheels at the way in which this summer’s World Cup breathed life back into international football. It means the first round of Nations League fixtures holds genuine allure, with the prospect of the matches themselves providing more talking points than the competition’s labyrinthine structure. If games like France vs. Germany, England vs. Spain and — next week — Portugal vs. Italy serve up some memorable action, then the prospects will look good, although there are questions lower down the ladder, too.

UEFA Nations League full draw
Watch on ESPN networks in the U.S.
Schedule: Sep. 6 | Sep. 7 | Sep. 8 | Sep. 9 | Sep. 10 | Sep. 11

For teams like Luxembourg and Moldova, who face each other in League D on Saturday, the stakes are higher than you might expect. Fare well in the next 10 days and suddenly a shot at backdoor Euro 2020 qualification looks a distinct possibility. Fail to pick up points and the risk is that by the end of this international break that prospect has already receded, leaving the losers with what would effectively be four unappetising friendlies against lowly opponents.This competition’s format allows traditional minnows a realistic chance of the limelight, but for many of them the danger is that it will not stay interesting for very long. The immediate measure of its success, though, will no doubt be the extent to which it captures the big guns’ imaginations.

Old and new world champions meet

How quickly the mood has changed around both Germany and France. Thursday’s hosts have spent their summer soul searching after their disastrous World Cup exit, and Joachim Low was in full “mea culpa” mode in dissecting their downfall last week. The row around Mesut Ozil’s departure from international football has hardly helped either, and Germany could do with a win — or at least a rousing performance — in Munich to stop the storm clouds growing darker. The fact that their opponents have only just replaced them as world champions should focus a few minds.For their part, France still feel jubilant after their triumph in Moscow and will not want to let up now. They did not always thrill on their way to the trophy but were worthy winners. Such is their depth of quality that they should be aiming to achieve the kind of dynastic success that once seemed to be within Germany’s grasp. That will be the next big test for Didier Deschamps, who answered many of his critics with his own performance in Russia. The Allianz Arena, and the curtain-raiser to a brand-new competition, would not be a bad stage to announce that France are in this for the long haul.

England seek to build on summer of smiles

The feelgood factor around England’s national team sprang up from almost nowhere, and Gareth Southgate wants to keep the good times rolling. He has been faithful to the core of the squad that took them to the semifinals in Russia, missing only Ashley Young — who has been dropped from the squad — the injured Raheem Sterling and recent virtual retirees Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill.Continuity is king for now and, on Saturday, Spain will provide an opportune test of the lessons they learned during the summer. A harsh reading of England’s performance would be that they ultimately fell short when they faced opposition of genuine quality — in the form of Belgium, twice, and Croatia — so it would do no harm to set down a marker now against visitors with their own point to prove.Spain, now under the charge of Luis Enrique, need to clear the cobwebs from a World Cup that was effectively over when Julen Lopetegui was sent home on its eve. It is a new era for them after the international retirements of Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and David Silva; winning at Wembley would not be a bad way to show that their new coach can manage the transition.

Denmark dispute spills into farce

So far so good, then, where Nations League storylines are concerned. How strange and unfortunate that it is Denmark, not exactly a football country you would associate with upheaval, who stand to add a farcical element to proceedings.Unless a dispute surrounding their first-choice squad’s commercial rights is solved — and time is fast running out for that — they will field a team of low-ranking domestic-based players for a friendly with Slovakia and a Nations League tie with Wales. Instead of Christian Eriksen and Kasper Schmeichel, their opponents can expect to face players from the Danish second tier and, according to some reports, the country’s futsal squad. The latter should, at least, not be found wanting technically.There will be a familiar face in the dugout, with former Arsenal midfielder John Jensen stepping in for Age Hareide, who will not take up his own position either. How unseemly it all appears, although the door has been left open for a last-minute change of heart.”Let’s renew the old [commercial] deal by one month,” Eriksen said. “Sign up and we will sit on the plane immediatelyCameroon, newly coached by Clarence Seedorf and his assistant Patrick Kluivert, will be well advised to take their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Comoros seriously. As things stand, they are effectively a “ghost” team in Group B, their qualification for next year’s tournament assured through their status as hosts. But the doubts about that are growing: the Confederation of African Football president, Ahmad Ahmad, admitted last month that he is “not sure Cameroon is ready to host the AFCON,” with a number of stadiums running late and facilities for the expanded tournament barely up to scratch. Instability in the English-speaking areas of the country is also an issue.A decision should be made by the end of the month, with Morocco mooted as a late stand-in. It certainly adds to the early pressure on the Indomitable Lions’ Dutch pair.There are big games elsewhere, too. Nigeria must win in Seychelles to keep pace with Libya and South Africa in Group E, while Ivory Coast and Egypt are seeking three points against Rwanda and Niger respectively to make amends for poor starts of their own. The big hitters will not want to miss out on next summer’s carnival. Where it will take place, though, is anyone’s guess.

What is the UEFA Nations League and how does it work? A complete guide

4 Sep, 2018Dale JohnsonGeneral Editor, ESPN FC

The UEFA Nations League will begin this week, and you can check out the draw. Here’s a guide for all you need to know about the new competition.

What is the UEFA Nations League?

It is a competition between the 55 member nations of UEFA, created because “UEFA and its associations wanted more sporting meaning in national team football, with associations, coaches, players and supporters increasingly of the opinion that friendly matches are not providing adequate competitionfor national teams.”

So this means there are no more international friendlies?

There will definitely be far fewer, though there are still a couple of spaces in the calendar. For instance, the top nations will play four fixtures across three international weeks over the next three months, and this will leave two spare dates for international friendlies.

However, Euro 2020 qualifying takes place through 2019 in March, June, September, October and November with two games each month, so the majority of teams (and almost all major nations) will not have free international dates for friendlies next year.

When does it start?

The group games will all be played on the six international dates between September and November 2018.

Matchday 1: Sept. 6-8, 2018
Matchday 2: Sept. 9-11, 2018
Matchday 3: Oct. 11-13, 2018
Matchday 4: Oct. 14-16, 2018
Matchday 5: Nov. 15-17, 2018
Matchday 6: Nov. 18-20, 2018

What format does it take?

The 55 nations were split into four “Leagues.” The strongest nations are in League A, and the weakest in League D.

League A and B: Four groups of three nations (12 teams)
League C: Three groups of four nations, and one group of three (15)
League D: Four groups of four nations (16)

Teams within each group will play each other home and away over the three international weeks.

What about promotion and relegation?

Yes. The winners of each group in Leagues B, C and D will move up, while the nations bottom of Leagues A, B and C will drop down for the next edition of the Nations League, which will be 2020-21.

Will there actually be UEFA Nations League champions?

Yes. The four group winners from League A will playoff in knockout format — semifinals, third-place match and final — in June 2019, with all four matches being played in one host European country chosen from the finalists. Italy, Poland and Portugal have all submitted bids, and as these three countries are in the same Nations League group one will definitely host the finals. Only nations in League A can go on to be overall Nations League champions.

Finals draw: early December 2018
Finals: June 5-9, 2019

How were teams ranked?

The pots are based on UEFA’s national association coefficient rankings released on Oct. 11, 2017. This is different to the FIFA Ranking, only factors in competitive games and gives more credit for scoring goals and deducts points for conceding them.

Why take the Nations League seriously?

Firstly, it will decide each nation’s ranking for the Euro 2020 qualifying draw — so 10 of the 12 nations in League A are guaranteed to be top seeds, but Leagues B and C will each split almost down the middle to create the lower-ranked pots. The better you perform in the Nations League, then you might get a more favourable draw in Euro 2020 qualifying.Also, there is the “second chance” via the Euro 2020 playoffs (see below) as another carrot, creating a safety net if your Euro 2020 qualifying campaign goes badly wrong.But it does remain to be seen just how seriously the bigger nations will take it, considering they are highly likely to be to seeded in the Euro 2020 qualifying draw anyway, and they will feel they are going to make the finals regardless.

So what happens with Euro 2020 qualifying?

A few things. First, rather than starting in September 2018 as it usually would, it is pushed back to March 2019 through to November 2019.

Secondly, as stated above, the final positions and records from the UEFA Nations League will be used to rank nations for the Euro 2020 qualifying draw, which takes place on Dec. 2, 2018. So the four group winners from League A, who go through to the playoffs, will be ranked 1-4, and the other nations from League A will fill places 5-12. That will go down to the worst team in League D in 55th. These positions will be used to form the draw pots.This is where it gets a little more complicated — so stay with us.The qualifying draw will create five groups of five teams and five groups of six teams. The four group winners from League A will be drawn into a group of five, enabling June 2019 to be left free for the UEFA Nations League finals.Now it gets even more complicated…

How do the Euro 2020 qualifying playoffs work?

In qualifying for Euro 2016, the eight best third-placed teams from regular qualifying went into November playoffs (similar to the World Cup qualifying playoffs last November).For Euro 2020, the playoff teams will be plucked from the UEFA Nations League. The winners of the four groups in each League will by right go into the playoffs. However, 20 nations will have already booked a place in the finals via regular qualifying, and many of these are likely to be UEFA Nations League group winners too, so it will be the best-placed nation in each group that has not yet qualified who enters the playoffs. If every team in a group/league has qualified, then the next best performing team from that League, or the League below, will take part in the playoffs.

Important dates:

UEFA Euro 2020 play-off draw: Nov. 22, 2019
UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs: March 26-31, 2020

Deep breath. We’re nearly there….

These 16 nations, four from each League, will then play off against other teams from their own League in March 2020 for the final four places at Euro 2020. Thus, one nation each from Leagues A, B, C and D who failed to qualify directly for Euro 2020 will go through via the playoffs.

Will this make any difference?

Yes it will. Most importantly it’s going to give nations who never previously had a real shot of qualifying a chance to make Euro 2020 — and subsequent finals if the idea is a success.Take a look at the nations in League D — and remember that four nations from that League will enter the March 2020 playoffs with the winners guaranteed to go to the finals. These are worst 16 teams in UEFA, and one of them is going to qualify — Azerbaijan, FYR Macedonia, Belarus and Georgia are currently the highest-rated nations. It’s a similar story for League C, with most nations having rarely, or never, appeared at a finals — one of these teams will be there too. It gives hope to Scotland that they can qualify for their first tournament since 1998.

Is the competition a one-off?

No, the next Nations League is due to begin in September 2020, with new divisions based on promotion and relegation, though there is no information at present about how this could affect qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Why a proposed Global Nations League would outshine the World Cup

9:15 AM ETSimon KuperESPN.com writer

We’ve entered a new era in soccer. It’s the debut of the UEFA Nations League, a competition of national teams played throughout the continent. There’s everything from England-Spain at Wembley in the league’s top division, to Liechtenstein-Gibraltar in Vaduz in the bottom one. Meanwhile, international soccer officials are plotting to spread the Nations League across the planet. The idea is that every continent would host its own Nations League, and these would culminate in something even more interesting: a Global Nations League for the winners from each continent.This is a big deal — so big, in fact, it might one day even marginalize the World Cup.

The Nations League would mostly change the sport for the better. National-team soccer, overshadowed by clubs for at least 10 months a year, aims to come roaring back. So what is happening, and why?About five years ago, some officials at the European soccer association UEFA, including its then secretary general, Gianni Infantino, cooked up the UEFA Nations League. The plan was to clear out the dead space in international soccer. For decades, Europe’s national teams spent too much time playing languid friendly matches or dreary qualifiers: Germany thrashes San Marino, France beats Luxembourg, and nobody cares.The UEFA Nations League will be more competitive and exciting. It divides countries into four divisions, based on strength. The top division this fall includes groups like France-Germany-Netherlands, and Spain-Croatia-England. In the fourth division, you’ll find groups such as Azerbaijan-Faroe Islands-Malta-Kosovo.In June, the four winners of the top groups will play off to see who wins the Nations League. The tournament will also help allocate some qualifying spots for Euro 2020. Everyone will have something to play for: teams that finish bottom of their group in the Nations League will get relegated; in the lower tiers, the top teams will get promoted.Fans will probably love it. Far more people care about national teams than clubs: TV audiences for big World Cup matches dwarf those for big Champions League matches. The only problem is the lack of supply of top-class international soccer. England and Spain, for instance, haven’t met in a competitive match since 1996. Their encounter at Wembley on Saturday will have fans buzzing worldwide.The Nations League won’t mean more games for international players, just better games. If it succeeds, the format could quickly become unstoppable. CONCACAF, the confederation for north and central America, has decided to launch its Nations League in 2019. The biggest Asian federations are thought to want a version, too.Then the winners of each continental league would meet in the global Nations League. Imagine a short eight-team tournament once every two years featuring, say, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, the U.S., Morocco, France, Spain and Germany. It would replace the mostly ignored, lossmaking and frankly pathetic Confederations Cup.The only question is who would own the Global Nations League. When the Europeans of UEFA came up with the idea, they wanted to organise it among continental confederations, leaving almost no role for FIFA. But then Infantino, who in 2016 had become president of FIFA, decided to kidnap the plan. He saw the Global Nations League as a new source of funds for FIFA, which has long been almost a single-product company: it gets 90 percent of its revenues from the men’s World Cup. And FIFA needs cash, given that it has lost several mostly western sponsors following its corruption scandals.By this spring, a consortium of huge investors had agreed to put up $25 billion to fund Nations League on every continent, plus the Global Nations League and a bigger, better Club World Cup. Infantino called it “the — by far — highest investment soccer has ever seen.”Under FIFA’s plan, the eight countries that played in the Global Nations League could expect to make $37.5 million to $75 million each. For comparison: Germany got $4.1 million for winning last year’s Confederations Cup. In return for all this lovely new cash, the consortium expected to control Nations Leagues until 2033. However, in true opaque FIFA tradition, Infantino refused to reveal who his funders were. At a meeting in Bogota, Colombia in March, he nonetheless pressured FIFA’s ruling council to rubberstamp his plan within 60 days. The council said no, for the moment. UEFA was irritated, too. “We had an idea about a possible Global Nations League,” its president, Aleksander Ceferin, told the German magazine Kicker. “We first presented it to the FIFA president, then to national associations and to clubs. And all of a sudden FIFA comes and says they are ready to sell it, our idea, to a fund without any explanations. It is really a strange offer.”Meanwhile, my colleagues at the Financial Times newspaper broke through the shroud of non-disclosure agreements to reveal that FIFA’s scheme was funded by Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank with other investors from China and Saudi Arabia. In reality, most of the influence is Saudi. The soccer-mad petro-state is jealous of its tiny neighbour Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup. The Saudis want to make a landgrab of their own, including hosting the first Global Nations League. Infantino is a frequent visitor to the Gulf state, where he has become chummy with the ruling young crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman (“MBS”).

UEFA Nations League full draw Watch on ESPN networks in the U.S.
Schedule: Sep. 6 | Sep. 7 | Sep. 8 | Sep. 9 | Sep. 10 | Sep. 11

Given the squabble over ownership, the Global Nations League may not even happen. If it does — and the idea is so lucrative that it probably will — it wouldn’t start until about 2022. But once the global event embeds itself in the calendar, it has the potential to surpass the World Cup in prestige and attention (much as the World Cup from 1930 surpassed the Olympic soccer tournament).Right now, the World Cup is by some estimates the most watched event of any kind. But its status is shakier than it looks. Its average audience per match has fallen this century in countries such as Portugal, Spain and Argentina, chiefly because many games have disappeared from free-to-air TV onto pay channels.And FIFA has made another decision that seems almost designed to put off fans: starting in 2026, it is expanding the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams.The Euros, also recently expanded, have shown that more means worse. The average group game at 24-team Euro 2016 attracted 23 percent fewer viewers than at 16-team Euro 2012, according to consultancy Futures Sport. That was partly because most of the eight additional qualifiers were weak teams playing defensive soccer. At Euro 2016, average goals per game dropped to 2.12, a 20-year-low for the competition. A 48-team World Cup will probably also feature lots of boring Cinderellas. There simply aren’t enough good national teams to justify such a big tournament. This summer’s World Cup showed that Africa and Asia, in particular, don’t deserve more berths: only one of these continents’ 10 representatives, Japan, even squeaked into the second round.”There is nothing bigger in terms of boosting soccer in a country than participating in a World Cup,” Infantino has said. But not if it’s a dull World Cup, which would be outshone in quality by a Global Nations League. Viewers may get into the habit of watching the World Cup only from the knockout stage. And very few countries have the stadiums to host a 48-team competition.FIFA expanded the World Cup chiefly for the money. The bigger tournament will produce more income from broadcasters, sponsors and ticket sales. Much of that cash will go to the 211 national federations. But a bigger World Cup means a diminished World Cup. Luckily, fans should be able to console themselves with the Global Nations League. Its winners may eventually come to be regarded as the true world champions.A decade from now, we may look back on September 2018 as the month that soccer changed … for the better.

U.S. women prep for qualifying as 2019 World Cup field takes shape

By Graham Hays | Sep 5, 2018espnW.com

Labor Day weekend marks at least the symbolic end of summer in the United States, but recent days found the soccer world already hard at work on preparations for next summer.With European qualifying now complete, save a four-team playoff for one final spot, we know 15 of 24 teams that will compete in the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. We also now know the path the U.S. women will need to navigate in CONCACAF qualifying next month to add their own reservation. From qualifying drama across the Atlantic Ocean to new schedule entries for the United States and final warm-ups for qualifying against Chile, here’s a look at what changed in the past week.

U.S. women (still) control their own path to France

At least if things go terribly wrong for the United States in qualifying, it can still salvage matters with a result against Trinidad and Tobago in its final group game. That always works out well.

The truth is that as much as the recent U.S. men’s qualifying disaster was a reminder not to take even seemingly simple qualifying assignments for granted, the draw for the CONCACAF Women’s Championship is necessary but not illuminating. Mexico, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago join the United States in one group in Cary, North Carolina, while Costa Rica, Cuba and Jamaica join Canada in Edinburg, Texas.

Who has qualified for the 2019 Women’s World Cup?

Asia (5): Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand

Europe (8): England, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden

South America (2): Brazil, Chile

Yes, the U.S. women got arguably the least favorable draw possible. It not only ended up in the same group as Mexico but opens with that game, thereby missing out on any chance to play itself into the tournament. But the team most likely to get in the way in the group stage was never Mexico or any of the six teams that joined the United States and Canada in the field. The biggest risk at that stage has always been, and remains, the U.S. women getting in their own way.As long as that doesn’t happen, this is all a matter of scheduling. Dating back to 2010, when then-host Mexico famously stunned the Americans in qualifying, the United States is not only unbeaten in 10 games against its neighbor but outscored it 43-4. Yes, Mexico scored three of those goals in a pair of games this year and was entertaining in the process, but it also conceded 10 goals.And imagine a disaster scenario in which the U.S. women lose to Mexico in the opening game of the group, finish second and then lose to Canada in a semifinal. They would still need only win the third-place game to reach the World Cup — or lose that game and beat Argentina in a playoff. If they somehow failed to do any of those things, there would be much bigger problems than missing one World Cup.CONCACAF is still too top heavy, with too many paths to the World Cup, for the United States to fail.If only that didn’t sound so familiar.

USWNT warms up for qualifying

Two comfortable wins against Chile, already booked to its first World Cup, offered nothing that suggested the United States is ill prepared for its own upcoming qualification endeavors.The Americans at peak form might have finished a few more chances — and arguably did finish more than the referee allowed in an opening game that begged for video replay. But even with Megan Rapinoe injured, the available rotation was both abundant and effective around Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz, who are locks down the spine of the field. Rose Lavelle played a lot of minutes and created a lot of defensive disarray. Carli Lloyd looked more and more comfortable in a No. 9 role in the second half of each game. Any extended absence for McCall Zerboni, who left Tuesday’s game with a broken elbow, is deeply depressing with regard to someone whose particular skill set and personality were carving out a place on the roster (and worse news, still, for the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage ahead of the playoffs). But that mixing and matching in midfield and the forward line is likely to continue through qualifying and beyond. It’s a feature, not a bug.What Kelley O’Hara’s return at right back after a six-month absence underscored was how much the back line also remains a rotation, which seems at least unusual if not also a little worrisome.O’Hara and Crystal Dunn seem at the moment like the odds-on favorites to start at outside back next summer, but they have yet to play on the same back line this year. Dunn and Rapinoe have developed good chemistry on the left side but Dunn and Tobin Heath, the other player who will see time on the left side, have barely played together since Dunn’s return to defense. (It’s worth noting, in the spirit of all ideas eventually being new again, that Dunn also played outside back the last time the U.S. women warmed up for qualifying in 2014, but was subsequently injured.)Tierna Davidson and Becky Sauerbrunn, who Julie Foudy identified Tuesday as the favorites to start at center back next month in an assessment many would reasonably sign on to co-sponsor, have started together just five times. For that matter, Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper, who spent 2017 developing chemistry, have started together as center backs just once in 2018.And that isn’t even getting to Casey Short, who came out Tuesday with an apparent injury, and Emily Sonnett, who figures to see ample minutes in qualifying with O’Hara still rounding into form.Chile didn’t pose the back line many problems. It remains to be seen how many CONCACAF opponents, save Canada, will pose. But it also remains to be seen if the United States will settle on a favored four any time soon.

RECAP | INDY ELEVEN CLAIM THREE POINTS AGAINST NEW YORK RED BULLS II, 3-0

By James Higdon, 09/06/18, 12:00AM EDT   “Indiana’s Team” retain nine-game undefeated streak with a clean sheet

ndy Eleven march away with three points after a clean sheet victory over New York Red Bulls II, 3-0. The “Boys in Blue” end a seven-game stretch in 22 days with a win after a brace from forward Eugene Starikov and a goal from defender Reiner Ferreira in the first half. The team remains unbeaten in nine games, having last lost against Tampa Bay Rowdies on July 21.“I think it was one of our best performances of the season,” said Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie. “I think we started the game well. We scored three great goals and managed the game and defended very well after that.”“Indiana’s Team” obtained the lead just 101 seconds after the match started. Eleven midfielder Dylan Mares chipped a pass deep into New York’s penalty box after winning possession near the edge of the field in the opposition’s half. Starikov was on the receiving end of the pass when he managed a shot as he slid into the six-yard box. The Ukrainian’s light touch was just enough to put the ball into the lower left corner of the net. The goal was Starikov’s first of the night and Mares’ first assist since returning to the Circle City last month.Red Bulls II attempted to respond in the fifth minute. Forward Andreas Ivan put his free kick attempt on target from the top Indy’s 18-yard box, but Eleven keeper Owain Fon Williams leapt up and knocked the shot away from the frame. The 31-year-old keeper also managed a massive save in the 60th minute with Red Bulls II midfielder Andrew Tinari’s shot off a crossbar deflection.Fon Williams’ stellar performance, which included four saves throughout the 90 minutes, saw the Welshman tally his 10th clean sheet of 2018.Indy’s lead doubled in the 21st minute. Midfielder Matt Watson played a cross forward into New York’s box after gaining control of defender Carlyle Mitchell’s interception. There was only enough time for the ball to bounce once before Starikov rushed in for another shot on goal, this time into the upper left corner of the goal.“He’s been scoring quite a lot when he’s been available,” said Rennie. “Unfortunately, he’s had a few injuries and he was out for a long time. Once we got him back he started scoring and once we got him back he was off for a little bit with a fever, but stopped him playing for a couple games. So he’s not had that kind of rhythm but showed what he can do and that was clinical for us.”Starikov’s two goals were his fourth and fifth on the season, respectively. With five goals, Starikov is Indy Eleven’s second highest goal scorer of the season, trailing behing forward Jack McInerney’s nine on the year.Indy scored its third and the final goal of the match in the 43rd minute. Midfielder broke away on a solo run into New York’s half. His eventual shot was knocked out of the Red Bulls II box by keeper Evan Louro, only to be collected by Mares. Quick passing play to midfielder Seth Moses led to another short pass to Ferreira at the top of New York’s box. Ferreira fought through three defenders for his shot that landed in the bottom right corner of the net.The goal was Ferreira’s first and Moses’ first assist since the pair signed with the “Boys in Blue” before the start of the season.Indy’s 3-0 victory concludes the longest run of back-to-back games in the club’s history. The team resumes play in seven days on the road against Penn FC, giving the team much needed downtime before continuing its playoff push.“I think first of all its get some good rest. Be thankful that we’ve gone unbeaten in nine games, in that seven game spell. Be thankful that we’re moving at the right time and becoming a stronger team,” Rennie said. “At the same time, we’ve got a lot of work to do and to build on what we’ve been doing well. We’ve got a lot of improvement I think we can make and it puts us in a good place. I think it gives us that kind of confidence boost I think we needed because we’ve had to grind so hard for every single point we’ve got.”The “Boys in Blue” return home on Wednesday, September 26, for Faith and Family Night against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Fans can claim tickets to the midweek match at IndyEleven.com or by calling (317)685-1100.

USL Regular Season –Indy Eleven 3:0 New York Red Bulls II
Wednesday, September 5, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.  Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana

Scoring Summary:

IND – Eugene Starikov (Dylan Mares) 2′
IND – Eugene Starikov (Matt Watson) 21′
IND – Reiner Ferreira (Seth Moses) 43′

Indy Eleven lineup (4-3-3, L–>R): Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Reiner Ferreira, Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette, Brad Russin, Dylan Mares, Nico Matern (Brad Ring 65′) , Matt Watson (C), Eugene Starikov (Jack McInerney 75′), Seth Moses, Elliot Collier (Soony Saad 83′)Indy Eleven bench: Lundgaard (GK); Brad Ring, Ayoze Garcia, Ben Speas, Juan Guerra, Soony Saad, Jack McInerney

New York Red Bulls II lineup (4-3-3, L–>R): Evan Louro (GK), Lucas Stauffer (Niko De Vera 90′), Kevin Politz, Ndam Hassan(C), Ethan Kutler, Chris Lima, Andrew Tinari, Jose Aguinaga, Andreas Ivan (Jared Stroud 58′), Anatole Abang (Tom Barlow 72′), Brian WhiteNew York Red Bulls II bench: Scott Levene (GK), Niko Ve Vera, Jordan Scarlett, Steven Echevarria, Jared Stroud, Amando Moreno, Tom Barlow

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8/31/18 US Star Clint Dempsey Retires, Indy 11 Tie Again Home Sat/Wed, Champ League Draw, Modric UEFA Player of Year, US Plays next Fri, Carmel FC Teams Win Tourneys

Just 1 week short of the International break which features the US National Team returning to the field vs a loaded Brazil squad next Friday night at 7:30 pm on FS1, one of its biggest stars Clint Dempsey has decided to hang up the cleats.  He will retire tied with Landon Donovan as the leading scorer in US Mens Soccer History with 57 goals.  In my mind Dempsey and Donovan are the greatest American field players to ever lace them up.  Of course Dempsey played more years in the EPL so maybe he gets the nod – certainly among the Euro Snobs I know.  Dempsey’s story is well known from the trailer parks of Nagoches Texas (outside of Dallas) to the World’s Biggest League – the EPL and Fulham football club where his goal took them to the quarterfinals of the 2nd largest club tourney in the world – the Europa League back in 2010.  The next season his 29 goals for Fulham helped him finish 4th in the voting for FA player of the year – YES an American finished 3rd in scoring in the EPL in 2010 – AMAZING. He made me wake up early on weekends to watch the EPL – as he and US Forward Brian McBride, US defender Carlos Bocenegra and GK Kasey Keller formed FulhaAmerica.  His exploits took him from MLS as a rookie at New England to the EPL, back to MLS as a super high paid star for the Seattle Sounders.  Interestingly despite his goal scoring expertise it was in a year he was injured that Seattle won the MLS Title 2 seasons ago.  Good luck You Great American Soccer Player Clint Dempsey – may the fish be always biting in your pond!!

Indy 11

So our Boys and Blue managed back-to-back ties this past week – the first a disappointing 1-1 draw on the Road after dominating Atlanta United 2 -the 2nd one however was spectacular as they scored in the 94th minute to tie the Pittsburg Riverhounds at home last night 2-2.  The 11 had 55 % possession and a 6 shots on goal to just 4 for Pittsburg – but it was last second goal by Jack McInerney his 2nd on the night that kept them from dropping down the table in the playoff watch.  The 11 stand in 6th place with 41 points just 5 pts off 2nd overall as they did not lose a game in the month of July.  Our Boys in Blue return home this Sat night at 7 pm and Wed at 7 pm at the Luke – and of course discount tickets below $15 are available Click here for Discount Tickets for the Game and enter 2018 INDY as the promo code.

World

So Real Madrid star Luka Modric who carried his team to the World Cup Finals edged Cristiano Renaldo and Mohamed Salah in EUFA Player of the Year voting this year.  Classic Sergio Ramos touching Salah’s shoulder on his return to his seat.  Of course Renaldo’s bicycle goal for Real vs Juventus in the Final 4 of last year’s Champions League was voted goal of the year.  On to the draw – interesting draw for the group stages that will be carried on Tues/Weds this season on TNT at both 1 pm and 3:30 pm.   Liverpool got no favors as 2nd place finishers last year as they get PSG and Napoli in their group.  TNT’s production has been ah SUBPAR at best so far – but at least they are carrying the games.  But the studio show is a joke with Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra and Stu Holden along with Hoops star Steve Nash and Fox host Kate Adobe in the most pathetic studio I have seen since my college days at UF.

EPL

Nothing like a 3-0 drubbing at home to turn the heat up on the Special One at Manchester United.  As a longtime casual Man United fan who has literally stopped cheering for them because I hate Mourino – I think its great.  This guy lost his touch 2 jobs ago and has no clue how to manage in 2018 in my opinion.  While watching his team has never been fun – his Real Madrid team scored the fewest goals in the Madradista’s history while he was coach – now its just downright ridiculous.  Sad times in this once proud franchises history.  Time to make a change I think!  Meanwhile Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and yes Watford continue to roll on – while Man City, Leicester, Everton and of course Arsenal have all dropped games.  This weekend not much to watch as Man City vs New Castle United and US defender Yedlin at 12:30 pm on NBC is the best game to watch.  Leicester and Liverpool will start the day Sat with a 7:30 am match on NBCSN as well.

