7/5/18 World Cup Round of 8 – TV Game Schedule, Indy 11 unbeaten streak end at 5 games-discount tix for Sat 7 pm game 

So we are down to the Round of 8 the Quarterfinal of the World Cup and wow!!  3 Games go to Shootouts and England actually wins a shootout?  Imagine that.  Russia who many considered to be one of the weakest host countries ever – is alive and looking strong off their shootout win over Spain.  The most compelling games in Quarterfinals are Brazil vs Belgium in a showdown between Top 3 ranked teams, and England vs Sweden.  Interesting that Fox is taking the Quarterfinals to Fox Sports 1 on Friday they do return to Fox on Saturday however.  I like France to squeeze by Uruguay and Belgium to upset Brazil Friday, while Saturday England will survive Sweden and Croatia should beat Russia.  Goalies I have a solid group of Saves from the World Cup – check out to see them all – http://theoleballcoach.com.  Oh and I love the practicing the Neymar Video.  (thanks Tom!)   Check out this KFC Ad in South Africa.

Fri, July 6         

10 am Fox Sport1   Uruguay vs France  (WC Round of 8) 

2 pm Fox Sport1     Belgium vs Brazil (WC Round of 8)  

Sat, July 7         

10 am Fox             Sweden vs England (WC Round of 8) 

2 pm Fox               Russia vs Croatia (WC Round of 8) 

INDY 11

Indy falls to Ottawa 0-1 in heartbreaker as its 5 game unbeaten streak is broken Wed night at Lucas Oil.  The 11 face Charlotte Sat at home at 7 pm.  Of course discount tickets below $15 are available Click here for Discount Tickets for the Game and enter 2018 INDY as the promo code.  The Sat Night game on July 7th will be Indiana Youth Soccer Night, as all teams across the state are invited to participate in a post-game photo on the field.  Reach out to Youth Club Coordinator Shawn Burcham at shawn@indyeleven.com.  So I hope to be there again Sat night – hoping for a little AC – this time as the game we attended on the 30th was mighty hot.  That being said – folks if you haven’t been to an Indy 11 game since the move to Lucas Oil – you gotta get out and see a game.  Lucas Oil is fantastic – the food, the bathrooms, heck the stadium is truly spectacular and the viewing experience is solid – we just need to get more fans into the games.  I can’t imagine just how awesome it would be with 25,000 fans on hand like Cincy does.

MLS

Here’s the MLS rankings as we ready for some Saturday games including LAFC at Orlando City on FS1 before the big Hudsen River Showdown between the New York Red Bulls and NYCFC Sunday at 7 pm on Fox Sports 1. Interesting news that the LA Galaxy are hoping to sign US and Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron soon – also will we see DC United’s Rooney this weekend?  Oh and Don’t believe the Pulisic to Tottenham rumors coming out today!

cfcJuly4
Carmel FC players take part in July 4th Celebration at Carmel Fest !  

 World Cup

Fox Sets Streaming Record During the World Cup on Monday’s Brazil vs Mexico Game

US World Cup Ratings Down 42 Percent without American Team –NBC

Belgium Must Bench a Star to Beat Brazil in the Quarters – yahoo

Comparing the Quaterfinalist

WC Final 8 – Matchups and Predictions  Yahoosports

England Finally Breaks the Curse

GK Pickford Saves England in Foul Infested win over Colombia

Maradona Takes Aim at US Ref Gieger as he Claims Colombia were Robbed by Ref

Key #s in England Shootout Win

Ogden: England through after finally winning a penalty shootout
ESPN FC TV: England break their penalty curse
Project Russia: Is football coming home to England?
Marcotti: Sweden move on by doing things the “Janne Way”
Vickery: Neymar a selfish brat or misunderstood genius?
Ames: Neymar delivered the good and bad as Brazil cruised past Mexico
Miller: Belgium’s dramatic win over Japan could spell trouble for Brazil
Postcard from Russia: A different kind of sporting experience in Moscow
ESPN FC TV: What’s the deal with Neymar? 
Wayne Rooney talks to ESPN: England must play with freedom

Borden: Russia defy expectations vs. Spain as fairy-tale run continues
Hornby: England to bring the World Cup home?
Marcotti: Modric vanquishes ghosts of penalties past
Laurens: France in dreamland after unforgettable World Cup win
Vickery: Argentina at a crossroads after World Cup demise
Dana: Sampaoli’s Argentina tenure spluttering to an inevitable conclusion

Ogden: Ronaldo’s ambition means he could play at Qatar 2022
Marcotti: Should Messi’s failure to win a World Cup affect his GOAT claim?
Ames: Mbappe announces himself with Ronaldo-like performance
In pictures: Maradona watches as Argentina crash out
Ogden: Cavani outshines Ronaldo but injury could dampen Uruguay’s long-term hopes   Japan leaves Locker Room Spotless after World Cup Loss

US

US Has Regret for the Past and Hope for the Future – Noah Davis – ESPNFC

Don’t Believe the Pulisic to Tottenham rumors coming out today! – Stars and Stripes

Indy 11

Indy 11 Fall to Ottowa

Indy 11 Ayoze Named USL Team of the Week

Indy 11 Tie 1 to 1

Indy 11 – kiss their Sister with A Tie – BloodyShambles.com

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

USL League Standings

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

MLS

Questions That will Define Each MLS Team in 2nd half of 2018 ESPNFC

5 Years In What is Duece – Clint Dempsey’s MLS Legacy?

MLS Power Rankings

Goalies

Best Saves – Round 3 World Cup

Best 50 Saves of the World Cup so Far

Best Saves Round 1 World Cup

Best Saves Round 2 World Cup

Save of the Week – NWSL –

MLS Top Saves of Week

Saves of the Week – USL

SUMMER CAMPS

CDC Carmel FC Camp – Shelborne Field July 23rd – 26th – Click here to Register

Carmel High Girls Middle School Soccer Camp  Ages middle schoolers – July 16, 17, 18, 19 at Murray 3-5 pm $85

