Dortmund and US international Christian Pulisic’s play this weekend landed him in the top 10 players of the weekend list after leading Dortmund with its first goal of the season and a pinpoint assist in their win this past weekend. Pulisic will lead Dortmund vs Hertha FC Sat at 12:30 on Fox Sport 1. Neyar was brilliant in his PSG home debut netting 2 goals and 2 assist. Interesting draw for Champions League Group Play in a few weeks as 2-time defending champs Real Madrid draw Dortmund and Tottenham in the toughest group (Group H) – the English teams overall should feel pretty good however. (full draw below). Of course everyone expected Renaldo would win Player of the Year in Champ League, and Man U’s Pogba wins it for the Europa League.
In the EPL Wayne Rooney continues his scoring ways as his goal at Man City was his 200th EPL goal making him just the 2nd player to ever break 200 (behind Alan Shearer). I think more importantly his 2 goals this season have been vital – the game winner at home and the initial goal vs City that helped them earn the draw. (Sad to see him hang up the boots for England however.) Everton leads off a big Sunday of games as they will travel to Chelsea at 8:30 am on NBCSN, followed by match of the week Liverpool vs Arsenal at 11 am same station. (Don’t forget despite NBCSN only showing us 1 game per time slot now you can see all the highlights of the Sat games on Sun @ 7 am or so before the 8:30 am game.)
US forward Clint Dempsey is warming up just in time for the US Qualifiers next weekend as he had the winning goal on Sunday for Seattle. It’s rivalry weekend MLS style as Friday night the NY Red Bulls host NYCFC 7pm on ESPN and Sunday Montreal host top ranked Toronto FC 4:30 on ESPN and the Seattle Sounders will host Portland at 9:30 pm on FS1.
Your Indy 11 return home Saturday night vs Jacksonville 7:30 pm at the MIKE off an impressive 3-3 tie of the NY Cosmos. Its College Night and admission is just $5 with a college id. The “Boys in Blue” look to stay hot after wins over New York and Jacksonville to end the Spring Season, and a win over FC Edmonton to open the fall campaign at “The Mike.” Of course after this weekend of play – World Cup Qualification around the world kicks off next Thurs-Tues with the US looking solidify its spot for Russia with a home win vs Costa Rica Fri night, 7 pm on ESPN, and at least a tie at Honduras the following Tues 5:30 pm on beIN Sport. (see TV Schedule below)
GAMES ON TV
Fri, Aug 25
2:30 pm FS2 Koln vs Hamburger (Bobby Wood)
7 pm ESPN NY Red Bulls vs NYCFC
Sat, Aug 26
7:30 am NBCSN Bournemouth vs Man City
9:30 am Fox Sport 2 B Leverkusen vs Hoffenheim
9:30 am FS2 Bayern Munich vs Werder Bremen
10 am NBCSN New Castle United vs West Ham
12:30 pm NBC Man United vs Leicester City
12:30 pm FS1 Borrusia Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Hertha BSC
4 pm Lifetime Seattle Riegn vs Portland Thorns (Women’s League)
7:30 pm My Indy TV Indy 11 vs Jax Armada
Sun, Aug 27
8:30 am NBCSN Chelsea vs Everton
9:30 am FS1 RB Leipzig vs Freiburg
11 am NBCSN Liverpool vs Arsenal
12noon FS2 Hanover vs Schalke
4:30 pm ESPN Montreal vs Toronto
9:30 pm Fox Sport 1 Seattle vs Portland (Cascadia Cup)
Thurs, Aug 31 World Cup Qualifying Break
2:45 pm FS2 Bulgaria vs Sweden
2:45 pm FS1 Portugal vs Faro Islands
2:45 pm Fox soccer+ Belgium vs Gibraltar
2:45 pm Watch ESPN France vs Netherlands
6:30 pm beIN Sport Chile vs Paraguay
Fri, Sept 1 World Cup Qualifying
2:45 pm FS1 Czech Republic vs Germany
2:45 pm FS2 Denmark vs Poland
7 pm ESPN USA vs Costa Rica
9:30 pm Fox Sport2 Mexico vs Panama
Sat, Sept 2 World Cup Qualifying
12 noon Fox Sport 2 Georgia vs Ireland
2:45 pm FS2 Spain vs Italy
7:30 pm My Indy TV Indy 11 vs San Fran (beIN Sport too)
Sun, Sept 3 World Cup Qualifying
2:45 pm Fox Sport 2 Hungary vs Portugal
2:45 pm Fox Soccer France vs Luxenbuorg
Sun, Sept 4 World Cup Qualifying
2:45 pm Fox Sport 1 England vs Slovakia