American’s in Germany

So the German Bundesliga started last weekend and man was it fun to watch young Christian Pulisic both start and really have an impact on the game for the winning home side.  He really takes guys on with his speed and footwork – reminds me of Landon Donovan (though Landon was stronger on the ball).  Especially fun was Pulisic taking the corner kicks where he placed some really nice balls including an assist on a header for goal. Pulisic still needs to get stronger – I still think Dortmund is the place for him as the EPL might just chew him up and spit him out.  He’s a technical player who often gets hacked and kicked not always getting the calls as he is so young.  Either way it sure was fun to watch an American doing well on a Champions League quality team at home in front of the Great Yellow Wall.  If you are a coach looking to get kids excited about soccer – have them start watching Dortmund games on Fox Sports 1 or 2 – the games are high scoring, the crowds ridiculous and Pulisic is something special.  Dortmund travels to Hanover at 2:30 pm on Fox Sports 1, where former US left back Steve Cherundolo is coaching the U17 squad.  I missed the battle of American’s Sat as US Center Back John Brooks scored the winning header for Wolfsburg vs Schlake and US Mid McKinney who played the entire game.   Sat Brooks and Wolfsburg will host Bayern Leverkusen at 9:30 am on FS1, before Stutgart faces Bayern Munich at 12:30 on FS2.  Sunday at noon on FS1 McKinney and Schalke travel to Hertha.

MLS

Atlanta United’s Martinez broke the record for goals in a MLS season (28 goals) with his sublime strike vs Orlando during a spellbounding Rivalry Week last week.  The week of rivalries saw NYCFC and NY Red Bulls tie, LAFC & the LA Galaxy Tie 1-1 and Seattle take a huge victory at Portland on Sunday evening.  With the playoffs just a couple weeks away key games like Wayne Rooney and DC United hosting Atlanta United Sunday night at 7 pm on FS1 will count more.  ESPN+ gives us games with playoff implications as Columbus hosts NYCFC Sat at 8 pm on ESPN+ with 1st round home field advantage at stake, meanwhile Carmel’s own Matt Hedges will lead Dallas vs Houston on ESPN+ Sat at 8 pm as Dallas looks to stay in the top 3.  Finally Zlatan and the LA Galaxy will look to end a 5 game no win streak with their playoff lives on the line Sat night at 10 on ESPN+ vs Real Salt Lake.    The US Ladies play Chile a double this week Fri night vs Chile 11 pm on ESPN2 and again vs Chile on Tues at 10 pm on ESPN2.

U15G

Coach Bill Spencer’s U15 & U14 Combo Team won the Jerry Yeagly Soccer Classic in Bloomington last weekend.

CFC -U13G
Congrats to Carmel FC 06 Girls Gold and coach Aaron Monk for winning the Club Ohio Fall Kickoff.
CFC_U15B GOLD
Congrats to John Barnes CFC U-15 Boys for finishing as Finalist in the Westside United MidWest Summer Classic this past weekend.

Indy 11

Indy 11 Score in 94th Minute to Tie Pitt at Home

Indy 11 Gives up Late one in 1-1 tie with Atlanta

Football Lines will be Visible at Games with New Indy Colts Turf Installed

Indy 11 Discount Tickets for Sat’s Game!   (Code 2018Indy)

Indy 11 Game Schedule

USL League Standings

Soccer Saturday – Radio Show 9-10 am on 1070 the Fan

Parking passes at Gate10  Events is $11 with advance purchase. $15 day of.  Save $$$ by buying early.

INDY 11 GAMES

Sat Sept 1 7 pm  Wish TV 8        Indy 11 vs Richmond Kickers

Wed Sept 5 7 pm Wish TV 8      Indy 11 vs NY Red Bulls II

USA

Dempsey Personified US Soccers Dream – Jeff Carlisle EPSNFC

Dempsey’s Career Legacy Go beyond Stats and #s – SI Brian Straus

Is Dempsey the Best Ever US Player ? Jeff Carlisle

Dempsey’s Top 5 moments for Club and Country – Matt Pentz ESPNFC

Seattle’s Sigi Schmid on Clint –he was Iconic!

USMNT’s Brooks scores for Wolfsburg in Bundesliga opener

Yedlin Assist to Own Goal for NewCastle

US Players Abroad – SBI

US Defender Geoff Cameron on loan to QPR from Stoke

US Striker Josh Sargent to Stay with Werder Bremen after scoring goal for u23s

Brazil to Bring Stars to Play US in NY Next Friday night

US Depth Chart GK & Defense – Matt Doyle MLS.com
WORLD

Luka Modric wins Player of Year over Ronaldo

Modric Deserved the Trophy over Ronaldo – Marcotti ESPNFC

The Ultimate Defender Sergio Ramos touches Salah’s Shoulder at Awards Ceremony

Champions League Draw

Tough Draws for EPL Teams – ESPNFC

Liverpool and PSG have tough draw with Napoli in the Group

VAR Might Come to Champions League by QuarterFinals this Year

European Wrap-up – SBI

Bayern Munich looks set to run away in Germany once again

 EPL

Week 3 EPL What Did We Learn

Steps to Fix What’s Wrong at Man United – SI

US Yedlin goes from hero to Goat in Loss to Chelsea

Watch: Man City held at Wolves thanks to blatant handball goal

 MLS

Atlanta United’s Martinez sets MLS single-season goal record

Comparing the #s on Martinez Scoring Record

Games of the Weekend – Crew and NYCFC & Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy

Power Rankings – Atlanta United on Top, NY Teams, Portland on Free Fall

Zlatan Sends Season Ticket Holders Message

Seattle on a 7 Game Tear down the Stretch

Clint Dempsey’s Legacy in Seattle Safe

GAMES ON TV

Fri, Aug 31   

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1    Hanover (Bobby Woods) vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

2:30 pm ESPN+             Milan vs Roma

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Lyonnaise vs Nice

11 pm ESPN2          US Ladies vs Chile  (LA)

Sat, Sept 1     

7:30 am NBCSN     Leicester City vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS 1           Wolfsburg vs Bayern Leverkusen

9:30 am FS2            Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen ( )

10 am NBCSN                Chelsea vs Bournemouth

11 am bEIN Sport        Nimes vs PSG (Tim Weah)

12:30 pm NBCSN        Man City vs New Castle United (Yedlin)

12:30 pm FS 2              Stutgart vs Bayern Munich

2:30 ESPN+?                   Parma vs Juventus

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Real Madrid vs Leganes

7 pm Wish TV8             Indy 11 vs Richmond Kickers

Sun, Sept 2    

8 am NBCSN           Cardiff City vs Arsenal           

9 am Fox Sport 1     RB Leipzig vs dusseldorf

11 am NBCSN         Watford vs Tottenham 

12n Fox Sports 1    Schalke (McKiney) vs Hertha 

12:30 pm beIN Sport               Barcelona vs Huesca

2:30 ESPN+             Sampandoria vs Napoli

7 pm Fox Sport1     DC United (Rooney) vs Atlanta United (Martinez)

Tues, Sept 4   

10 pm ESPN2          US Ladies vs Chile  (San Fran)

Weds, Sept 5   

7 pm My Indy TV        Indy 11 vs NY Red Bulls II

7 pm Yes Network   NYCFC vs New England

Thurs, Sept 6                 

2:45 pm ESPN2             Germany vs France (Eufa Nations League)

Fri, Sept 7

2:45 pm ESPN2      Italy vs Poland  (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm FS1?          Scotland vs Belgium

7:30 pm FS1           USMNT vs Brazil (Metlife)

10 pm FS1?             Mexico vs Uruguay

10 pm Lifetime        Portland Thorns v Seattle Riegn (NWSL)

Sat, Sept 8                      

9 am ESPNews               Northern Ireland vs Boznia

12 pm                                 Switzerland vs Iceland (Eufa Nations League)

12 pm                                 Finland vs Hungary (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm                             England vs Spain (Eufa Nations League)

Sun, Sept 9                     

12 pm ESPN News      Bulgaria vs Norway  (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm                             France vs Netherlands (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm ESPNnews   Cypress vs Slovenia (Eufa Nations League)

Mon, Sept 10               

2:45 pm                             Portugal vs Italy (Eufa Nations League)

2:45 pm ESPNews       Sweden vs Turkey (Eufa Nations League)

Tues, Sept 11

2:45 pm ESPNews       Spain vs Croatia (Eufa Nations League)

3 pm ??                              England vs Switzerland

8 pm beIN Sport??     Colombia vs Argentina

8:30 pm ESPN               USA vs Mexico in Nashville (anyone want to go?)

Weds, Sept 12   

7 pm ESPN+                    Penn vs Indy 11

Fri, Sept 14 

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1                        Dortmund (Pulisic)  vs Frankfort

2:45 pm beIN Sport  PSG (Weah) vs St Etienne

Sat, Sept 15     

7:30 am NBCSN     Tottenham vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS 1          Bayern Munich vs Bayern Leverkusen

12:30 pm NBC               Watford vs Man United 

12:30 pm Fox Soccer                       Mgladbach (Johnson) vs Schalke (McKinney) 

Thurs, Oct 11

7:30 pm FSI                     USA vs Colombia (Tampa)

Thurs, Nov 15

3 pm ESPN2                    England vs USA (Wembley)

Sat, Nov 20

3 pm ESPN2                    Italy vs USMNT

Indy 11 Game Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

EPL Schedule

Clint Dempsey personified U.S. soccer’s dream: developing creative players with attitude, swagger

The end has finally come for the man they call “Deuce”.Clint Dempsey, arguably the greatest player the U.S. has ever produced, announced on Wednesday that he has retired from professional soccer, effective immediately.”After a lot of thought, my family and I have decided that this is the right time for me to step away from the game,” said Dempsey. “I’d like to thank all of the teammates, coaches and support staff that I’ve worked with throughout my career. It has always been my dream to make it as a pro. I’m grateful to have been on this ride. I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported me throughout my career with the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders and the U.S. men’s national team. Y’all have always made me feel at home, and it is something that I will always remember.”The memories of his exploits will be etched in the minds of those who watched him. Dempsey’s career ends with 57 international goals, tied with Landon Donovan for the most in U.S. men’s national team history. He bagged another 154 at club level.But Dempsey’s legacy will go well beyond numbers. In a country where the hyper-regimented aspects of player development are bemoaned, Dempsey was every bit a product of the pickup games he played in his youth back in his hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas. Whenever Dempsey took the field, he offered the possibility — and at times the reality and pure joy — of the unexpected, a rarity from a U.S. player. As former U.S. manager Bruce Arena so eloquently put it, Dempsey’s had the ability to “try s—.” His delightful chip in the Europa League round of 16 for Fulham against Juventus, a goal that helped propel the Cottagers on their way to the 2010 final, is the most notable example.Sure, other U.S. players have enjoyed stellar careers both at home and abroad, but Dempsey’s ability and style spoke to the broader dreams for the sport in this country: that the U.S. could produce a creative player with attitude and swagger, one who could compete at the highest echelons of the sport. His “Deuce face” that he trotted out during a World Cup qualifying against Jamaica back in 2012 is the stuff of legend.And no matter how many times Dempsey was written off, he would rise up to the top again. For all of the goals Dempsey scored in the Premier League, it’s worth remembering that just about every manager he played for with either Fulham or Tottenham consigned him to the reserves at one point, only for him to prove himself again and again.”I’ve always been a competitive person, wanted to be on the field,” said Dempsey prior to a home World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago last year. “Yeah, it was frustrating when the managers would change, you’d go to the bench and try to work your way back into the team. But it makes you stronger.”With numerous U.S. players getting chewed up by the meat grinder that is the top leagues in Europe, the fans loved him for that resilience. It allowed the broader U.S. soccer community to puff its chest out a bit, and say, “See? We can produce a player like Clint.”Dempsey showed his fortitude in other ways, as well. The loss of his sister, Jennifer, to a brain aneurysm when he was just 12 fueled his competitive fire, and made him play every game like it was his last. A heart ailment back in 2016 nearly ended his career, yet he returned for both club and country. There was simply no keeping him down.Perhaps the most sobering aspect to Dempsey’s retirement, beyond no longer seeing him on the field, is the realization that he remains very much an outlier, at least in terms of U.S. attackers. He and Landon Donovan — the source of constant comparisons for much of his career — are the only ones in the conversation as the country’s greatest attacking player. Christian Pulisic has accomplished much already with Borussia Dortmund, but he still has a way to go to catch up to the exploits of Dempsey. Otherwise the cupboard of creative U.S. players remains bare.Of course, a big reason why Dempsey is so celebrated is that he was unique. All he wanted to do was score goals, spend time with his family and go fishing. Now he’ll have more time to enjoy the last two on that list.

Is Clint Dempsey the U.S. men’s national team’s greatest player ever?

6:53 PM ETESPN

With the news of Clint Dempsey’s retirement from professional soccer, ESPN FC turned to several of its U.S. soccer and MLS writers to ask whether the U.S. men’s national team’s joint-leading goal scorer is also its greatest player ever.

Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle)

Answering the question of whether Dempsey is the greatest U.S. men’s player isn’t as easy as it sounds. There have been a few goalkeepers — Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Tim Howard — who have at least been Dempsey’s equal in terms of club career, and they give him a run for his money in terms of U.S. exploits, too. But scoring goals is the hardest part of the game, and for that reason Landon Donovan is the only other player who comes close to Dempsey. I think Dempsey did more with his club career and played at a higher level for longer, so when you look at what he accomplished for both club and country, you have to give him the nod as the greatest U.S. player ever.

Matt Pentz (@mattpentz)

I initially thought about pushing back against the premise of ranking something as inherently subjective as greatness, but what the heck, I’ll bite: Yes, with the qualifier that Dempsey is the greatest U.S. men’s national team outfield player of all time. In that specific conversation, it’s likely to boil down to Dempsey versus Donovan, the man with whom he will forever be tied with on the list of most prodigious American goal scorers. That debate is something of a matter of personal taste, but Dempsey’s time with Fulham in the Premier League — not just holding his own but starring in one of the world’s biggest leagues — edge him to the very top of my list.

Arch Bell (@ArchBell)

I do consider Dempsey to be the greatest U.S. men’s national team player of all time. The biggest stage in all of sport is the World Cup, and no U.S. player has delivered in that tournament like Dempsey did, scoring crucial goals in all three tournaments he played in. He also put the U.S. team on his back during its run to the 2016 Copa America Centenario semifinals with three goals. One must also take into account that he scored fewer goals from the penalty spot than Donovan and achieved that 57-goal mark in fewer games (136 total compared with Donovan’s 157). No doubt, he’s the best U.S. men’s player ever.

Noah Davis (@noahedavis)

Dempsey never seemed to care about our stats or our labels or our narratives. He cared about playing soccer his way, on his terms. That meant scoring goals — both in audacious, seemingly impossible ways and with scrappy efforts. He was a unique force in American soccer history, a creative attacking dynamo who grew up in a low-income family from the Texas hinterlands. Was Dempsey the greatest player in U.S. men’s national team soccer history? Who cares. I doubt he does. The program will never have another player like him — although it should strive as hard as it can to find many, many more. That’s all that matters.

Clint Dempsey’s Career, Legacy Go Well Beyond the Stats and NumberPauseMute

CThere will be no flashy farewell tour for American soccer’s foremost ambassador of confidence, clutch, skill and swagger. And for Clint Dempsey, that’s perfect.By BRIAN STRAUSAugust 29, 2018

The announcement was sudden, brief, and included a short statement of thanks that seemed somewhat boilerplate save for the tell-tale “y’all.” There was no soul-baring, one-on-one with a favorite broadcaster, and no weepy news conference—the sort where fellow greats and VIPs fill the room to enhance the occasion and pay their respects. There will be no farewell tour with gifts and video tributes from the opposition.That means it’s perfect. Leave the sentimentality and self-aggrandizement behind, and leave ‘em wanting more. Clint Dempsey retired Wednesday, effective Wednesday. Unvarnished to the last, the 35-year-old Seattle Sounders forward and U.S. national team icon simply and essentially hung a “gone fishin’” sign in his locker. He’ll let us figure out the rest.

And Dempsey left plenty to sort through as he exits the soccer stage almost as abruptly as he took it as a Revolution rookie back in 2004. His list of achievements is long and historic. Dempsey is a three-time U.S. Soccer player of the year, the co-leading scorer in senior national team history and the only American man to strike at three consecutive World Cups. He set a new standard for Yanks abroad, where he twice was named Fulham’s player of the season en route to becoming the top U.S.-born marksman in Premier League annals.

He won three Concacaf Gold Cups and the Bronze Ball at the ’09 Confederations Cup, where he scored in both the semifinal and final. And he mastered a moment like no player before or since, crafting indelible, viral images that captured the collective imagination, personified American ambition and left press conferences and farewell tours unnecessary.That last part, truly, is where Dempsey excelled. The man who shares the U.S. goal scoring record, Landon Donovan, was a more well-rounded footballer. Donovan was a better athlete and a more effective playmaker, and he could impact or shape a game in a greater number of ways. But while there was a sense for many that Donovan hadn’t plumbed the depths of his talent, that he could be somehow distracted or diverted, Dempsey attacked everything with vigor. For that, he’s more beloved. His story read like a classic American tall tale, in which the will and creativity leading to fame and fortune were forged by those three-hour drives to training, financial challenges, family tragedy and so many pick-up games in the East Texas dust.“There’s a few differences between me and Landon. I didn’t get started until late. I didn’t get started until I was 20. I turned 21 in my first MLS season, in March,” Dempsey said in 2012. “It’s always been a race against time, really, for me. It’s kind of my mentality, to make up for lost time. That hasn’t changed. That’s why I continue to push myself every year. I want to do something really special in my life. Not that we haven’t done special things already, but something really special, you know?”So Dempsey (and his parents) pushed himself to youth games in Dallas, over his sister’s untimely death and through Furman University, to MLS and England, and then past the heart trouble that nearly ended his career in 2016. He did so with unapologetic swagger and ultimate confidence, as each measure of success helped strengthen him for the next step.American soccer yearned for that—someone who refused to accept defeat, someone for whom all things were possible, someone who was resilient and unbowed and cowed by nothing. Dempsey ignored cultural and competitive boundaries. And he confronted every challenge and every defender with the desperation of someone with everything to lose, combined with the fearlessness of someone with nothing. His uncanny knack for finding that balance, along with that legendary swagger, manifested itself in unforgettable images, from “Deuce Face” and that jaw-dropping Europa League chip against Juventus, to his post-goal roar against Ghana in Natal and his assault on a referee’s notebook in Tukwila.He doesn’t need the staged photo-ops now. His whole career was an organic, authentic photo-op. And while he didn’t seek out press or any extra attention, he wasn’t shy about reminding you where he’d been and what he’d accomplished. If there ever was a U.S. forward who could tell you how many goals he’d scored on a Saturday wearing white in the rain, it was Dempsey. He didn’t have to pause and think to recall his honors or stats. They were purchased with blood, sweat and tears, and his pride in past achievements strengthened his resolve and fueled his hunger for more.He bemoaned the headwinds created by managerial turnover abroad, and the perception there of U.S. players. There were times when he grew frustrated by criticism. But he always fought through it, and did so with a blunt, human charisma admired by many. Not everyone could get away with the rap videos, or fishing talk or aloof hustles through the mixed zone. They’d be affectations coming from others. But Dempsey somehow made it work. When he was surly or combative, it was just Clint being Clint. He was still cool. Dempsey was even cool when he missed—he’d have the national team record to himself if he’d converted that penalty in a World Cup qualifier against Mexico in 2013. But, hey, “dos a cero.” A lot of people figured he must’ve missed on purpose.Dempsey, painfully, also would have the U.S. record if his shot in Trinidad hadn’t hit the post last October. Even Deuce wasn’t allowed to fashion his own ending. He missed Seattle’s 2016 MLS Cup triumph with the heart issue and had an eventful 2017, winning the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award, then enjoying a strong playoff run with the Sounders before a poor showing in the final. His national team year featured a Gold Cup triumph and four qualifying goals, but concluded with that stunning setback in Couva. This year, age and injury limited him to nine starts and one goal. He knew it was time.“After a lot of thought, my family and I have decided that this is the right time for me to step away from the game,” Dempsey said in his Wednesday statement. “I’d like to thank all of the teammates, coaches and support staff that I’ve worked with throughout my career. It has always been my dream to make it as a pro. I’m grateful to have been on this ride. I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported me throughout my career with the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders and the U.S. men’s national team. Y’all have always made me feel at home, and it is something that I will always remember.”nd he will always be remembered. Speaking to SI.com on Wednesday, U.S. coach Dave Sarachan said, “If you take the categories of a player—speed, power, agility, endurance—Clint wouldn’t win a lot of those categories. But it didn’t matter, because at the end of the day, he was so clinical in his approach to the game and his finishing ability.“He was his own guy as a striker, as a player, and he offered such a unique skill set. From day one, back when we were looking at him as a prospect for the draft and all the way through his career, the thing you’d always say—and our good friend and former [USA] assistant Mooch Myernick would always say—‘He just tries s-*-*-t.’ He can pull off plays in such a unique way, and his record speaks for itself, whether he’s playing in MLS or overseas. He’ll go down really as one of the best in U.S. soccer history.”Dempsey would remind you of his resume, but his career and charisma clearly added up to a whole lot more than that. He is American soccer’s foremost ambassador of confidence and clutch, skill and swagger, and for the foreseeable future, he’ll be its most compelling story.

One Clint Dempsey goal changed the way I thought about American soccer players

When Dempsey announced his retirement, the first thing I thought about was THAT GOAL against Juventus.

By Nate Scott@aNateScott  Aug 29, 2018, 4:20pm EDT

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It was the second leg of a Europa League competition between Fulham and Juventus, and American star Clint Dempsey — who retired from soccer on Wednesday with a simple Instagram post — had subbed into the game with less than 20 minutes remaining.Fulham and Juventus were miraculously tied on aggregate after a huge Fulham comeback, and with less than 10 minutes remaining, midfielder Dickson Etuhu played a bouncing ball up to the American. Dempsey, who had just substituted in for Fulham, took it out of the air well enough. One touch to settle away from the defense, then one touch on the right edge of the box. He snuck a glance at the net, saw that Juventus keeper Antonio Chimenti had drifted off his line. Then Dempsey chopped down with his right foot, and the ball sailed into the air, toward the back post.Craven Cottage, as one, held its breath. Was he? Could he be?Chimenti looked up and knew there was nothing to be done. The ball touched the post, then fell into the net. The stadium exploded. He had done it.

It feels wildly reductive to try and sum up a career as spectacular as Dempsey’s into one moment, but I promise it is done in good faith. There will be countless words written this week about his upbringing in Texas, the tragic death of his sister — a nationally ranked tennis player — at the age of 16, and how her death both allowed Dempsey to pursue his soccer dream and fueled him to achieve what no other American had ever achieved in the game before.There will be thoughts on his college career at Furman, his breakthrough in MLS with the New England Revolution, his amazing run late in his career with Seattle Sounders, his tenure with Tottenham Hotspur as well as Fulham in the Premier League. There should be books written about what he meant to the USMNT over the years, how he was quietly their most creative player and an important leader for the better part of a decade.But I want to talk about that goal. Let’s talk about that goal.

First, you need to understand the context. It was 2010. Clint Dempsey’s Fulham was playing Juventus in the Europa League. The tournament, the Champions League’s little brother, was a slight step down for a giant Juventus side in a rut and a cosmic leap forward for tiny Fulham, who were playing in their first European competition ever after sneaking into the Europa League thanks to a better-than-average Premier League season the year prior.Juventus were a world class club, and in the first match of the two-leg tie looked like it, winning 3-1 at home. The following game looked like a formality for the Italian side, and when David Trezeguet scored for Juventus in the second minute, it looked over. They had a 4-1 aggregate lead and an away goal. It was done.Then, in the 26th minute, Juventus star defender Fabio Cannavaro was issued a red card for a hard foul on Zoltan Gera. Playing up a man, Fulham scored. Then they scored again. And again. It was 3-1, and Juventus looked lost. Craven Cottage, Fulham’s small, old stadium by the Thames River, was rocking. Then, in the 71st minute, Clint Dempsey subbed on. And 11 minutes later he decided to chip a shot to the back post.

It’s tempting to just remember the goal for how important it was. The fact that it gave Fulham a win and catapulted them on a Europa League run that ended in a 2-1 loss in the final to Atletico Madrid.But we should also just appreciate the goal for what it was. Forget the context. Just watch it. There’s that first touch. Then the audacity. The chip is impressive, yes. But it’s the fact that he tried it, that he even thought to try it, that makes the goal so special.Some say it was an accident. A cross gone awry. To those people I say: Get the hell out of my article. Go on. Git. It wasn’t a cross. It was never a cross. He meant to do that.He meant to do that because that is what Clint Dempsey was. That shot is exactly what made him special, what separated him from so many Americans who came before him.Bruce Arena once said, lovingly, that Clint Dempsey was the type of player who “tries shit.” It sounds silly, but in the soccer world, I promise you it’s high praise. It meant that Dempsey was unafraid. He had vision. He had creativity. He was willing to make a fool of himself, something true of most great artists. He wasn’t content to make the right play. He wanted to make something beautiful.There are precious few American soccer players in our history who have been guys who were unafraid to try shit. Claudio Reyna tried shit. Nowadays, Christian Pulisic will try shit. Darlington Nagbe sometimes will. It’s a short list, something special and rare in this country. Soccer games are often rote affairs, players making the right decision over and over again, or trying to make the right decision and failing to.Sometimes, to break open a game, or to beat a team like Juventus, you need to make the wrong decision. You need to try some shit.

I’ve made the argument before that this goal was a tipping point in how Europeans viewed American soccer players. I’m not so sure that’s true now. Dempsey had been doing good work for Fulham for awhile when he scored that goal. Before him at the club, Brian McBride was a club hero. Americans had succeeded in the Premier League, even outside the goalkeeper position, and plenty of knowledgeable fans knew that.Dempsey’s goal didn’t convince Europeans that Americans could play soccer. Rather, I think it convinced a lot of Americans that Americans could play soccer. Here was one of our own, playing against Italian giants, and he had produced that. It was a moment of validation, of inspiration.Dempsey wasn’t some cliche of a soccer player, either. He was a kid from Texas who liked rap music and fishing and, in this game at least, had a black eye, and he had created a moment of beauty we never thought possible. For me, at least — an American soccer fan and Fulham nut who had grown up watching and playing in thousands of games — it’s the single most memorable and important goal in my life. It re-defined, for me, what I thought an American could do on a soccer field.

If you will indulge me, and go back to play the video a second time, I implore you not to watch, but rather to listen to the crowd as Dempsey shoots the ball. The murmur of the crowd goes dead as he puts his right foot through it. Pure silence. It lasts maybe a quarter of a second. Seriously, go listen. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. No one makes a sound.As it sails to the back post, you can hear as part of the crowd begins to understand what is happening. There’s a sharp inhalation. Had he? He couldn’t have … Then the ball hits the post. Another half moment, as a stadium processes it in real time, then the release.Four thousand miles away, in a dingy living room in New Orleans, the replay of the goal was playing on a loop on my laptop, fed from a grainy, illegal stream. There was no one around to watch it, though. I was already a half block away, running down the middle of street, surely freaking out my neighbors as I raised my fists to the sky and screamed the man’s name.

Sigi Schmid reflects on Clint Dempsey’s career: “He was iconic”

August 30, 20186:58PM EDTScott FrenchContributorCARSON, Calif. – Sigi Schmid praised Clint Dempsey’s “phenomenal career” and said it was “a privilege” to coach the American soccer icon with Seattle Sounders FC.Schmid, in charge of the Sounders when Dempsey joined the club in 2013 following eight seasons in England, called Dempsey “a fantastic player” who “deserved all the accolades he’s getting” following the LA Galaxy’s training session Thursday morning at StubHub Center.Dempsey, 35, announced Wednesday he was retiring from the game following a career in which he starred for two MLS clubs, made a massive imprint with Fulham in the English Premier League, and equaled Landon Donovan’s US national team record 57 goals, in 141 caps over 13 years.“He was iconic in the sense of he was the one guy who had really broken through [in Europe],” Schmid said. “Claudio Reyna had sort of broken through, and there’s guys like [Carlos] Bocanegra, but he was the one forward, along with [Brian] McBride, who had sort of broken through in Europe.“I think that was important, because that helped establish that, hey, Americans can play. And I think that opened the door for some other players to get over there later. Fulham, obviously, added some Americans [such as] Eddie Johnson [and brought in] players that played in MLS, like a Simon Elliott.”Dempsey scored 60 goals in 232 games over seven seasons with Fulham, twice winning club MVP honors, and added 12 more in 43 games with Tottenham. He returned to MLS in 2013, and the next year teamed with Obafemi Martins to lead the Sounders to the Supporters’ Shield with the first 20-win MLS season – and just one of two in all – in the post-shootout era.“I think him and Obafemi Martins, the year that they played together, it was magical,” Schmid, who coached Dempsey in Seattle from 2013 until his dismissal during the 2016 season, said. “It was the best two-tandem forwards I had ever coached, because they were just instinctually … it was like watching kids on the playground.”Dempsey, MLS’s Comeback Player of the Year last season after returning from a heart condition that forced him to miss the Sounders’ run to the 2016 MLS Cup title, retires as joint regular-season goals leader for Seattle with Fredy Montero, with 47. He also tallied six times in the playoffs for the Sounders – three last year to lead them into their second successive MLS Cup final – and finishes with 72 regular-season MLS goals in 186 games.He’s the only American male to score in three World Cups and his four World Cup goals for the USMNT are bettered only by Donovan’s five. He also scored three goals to lead the US to the 2009 Confederations Cup final, one of them in the 2-0 semifinal upset of Spain.“When you look at the goals he scored in World Cups and Confederations Cups,” Schmid said, “sometimes we wouldn’t have achieved what we did as a country without his goals.”Dempsey commonly is pitted against Donovan in the debate for the greatest American soccer player, and Schmid said he tries to “avoid those debates.”“For me,” he said, “that’s why Mount Rushmore has more than one face on it.”

