10/21/16 Indy 11 last home Game Sat Night 7:30 pm, MLS Decision Day Sun 4 pm, Man U vs Chelsea Sun 11 am, Champ League Rd 3

The Indy Eleven will close out its 2016 regular season at Carroll Stadium this Saturday, October 22, with a chance to even the NASL modern era record of 18 straight games unbeaten when it welcomes Puerto Rico FC to “The Mike” on Fan Appreciation Night.  Tickets for the last regular season game at Carroll Stadium (remember, The Championship Semifinal is coming November 5th!) start at just $11 in the Brickyard Battalion and East Goal Top sections – or for just $9 for college studentsThe first 4,000 fans through the gates will receive the official 2016 Team Photo poster. All will be able to take advantage of food and drink specials at the concessions stands and merchandise tents (see below), while 11 lucky fans that find a special sticker on the inside cover of their Victory gameday program upon entry will win prizes including team autographed jerseys and balls, official team merchandise and more. Make your plans to head out to the Mike for the Finale – I plan to be in the BYB!

So Champions League match-day 3 wrapped up this week as the group stages near the half-way mark and we had some good games and some fantastic saves from the goalkeepers this week especially Buffon for Juve in saving the 1-0 win over Lyon.   Of course the big game was Barcelona bitch slapping Man City and former Barca coach Pep Guardiola 4-0 at the Camp Nou  – Messi was legendary with a hat-trick and Pep again made some interesting decisions that certainly backfired.  Champs League returns Tues/Wed Nov 1+2 for the return matches as Man City will now host Barca as the biggest game of the week.  The US Ladies are introducing new players including newcomer Lynn Williams who started her career with a goal in just 45 seconds – see the ladies play again this Sunday at 1 pm on Fox Sports 1.  Speaking of US ladies –  best of luck to Indy native Lauren Cheney Holiday who is recovering from surgery to remove a Brain Tumor just a month after having her first child.

Big League week in the EPL as Man United has Mourino returning to Stamford Bridge to face his former team Chelsea on Sunday 11 am on NBCSN.  The big games however are league cup games on beIN Sport Tues/Wed with Liverpool vs Tottenham Tuesday and Man City vs Man U on Wed 2:45 pm.  (ANYONE WANT TO GATHER TO WATCH?)  US Coach Bob Bradley will look for his first win with Swansea as they host Watford on Sat at 10 am on CNBC, while Italy has Juve @ Inter in a top 3 matchup 2:45 on Saturday.

MLS has Decision Day this Sunday with 4 teams battling to make the playoffs – Seattle will host Real Salt Lake at 4 pm on ESPN in a winner advances game – in should be a racous 45,000 strong in Seattle.  Meanwhile Dallas and LA will battle with the top slot in the West on the line on Fox Soccer 1 and ESPN 2 will bounce around from game to game at 4 pm following all the playoff deciding action.  MLS Playoffs start Wed/Thurs eve on ESPN and FS1.

MUST SEE GAMES ON TV

Saturday, October 22

7:30 a.m., NBCSN        Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur

9:30 a.m., Fox Sports 2: Ingolstadt vs. Borussia Dortmund  will US Christian Pulisec start again like Champions League?

10:00 a.m., CNBC:       Swansea City vs. Watford   American Coach Bob Bradley in first winnable game at home!!

10:15 am  beIn Sport  Valencia vs Barcelona  – top 5 battle in Spain

12:30 p.m., NBC          Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion

12:30 p.m., Fox Sport 2 Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach  – US Johnson to start at midfield for Monchenglad

2:45 pm beIn Sport   Milan vs Juventus  battle for Italy – 2 top 3 teams battle it out

7:30 pm  My Indy 23                       Indy 11 host Puerto Rico in Last Home Game before Playoffs 

Sunday, October 23

8:30 a.m., NBCSN       Manchester City vs. Southampton

10:15 am beIN Sport                       Sevilla vs Atletico Madrid   – top 3 battle

11:00 a.m, NBCSN      Chelsea vs. Manchester United – ah the classico Mourino returns home to Stamford Bridge

1 pm Fox Sport 1 USA Ladies vs Swiss

2:45 pm beIn Sport Real Madrid vs Athetic Club

4 pm  ESPN                     Seattle Sounders vs Real Salt Lake

4 pm  Fox Sport1        LA Galaxy vs FC Dallas

4 pm  ESPN 2                 MLS – Around the League Goal Zone – Final Day of Regular Season Playoffs Finalized                  

Tuesday, October 25

2:45 p.m., beIN Sports: Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur League Cup (Round of 16)

Wednesday, October 25

2:45 p.m., beIN Sports Manchester United vs. Manchester City League Cup (Round of 16)