Carmel High Boys Soccer Skills Camp Ages 8-14 July 16-19 at Murray 8:30-10:30 am $85

Carmel High Boys Soccer Tactical Camp Ages 8-14 July 16-19 at Murray 11 am till 1 pm $85

Butler Bulldog Soccer Camps – full day $255

 GAMES ON TV This Week

Weds, July 4       

7 pm ESPN+, TV23  Indy 11 vs Ottawa Fury

Fri, July 6         

10 am Fox Sport1   Uraguay vs France  (WC Round of 8) 

2 pm Fox Sport1     Belgium vs Brazil (WC Round of 8)  

Sat, July 7         

10 am Fox             Sweden vs England (WC Round of 8) 

2 pm Fox               Russia vs Croatia (WC Round of 8) 

4:30 pm FS1               LAFC vs Orlando City

7pm Fox Sport South Philly Union vs Atlanta United

7 pm ESPN+, TV23  Indy 11 vs Charlotte

7:30 pm ESPN News  Orlando Pride vs Washington Spirit (NWSL)

10:30 ESPN+                  Vancouver vs Chicago Fire

Sun, July 8         

7 pm FS1                   NYCFC vs NY Red Bulls –(Hudson River Darby)

Tues, July 10       

2 pm Fox               World Cup Semi’s  

Weds, July 11       

2 pm Fox               World Cup Semi’s  

7 pm ESPN+/Utube Charleston vs Indy 11

8:30 pm ESPN+             Chicago vs Philly Union

Sat, July 14         

10 am Fox             World Cup 3rd Place Game

7 pm Yes                           NYCFC vs Columbus Crew

7 pm ESPNNews          Utah Royals vs Orlando Pride (NWSL)

8 pm ESPN+                    Dallas (Matt Hedges) vs Chicago Fire

Sun, July 15         

11 am  Fox            World Cup Final

2  pm FOX                        Atlanta vs Seattle  

6 pm ESPN                     LAFC vs Portland

Wed, July 18   – US Open Cup

8:30 pm ???                   Chicago Fire vs Louisville City FC

Fri, July 20                  ICC – International Champions Cup Starts

9 pm ESPN2                 Sevilla vs Benfica

9 pm ESPN2                    Man City vs Borussia Dortmund (Pulisic)  

Sun, July 22                ICC – International Champions Cup

4 pm ESPN                       Liverpool vs Borussia Dortmund (Pulisic)

Wed, July 25             ICC – International Champions Cup

7 pm ESPNU                    Juventus vs Bayern Munich  

8 pm ESPN+                    Borussia Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Benfica

8 pm ESPN 2                  Man City vs Liverpool

10 pm ESPN 2               Roma vs Tottenham  

11 pm ESPN                    Milan vs Man United

Thur, July 26             

8 pm ESPN                  Orlando City vs NYCFC

10:30 pm ESPN         LAFC vs LA Galaxy (we should be at the game !)       

World Cup on Fox TV Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

 Indiana Youth Soccer Night  Post-Game Photo On The Field

In celebration of Indy Eleven’s official Indiana Youth Soccer Night all youth soccer teams across the state are invited to participate in a post-game photo on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium at the completion of our game. All participants need a game ticket and all teams must register to be eligible for the post-game photo. To register, please sign up here. The deadline to register is Thursday, July 5th. Only one (1) member from each team is required to register for the entire team. For questions, please contact Youth Club Coordinator, Shawn Burcham, at 317-685-1100 or shawn@indyeleven.com.

INDY FALLS IN INDEPENDENCE DAY CLASH TO OTTAWA FURY FC, 0-1

By Trey Higdon, 07/04/18, 11:15PM EDT

“Indiana’s Team’s” undefeated streak halts at five

Indy Eleven’s undefeated streak is halted at five after falling to Ottawa Fury FC, 0-1. A critical error saw Ottawa pick up its fourth win on the season.“We had a lot of chances, a lot of possession, a lot of balls in the box, but we couldn’t manage to score,” said Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie. “Unfortunately, that’s the way soccer goes some time. You don’t always get what you deserve, but credit to Ottawa. They came in and got what they wanted out of the game and we have to improve.”It was an aggressive start to the evening after three yellow cards were issued between both teams within the first 30 minutes; Two to Ottawa and one to Indy. Fury forward Chris Haworth was issued the first caution after a hard challenge on defender Ayoze saw the Spaniard tumble out of bounds. The second was issued to Ottawa forward Adonijah Reid and third to Eleven midfielder Juan Guerra for bad fouls.The “Boys in Blue” found their first opportunity in the 17th minute with a strike outside the six-yard box from Ayoze. The angled shot flew towards center net, but Fury goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau was far enough off his line for a close-quarters deflection away from goal.Aside from a close run at goal from Indy, the visitors found the lead 11 minutes later. In the 28th minute, Ottawa midfielder Kevin Oliveira stepped up to a free kick from outside the 18-yard box. The ball flew high towards the far post before taking a poor deflection off the outside of defender Carlyle Mitchell’s left boot and into the net for an own goal.Indy forward Jack McInerney came looking for another equalizer to match his previous from last Saturday against Penn FC. Ayoze fed a direct line near the left edge of the pitch in towards forward Eugene Starikov. The ball popped up off the head of Fury defender Thomas Meilleur, followed by Eleven midfielder Matt Watson before McInerney found space for a bicycle kick. McInerney’s foot made solid contact outside the six-yard box towards goal, but Crepeau quickly threw his hands down or a last-second save.Ottawa nearly doubled their lead in the 66th minute after a header from Fury forward Tony Taylor that ended wide right. The shot was setup by Oliveira.Two crosses from returning midfielder Tyler Pasher almost found their marks in the final minutes of second half stoppage time, but a strong defensive effort from Ottawa’s backline nullified “Indiana’s Team’s” attack.It was ‘one of those nights’ for Coach Rennie and his squad. Though Indy didn’t manage to collect any points, the Circle City squad is on the cusp of finding its ideal pace.“I think that obviously we’re right on the balance of what we want to do and being not quite where we want to be,” said Rennie. “I think the last two games are examples of that. It’s like we go to Nashville and get a great victory and we come back and in two games we pick up one point. So that to me is the balance of how close we are to being exactly where we want to be and exactly how close we are to not being where we want to be.”The “Boys in Blue” return home for the final of a three home game week this Saturday, July 7 at 7:00 p.m., to take on the Charlotte Independence for the second time in 2018. Fans can get tickets to weekend clash by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.
USL Regular Season   Indy Eleven 0:1 Ottawa Fury FC
Wednesday, July 4, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.   Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana 
Scoring Summary:

OTT – Carlyle Mitchell (IND OG) 28′

Discipline Summary:

OTT – Carl Haworth (Yellow) 9′

OTT – Adonijah Reid (Yellow) 20′

IND – Juan Guerra (Yellow) 26′

OTT – Eddie Edward (Yellow) 69′

OTT – Onua Obasi (Yellow)79′

Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2, L–>R): Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Ayoze, Carlyle Mitchell, Brad Rusin, Kevin Venegas; Nico Matern, Matt Watson (C) (Soony Saad 59′),Juan Guerra, Jack McInerney; Eugene Starikov (Tyler Pasher 73′), Ben Speas (Justin Braun 73′)Indy Eleven bench: Jordan Farr (GK); Brad Ring, Seth Moses, Tyler Pasher, Zach Steinberger, Soony Saad, Justin Braun

Ottawa Fury FC lineup (4-3-3, L–>R): Maxime Crepeau (GK); Eddie Edward, Colin Falvey, Thomas Meilleur, Onua Obasi (Sergio Mansio 90+1′); Chris Mannella, Jamal Dixon, Kevin Oliveira; Carl Haworth (C ) (Jimmy Sanon 68′), Adonijah Reid (Kyle Porter 70′), Tony TaylorOttawa Fury Fc bench bench: David Monsalve (GK); Sergio Manesio, Kyle Porter, Christian Portilla, Nana Attakora, Jimmy Sanon, Gaberial Balbinotti

INDY ELEVEN REMAIN UNDEFEATED IN 1-1 DRAW AGAINST PENN FC

By Trey Higdon, 06/30/18, 11:45PM EDT  A late equalizer from forward Jack McInerney earns Indy a level result

Indy Eleven make a comeback in the final minutes of the night to end level against Penn FC, 1-1. A goal in the 80th minute from forward Jack McInerney sees the “Boys in Blue” extend their undefeated streak to five matches.Much of the action in the first half was found in the midfield as both sides traded possession. Both teams were able to make deep runs into each other’s 18-yard boxes that resulted in easy clearances or pickups by both Indy Eleven goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams or Penn FC man between the posts, Romuald Peiser.Indy came close to securing a first-half lead in the 27th minute. Eleven forward Justin Braun was on the receiving end of a passing play between midfielders Seth Moses and Matt Watson deep in Penn FC’s defensive half. Braun jolted into the right edge of Penn’s 18-yard box, followed by a quick pass inward. McInerney maneuvered quickly around Penn defender Kyle Venter to meet the ball with with a falling shot, but both players made contact with the ball to force it over the crossbar.Chippy play saw several players issued yellow card throughout the evening, which included Indy Eleven’s Watson, substitute defender Brad Rusin and Penn FC midfielder Dan Metzger. Additionally, Eleven defender Karl Ouimette accumulated two yellow cards, which saw the Canadian international exit the match with a red card in the 76th minute.Ouimette’s first yellow card in the 50th minute saw Penn awarded a controversial penalty kick. Ouimette and Penn forward Aaron Dennis locked legs near the top of Indy’s 18-yard box. As both fell forward into the box, the match official blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. In the 51st minute, Penn forward Lucky Mkosana stepped up and buried his shot into the upper right corner of the goal as Fon Williams dove to the left.As the match edged into the final 10 minutes playing down a man, Indy found the equalizer that salvaged a point. In the 79h minute, “Indiana’s Team” was awarded a free kick nearly 30 yards from Penn’s goal. McInerney took a right-footed shot, which sent the dead ball arching over Penn’s defensive wall and into the lower left edge of the goal, just out of Peiser’s reach. McInerney’s goal brings Indy Eleven’s total for the season to 20.Although Indy Eleven didn’t walk away with three points, Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie remains positive about remaining undefeated.“We didn’t give up hardly any chances so I think we did that well,” said Rennie. “Obviously we scored a good goal and had a couple chances to score another but there’s always room for improvement. I think it’s positive for us to stay on an unbeaten run now for five games and look forward to the next one.”
USL Regular Season  Indy Eleven 1:1 Penn FC
Saturday, June 30, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.    Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana 
Scoring Summary:

PEN – Lucky Mkosana (PK) 51′

IND – Jack McInerney 80′

Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2, L–>R): Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Ayoze, Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette, Kevin Venegas; Nico Matern (Brad Rusin 81′), Matt Watson (C), Juan Guerra, Seth Moses (Eugene Starikov 58′); Jack McInerney, Justin Braun (Ben Speas 63′)Indy Eleven bench: Jordan Farr (GK); Brad Ring, Brad Rusin, Ben Speas, Eugene Starikov, Zach Steinberger, Nathan Lewis

Penn FC lineup (4-4-2, L–>R): Romuald Peiser (GK); Marco Franco, Kyle Venter, Ken Tribbett (C),Pedro Galvao; Richard Menjivar, Dan Metzger (Saalih Muhammad 79′), Paulo Junior (Issac Osae 55′), Fredrick Opoku; Lucky Mkosana, Aaron Dennis (Prince Baffoe 83′)  Penn FC bench bench: Sean Lewis (GK); Harri Hawkins, Jake Bond, Saalih Muhammad, Calvin Rezende, Prince Baffoe, Issac Osae 