2:45 pm Fox Sport 2 Northern Ireland vs Czech Republic
2:45 pm Fox Soccer Poland vs Kazakahstan
Tues, Sept 5 World Cup Qualifying
2:45 pm Fox Sport 1 Italy vs Israel
2:45 pm Fox Sport 2 Iceland vs Ukraine
2:45 pm Fox Sport 2 Hungary vs Portugal
5:30 pm beIN Sport Honduras vs USA
7:30 pm beIN Sport Venezuela vs Argentina
10 pm beIN Sport Costa Rica vs Mexico
Fri, Sept 8
2:30 pm FS2 Hamburger (Bobby Wood) vs RB Leipzig
Tues, Sept 19
7:30 pm Fox Sport 1 USA Ladies team vs New Zealand (at Cincy tix Avail)
Predicting the Roster for US Qualifiers – Greg Selzer MLS.com
Defensive Questions Abound – Charles Boehm US Soccer Players
Yanks (who’s up and who’s down) – Pulisic + George off to a Fast Start in Germany
US Goalies Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid hope to be in Russia -ESPNFC
Spurs Loan US Cameron Carter Vickers to Sheffield United
Register to Win FREE USA Women vs New Zealand Tickets in Cincy
US Ladies National Team host New Zealand on Tues Night 7:30 pm Sept 19 at Nippert Stadium in Cinncinatti.
Champions League Group Stage Draw is Made
Top Teams Mostly happy with UCL Draw
Real Madrid Set to Win Again – ESPNFC
Top 10 Player Performances of the Weekend – Pulisic #8 – ESPNFC
Highlights for the Weekend overseas SI
Neymar scores 2 goals, 2 assists in home debut for PSG
Should Dortmund Striker Aubameyang stay or Go? SI
How World Cup Qualifying Works
What to Watch For – this Weekend Arsenal vs Liverpool leads the pack
Rooney becomes 2nd Player to Net 200 Goals in EPL
Rooney announces Retirement from International Play for England
Don’t Drop Rashford for Martial – Neville says ESPNFC
Liverpool Serious Threat in Champions League –EPSN FC David Usher
Zlatan offers Experience and GOALS for United – Andy Mitten
Cascadia Cup standings with Portland vs Seattle this weekend
Orlando’s Suspended Kaka watches game from “The Wall”
Kaka blown away by Visit to the Wall
Toronto Rocks Fire in battle of Shield Combandants
NYCFC David Villa recalled to Spain Duty
Top Saves of the Week EPL Week 2
US Goalies Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid hope to be in Russia -ESPNFC
3 Things 3 / 3 Tie with Cosmos
Indy 11 Mexican Start Torrado NASL Player of Week at 2 goals
College Night – $5 admission Aug 26 vs Jax Armada
New Indy 11 TV Schedule for Fall
Seltzer: Predicting the US roster for September’s World Cup qualifiers
August 24, 20173:27PM EDTGreg SeltzerContributor MLS.com
The penultimate pair of CONCACAF Hexagonal World Cup qualifiers is right around the corner for Bruce Arena and the US men’s national team, making it time once again to dig up the roster selection crystal ball. This doubleheader will see Costa Rica visit Red Bull Arena a week from Friday (6:30 pm ET; ESPN, UniMás, UDN) before the USMNT heads down to Honduras the following Tuesday, Sept. 6 (5:30 pm ET; beIN SPORTS). With second-place Costa Rica and fourth-place Panama each facing the daunting prospect of dropped points against Mexico in this round, Arena will insist on no mistakes in his team’s effort to close on a ticket to Russia for next summer’s World Cup. If the US can sweep all six September points, it’s quite possible they’d be set up to clinch their World Cup 2018 place with a game to spare by beating Panama in Orlando on Oct. 6. As such, don’t expect much in the way of surprises from Arena for this roster. Even with a few starters out or doubtful, the squad should lean heavily on known quantities.
Brad Guzan, Ethan Horvath, Tim Howard
Everyone knows Guzan and Howard are shoo-ins for selection, with the Colorado Rapids veteran seemingly the starter. The third pick likely comes down to Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson and Ethan Horvath. We’ll give this nod to the 22-year-old Horvath, who is coming off a big week at Club Brugge that saw him shut out AEK Athens in Europa League qualification play before making several big stops in their weekend league victory.
DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream, Jorge Villafana, Graham Zusi
Injuries have done a number on the projected starting backline, with John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin currently in their clubs’ recovery bay. Cameron will retain his place in the heart of defense, with Besler and Gonzalez battling to partner him. It appears as though Zusi will step up to work right back, while one would imagine Villafana keep his left back spot despite being rendered a Santos Laguna back-up – for now, anyway – thanks to his late arrival to the Liga MX club following the Gold Cup.The forced roster shuffle will presumably open a spot in central defense for Ream. Even though Timothy Chandler has enjoyed a solid start to his Eintracht Frankfurt campaign, we’ll go with Lichaj to fill out the right back position. As he was during the last round of qualifiers, Beasley should be around to start the road contest.
Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Dax McCarty, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Gyasi Zardes
Most of the center midfielders are no-brainers. Bradley and Pulisic are locks to start, while Nagbe can’t be far behind them in that regard. Arriola and Bedoya provide adequate depth and fill a role, and Acosta should be around for more seasoning despite a so-so Gold Cup.As with the defense, the midfield crew is a bit hobbled. Having missed Borussia Monchengladbach’s league opener last week and being out for full training until Thursday, Fabian Johnson is in doubt for the weekend. If he can go at Augsburg on Saturday, Arena may well call him up and bump Zardes (who probably makes a FabJo-less squad with Kelyn Rowe now injured) off the squad.
Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, Bobby Wood
There shouldn’t be much debate over the forward stable, if any at all. The most experienced quartet are all available, and should easily beat out the likes of Dom Dwyer and CJ Sapong. Altidore possesses the most complete game in the striker corps, Dempsey is at least a super-sub and Wood is a defense-stretching finisher. Morris, who has four goals in his last nine games for club and country, offers the home-run option out wide.
US – Pulisic, George start fast in Germany; Dwyer’s goal drought continues
ith the European leagues now in full swing, decision time looms for United States head coach Bruce Arena ahead of the September World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras.
Christian Pulisic, MF, Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
Why he’s here: Pulisic was fantastic for Borussia Dortmund in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Wolfsburg, producing a goal and an assist.
What this means: After scoring against Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup and then opening his 2017-18 Bundesliga account on Saturday, you get the sense that this could be a breakout season for Pulisic, especially if Ousmane Dembele leaves for Barcelona. The 18-year-old should be brimming with confidence when he takes the field against the Ticos in less than two weeks.
Geoff Cameron, DF, Stoke City (Premier League)
Why he’s here: Cameron put in another 90-minute effort on the left side of the Potters’ three-man defense in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal.
What this means: Cameron will once again be counted on to lead the U.S. back line. If anything was gleaned from the Gold Cup, it was that the U.S. defense is not nearly as solid without Cameron. Even with injuries to John Brooks, Omar Gonzalez and DeAndre Yedlin, Cameron’s presence at center-back should provide enough stability for the Yanks.
Jann George, FW, Jahn Regensburg (2. Bundesliga)
Why he’s here: George scored a pair of second half goals in six minutes to lead 2. Bundesliga side Jahn Regensburg to a 4-2 victory versus Ingolstadt. The performance earned the German-American forward a spot on kicker’s 2. Bundesliga Team of the Week.
What this means: With three goals in three games thus far, George is quickly starting to generate some attention. A call-up would be his first with the senior team (he previously received an Under-23 call), but Arena is likely to go with players who are more familiar to him, especially for a crucial World Cup qualifier. Still, George is one to watch over the coming months.
Teal Bunbury, FW, New England Revolution (MLS)
Why he’s here: Bunbury scored the New England Revolution’s lone goal in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to New York City FC.
What this means: Bunbury has quietly become one of the hottest players in MLS, scoring five goals in his last six games. It’s been more than five years since Bunbury made his last USMNT appearance, so he probably still has some distance to make up in the forward pool, but with the likes of Gyasi Zardes and Dom Dwyer struggling, Bunbury’s form cannot be ignored.
Danny Williams, MF, Huddersfield Town (Premier League)
Why he’s here: Williams was an unused substitute in Huddersfield Town’s 1-0 win versus Newcastle.