USMNT’s Yedlin giveth and taketh away in wild finish to Chelsea’s win over Newcastle

For about 75 minutes, Chelsea’s visit to Newcastle United was as dull as could be. Then things really heated up over the last quarter of an hour — especially for U.S. international DeAndre Yedlin.Yedlin provided the assist that tied the game in the 83rd minute, but his own goal in the 87th ultimately sunk Newcastle and allowed Chelsea to win 2-1, the Blues’ first win at St. James’ Park in nearly seven years.Newcastle set up in a defensive shell, hoping to limit the damage of the more talented visitors. Yedlin in particular had a steep challenge at right back trying to contain superstar Eden Hazard and fullback Marcos Alonso, who loves to bomb forward down the left flank.Alonso drew a penalty in the 76th minute when he blew past Fabian Schär, forcing the Newcastle defender to scissor-tackle him from behind in the box. Hazard buried the ensuing penalty to give Chelsea its breakthrough.It took the Magpies less than 10 minutes to equalize. Yedlin won a ball in the air down the right side and whipped in a cross that Newcastle striker Joselu buzzed off his head and into the back of the net:There was a shout of controversy from Chelsea, as it appeared Yedlin elbowed Olivier Giroud in the face in the process of winning the ball. But no call was given and the goal stood.

Yedlin and Newcastle’s happiness turned to heartbreak shortly after, when Alonso fired a shot across the penalty area that appeared to be going wide before Yedlin’s reflexes betrayed him and he nudged the ball into his own net:Newcastle has a solitary point through three Premier League fixtures so far this season, a scoreless draw at Cardiff City last weekend. The other two games have been against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, however, so the schedule has been tough. Yedlin himself escaped what could have been a serious injury in the opener against Spurs.Chelsea, meanwhile, now sits joint-top of the table with Liverpool and Watford, trailing Liverpool only on goal difference. The Blues have varied from impressive to simply resilient thus far under new manager Maurizio Sarri.On Sunday, luck played the determining factor — good luck for Chelsea, and bad luck for one of the USMNT’s best players.Joey Gulino is the editor of FC Yahoo and moonlights as a writer. Follow him on Twitter at @JGulinoYahoo.

All the stars: Brazil call strong squad to face USMNT at MetLife

August 17, 201812:41PM EDTTom BogertContributor

It will not be an easy start to the 2022 World Cup cycle for the US men’s national team. The US will face Brazil at MetLife Stadium on September 7 and after being knocked out in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup, Brazil is bringing all their stars to New Jersey.razil announced their squad and it includes the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Casemiro, Thiago Silva and more. Of the players selected, 13 were on Brazil’s World Cup roster.The match against Brazil is the first of the US’ Kickoff Series, intended to prepare the US for the next cycle of World Cup qualifiers. After Brazil, USA will play Mexico on Sept. 11, in Nashville, Tennessee. They then face Colombia on Thursday, Oct. 11, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa as well as another opponent during October that has yet to be determined. After that, it’s a match against England at Wembley Stadium in London on Thursday, Nov. 15. before visiting Italy on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at a venue still to be determined.The United States are yet to announce their roster for the upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Mexico. All friendlies will take place during FIFA international windows, meaning that the technical staff could call upon their first-choice group of players.

Luka Modric named UEFA Player of the Year ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah

1:38 PM ETESPN

Real Madrid’s Luka Modric has edged out Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah to win the 2017-18 UEFA Player of the Year award.Modric’s excellent season at the Bernabeu was recognised at the Champions League draw in Monaco on Thursday, with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin on hand to present the prize to the Croatia international.Thursday’s win caps off a stellar 12 months for the 32-year-old, who also won the Golden Ball for his performances in helping Croatia finish as runners-up at the World Cup in Russia.Modric’s was one of many for Real Madrid on a trophy-laden night, with Blancos custodian Keylor Navas named as UEFA Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season ahead of Gigi Buffon and Alisson, Sergio Ramos recognised as the Defender of the Season over teammates Marcelo and Raphael Varane, Modric winning Midfielder of the Season ahead of Kevin De Bruyne and Toni Kroos, and Ronaldo pipping Lionel Messi and Salah to the Forward of the Season award.UEFA also named the Women’s Player of the Year at the ceremony, with Wolfsburg’s Pernille Harder beating Lyon duo Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry to the top prize.David Beckham was also recognised on the night, receiving the 2018 UEFA President’s Award from Ceferin for his “outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities,” while San Jose Earthquakes defender Guram Kashia won the inaugural #EqualGame award for his support of the LGBTQ community last season.

What you need to know about the UEFA Champions League group stage draw

Cristiano Ronaldo gets to play Manchester United again, Liverpool got screwed, and Group A is a hipster paradise.

By Kim McCauley@lgbtqfc  Aug 30, 2018, 1:29pm EDT

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32 teams learned their fate in the UEFA Champions League group stage draw on Thursday, and some are happier with their path to the knockout stage than others. The likes of Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Real Madrid will be thrilled that they have simple paths to a top seed and a quarterfinal appearance. Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United will be less thrilled.

Here’s how the draw shook out and what you need to know.

Must watch: Ronaldo vs. United

Cristiano Ronaldo has faced off against his former club just once in the UEFA Champions League, in the Round of 16 in 2013. He knocked them out of the competition too, scoring in both legs. It’ll be exciting to see him grace the Old Trafford pitch again, and just like in 2013, he’ll be expected to get the better of the club where he became a star. Juventus and United will play twice, with the exact dates still TBA.

Toughest: Group C

Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool might have both been strongly favored to win their groups in a different draw. 538 has both rated as top-7 teams in the world. They’ll not only have to deal with each other, but also with Napoli, who retained all of its key players after giving Juventus a run for its money in Serie A last season. Someone is going to be very bitter when they get knocked out, and will become the instant favorite to win the Europa League.

Runner up: Group B

While not as top-heavy as Group C, Group B does not have a weak link like Red Star. Instead, all three of the teams below Barcelona will feel like they can fight for second place. Tottenham Hotspur is the favorite, but Inter Milan added big names like Radja Nainggolan, Stefan de Vrij, Sime Vrsaljko and Keita Balde this summer. PSV held onto “Chucky” Hirving Lozano despite interest from bigger clubs, and he’s scoring at will in the Netherlands. No one will have an easy game in this group.

Hipster’s choice: Group A

If you’re more interested in up-and-coming stars and fun games than big names, Group A is where it’s at. Atlético Madrid might have its strongest squad ever, Christian Pulisic is still balling for Borussia Dortmund, and AS Monaco has reinvested the Kylian Mbappe money into a slew of entertaining young talents.

LOL: Group D

A couple years ago, UEFA changed the draw rules to give automatic Pot 1 placements to the champions of the top seven leagues. The seventh best league in Europe is the Russian Premier League, and its champion is Lokomotiv Moscow, who doesn’t have an impressive recent history in this competition. They got lucky in the draw too, so two of Lokomotiv, Porto, Schalke and Galatasaray are guaranteed to make the round of 16. If none of those teams makes the quarterfinals, expect increased calls for serious changes to the Champions League group stage.

UEFA Champions League groups

Group A

Atlético Madrid
Borussia Dortmund
AS Monaco
Club Brugge

Group B

Barcelona
Tottenham Hotspur
PSV Eindhoven
Inter Milan

Group C

Paris Saint-Germain
Napoli
Liverpool
Red Star Belgrade

Group D

Lokomotiv Moskow
FC Porto
Schalke 04
Galatasaray

Group E

Bayern Munich
Benfica
Ajax
AEK Athens

Group F

Manchester City
Shakhtar Donetsk
Olympique Lyonnais
Hoffenheim

Group G

Real Madrid
AS Roma
CSKA Moscow
Viktoria Plzen

Group H

Juventus
Manchester United
Valencia
Young Boys

Manchester United face difficult task; Liverpool may have to settle for second finds it tough to choose Man United to advance from Group H, noting the current negative climate of the club. (1:44)

3:15 PM ETMark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC

The 2018-19 Champions League group stage, which begins next month, will more than a few several eye-catching games after Thursday’s draw pitted some of Europe’s biggest clubs against each other.Group H sees a reunion for Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba with Manchester United and Juventus respectively, while last season’s finalists Liverpool face a difficult task against Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade. Barcelona, meanwhile, have been drawn with Tottenham and Inter.ERTISEMENT

Elsewhere, holders Real Madrid — aiming for a fourth successive title — will be happy with their draw, as will English champions Manchester City and German title holders Bayern.With the group stage mapped out, who will make it through and keep alive their dream of lifting the European Cup in Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium next June?

Group A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Brugge

Who will go through? 1. Atletico Madrid; 2. Borussia Dortmund

Europa League holders Atletico Madrid will be desperate to win this season’s Champions League due to the final being staged at their stadium in the Spanish capital, but Diego Simeone’s team have been handed a tough start.

Atletico, who have reached three finals and lost each time, won the UEFA Super Cup earlier this month and will be favourites to top the group and expect to leave the rest fighting for runners-up spot.

However, Borussia Dortmund have a strong European pedigree, while Monaco’s recent Champions League performances make them a dangerous opponent. Brugge’s best hope will be to snatch third and a place in the Europa League.

Group B: Barcelona, Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven, Inter

Who will go through? 1. Barcelona; 2. Tottenham

The group has serious pedigree, but beyond the names and history of the clubs involved, should ultimately see both Barcelona and Tottenham progress comfortably.

Barca will be favourites to qualify as winners — Ernesto Valverde’s team still possess awesome firepower in the form of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele — but Spurs showed last season, when topping their group ahead of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, that they can beat the best on the big stage.

Dutch champions PSV will do well to finish in the top two under new coach Mark van Bommel. Inter are some distance from repeating their 2010 Champions League success and are likely to find life tough under Despite Group C consisting of PSG, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade, Paul Mariner feels Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have enough to finish atop the group.

Group C: Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade

Who will go through? 1. Paris Saint-Germain; 2. Liverpool

Liverpool were fearful of a tough group after being placed in Pot Three and their nightmare became reality as Jurgen Klopp’s men were paired with PSG and Napoli.

PSG, with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani in their ranks, will be favourites for first place and Napoli, under Carlo Ancelotti, have the ability to beat anyone. As such, while Liverpool’s run to the final last season will give them belief, it will be tough for the five-time European champions to make the knockout stages.

Red Star Belgrade, European Cup winners way back in 1991, have qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time, but the Serbian champions can expect to be left behind in a three-way battle for qualification.

Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow, Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray

Who will go through? 1. Schalke; 2. Porto

This group might lack box-office glamour, but it gives each participant a clear route into the knockout stages.

Porto are the only former Champions League winners among the four teams, but their meek surrender against Liverpool in last season’s Round of 16 — Jurgen Klopp’s team won 5-0 at Estadio do Dragao — will give Lokomotiv, Schalke and Galatasaray confidence that they can overcome the Portuguese champions.

Schalke, runners-up to Bayern Munich in last season’s Bundesliga, will be favourites to top the group, but this one is wide open.

Group E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens

Who will go through? 1. Bayern Munich; 2. AEK Athens

Bayern will expect to cruise into the Round of 16 and it will take a momentous shock for the German champions to miss out. They remain a formidable force under new coach Nico Kovac, but the battle for second ensures Group E will be one of the most unpredictable.

Benfica’s Champions League experience will count in their favour, but Ajax’s squad retains several of the players who were part of the club’s run to the 2017 Europa League final, so Erik ten Hag’s men cannot be discounted.

And AEK Athens, having won their domestic title for the first time last season since 1993-94, have displayed durability by overcoming Celtic and Videoton to reach the group stages; they go yet go further.

Group F: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim

Who will go through? 1. Manchester City; 2. Shakhtar Donetsk

Manchester City’s ambition to win the Champions League will not have been dented by this draw, which has handed Pep Guardiola’s team a straightforward route through.

Although Shakhtar Donetsk inflicted City’s first defeat last season, the Premier League champions will not fear any of their opponents. Lyon and Hoffenheim, making their first appearance at this stage, will be difficult opponents, but City have the ability to finish top with a 100 percent record.

If you are looking for drama, the race for the runners-up spot is likely to be the only source of excitement, with Shakhtar’s recent pedigree giving them the edge.

Group G: Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen

Who will go through? 1. Real Madrid; 2. Roma

With two of last season’s semifinalists — Real Madrid and Roma — the battle for top spot and the race for third are likely to be the tale of this group.

Real will be strong favourites to finish first, but Roma’s incredible quarterfinal elimination of Barcelona last term ensures that the Madrid giants will be wary of their trip to the Stadio Olimpico. However, neither club should fear elimination at this stage with CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen making up the numbers in the group.

The big question from the Real vs. Roma games will focus upon how much the reigning European champions will miss the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo, following his summer sale to Juventus. Even without him, though, Real should cruise.

Group H: Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys

Who will go through? 1. Juventus; 2. Valencia

Cristiano Ronaldo facing Manchester United with Juventus, for whom United’s Paul Pogba used to play, will be the main draw, but the reality is that the two clubs and Valencia will be locked in a three-way fight for qualification.

Juventus, serial Italian champions and beaten finalists in two of the last four Champions League deciders, will be the team to beat, while United’s unpredictability under Jose Mourinho means the three-time European champions will be vulnerable vs. Valencia. United’s record against Spanish opposition is historically poor: Sevilla eliminated them in the Round of 16 last season.

Making up the numbers are Swiss outfit Young Boys, who have the ability to take points off their rivals and could take advantage of any complacency by snatching third spot. This, though, is a tough group to call.

Americans Abroad Weekend Rewind: Romain Gall, John Brooks, and more

By: Larry Henry Jr. | August 26, 2018 11:55 pm ET

American midfielder Romain Gall needed four matches to etch his name on Malmo’s scoresheet, as the 23-year-old bagged two goals on Sunday for the club.Gall helped Malmo to a 5-0 demolition against Sirius at Swedbank Stadion which propelled the team to fourth in the Allsvenskan. His first goal came in the 66th-minute as he slid home to double his side’s lead. Gall would double his tally on the afternoon, scoring from a tough angle in the 72nd-minute. Malmo would add a pair of late goals to ice the strong performance in front of their home fans. As for Gall, he will hope to put in similar shifts for his side, who are next in action this week in Europa League qualifying.Elsewhere, John Brooks registered a goal in his 100th Bundesliga appearance as Wolfsburg downed Schalke. Weston McKennie started and played 90 minutes on the other end of that match. Christian Pulisic started and helped Borussia Dortmund to a dominant opening day win at home.DeAndre Yedlin registered an assist for Newcastle, but saw an own-goal go off his leg in the Magpies loss to Chelsea. Mix Diskerud scored his first goal for South Korean side Ulsan Hyundai in their lopsided win over FC Seoul. Brendan Hines-Ike also registered his first point for Belgium outfit Kortrijk in their road success.Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s Americans Abroad:

France

LIGUE 1

Matt Miazga started and played 90 minutes in Nantes 1-1 draw with Caen on Saturday.

Timothy Weah did not dress in PSG 3-1 win over Angers on Saturday.

Theoson-Jordon Siebatcheu came off the bench and played 21 minutes in Rennes 2-2 draw with Marseille on Sunday.

England

PREMIER LEAGUE

Tim Ream did not dress in Fulham’s 4-2 win over Burnley on Sunday.

Danny Williams did not dress in Huddersfield Town’s 0-0 draw with Cardiff City on Saturday.

DeAndre Yedlin started, registered ONE assist, conceded ONE own goal, and played 90 minutes in Newcastle United’s 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Sunday.

EFL CHAMPIONSHIP

Antonee Robinson started and played 90 minutes in Wigan Athletic’s 1-0 loss to QPR on Saturday.

Gboly Ariyibi did not dress in Nottingham Forest’s 2-2 draw with Birmingham City on Saturday.

Eric Lichaj started and played 90 minutes in Hull City’s 2-0 loss to Stoke City on Saturday.

Geoff Cameron did not dress for Stoke City.

Duane Holmes did not dress in Derby County’s 2-0 win over Preston North End on Saturday.

EFL LEAGUE ONE

Lynden Gooch started, registered ONE assist, and played 90 minutes in Sunderland’s 2-1 win over AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

Germany

BUNDESLIGA

Chris Richards did not dress in Bayern Munich’s 3-1 win over Hoffenheim on Friday.

John Brooks started, scored ONE goal, and played 90 minutes in Wolfsburg’s 2-1 win over Schalke on Saturday.

Weston McKennie started and played 90 minutes for Schalke.

Aron Johannsson did not dress in  Werder Bremen;s 1-1 draw with Hannover on Saturday.

Bobby Wood did not dress for Hannover.

Timmy Chandler did not dress in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2-0 win over Freiburg on Saturday.

Caleb Stanko did not dress for Freiburg.

Fabian Johnson started, scored ONE goal, and played 83 minutes in Borussia Monchengladbach’s 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Alfredo Morales started and played 90 minutes in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 2-1 loss to Augsburg on Saturday.

Christian Pulisic started and played 77 minutes in Borussia Dortmund’s 4-1 win over RB Leipzig on Sunday.

2. BUNDESLIGA

Terrence Boyd dressed but did not play in Darmstadt’s 3-0 win over Duisburg on Friday.

McKinze Gaines did not dress for Darmstadt.

Joe Gyau came off the bench and played 21 minutes for Duisburg.

Andrew Wooten came off the bench and played 24 minutes in Sandhausen’s 1-0 loss to Bochum on Friday.

Brady Scott did not dress in Koln’s 3-1 win over Erzgebirge Aue on Saturday.

Julian Green started and played 88 minutes in Greuther Furth’s 2-2 draw with Paderborn on Saturday.

REGIONALIGA

Josh Sargent started, scored ONE goal, and played 90 minutes in Werder Bremen II’s 2-0 win over Drochtersen/Assel on Sunday.

Jonathan Klinsmann did not dress in Hertha Berlin II’s 4-2 win over Viktoria Berlin on Sunday.

Mexico

LIGA MX

Omar Gonzalez started and played 90 minutes in Atlas’ 1-0 loss to Guadalajara on Friday.

Jose Torres came off the bench and played 27 minutes in Puebla’s 2-0 loss to Pachuca on Saturday.

Alejandro Guido, Rubio Rubin dressed but did not play in Club Tijuana’s 1-0 loss to Veracruz on Saturday.

Ventura Alvarado started and played 90 minutes in Necaxa’s 1-1 draw with Tigres on Saturday.

Eduardo Fernandez did not dress for Tigres.

Joe Corona dressed but did not play in Club America’s 2-2 draw with Pumas on Saturday.

Michael Orozco started and played 90 minutes in Lobos’ 2-0 loss to Queretaro on Sunday.

William Yarborough dressed but did not play in Club Leon’s 2-1 win over Toluca on Sunday.

RECAP | INDY ELEVEN BREAK EVEN IN LATE DRAW AGAINST PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC, 2-2

By James Higdon, 08/30/18, 12:15AM EDT

The “Boys in Blue” extend unbeaten streak to seven

Indy Eleven extend its unbeaten streak to seven matches in a late draw versus a 10-man Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 2-2. A brace from “Boys in Blue” forward Jack McInerney brings his goal count to nine on the season and a 3W-0L-4D record in the last seven fixtures.

Indy captured the lead in the fourth minute of play. Eleven midfielder Matt Watson bullied the ball from Riverhouds defender Andrew Lubahn in Indy’s defensive half to lob the ball forward. McInerney masterfully brought down the high ball 20 yards out from goal and beat Riverhounds goalkeeper Michael Kirk off his line for a shot at the open goal. McInerney almost caught Kirk off his line again two minutes later with a shot near the center line, but the ball bounced wide of the far post for an opposition goal kick.

“I think one of the things we forget with Jack McInerney is that by the age of about 23, he had scored around 50 goals in the MLS, or Concacaf, or Open Cup,” said Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie. “He had a spell where he didn’t get to play too much. He was behind some fantastic player, not anything he was doing wrong. So when he came here it was a little bit of a rebuilding job for him and for us. Now, he’s doing what I think we all know he can do, which is score goals.”Riverhouds continued a highly possessive game in the midfield in an attempt to open up Indy’s backline, but it was a stoppage-time goal that brought the evening level for the first time. Riverhounds were awarded a free kick in the 47th minute at the edge of Indy’s 18-yard box following a heavy tackle by defender Karl Ouimette. A minute later, Pittsburgh midfielder Christiano Francois played an in-swinging ball for defender Joe Greenspan to head down past Eleven keeper Owain Fon Williams. The goal was Greenspan’s first of 2018.Riverhounds took the lead 14 minutes after the break. In similar fashion to Indy’s opening goal, Francois beat Fon Williams’ off his line almost 20 yards out from goal after gaining possession of the loose ball.The scoreline could’ve been vastly different for either team if not to impressive saves by both keepers. Kirk kept the ball from the back of his team’s net with saves in the 56th, 72nd and 77th minute. “Indiana’s Team’s” man between the post also recorded saves in the 67th and 77th minute to keep the scoring gap to a single goal.A night that could’ve easily been soured by a loss, McInerney managed to pull one more back for the “Boys in Blue” in the 96th minute. Eleven midfielder Ben Speas flicked a pass nearly 20 yards forward into Riverhounds’ penalty box. McInerney settled the ball around around Kirk as he charged out of goal and fired an angled shot on his second touch for the last-minute equalizer.The draw concludes game five of seven in 22 days for Indy Eleven, having yet to pick up a loss in that timespan.“I’m really, really happy with the ‘never say die’ attitude because we’re in a run of playing quite a bit of games at the moment but we’re now seven games unbeaten.” said Rennie. “In a game like that tonight when it’s kind of not going our way in the sense that we had good chances but the goalkeeper made great saves. Sometimes in those games you have to dig in and show your character and I thought we did that.”Indy Eleven are back at home this Saturday, September 1 for Public Safety Night. The “Boys in Blue” will kick off against Richmond Kickers at 7:00 p.m. Fans can get tickets to the upcoming match for as low as $15 by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.

Indy Eleven 2:2 Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.  Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN 

Scoring Summary:

IND – Jack McInerney (Matt Watson) 4′
PGH – Joe Greenspan (Christiano Francois) 45+3′
PGH – Christiano Francois – 59′
IND – Jack McInerney (Ben Speas) 90+4′

Indy Eleven lineup (4-3-3, L–>R): Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Reiner Ferreira, Ayoze, Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette; Dylan Mares, Nico Matern (Brad Ring 79′), Matt Watson (C) (Juan Guerra 79′), Eugene Starikov (Soony Saad 61′), Ben Speas, Jack McInerneyIndy Eleven bench: Ben Lundgaard (GK); Brad Rusin, Kevin Venegas, Brad Ring, Juan Guerra, Soony Saad, Nathan Lewis

Pittsburgh Riverhounds lineup (1-5-4-1, L–>R): Michael Kirk (GK); Andrew Lubahn (Ray Lee 71′), Hugh Roberts, Joe Greenspan, Todd Pratzner, Jordan Dover; Christiano Francois, Ben Zemanski, Mo Dabo, Noah Franke (Kenardo Forbes 45′); Neco Brett (Tobi Adewole 85′)Pittsburgh Riverhounds bench: Nate Ingham (GK); Tobi Adewole, Ray Lee, Kenardo Forbes, Ben Fitzpatrick, Kay Banjo, Romeo Parkes

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8/24 MLS Rivalry Weekend – El Traffico 10:30 tonight, German Bundesliga Starts Today, Top Ranked CHS Girls host Carmel Invite Sat, Carmel FC Champs & GK Training Resumes

MLS Rivalry Week – El Traffico LA vs LA Tonight 10:30 pm ESPN

I know its Friday night – High School football night for some, Dinner and Movie for others?  Tonight – Do yourself a favor and Find a TV and turn it to ESPN at 10:30 pm ET tonight for EL TRAFFICO!  We were fortunate enough to be at the last one – a 2-2 thriller at LAFC as the Galaxy stole a tie in the 88th minute 2-2.  El Traffico III tonight at 10:30 pm on ESPN has the LA Galaxy facing LAFC in the Home Depot Center as the Galaxy look to end a streak of just 1 win in 6 games. Its truly a must win for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy as he mentions in this interview.  El Traffico is part of a pair of double headers as Orlando will face Atlanta United at 8 pm tonight on ESPN, and Sunday night we get the East contending NY Red Bulls vs Wayne Rooney’s DC United at 7 pm followed by the Grand-Daddy of all the Derby’s in the US – the Portland Timbers hosting the Seattle Sounders at 9:30 pm on ESPN.  Set those recorders, or buckle down and watch – it’s a huge weekend of soccer in MLS!

EPL Weekend #3

Not many big time games this weekend in the EPL as the best match features Man United hosting Tottenham on Monday afternoon at 3 pm on NBCSN.  Liverpool does host Brighton at 12:30 pm on NBC Saturday while 0-2 Arsenal, with the toughest early schedule in the EPL, will host West Ham United at 10 am on NBCSN looking for their first victory in the Unai Emery era.

German Bundesliga Starts Friday

The German Bundesliga starts Friday with young American’s scattered on rosters far and near.  Of course Dortmund and American budding superstar Christian Pulisic will look to make a push for the title under a new head coach, while Schalke and US youngster Aaron Mckinney look to enjoy Champions League for the first time in years.

Of course Bayern Munich will most certainly win the German league as they always do but I like Dortmund and Schalke to both make a push – though adding Champions League play to their schedule could be daunting this year.  Bayern Leverkusen also looks good as does up and comer Hoffenheim. (See the League Previews Below).  Of course games will be featured again this year on Fox Sports 1 and 2 mainly on Sat and Sun at 9:30 am with the occasional game on Fox Network and Fox Soccer.  Bayern Munich starts things off at home vs Hoffenheim at 2:30 pm on FS1, while Sat gives us American McKinney and Schalke traveling to Wolfsburg at 9:30 am on FS1, followed by M’Gladbach and American mid Johnson hosting Bayer Leverkusen at 12:30 on FS1.  Pulisic and Dortmund host RB Leipzig Sunday of Fox Soccer and Univision at 12 noon.

CHS Games

Huge Congrats to Carmel High School Coach Frank Dixon who recently won his 500th game for the lady Greyhounds.  Dixon has claimed 2 National Championships (2002 + 2011), 14 State Championships, 4 runner-ups and 22 Semi-State Championships in his years of coaching along with 23 Regional and 24 Sectional Titles in his 25+ years of coaching.  The #1 Ranked Team in the COUNTRY, the CHS Ladies will host the Carmel Invitational this weekend at Murray Stadium as they face 2A #2 Ranked Cathedral at 10 am and 17th Ranked Fishers at 7 pm.  The JV team will play Fishers at 10:30 am and Avon at 5 pm on the football practice fields above the football stadium.  Plenty of former Carmel FC girls on both rosters this season!  In addition anyone eating at Noble Romans West Main  on Saturday 8/25 and mentioning CHS Girls soccer will have a portion of their proceeds help fund the soccer program.  The CHS boys return home Tuesday to face Brebeuf at 7 pm after suffering their first loss on the season to Center Grove 0-1.  The boys take on traditional power Ft. Wayne Canterbury Fri 8/31 at Murray at 7:30 pm.

CFC_U14G
Congrats to Carmel FC 05 Girls Gold and coach Mark Stumpf as they won The Pikefest U15 Division last weekend with a bunch of 14 year olds. The girls finished 3-0-1 in the tourney.

Carmel FC Goalies don’t forget 2 Goalie trainings this Fall with GK coach Kristian Nicht, Juergan Sommer and Me – the ole ballcoach (man between us we have over 25 years of professional GK experience) has started back up.  Join us Weds at Shelbourne & Thurs at Badger Field  6-7 pm U11-U12  7 to 8 pm U13 – U19.

Fri, Aug 24                   German Bundesliga Starts

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1    Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim

8 pm ESPN                     Orlando City (Cam Lindley) vs Atlanta United

10:30 pm ESPN            LA Galaxy vs LAFC (El Traffico 3)

Sat, Aug 25     

7:30 am NBCSN            Wolverhampton vs Man city 

9:30 am FS 1                  Wolfsburg vs Schalke (McKinney)

10 am NBCSN                Arsenal vs West Ham United

11 am bEIN Sport        PSG (Tim Weah) vs Angers SCO

12 noon ESPN2            Juventus vs Lazio

12:30 pm NBCSN        Liverpool vs Brighton

12:30 pm FS 1              M’Gladbach (Johnson) vs Bayer Leverkusen

2 pm ESPN+                  Napoli vs Milan

2pm GOLTV                   Benefica vs Sporting CP – Portugal

4 pm beIN Sport          Real Valladolid vs Barcelona

7 pm ESPN+                   Atlanta 2 vs Indy 11 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

8 pm ESPN News         Washington Spirit vs Portland Thorns (Ladies) 

10 pm FS2                      Monterey vs Morillia (Mexico)

Sun, Aug 26    

8 am NBCSN                   Watford vs Crystal Palace 

9:30 am FS1                    Mainz vs Stuttgart

11 am NBCSN                New Castle United vs Chelsea

12n Fox Soccer/Univ   Dortmund (Pulisic) vs RB Leipzig

2:15 pm beIN Sport  Sevilla vs Villaarreal

4:15 pm beIN Sport     Girona vs Real Madrid 

7 pm Fox Sport1          NY Red Bulls vs DC United (Rooney)

9:30 pm FS1                   Portland vs Seattle Sounders (Cascadia Cup)

Mon, Aug 27    

3 pm NBCSN                   Manchester United vs Tottenham

Wed, Aug 29   

10:30 pm ESPN+          Portland Timbers vs Toronto FC

Fri, Aug 31   

11 pm ESPN2                 US Ladies vs Chile  (LA)

USA

US Skipper Sarachan says Bradley and others will have role for US moving Forward ESPNFC

US Boss Sarachan gives situation for USMNT Veterans

David Moyes New US Boss?