Fox set a streaming record during the World Cup on Monday

Fox Sports has done a lot of work to deliver live streaming coverage of the

Fox Sports has done a lot of work to deliver live streaming coverage of the World Cup in Russia, but it seems to be paying off. The network announced that the Brazil-Mexico match was its top authenticated streaming event ever with 1.4 million unique visitors, and that Monday was its best all-time streaming day with 2 million viewers. That trumps its previous all-time high of 1.8 million unique visitors set just a week ago on June 27th.On regular TV, 4,181,000 Fox viewers, peaking at 5,373,000, saw Mexico play Brazil, according to Nielsen — numbers that are pretty great for not-exactly-soccer-mad America (though half of what Telemundo did). Soccer also drove more than half (55 percent) of Fox’s 632 million streaming views for all sports in June. That means, despite a lot of hand-wringing when the US was eliminated from World Cup qualifying, the $200 Fox spent to get the 2018 World Cup rights now seems like a wise bet.

US World Cup Ratings Down 42 Percent Without American Team

The 48 group stage broadcasts on Fox and FS1 averaged 2,069,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media ResearchPublished at 12:22 PM EDT on Jul 4, 2018

In games involving the U.S. team in previous World Cups, the average declined 28 percent from the 2014 tournament in Brazil.  Ratings include only television viewers and not those who viewed digital streams.Most group-stage kickoff times this year were morning EDT, starting as early as 6 a.m.

The lack of a U.S. team caused a big viewership drop for World Cup telecasts.

The 48 group stage broadcasts on Fox and FS1 averaged 2,069,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is down 42 percent from the 3.54 million average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC four years ago and down 15 percent from the 2,429,000 average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC eight years ago.

Excluding games involving the U.S. team in previous World Cups, the average declined 28 percent from the 2014 tournament in Brazil and was up 1 percent from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Most group-stage kickoff times this year were morning EDT, starting as early as 6 a.m., and the latest matches began at 2 p.m. Games in 2014 started mostly from noon to 4 p.m. EDT, while in 2010 games there were many matches at 10 a.m. and some as early as 7:30 a.m.  nste Together After Stunning Upset Over Germany

Twenty-six group-stage matches were aired on Fox, up from six on ABC in 2014 and four on ABC in 2010.Ratings include only television viewers and not those who viewed digital streams.Spanish-language coverage for Telemundo and Universo, both part of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal Inc., averaged 1.96 million viewers, including digital streaming. That was down 26 percent from the 2.64 million average on Univision and Unimas four years ago and up 7 percent from the 1.84 million average for Univision’s networks in 2010.

World Cup quarterfinals: What to watch and predictions for each matchup

After three weeks and 56 matches, the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup are set. A tournament that began with 32 teams is now down to just eight. Defending champion Germany is out, along with perennial favorites Argentina and Spain. Of the eight sides remaining in Russia, only two were among the pre-tournament favorites and several have already exceeded expectations to make it this far. Here’s what to watch for in the upcoming quarterfinals, when to watch, and our predictions for who makes it through to the semis.

Uruguay vs. France – Friday, July 6, 10:00 a.m. EST

In Friday’s first quarterfinal matchup, two of the three remaining sides in the tournament to have previously lifted the World Cup face off against each other. Unlike Uruguay, France came into this tournament among the favorites. After a slow start that saw Les Bleus labor to victories over Australia and Peru, and play out a boring stalemate with Denmark, Didier Deschamps’ team finally caught fire in a seven-goal Round of 16 thriller that saw it knock Lionel Messi’s Argentina out of the World Cup.Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe was the star of that show, bursting down the field with belief-defying speed to win the penalty that opened the scoring and netting two second-half goals to effectively end Messi’s hopes of ever winning a World Cup. With the likes of Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Blaise Matuidi and Olivier Giroud, France boast one of the most formidable attacks left in Russia.But if France is an unstoppable force, Uruguay might be the closest thing to an immovable object we’ve seen in this World Cup. The South American nation, which last won the World Cup in 1950, has a lockdown defense anchored by the Atletico Madrid centerback pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez. In four matches at the World Cup, Uruguay has given up just one goal. With Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani spearheading the attack, it also boasts what could be the deadliest strike partnership in the tournament.The worry for Uruguay is whether Cavani will be able to recover from the injury that saw him limp off against Portugal. Even if Cavani is fit, this France team has quality in every area of the pitch and seems to be hitting its stride at just the right time.

Prediction: France over Uruguay, 2-1

Brazil vs. Belgium – Friday, July 6, 2:00 p.m. EST

After not entirely convincing in the group stage, Brazil looked comfortable in the Round of 16 as it brushed aside the same Mexico side that opened its tournament by beating Germany. Having seen the team largely being carried by Philippe Coutinho in the early going, the match against Mexico gave us a glimpse of what a fully fit and motivated Neymar is capable of. With players like Coutinho, Neymar, Willian and Gabriel Jesus, Brazil’s attack is second to none. But its defense is equally formidable, with just one goal given up so far at this World Cup.But Belgium has been almost as impressive, coming through the group stage unscathed and fighting back from two goals down to win its knockout tie with Japan. Striker Romelu Lukaku is two goals behind England’s Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot and the 12 goals Belgium has scored have come from seven different players.The concern for Belgium is that we’ve seen it leak goals against far lesser teams than Brazil. Fighting your way back from two down to Japan is one thing, doing it against Brazil is entirely different. If Brazil scores first, Belgium could find itself exposed as it presses for an equalizer. Belgium is also a team that enjoys possession, and as we saw against Mexico, this is a Brazil team that looks very comfortable letting the opposition possess, soaking up pressure and then choosing its moment to strike.