What this means: After a very good season with Reading in 2016-17, the midfielder was a surprise exclusion from Arena’s Gold Cup squad, so his chances of a call for the September qualifiers are already slim. Add to the fact that Philip Billing and Aaron Mooy are preferred in the Huddersfield midfield right now, Williams’ playing time will probably come from the bench, which doesn’t bode well for his immediate USMNT prospects.
Dom Dwyer, FW, Orlando City (MLS)
Why he’s here: Dwyer came off the bench in the 63rd minute but was unable to spark Orlando City to victory against 10-man Columbus in Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
What this means: Dwyer’s scoring slump in MLS now stands at nine games, having not scored since May 3. The former Sporting KC man is likely on the bubble for Costa Rica and Honduras. Dwyer did score in the friendly win versus Ghana and then against Panama in the Gold Cup earlier this summer, but with the full senior team back in tow, his goalless drought in MLS could be the deciding factor in staying home.
Omar Gonzalez, DF, Pachuca (Liga MX)
Why he’s here: Gonzalez missed Pachuca’s 2-1 win at Morelia on Friday with an injury.
What this means: Gonzalez has not played since an Aug. 9 Copa MX game, putting into jeopardy his chances of returning for next month’s qualifiers. Arena cannot afford to risk playing a center-back that’s not 100 percent. Might be best to keep Gonzalez at home for now and allow him to recover.
Sean Johnson, GK, New York City FC (MLS)
Why he’s here: Johnson’s committed a howler in New York City FC’s 2-1 win over New England on Sunday.
What this means: Johnson has had a good season this year in Gotham, but these kind of mistakes, just cannot happen at the national team level. It might cost Johnson his spot as the third ‘keeper.Arch Bell covers CONCACAF for ESPN FC.
Champions League group stage draw 2017-18
Champions League holders Real Madrid will face Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham in a difficult group following the draw ceremony in Monaco on Thursday. Barcelona did not get an easy pass either, as they were drawn against Juventus, Olympiakos, Sporting CP in Group D.
Manchester United received a simpler task after being draw with Benfica, FC Basel and CSKA Moscow in Group A, while Manchester City will face Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli and Feyenoord in in Group F.
Teams were drawn into eight groups of four. Clubs from the same national association — as well as Russian and Ukrainian clubs — could not be drawn together. The first group games will be played on Sept. 12-13.
Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, FC Basel, CSKA Moscow.
Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic.
Group C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, FK Qarabag.
Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting CP.
Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, NK Maribor.
Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord.
Group G: Monaco, FC Porto, Besiktas, RB Leipzig.
Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, APOEL Nicosia.
Wayne Rooney’s 200 Premier League goals for Everton, Manchester United
Wayne Rooney scored his 200th Premier League goal on Monday night when he netted for Everton in their 1-1 draw at Manchester City.The 31-year-old became only the second player to reach the milestone after Alan Shearer, who is the competition’s top scorer with 260 goals.Rooney’s landmark came at the start of his second spell at boyhood club Everton, for whom he made his debut at the age of 16. He was 16 years and 360 days old when he netted his first Premier League goal in October 2002 to help Everton beat Arsenal, making him the youngest Premier League goal scorer at the time.The forward left Goodison Park for Manchester United in 2004 for £25 million, the highest fee paid for a teenager at the time. During his 13 years at Old Trafford he won five Premier League titles, three League Cups, one FA Cup, one Champions League, one Europa League and one FIFA Club World Cup before returning to Everton. Here are the key numbers, facts and stats around Rooney 200 Premier League goals.
HOW MANY HE’S SCORED
Total Premier League games: 462
Total Premier League goals: 200
Goals for Everton: 17 goals
Goal for Manchester United: 183 — the most in the Premier League by any player for one single club.
Highest tally of Premier League goals in one season: 27 (2011-12)
Lowest tally of Premier League goals in one season: 5 (2016-17)
HOW HE SCORED THEM
Right Foot: 153
Left Foot: 26
Inside the box: 173
Outside the box: 27
Direct free kicks: 7
WHO HE SCORED AGAINST
14 goals: Newcastle
13: Aston Villa
11: Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United
10: Fulham, Portsmouth
9: Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City
Only Shearer has double-figure goal tallies against more Premier League opponents — 12, to Rooney’s seven.
Rooney has scored Premier League goals against 35 different opponents in all.