8 pm ESPN2                    MLS Playoffs Knock Out Rounds Start Wed Thurs on ESPN2

Sun, Oct 30

3 pm  ESPN                     MLS Conference Semi-Finals

5 pm  ESPN                     MLS Conference Semi-Finals

7 pm  FS1                         MLS Conference Semi-Finals

9 pm  FS1                        MLS Conference Semi-Finals

Sat, Nov 5                       

3  pm My Indy 23       Indy 11 host Playoff Semi’s @ the Mike

Sun, Nov 6

3 pm  ESPN                     MLS Conference Semi-Finals

5 pm  ESPN                     MLS Conference Semi-Finals

7 pm  FS1                         MLS Conference Semi-Finals

9 pm  FS1                        MLS Conference Semi-Finals

Fri, Nov 11

7:30 pm Fox Sports 1 USA vs Mexico in Columbus, OH

indy-11-poster

The First 4000 fans for Sat Nights’s Final Reg Season game will receive this Free Poster.

Indy 11

Fan Appreciation Night and 11 Looking for Home Undefeated Season this Sat Night at the Mike

Indy 11 vs Puerto Rico Preview

3 Take-Aways in 3-2 Win over Tampa Bay Wed

GK Jon Bush wins player of Week in Goal

Vote Indy 11 Coach of the Year – Tim Hankinson

EPL

Around the World What’s Trending

Rooney gives up PKs in 4-0 Europa cup win

EPL Big Game Weekend –

EPL Predictions this weekend

Man City needs to Shake off Bad Run of Games

 USA

Indy’s Lauren Cheney Holiday has Brain Tumor Removed 1 month after giving Birth

US Ladies beat Swiss 4-0 as newcomer scores after 49 seconds

Lynn Williams scores in 49 second for US

 MLS

3 MLS teams in CONCACAF Quarters

Playoff Picture going into last day of Play on Sunday

MLS Playoff Picture ESPN FC

4 Teams Battle for Final 3 Playoff Spots

 Champions League

Could Messy Divorse with Aguero be coming from Pep at Man City?

Messi’s Treble stuns Man City See the Goals

Messi Haunts former Coach Guardiola with 3 goals

Gigi Saves Juve in 1-0 win  Video

Leicester City survives 1-0 with Schmeichel’s game saving save late Video

Lackadasical Defense and Back GK cost Man City vs Barca

Ozil bags 1st Hat-Trick in huge win for Gunners

Group Standings after MatchDay3 – top 2 advance to Sweet 16 Knockout Rounds

World

Neymar Extends Contract to 2012

La Liga – Biggest Game Weekend of the year?

La Liga Table

Goalies

Buffon, Lloris & Schmeichel make legendary Champ League saves this week

Gigi Saves Juve in 1-0 win  Video

PREVIEW: #IND 11 vs PR FC

Indy Eleven hosts PRFC looking to stay unbeaten at home for the 18th straight game

One Record Left

While the postseason is approaching shortly, sights for Indy Eleven are still set on closing out the 2016 regular season in strong fashion. For Indiana’s Team, this means one thing – leaving Carroll Stadium on Saturday night without a loss. It’s been a magnificent run since mid-October 2015. Two wins at the end of the regular season last year were added on to the incredible slate of wins Indy has brought to “The Mike” in 2016, with wins against the New York Cosmos, Minnesota United FC, FC Edmonton, and the Carolina Railhawks to win the Spring Season all standing out. The New York Cosmos, who still hold the joint-record with the Carolina Railhawks for different stretches, also have the opportunity to get to that same number in their home against Miami FC on Saturday night, but like Indy, with a postseason spot locked up earning a point to keep the streak alive may be their biggest motivation.Though the “Boys in Blue” are aware of their semifinal opposition (FC Edmonton – Nov. 5) they must first look for revenge against a sneaky good Puerto Rico FC team that earned a point in their season opener back on July 2.

Who to Watch, Indy Eleven edition: FW Eamon Zayed

He’s been part of the major focus all year alongside Justin Braun in attack, and now he has just two games left to add to his scoring tally this season. Zayed, who has been tightly in the race with Minnesota United FC forward Christian Ramirez, now sits four goals back off the top of the charts but has shown his flair for scoring at home. It’s no secret that Indy’s No.9 knows how to find the back of the net with hat-tricks against the Carolina Railhawks and Jacksonville Armada FC in the Spring and Fall Season still fresh of mind, but if he is to keep himself in the running for the Golden Boot, he’ll need a big game on Saturday night.Working in his favor is the attacking talent placed around him, with players like Braun, Dylan Mares, Don Smart, and more readily setting up the Irishman when possible. As Indy pushes for magic #18 at home, Zayed will surely be a focal point.
Who to Watch, Puerto Rico FC edition: FW Hector Ramos