Michael Bradley Coy on US Call-up – Jeff Carlisle EPSNFC

US Rising Stars

Peter Vermes Deserves Chance as Next US Coach says Caleb Porter

Yanks Abroad – Stars and Stripes

US Ladies Name Training Camp Roster for 8/31 & 9/4 Friendlies

GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 16/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 32/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 22/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 10/0), Hailie Mace (UCLA; 1/0), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC: 107/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 141/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 24/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 20/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 77/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 64/16),Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 54/6), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 11/3), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 257/100), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 37/7), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 5/0)

FORWARDS (6): Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 67/23), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 136/20),Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 145/90), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 103/44), Mallory Pugh(Washington Spirit; 35/11), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 140/38)

World Cup Ref Chief – Collina dishes on VAR impact on Russia World Cup

World Cup Memories – Grant Wahl

MLS Rivalry Week

How MLS Rivalry Week compares with Europes Biggest Derbies – eSPNFC

El Trafico’s immediate intensity has put it in the spotlight in Los Angeles, MLS

LA, Seattle, NY Derby Hi-Light Rivalry Week in MLS – Jason Davis ESPNFC

Rivalry Week Viewing Guide – MLS.com

Zlattan Questions – Anything Can happen in El Traffico –

How Mexican Fans decide who to root for in LA

Austin Texas Group Releases MLS Name and Badge and Colors – ESPNFC Jeff Carlisle

NYCFC 9 Man Group Draws NY Red Bulls Late in bitterly fought Derby

MLS Scoring Record Broken by Martinez of Atlanta

#s Behind Atlanta United’s Martinez Goal Record with 9 games left

Ibrahimovic: I’ll only play on turf in MLS playoffs

Labron’s Kids Choose a Side in LA Derby – LAFC

EPL

Same ole Arsenal – Pretty futbal but No Defense loses at Chelsea 3-2

WORLD

German Bundisliga Can’t compete with EPL at the Top for Competition

How Should Allegri use Juve’s new Star Ronaldo

Renaldo Fills the visitors Stands but not the Goal mouth in Juve 2-1 debut

Goalies

EPL Saves of the Week 2 Cech was spectacular, Schmiekel, Jordan Pickford, Lloris,

Save of the Week – National Womens SL –

Saves of the Week – USL

MLS Save

Buffon Was Spectacular for PSG in First Game

Indy 11

Indy 11 topple Toronto 3-2

Dramatic Goal in the 90th Minute Lifts Indy 11 over NC 3-2

Football Lines will be Visible at Games with New Indy Colts Turf Installed

Indy 11 Sends United Way Donor to MLS All-Star Game

Painting Success On and Off the Field – GK

Indy 11 Discount Tickets for Wednesday’s Game!   (Code 2018Indy)

Indy 11 Game Schedule

USL League Standings

Soccer Saturday – Radio Show 9-10 am on 1070 the Fan

Parking passes at Gate10  Events is $11 with advance purchase. $15 day of.  Save $$$ by buying early.

INDY 11 GAMES

Sat 8/25 7 pm ESPN+   Indy 11 @ Atlanta United FC 2 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

Wed 8/29 7 pm myIndy23          Indy 11 vs Pittsburg Riverhounds SC

Sat Sept 1 7 pm  Wish TV 8        Indy 11 vs Richmond Kickers

Wed Sept 5 7 pm Wish TV 8      Indy 11 vs NY Red Bulls II

GAMES ON TV

Fri, Aug 24                     German Bundesliga Starts

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1      Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim

8 pm ESPN                       Orlando City (Cam Lindley) vs Atlanta United

10:30 pm ESPN            LA Galaxy vs LAFC (El Traffico 3)

Sat, Aug 25     

7:30 am NBCSN            Wolverhampton vs Man city 

9:30 am FS 1                  Wolfsburg vs Schalke (McKinney)

10 am NBCSN                Arsenal vs West Ham United

11 am bEIN Sport        PSG (Tim Weah) vs Angers SCO

12 noon ESPN2            Juventus vs Lazio

12:30 pm NBCSN        Liverpool vs Brighton

12:30 pm FS 1              M’Gladbach (Johnson) vs Bayer Leverkusen

2 pm ESPN+                    Napoli vs Milan

2pm GOLTV                     Benefica vs Sporting CP – Portugal

4 pm beIN Sport          Real Valladolid vs Barcelona

7 pm ESPN+                    Atlanta 2 vs Indy 11 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

8 pm ESPN News         Washington Spirit vs Portland Thorns (Ladies) 

10 pm FS2                       Monterey vs Morillia (Mexico)

Sun, Aug 26    

8 am NBCSN                   Watford vs Crystal Palace 

9:30 am FS1                    Mainz vs Stuttgart

11 am NBCSN                New Castle United vs Chelsea

12n Fox Soccer/Univ   Dortmund (Pulisic) vs RB Leipzig

2:15 pm beIN Sport  Sevilla vs Villaarreal

2:30 pm FS2                   Frankfurt vs Bayern Munich  Super Cup

4:15 pm beIN Sport     Girona vs Real Madrid 

7 pm Fox Sport1          NY Red Bulls vs DC United (Rooney)

9:30 pm FS1                   Portland vs Seattle Sounders (Cascadia Cup)

Mon, Aug 27    

3 pm NBCSN                   Manchester United vs Tottenham

Wed, Aug 29   

10:30 pm ESPN+          Portland Timbers vs Toronto FC

Fri, Aug 31   

11 pm ESPN2                 US Ladies vs Chile  (LA)

Sat, Sept 1     

7:30 am NBCSN            Leicester City vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS 1                  Wolfsburg vs Bayern Leverkusen

9:30 am FS2                    Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen ( )

10 am NBCSN                Chelsea vs Bournemouth

11 am bEIN Sport        Nimes vs PSG (Tim Weah)

12:30 pm NBCSN        Man City vs New Castle United (Yedlin)

12:30 pm FS 2              Stutgart vs Bayern Munich

2:30 ESPN+?                   Parma vs Juventus

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Real Madrid vs Leganes

7 pm Wish TV8             Indy 11 vs Richmond Kickers

Tues, Sept 4   

10 pm ESPN2                 US Ladies vs Chile  (San Fran)

Fri, Sept 7

7:30 pm FS1                   USAMNT vs Brazil (Metlife)

Tues, Sept 11

8:30 pm ESPN               USA vs Mexico in Nashville (anyone want to go?)

Thurs, Oct 11

7:30 pm FSI                     USA vs Colombia (Tampa)

Thurs, Nov 15

3 pm ESPN2                    England vs USA (Wembley)

Sat, Nov 20

3 pm ESPN2                    Italy vs USMNT

Indy 11 Game Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

EPL Schedule

El Trafico’s immediate intensity has put it in the spotlight in Los Angeles, MLS

Hoodzpah Design

8:40 AM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

Most rivalries have a few common ingredients. Proximity is one, although it isn’t mandatory. Games involving the highest of stakes are another, but those can come and go. Time, however, is usually non-negotiable. Most derbies start from nothing, and with each passing match, a few more doses of color and venom are added.Yet El Trafico, the nascent derby between the LA Galaxy and LAFC, is bending — if not outright breaking — the rules of what constitutes a rivalry. The two sides have met just twice so far, but what games they have been. There was the inaugural clash back on March 31, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s two goals in his MLS debut capped a stunning comeback from three goals down to give the Galaxy a 4-3 win. Last month’s second installment didn’t lack for drama either, as two late goals from the Galaxy allowed them to salvage a 2-2 tie at LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium. So it’s okay to call El Trafico a full-fledged rivalry, right? Right?”It’s taking hold, but it also has the feel of being manufactured,” said David Carter, the executive director of the Sports Business Institute at USC’s Marshall School of Business. “In any town, in any sport, you can’t have a just-add-water rivalry. It takes time. The Celtics and the Lakers have hated each other for a really long time; the [same with the] Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. You can try to launch a rivalry from day one, but the ones that truly matter or are organic have passed the test of time in terms of hatred and disdain, not a couple of months. It may grow to be one.”And lest anyone think Carter is simply being a buzz-kill, LAFC minority owner Nomar Garciaparra, who during his baseball career experienced some of the sport’s biggest rivalries, is of similar thinking.”I think it’s starting. I don’t think it’s totally there,” he said of El Trafico. “I just still think time needs to come into play, but I think it’s a very good start to one.”At the least, El Trafico‘s ability to burrow its way into the sports consciousness of Los Angeles in such a short amount of time is impressive, as was the atmosphere generated in the first two matches.”I think it all caught us by surprise,” said Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget of the emotion and attention of the first two matches. “I think we all knew it was going to be huge but I think it’s kind of created its own storm in a way. It’s definitely been bigger than what we all anticipated, but it’s been positive, man.”The world’s entertainment hub is notoriously fickle when it comes to its sports teams, and when LAFC was being forged there were doubts about how it could possibly get any traction in an area with now 11 professional sides across five sports, plus the collegiate heft of USC and UCLA, not to mention the glitz of Hollywood. There were also concerns that the Galaxy might suffer from LAFC’s presence, given the latter’s closer location to the city center.Yet LAFC’s arrival appears to have helped both teams. Friday’s match is sold out, the seventh capacity crowd this season out of 13 games for the Galaxy. Two of those have now come against LAFC.Without question, L.A.’s other intra-city matchups draw interest, be it baseball’s Freeway Series between the Dodgers and Angels, the NHL’s Kings-Ducks and even the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers. And while rivalries such as Lakers-Celtics and Dodgers-Giants still have the most cachet, El Trafico, rather than getting swallowed up, has carved out its own niche.”I think this thing has a different energy to it,” said Lletget about the matchup. “If you come to an LAFC-Galaxy game, I think everybody wants to be here now. I think if you’re not here you’re missing out in a way. So it’s, I think after the first one everybody felt ‘Oh my god, I’ve gotta go to the next one, gotta go to the next one,’ so it’s positive. It’s positive for our sport, it’s positive for our city, it’s positive for our clubs.”LAFC midfielder Benny Feilhaber explains the important role fans have in the El Trafico rivalry and why his side still have a lot to prove on Friday night.

LAFC counterpart Benny Feilhaber spent many of his formative years in the L.A. area, and played collegiately at UCLA. And while he doesn’t claim to be a fan of any L.A. teams, he knows how big those games can be.”For us to try and match that and be a part of it as well in the city is pretty special,” he said. “It’s just fun to be a part of sports in this city and to have two good teams to compete three times a year at the minimum, and maybe another time in the playoffs.”The energy of the respective fan bases has added to the buzz. Emotions did boil over to a degree during the July match, with video footage showing Galaxy fans being hassled outside the stadium, while inside Galaxy fans did damage to 79 seats. Both organizations and their respective fan bases have taken steps to make sure the passion is generated in the right direction. If it is, the rivalry can become even greater.”I think rivalries have history, but I think what also comes with it — from the rivalries that I’ve been a part of — is the passion of the fans, the way they feel when the two teams play,” said Garciaparra. “I think from the very first game in Carson, you felt that. It continued when they came to LAFC and I expect it again on Friday. That definitely sets the tone for it to be a very good rivalry going forward.”

LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic talks MLS: ‘Anything can happen’

9:17 AM ETESPN

LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played in some of the biggest rivalries in football. Now he is getting ready to play in the “El Trafico” local derby vs. LAFC. The Swedish striker joined Taylor Twellman in the Heineken ESPN FC Boot Room to chat about how he has taken to MLS. The following is an edited transcript of the chat.

  1. Friday night will be the third time LAFC and LA Galaxy have met this season. The first two games were filled with a ton of drama, what do you expect to happen?
  2. I think the same atmosphere, fantastic atmosphere. This time it’s our home field [advantage] and I expect good football. They are playing good, we are playing good, and [we are] two good teams. We are the rivals in L.A., but I think the rivalry is fresh because it’s the third game and they are new. The Galaxy has been there for many years.
  3. You’ve played in some of the biggest rivalries around the world. Are you surprised how quickly this one got going?
  4. It’s a new team, LAFC, and it came this year. It is the year I came also, so a lot of things are happening in MLS and the football is growing and the competition is growing — you just have to see the cities where it’s popping up and I’m not surprised. I think it’s good for the football, good for the fans, and good for the competition because it gives you more competitive games and more heated games where there’s a lot of emotions involved.
  5. You’ve played LAFC twice. Where do you think their biggest weaknesses are going into this game?
  6. I think they’re good in general. They don’t have one that’s better than the other one. I think it’s a good team. Everything is hyped for them, because it’s new. They have a big boost — new stadium, new players, new club, new coach — so everything is new … but they’re doing good things. There’s nothing negative to say about them or to complain about.play

Zlatan Ibrahimovic talks his continued love for video games, which all started at Ajax with his first ever game Pro Evolution Soccer.

  1. With only one win in your last six games, is it a must-win game for the Galaxy?
  2. I think the remaining games we have are all important games. There is no game more important than the other one. Of course, this one is two teams from L.A. — you win to say who is the boss in the town — but at the end of the day it’s the three points that are important and [reaching] the playoffs. That is what counts in the end. If you win this one and lose the rest, this win doesn’t matter.
  3. What’s been the biggest struggle, from your point of view, for the Galaxy?
  4. It’s been a lot of up and down. Some games we’ve been doing very good; some games less good. Basic mistakes we make that we pay for, cost us a lot. Like conceding goals and then we have to chase the goals. And we haven’t been on top — I mean, our level hasn’t been up where normally it should be. And the consequences are we are losing the games and paying for it.
  5. Are you surprised?
  6. I think every team is working the same. You have a period where you do good, then you have a period where you do less good. For example, you take Wayne Rooney’s team, DC United. They were doing bad, suddenly he comes and they’re doing good and they’re in the picture. So it’s very up and down.

There is no [like Europe] feeling where you have two or three teams that are very stable and are dominating the league. I don’t see anyone — maybe Atlanta is doing better than the other ones — but that is the same thing like LAFC: a new team, everything is a boost, everything is “wow” for the moment.

  1. Do you think the Galaxy can right the ship and make the playoffs?
  2. I think so. We have a very good team. The opponents who play against us, they respect the team. We give them a hard time, and I think when we lose a game it’s not like we’re outplayed, except for the last game where the result speaks for itself. It’s only about the small details: organization, small, basic mistakes, small details that make a big difference.
  3. You’ve played 19 games in MLS. What’s your biggest takeaway about the league?
  4. I find it very exciting, in the way that anything can happen. Crazy results. I see the atmosphere is nice, at least the games I’ve been playing. I cannot judge the other games. And I like the way the game is played — not always, but as a striker it’s very good because you get a lot of chances and it’s all about focusing and scoring your goals. And the chances will come, whatever happens, wherever you play, the chances will come.

Report: David Moyes could become new USMNT boss

Joe Prince-WrightNBC Sports•Aug 19, 2018, 8:59 AM

David Moyes is reportedly a frontrunner to be named as the new head coach of the U.S. men’s national team.The Times is one of a few outlets in the UK who claim that Moyes is interesting U.S. Soccer officials, with Dave Sarachan still in charge on an interim basis after he took up that role last November following Bruce Arena stepping down.Here’s more from The Times on Moyes potentially heading to the U.S.“It is understood that United States Soccer Federation officials have been alerted that the former Everton, Manchester United and West Ham manager would be interested in becoming the permanent replacement for Bruce Arena. Former Chicago Fire coach David Sarachan was put in interim charge after Arena was fired last October for failing to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. Moyes, 55, increased his stock last season in a short-term deal with West Ham when he led them to safety, finishing in 13th place in the Premier League.”Pro Soccer Talk has contacted U.S. Soccer for a comment on this report but is yet to receive a response.Moyes, 55, has restored his reputation somewhat after keeping West Ham in the Premier League last season after inheriting a precarious situation mid-season. But is he really the right man to turn the USMNT’s fortunes around?The former Everton, Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland boss has endured mixed fortunes since taking charge of United in 2013. He was fired by United less than a year into the job after being hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson and he was then fired by Sociedad and left Sunderland after they were relegated from the Premier League in 2016-17.From his time at Everton, we know that Moyes can organize teams and make them better defensively and that’s something the USMNT need moving forward. However, with no experience of Major League Soccer or the CONCACAF environment it is tough to see the new hierarchy in charge of U.S. Soccer appointing someone like Moyes.Would new USMNT General Manager Earnie Stewart look to someone like Moyes to revive the fortune of the U.S. national team? It seems like a coach with experience of MLS or someone with a better track record of developing youngsters would suit the current needs of U.S. Soccer better.Moyes is currently out of a job and cynics amongst us would suggest these reports could be about getting his name back out there and in the frame for another position. There is a lot of negativity around Moyes after he struggled at United five years ago, but we must not forget his penchant for setting up teams with a solid foundation. That’s not the most desirable skill for a manager to have these days but it would be a valuable asset as the USMNT aim to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after the debacle of not reaching the tournament in 2018.With a young squad set for a gruelling schedule of friendlies over the next few months, Sarachan could still be handed the reins for the U.S. on a permanent basis. It’s more likely that the USMNT will appoint a new permanent boss after the friendlies against Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, England and Italy over the next few months.Until then the likes of Juan Carlos Osorio, Gregg Berhalter, Tata Martino, Caleb Porter and Peter Vermes will continue to be linked with the role. You can add Moyes to that list too.

Michael Bradley, USMNT veterans will still have role in team – Dave Sarachan

5:59 PM ETAssociated Press

United States coach Dave Sarachan is not committing to when or how veterans such as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore will be brought in to the national team again.The coach said on Wednesday that he spoke recently with Bradley, one of two Americans to play every minute of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups for the U.S.Sarachan said he’s made it clear in the months he’s been in charge that the focus is to look at younger players for a team that missed this year’s World Cup, but that the older players will still have a role to play.”We’re not discounting the value of veteran leadership, and Michael falls into that category,” said Sarachan, whose contract was extended in June through the rest of this year. “There will be a time, I’m sure, when we’re going to count on those players like Michael to be a part of this. We had a good conversation, and I think he understands where we are.”Bradley will be 35 when the U.S. hopes to be back in the 2022 World Cup. Altidore was among the veterans not invited to a January training camp despite his 41 goals in 110 appearances with the national team.Fabian Johnson is another veteran not likely to be brought in. John Brooks, 25, probably will be brought in at some point.”If he’s healthy, that’s been an issue, [Brooks] would have a little bit more of an opportunity in the near future to be a part of some rosters,” Sarachan said.The U.S. will play its next competitive match in June in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Americans have six friendlies line up, starting Sept. 7 against Brazil in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and the Brazilians are bringing veterans like Neymar and Robert Firmino.Sarachan said Christian Pulisic will be in the U.S. squad on Sept. 11 when the Americans play Mexico in a friendly in Nashville, Tennessee. Pulisic last played for the U.S. in May.The Americans also play Colombia on Oct. 11 at Tampa, Florida; England on Nov. 15 at London; and Italy on Nov. 20 at a site to be determined.For now, the focus is on youth with 18 players having made their debuts in the U.S.’s last six matches, including 10 age-eligible for the 2020 Olympics.The squad for the September games also should feature Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Matt Miazga. Sarachan said defender DeAndre Yedlin also should be available if he gets through this week after sustaining a right knee injury earlier this month playing for Newcastle in the Premier League.Sarachan, who took over as interim coach when Bruce Arena quit last October after the Americans failed to qualify for the World Cup, has led the U.S. to two wins (Paraguay and Bolivia), one loss (Ireland) and three ties (Portugal, Bosnia-Herzogovina and France ).A search for a full-time coach will be lead by former U.S. midfielder Earnie Stewart, who started as general manager officially Aug. 1.For now, Sarachan said the roster is a work in progress.”I would say that the roster, if you followed our team over the last six friendlies, will be composed pretty similarly to what we’ve done in the past,” Sarachan said. “But I feel very confident that the group we’re going to bring will be very competitive.”

Yanks Abroad: Goals, Assists, & Injuries

While it feels like everyone is injured or absent for some reason, there was still plenty of action to follow.

By Cody Bradley@ThatCodyTho  Aug 20, 2018, 2:45pm PDT

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The injury list is piling up with our Yanks Abroad missing action due to various issues. Everyone in the Premier League is sidelined as well as Chandler in Germany in Saief in Belgium. But we have plenty of positives to talk about, including a real life contribution from Bobby Wood!

Andrija Novakovich
The Fortuna Sittard forward scored a very nice goal in a 2-1 loss to PSV Eindoven. More on him right here.

Lynden Gooch
The Sunderland man picked up an assist and played all 90 minutes of a 3-0 win over Scunthorpe in England’s third tier. (VIDEO)

Bobby Wood
Wood came off the bench in the 65th minute for Hannover and got an assist in the 6-0 Cup win over 3rd tier Karlsruher.

Kevin Lankford
Lankford got this first professional goal on Sunday after coming off the bench for Heidenheim in a 5-2 German Cup win.

Jonathan Amon
Entered at the half to score in stoppage time of Nordsjaelland’s 2-0 win over Vejle. More on him in Youth Update.

Christian Pulisic
He got the start and subbed out in the 80th minute of Dortmund’s extra-time, German Cup win over Julian Green’s Greuther Fürth side on Monday. BvB needed a stoppage time equalizer to extend to extra time, and then finally scored the winner in the 120th minute.

Weston McKennie
The 19 year old went 90 minutes for Schalke as they eliminated Schweinfurt (4th tier) from the German Cup by a final of 2-0.

Tim Weah
He was given the start up top in between Neymar and Angel Di Maria. But he was only able to make it the first 45 minutes before being subbed out in favor of Kylian Mbappe, who promptly scored two goals to get the 3-1 win. Weah got just 9 touches the whole half, and completed 3/6 passes. He committed two fouls and lost 3 duels. He did contribute one key pass, though.

Matt Miazga
Miazga made his debut for Nantes over the weekend in a 2-0 loss at Dijon. The Chelsea loanee, like the rest of his team, did not play very well. He finished with 88% passing, but wasn’t able to contribute much.

John Brooks
Wolfsburg got a 1-0 Cup win over 4th tier Elversberg on Saturday. Brooks played all 90 minutes at CB.

Eric Lichaj
Lichaj was actually one of the better players for Hull City on Saturday. The right-back played the full 90 minutes winning 11 duels and four clearances in a 1-0 loss to Blackburn.

Antonee Robinson
The left-back for Wigan Athletic turned in pretty solid numbers in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest. Robinson did well on both sides of the ball, contributing a key pass and was successful with all four take-ons he attempted.

Brendan Hines-Ike
Over in Belgium, Brendan played 90 minutes for Kortrijk in a 2-0 loss to Oostende.

Julian Green
Green played the full match, including extra time as Greuther Fürth lost a German Cup heartbreaker to Borussia Dortmund on Monday.

Emerson Hyndman
He started was subbed out in the 64th minute of Hibernian’s 3-2 Scottish League Cup win over Ross Country.

Omar Gonzalez
The Atlas man went the distance in a 1-0 loss to Morelia in Mexico.

DeAndre Yedlin
His injury wasn’t as serious as it looked, but his knee kept Yedlin out of Newcastle’s 0-0 draw with Cardiff. He reassured fans on social media that he will be back soon. Newcastle will want him back in the lineup immediately after the disappointing point at home vs Cardiff.

Tim Ream
Ream has missed the first two matches of the Premier League season as he works his way back from a thigh injury. He is a key piece of the puzzle for Fulham and his absence has been noticeable in two losses (especially the 2-0 loss at home to Palace).

Danny Williams
Good news here on the injury front. Williams made his return to the lineup for the first time since last season. Thankfully, he didn’t actually appear in the 6-1 pounding Huddersfield Town took at the hands of the champs, Manchester City.

Kenny Saief
He left USMNT camp with a injury to his right leg back in June and has not made an appearance since. He missed Anderlecht’s 2-0 win over Mouscron on Friday.

Timmy Chandler
Timmy underwent surgery on Friday and will be out for six months.

Geoff Cameron
Just a quick reminder about Cameron. He hasn’t been on the roster for any of Stoke’s first three matches in the 2nd tier, and he’s rumored to be leaving the club before the end of the month.

How MLS Rivalry Week compares with Europe’s biggest derbies

11:50 AM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent hen it comes to to rivalries, Major League Soccer is at a major disadvantage in comparison to its counterparts in Europe and South America. With a few exceptions, most clubs in the North American league are drawing upon no more than 22 years’ worth of animosity to define their most despised adversaries, while those in the sport’s traditional hotbeds can call on a century or more.Some do have another decade or two of bad blood to heat up their meetings, and those with even less history are still finding ways to amp up the antipathy.There is the gnarled oak that is the Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders match-up, a rivalry that dates back to 1975 if you include its matches in NASL. The young offshoot that is the Hudson River Derby has emerged between the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC. The mere sapling that is El Trafico, the rivalry between the LA Galaxy and LAFC, is growing as if it had consumed a few boxes of Miracle-Gro, if the first two epic matches are anything to go by.

Of course, the roots in MLS don’t run as deep as they do elsewhere. The league has even seen fit to cannibalize a few of its better rivalries, with matchups such as the Red Bulls and D.C. United or the California Clasico between the Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes shunted aside in favor of promoting sexier pairings in New York and Los Angeles.Yet for some of the league’s most notable imported players, the new rivalries have been embraced, even as its stars acknowledge that there is still room for them to grow.That growth process is being accelerated by the advent of Rivalry Week, the league’s annual promotion the hostility that exists between its clubs. It’s on this sort of stage that players can make a name for themselves.Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro knows as well as anyone how an epic derby performance can change a career. He remembers scoring as a 20-year-old for his beloved Nacional against bitter rivals Penarol in a 3-0 victory back in Uruguay. Six years later, he scored the lone goal for Argentine side Boca Juniors to win 1-0 at River Plate’s Estadio Monumental.”There were no fans for Boca, only River, and after the goal the entire stadium was silent,” Lodeiro told ESPN FC with the help of a translator.Lodeiro notes that Saturday’s match at Providence Park against the Timbers will be “like any Clasico, it’s very difficult.” Yet there are differences to what he has experienced elsewhere.”In South America, the Clasicos, it’s more than just the game,” he said. “It continues with your life outside of the field, with your family, and with the people every day. There’s a lot of things in play than just the game in South America. Here there is a lot of passion, a lot of rivalry, but it’s only on the field.”Even on the field, the differences can be stark. Galaxy defender Ashley Cole recalled that the craziest derby he ever took part in came in November 2001, when he was playing for Arsenal against Tottenham Hotspur. The match, which ended in a 1-1 draw, marked the first time that Sol Campbell played at White Hart Lane for the Gunners after moving the previous summer from their bitter London rivals Spurs, where he had spent nine seasons.”Already the hatred was there, and it was always an amazing atmosphere at White Hart Lane,” said Cole. “[Campbell] going back there for the first time, it was amazing, but it was scary in a bad way. Poor Sol Campbell got abused. It was electric, you had goose bumps, the hair was standing up on my arms and my legs. It was scary at times, but what a game to play in.”Of course, El Trafico can’t rely on the 109-year history of the North London Derby, but Cole will be among those taking part in Friday’s edition at StubHub Center (10:30 ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes). With LAFC still in the midst of its debut season, the match will be just the third meeting between the intra-city rivals. But thanks in part to the jaw-dropping performances of Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and goals galore on both sides, the matches have been filled to the brim with drama.Cole admits he’s been impressed at how quickly the intensity between the two teams has been ratcheted up.”For LAFC to have the big fan base and the passion, they have surprised me,” he said. “And yeah, when they came here the first time the atmosphere was electric. Without having any [previous] incidents, the rivalry is still big.”All that’s needed is more time to add memories, controversy and generally feed the rivalry beast.”A few years down the line, there’s going to be more reason to dislike each other,” said Cole. “We’re so close to them, but we need some incidents to spice it up even more, to make it better. Hopefully in years to come this game can become that.”Another of the league’s young derbies has precisely that spice, and the added element of more on the line than mere bragging rights.That’s the case with Wednesday’s Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium. Both teams are in contention for the Supporters’ Shield, with NYCFC sitting in third place in the overall standings, one point behind the Red Bulls, as both teams try to chase down first-place Atlanta United.So, even as important as a victory is, it is that trophy that is on the mind of NYCFC captain David Villa, who has experienced arguably some the world’s biggest rivalries, including El Clasico of Real Madrid and Barcelona.The most difficult derby that you play is Barcelona and Real Madrid,” he told ESPN FC via telephone. “To be on the roster of one of those teams is really difficult for any player, but the other derbies I played were very intense as well.”The rivalry is good for soccer here, but for me it’s one game. I know that for the fans, for everyone in the club and around the team it’s really good, and it’s a different game. But finally for us it’s against one of our big rivals, not only for the city but for the [Supporters’ Shield] as well and we need to beat them in this way.”My focus when I started in the league wasn’t to beat the New York Red Bulls. It’s to beat the Red Bulls, to beat Philadelphia, Atlanta, everyone playing in the league because we want to take the silverware, and to take the silverware you need to beat everyone.”