WHERE HE SCORED THEM
Old Trafford: 101
Goodison Park: 11
St James’ Park: 8
Upton Park: 7
White Hart Lane: 7
PREMIER LEAGUE ALL-TIME TOP SCORERS (* = still active)
1: Alan Shearer (Blackburn, Newcastle) — 260
2: Wayne Rooney (Everton, Manchester United) — 200*
3: Andrew Cole (Newcastle, Manchester United, Blackburn, Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth) — 187
4: Frank Lampard (West Ham, Chelsea, Manchester City) — 177
5: Thierry Henry (Arsenal) — 175
6: Robbie Fowler (Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester City) — 163
7: Jermain Defoe (West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Bournemouth) — 158*
8: Michael Owen (Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester United, Stoke) — 150
9: Les Ferdinand (QPR, Newcastle, Tottenham, West Ham, Leicester, Bolton) — 149
10: Teddy Sheringham (Nottingham Forest, Tottenham, Manchester United, Portsmouth, West Ham) 146
Neymar dominates Toulouse to top first Player Power Rankings of 2017-18
ESPN FC’s worldwide editorial desks nominate their top performers from the weekend’s action, and the results are collated into a top 10. This is Player Power Rankings.
1. Neymar | Paris Saint-Germain
Why he’s here: Neymar scored two, assisted on another two and dazzled the crowd in his Parc des Princes debut, a 6-2 win over Toulouse.
2. Marcos Alonso | Chelsea
Why he’s here: Why he’s here: Alonso’s stunning free kick and a last-gasp goal earned Chelsea all three points in a 3-2 victory over Tottenham at Wembley.
3. Paul Pogba | Manchester United
Why he’s here: Pogba scored one and assisted on another in an impressive display in midfield as Manchester United beat Swansea 4-0.
4. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez
Why he’s here: Chicharito scored both the Hammers’ goals, but they still fell 3-2 to Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday.
5. Mauro Icardi | Inter Milan
Why he’s here: Icardi scored from the penalty spot and struck again nine minutes later to secure Inter a 3-0 win vs. Fiorentina on Sunday.
6. Cristhian Stuani | Girona
Why he’s here: Why he’s here: Stuani scored both of newly promoted Girona’s goals as they held on for a 2-2 draw vs. Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
7. Gareth Bale | Real Madrid
Why he’s here: Why he’s here: Bale opened the scoring before adding an assist to his tally as Madrid defeated Deportivo La Coruna 3-0 on Sunday.
8. Christian Pulisic | Borussia Dortmund
Why he’s here: Pulisic registered a goal and an assist as Dortmund beat Wolfsburg 3-0 at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday.
9. Malcom | Bordeaux
Why he’s here: Malcom scored a pair of goals as Bordeaux fought for a 3-3 draw at Lyon on Saturday.
10. Patrick Cutrone | AC Milan
Why he’s here: Cutrone scored one goal and assisted on another as Milan defeated Crotone 3-0 at the Stadio Ezio Scida on Sunday.Also receiving votes: Jonas (Benfica), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Vincent Aboubakar (Porto), Keylor Navas (Real Madrid).
Will Liverpool or Arsenal get a much-needed boost this weekend?
W2W4 previews the weekend’s Premier League action and highlights five key storylines.
Liverpool and Arsenal share similar problems
There are definite parallels between Liverpool and Arsenal, who meet at Anfield on Sunday. For a start, both clubs remain troubled by an unsettled star. Philippe Coutinho now appears set to stay on Merseyside, with blame for his links to Barcelona being placed at the feet of his advisers and the Catalan giants, though further twists cannot be ruled out before the transfer window closes on Thursday. Manager Jurgen Klopp had “nothing to say” on the subject after Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over Hoffenheim booked Liverpool into the Champions League group stage, while multiple reports suggest Coutinho has not yet given up on playing at the Camp Nou.Similar mixed signals surround Alexis Sanchez. A late bid from Manchester City, or even increasingly desperate Barcelona, may still be in the offing. According to manager Arsene Wenger, Sanchez is “ready” to face Liverpool. That’s after Klopp said this week that Coutinho was “ill” after the muscle complaint that has precluded his involvement so far.Beyond those players, both teams share the obvious defensive frailties. Arsenal lost 1-0 to Stoke last week after Jese’s winner, a result of dozy, lax play. Meanwhile Liverpool remain vulnerable to crosses but did manage to withstand Crystal Palace and Christian Benteke in last week’s 1-0 win.Like last week’s showdown between Tottenham and Chelsea, this match comes too early to predict Liverpool and Arsenal’s destinies but while a title or Champions League qualification cannot be secured in August, it can come close to being surrendered.