For the visiting side PRFC, forward Hector Ramos is the name to know in 2016.Scoring seven goals while registering four assists in 18 appearances, the Puerto Rican talent has demonstrated his ability to play in between the lines and work out space for a shot. Impressively, his seven goals on just 15 shots gives him a monsterous conversion rate of 17.5%, and he has scored those goals in a number of ways, one with the left foot, four with the right, and two with his head. However, having not scored since August 20, he will be looking to put his name back up in lights this weekend in the Circle City. Despite that, though, the forward has still contributed with three assists in his last five games and will be the main threat for PRFC.
Match-up to Mark: MF Brad Ring vs. MF Paulo Mendes

Having not played midweek against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, it can be expected that Brad Ring will return to the starting XI for the home season finale, and he’ll likely be going head-to-head with PRFC midfielder Paulo Mendes in another battle of defensive vs. attacking midfielders.Ring has effective in his 26 appearances for the club this year, working as the glue in the center of the park with one of the highest pass completion percentages (81%) on the team. Also noteworthy is Ring’s ranking in pass attempts (2nd – 881) on the team and how efficient he has been in the opposition half, completing 71.8% of passes in the opponent’s area. Paulo, meanwhile, brings a creative dynamic to the PRFC attack and has scored one goal with four assists in 19 games played this year. Also completing a high percentage of his passes (82.4%), the Brazilian attacking midfielder has created 27 chances for his side and will be one to stop for Ring and co. when they meet at Carroll Stadium.

Trending: Jose Mourinho hits back at ‘Einsteins’; Inter eye Pablo Zabaleta

Here are the latest stories for Friday.

MAN UNITEDManchester United manager Jose Mourinho hit back at “Einsteins” after Paul Pogba scored twice in a 4-1 win over Fenerbahce on Thursday, saying that the critics would rapidly change their opinions.

– Michael Owen has questioned former teammate Wayne Rooney’s decision to allow Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial to take penalties.

– Mourinho has admitted he does not feel “lucky” at Stamford Bridge any longer, as he prepares to face Chelsea away on Sunday.

– Paul Pogba has told MUTV that Chelsea are “one of the best teams in the world” ahead of Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge.

CHELSEA: Victor Moses has told ESPN FC that Jose Mourinho exiled him at Chelsea because “he had his own players” and said he is delighted that new head coach Antonio Conte has given him a second chance to prove himself at Stamford Bridge.

– Former Chelsea midfielder Deco has told the London Evening Standard that John Terry should return to the side as he is “a true captain” and “one of the best I have ever played with.”

– Chelsea will pay tribute to Matthew Harding at Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United on the weekend that marks 20 years since his death.

ARSENAL: Arsenal have been implored by former Gunners goalkeeper David Seaman to splash the cash to ensure Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez sign new deals.

– Arsenal striker Lucas Perez said he has not played as much as he envisaged since joining from Deportivo La Coruna but is determined to make the most of his opportunities.

– Arsene Wenger says Arsenal have improved “tremendously” when it comes to preventing muscle injuries.

MAN CITY: Inter Milan are considering making a move for Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta in January, sources have told ESPN FC.

– Former Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has come out in support of Pep Guardiola following criticism of the Manchester City manager after his team’s 4-0 defeat at Barcelona.

LIVERPOOL: Jurgen Klopp has dismissed Jose Mourinho’s criticismof his Liverpool side and believes his players have a duty to play attacking football because of the club’s illustrious history.

– Steven Gerrard has revealed the emotional toll it took on him to be Liverpool captain for 12 years. Gerrard is the longest-serving captain in the club’s history, taking on the armband in October 2003 before departing for LA Galaxy last summer.

TOTTENHAM: Mauricio Pochettino has likened Dele Alli to a “wild horse” but says he has no plans to tame the Tottenham Hotspur stallion.

– Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli has said he is missing too many chances.

LEICESTER: Claudio Ranieri reached retirement age on Thursday but the Leicester boss has no plans to relax just yet.

– Leicester City defender Christian Fuchs has signed a new three-year contract with the Premier League champions.

EVERTON: Everton manager Ronald Koeman says Ross Barkley’s omission against Manchester City should act as a “wake-up call.”

SWANSEA: Bob Bradley accepts Swansea are in a relegation battlebut believes he can draw on his experience in Norwegian football to keep the club in the Premier League.

ENGLAND: Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed the suggestion that Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is too young to take the England job, saying younger coaches can relate better to players.

WEST HAM: The Metropolitan Police Service says a “tactical solution” is now set for matches at West Ham’s London Stadium, which would see officers deployed inside the ground if needed for the EFL Cup tie against Chelsea.