Prediction: Brazil over Belgium, 3-2

Sweden vs. England – Saturday, July 7, 10:00 a.m. EST

If there is a team in this World Cup that’s passed every test it’s been faced with, it’s Sweden. Playing in its first major tournament since the international retirement of talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden came through a difficult qualifying campaign and topped its group convincingly. The Swedes may not be spectacular to watch, but coach Janne Andersson’s players have bought into his gameplan and stuck to it. Despite benefiting from a lucky deflection in getting past an arguably superior Switzerland team, Sweden is here in the quarterfinals and has no reason to fear anyone, least of all England.That’s not to take anything away from Gareth Southgate’s likable team, which has made a good account of itself in this tournament, perhaps without being entirely convincing. Yes, England made easy work of lowly Panama, but it struggled to beat Tunisia, lost to Belgium’s reserves and required penalties to get past a Colombia team sans James Rodriguez. Although the fact that it did emerge from the shootout victorious could put wind in the sails of an England team that’s not short on talent but historically suffers from fragile confidence. The England we know gets easily rattled, this Sweden team seemingly does not. If things don’t go their way early on, it could be tough going for Southgate’s team of Premier League stars. Unless this truly is the “new England” team we’ve been assured it is.

Prediction: Sweden over England, 1-0

Russia vs. Croatia – Saturday, July 7, 2:00 p.m. EST

These are two teams no one really expected to still be around at this stage of the tournament, Russia in particular. But having already exceeded expectations by getting out of its group and knocking Spain out in the Round of 16, the host nation can play with a certain freedom, and perhaps a certain confidence. But just how far that confidence will get Russia against the team with the best midfield in the World Cup remains to be seen.Luka Modric has been an absolute orchestra conductor at the center of the park for Croatia. His tandem with Ivan Rakitic was instrumental in the 3-0 destruction of Argentina in the group stage. Disregarding Russia having squeaked past a Spain team that was clearly not itself on penalties, the one time we saw Russia go up against a truly quality team in this World Cup was when it got swept aside with relative ease by Uruguay in the group stage. Croatia, like Russia, may have required penalties to reach this stage, but the quality of Modric, Rakitic, and Co. should be too much for a Russian side that’s overly dependent on athleticism and has essentially ridden its luck so far.

Prediction: Croatia over Russia, 3-0

How do the World Cup quarter-finalists compare?

Kieran CANNINGAFPJul 3, 2018, 6:48 PMSaint Petersburg (AFP) – Just eight teams remain from the 32 who started the World Cup in Russia.AFP Sport looks how each side are placed ahead of the quarter-finals on Friday and Saturday.

Uruguay v France (Friday 1400 GMT, Nizhny Novgorod)

Uruguay

One of only two teams to win all four games so far, Uruguay boast one of the meanest defences in Russia marshalled by talismanic captain Diego Godin, and a lethal strikeforce in Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.Cavani’s fitness is the big concern ahead of Friday’s meeting. The Paris Saint-Germain striker limped off with a calf injury after scoring twice to end Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal’s World Cup dreams in the last 16.

France

After cruising through the group stage in underwhelming fashion, France kicked through the gears thanks to Kylian Mbappe’s blistering pace to blow Argentina away in a 4-3 World Cup classic in the last 16.A very different task awaits in breaking through Uruguay’s brick wall of a defence that will not allow Mbappe the same space to exploit. But as legs start to tire in the latter stages, France’s strength in depth could start to make the difference.

Brazil v Belgium (Friday 1800 GMT, Kazan)

Brazil

Along with Uruguay, Brazil share the best defensive record, having conceded just once in four games so far and are slowly starting to hit their stride at the other end of the field too as Neymar struck his second goal of the tournament in the last 16.After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Switzerland, 2-0 wins over Costa Rica, Serbia and Mexico have taken Brazil into a seventh straight quarter-final and they remain the favourites to erase the scars of a humiliating 7-1 semi-final thrashing at the hands of Germany four years ago.

Belgium

Belgium will be the true test of how good the Brazilian back line is in Kazan on Friday, but coach Roberto Martinez has some big decisions to make after a stunning comeback from 2-0 down in the final 21 minutes avoided a shock exit to Japan in the last 16.Japan picked the holes in Martinez’s attack-minded 3-4-2-1 system and the Red Devils had to rely on their superior physical power in the latter stages with Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini heading home before Nacer Chadli completing the comeback at the end of a stunning counter-attack.Martinez must now find the right balance to harness the best from Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku without leaving Belgium exposed.

Sweden v England (Saturday 1400 GMT, Samara)

Sweden

They are not the prettiest side, but Sweden are extremely effective and happy to play the role of underdog, having seen off the Netherlands and Italy in qualifying and Germany in the group stages.Their run to the last eight for the first time since 1994 has been built on three clean sheets in four games, but while hard to break down, they lack a potent force up front.

England

Freed from the curse of the penalty shootout after they beat Colombia from the spot, England will be favourites to reach a first World Cup semi-final since 1990.For 92 minutes in Moscow, the Three Lions kept their cool as Colombia lost theirs and played with a patience in possession rarely seen by England sides in recent years.Yerry Mina’s stoppage-time header threatened to change all that, but a first World Cup win on penalties in four attempts gives Gareth Southgate’s men reason to believe this time really will be different.

Russia v Croatia (Saturday 1800 GMT, Sochi)

Russia

The hosts have delighted their public by surpassing all expectations to make it to the last eight thanks to a stunning penalty shootout elimination of 2010 winners Spain.Russian players were on their knees in exhaustion after defending for 120 minutes in Moscow with just 26 percent possession and they must now summon another huge physical effort, with Croatia expected to dominate the ball once more.

Croatia

Arguably the outstanding performers of the group stage, Croatia were made to suffer to make it past Denmark on penalties.Luck often has not accompanied Croatia in the knockout stages after bright tournament starts, but having bounced back from the blow of Luka Modric’s missed penalty four minutes before the end of extra-time in the last 16, the time for a highly talented generation may have come.