Mourinho on the march
So far, Jose Mourinho’s team are following his title-winning blueprint. A pair of 4-0 victories have seen Manchester United blaze from the blocks, just like Chelsea did in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2014-15. United brim with the power that Mourinho’s trio of champions did; Romelu Lukaku is in a scoring form that will not hasten the return of re-signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Paul Pogba bursts with skill and invention.Pogba embodies something else. For perhaps the first time in the four long years since Sir Alex Ferguson departed, United seem confident and comfortable within themselves. They are visibly enjoying their football, playing without the crippling anxiety that sunk David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and seemed to envelop Mourinho during last season’s Premier League struggles.At this point, a note of caution should be sounded. United won their opening four league matches of last season and have beaten only West Ham and Swansea, two teams who look headed for the dumper. There does, though, seem something different about United. If they breeze past a tricky Leicester team who have begun the season brightly, having scored five goals in their two matches, then United might be the real deal.
Pep’s patience being tested
Pep Guardiola is still not finding things easy. On Monday, he employed deep sarcasm after Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Everton. In Manchester, dry cynicism is the overriding brand of humour; perhaps Guardiola has just been assimilating some local culture, but there was definite venom in the applause he aimed at match officials. He could not conceal his anger with Kyle Walker’s second booking after a clash with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and was perhaps even less enamoured by failing to win the first home game of the season.Guardiola will also have been aware that Everton’s lead came from a move that exploited one of his tactical flights of fancy, using Leroy Sane as left wing-back. He lost the ball, and Calvert-Lewin surged into that sector to lay Wayne Rooney his goal on a plate.Everton were determined not to let City have their own way and such resistance appears problematic for Pep. For all the attacking riches his team possesses, there has been a lack of fluidity so far. Perhaps Saturday opponents, Bournemouth, a team with which Eddie Howe will always try to attack, might be more accommodating, but over-complication might well stop the preseason favourites and biggest spenders from reaching their potential.
Crisis? What crisis?
Last week, this column along with many others was discussing the latest decline and fall of Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea empire. Then came Sunday at Wembley and a match-winning double from Marcos Alonso in a 2-1 defeat of Tottenham. There was irony in that, since Alonso would surely have been on the bench had Antonio Conte got his wish and Juventus’ Alex Sandro been signed from Juventus.Transfers (or a lack of them) have been central to the turmoil, but once Conte could concentrate on what he is best at, he was able to put Tottenham in a tactical squeeze with a most Serie A-style selection of three defensively minded central midfielders in N’Golo Kante, David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko.On Saturday, Everton present a different challenge, with Rooney and Calvert-Lewin leading the line in front of a well-drilled, experienced defence and a hardworking midfield where Idrissa Gueye provides the lung power and discipline. If Chelsea defeat them, such talk of crisis can finally be decommissioned. Perhaps Conte is not having a “Mourinho 2015-16 season” after all.
Zeroes to heroes?
Talking of potential crises, there remain five teams on zero points at the bottom of the Premier League. Entering a two-week international break with nothing from three matches would be damaging to morale, which means each of Bournemouth, Newcastle, Brighton, Crystal Palace and West Ham should be desperate to claim something this weekend.Newcastle vs. the Hammers is Saturday’s battle of the pointless. With Rafa Benitez at loggerheads with owner Mike Ashley and Slaven Bilic under pressure, there is the added spice of two managers fighting for their futures.John Brewin is a staff writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JohnBrewinESPN.
Spurs to loan U.S.’s Cameron Carter-Vickers to Sheffield United – sources
United States youth international Cameron Carter-Vickers is set to join Championship club Sheffield United on a season-long loan, sources have told ESPN FC.Carter-Vickers, 19, made four appearances in the domestic cups last season but he is yet to feature in the Premier League for Spurs.Last season, Mauricio Pochettino said Carter-Vickers could become “one of the best centre-backs in England” and the Spurs manager has generally been reluctant to send the most promising young players at the club on loan. But this summer has marked a change in approach and Carter-Vickers’ move to the Championship comes after Joshua Onomah joined Aston Villa on loan earlier this month.Carter-Vickers — who could be recalled by Spurs in January — earned a first senior call-up to the U.S. squad in November last year but did not feature in the World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica or Mexico. He has been a regular for his country at Under-20 and U23 levels.Sheffield United have started the season with wins and two defeats from four matches in the second tier, and their manager Chris Wilder has used a 3-4-3 system, similar to the one favoured by Pochettino.Spurs have already signed centre-back Davinson Sanchez for a club-record £36.5 million, while sources have told ESPN FC that they are closing in on the signing of Argentina Under-20 centre-back Juan Foyth.Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.