JUVENTUS: Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain is hoping it will be a case of third time lucky when he faces AC Milan and teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma on Saturday.

BARCELONA: Juventus full-back Patrice Evra has congratulated Barcelona striker Luis Suarez on his European Golden Shoe award.

ATLETICO MADRID: Atletico Madrid have accepted they will not sign players in January while they fight a FIFA transfer ban at sport’s highest court.

– Atletico Madrid midfielder Yannick Carrasco has signed a two-year contractextension with the club.

REAL MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo incurred the wrath of Buddhistson social media after the Real Madrid star posed in an Instagram photo with his foot resting at the base of a Buddha statue.

BAYERN MUNICH: Carlo Ancelotti paid tribute to his side’s “attitude and reaction” after Bayern Munich bounced back to end a run of three games without a win with a convincing 4-1 win over PSV Eindhoven.

LIGUE 1: Radamel Falcao is set for his first appearance since suffering concussion last month after being included in Monaco’s squad for Friday’s Ligue 1 game against Montpellier.

Mourinho’s Stamford Bridge return; Arsenal try not to pull an Arsenal

W2W4 previews the weekend’s Premier League fixtures and highlights five key storylines.

How will Jose Mourinho approach his return to Stamford Bridge?

If nothing else, it will be interesting to see what sort of mindset Jose Mourinho arrives back at Chelsea with on Sunday. Against Liverpool on Monday his primary aim seemed to be to stop his opponents — a perfectly sensible, if not massively entertaining strategy. But that was against a team that looked like they were hitting their attacking stride and thus a containing approach was more justified, but Chelsea have looked less certain going forward. Indeed, there are clearly areas in their side Mourinho could exploit with a more positive mentality, if he chooses to do so.

Antonio Conte’s experiment with a three-man defence is two games old, and while two clean sheets have been kept, those haven’t been against attacks which offered much. Victor Moses is still getting used to playing as a wing-back, and whichever trio play in that three-man backline won’t exactly be experts either. With the pace United have available on the wings, encouraging Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and/or Jesse Lingard to attack a little more than they were asked/allowed to at Anfield could cause big problems for Chelsea. If nothing else, on Monday it was extremely frustrating to see a side with as much talent in it as United’s essentially acting as spoilers, to take a reactive rather than proactive stance in a big game. Mourinho might not want to take too many risks, and we expect this of him in this sort of game, but it would be nice to see him take the shackles off a bit.

Will Manchester City’s blip continue against Southampton?

Four matches without a win. Given that two were draws and two were against Tottenham and Barcelona, perhaps the best opponents Manchester City will face in the Premier and Champions Leagues this season, it’s doubtful Pep Guardiola will be panicking excessively. But that still represents a very unusual dip for one of his sides: the only time a Guardiola team has gone longer without a victory was in his first year at Barcelona, when they drew three and lost two in spring 2009. This is probably just a blip, but a win against a fine Southampton side at the weekend is not a given. After that five-game run in 2009, Barcelona won their next seven games and embarked on an unbeaten run which included that famous 6-2 win over Real Madrid in the Bernabeu. The way City were playing before this slip-up, they could easily repeat that.

Will Arsenal avoid being ‘Arsenal’?

Arsenal are playing superbly at the moment. They’ve won their last seven games in all competitions, and haven’t lost since that madcap 4-3 defeat to Liverpool on the opening weekend. Theo Walcott finally looks like the player we all thought he’d be, nobody has scored more goals and they’re level on points with Manchester City. They haven’t even got many injuries, which is surreal. And yet, there’s always the suspicion with Arsenal — because we’ve had years of evidence pointing this way — that they could make a frustrating mess of things at any moment. That could come in the form of a careless defeat to a team they should beat handily: a team like Middlesbrough for example, this weekend’s visitors. Beating Aitor Karanka’s side won’t convince anyone further that they could win the title, but each passing week does offer more evidence that things might actually have changed.

Can Sunderland go backwards any further?

This week, Jermain Defoe commented that Sunderland appear to have “gone backwards” this season. As they’re bottom of the table with just two points to their name, that might seem a fairly self-evident statement, but it was rather surprising to hear it from their star (only) striker, and in an interview with their official website, no less. Opinion seems to be solidifying that David Moyes, only eight league games into his tenure, is already on borrowed time. One would think that if they don’t get a result against West Ham on Saturday then the clamour could grow much louder. They’re the only side in the top four divisions without a win so far this season, and should results go against them they might be seven points from safety by the end of the weekend. Is Sam Allardyce back from his holiday yet?

Can Stoke confirm the party is over for Hull?