Portland-Seattle, New York Derby and LA Galaxy-LAFC headline MLS Rivalry Week

Aug 20, 2018Jason Davis

Rivalry Week is upon us, which means it’s a good time to review the history of some of Major League Soccer’s most intense battles. Not all rivalries are equal, but each has its own unique origin story, big moments and players who command the spotlight.

New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls

How it started

When NYCFC entered Major League Soccer in 2015, the possibility of an intense rivalry with the New York Red Bulls had plenty of people excited. Two teams separated by just a few miles in the country’s biggest metropolitan area had all the makings of a regular battle for New York soccer supremacy.It wasn’t until the NYCFC’s inaugural win against the Red Bulls that the heat increased to “derby” levels. The New Jersey-based club owned the first three meetings in 2015 and started the 2016 series with a 7-0 destruction of NYCFC at Yankee Stadium.In the next meeting, NYCFC scored a 2-0 July win in front of more than 33,000 at Yankee Stadium, with Jack Harrison scoring. Since, the rivalry has been an even split with each team winning three games and the teams playing to a draw once.

Best moment

Last year’s August match at Yankee Stadium produced an epic battle between two of the greatest goal scorers in MLS history. David Villa scored the first hat trick in Hudson River Derby history, while Bradley Wright-Phillips bagged two goals in a 3-2 NYCFC victory.Villa contributed on the defensive end as well, making a brilliant play to block Wright-Phillips from close range when the Red Bulls striker had a chance to give his team the lead.There’s only one choice for the most influential man in the Hudson River Derby, and it’s Wright-Phillips.The Englishman scored the first goal in the history of the rivalry (inside of five minutes, no less) and has scored an additional 10 since. His total of 11 goals in 12 games in all competitions outpaces the total of the second-leading scorer on the list, Villa, by seven goals.

The quote

“I was brought up to not like Man United. I would hope my children do not like NYCFC.” — Bradley Wright-Phillips

LA Galaxy vs. LAFC

How it started

It’s still just Year 1 of the L.A. rivalry creatively dubbed “El Trafico” by the fans, but the seeds of something special have been planted. Friday’s edition will be the third and final meeting of the season (barring a playoff clash) and will need a heavy dose of drama to match the first two games in the series.Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival in MLS and L.A. coincided with the first-ever El Trafico game on March 31. The Swedish superstar entered the match at the StubHub Center with his new team down two goals, scored twice in 15 minutes, and led the Galaxy to victory.

The best moment

The best moment the L.A. derby has offered so far can only be Ibrahimovic’s midfield strike to level the inaugural edition. In front of a full house at the StubHub Center, Ibrahimovic lived up to every expectation with an absolute wondergoal. LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller will want to forget the moment, but for MLS fans in North America and soccer fans around the globe, the goal and that moment sparked an interest in a crosstown matchup that will carry over to each new edition.Through two games, it’s actually LAFC’s Mexican star Carlos Vela who has the most goals in the rivalry with three. But the choice for the most influential player has to go to Ibrahimovic, the man who stole the show back in March and helped lead another comeback in a draw at Banc of California Stadium on July 26.Ibrahimovic’s dramatic arrival on the scene and influence in the 2-2 draw at Banc of California Stadium put him at the center of the evolving contretemps, but it’s the Swede’s personality and penchant for cutting and audacious statements that will draw the most attention.

The quote

“This is still fresh, this derby. LAFC is a new team. We cannot talk historically about previous games, only about the game we had [in March], but in time [there will be] more talks about it, what happened before, and you get new moments from that derby.” — Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Seattle vs. Portland

How it started

There are older rivalries between teams born in the MLS era, but no American soccer clash has more history than the Cascadia Derby between the Sounders and Timbers. The first match between the clubs took place back in 1975; that same year, the Timbers knocked the Sounders out of the NASL playoffs.Both clubs played in the old North American Soccer League, then when that league ended, revived the derby in the loer divisions. After a few seasons of meeting only in the U.S. Open Cup, the rivalry moved to MLS in 2011 when the Timbers joined Seattle in the top division.The easiest way to explain the origins of the Sounders-Timbers rivalry is simply that when it comes to everything — soccer included — Seattle and Portland just don’t get along.

The best moment

The biggest stakes for any Cascadia Derby came in the MLS Cup playoffs back in 2013. A conference semifinal series between top-seeded Portland and fourth-seeded Seattle started at CenturyLink Field, where the Timbers had never led, much less won.On the back of goals from Ryan Johnson and Darlington Nagbe, with a big hand from goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, Portland won the match 2-1. The Timbers would go on to win the second leg 3-2 and take the first — and thus far, only — MLS playoff meeting between the two teams.

The key man

Clint Dempsey has a penchant for scoring goals in the rivalry and he doesn’t hesitate to let Timbers fans know about it when he does. In 14 games against Portland, Dempsey has scored nine goals. The co-all-time-leading scorer in Sounders history has scored more against the Timbers than any other team.Dempsey is filling a substitute role for the Sounders at this point in the season, but it would be folly to write off the possibility of him playing a big role in any game where Seattle takes on the Timbers.

The quote

“All I got to say is, now that we won one, Portland can’t say s—!” — Clint Dempsey after Seattle’s 2016 MLS Cup title

Austin group releases Major League Soccer franchise name, badge, colors

9:56 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

The latest sign that the Columbus Crew are moving to Austin, Texas, was revealed on Wednesday, as the proposed team’s name, colors and crest were released by Precourt Sports Ventures, the current owners of the Crew.The name of the presumptive MLS team will be Austin FC, and the crest features a pair of bright green, intertwined oak trees on a black background with the name “Austin” at the top. The tag line “Grow The Legend” accompanied the announcement.According to the Austin American-Statesman, the reveal was attended by approximately 300 people, including PSV owner Anthony Precourt, at a downtown Austin establishment. At the event, the team left open the possibility for a team mascot and nickname and said it would welcome community input. “Given the historical and ongoing market challenges, Precourt Sports Ventures must prepare for every potential scenario for the Club in 2019 and beyond,” said Precourt in a prepared statement. “Should Austin be granted the requisite approvals ahead of the 2019 season, it will be imperative to launch with momentum and a presence to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the Club. Normal business operations shall continue in Columbus for the balance of the 2018 season where winning an MLS Cup remains the objective.”The Austin City Council recently approved a term sheet negotiated with PSV to build a $200 million, 20,000-seat stadium on a 24-acre site in north Austin. The vote authorizes the negotiation and execution of agreements with PSV for construction, lease, and occupancy of the venue with the goal of completing construction in time for the 2021 MLS season.There are still additional obstacles to overcome. The office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in conjunction with the city of Columbus is suing PSV under the so called Modell law that requires sports teams that have received state funding to provide six months notice of any intention to relocate and allow local investors the option of acquiring the team. A hearing is set for Sept. 4.

PAthetic Manchester United prove Jose Mourinho warning true in Brighton embarrassment

1:00 PM ETRob DawsonManchester United correspondent

BRIGHTON, England — Three points on Brighton 3-2 Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

  1. Jose Mourinho warning appears true

Jose Mourinho said this season would be tough for Manchester United, but he probably did not expect to be proved right quite so quickly.Through the summer and during the first week of the new Premier League season, he has painted a bleak picture of United’s prospects. Even a 2-1 win over Leicester on opening night did little to improve his mood.”I think it’s going to be a very hard season,” he said in an interview on Friday. And judging by the performance against Brighton at the AMEX on Sunday afternoon, it looks like he is right on the money.In the space of two minutes and 23 seconds during the first half, United went from control to calamity. After 24 minutes, Solly March crossed from the left and Glenn Murray nipped in front of Victor Lindelof to cleverly clip his finish over David De Gea. Then from the re-start, Eric Bailly gave away a needless corner and some penalty box pinball ended with Shane Duffy scoring a second after expertly controlling Anthony Knockaert’s miscued shot.United came back from two goals down to win twice last season, and when Romelu Lukaku headed in his first goal of the season from close range it looked like it might be on again. But just as it looked like Mourinho’s team were thinking about settling down, De Gea clipped a sloppy pass towards Fred in the centre of midfield, Dale Stephens slipped in Pascal Gross and Bailly brought him down. Gross got up to beat De Gea from the spot and the Brighton players trooped off at half-time with the fans singing “we want four.”It didn’t come, but it didn’t matter. Neither did Paul Pogba’s late penalty after Duffy had brought down substitute Marouane Fellaini in stoppage time.By the end the home supporters had changed their tune to: “Can we play you every week?” and “you’re going down with the Palace.”It’s not quite that bad for Mourinho but his preseason prediction is already coming true.

  1. United’s centre-backs a shambles

Mourinho wanted a central defender in the final weeks of the transfer window, and despite interest in Harry Maguire, Toby Alderweireld, Jerome Boateng and a host of others, nothing happened.If the United manager wanted to make his point to Ed Woodward, he need only post of video of the first half here to the chief executive’s office at Old Trafford.He picked Lindelof and Bailly against Brighton, and after 45 minutes they had helped cost United three goals.Lindelof was at fault for the first, letting Murray steal in to score. Bailly, not to be outdone, gave away a corner in the buildup to the second and then chopped down Gross in the box for Brighton’s penalty just before half-time.Both signed by Mourinho for a combined fee of £60 million, they have started the season as first choice, but it would be no surprise if they were both sat in the stands when Tottenham turn up at Old Trafford on Aug. 27.For now, Mourinho will have to make do with what he has got. Chris Smalling, trusted to play nearly 50 games last season, was on the bench while Phil Jones, who started the FA Cup final in May, was not in the squad at all. Marcos Rojo is another option, but the Argentina defender is still nursing an injury picked up at the World Cup.There are problems at the other end, too, and United managed just three shots on target while Lukaku was limited to just 24 touches all game.

  1. Brighton off to a flyer, home form key

Brighton had the eighth best home record in the Premier League last season with seven of their nine wins coming at the AMEX. Their form on their own pitch will be key again is they are going to survive again, and Chris Hughton could not have asked for a better start. It was a 1-0 win over United here in May that secured their top-flight status last season, and this could turn out to be just as significant.After the demoralising defeat at Watford on the opening weekend, it was vital that Brighton got up and running as quickly as possible. The Premier League can be an unforgiving place when you get stuck in a run of poor form, but Brighton can head to Liverpool on Saturday with confidence that they can upset Jurgen Klopp’s side.Only four teams managed to win at Brighton last season and it will be a difficult place to play this season, too. In a tight, compact arena, the fans can get on top of opposing teams, and Brighton gave them enough encouragement in the opening exchanges against United to get them into the game early.If they can do that more often than not this season, they should win enough home games to stay in the league for a third successive campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo conundrum: How should Max Allegri use Juventus’ star?

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After Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus debut, the FC crew ponder what his best position is in Max Allegri’s squad: the No. 9, false 9 or a winger. (2:51)

11:19 AM ETGabriele MarcottiSenior Writer, ESPN FC

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way first: Juventus were a very good team without Cristiano Ronaldo, and they will almost certainly be an even better one with him. They are overwhelming favourites to win Serie A, and while the Champions League — like all knockout competitions — is tricky to predict, they have to be among the favourites to win that too.The question, though, is how much better they will be and, crucially, what manager Massimiliano Allegri — with the collaboration of Ronaldo and others — can do to get them to maximise potential. In other words, you got yourself a CR7 unit (or, more accurately the CR7 unit.), now what do you do with it?It is not quite as simple as it sounds. Ronaldo, at this stage of his career, is not an orthodox player like, say, a Robert Lewandowski or a Kevin De Bruyne. You don’t simply drop him into a predefined role that already exists because what he does is nearly unique and in any case, did not exist at Juve.For nearly all of the nine seasons he spent at Real Madrid, he lined up on the left wing, wide of a mobile centre-forward (for a while it was a Gonzalo Higuain/Karim Benzema platoon, later the Frenchman took over full time). Ronaldo’s style — and his body — evolved over the years, but his level of production remained high.His first five years in Madrid were “peak Cristiano.” He was a fixture as a wide forward, often picking the ball up deep, taking on opponents — he averaged more than six dribbles a game — and relying on his athleticism to get into shooting positions. Heat maps from that era show that he spent some 60 percent of the time in the left-side third of the pitch.However, things changed after 2014. After suffering patellar tendinitis in his knee, he slimmed down, sacrificing muscle to maintain quickness even as he moved into his thirties. Moreover, his positioning changed: Heat maps have him at 44 percent on the left, 37 percent centrally and 21 percent on the right. In some ways, that increased movement enabled him to find more mismatches. He could — and still can — overpower most full-backs and outrun most central defenders.The first issue for Allegri is whether to let his new No. 7 play the way he did in Madrid — adjusting around him as a result — or to find him a new role. Many projected Juventus lineups opted for the latter, as did the first hour or so of Ronaldo’s Serie A debut vs. Chievo last Saturday. He lined up as a lone front man, with fast wingers either side in Juan Cuadrado and Douglas Costa, plus Paulo Dybala in the hole as part of a 4-2-3-1 formation.You can see the logic: Plenty of service from the wings to exploit his aerial prowess and Dybala creating behind. It may yet work, though whether a two-man midfield of Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira (or Emre Can) provides enough defensive cover, particularly with attacking full-backs like Alex Sandro and Joao Cancelo, remains to be seen.Make no mistake about it. Ronaldo has the trappings of a centre-forward. He is devastating in the air, his movement in the box is exceptional and his finishing is outstanding. The funny thing about him is that while his critics question the number of bad shots he takes — during a lean spell in La Liga early last season, for example — the numbers are pretty telling.His expected goals per shot over the past five years is .143, which is comparable to Higuain, the guy he replaced and a prototypical penalty-box poacher. And that’s with all the long-distance/bad-angle/low-percentage shots. In other words, Ronaldo does not just score a ton of goals because he is firing away all the time, he generally takes very good shots from very good positions. But the issue is whether you want a player who turns 34 in February taking lumps on his own up front from nasty centre-backs and especially in a hyper-tactical league like Serie A, where even the smaller sides can be hugely annoying to play against.It’s not that he can’t do it — he can do most things on a football pitch better than most footballers — but that the risk, in terms of injury, bookings and frustration, may not be worthwhile as Juventus look to protect and maximize their $100 million-plus investment.Then there is the issue of what Ronaldo prefers. There is a reason why Real Madrid so rarely played him as a lone centre-forward and it’s not because Benzema was the second coming of Marco van Basten. Plenty close to Ronaldo suggest that he simply did not see himself up front on a regular basis, except perhaps in a front two.The obvious alternative is a 4-3-3, plug and play, replicating what he had at Madrid. Allegri can then add Blaise Matuidi and his driving runs to the middle of the park (or Can or Rodrigo Bentancur or whomever), put Ronaldo left and deploy Mario Mandzukic through the middle.It makes a ton of sense given that Mandzukic has the physical presence, work rate and tactical awareness to complement Ronaldo the way Benzema did in Madrid. Alas, though, every rose has its thorn. Mandzukic is 32, has started more than 28 league games in a season just once and had his preseason cut short due to Croatia’s run to the World Cup final.

As such, it is a big ask to for him to lead the line and do the grunt work week in, week out. Yes, you can have him in that role for big games, but that means finding someone else to do the job the rest of the time. There are no other centre-forwards with Serie A experience on Juve’s books apart from Moise Kean, but he is 18 and could go on loan. That means there is no Plan B, other than a wholly different formation.The other issue with 4-3-3 is the third slot up front. If your benchmark is talent, Dybala goes there, but it remains to be seen whether such a move gets the best out of him. Or you alternate one of the three remaining wingers — Cuadrado, Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa — which means there is a challenge to keep everyone happy in terms of minutes.Too negative? There is some good news. Allegri is one of the most pragmatic and tactically creative managers out there. He is not wed to a system, he has played them all, and more than most, he is not afraid to experiment. As for keeping everyone happy, while he bristles at being called a “man-manager” because he wants folks to appreciate his tactical nous, he is as good as they come in that regard.There might be other solutions, which seem far-fetched right now, but that Allegri could pull out of his hat. Dybala as a “false nine,” for example, or Ronaldo playing in a front two with a winger recycled as a second striker.If the real benchmark for Juventus this season is the Champions League, then the club’s manager has six five months or so — until the knockout phase begins — to figure it out. Whether it is a different formation or simply building the chemistry required to accomodate Ronaldo, who tends to move around the pitch wherever his instinct takes him, albeit usually starting from the left wing, there is time to work on things.And if all else fails and Allegri feels that only a 4-3-3 with Ronaldo wide works best, there is always the option of going into the transfer window in January. Juventus do not need a world-class striker, just a willing, hard-working, blue-collar body who can give Mandzukic days off.

Peter Vermes deserves chance to be next USMNT coach – Caleb Porter

Aug 16, 2018ESPN

Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes “deserves the shot” to be the next coach of the United States men’s national team, his contemporary Caleb Porter told The Athletic.

Porter, who stepped down as coach of the Portland Timbers last November, also said he believes he’s a candidate for the position, which has been filled by Dave Sarachan on an interim basis since the resignation of Bruce Arena last year.But Porter said Vermes, who serves as both the coach and technical director of Sporting KC, should be the top choice among domestic candidates.”If you’re going American, Peter Vermes, for me, he is the guy that deserves the shot,” Porter said. “I believe that. That guy deserves to carry the torch of our national team. Peter Vermes, in my opinion, based on what he’s done in our league, he’s proven it as an American coach.”If you don’t go with Peter Vermes, I think, based on what I’ve proven, I’m in the mix with another two or three guys who deserve consideration and I’d be open to talking.”In addition to coaching his MLS team from the sideline, Vermes’ duties include managing the club’s roster as well as scouting and overseeing the academy.Despite holding discussions with U.S. Soccer earlier this year, Vermes in May signed a new contract with SKC that ties him to the club until 2023. He said at the time he would lean toward remaining with SKC over working for the national team.Vermes helped SKC win MLS Cup in 2013 and has also won the U.S. Open Cup three times. He also won MLS Cup as a player in 2000, when he was named the league Defender of the Year. He earned 66 caps with the U.S. national team and played at the 1990 World Cup.Porter said he was re-energized after taking a “mid-career sabbatical,” and said he had to leave Portland because he “didn’t have anything left to give.””I just kept feeling like I’ve done what I could do in the club and I’ve given what I can give to the club and I’ve accomplished what I can accomplish in the club,” Porter said. “As a young coach, I would have never admitted this, but an experienced coach that is comfortable in their skin realizes when maybe it’s time for a new coach and it’s the right thing for the club.”

World Cup 2018 Never Stopped Captivating En Route to Crowning Champion

By Grant Wahl  July 16, 2018  SI

MOSCOW — There has been a tendency in soccer circles in recent years to look down on the international game—and, by extension, the World Cup—as an inferior brand to the European club game. The reasons are straightforward. Players are together more often with their clubs, the coaching is better, and the rhythms are more regular. The club game is the spouse we see every day. The international game is our best friend from college who visits once a year and knows how to have a great time (but is a little flaky on the fundamentals). Debbie Downers who have maligned soccer involving national teams. Was the level of play as high as the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds? Probably not, but it was plenty high—thanks largely to the quality of the world’s finest players, from the old standbys (Croatia’s Luka Modric, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentina’s Lionel Messi) to the newly-emergent A-listers (the French 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé, Belgium’s Eden Hazard) to the tournament’s one-man telenovela (Brazil’s Neymar, when he wasn’t writhing on the ground like a Pentecostal parishioner speaking in tongues).

What made this the most entertaining World Cup of modern times—and the best since at least 1986—was the relentless drama, surprises and emotions of it all. It was a World Cup of Overflowing Feelings, which closed any gap in technical quality with the club game. We’ll never see a player crying tears of joy after a Champions League group stage win, but that’s exactly what Neymar and Mexico’s Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández did after World Cup group stage victories. Germany became the fourth of the last five defending champions to go out in the group stage, making you wonder if it might be more than a coincidence. Heavyweights Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Portugal were all gone by the quarterfinals. Croatia, the little checkerboard engine that could, was the best team during the group stage and erased deficits in all four of its knockout-round games, from the round of 16 to the final.Goals may not have been at a record high, but late game-winners were. Buoyed by set-piece goals (another trend), England went all the way to the semifinals, won a penalty shootout (!) and was (gasp) totally likeable as a team.

Then there was Russia. On the field, home-fan expectations of a national embarrassment gave way to deserved pride among ordinary Russians, as their team advanced from the group stage (predicted by some), eliminated Spain on penalties in the round of 16 (predicted by almost nobody) and played some terrific attacking soccer in a quarterfinal exit on penalties against Croatia.Off the field, the World Cup organization was solid. There were no significant instances of hooliganism. And the visiting fans from around the world—most of them from Latin American countries, not from Europe—appeared to have just as big an impact on the host Russians as Russia did on its visitors. Moscow’s Nikolskaya Street, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare near Red Square that was lit up at night like a winter wonderland, became a festive gathering place where fans and locals chanted and sang until the early-rising sun was already high in the sky by 6 a.m.For someone who might have questioned whether they should come to Russia—that included me, a first-time Russia visitor, at one point ahead of the tournament—the answer, ultimately, was yes. Travel is, as ever, human connection, understanding, barriers broken. Ordinary Russians were terrific: Warm, welcoming and genuinely curious. Yet it was hard not to be made uncomfortable by FIFA president Gianni Infantino cozying up to Vladimir Putin, acting as though this World Cup had changed everyone’s opinions about the Russian dictator, which couldn’t be further from the truth.In historic terms, World Cup 2018 will be remembered for the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee. After fears before the tournament that VAR—we like saying vahr, not the less efficient vee-aye-ar—would be an unmitigated disaster, it turned out to be a net-positive. Nearly all the big calls were done right. Even if you disagree with referee Néstor Pitana’s handball penalty call on Ivan Perisic in the final(and reasonable people could be found on both sides of the debate), at least Pitana had the chance to use all the available evidence to make his decision. Video review is not perfect. Referees were reluctant to use it to call wrestling-move penalties in the box. And with the prevalence of set-piece goals, we were left frustrated that VAR is not allowed to review plays that lead to dangerous restarts—such as the nonexistent foul on Antoine Griezmann that gave France the free kick that resulted in its first goal in the final. Whenever a goal is scored, every moment on the play leading to the goal is reviewed by VAR; that should be the case for moments that lead to goals scored on set pieces, too. Getting VAR right is an ongoing process, though, and there’s no denying that it’s here to stay.At least France, the champion, did enough in the rest of the final to show that its victory was owed to its play and not to the decision of a referee. France was not the most entertaining team at this World Cup—that would be Belgium, the third-place finisher, which was undone by a French corner kick in the semifinals—but how often does the most entertaining team ever win the World Cup? The pragmatism of French coach Didier Deschamps meant this would be a balanced team, one that often relied on the counterattack and willfully chose not to maximize its overflowing attacking talents.The French collective was what mattered most. Paul Pogba bought into what Deschamps was selling and became a rock, the leader. N’Golo Kanté had a forgettable final, but his overall contribution was immense. And there were some sublime moments of speed, vision and skill from Mbappé—particularly against Argentina and Croatia—that signaled this teenager might really be the heir to Messi and Ronaldo.France was the second-youngest team at the World Cup (behind Nigeria), and Les Bleus will now have the chance to create their own era, much as Spain did from 2008 to 2012 and France itself did from 1998 to 2000. The talent pipeline in France is established, almost industrialized at this point. But there are no guarantees. One of the greatest things about this World Cup, and about soccer itself, is its constant ability to surprise, to show that nothing is inevitable or preordained.That’s why we watch.

RECAP | INDY ELEVEN TOPPLE TORONTO FC II, 3-2

By James Higdon, 08/23/18, 12:30AM EDThare”Boys in Blue” hand Toronto FC II second series defeat of the season

Indy Eleven come away with three points at home after defeating Toronto FC II 3-2, for the second time this season. The win marks “Indiana’s Team’s” third consecutive win at home, two of which came after a four-match stint on the road.The new turf seems to be the key difference in Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie’s side. Six goals have been scored over the last two matches. Last Wednesday was the first time Indy Eleven played on the new turf following the team’s previous 2-1 win over Charlotte Independence on July 7.“I think since the surface has changed you’ve seen a difference in our play,” Rennie said. “You’ve seen a difference in the chances created, goals we’ve scored. You’ve seen a lot more from people like Ben Speas and Jack [McInerney], as well.”Toronto started seeking out chances in the early minutes, but it was Indy forward Ben Speas who found the first goal of the match. Speas sank his shot from the center of Toronto’s 18-yard box with his first touch in the 18th minute. The goal was assisted by service from Eleven midfielder Nico Matern with a 36-yard pass from Indy’s own half. The goal was Speas’ third of the season, scoring all three in the last three home matches.Five minutes, later Eleven forward Jack McInerney delivered the “Boys in Blue’s” second goal. Striking partner Soony Saad played a square pass to the middle of Toronto’s penalty area. TFCII defenders Tim Kubel and Lars Eckenrode both attempted to settle, but a poor giveaway rolled in place for McInerney to hammer in the lower left corner of the net. The 26-year-old currently sits atop Indy’s goal scoring chart for 2018 with seven to his name, tallying four in the last month.Toronto continued to test Eleven goalkeeper Owain Fon Willaims. Their efforts proved fruitful with two goals to level the score before the end of the first half. Toronto’s first goal occurred in the 29th minute with a free kick at the top of the 18-yard box by midfielder Tsubasa Endoh. The Tokyo, Japan native placed his shot over Indy’s defensive wall with pinpoint accuracy into top left corner of the goal. The goal was Endoh’s first since signing for Toronto on August 2.Toronto’s equalizer was struck by Jordan Hamilton 30 yards out from goal in the 34th minute. Hamilton’s opportunity came after miscommunication between Speas and Eleven midfielder Matt Watson resulted in a loose ball. The distant strike was Hamilton’s fourth of the season and his 12 with Toronto FC II since 2015.Indy original and returning midfielder Dylan Mares reopened his account with the game-winning goal in the 58th minute. Saad’s pass in the midfielder split through Toronto defenders to a backtracking Mares. A lengthy, unopposed run by Mares led to his shot at the top of Toronto’s penalty box. The strike flew by TFCII keeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell as he dove for the save in the right side of the goal.“Ben [Speas] was on my left side and he drew some people away and so did Soony [Saad],” Mares said. “Soony stretched them and they just kept moving back and back and it allowed me to open up and pick out the side net. It was well done by everyone else. They gave me the space to create an opportunity.”“Indiana’s Team” has 3W-2D record in its last five matches, collecting 11 out of 15 possible points. The win sees Indy remain in sixth places in the Eastern Conference standings as they continue to push for playoff contention.The “Boys in Blue” hits the road again this Saturday, August 25, to face Atlanta United FC 2. Indy will return home on Wednesday, August 29th against Pittsburgh Riverhounds to kick off a three-home game stretch in a seven days. Fans can get tickets to the upcoming home fixtures by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.

USL Regular Season
Indy Eleven 3:2 Toronto FC II
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN

PREVIEW | #ATLVIND

By IndyEleven.com, 08/23/18, 7:30PM EDT  Indiana’s Team” looks to extend winning streak in rematch against Atlanta United 2

Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview Indy Eleven at Atlanta United 2 – #ATLvIND  Saturday, August 25, 2018 – 7:00 P.M. EST 
Coolray Field, Lawrenceville, Georgia  Watch/Listen Live: * Local/National TV:  N/A  * Streaming Video: ESPN+ ($)

WEEK 24 | THROUGH THICK AND THIN

Indy Eleven face Atlanta United 2 for the second time in 2018 on the road this Saturday, August 25. The match is set to kickoff at 7:00 p.m. at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The previous meeting took place in Week 13, where “Indiana’s Team” registered a 2-0 victory at home.Indy Eleven (11W-7L-6D) remain at sixth in the Eastern Conference with 39 points after defeating Toronto FC II, 3-2. The victory against Toronto marks the third straight home win for the “Boys in Blue” and the first goal of the season for midfielder Dylan Mares, who re-signed with Indy on August 20. Midfielder Ben Speas opened the scoring and netted his third goal of 2018, all of which came in the last three home games. Forward Jack McInerney netted the second of the game and his seventh of the season. He remains the team’s leading goal scorer by three goals. The victory brings “Indiana’s Team” record to 3W-1L-1D in the last five home games. Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie’s offense continues to fire on all cylinders after last night’s tally brings Indy Eleven’s goal scoring total to nine in the last five outings.Atlanta United 2 (3W-13L-7D) are currently one spot above Indy Elevens most recent opponent, last-place Toronto FC II, in 15th place with 16 points. Atlanta suffered a 5-1 drubbing in their first Week 24 fixture against Eastern Conference leaders FC Cincinnati Wednesday evening. Atlanta defender Shawn Nicklaw scored Atlanta’s only goal, and his first goal of the season, in stunning fashion. Forward Jon Gallagher played a back pass to Nicklaw, who then unleashed a nearly 40-yard shot into the top right corner of the net. The loss moves Atlanta United 2’s record in the last five matches to 4L-1D. The team’s last win came on July 11, in a 2-1 victory against Bethlehem Steel FC at home.Coach Martin Rennie will aim to improve his team’s recent away record of 3L-2D in the last five road fixtures. Atlanta United 2 will be a tough task at home, as all three of their wins have come when playing at Colray Field. The MLS2 team has netted 15 goals and conceded 18 in 12 matches at home.

INDY ELEVEN PLAYER TO WATCH | MF DYLAN MARES

Indy Eleven midfielder Dylan Mares surely didn’t have the worst debut in the world in the Week 24 clash versus Toronto FC II. Mares laced up for “Indiana’s Team” for the first time since 2016, and netted a goal in the 58th minute that would win the match.The 26-year-old picked up the ball near half field and began a run down the left flank. After carrying the ball 25-yards, Mares cut in on his right foot and struck a clean, powerful shot that found its way into the right corner of the net returning the lead to Indy Eleven. Mares added firepower in front of net and his technicality on the ball injected some creativity back in head coach Martin Rennie’s lineup.