Jordan Pickford saves England, John Stones impresses, Dele Alli struggles

5:27 PM ET  -=  Liam TwomeyChelsea Correspondent

Jordan Pickford was the hero as England overcame Colombia in a dramatic penalty shootout in Moscow to earn their first victory in a knockout match for 12 years and book their place in the World Cup quarterfinals.Harry Kane’s second-half penalty opened the scoring in the 57th minute after he was hauled down by Carlos Sanchez at a corner kick, but Yerry Mina’s towering header in injury time sent the match all the way to penalties.Jordan Henderson missed for England, but Mateus Uribe struck the crossbar before Pickford saved from Carlos Bacca, giving Dier the chance to send England their first tournament shootout triumph since Euro 96.

Positives

This team proved it can emerge victorious — eventually — in the heated cauldron of knockout football, after what was as much a test of emotional control as technical quality. Colombia tried to turn this game into a petulant scrap and then threatened to break England hearts, but they gathered themselves and managed to banish a torrid history of shootout misery.

Negatives

Much of England’s best moves from open play come to nothing — David Ospina was tested almost as rarely as Pickford — and they will need more than set pieces to get past Sweden. They also wilted badly, if understandably, in the wake of Mina’s goal.

Manager rating out of 10

7 — Southgate’s game plan was borne out by 92 minutes of control and undone by one set piece. His players’ resistance to Colombian provocation also spoke well of their manager, but England still do not create enough. But Dier and Marcus Rashford, two of his substitutes, were key to a shootout victory for which he promised his team were ready.

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

GK Jordan Pickford, 8 — So well protected by his back three for most of the night that his workload consisted of long-range shots from Juan Quintero. He made a brilliant late save to keep out Uribe’s long-range screamer, but could do nothing to deny Mina’s towering header. Made himself a hero in the shootout.

DF Kieran Trippier, 7 — Less of a factor going forward than in the group games, but his brilliant set-piece deliveries again represented his team’s biggest attacking threat and led to Kane’s penalty. Just too short to stop Mina’s header going in off the crossbar, but scored a fantastic penalty.

DF Kyle Walker, 6 — Generally more solid with his positioning and decision making than previously in this tournament, but was very fortunate not to bring about a Colombia equaliser when he gifted the ball to Bacca in his own half, only for Juan Cuadrado to bail him out by blazing over.

DF John Stones, 8 — Produced one of the most convincing performances of his career at the heart of the England defence, snuffing out danger early and winning the majority of his duels in the air and on the floor. Also resisted the wilder impulses in possession that have led people to doubt him.

DF Harry Maguire, 8 — Excellent in possession and calm with his decisions even when pressed. Did more than his bit to keep Radamel Falcao and later Bacca in check and was also a big threat to Colombia from attacking set pieces. Needs to work on his diving, though.

DF Ashley Young, 6 — Never gave an inch to Cuadrado and picked the right moments to dash forward into crossing positions, though none of his forays yielded significant chances. Was perhaps lucky not to be sent off when his studs caught Wilmar Barrios on the ankle in extra time.

MF Jordan Henderson, 6 — Passed reliably when he got the ball, but Colombia largely took him out of the game. His attempts at more ambitious distribution often went astray. Allowed himself to be drawn into a running battle with Barrios, with both fortunate to avoid red cards. Also telegraphed his penalty, which Ospina saved.

MF Jesse Lingard, 6 — A willing and intelligent runner as ever, but made all the wrong decisions on the ball and his touch failed him at key moments. Made up for a bad attacking night somewhat by relentlessly tracking back to help his defence.

MF Dele Alli, 5 — Protected against Belgium with this game in mind, but still doesn’t look right. He was a step slower than everyone else on the pitch and his passing was disappointingly sloppy. Replaced by Dier on 81 minutes as part of Southgate’s vain attempt to see the game out.

FW Raheem Sterling, 6 — Consistently made himself available to receive the ball and protected it under serious physical pressure. Also kept his head in the face of relentless provocation from Colombian players and staff. It was not his night in terms of end product, though, and he was rarely on the same wavelength as Lingard.

FW Harry Kane, 7 — The coolest head on the pitch, nervelessly winning and converting his penalty after a monumental delay. Provided a good focal point, but it is hard not to conclude that his tendency to drop deep to aid England’s possession game contributed to their toothlessness from open play. But did anyone ever doubt he would score in the shootout?

Substitutes

MF Eric Dier, 6 — Brought on for Alli with 10 minutes left to shore up the midfield alongside Henderson but offered little. Repeatedly gave the ball away, was slow in the tackle and missed a clear header from an excellent Trippier corner in extra time… only to redeem himself with the winning penalty.

FW Jamie Vardy, 6 — Brought on for Sterling with two minutes of the 90 minutes to go, he didn’t get much opportunity to make an impact beyond one volley straight at Ospina from an offside position.

DF Danny Rose 6 — Occasionally drifted too far upfield to be a realistic outlet for the back three as Colombia pressed, but his fresh legs were dangerous going forward and one low shot from a tight angle went just wide.

FW Marcus Rashford, 6 — Brought on in extra time to take a penalty, he dispatched his brilliantly.

England penalties: 11/11 in open play, 11/19 in shootouts

Jul 3, 2018Debayan SenSenior Assistant Editor

England are in the World Cup quarterfinals, and they did it – believe it or not – by winning a penalty shootout. ESPN brings you all the key numbers.

1

England won a penalty shootout at the World Cup for the first time in their history, on their fourth attempt. Interestingly, they have converted all of their 11 penalties in regular play, the most in World Cup history by a team that has never missed. Their 100 percent accuracy in open play drops to a little over 50 percent in shootouts, where they have converted just 11 of their 19 kicks.

6

Harry Kane has gone up to second among all scorers at World Cups for England, with his sixth goal in just his third match of the 2018 campaign. He has gone past Geoff Hurst, and now only trails Gary Lineker (10) among England scorers. He is also just the second England player with six goals in one World Cup after Lineker, who won the Golden Boot for his six goals in 1986.