Hull City have one point from their last six games. The first five of those featured defeats to Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, with a handy draw at Burnley thrown in — all of which can be filed under the “no disgrace” category. However, last weekend they were taken to the cleaners by Bournemouth, the 6-1 defeat exposing that this is still not a squad ready for the challenges of the Premier League. Stoke, on the other hand, are showing signs of life after a rotten start to the season, taking five points from the last available nine and recording their first win last weekend. The initial performances from both teams were rather unexpected, but should the Potters win on Saturday then it should be an indicator of the directions both these teams are heading in.Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League

Jose Mourinho returns to face Chelsea, Manchester City’s Southampton test

Jose Mourinho returns to former club Chelsea with Manchester United on Sunday having struggled to break down Liverpool in the 0-0 draw at Anfield, but seeing his side score four against Feyenoord.Arsenal are flying high after their demolition of Ludogorets, which was their seventh win in a row in all competitions, and will hope add to that streak against struggling Middlesbrough, while leaders Manchester City take on Southampton hoping to get back on track after their humbling at Barcelona.Will David Moyes finally win a game as Sunderland boss? And can Everton to push for a place among the big boys at the top of the table?Predict the Premier League matches in ESPN FC’s polls.

CHELSEA: Jose Mourinho will be out to prove a point on his return to Stamford Bridge and come away with all three with Manchester United. Equally, Antonio Conte will want to reinforce the growing belief that he is a worthy long-term successor to the Special One. A tight game looks in prospect with a draw the likely outcome.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United — Mark Worrall

MAN UNITED: Chelsea have been impressive when dispatching teams with far fewer resources, but have struggled to overcome their traditional rivals. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s team are still struggling for attacking cohesion of their own, and so his homecoming – which may be a little acrimonious – looks set to be a stalemate.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United — Musa Okwonga

MAN CITY: With a 10-win start morphing into a run of two defeats and two draws, City need three points quickly to quell growing nerves. Having delivered many of their own problems in Barcelona, a clean sheet and goals from a restored Sergio Aguero (maybe even a penalty) would be welcome vs. Southampton.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Southampton — Simon Curtis

SOUTHAMPTON: A tough week does not get any easier as Southampton travels to the Etihad hot on the heels of a 1-0 Europa League defeat against Italian giants Inter Milan. Goalkeeper Fraser Forster may need to be on top form to keep out City’s potent attack.Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Southampton — Alex Crook

BOURNEMOUTH: After Bournemouth’s outstanding 6-1 win over Hull at the weekend, the Cherries will be as confident as ever in continuing their home form against Tottenham. Spurs are without key men Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld, which also works in the home side’s favour. The Cherries will win again with Josh King netting late on.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 Tottenham — Will Kent

TOTTENHAM: Bournemouth will be on a high after their 6-1 thrashing of Hull, while Spurs will be reflecting on the lack of clinical finishing in front of goal that cost them dear against both West Brom and Leverkusen. But these are the games any side that considers themselves to be title contenders should be expecting to win, and Mauricio Pochettino is likely to ring the changes to get the job done.Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Tottenham — John Crace

ARSENAL: The 6-0 win over Ludogorets was their ninth from their last 10 games, and the fact that the goals are being spread around means Arsene Wenger’s side are difficult to defend against. With chief creator Mesut Ozil now turned regular goalscorer, the unpredictability means opposition can’t plan as well as they have been able to in the past. The only issue might be fatigue, but the Gunners look as if they have the squad depth to cope with that.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Middlesbrough — Andrew Mangan

MIDDLESBROUGH: It’s a big ask for Middlesbrough to pick themselves up from a demoralising and hugely disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Watford. A trip to the Emirates is less than ideal but Boro will hope that at least some faith and character shine through in an attempt to turn things around.Prediction: Arsenal 4-0 Middlesbrough — Catherine Wilson

 

LIVERPOOL: Having already witnessed the restrictive tactics of Manchester United, Liverpool fans must hope their team will be better prepared for similar measures from Tony Pulis’ West Brom. Pressure is building for the Reds to shine in every game now but a tight match will be expected with few chances.Prediction: Liverpool 1-0 West Brom — Stephen Kelly

WEST BROM: The Baggies head to Liverpool for the second of three consecutive fixtures against teams in the top four of the Premier League. With key man Jonny Evans suspended, West Brom stalwart Jonas Olsson will step in as Tony Pulis’ side look to nullify Liverpool’s exciting front three.Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 West Brom — Matthew Evans

LEICESTER: The Foxes will hope to continue in Champions League form. Leicester have been practically two different sides in the Premier League and Europe thus far. The 1-0 home win last season over the Eagles was City’s first clean sheet of the campaign and earned a pizza reward from manager Claudio Ranieri. If Leicester can defend equally as well as that day they will win comfortably.Prediction: Leicester 2-0 Crystal Palace — Ben Jacobs