ATLANTA UNITED 2 PLAYER TO WATCH | FW JON GALLAGHER

An unfamiliar face found the back of the net in Atlanta United 2’s 5-1 defeat against FC Cincinnati in their first Week 24 fixture. Defender Shawn Nicklaw tucked home a wonder strike. Yet, the goal wouldn’t have happened if not for the visual awareness of forward Jon Gallagher.Gallagher, who leads the team in scoring with six goals in 2018, received the ball at the top of FC Cincinnati’s 18-yard box. With nowhere to go in front of him, the 22-year-old Irishman played a release pass to Nicklaw which freed him for his strike. The assist is Gallagher’s second on the year, showing the young forward can both score and find space for teammates in front of net.

MATCHUP TO MARK | INDY FW MCINERNEY VS. ATLANTA 2 DF COCHRAN

Indy Eleven’s offense has been finding the back of the net fairly regularly as of late. Nine goals in the last five games is a fairly stellar scoring track. In Week 24, the “Boys in Blue” will face Atlanta United 2 on the road, where Atlanta 2 has given up 18 goals in nine home games.Indy Eleven forward Jack McInerney will look to exploit a defense that has allowed two goals conceded per home game. After some forward rotation by Coach Rennie and a fixture loaded schedule, McInerney is seeing playing time regularly and finding the back of the net consistently. He’s found the back of the net four times in August and recorded an assist to go along with it. His recent form has brought him as sole owner of Indy Eleven’s leading goal scorer for the season.Averaging two goals conceded per home fixture can be tough on a team. Especially when some of the goals conceded feel like they shouldn’t have happened. For example, FC Cincinnati’s first goal in the previous game against Atlanta 2 was a deflection that found its way in the net. Defender A.J. Cochran has done his best to lead the backline despite defensive struggles. The 25-year-old leads his team in every defensive category this season. His ability to read passing lanes and intercept attempts to play players in stands out most for Cochran, as he recorded five interceptions against FC Cincinnati.In order for McInerney to break through the backline of the Atlanta 2 defense, he’ll have to be fed in well as Cochran will be waiting to intercept lazy passes. Midfielders playing precise passes and freeing up McInerney will depend on his runs off the ball.

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8/17/18 Indy 11 win & host home games next 2 Weds, La Liga, Serie A Start, What Leagues are on Which Networks, Full TV Game Schedule

INDY 11

So my buddy Paul and I made it out for the Huge come from behind win for the Indy 11 over North Carolina last night 3-2 with the winner scored in the 90th minute! But there is one thing I don’t understand?  Fans why aren’t you going to Indy 11 games anymore?  Really I want to know – sure it was a solid crowd for a Wed night – but if Cincinnati can put 25K in an outdoor university stadium downtown why can’t we do 10K PLUS in 1 of the nicest NFL stadiums around?  Ticket pricing is reasonable (cheapest seats $15 or cheaper with specials), the stadium is fantastic –with great concessions, easy parking, great bathrooms and what is truly one of the nicest stadiums around.  The BYB supporters section behind the goal provides a solid atmosphere – and the team is in playoff contention and playing pretty good soccer.  So why don’t you go??  I can’t help but think if we don’t start filling at least ¾ of the lower bowl – our Eleven may not play here again – and man this is a big time stadium with great big replay screens, and lots of things to do inside the stadium.  Indy 11 casual fans, rec players, travel players, parents of soccer players – you need to get to a game while we still have a competitive team playing in a fantastic venue – or we might just not have them anymore.

The Eleven are about to embark on a run of 6 games in 21 days that will probably determine if the team makes the playoffs. Two of the games are on Wednesday nights and special pricing is in play to see those games for as low at $10 per ticket.  Our Boys in Blue return home the next 2 Wed Aug 15 + 22 + 29, + Sat Aug 25 + Sept 1 and of course discount tickets below $15 are available Click here for Discount Tickets for the Game and enter 2018 INDY as the promo code.  

Sat 8/18  2 pm ESPN+                     Ottawa vs Indy 11 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

Wed 8/22 7 pm MyIndy23         Indy 11 vs Toronto FC II

Sat 8/25 7 pm ESPN+                    Indy 11 @ Atlanta United FC 2 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

Wed 8/29 7 pm myIndy23          Indy 11 vs Pittsburg Riverhounds SC

Sat Sept 1 7 pm  Wish TV 8        Indy 11 vs Richmond Kickers

Wed Sept 5 7 pm Wish TV 8      Indy 11 vs NY Red Bulls II

World Leagues Where Can You Watch Them?

The European Leagues are all starting their seasons either last week, this weekend or next weekend – now the question is where are the games Televised?  Of course American soccer MLS and USL (the league the INDY 11 is in now), and NWSL (women’s league), and of course the US National teams continue to be featured on US TV on ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Yes TV and Lifetime (NWSL) along with ESPN and Fox Sports online.  The new ESPN+ carries some MLS and all the USL games including the away Indy 11 games and costs $5 a month for online coverage.  (Yes I broke down and signed up to watch our Indy 11 and some MLS games especially Columbus and Chicago.)

NBCSN and NBC continue to show the English Premier League EPL- with just a few American’s playing with the occasional game on CNBC and MSNBC now and again with games on Sat and Sunday mornings starting as early at 7:30 am and continuing thru the 12:30 kickoff often on NBC. They also often have games on a Monday afternoon (Monday night football) and the occasional Friday afternoon (Friday night football) at 2:45 pm.  NBCSN have good show’s before and after the games along with the Goal Zone which reviews the goals each day.  Now if the game is not being featured on TV you have to order the NBC Gold Package ($50) which does allow you to watch the games not shown along with replays of all the games each club (4 each) will have games on NBC Gold only unfortunately.  Also online is TalkSport – where you can listen to the Radio version of the EPL games as broadcast in England.  (You will often see me on Saturday’s plugged in to my cell listening to a game).  American’ players Deandre Yedlin starts at right back for New Castle United, Danny Williams plays Dmid for Huddersfield (the coach is also a former US National Team player David Wagner), and Fulham has American defender Tim Ream and MF Luca de la Torre.  Sitting the bench are Arsenal’s MF Gideon Zelalem, Cardiff City’s GK Chris Konopka and Man United’s defender Matthew Olosunde.  See full season previews below but I like Man City and Liverpool to battle for the top slot in the EPL while Tottenham and either Man United or Chelsea will finish top 4.  I think Arsenal plays better overall in their first season after Wenger but will be on the outside looking in at the end of the season.

The Bundesliga continues to be on Fox Sports 1 & 2 & Fox Soccer with the most American’s in any league being featured starting next weekend.  The Bundesliga is perhaps the most underrated of Europe’s top three leagues, providing exciting, attacking football, albeit with a predictable champion. Fox doesn’t do a great job with its Bundesliga rights, but it does an adequate job and it actually shows them on TV and gives you the ability to watch online via your cable login.  Fox typically broadcasts Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund matches along with other teams at 9:30 am and 12:30 pm on weekends outside of the 2:45 pm Friday and Monday matches.  Now Fox Sports losing their buts on the World Cup without the US – seems to have resulted in Fox giving up on soccer.  They lose the Champions League, Europa League, and the FA Cup.

Serie A Kicks off Season on ESPN+ this Weekend

The big move of the summer was of course multi-time player of the Year and the leading scorer in Champions League Christiano Renaldo from Real Madrid to the Italian League Serie A’s Juventus.  The move has lead to ESPN signing a contract to show Serie A games on ESPN+ starting with the game on Saturday at noon between Juve and Chevio, Lazio follows at 2:30 pm.  Sunday gives us Torino vs Roma at Noon on ESPN News with all the other games at 2:30 on ESPN+.  I like Juventus of course to win the League with the addition of scoring machine Renaldo-  I look for Napoli to finish 2nd if they can find a good goalkeeper while Roma and Inter Milan will battle for that 3rd Champions League spot.

Spain’s La Liga Kicks off Friday on beIN Sport

beIN Sport continues to carry La Liga Spanish and Ligue 1 French soccer this season (LA LIGA Starts Friday) – they also have one of the best Review shows on TV The Extra at 7 pm and various other times EVERY day. Most Spanish and French games are in the afternoon in the US on Sat and Sundays and some Fridays.  beIN sports has my favorite announcing team in Phil Schoen and Rocky Ray Hudson.  Most of the time, beIN will broadcast the Real Madrid and Barcelona matches each weekend with a smattering of some of the other top few teams like Atlético Madrid, Villarreal and Valencia. LaLiga will continue a schedule that includes a 3 p.m. EST game on Friday, Saturday matches at 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Sunday matches at 6 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and a Monday match at 2:30 p.m., with occasional midweek matches.  I think my Atletico Madrid– will finally break thru and win the Spanish League this season – as the full team returns including French World Cup winner Antoine Greizmann and backstop Oblak, with some added firepower for the Man in Black Diego Simeone –Now is the time for the people’s team to make the breakthrough and unseat the traditional champions with much bigger payrolls – Real Madrid and Barcelona.  Their 4-2 win over Real Madrid in the EUFA Supercup was impressive Wed!

Gol TV carries live Portegues soccer and the occasional German game.  All of the main channels have apps that allow you to watch online – so download those apps today and catch a game on the phone if you like.  (Email me if you want to borrow my login – I have them all).  (see more Season previews below on http://theoleballcoach.com-

EPL Weekend #2

We have some big games in Week 2 of the EPL as teams battling for a top 4 spot – each with new coaches will face off as Chelsea will host Arsenal at 12:30 pm on NBC, after my ole favorite – FULHAM America – faces Tottenham at Wembley at 10 am on NBCSN.  US defender Tim Ream will have his hands full with Harry Kane and the Spur stars.  Not sure if US defender Deandre Yedlin will be back from his knee knock for New Castle as they travel to Cardiff City at 7:25 again on NBCSN.   ESPN gives us Seattle the hottest team in MLS hosting the LA Galaxy (Zlatan) at 4 pm.   While Sunday we get top ranked East teams Atlanta hosting Columbus on ESPN+ at 4 pm and DC United and Wayne Rooney hosting NE.  Monday Liverpool will feature at 3 pm vs Crystal Palace.  (Bill we watching at pub?)

Carmel FC Goalies don’t forget 2 Goalie trainings this Fall with GK coach Kristian Nicht and Me – the ole ballcoach starts back up – Weds at Shelbourne & Thurs at Badger Field  6-7 pm U11-U12  7 to 8 pm U13 – U19.  Also some teams are still looking for players for the Travel season reach-out to the ole ballcoach if interested.

Finally as both Recreation and Travel Soccer Games are starting in full scale this weekend – I thought it good timing to include some links reminding us all as coaches, parents, and players what really matters in sports.

Great Link for Parents about Coaches and Refs – Frank Martin USC Basketball Coach

Game Day Nutrition for Youth Soccer Players 

6 Simple Values Learned Thru Playing Sports – from Indiana Soccer Director of Education – Steve Franklin

GAMES ON TV This Week

Fri, Aug 17                 

2:45 pm ESPN3            Schweinfurt vs Schalke (Mckinney)

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Stade Reims vs Olympique Lyonnais (French)

4:15 pm beIN Sport     Real Betis vs Levante (Spain)

7 pm SEC Network     Florida vs Washington

Sat, Aug 18    

7:30 am NBCSN            Newcastle United (Yedlin) vs Cardiff

10 am NBCSN                Tottenham vs Fulham (Tim Ream)

10:50 am beIN Sport    EA Guingamp vs PSG (Tim Weah)

12 noon ESPN+            Juventus (Renaldo) vs Chievo (La Liga)

12:30 pm NBCSN        Chelsea vs Arsenal 

1:55 pm beIN Sport     Monaco vs Lille (French)

2 pm ESPN+                    Ottawa vs Indy 11 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

2:30 pm ESPN+            Lazio vs Napoli (Serie A)

4 pm ESPN                    Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy (Zlatan)

4:05 pm beIN Sport      Barcelona vs Alaves (SP)

7 pm Yes Network     Philly Union vs NYCFC

10 pm FS2                       Monterey vs Pumas (Mexican)

Sun, Aug 19    

8 am NBCSN                   Man City vs Huddersfield Town (Danny Williams)

11 am NBCSN                Brighton vs Man United

12 noon ESPN News    Torino vs Roma (Serie A)

4 pm beIN Sport          Real Madrid vs Getafe

4 pm ESPN+                    Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew

7:30 pmFS1                    DC United (Rooney) vs New England

7 pm SEC Network+  Florida vs Fla Atlantic

Mon, Aug 20    

10 am FS2                        U20 Womens WC Semi-Final

1:30 pm FS2                   U20 France vs Spain WC Semi-Final

2 pm beIN Sport         Valencia vs Atletico Madrid

3 pm NBCSN                   Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

Wed, Aug 22    

7 pm FS 1                     NYCFC vs NY Red Bulls – NY Darby

7 pm myindytv/espn+ Indy 11 vs Toronto 2

Thurs, Aug 23    

7 pm ESPN+                    Chicago Fire vs Columbus Crew

10 pm FS2                       Tijuana vs Santos Laguna (Mex)

Fri, Aug 24                     German Bundesliga Starts

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1      Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim

7 pm ESPN                       Orlando City (Cam Lindley) vs Atlanta United

10:30 pm ESPN              LA Galaxy vs LAFC (El Traffico 3)

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US Players in Europe

These Are the Oversea’s US Players to Watch – Brian Straus SI

Yanks Abroad: Goals around the globe

Tim Weah scores in PSG’s season opener

USA 2-2 tie with Spain not enough to advance out of group at U20 Women’s World Cup

USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Emmanuel Sabbi hot streak continues

Emmanuel Sabbi should be the next young attacker to get a USMNT chance

U.S. Soccer Development Academy Must Expand

EPL

DeAndre Yedlin Knee Injury not Serious – New Castle Confirms – ESPN

5 Things we Learned this Weekend in th EPL – yahoo soccer

Pogba’s Powerplay at United?

Sessegnon – Fulham were taught Premier League lesson by Crystal Palace

EPL Season Predictor – 538

EPL Preview – the Ringer Audio

WORLD

Where to Watch the European Games this Season

Where to watch UEFA Champions League and Europa League on US TV and streaming-World Soccer Talk

Turner TV Hi-Jacks Champions League and Europa League Games from Fox

ICC Cup Folks to Partner with La Liga to Bring a Regular Season Game to the US

Costa and Atletico Madrid deliver Statement Win in Supercup over Real Madrid 4-2

LA LIGA PREVIEW – Is It Finally Atletico’s Year to Topple Real Madrid and Barcelona? – ESPNFC Graham Hunter

La Liga Preview SI

Who had Better Signings in La Liga Race?

Coutinho Will Never Replace Iniesta at Barca – and that’s just Fine

Messi Captures Record 33rd Title with Barca in Spanish Supercup win as Captain

Allegri Eyes Champions League as Renaldo Scores in 8 min of first game for Juventus

Renaldo’s Move to Juve could be a Boost to Serie A

Goalies

EPL Saves of the Week 1

Best Saves of the World Cup

Save of the Week – National Womens SL –

Saves of the Week – USL

MLS Save

Golden Glove Winner Courtois Moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid for Family Reasons

Mattia Perin out to Prove Worthy Heir to Gigi Buffon for Juve and Italy

Bilbao GK Kepa Arrizabalaga becomes most Expensive GK with $71 Million Dollar move to Chelsea

Former Roma GK Allisson a Steal for Liverpool at $66 Million

Top Fantasy GK Picks for the EPL

Top Save totals at World Cup by GK

MLS

Jose Altidore draws interest of Serie A and Ligue 1 Teams – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Would you rather have Zlatan or Rooney?

Anthony Precourt Gets 1 Step Closer to Pimping out the Columbus Crew to Austin Tx  dead spin Bill Haisley

Seattle Hosts LA Galaxy and Zlatan Sat Aug 14 4 pm on ESPN riding a Winning Streak

Can Martinez break the MLS scoring record Sunday?

Discuss: Revs or D.C. a more likely playoff team?

Another late run? Seattle swear it’s not by design

2019 CONCACAF Champions League Qualifying Process is Qualified

Power Rankings: NY teams put the heat on ATL

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Indy 11

Dramatic Goal in the 90th Minute Lifts Indy 11 over NC 3-2

Football Lines will be Visible at Games with New Indy Colts Turf Installed

KEYS TO THE MATCH | #LOUVIND

Indy 11 Add New Players from MLS

Indy 11 Sends United Way Donor to MLS All-Star Game

Painting Success On and Off the Field – GK

Indy 11 Discount Tickets for Wednesday’s Game!   (Code 2018Indy)

Indy 11 Game Schedule

USL League Standings

Soccer Saturday – Radio Show 9-10 am on 1070 the Fan

Parking passes at Gate10  Events is $11 with advance purchase. $15 day of.  Save $$$ by buying early.

INDY 11 GAMES

Sat 8/18  2 pm ESPN+                     Ottawa vs Indy 11 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

Wed 8/22 7 pm MyIndy23         Indy 11 vs Toronto FC II

Sat 8/25 7 pm ESPN+                                               Indy 11 @ Atlanta United FC 2 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

Wed 8/29 7 pm myIndy23          Indy 11 vs Pittsburg Riverhounds SC

Sat Sept 1 7 pm  Wish TV 8        Indy 11 vs Richmond Kickers

Wed Sept 5 7 pm Wish TV 8      Indy 11 vs NY Red Bulls II

GAMES ON TV

Fri, Aug 17                 

2:45 pm ESPN3            Schweinfurt vs Schalke (Mckinney)

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Stade Reims vs Olympique Lyonnais (French)

4:15 pm beIN Sport    Real Betis vs Levante (Spain)

7 pm SEC Network     Florida vs Washington

Sat, Aug 18    

7:30 am NBCSN            Newcastle United (Yedlin) vs Cardiff

10 am NBCSN                Tottenham vs Fulham (Tim Ream)

10:50 am beIN Sport      EA Guingamp vs PSG (Tim Weah)

12 noon ESPN+            Juventus (Renaldo) vs Chievo (La Liga)

12:30 pm NBCSN        Chelsea vs Arsenal 

1:55 pm beIN Sport     Monaco vs Lille (French)

2 pm ESPN+                    Ottawa vs Indy 11 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

2:30 pm ESPN+            Lazio vs Napoli (Serie A)

4 pm ESPN                       Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy (Zlatan)

4:05 pm beIN Sport        Barcelona vs Alaves (SP)

7 pm Yes Network     Philly Union vs NYCFC

10 pm FS2                       Monterey vs Pumas (Mexican)

Sun, Aug 19    

8 am NBCSN                   Man City vs Huddersfield Town (Danny Williams)

11 am NBCSN                Brighton vs Man United

12 noon ESPN News       Torino vs Roma (Serie A)

2:30 pm FS2                   Frankfurt vs Bayern Munich  Super Cup

4 pm beIN Sport         Real Madrid vs Getafe

4 pm ESPN+                    Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew

7:30 pmFS1                    DC United (Rooney) vs New England 

7 pm SEC Network+  Florida vs Fla Atlantic

Mon, Aug 20    

10 am FS2                        U20 Womens WC Semi-Final

1:30 pm FS2                   U20 France vs Spain WC Semi-Final

2 pm beIN Sport         Valencia vs Atletico Madrid

3 pm NBCSN                   Crystal Palace vs Liverpool       

Wed, Aug 22    

7 pm FS 1                      NYCFC vs NY Red Bulls – NY Darby

7 pm myindytv/espn+ Indy 11 vs Toronto 2

Thurs, Aug 23    

7 pm ESPN+                    Chicago Fire vs Columbus Crew

10 pm FS2                       Tijuana vs Santos Laguna (Mex)

Fri, Aug 24                     German Bundesliga Starts

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1      Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim

7 pm ESPN                       Orlando City (Cam Lindley) vs Atlanta United

10:30 pm ESPN            LA Galaxy vs LAFC (El Traffico 3)

Sat, Aug 25     

7:30 am NBCSN            Wolverhampton vs Man city 

9:30 am FS 1                  Wolfsburg vs Schalke (McKinney)

10 am NBCSN                Arsenal vs West Ham United

12 noon beIN Sport  Juventus vs Lazio

12:30 pm NBCSN        Liverpool vs Brighton

12:30 pm FS 1              M’Gladbach (Johnson) vs Bayer Leverkusen

7 pm ESPN+                    Atlanta 2 vs Indy 11 (watch w/BYB @ Union Jack)

8 pm ESPN News         Washington Spirit vs Portland Thorns (Ladies) 

Sun, Aug 26    

8 am NBCSN                   Watford vs Crystal Palace 

9:30 am FS1                    Mainz vs Stuttgart

11 am NBCSN                New Castle United vs Chelsea

12 noon Fox Soccer  Dortmund (Pulisic) vs RB Leipzig

2:30 pm FS2                   Frankfurt vs Bayern Munich  Super Cup

4 pm beIN Sport         Girona vs Real Madrid 

7:30 pmFS1                    DC United (Rooney) vs New England 

7 pm Fox Sport1          NY Red Bulls vs DC United (Rooney)

9:30 pm FS1                   Portland vs Seattle Sounders (Cascadia Cup)

Mon, Aug 27    

3 pm NBCSN                   Manchester United vs Tottenham

Fri, Sept 7

7:30 pm FS1                   USA vs Brazil (Metlife)

Tues, Sept 11

8:30 pm ESPN               USA vs Mexico in Nashville (anyone want to go?)

Thurs, Oct 11

7:30 pm FSI                     USA vs Colombia (Tampa)

Thurs, Nov 15

3 pm ESPN2                    England vs USA (Wembley)

Sat, Nov 20

3 pm ESPN2                    Italy vs USMNT

Indy 11 Game Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

EPL Schedule

 RECAP | INDY ELEVEN CLINCH THREE POINTS AGAINST NORTH CAROLINA FC, 3-2

By James Higdon, 08/15/18, 11:45PM EDT

Dramatic ending sees “Indiana’s Team” march away with a homecoming win

Indy Eleven claim three points in a homecoming fixture against North Carolina FC, 3-2. Goals from forwards Eugene Starikov and Ben Speas, and a dramatic late goal from midfielder Juan Guerra, sees the “Boys in Blue” jump to fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.“Indiana’s Team” gained the upper hand early in the evening. A well-placed cross from Eleven forward Jack McInerney from the right edge of the pitch found Starikov at the top of Carolina’s six-yard box in the seventh minute. The Ukrainian forward scored his third goal of the season after his sliding shot edged around NCFC defender DJ Taylor. McInerney nearly got the first a minute prior after service from defender Kevin Venegas found him in front of NCFC’s goal, but a misplaced touch sent the attempt just wide of the post.

“He [Starikov] was out for two and a half months. You didn’t get to see him and we didn’t really get to use him.” said Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie. “Now we’re seeing the benefit of having him on the field and he’s scoring.”After a number of offensive pushes, NCFC came close to leveling the one-goal lead in the 21st minute. NCFC midfielder Kyle Bekker linked up with unmarked midfielder Marcel Kandziora inside Indy’s 18-yard box. Attempting to catch Eleven keeper Owain Fon Williams off his line, Kandziora chipped his shot high towards the net. The Welshman managed to get a touch, but it wasn’t enough to divert the ball from goal. The score looked to be even before a miraculous goal line clearance from Eleven defender Carlyle Mitchell kept the ball from crossing over. Kandziora came knocking again in the 28th minute with a shot 19 yards out, but ended wide of Indy’s frame.Indy responded to NCFC’s onslaught of chances by doubling its lead. In the 31st minute, Venegas bodied the ball away from Kandziora in Carolina’s defensive half. Speas waited nearby to receive the turnover. With three quick touches, Speas registered the match’s second goal, and his third in 2018, from 27 yards out.“It was a spectacular goal and he’s capable of that and we just want to see him on the ball more,” said Rennie. “He defended a lot too.”Refusing to end the first half scoreless, North Carolina narrowed the gap with a stoppage time free kick. The free kick opportunity came after a yellow card offense from Mitchell outside Indy’s 18-yard box. The linesman blew his whistle as defender Aaron Guillen and Bekker stood over the dead ball. Guillen charged past the ball as Bekker curled his shot into the lower left corner of Indy’s net.Both teams found and left chances in front of goal throughout the second half until NCFC hit its equalizer in the 77th minute. Carolina substitute defender Wullito Fernandes’ square pass bounced into Indy’s six-yard box where substitute forward Marios Lomis nodded the ball between the posts.In dramatic fashion, Indy managed to net one final goal, and the winner, in the 90th minute when Juan Guerra made the most of a deflected shot inside NCFC’s 18-yard box. The goal was Guerra’s first since joining the “Boys in Blue” earlier this year.Coach Rennie partially credited the new turf in Lucas Oil Stadium to tonight’s victory.
“It was a much better game tonight and there was much more passing and interchanging,” Rennie said. “The surface does play a lot better so that’s one big plus. The players made the most of it and I thought they did a good job.”Indy hit the road three days from now to take on Ottaway Fury FC for the second time in 2018. Shortly after, the “Boys in Blue” return to home turf once again to face Toronto FC II on Wednesday, August 22, at 7:00 p.m.. Fans can get tickets to the midweek fixture by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (37)685-1100.

USL Regular Season -Indy Eleven 3:2 North Carolina FC
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.  Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana 

Scoring Summary:

IND – Eugene Starikov (Jack McInerney) 7′
IND – Ben Speas (Kevin Venegas) 31′
NC – Kyle Bekker 45+1′
NC – Marios Lomis (Wullito Fernandes) 77′
IND – Juan Guerra 90′

Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2, L–>R): Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Reiner Ferreira, Carlyle Mitchell, Ayoze, Kevin Venegas; Nico Matern, Matt Watson (C), Ben Speas (Seth Moses 62′), Juan Guerra; Eugene Starikov (Elliot Collier 84′), Jack McInerney (Soony Saad 74′)  Indy Eleven bench: Ben Lundgaard (GK); Brad Ring, Karl Ouimette, Seth Moses, Zach Steinberger, Soony Saad, Elliot Collier

North Carolina FC lineup (4-5-1, L–>R): Alex Tambakis (GK); DJ Taylor, Tobin Connor, Michael Harrison, Aaron Guillen; Austin da Luz, Kyle Bekker, Steve Miller (Marios Lomis 45′), Marcel Kandziora (Wullito Fernandes 74′), Andre Fortune; Donovan Ewolo (Daniel Rios 87′)

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As the USMNT Turns Toward the Future, These Are the Overseas Players to Watch

By BRIAN STRAUS August 13, 2018

If a new global soccer cycle wasn’t set in motion the moment Hugo Lloris lifted the World Cup four weeks ago in Moscow, then it certainly began this weekendThe Premier League, Ligue 1, Eredivisie and Argentine Superliga campaigns kicked off. Germany and Spain staged their super cup games (UEFA’s version is Wednesday). Bayern Munich won by five goals, Cristiano Ronaldo found the net for Juventus (yes, it was an intra-club exhibition, but all of CR7’s bianconeri firsts will be momentous) and Arsenal’s title hopes were dashed. So it’s official. The page has turned and the new quadrennium is upon us.For U.S. national team watchers, that dawn should bring a slight sigh of relief. The pain caused by missing the World Cup was real, but the grinding-your-teeth-as-Panama-plays-Belgium portion is in the past. The World Cup cycle is over for everybody, and all but France—that leaves 210 nations—move forward with questions or concerns. So the USA is no longer an outlier, and it may even have had a slight head start thanks to last fall’s qualifying failure. A bunch of new American internationals made their senior debuts in the ensuing friendlies. Meanwhile, the U.S. Soccer Federation, under a new president, appointed its first national team GM. Earnie Stewart is on the job and has been charged with identifying the next full-time coach.

That search continues as the European and Latin American seasons begin, and the U.S. national team’s impending overhaul—not to mention the increasing spending power of many MLS clubs—ensures they’ll be seasons like no other. The days of following key U.S. veterans in Europe are over. That’s in part because many returned to MLS, and in part because now, there aren’t really that many key U.S. veterans. With a new coach coming, four years to go before the next World Cup and 10 months before the next official competition, there’s not much sense in relying on older players at this point. In fact, you’d probably need only one hand to count the men over 25 who should play a key role over the next 18 months.The U.S. national team is young. So is its foreign contingent. European clubs with the resources to invest in (or gamble on) American talent, not to mention their incentive to develop it and the logistical ease of giving young players a taste of first-team action, have become attractive options—especially as more MLS teams seem to rely on imports. While there’s been a drop in the number of established U.S. players abroad, there are more potential stars overseas than ever. Watching Americans in foreign leagues now is as much about keeping track of the national side’s future as its present.“We all that sense that there’s a small nucleus of veterans, and it’s probably one of the first times in a long time—if not the first time—we’re starting with a bunch of fresh faces,” Schalke 04 midfielder Weston McKennie, 19, told SI.com this spring. “[There are] a bunch of fresh faces at once. It’s kind of like building an actual new foundation of a house that’s been broken down.”McKennie, an FC Dallas product who’s impressed in his four appearances with the senior U.S. side, said there’s no definitive right or wrong when it comes to choosing Europe or MLS at the start of a career. It depends on the player. But he was clear when asked why Germany has been right for him and his good friend and Revierderby rival, Christian Pulisic of Borussia Dortmund.“You see that Dortmund sees a future in the player, sees the development [possibility] and does everything they can to develop that person. If they think he’s ready, they’ll move him up,” McKennie said. “Over here [in the USA], it’s a little bit harder. You have college. You have eligibility rights. That’s one of the differences in Europe. If a player is 15 years old and you have an injured player on the first team in Europe, you can move that 15-year-old onto the roster for that weekend. In America, you can’t do that because he can’t go to college then, and doesn’t want to risk that future at 15.”McKennie and Pulisic are among the more than two dozen U.S.-eligible players now in Germany, where clubs spend more time and money on development than just about anywhere in the world. The pair has compatriots in England, France and several other significant European leagues, and there are a couple up-and-coming players to watch in Mexico as well.As the season begins, here’s a look at the present and future national teamers with big years ahead for foreign clubs.