12

England have advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in 12 years, following a round of 16 win over Ecuador in 2006. They were then eliminated on penalties by Portugal in the quarterfinals, and they lost 4-1 to Germany in the round of 16 four years later. Matthew Upson’s 37th-minute strike in that match in Bloemfontein was the last knockout goal scored by England, before Kane’s penalty conversion.

2

Yerry Mina is just the second Colombian after James Rodriguez to have scored in three successive matches at the World Cup for Colombia. Rodriguez went on to score in five consecutive games of the 2014 World Cup, and finished as the Golden Boot winner with his six goals.

24

Sweden have made the quarterfinals after 24 years, having finished in third place in 1994. Emil Forsberg’s winner also marks the first time since 1994 that they have scored more than five goals in a World Cup — the 15 they scored in United States is still their record. It is also the first time since the 1958 edition that they hosted, that Sweden have won consecutive games in one World Cup.

3

Harry Kane is now the first Englishman to have converted three penalties — not counting kicks taken in a shootout — and the first to have done so in one World Cup since Bulgaria’s Hristo Stoichkov in 1994. Johan Neeskens of Netherlands also converted three in 1974, whereas both Rob Rensenbrink of Netherlands (1978) and Eusebio (1966) converted four in one tournament. Gabriel Batistuta of Argentina also has four converted penalties overall in World Cups.

9

England’s nine goals scored at the 2018 World Cup are now the second best they have ever achieved in one World Cup, going past the eight goals they scored in both 1954 and 1990. Their record for most goals in one campaign remains 11 in 1966, the only year they have won the World Cup.

8

The England-Colombia match saw eight players (six for Colombia and two for England) being shown the yellow card, the joint most in this tournament. Both France-Argentina (round of 16) and Belgium-Panama (group stages) saw eight yellow cards shown to the two teams, while Argentina’s clash with Croatia in the group stages saw seven cards produced.

50

Sweden have become the 11th team to have played their 50th World Cup game, though they are one of only three teams to have played 50 or more matches without winning a single tournament — Mexico (57) and Netherlands (50) are the other two teams to have that record.

Don’t believe the Christian Pulisic to Tottenham transfer rumors

Silly season is really silly.By Donald Wine II@blazindw  Jul 5, 2018, 11:46am PDT

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News reports have swirled over the past 36 hours regarding a $58 million bid that Tottenham Hotspur has offered to Borussia Dortmund for United States phenom Christian Pulisic. The reports were everywhere, from here to Europe.But, each of these reports is claiming the German outlet Kicker was the source of the report without a link to the article that referenced the proposed bid. Indeed, a quick search on Kicker yields nothing on a possible Pulisic-to-Spurs bid. Still, online media is going along with the rumor, even with nothing to source the information. So, how did a rumor with no foundation grow legs so quickly?It’s because it’s silly season, that time of year when transfer rumors and news come fast and in numbers. It’s almost like some outlets have a dart board that have star players, big clubs, and huge numbers, and they throw darts until a story comes up that they can run with. How many rumors have you seen today about Real Madrid or Barcelona or PSG or Chelsea or Juventus? Plenty. Nothing really set in stone until these clubs issue official statements.And for American fans, Pulisic is a name that brings attention. Rumors of his transfer to LiverpoolArsenal, and Tottenham have been swirling for months, and each time it brings fans to a frenzy about where is best for Pulisic to play soccer. Back in May, Christian Pulisic’s father labeled the rumors of his son moving from Dortmund to Liverpool, Arsenal or Tottenham as “hogwash,” adding: “[T}here’s nothing concrete. Right now, Christian plays for Dortmund and that’s where he is planning on playing again next year.” Nothing has changed, and until there is something with more substance, the current transfer rumors surrounding Pulisic should be disregarded.So, that’s where we are. Christian Pulisic is still a Borussia Dortmund player. He will remain there until a day that Dortmund and Pulisic decide that it’s best that he continue his career with another club. The rumors are going to continue to come with reckless abandon over the coming weeks until the transfer window closes at the end of August. Until then, listen to the words of Jay-Z:“So don’t believe everythin’ your earlobe captures, it’s mostly backwards, Unless it happens to be as accurate as me, And everythin’ said in song you happen to see, Then actually, believe half of what you see, None of what you hear, even if it’s spat by me”

Four years after Howard’s saves and Wondo’s miss, U.S. has regret about the past, hope for the future

a

Dan Thoymas, Kasey Keller and Kate Markgraf discuss Bruce Arena’s latest comments and how the USMNT should feel watching the World Cup from home. (8:19)

Jun 30, 2018Noah Davis, ESPN.com freelance columnist

On July 1, four years ago, Belgium bulldozed the United States men’s national team in the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup. The final scoreline, 2-1, did not reflect the match that millions watched; Jurgen Klinsmann’s side was outshot 38-15 with Tim Howard forced into 15 saves, the highest number in a single game since at least 1966 when FIFA started keeping track of the statistic.The U.S., thanks to its goalkeeper’s heroics, miraculously hung on through regulation before conceding to Kevin De Bruyne in the 93rd minute and substitute Romelu Lukaku 12 minutes later. While Julian Green’s volley provided a bit of solace near the death, it was a comprehensive beatdown.