CRYSTAL PALACE: The Eagles are difficult opposition when playing away, and with Leicester City going through a patchy spell in the league, the opportunity is there for Alan Pardew’s side to take advantage. So long as the service to Christian Benteke is there, Palace have a great chance of collecting three points.Prediction: Leicester 1-2 Crystal Palace — Rob Sutherland

BURNLEY: The hosts are expected to be without key midfielder Steven Defour due to a hamstring injury and star striker Andre Gray serves the last game of a four-match ban. The Clarets have been strong at home this season, but the pace and movement of Everton’s attack will cause them problems and a third straight league loss feels likely.
Prediction: Burnley 1-2 Everton  Jamie Smith

EVERTON: After their defensive capabilities earned a point against free-scoring Manchester City, Everton travel to Burnley in search of the right balance in the final third as only an in-form Romelu Lukaku is showing the necessary consistency at present. The Blues need to end a three-game winless run in the league.Prediction: Burnley 0-2 Everton Luke O’Farrell

WEST HAM: The Hammers will view a home game against Sunderland as a chance to build on last week’s win against Crystal Palace. Team confidence is up and fans are looking forward to laying to rest some of the myths about their new London Stadium. Prediction:  West Ham 3-0 Sunderland — Peter Thorne

SUNDERLAND: West Ham started the season badly but are in better spirits after a win at Crystal Palace, while Sunderland still look incapable of more than an occasional draw. Only a supreme effort from David Moyes’ uninspiring and injury-ravaged squad will take anything from this game; a sound defeat seems more likely.Prediction: West Ham 3-0 Sunderland — Colin Randall

SWANSEA: Bob Bradley helped Swansea rediscover their scoring touch last Saturday against a strong Arsenal side. This weekend they will face Watford, who can’t match Arsenal’s firepower and don’t have as good of a defence, as Bradley makes his home Premier League debut. This must be the moment Swansea turn their season around.Prediction: Swansea 3-1 Watford – WATFORD: After coming out on top in a turgid affair against Middlesbrough, Watford will be hopeful of taking another three points from another struggling side. Although not tested at the Riverside, the defence still looks creaky and is particularly vulnerable to set pieces. At the other end of the pitch, Isaac Success is quickly making a name for himself and the Swansea back line won’t be relishing their afternoon against him and Troy Deeney.Prediction: Swansea 1-2 Watford — Mike Parkin

HULL CITY: Two months after their last Premier League win, Hull can look forward to their first inviting home fixture of the season against Stoke, an opponent they have already beaten in the EFL Cup. Hope, though, is tempered by last weekend’s thumping defeat at Bournemouth and the loss of the club’s only senior left-back, Andy Robertson, to a long-term injury. A point might not be such a bad result, if only to stop the rot.Prediction: Hull 1-1 Stoke — Phil Buckingham

STOKE: Unlikely goal-machine Joe Allen will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing a Hull defence that conceded six goals in their last game. With any luck he will be joined on the scoresheet by an ever-improving Wilfried Bony who is yet to score a goal this calendar year. Hull 0-2 Stoke.Prediction: Stoke 2-0 Hull — James Whittaker

FC Dallas advances, giving MLS three teams in CONCACAF Champions League quarters

Leave a commentBy Nicholas MendolaOct 20, 2016, 10:01 PM EDT

Major League Soccer will have three teams in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League thanks to FC Dallas’ thrilling comeback win on Thursday.FCD beat Guatemalan side Suchitepéquez 5-2 at the Estadio Mateo Flores after going down by a pair of first half goals.Carlos Gruezo and Matt Hedges helped Dallas to level terms by halftime, and Atiba Harris scored just after the break to put FCD ahead. An own goal and a must-watch Carlos Lizarazo 90th minute wonderstrike gave us the final scoreline. Gruezo also added an assist.A tie would’ve been enough to send Dallas through atop Group H, but the big win moves it ahead of New York Red Bulls. FCD will finish seventh at worst.FCD joins Vancouver and New York Red Bulls as the MLS representatives in the tournament, and the league will have at-worst the joint-most clubs in the quarters. [ MORE: PST talks with FCD’s Hedges, Zimmerman exican sides UANL Tigres and Pachuca are quarterfinalists, while Panamanian side Arabe Unido and Costa Rican stalwarts Saprissa advanced as well. The field’s eighth team will be set after the 10 p.m. ET matchup between Honduras Progreso and Mexico’s UNAM. The Whitecaps are the No. 1 seed, and could well match-up with the Red Bulls if there is a winner between UNAM and Honduras Progreso. If Honduras Progreso advances via draw, the Hondurans will be the No. 8 seed.