FRANCE

We’ll start with the country that won the World Cup, and a player with sensational pedigree who’s already starting to make his own name—forward Timothy Weah. The New York City-born son of former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah, 18-year-old Tim plays with enough skill and confidence to stick around at a loaded Paris Saint-Germain side that’s gunning for a Champions League title.  Once the season is in full swing, he’ll likely have to settle for spot duty behind the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Edinson Cavani. But Weah has made the most of his opportunities so far, scoring in PSG’s Trophée des Champions defeat of Monaco and then Sunday’s Ligue 1 opener, landing himself a spot on the cover of L’Equipe.

At some point, Weah may go up against U.S. defender Matt Miazga, whose loans away from parent club Chelsea took him to the Netherlands and now to Nantes. The 23-year-old has seven U.S. caps and is one of several center backs 25 or younger competing to anchor the American back four. Miazga won the KNVB Cup with Vitesse Arnhem and even captained the team, but Ligue 1 will represent a step up. Miazga was in the 18 but didn’t play in Saturday’s 3–1 loss to Monaco.

ENGLAND

The number of U.S. players in the Premier League is low, and may drop further temporarily as we wait to hear how much time Newcastle United’s DeAndre Yedlin will miss after suffering a knee injury on Saturday. The right back is 25 but has 52 caps already—experience that would be valuable to an incoming U.S. manager.

Yedlin is the only established EPL American who has an obvious national team future. Fulham’s Tim Ream, 30, and Huddersfield Town’s Danny Williams, 29, may be too old to play a part in the U.S. rebuild. Instead, it’s worth paying attention to how Tottenham Hotspur defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, Manchester United defender Matthew Olosunde and Fulham midfielder Luca de la Torre—each is 20 years old—progress with their clubs. Carter-Vickers spent time last season at Sheffield United and Ipswich Town and could be headed back out on loan.

In the lower tiers, Wigan Athletic left back Antonee Robinson, an Everton loanee, and skillful Sunderland midfielder Lynden Gooch have international potential and will be getting minutes. That’ll keep them on the U.S. radar, and Gooch’s strong start in League One may attract interest from above.

GERMANY

Steady speculation about a Premier League move for Pulisic didn’t pan out, which means the attacker will remain in Dortmund until at least the winter. But the pressure isn’t any lighter at the Westfalenstadion, where BVB has struggled to keep with up Bayern and where Pulisic didn’t make much obvious progress in his second full pro season. That’s not a slight against him. He’ll turn 20 next month. But now entering his third Bundesliga campaign, and with the USA’s future clearly tied to his growth and performance, he’ll have to take another step forward—whether it’s to spark the attack for Dortmund or entice offers from even bigger clubs.

McKennie is a midfield dynamo who scored in a friendly win over Fiorentina this weekend. His development seems inexorable, and he’ll be worth watching as a likely starter during Schalke’s Champions League campaign.

Among younger U.S. vets in Germany, both Wolfsburg defender John Brooks and Hannover 96 forward Bobby Wood, each 25, will be looking to bounce back from difficult 2017–18 seasons. They’ll both almost surely remain part of the national team picture, assuming Brooks’s health and Wood’s production rebound. On the younger side, striker Josh Sargent, 18, already has three U.S. caps and one goal even though he’s yet to make his official debut with Werder Bremen. He’s played and scored for the club’s U-23 side, but it’s unclear how or if he’ll be used when Bundesliga play begins at the end of the month.Nürnberg’s Timothy Tillman, Bayern’s Chris Richards and Schalke’s U.S. pair of Haji Wright and Nick Taitague are among the other new names to file away. In the 2. Bundesliga, Julian Green (Greuther Fürth) and Joe Gyau (MSV Duisburg) remain active.

ELSEWHERE

Right back Shaquell Moore made his senior U.S. debut in June and will spend 2018–19 on loan from Levante to Reus Deportiu in Spain’s Segunda División. Moore’s league season begins Sunday at Las Palmas.

In the Netherlands, center back Erik Palmer-Brown is on loan from Manchester City to NAC Breda. He didn’t play in a 5–0 loss to AZ Alkmaar to open the Eredivisie season, which may be a good thing. Forward Andrija Novakovich, who got his first U.S. minutes in March, tallied an impressive 22 goals last season for Telstar in the Dutch second tier. He’s now moved up a level with newly-promoted Fortuna Sittard, going 90 minutes in their 1–1 draw at Excelsior on Saturday.

In Belgium, winger Kenny Saief, 24, remains an intriguing player who’ll spend his first full season at powerhouse Anderlecht. His introduction to the U.S. setup has been limited by injuries. Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, who has been beaten to the national team No. 1 shirt by the Columbus Crew’s Zack Steffen, remains at Club Brugge.

Where in Europe will you find American players?

The continent has a lot of soccer, and everywhere you turn, there will be an American to watch

By Donald Wine II@blazindw     Aug 10, 2018, 8:00am PDT

The opening of the 2018-2019 European club seasons are starting all across the continent, and several fans in the United States are ready to see more soccer hit their TVs on weekend mornings. Many people have their favorite teams, whether they happen to be in the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, or another league in the world. Others are happy playing the role of neutral when watching the major European clubs battle for trophies and international glory.

Still, when you’re watching these matches, you probably gravitate in some way towards matches that feature an American player, whether it’s a star like Christian Pulisic or a young emerging talent like Timothy Weah. So, while it’s by no means an exhaustive list, consider this your go-to list of American players in leagues all across Europe. Some of these players may feature primarily for their club’s reserve or youth team, but they are all listed under the main club they are currently with or play on loan:

Austria

Rheindorf Altach – F Josh Gatt

Belgium

First Division A

Anderlecht – MF Kenny Saief

Club Brugge – GK Ethan Horvath

Kortrijk – D Brendan Hines-Ike

Lokeren – MF Juan Torres

Gent – MF Ben Lederman

Denmark

Superliga

Nordsjaelland – F Jonathan Amon

Hobro – MF Emmanuel Sabbi

Aalborg – GK Mike Lansing

England

Premier League

Arsenal – MF Gideon Zelalem

Newcastle United – D DeAndre Yedlin

Tottenham Hotspur – D Cameron Carter-Vickers, GK Brandon Austin

Fulham – D Tim Ream, MF Luca de la Torre

Huddersfield Town – MF Danny Williams

Cardiff City – GK Chris Konopka

Manchester United – D/MF Matthew Olosunde

Championship

Stoke City – CB Geoff Cameron

Hull City – D Eric Lichaj

Wigan Athletic – D Antonee Robinson (on loan from Everton)

Nottingham Forest – MF Gboly Ariyibi

Queens Park Rangers – D Giles Phillips

Derby County – MF Duane Holmes

League One

Sunderland – MF Lynden Gooch

Rochdale – GK Brendan Moore

France

Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain – F Tim Weah

Nantes – D Matt Miazga (on loan from Chelsea)

Rennes F Theoson- Jordan Siebatcheu

Ligue 2

Auxerre – GK Quentin Westberg

Germany

Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund – MF Christian Pulisic, MF Junior Flores

Schalke 04 – MF Weston McKennie, F Haji Wright, MF Nick Taitague, MF Zyen Jones

Wolfsburg – D John Brooks

Hannover 96 – F Bobby Wood, D Chris Gloster

Werder Bremen – F Aron Johannsson, F Josh Sargent, F Isaiah Young

Eintracht Frankfurt – D Timmy Chandler

Freiburg – MF Caleb Stanko

Borussia Mönchengladbach – D/MF Fabian Johnson

Fortuna Düsseldorf – MF Alfredo Morales

Hertha Berlin – GK Jonathan Klinsmann

Nurnberg – MF Timothy Tillman

Bayern Munich – D Chris Richards (on loan from FC Dallas)

  1. Bundesliga

Greuther Fuerth – F Julian Green

Sandhausen – MF Andrew Wooten, D Ken Gipson

Duisburg – MF Joe Gyau

Heidenheim – MF Kevin Lankford

Darmstadt – F Terrence Boyd, MF McKinze Gaines

Jahn Regensburg – F Jann-Christopher George

Holstein Kiel – GK Kenneth Kronholm

Union Berlin – D Lennard Maloney

Champions League Coverage Set To Get Screwy The Same Way EPL Coverage Has

Billy Haisley8/17/17 11:31am

In their infinite wisdom, NBC recently saw fit to take a good and beloved Premier League broadcast strategy and make it bad and hated by cleaving its once-unified televised and streaming services into two smaller and less satisfying parts, and charging for each separately. Turner, which recently bought Champions League broadcast rights starting with the 2018-19 season, has a similar money-grubbing plan, which will neuter Champions League coverage in the U.S. even more than NBC’s decision has done to the Premier League.For all the problems with NBC’s new, crippled Premier League coverage, at least their televised product is still more than acceptable. On any given weekend, most of the matches that the majority of EPL fans would be most interested in watching will be found somewhere on TV. Only about one-third of the league season’s matches will be stuck behind the streaming paywall, which means for many cable-subscribing fans of the Prem, the over-the-top streaming service is a luxury rather than a necessity they need to pay for in order to follow the league.This is not the case with Turner’s plans for the Champions League. Here’s some goober at the New York Times explaining Turner’s scheme:

Turner Broadcasting was a surprise winner earlier this year in the bidding for rights to the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s top club soccer competition. But what the company plans do with the rights may be even more surprising: Launch a stand-alone sports streaming service next year that will broadcast the vast majority of the games.  Many of the most important Champions League games, including the semifinals and final, will still be broadcast on cable television. But starting next summer, more than 80 percent of the matches will only be available to fans who pay for the new subscription service — the latest move by a media organization to monetize unused parts of a multimillion-dollar sports rights deal.

That’s right: Fox Sports’ eminently accessible strategy of consistently televising at least two Champions League matches every matchday, and allowing you to stream every other UCL match online just by logging into their website with your cable info if neither of the televised games tickle your fancy, has now been sliced all to hell.

That cable subscribers will only be able to watch 20 percent of the applicable Champions League matches on TV isn’t really the problem, since that was more or less the case with Fox’s coverage, too. The problem is that if you want to watch one of those other games, you’ll now have to pay a fee to stream them when before streaming came free—as it should—with your cable subscription. Not only does this make the cable-only option untenable as a way of following the UCL season, the over-the-top service by itself isn’t a satisfactory substitute, either.Turner, like NBC, will not let its over-the-top subscribers stream the matches they televise. During the group stages and early knockout rounds, then, subscribers will often miss out on the big, juicy matchups Turner deigns to televise unless they subscribe to yet another service like Sling, which will allow them to watch games on Turner TV stations on their desktops at work. Nor will they be able to stream the later rounds of the knockout stages like the semifinals and the final. Thus, the over-the-top service has the appearance of being a good way for cord cutters to get the soccer they crave, but in reality is just another way to charge extra by compelling any serious fan to stump up for multiple services.

The specifics of Turner’s plans are even worse:

Of the 340 annual Champions League and Europa League matches that Turner acquired — games that have become a midweek afternoon staple for American fans — only about 60 will appear on television, mostly on truTV. The semifinals and finals of the Champions League will air on either TNT or TBS, as will the Europa League final.

Through the Champions League group stage in the fall, Turner will televise four matches a week — two each on Tuesday and Wednesday, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern time. Beginning with the knockout stage in February, Turner will televise two matches a week, one each on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Look at this horseshit! Group stage matches and even the semifinals and the final will be shown only on channels like truTV and TNT, which means that those hoping to go the stream-only route won’t be able to catch the biggest games of the season without ponying up twice one way or another. And for the TV-only crowd, Turner’s decision to only show a single game each matchday during the knockout rounds practically guarantees that they will miss out on some critical, competitive Round of 16 and quarterfinals matches and instead will have settle for whatever Turner’s bean-counters think will get the most ratings and thus will decide to televise.

That’s probably the biggest problem here—the matches Turner will and will not choose to air. It’s safe to predict that Turner’s match selection hierarchy will look something like this: 1) show the game that involves an English team; 2) pick the one in which Barcelona or Real Madrid play; 3) choose the one with another big-name club like Juventus or Bayern Munich; and 4) air whichever match looks to be the most competitive on paper. By constraining access to all their matches so stringently, Turner is sure to fail to cater to the desires of a huge number of fans.

If you’re a fan of a team outside England, even if it’s a big club like Bayern, you can be sure you’ll miss out on at least a couple of your squad’s games as Turner favors ones involving big British and Spanish teams. If you root for an even smaller club that nonetheless usually finds its way pretty deep into the competition—Benfica, say—then you might as well start saving up for the streaming service now, because your boys definitely won’t be getting on TV very often. And if you don’t have a particular horse in the race and would prefer to just watch the best match on offer, you’re going to find yourself shaking your head in disgust as some boring Manchester United vs. Ludogorets match bumps the Atlético Madrid vs. Napoli game that will obviously be the better spectacle. Viewer choice is critical in the Champions League, and starting next season Turner will have nearly eliminated it entirely unless you pay their ransom.Just like with NBC’s restrictive EPL coverage, it’s unclear whether Turner is making the right call here even in terms of their own bottom line. It might be economically prudent to squeeze all the juice out of the limited number of soccer super-fans who will have to pay the company twice in order to get all the soccer they want, but maybe it’s smarter to flood the growing market of diehard and casual soccer fans with as much product as possible so as to build a broader consumer base. All we know is that this is definitely a trend, and for fans, it’s a trend that really stinks.

Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid deliver statement of intent in Super Cup vs. Ronaldo-less Real Madrid

Aug 15, 2018Dermot CorriganMadrid correspondent

TALLINN, Estonia — Three thoughts on Europa League winners Atletico Madrid’s 4-2 win over Champions League holders Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.

  1. Atletico finally get one over their local rivals

Atletico Madrid finally won a European “derbi,” with extra-time goals from homegrown midfielders Saul Niguez and Koke sealing a 4-2 UEFA Super Cup win over Real Madrid. Wednesday night’s thriller at Tallinn’s A. Le Coq Arena swung back and forth and into extra time, with Diego Costa netting twice for Atletico before Europa League holders Atletico finally got on top of triple-Champions League winners Madrid to take an extra sweet victory given all the history and local rivalry involved.It took just 49 seconds for Costa to rampage his way through the entire Madrid defence and hammer Atletico in front, with the equaliser near the half-hour mark coming when Gareth Bale’s superb curling right-footed cross was deftly headed home by Karim Benzema.The game continued to ebb and flow after the break, with the energy and skill levels surprisingly high given how the World Cup had affected both sides’ preseason preparation. Although Atletico’s new midfielders Rodri and Thomas Lemar were impressing, veteran defender Juanfran’s handball from a corner led to a penalty that Blancos skipper Sergio Ramos coolly converted for 2-1.That should really have been that, especially given Atletico’s history of five losses from five previous competitive European “derbis.” But Simeone’s side continued to battle on. With just over 10 minutes remaining Costa equalised, finishing from close range after excellent work from Juanfran and substitute Angel Correa.Early in extra time, Ramos was at fault as Atletico won the ball at the edge of the Madrid box, and substitute Thomas Partey crossed for Saul to flash home a superb volley. Another replacement, Vitolo, then swept a pass to Koke who arrowed a low shot past Navas for 4-2.In the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals, Atletico came up just short, with Madrid’s greater strength in depth and experience being key. That the last three Rojiblanco goals Wednesday night were all laid on by substitutes was a sign that, even though this was “just” the Super Cup, Diego Simeone’s side can now claim to be top dogs in the Spanish capital.

  1. Bale and Benzema stand up, but need help

Losing the first big game of the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era is a big problem for Madrid’s new coach Julen Lopegetui, even if both Benzema and Bale showed they can deliver more now that they are out of the Portuguese’s shadow.The understanding between the two remaining members of the “BBC” trio was clear for Madrid’s equaliser, with a fully primed Bale sprinting away from Atletico’s World Cup-winning left-back Lucas Hernandez, and Benzema peeling away intelligently from marker Stefan Savic to find the space he needed to nod cleverly home. That was far from the only time the pair combined well.Benzema was also on the scene in forcing Juanfran into the spot kick early in the second period (although skipper Ramos showed he now tops the Bernabeu’s pecking order by grabbing the ball to convert). At 2-1 up, Bale worried Atletico with a driving run past five defenders before his shot was blocked, while in the very last move of normal time the Welshman almost set up a dramatic winner only for Marcelo to miskick his attempted volley.Emerging star Marco Asensio did not do badly in Ronaldo’s spot in attack, but Lopetegui sending on unproven youngster Borja Mayoral in extra time showed that Madrid have not yet fully covered the loss of the reigning Ballon d’Or winner. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez may still be persuaded to get his chequebook out before La Liga’s transfer window closes on Aug 31.

  1. Real can’t stop Costa

The game began with a bang with Costa bouncing away from both Ramos and the equally sluggish Raphael Varane before lashing a shot high past Keylor Navas, who had left a glimmer of a gap at his near post. It was the quickest goal ever scored in a UEFA competition final, and set the tone for the night.Costa also soon got involved in a running battle with regular sparring partner Ramos, who with his arm caught his international teammate in the face. Actual strike partner Antoine Griezmann was less influential, and withdrawn early, clearly not match fit after only recently returning from a holiday after winning the World Cup.Atletico continued to press at 2-1 down, and Griezmann’s replacement Correa laid on an equaliser for Costa, who again showed hunger and aggression to be on the spot to fire home. The Brazilian-born forward also won the ball back for Atletico’s clinching fourth goal, in what was a man-of-the-match performance.Last season’s return from Chelsea did not go exactly to plan for Costa, not helped by six months on the sidelines due to Atletico’s FIFA transfer ban. Wednesday night’s display showed he is ready to roar in 2018-19 — and after Atleti’s summer he has plenty of teammates around him to help out too.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival will show the world that Serie A is full of drama

Aug 14, 2018James Horncastle

The impatience for Serie A to start is palpable in Italy. This country has always been football crazy, but the sense of anticipation is heightened this year. For a start, last season felt like the best in a long time.It was the most compelling of Europe’s top five leagues. More or less everybody had something to play for right until the end. The title race was alive going into May, and you didn’t know who had qualified for the Champions League or Europa League, not to mention who had stayed up until the final day. The tifosireturned to Italy’s stadiums in droves, boosting attendance figures and recreating the atmosphere that makes watching football in the bel paese such a special experience.When it was over, withdrawal symptoms immediately kicked in, partly because Italy’s football lovers anticipated that this would be a long summer. Mediaset’s coverage of the World Cup in Russia received higher-than-expected viewing figures, but Italy’s absence from the tournament for the first time in 60 years left fans bereft of a team to be emotionally invested in.The longing for Serie A to return only intensified once Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Juventus. That he chose the Old Lady and Italy was a huge compliment, a gesture that encouraged the optimists to think this is the most significant step yet in restoring Serie A to its former glory. The same could be said for the return of Carlo Ancelotti, who ended his nine-year tour of Europe’s blue-chip clubs and replaced Maurizio Sarri at Napoli.Still, not everyone saw it that way. In fact, some pushed back against the notion that the league — not just Juventus — would benefit as a whole from Ronaldo’s presence. Everyone would have gotten a better deal had the transfer gone through before the domestic TV rights were sorted out. But it wasn’t to be.La Repubblica columnist Angelo Carotenuto compared Juventus’ move for Ronaldo to Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar: the clearest sign yet of the Bianconeri‘s intention to leave the crop plights and dust storms of Serie A behind for a new planet, where one day all of Europe’s elite teams will play in a Super League.Until then, debate is raging in Italy’s piazzas and bars about the treatment Ronaldo will get in Serie A. How many goals will he score in a country in which there is a tradition of world-class defending and shut-down tactics? In Spain they associate the triumvirate of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema with all-star attacking play. In Italy, it’s legion-of-boom style defence featuring Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini.

While there are grains of truth in stereotypes, they don’t tell the whole story. Serie A has experienced a shift in emphasis in recent seasons. There were 2.68 goals per game in the supposedly faster, looser Premier League last season. It might surprise you to learn that in Serie A the ratio was exactly the same.Graduates of Italy’s Coverciano coaching school aren’t rejecting tradition, but a new generation of managers is taking its cues from the legacy of Arrigo Sacchi and the times in which we live. The world has become smaller, and exposure to other leagues is greater than ever, which has helped turn the tide from the “keep it tight”, counter-attacking methods of yore to prioritising expansive, proactive, attacking football.Antonio Cassano is probably right, rather than just plain provocative, when he says, “Ronaldo will score 40 goals.” But the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Mauro Icardi, Edin Dzeko, Dries Mertens, Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile will have something to say about the bookies making the five-time Ballon d’Or favourite to top the scoring charts. It’s up to them and the teams they spearhead to rise to the challenge.

Of course, seven consecutive Scudetti give the league a one-sided appearance, and it never helps when a season ends as predicted. But the last campionatowas delightfully competitive. After Liverpool, it’s fair to say that the most memorable performances in Europe last season came from Juventus and Roma, who made the Champions League semifinals for the first time in 34 years. Inter and Milan finally look to be in good hands, with wealthy backers delegating key decisions to the right people. The top six all have talented coaches. No one looks out of their depth.

Inter seem to have done the most to close the gap, luring Stefan de Vrij and Radja Nainggolan from the Eternal City, while also beating some of Europe’s biggest clubs to the signing of potential breakout star Lautaro Martinez. A lot is expected of Luciano Spalletti in his second season at San Siro. In Higuain, Milan have finally found an heir worthy of Pippo Inzaghi’s No. 9 shirt. Roma have assembled a team full of potential with a very high upside indeed. As for Napoli, it’s up to Ancelotti to stop a team that was so much greater than the sum of its parts under Sarri from regressing to the mean.The fascination doesn’t end with the upper class. The Inzaghi brothers, Pippo and Simone, will face off against each other in the ultimate sibling rivalry when Bologna play Lazio on Boxing Day. Justin Kluivert joins the father-and-son club of which Giovanni Simeone and Federico Chiesa are already part. Which reminds us: For all the attention garnered by the signing of a 33-year-old, Serie A feels like a young league, and not just because the only foreign manager in the top flight, Udinese boss Julio Velazquez, is only 36. Fiorentina’s team should probably still be in school it’s so fresh-faced.  Encouragingly for Italy coach Roberto Mancini, talent is coming through. The under-19s finished runners-up at the Euros this summer, a year after Italy’s U20s reached the semis of the World Cup. Chiesa, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Nicolo Barella, Moise Kean and Alex Meret are the faces of a promising new generation.Romantics will be thrilled to see Parma back just three years after going bust and having to start over in Serie D. Emanuele Calaio’s WhatsApp messages almost threw their promotion into doubt, a reminder that chaos and controversy are never far away in Serie A and act as major protagonists in the drama it generates. Chievo feared relegation amid the suspicion aroused by the vast amounts of money they have made from trading unknown youth team players in recent years. Milan were thrown out of Europe and reinstated only after the repossession of the club by the Elliott hedge fund. Teams up and down the country, most notably Bari and Vicenza, keep going bust.The spotlight turned on Serie A by Ronaldo will illuminate the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s a weird and wonderful league. Now all that’s left to do is get the season started.

Ronaldo-Less Real Madrid, Atletico Seek to Dethrone Barcelona in La Liga

By LUIS MIGUEL ECHEGARAY August 14, 2018

For a second straight summer, La Liga is dealing with the aftermath of losing one of its most talented and marketable superstars, but its teams aren’t coming close to standing pat.A year after Neymar bolted Barcelona for PSG and weeks after Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus, it’s been a busy offseason for teams in Spain’s top division, with La Liga clubs investing nearly €700 million, including transfer fees and annual contracts, on players. The number will almost certainly rise, given that the transfer window doesn’t close until Aug. 31, and given that Real Madrid has yet to replace the Ronaldo with an attacking superstar.While the usual suspects (Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid) make up for almost half of the league’s spending, having brought in players such as Malcom (Barcelona), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid) and Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and Real Betis look to crash the top-three party with ransfers of their own. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the table, newly promoted Huesca prepares for its first campaign in La Liga.Here are the major talking points ahead of the 2018-2019 season in Spain’s top flight.

BARCELONA STAYS THE FAVORITE

Despite losing legendary midfielder Andres Iniesta, Ernesto Valverde’s side starts the campaign as favorite to retain the league title. This summer, Barça conducted plenty of business by reconfiguring the squad and trimming its underperformers. Players such as Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes, Gerard Deulofeu and Aleix Vidal added depth at Camp Nou, but didn’t really give anything extra when needed, especially during busy periods when the club was forced to play in league, cup and UEFA tournaments. It could be argued that Mina, who arrived last summer, wasn’t given the proper time to prove his worth, but he’s already been replaced with the signing of Clement Lenglet from Sevilla. Paulinho, who moved back to China, was a key piece in his one season at Barcelona, but his replacement, Arturo Vidal, is arguably a more complete midfielder. It all depends on the veteran’s fitness, but if he stays healthy, then Vidal should deliver.Elsewhere, Malcom and Rafinha provide more clout in the middle and wide areas, but the biggest talking point is Arthur, the ex-Gremio star who has been given the No. 8 shirt this season–a symbol of confidence from his manager.  There are comparisons being made to Iniesta, as the 21-year-old Brazilian captivated fans this preseason with his vision and ability to move the ball with simplicity. Time will tell if he can make it count in Europe, but as far as Valverde is concerned, Arthur is ready.

As Lionel Messi takes over as club captain, it seems as if the Blaugrana–who nearly went the whole 2017-18 domestic campaign undefeated and already have the Spanish Super Cup in tow–will retain the title, but, just like with Manchester City, the chief goal is to win the Champions League.

THE BATTLE FOR MADRID (AND THE LEAGUE)

Real Madrid begins life in the league without Ronaldo and with a new manager, Julen Lopetegui, hoping to adjust to a new philosophy and not only retain the Champions League title, but also deliver a league trophy for its fans. Despite the change in personnel, however, Lucas Vazquez believes the team’s objectives never change.”I think Real Madrid’s identity stays the same. In the end, our goals are to fight and give it our all,” he told SI.com. “While it’s true some things may change when you have a new manager, we still want to do our best and win as many titles as possible.”The obvious focus is now on Gareth Bale, who has had a tremendous preseason. After his sensational bicycle kick goal in the Champions League final, Bale has the opportunity to command the spotlight left behind by the Juventus-bound Ronaldo.”It’s been very good so far with the new manager,” Bale told SI.com. “Obviously we’ve been working very hard, but training has been very enjoyable and we’ve had some good results. It’s been very good with the new boss. Just anxiously waiting to start the season.”If we can take anything from the summer, we should see Lopetegui starting Bale on the right wing of a three-headed attacking midfield that also includes Marco Asensio and Isco, but with a lot of freedom to run and alter his movement. It will be interesting to see how much 18-year-old Vinicius Junior plays. His talent is undeniable, but the team has to be careful and not overwhelm the attacker with the pressures of playing for Madrid too soon. Though, judging by his summer performance, he seems more than ready.   Courtois’s arrival will take undoubtedly take headlines as well, as Keylor Navas will fight for his place with the Belgian star. Lopetegui faces a dilemma on who to start in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday, but more importantly, how will the manager deal with the rotation if Navas stays with Los Blancos?

Across town, you’d be wise not to sleep on Atletico Madrid. Once the Antoine Griezmann drama was settled earlier this summer with “La Decisión,” Diego Simeone’s squad went to work in the transfer market. If we were to judge the season on paper alone, it seems as if Atleti could give Barcelona a bigger headache than Real this season.Gelson Martins, who arrived on a free transfer from Sporting in Portugal, is a dangerous winger who in many ways fits Simeone’s counterattacking system. Rodri, Antonio Adán and Nehuen Perez also joined the team, but it’s Thomas Lemar who can really help this season. The 22-year-old French attacking star, who was part of Didier Deschamps’ World Cup-winning squad, joined the Spanish club from Monaco for a reported €60 million and will replace the production of Yannick Carrasco, who alongside Nicolas Gaitan, left the club for China. Lemar is extremely veratile, able to play anywhere across the midfield and will fit nicely inside Simeone’s 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 preferred formations. Nikola Kalinic, the Croatian striker who moved from AC Milan, is also a good addition. The question remains: Can Real or Atleti dethrone Barcelona?

THE PARTY CRASHERS

Valencia, Villarreal, Sevilla and Real Betis have aspirations of crashing the elite’s party, and judging by the moves made this summer, it seems as if Marcelino’s Valencia is the likeliest of the bunch to do so. Having finished fourth and only three points behind Real Madrid in 2017-2018, Valencia is poised to make noise. The addition of Michy Batshuayi on loan is an astute one, while the signings of Kevin Gameiro and Russia World Cup hero Denis Cheryshev (who returns on loan after a previous stint with the club) and potential signing of Goncalo Guedes–who starred on loan at Valencia last season–adds even more firepower into the mix.Aside from being part of the greatest unveiling of a player signing ever, it will be interesting to see how Santi Cazorla’s return fits with Villarreal.

Meanwhile, Real Betis, which was one of six teams that defeated Real Madrid last season but conceded the most goals out of any team that wasn’t relegated, used the window to bring in more defensive players such as Portugal midfielder William Carvalho and Sidnei, who moved from Deportivo la Coruña after being relegated. Sevilla suffered similar problems as Betis, conceding too many goals and losing 14 matches last season. This will be an interesting time for the team, as its new manager, Pablo Machín, led Girona to La Liga promotion in 2016-2017 and guided the club to an impressive 10th-place finish last season, the best performance by a promoted club in the last 23 years. Losing midfield stalwart and World Cup winner Steven N’Zonzi to Roma won’t help, though.