Michael Bradley says TFC “wanted to send a message” about Shield ambitions
August 19, 201711:53PM EDTJeff KrauseContributor
Before Saturday night’s contest against league-leading Toronto FC, the Chicago Fire had not lost a game in Toyota Park this season. Despite strong support from the home crowd, the Fire were unable to keep that streak alive, falling 3-1 to the Supporters’ Shieldleaders in a game that could serve to be a playoff preview in a few short months.The Fire have struggled in recent weeks, dropping four of their last five coming into Saturday’s match. Struggling form on the road had been contrasted by domination at home, however. The Fire entered the game against TFC with a home record of 10-0-1, netting 12 goals in their previous three home wins. For head coach Veljko Paunovic, the effort Saturday night simply wasn’t good enough for a team that has been so dominant in front of their home fans.”We will always look to give our best and give our supporters the best possible soccer,” Paunovic said after Saturday’s loss. “Overall we didn’t play the way we are used to. But as I said, we are a good team and we are committed to turn this back around and bring the team where it was just a month ago.”Even if the loss came to the league leaders, the Fire players reiterated their belief in their own abilities.”The fans were behind us, but we just didn’t do enough to win the game,” Fire forward David Accam said. “We know we are a good team, so we’ll go back to work and come back stronger next match.”Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney echoed the importance of the game at this point in the season, and the possible preview of a matchup in the playoffs.”They’re a tough team. I thought tonight was maybe one of three games [for us] this year that had kind of a playoff feel to it. We knew it was an important game, and it was a really important game for them because of the stretch of games and results that they’ve been on. We knew they were relying on three points, and so we knew this was going to be a tough day.”Was it an important game for Toronto FC? They had it circled on their calendars.”This is a game we’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley told MLSsoccer.com. “Obviously in a long season it’s natural that you look at certain games as important ones in your season, and tonight was certainly one of those. They’ve let a few points get away from them in the last few weeks so in the end the gap is a little bit bigger, but nonetheless there was a lot riding on this one.”They had not lost [at home] this season up until tonight,” Bradley said. “We wanted to send out a message across the league that said the Supporters’ Shield means a lot to us, and we’re giving everything we have to win it.”
Three Things – #NYCvIND
Takeaways from a six-goal thriller at MCU ParrkPublished Aug 21, 2017
“EL BORREGO” NOTCHES TWO
In a night of shining performances, no one’s heroics stood out more than midfielder Gerardo Torrado’s, opening his account NASL play. Not only did the Mexican National Team legend scoring his first goal since joining the club last June, but notched his first brace, as well. Moreover, Torrado is now the second Indy Eleven player to score two goals in the same game so far in 2017; forward Justin Braun being the other after scoring two in Indy’s 3-3 draw against Puerto Rico FC on April 1.
The first of Torrado’s two goals came early in the 10th minute. After earning a corner kick, midfielder Don Smart sent a charged pass from the corner flag towards Torrado at the top left of the Cosmos’ 18-yard box. After a few quick touches, Torrado slammed the ball from the top left corner of the box into the upper right corner of the goal, which led him to wheel away in celebration with his teammates.Minutes later, Torrado found another opportunity as the Cruz Azul legend slotted in his second goal on the night. In the 14th minute, Eleven forward David Goldsmith charged into the right side of the Cosmos’ box unopposed. From there, Goldsmith sent the ball to forward Eamon Zayed in the center of the box to avoid an oncoming Cosmos defender. With an intelligent touch, Zayed retained possession before passing towards the top of the box as multiple Cosmos defenders closed in. With the ball unattended, Torrado seized the moment once more and drove the ball center and into the back of the net.Although the night ended in a draw, both goals from Torrado and a goal from forward Eamon Zayed tied Indy for the third-highest scoring club in the NASL with 28 goals. While among the top scorers, “Indiana’s Team” currently trails behind the New York Cosmos’ 30 goals and Miami FC’s staggering 41 goals.