Report: USWNT star Holiday has brain tumor removed

Leave a commentBy Nicholas MendolaOct 21, 2016, 7:51 AM EDT

World Cup champion Lauren Holiday has had a brain tumor removed, one month after giving birth.Holiday’s husband, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, announced that his pregnant wife was diagnosed with an operable tumor in September, and Lauren Holiday has publicly thanked fans for support while requesting prayers.The Holidays welcomed their first child earlier this month, and Jrue left the Pelicans preseason to help his wife.The BBC added this tidbit:

Unbelievably as a three-year-old, she had open-heart surgery to repair a defect and went on to become one of the world’s most respected football players.  Get well soon, Lauren.

he soon-to-be U.S. women’s national team star you really should know

Leander Schaerlaeckens,FC Yahoo Wed, Oct 19 8:04 PM PDT

Lynn Williams didn’t take long to make an impact in her USWNT debut. (AP Photo)

Remember the name. Because Lynn Williams took just 50 seconds to score her first national team goal.She came on as a halftime substitute during the United States’ 4-0 friendly win over Switzerland on Wednesday in Sandy, Utah. And the striker immediately pressured a defender into a badly miss-hit back pass, stole it, ran at goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann and finished coolly for what turned out to be the winner.It was some kind of start to a USA career for the 23-year-old, who stands just 5-foot-7. In a highly experimental game for head coach Jill Ellis, who fielded a three-woman back line and gave five players their debuts, the U.S. dominated but didn’t convert all of its possession and shots until Williams stepped into the fray.But then her immediate impact was also sort of natural, considering the year Williams has had. She won the Golden Boot in the National Women’s Soccer League, scoring 11 goals in 19 games. She also recorded five assists and was given the league MVP award. But Williams didn’t really get started until the playoffs. Her Western New York Flash took their semifinal at the heavily favored Portland Thorns to extra time before she scored twice to win it. Then, in the final, her 124th-minute goal salvaged a penalty shootout for the Flash which they won, you guessed it, on account of Williams converting their fourth kick.Williams’ emergence is all the more remarkable for how far she had to come. As an NWSL rookie in 2015, she scored four times in 17 appearances. But that she got to the pros at all was something of a miracle. Endless injury trouble has dogged her career and seemed to be savaging her chances. She had just two scholarship offers out of high school, and neither for big-time women’s soccer programs, per FourFourTwo USA.At Pepperdine, she had meniscus and labrum surgery, a shattered elbow and a facial fracture. Her stats were good and she was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy as the college game’s best player. But she believes that she was perhaps only drafted by the Flash because its technical director had been a youth coach of hers in California.Now, less than two years on, the speedy and industrious Williams is squarely in the national team’s crowded forward picture. And her poacher’s instinct was as much on show against Switzerland in her goal as it was in a later play, when she blocked goalkeeper Thalmann’s clearance on something of a hopeless play but almost forced the ball to carom back into Switzerland’s net.All the same, the Americans ran up the score in the second half. In the 62nd minute, a cool finish from Tobin Heath on preparatory work by Crystal Dunn doubled the score.

When do the 2016 Major League Soccer playoffs start?

The 2016 Major League Soccer season will finish on Oct. 23, 2016. Twelve teams will advance to the playoffs, six from each conference. Click here for the latest standings.

Western Conference clubs that have clinched a playoff berth: FC Dallas, Colorado Rapids, LA Galaxy

Eastern Conference clubs who have clinched a playoff berth: New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC, New York City FC, Montreal Impact, D.C. United

Eliminated from contention: Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew SC, Orlando City, Houston Dynamo, San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps.

How teams can clinch a playoff berth:

Seattle Sounders: Win vs. Real Salt Lake OR loss/draw by Sporting KC or Portland.

Sporting Kansas City: Win vs. San Jose Earthquakes OR draw and Portland draw/loss OR loss and Portland loss and maintain goal difference tiebreaker on Portland.

Portland Timbers: Win at Vancouver Whitecaps OR draw and Sporting KC loss OR a loss and a Sporting KC loss and make up 1 in goal difference on SKC.

Philadelphia Union: Win or draw vs. New York Red Bulls OR New England loss/draw OR loss and New England win if New England does not make up at least 12 in goal difference.

New England Revolution: Win vs. Montreal Impact AND Philadelphia loss and must make up at least 12 in goal difference.