VAR

After making its debut during last Sunday’s Supercopa de España between Barcelona and Sevilla in Tangier, La Liga will implement video assistant referees for the first time.According to Spain’s football federation (RFEF), league referees have taken on intense training in order to prepare for VAR, hoping to learn from the failures and successes from this summer’s World Cup in Russia.Some of La Liga’s stars were heavily involved in VAR decisions at the World Cup, and now they’ll compete on a weekly basis with the added technology.

INTRIGUE AT THE BOTTOM

At risk of not falling behind before the season even gets going, the newly promoted teams (Rayo Vallecano, Huesca, Real Valladolid) have been active in the transfer window, mainly taking advantage of loan signings as they get ready for the top flight. Peruvians now have to reasons to love Vallecano. First, the team’s kit is almost identical to that of the national team, and second, Luis Advincula, who had an impressive World Cup with Peru, joins Vallecano on loan from Tigres. Labeled as one of the fastest–if not, the fastest–player in the world, Advincula’s unveiling brought a frenzy of Peruvian players in Madrid.

Who’s The Favorite And Who’s A Sleeper In The English Premier League?

If you’re not rooting for Manchester City, this probably isn’t your year.By Terrence Doyle

 

The Premier League, which kicks off Friday afternoon, is often regarded as the most competitive league in the world, if not the best. In fact, both of those assumptions might be false: While the Premier League boasts four of the top 10 and six of the top 15 teams in the world according to our Soccer Power Index rankings, only one other team cracks the top 50.1

This imbalance shouldn’t come as a shock: Aside from Blackburn Rovers in 1994-95 and Leicester City in 2015-16, only four teams have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992-93. And if you look at the table for every Premier League season — especially for the past decade — the top six spots are more likely than not occupied by some or all of the same six teams currently ranked in the world top 15.

If you’re hoping that the upcoming season will offer some vicissitude at the top of the table, don’t hold your breath: According to our Premier League predictions, Manchester City is a good bet to repeat as champions. And the five spaces below the Citizens will likely be occupied by — you guessed it! — Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. After we ran 20,000 simulated seasons, the closest any team got to the top six was Crystal Palace — still 16 points off the pace.

The top six teams in the Premier League are among the richest sports franchises on earth. All that money means they can afford to pay often ludicrous fees to attract the world’s best players. Money turns into results in major competitions, and results in major competitions turn into more money. And that new money turns into the buying of yet more of the world’s best players, and the top six feedback loop endures. Let’s look at how each of the top six teams — and a few others — spent this summer, and what it means for their chances at winning the Premier League title.

Who got better?

Liverpool paid a then-record fee for 25-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who led the Italian Serie A in save percentage per 90 minutes during his first year as Roma’s No. 1. He wasn’t at his best during the World Cup, but Liverpool is hoping that if given the chance in a big situation, Alisson will perform better than Loris Karius did. Liverpool also added Guinean midfielder Naby Keita, Brazilian midfielder Fabinho and Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri, making its total spend the largest in England. Adding a defensive-minded midfielder like Fabinho and a world-class keeper like Alisson should help bolster a Liverpool defense that, at times, left something to be desired during the 2017-18 campaign — and it should give the Reds a real shot at challenging for the title.

It seems impossible, but defending champion Manchester City also got better, finally landing longtime target Riyad Mahrez. It’s not clear where the former Leicester City maestro will play — Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva did a pretty good job patrolling the wings last season, after all — but it never hurts to have a winger on your squad who’s proven he can score 15 goals and assist on 10 more. Not a bad pickup for a team that broke the all-time Premier League goal record a season ago.

Despite the departure of longterm manager Arsene Wenger, hopes must be high in Highbury: Arsenal found a potential replacement for the aging Petr Cech in German keeper Bernd Leno, and the addition of Uruguayan holding midfielder Lucas Torreira should help shore up its defense, which conceded the most goals of any of the top six squads last season. Fan favorite Jack Wilshere departed for West Ham United, but injury issues have long relegated him to “could have been” status anyway.

Everton hasn’t finished inside the top six since 2013-14, but Toffee fans will be pleased with their team’s transfer window successes. The club paid Watford a lot of money for the swift and tricky Brazilian winger Richarlison,2and also added French wingback Lucas Digne. If Evertonians were displeased with the park-the-bus soccer employed by Big Sam Allardyce, they should be happy that this year’s squad will feature some players who like to go forward. Signing Colombian center back and World Cup standout Yerry Mina means they won’t suffer at the back, either. Everton will probably still finish between seventh and 10th, but it should look better doing so.

 

Who stayed mostly the same?

Manchester United is hoping to unseat rivals Manchester City and win its first title since 2013,3 but it faces one problem: The Red Devils didn’t do much during the transfer window. Portuguese right back Diogo Dalot might be the eventual heir apparent to captain Antonio Valencia, but at the tender age of 19 years old — and with just six first-team starts for Portuguese club Porto — he doesn’t transform United into champions from also-rans. Former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder and Seleção member Fred should help in the center of the pitch — he is equally capable of going forward and dropping back behind his midfield partners to help in defense, and he can play with both feet — but his high price tag carries an intense weight of expectation. Ask Paul Pogba4 how that plays in Manchester.

Who stayed mostly the same but feels worse?

The boys from White Hart Lane spent zero dollars during the transfer window. Tottenham wanted midfielder Jack Grealish but ultimately couldn’t come to terms with Aston Villa. Spurs don’t really need Grealish — they had the second best possession rate per 90 minutes in the middle third in 2017-18 — but their depth may be a problem, particularly at the start of the season.

Meanwhile, Chelsea experienced one of the most tumultuous summers in recent memory — which is saying a lot, given owner Roman Abramovich’s apparent penchant for drama. Manager Antonio Conte got the sack despite delivering a championship in 2016-17, and truant goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois forced a sale to Real Madrid. The Blues better hope that Kepa Arrizabalaga, for whom they paid a now-record fee for a keeper, is ready for the Premier League grind. Otherwise they may be forced to rely on this guy.

Who got significantly worse?

This will be the first season since 2012-135 that Leicester City will be without Mahrez, which means that the Foxes probaby stand little chance to repeat their unlikely 2015-16 run to the Premier League title. While Leicester still has goal poacher Jamie Vardy, it failed to re-sign Nigerian striker Ahmed Musa (who, by the way, had a very good World Cup). James Maddison is a nice signing and should make up for some of the offense lost with Mahrez’s departure, but don’t expect another Cinderella run from the Foxes.

The woes of Newcastle United start and end with its agreement to a permanent deal that sent its best option at forward, Aleksandar Mitrovic, to newly promoted Fulham. The Magpies must be hoping that the strike trio of Matt Ritchie, Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez — who scored 18 goals combined last season — is enough to account for the potential production lost from the young Serbian hitman.

Who could play Cinderella?

Fulham can find the net — it scored 1.57 goals per 90 minutes last season, the second most in the English League Championship, exceeding its expected goals rate of 1.47. Teenage phenom Ryan Sessegnon scored on 37 percent of the shots he took last season and outperformed his expected goals tally by 5.5, while Mitrovic — who impressed at the World Cup — contributed 12 goals of his own. Adding Andre Schurrle on a two-season loan will only increase Fulham’s firepower. The club also went all in on midfielder Jean Michael Seri, a player who has been linked to seemingly every big club in Europe over the past few seasons.

And let’s not forget about Crystal Palace, the world’s 48th best team according to our SPI rankings. The Eagles got off to a historically atrocious start last season before righting the ship and finishing in the middle of the table. Additions Max Meyer and Cheikhou Kouyaté should help stabilize a midfield that had the eighth worst possession rate per 90 minutes last season, while Manchester United castoff Wilfried Zaha’s return to Selhurst Park continues to bear fruit. Zaha has scored 22 goals from the wing in the past four seasons, and at 25 years old, he is entering the prime of his career. The Eagles will likely go as far as Zaha can take them.

U.S. Soccer doesn’t need to hire a USMNT U-23 coach

The best candidate is already employed.By Rob Usry@RobUsry  Aug 10, 2018, 7:00am PDT

The U.S. Soccer men’s coaching landscape is a total mess right now. While the senior team has an interim manager and a search for a permanent name is nderway, thanks to a recently revealed hiring freeze, several youth teams are without leaders as well. The U-23 team will soon need someone to begin reparations for Olympic qualifying and the federation may not have to look very far for the best candidate for the job.Qualifying for the Olympic games has been a well-documented nightmare for the U.S. men’s program, having failed to do so in the last two times of trying. If for nothing more than pride, you can bet that a lot of attention and resources will be spent on making sure it doesn’t happen for a third straight tournament.Current USMNT interim manager Dave Sarachan took over the position from Bruce Arena with very little fanfare and plenty of cynicism. However, the veteran of American soccer has quietly done a very good job transitioning the U.S. player pool from repetitive and tired veterans to new and exciting young prospects.Tim Weah, one of those new up-and-coming talents, went on record this summer in praise of Sarachan. The PSG forward even went as far as saying that the interim tag should be lifted from his coach’s title.While it’s highly doubtful that the USSF would ever make the 64-year-old the permanent senior team manager, strictly based on public perception after a bitterly disappointing World Cupqualifying failure, it makes perfect sense to reward him for his good work in the last year.The hiring freeze has hurt any chance of the U-23 crop getting together early and getting familiar with each other. But what if you didn’t have to hire anyone at all? Sarachan is the best and most logical candidate for the job. And it just so happens that most of the players he’s incorporated to the senior team are eligible for the U-23 team as well, thus solving the issue of familiarity.Sarachan’s time as interim USMNT manager have brought encouraging results, both on the scoreboard and in figurative terms. A young and hungry crop of prospects are fighting to prove themselves every time they are called upon. In his six friendlies in charge, the inexperienced sides he’s thrown out there have all looked organized and competitive. They’ve only lost once in those matches and even managed a draw against the World Cup champions. Of course it’s irresponsible to put too much credence into friendly results, but that’s all we have to go on at this point. Beyond the scorelines, each team Sarachan has assembled appeared to have a good understanding of tactics and responsibilities.When peering out into the coaching landscape, there are no obvious candidates to take on this important job. Tab Ramos himself has plenty of Youth National Team coaching experience (with mixed results) but it seems he has plenty on his plate already, including coaching the U-20 team. Georgetown’s Brian Wiese is a logical option if you want to go the college route, although that didn’t go too swimmingly the last time with Caleb Porter. Someone like John Wolyniec of New York Red Bulls II has a reputation for developing young players, but has little experience coaching at this type of level.Sarachan has a desire to stay on as USMNT manager, but realistically he has slim to no chance of that happening. He’s also shown a willingness to work with young players. This proposition seems like the best compromise for all involved. The players get a coach who they’ll accept as a leader won’t need to adapt quickly to. Sarachan gets a reward for his good work in a difficult time. And U.S. Soccer gets a coach who gives the program a realistic chance of qualifying for the Olympics for the first time in 12 years.

Five things we learned in the Premier League

AFPAug 12, 2018, 1:42 PM

London (AFP) – The Premier League is back, with the opening weekend producing impressive displays from title contenders Liverpool and champions Manchester City, while Manchester United and Chelsea also made winning starts.Here are five things we learned from the first weekend of the new top-flight campaign:

Silva service lifts City

“Right now, it’s Bernardo and 10 others,” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said when asked about Bernardo Silva’s sublime display in the champions’ Community Shield win over Chelsea last weekend. Portugal midfielder Silva didn’t always start last term but he was a blur of energy and efficient passing in City’s engine room against Chelsea and Guardiola rewarded him with a place in Sunday’s 2-0 victory in their Premier League opener at Arsenal. Guardiola’s faith wasn’t misplaced as the 23-year-old once again produced a tireless performance and rarely misplaced a pass. The influential effort was capped in the 64th minute when Silva cleverly peeled away from his Arsenal marker to meet Benjamin Mendy’s cross with a fine finish that flashed past Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Still not so United

Despite getting off to a winning start against Leicester on Friday, all is still not well at Manchester United between star midfielder Paul Pogba, manager Jose Mourinho and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Mourinho named Pogba captain and hailed a “monster” performance after he took responsibility to open the scoring from the penalty spot. French World Cup winner Pogba, though, wasn’t so effusive in his praise for his boss, claiming “if you’re not happy, you cannot give your best” and that if he voiced his true feelings he would be fined. Meanwhile, Mourinho again let his frustration at not being backed by Woodward in the transfer market be known. Woodward is adamant Pogba is not for sale despite rumoured interest from Barcelona. But at the moment all three seem locked in an unhappy marriage ahead of a season that Mourinho himself has predicted will be a “difficult” one.

Keita’s new kingdom

Liverpool have had to wait a year to get Naby Keita after sealing the deal to bring him from RB Leipzig 12 months ago, but on the evidence of a storming display from the Guinean in Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing of West Ham it’ll be worth the wait. Keita started the move for Liverpool’s opener and possessed the pace and skill to consistently drove through the heart of West Ham’s pedestrian midfield. Jurgen Klopp now has new found wealth of midfield options with Fabinho also joining from Monaco, Adam Lallana returning from injury and captain Jordan Henderson getting back to fitness after his exertions at the World Cup with England. Keita, though, could be the real difference maker in turning a 25-point deficit to champions Manchester City last season into a title challenge.

Sarri’s Hazard warning

Maurizio Sarri admits Eden Hazard needs more time to get back to his very best despite an impressive 15-minute cameo as a substitute in Chelsea’s 3-0 win at Huddersfield. Hazard has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and only returned to training with Chelsea a week ago after helping Belgium finish third at the World Cup. The midfielder’s future may not be sorted out until August 31, when the transfer window closes in Spain. But his quality was there for all to see during his brief appearance on Saturday, with a fine run from midfield taking out several Huddersfield players before he slotted in Pedro to score Chelsea’s third goal. “I think that Eden in this moment cannot play for 90 minutes. He has to improve, to have training,” Sarri said. “I think the best thing is for him to play 15-20 minutes when the opponents probably are tired.”

Spurs show steel

Tottenham may not have spent anything in the transfer market and had to play several of their stars who have just returned from well-earned breaks post the World Cup. But they coped easily enough with Newcastle in their 2-1 win at St James’ Park. Spurs are the only top tier team not to have made a signing since the end of last season and manager Mauricio Pochettino will need a tougher test than this to assess whether fatigue will be a telling factor for his squad this term.

World Cup ref chief Pierluigi Collina dishes on VAR impact at Russia 2018

2:00 AM ETGabriele MarcottiSenior Writer, ESPN FCEmail

A month has passed since the end of the World Cup in Russia, hailed by many as one of the best ever. Gab Marcotti caught up with Pierluigi Collina, chairman of FIFA’s referees committee and the man in the middle for the 2002 final between Brazil and Germany, to talk about officiating, video assistant referees (VAR) and the future.

When you look back at 2018 and the fact that relative to previous World Cups, it had perhaps the least amount of refereeing controversy, to what do you attribute it? Could it be chance? Was it VAR?

First off, I can’t believe it’s already over. But no, I think 64 games is a good sample size. And I’m delighted that the good feedback we received came from those who follow the game professionally. I’ll get to VAR, but there are a number of things we did which, I think, helped us tremendously.

For a start, referees are athletes, just like footballers. So we had a dedicated medical staff and physiotherapists supporting them throughout the tournament, particularly in recovering quickly from minor injuries.

In the same way that too much time off can make a player rusty in terms of match rhythm, we had a problem since there was a five-week gap between the end of the club season and Russia 2018 during which referees couldn’t officiate, since a World Cup referee can’t take charge of a friendly involving a World Cup-bound team.

So we organized a tournament at Lokomotiv’s ground in Moscow involving local teams, just so the referees could work and stay sharp. This was key too.

We also studied the teams differently. We brought a couple of licensed coaches into our staff and some professional match analysts. Their job was to scout the teams ahead of time.

How did that help you?

The idea was to give our guys a chance to understand how a game was likely to be played tactically and, therefore, how play was likely to unfold. That’s a big advantage for a referee, because it means he can anticipate situations.

It’s especially true on set pieces. The match analysts studied them and prepared reports for referees, so that they had a better sense of how corners and free kicks were likely to be approached. They knew what to focus on, what was most likely, what certain teams and players’ tendencies were going to be. This was an important change.

Remember, at a World Cup you have referees from six different continents, all with different experiences and backgrounds who work with different styles of football. It’s important to give them all the support they need.

Let’s get to VAR. I get the impression that old-school referees, like the Collina of 20 years ago, might not have been in favor.

After a VAR referral, Nestor Pitana awarded France a penalty in the World Cup final that Antoine Griezmann converted. David Ramos/FIFA via Getty Images

I want to be honest here: When you have a background like mine, as a referee who came of age in a certain period and enjoyed making decisions on the pitch on his own, [VAR] might not be easy to accept.

But, equally, if the ability of a referee to officiate a game is going to be judged after the fact based on video replays from multiple angles, then referees should have those replays from multiple angles too. … I said that a long time ago, and I still believe it.

I know some people are philosophically opposed to VAR because they don’t think technology has a place in football. I can respect that. But we must be open-minded and ready to implement what can be really useful and helpful.

Before VAR, you were involved in another key officiating change, that of additional assistant referees (AARs) at UEFA.

As I said before, because of my own background as a referee, I liked making decisions on my own. But then [UEFA president Michel] Platini asked me to help shape the change. A bit like VAR, it was an answer to a need: To reduce mistakes on the pitch.

And the idea was that with two extra officials who watched the game from a different angle we could reduce — not eliminate, but reduce — mistakes on the pitch. It’s still in use in UEFA competitions.

Yet in many ways, it has been supplanted by VAR.

Obviously, over the years things change. AARs improved things, but clearly it’s not comparable to what VAR can offer today. Two extra sets of eyes can’t match dozens of cameras with the possibility of freeze-framing, watching over again … there’s a substantial difference. Believe me, VAR is like a parachute, and it’s better to have it when [you] need it.

For the past 18 months, you were doing double-duty: You were at FIFA and, at the same time, you were, until last month, UEFA’s chief refereeing officer. It seemed weird to some that, while FIFA was pushing VAR, UEFA was opposed.

Some said I was schizophrenic for that very reason … the reality is that they were two different contexts. Introducing VAR across UEFA competitions presents a different set of challenges compared to a World Cup.

My successor at UEFA is Roberto Rosetti, who I brought in to drive the VAR implementation at the World Cup, and I think we’re getting to the stage where the conditions are right for VAR in the Champions League and Europa League, too. … Obviously, the decision will be made by UEFA, but if they choose to do it, they’ll be ready.

You were on the International Football Association Board (IFAB) committee that helped lay down the VAR protocol. What were the early discussions like?

I remember at the very first meeting, I emphasized that the final say for any subjective decision that required interpretation had to be down to the referee on the pitch and not the VAR. I felt strongly about this, given my background. I didn’t want the referee to be a mere executor, controlled by a joystick by someone outside the field of play.

Back to the World Cup. One of the frustrations with VAR is that sometimes it is not clear why it intervenes or does not intervene and, when it does, what is actually going on.

First of all, I want to emphasize that VAR is always watching. You only need to look at the number of “silent checks” [when VAR evaluates an incident and does not deem it worthy of an on-field review].

Beyond that, communication is important, and I think we took an important step in Russia with on-screen announcements, both in the stadium and for [TV] viewers. It’s only right that people understand what is going on.

Often, however, they don’t. I think back to the World Cup final and the penalty that was awarded to France after Ivan Perisic handled the ball. The penalty was awarded by the referee, Nestor Pitana, only after VAR called for an on-field review. I understand that it’s down to interpretation, but it certainly did not look like a clear error.

I think those who watched it closely knew the referee could not have seen it since there were bodies in the way. And because he did not see it, VAR gave him the opportunity to review it. Then his interpretation was to give a penalty.

What other benefits do you think VAR brought at the World Cup? We saw fewer protests from players.

That’s one, and I think it offsets those who say reviews delay the game. Players have been very accepting of VAR. But one other important aspect is deterrence. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we had more set piece goals and fewer off-the-ball incidents. Knowing you are watched at all times means your attitude is going to be different.

When you were still an official, FIFA’s referee committee was made up mostly by football administrators and there were only a few former referees involved. Now you’re virtually all ex-referees.

That was one of things I asked when I took the FIFA job. The referees’ committee should be made up only of specialists; it’s a technical role that shouldn’t belong to those in the politics of football. Today the head of referees from each confederation sits on the committee and that’s a big step forward.

You talk about the importance of quality; if quality is most important, will we ever see, say, a Spanish referee taking charge of Spain vs. Germany? Or will we always be fixated on nationality and neutrality?

I think that’s a utopia. No matter how professional or talented a referee is, he’d have difficulty. Imagine an official making a mistake that hurts his own country.

But we’re already taking steps forward. I’ll give you an example. Japan qualified ahead of Senegal for the knockout phase and it was very close. For Japan’s next match, against Belgium, we appointed a Senegalese referee, Malang Diedhiou, because we thought he was best for the job.

In the past, that might not have happened, people might have talked about him feeling pressure to avenge his country. Which, of course, when you think about it, is absurd.

Similarly, as far as “confederation neutrality” is concerned, we had South American referees appointed to officiate South American teams [against teams from other confederations, which previously had only been the case with European referees].

Players make mistakes and referees make mistakes. But I guess there are some big differences. One is that people don’t pay to watch referees, they pay to watch players. The other is that it’s easier for a player to redeem himself for a mistake.

Well, some of us watch referees more than players, but, yes, it’s a key difference. A player can miss a sitter and then score a hat trick. A referee who incorrectly awards a penalty and then is flawless the rest of the game will still be remembered and criticized for the mistake … That’s why we’re trying, every which way, to help limit errors.

MLS Power Rankings: New York teams challenge Atlanta United’s dominance

August 14, 20189:45AM EDTAlicia RodriguezContributorOnly MLS league games will be reflected in the rankings. Rankings are voted on by MLSsoccer.com editorial staff; words by Alicia Rodriguez.

BIGGEST MOVERS: PHI +3; HOU, NE -3

1ATL

LAST WEEK: 1  HIGH: 1 | LOW: 7

10 more games…can Atlanta United maintain their lead on top and clinch the Supporters’ Shield? They’re technically behind the Red Bulls in points per game, so it probably won’t be easy, but the Five Stripes need at least one trophy to really commemorate this initial spell for the club.

Previous: Idle | Next: vs. CLB on 8/19

2 NY Red Bulls

LAST WEEK: 3

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 7

But the Red Bulls don’t look like they’ll be going quietly in order to pave the way for Atlanta. They’re 8-2-0 in their last 10 games, so if they keep up that stellar pace they could be lifting their third Shield in late October. A grueling road game in Vancouver will be a good test this week.

Previous: Won 1-0 at CHI | Next: at VAN on 8/18

3 NYCFC

LAST WEEK: 4

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 6

 

NYCFC post a good win in Toronto, which, yes, did include a very early red card to Jozy Altidore. But credit to the front office for picking up the likes of Ismael Tajouri-Shradi – he may not have the name recognition of previous signings, but he’s on a scoring pace of a tick under a goal every other game.

Previous: Won 3-2 at TOR | Next: at PHI on 8/18

4 Portland

LAST WEEK: 2

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 18

The streak had to end at some point, and Vancouver’s battling performance (and a wayward penalty by the usually reliable Diego Valeri) snapped Portland’s unbeaten run at 15. With a big two-game week here, it could be a pivotal juncture in the Timbers’ campaign.

Previous: Lost 2-1 vs. VAN | Next: at DC on 8/15; vs. SKC on 8/18

5 KC

LAST WEEK: 7

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 15

If at first you don’t succeed, go back on the road? Sporting have won their last two away from home, on conference opponents, and an efficient victory against a rotated LAFC lineup shows Peter Vermes’ group may be out of their summer slump for good.

Previous: Won 2-0 at LAFC | Next: at POR on 8/18

6 FC Dallas (Matt Hedges)

LAST WEEK: 5

HIGH: 4 | LOW: 18

Two losses in a row, although the latest, on the road against a surging Sounders team, isn’t a huge upset. But Dallas’ cushion at the top of the Western Conference is down to three points, so they can’t afford to keep dropping points.

Previous: Lost 2-1 at SEA  | Next: vs. MIN on 8/18

7 Columbus Crew

LAST WEEK: 9

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 12

The week off seemed to do Columbus good, as they returned to action and defeated the Dynamo, albeit by the skin of their teeth. Questions persist about whether this team is truly a contender, but might their game in Atlanta at the weekend be a preview for another playoff clash between the teams?

Previous: Won 1-0 vs. HOU | Next: at ATL on 8/19

8 LAFC

LAST WEEK: 6

HIGH: 3 | LOW: 17

LAFC are only three points out of second place in their conference, but five games winless in league play leaves them drifting just above the playoff line. Once thought to be a sure thing for the playoffs in their first year, if they stumble in a double-game week, that certainty may vanish.

Previous: Lost 2-0 vs. SKC | Next: vs. RSL on 8/15; vs. COL on 8/19

9 Seattle Sounders

LAST WEEK: 10

HIGH: 4 | LOW: 21

The Sounders’ rally isn’t quite done, but unbeaten in eight, with five wins in a row, they’re just three points out of the playoff spots now. A home game against the Galaxy remains a marquee match-up, and a win there could move them above the playoff line.

Previous: Won 2-1 vs. DAL | Next: vs. LA on 8/18

10 LA Galaxy

LAST WEEK: 8

HIGH: 6 | LOW: 14

The Galaxy posted a home draw against Minnesota that feels like a loss, and yet more injury concerns for key players could set them back again. The voters still believe LA are a top 10 team, but they may not find a way to climb much higher as their inconsistency continues.

Previous: Drew 2-2 vs. MIN | Next: vs. COL on 8/14; at SEA on 8/18

Football lines will be visible on turf in Lucas Oil Stadium for next seven matches

For the rest of 2018, National Football League lines and configuration will be visible on-field during Indy Eleven home matches. The change comes after new turf was installed in Lucas Oil Stadium last month. “We’re thankful for the opportunity to play our home games on the new turf,” said Indy Eleven president Jeff Belskus. “Unfortunately, painting over the football lines was not acceptable for all parties. As a result, we’ll be playing with football lines visible for the rest of the year.”
This is the first year Indy Eleven has played in Lucas Oil Stadium after moving to the United Soccer League in January of this year. “Indiana’s Team” agreement is with the Capital Improvement Board to play in the 70,000 seat stadium. The CIB was formed in 1965 by the Indiana General Assembly and empowered to finance and manage capital improvements throughout the city of Indianapolis. Indy Eleven have seven more home matches in 2018; August 15 against North Carolina FC, August 22 against Toronto FC II, August 29 against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, September 1 against Richmond Kickers, September 5 against New York Red Bulls II, September 26 against Tampa Bay Rowdies and October 6 against Bethlehem Steel FC

INDY 11 — Four matches in the next eighteen days!

Our Indy Eleven currently occupy the 8th and final playoff spot, however, have many games in hand on the teams ahead of us in the standings currently. These home games could ultimately decide our playoff fate over the coming weeks.Get your BYBTIX for the next four home games HERE! Don’t forget that you save $8 per ticket off the online and box office price by buying from us!

Wed, August 22   7PM kick off     v. Toronto FC II

Wed, August 15   7PM kick off     v. Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Wed, Sept 1         7PM kick off     v. Richmond Kickers

Parking passes at Gate10Events is $11 with advance purchase. $15 day of.  Save $$$ by buying early.

A letter to our former President and the all of the BYB  Joshmason

I’ve put this off for far too long at this point, but I wanted to publicly thank Josh Mason for all of the work he has done for the Brickyard Battalion over the past seven-odd years. As we recently have celebrated our seventh year in existence on August 3rd, one does not have the time to list all of the wonderful things Josh had championed for the BYB during his tenure as a board member. He leaves a legacy that includes two Brickyard Battalion-inspired beers, Full 90 by Flat 12 and our current partnership with People’s Brewing with our Battalion Ale. As you can imagine, getting a brewing company to brew a beer specifically for a lower division soccer supporters group and team is few and far between. The connections Josh has made over the years, both professionally and personally, led to the success of this venture. This only touches the surface of many of the projects owned and countless hours Josh has spent to enable our ability to support our club. His professionalism will be something that will be difficult to emulate.Thankfully, he made the career choice to move to the front office of our Indy Eleven. We know the energy and passion he has for our club will lead to many great things off the pitch and certainly his dedication will contribute to results on the pitch as well. I do, however, feel sorry for him as now he gets to feel the wrath of our own Peter Evans who pulls no punches when it comes to ensuring our support culture is treated like a top priority for the team, off the pitch. Just ask Tom Dunmore or Andy Piggush, those calls and texts will come at any hour of the day or night. Good luck! All jokes aside, we couldn’t have asked for a better person to work with between the BYB and front office, and we look forward to an even stronger relationship with the front office going forward.We will have a few board seats open in the coming months, including Josh’s vacancy. Please be on the lookout for future BYB meetings that will include an invite to any and all Indy Eleven supporters. We will need your help! If you’ve ever wanted to become more active in our supporters group and help us provide the best atmosphere for our club to thrive, keep an eye out on future emails/social media posts with more details to come.Until then, the best thing you can do is continue to buy tickets through our BYBTix initiative. Interest has waned slowly since our incredible success with our first home match against Cincinnati. We have 39 tickets to sell per match to break even and with the majority of our remaining home games on Wednesdays, it’s a tough sell. Please pass along the link to co-workers, friends and family.

All the best,
Andrew Retz
New President, Brickyard Battalion

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