WELCOME BACK, JUSTIN BRAUN
It was a night of firsts for the “Boys in White”, which included the return of forward Justin Braun. In the 72nd minute, Braun returned to action after coming on as a substitution for forward David Goldsmith. Despite only spending 18 minutes on the pitch, Braun’s effort didn’t go unnoticed. During his short stint in the match, the forward managed to win every tackle and every duel he was involved in.Saturday marked the first time Braun played since Indy’s 2-0 victory over Jacksonville Armada FC on July 15th before sustaining a minor injury during training. With minutes now in hand, it will only be a matter of time before Braun makes a full return to the starting XI.
A 3-3 tie is definitely an intense situation no matter how one views it. Though the game ended in a draw, there were still several moments in which the scales could have tipped one way or the other with additional goals left unanswered.The first close call of the evening goes to the New York Cosmos when in the 18th minute, midfielder Andres Flores made an attempt in the center of Indy’s box after finding himself on the receiving end of a cross. The ball looked as though it was heading into the back net before taking a hard deflection off of the left post, leaving Flores to agonize over what could have been.Next close call came in Indy’s favor early into the second half. In the 55th minute, midfielder Don Smart received the ball from midfielder Ben Speas in the center of the Cosmos’ box. With no defenders around, Smart had the time to collect his thoughts and fire his shot. The ball went flying towards the bottom center of the crossbar, but a leaping push upwards from Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer kept Indy from distancing their lead.In the 75th minute, the Cosmos came knocking again when defender Jimmy Mulligan fed the ball from the near right post to the center of the Eleven’s where Flores came charging in for a strike. A swift hit from Flores almost found the bottom right corner of Indy’s goal, but quick reflexes from goalkeeper Jon Busch kept forced the ball out and Indy in the lead for just a little longer.Be sure to catch all the action this Saturday, August 26th at 7:30 p.m. as the “Boys in Blue” return home to square up against Jacksonville Armada FC. There’s still plenty of time to get your tickets for as low as $11.
Indy Eleven Midfielder Gerardo Torrado Named NASL Player of the Week
Mexican icon scores first two NASL goals in entertaining 3-3 draw in New York Published Aug 21, 2017
NEW YORK (August 21, 2017) – Former Mexican national team star Gerardo Torrado scored his first two North American Soccer League (NASL) goals in the span of four minutes to help Indy Eleven earn a point on the road against the New York Cosmos on Saturday night. The veteran midfielder’s role in the thrilling 3-3 draw has earned him NASL Player of the Week honors, the league announced Monday.Torrado, who is tied for second all-time in appearances (146) for El Tri, opened the scoring on Saturday night with a beautiful curled effort in the 10th minute. The goal was Torrado’s first in 32 career appearances for Indy, and miraculously, he wasn’t done.Just four minutes after putting the Boys in Blue up 1-0, Torrado fired home his second goal. Forward Eamon Zayed laid the ball off for the Mexico City native, who blasted a shot past a helpless Jimmy Maurer to double Indy’s lead.Not known for finding the back of the net, Torrado’s two-goal shift helped Indy grind out a point against a tough Cosmos side. The 38-year-old midfielder is known more for his passing and defensive capabilities, only scoring 12 league goals during his 11-year stay with Liga Bancomer MX side Cruz Azul.
Torrado’s pair of goals was just the start of a wild game at MCU Park in Brooklyn. Goals from New York’s Dejan Jakovic and Pablo Vranjican brought the score level, and after Zayed put Indy back ahead, Cosmos midfielder Juan Guerra made the score 3-3 late in the game with a header from 10 yards out. One of Mexico’s most iconic players in recent years, Torrado joined Indy last summer after a memorable career at Cruz Azul. Since joining the NASL side, the 5-foot-8 midfielder has been a fixture in the club’s midfield. Torrado began his career in Mexico with UNAM Pumas before eventually moving to Spain. From 2000-2005, he played for four Spanish clubs: Tenerife, Poli Ejido, Sevilla, and Racing Santander. Upon returning to Mexico, Torrado started his long stay at Cruz Azul, appearing in 325 league games for La Maquina. Indy now returns home after Saturday’s draw in New York to welcome Jacksonville Armada FC to Carroll Stadium. The clash is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night and the game can be seen live on ESPN3 (U.S.) and NASL.com (Canada and rest of the world).
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