 Knockout Round

Oct. 26: Two games (times TBD) — Match 1: ESPN2 & UniMas; Match 2: UniMas

Oct. 27: Two games (times TBD) – Match 1: FS1 & UniMas; Match 2: UniMas

Conference Semifinals

Oct. 30: Eastern and Western Conference Leg 1 — 3 pm ET (ESPN), 5 p.m. ET (ESPN), 7 p.m. ET (FS1), 9:30 p.m. ET (FS1)

Nov. 6: Eastern and Western Conference Leg 2 — 3 p.m. ET (ESPN), 5 p.m. ET (ESPN), 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1), 10 p.m. ET (FS1)

Conference Championships

Nov. 20: Western Conference Championship Leg 1 (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

Nov. 22: Eastern Conference Championship Leg 1 (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)

Nov. 27: Western Conference Championship Leg 2 (ESPN, 4 p.m. ET)

Nov. 30: Eastern Conference Championship Leg 2 (FS1, 7 p.m. ET)

2016 MLS Cup

Dec. 10: 2016 MLS Cup (FOX, UniMas, TSN, RDS, 8 p.m. ET)

*Dates/times are subject to change

PARTY SPOILERS

Indy Eleven truly spoiled the fun in a windy St. Petersburg last night. It seemed pretty clear cut for Tampa Bay – get the three points and a strong postseason push continues. Earn a draw, and playing in November is possible but looks slightly less likely. Meanwhile, a loss, while not completely eliminating them from contention, puts a massive dent in their hopes – and that’s what they got thanks to Nicki Paterson’s thunderous 85th minute strike. That makes two straight games in which Indy Eleven has taken the winds out of the sails of a contender for The Championship, which might make Rayo OKC more than a bit nervous for next Sunday’s regular season finale.Of course, even earning the three points would not have necessarily blasted the Rowdies into fourth place – they would have needed to win by a significant number of goals to jump Minnesota United FC on goal differential – but the overarching point here is that when it came down to it, Indy stepped up to take down Tampa Bay when the match could have gone either way. It was the hosts’ match to take after Joe Cole’s incredible effort from outside the area tied things up with just over 20 minutes to play, but instead of allowing a third, the “Boys in Blue” battened down the hatches to prevent Tampa Bay from finding one more moment of magic and ended up finding one of their own on the counter.Now Indy gets to return to Carroll Stadium, where they have not lost in over a calendar year, for the Fall Season home finale against Puerto Rico FC, still chasing what would tie an NASL home unbeaten record of 18 straight games. Anticipation.

STATS | Indy Eleven at Tampa Bay Rowdies

SPEAKING OF THE COUNTER…

Using his blinding pace, splitting the defense, and following through a nutmeg with a finish at the near post, Duke Lacroix is one of the big reasons last night clicked, but he’s just the first example of how Indy’s counter-attack can be incredibly deadly with the right weapons in the right places. The Young Player of the Year nominee looked incredible on the left side of the midfield diamond, and added a clever assist to his goal last night after taking a Rowdies defender one-on-one to the byline and working in a cross for forward Jair Reinoso to knock home.

With Lacroix on the left and Omar Gordon on the right, Indy also used outside backs Marco Franco and Neil Shaffer to charge up the pitch on the break and create more room for the wide midfielders as Tampa Bay tried to mark one man too many. Looking at Reinoso’s goal, the break begins with Gordon regaining possession and Indy working the ball around the center of the park to escape challenges by the Rowdies. Keller then finds Shaffer, and the break is one. “The Bulldog” (as Eleven ‘keeper Jon Busch nicknamed Shaffer on Twitter post-game) blitzes up the left side and finds Lacroix, who after working the right-back Darnell King gets to the endline and lays it off for Reinoso to do the rest. It was clean, it was quick, and it was impressive.The above example is just one of many from the night. Employing the kind of speed needed to complete moves like this is a tip of the cap to head coach Tim Hankinson and his tactics, which paid off in the form of three points after the full 90 minutes last night. While we’ve seen Indiana’s Team use the counter to their advantage in past games, few times have we seen them use it as successfully.

RECAP | Tampa Bay Rowdies 2 : 3 Indy Eleven

SQUAD DEPTH

One final part of last night that can’t go unmentioned is the depth of the Spring Season champions, which was tested due to an unintentional schedule quirk that has the squad in the midst of a four-game, 11-day stretch. Coach Hankinson made eight changes heading into the game, and to be able to call on guys who haven’t seen typical starter’s minutes and still get a performance like that is reassuring for not just the coaching staff, but for the players up and down the roster.  For guys like Keith Cardona, Neil Shaffer (making his regular season debut on the night), Jair Reinoso, Daniel Keller, Omar Gordon and Duke Lacroix, the 90 minutes and the victory are rewards for a season’s worth of hard work in training every day that the fans aren’t able to see. Not only did their effort contribute to the team getting the away win jinx off its collective backs, but it will also help keep them mentally sharp just in case they are called upon again down the stretch drive.With just two games left in the 2016 regular season, Indy Eleven has ticked off just about every box possible this year – unbeaten at home, getting that elusive road win, and even three points from the Sunshine State – and now has the luxury of two more games to tune things up before The Championship on November 5.

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