Yet the red, white, and blue nearly won the thing in regulation, when Chris Wondolowski’s half-volley in the third minute of second-half stoppage time skied over Thibaut Courtois’ crossbar and into the Salvador night. The U.S. was inches from the quarterfinals.While the Americans were clearly second best — despite that miss — the tournament as a whole gave reason for optimism. Klinsmann led his team out of a brutal group after the squad defeated Ghana in dramatic fashion and dominated Portugal for long stretches before finishing with a 2-2 draw against the soon-to-be European champions, then lost 1-0 to eventual champion Germany.And it wasn’t merely the results that were exciting; so too was the fact that young talent played key roles. Twenty-one year old John Brooks scored the game-winner vs. Ghana and looked poised to establish himself in one of the starting center-back roles. DeAndre Yedlin, 20, offered tantalizing speed on the right wing, and Fabian Johnson, Jozy Altidore, Omar Gonzalez, and Michael Bradley provided a solid spine in the 24-to-26-year-old range. Green was the youngest goal scorer at the World Cup.Although they were not in Brazil, players such as Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga, Kellyn Acosta, Rubio Rubin, Paul Arriola, and Gedion Zelalem were close to breaking through and led the U.S. to a quarterfinal finish at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup. There was hope and excitement.Then, well, we all know what happened: Four years of fits and starts, featuring some highlights — the emergence of Christian Pulisic, the 2016 Copa America Centenario — and many more low points — 4-0 in Costa Rica, “Couva” entering the U.S. fan lexicon — that resulted in the squandering of almost half a decade.In retrospect, the signs were there in Brazil. According to WhoScored.com, the Americans played 34 percent of the tournament in their own third, more than any other team. Klinsmann’s side spent just 22 percent in their opposition’s third, tied for fourth worst behind Algeria, Iran, and Italy, a trio that went out in the group stage.The U.S. conceded 23.5 shots per game, five more than the two teams tied for the second most: Ecuador and Switzerland. FIFA.com’s statistics credited 27 saves, 21 tackles won and 19 blocks, a World Cup high of 67 attempts some 50 percent more than the tournament average of just under 45. Being the best defensive team is hardly the proactive soccer Klinsmann promised.But while optimism about prospects following 2014 was misplaced, so too is any pessimism four years later. In Pulisic, the Americans have a talent more accomplished at an international level than any young player in the history of the program.Meanwhile, 19-year-old Weston McKennie, a vital cog in the midfield of Bundesliga runner-up Schalke, is not far behind his close friend. Tyler Adams covers enough ground for two players, and Tim Weah shows tantalizing flashes of game-breaking creativity, and Josh Sargent could break out in Germany next season. The teens can ball.As can the slightly older generation. Miazga, still just 22, dominated while on loan to Vitesse in the Eredivisie and possesses the line-breaking passing that has required from an elite center back. Brooks, Carter-Vickers, and Erik Palmer-Brown will challenge for spots. Major League Soccer continues to produce young player with potential while Yedlin’s development continues in Europe, as does that of Benfica’s Keaton Parks, Andrija Novakovich at Fortuna Sittard, Anderlecht’s Kenny Saief and more.Even Green is back in the mix after a couple of years wandering the soccer wilderness. There is plenty of work to be done, questions to be answered, leaders to be found, but these are good places to start. They are building blocks that make a far stronger base than the Americans had following the 2014 World Cup.But, while all that is true, the fact remains that a so-far excellent and exciting tournament is going on in Russia without the U.S.; that’s tougher to take than Wondo missing that sitter.

Questions that will define each MLS club in the second half of 2018

Jul 3, 2018Matt PentzESPN FC

With some teams having already played more than half their games, and with Major League Soccer having come out the other side of its World Cup break, this feels like an appropriate juncture to take a hard look at where everybody stands. At the halfway point, which burning question is likely to define the rest of each club’s season?

Atlanta United: Can offense win championships? The Supporters’ Shield leaders boast an explosive attack which is a sight to behold. Can they lock things down at the other end of the field come playoff time, or might they pour in enough goals that it doesn’t even matter?

Chicago Fire: What happened to last year’s hot start? Around this time a year ago, the Fire’s turnaround story was the toast of the league. Then they lost six of seven, were routed by the New York Red Bulls on home turf in the playoffs and have since struggled to replicate those heights.

Colorado Rapids: How on earth did the Rapids make the conference finals in 2016? That’s about all I’ve got on this one.

Columbus Crew SC: Which city will the club call home next season: Columbus or Austin? Until that is resolved, all on-field concerns are secondary.

D.C. United: Can United make the most of its fresh start at its new stadium? Even with Wayne Rooney in the fold, there are ominous signs that D.C. is not entirely ready for its close-up.

FC Dallas: Are the chemistry issues resolved? Last season’s summertime swoon is even more inexplicable now that FCD has recovered its mojo. Are the underlying issues truly a thing of a past, or might Dallas again start to splinter?

Houston Dynamo: Can the Dynamo take the next step? Western Conference finalists in 2017, the Dynamo again look like a playoff dark horse. Can they find another gear and join the ranks of legitimate title contenders?

LAFC: Is this the Western Conference front-runner? Expansion team or not, a strong case can be made that this group has a higher ceiling than anybody else on their side of the bracket.

LA Galaxy: Are the wheels going to fall off? They’re certainly wobbling on their axles.

Minnesota United: How long will Loons fans remain patient? The club’s slow-and-steady team-building approach asks a lot of supporters to stay engaged with this second-year franchise.

Montreal Impact: How bad can it get? One of the league’s worst goal differentials (-9) hint that the Impact haven’t yet scraped rock bottom.

New England Revolution: Do the Revs have enough talent to sneak into the playoffs? So far, first-year coach Brad Friedel has done a remarkable job.

New York City FC: What is this club’s identity post-Patrick Vieira? For a coach who spent only two and a half years in the Big Apple, Vieira certainly left his fingerprints all over NYCFC’s vision of itself.

New York Red Bulls: What is this team’s ceiling? Jesse Marsch touts this as the best team he’s ever had. For a franchise crying out for some positive history, does that equal some long-overdue silverware?

Orlando City SC: What now? Having now fired coaches midseason in two of their four MLS campaigns, I’m not even sure the Lions’ ownership group could give much of an answer to that question.

Seattle 2-3 Portland: Mabiala lifts Timbers – Via MLS

Diego Valeri pulled the strings and Larrys Mabiala popped up with two goals to see Portland walk away from Seattle with a 3-2 victory.

Portland Timbers: Is this hot streak sustainable? The Timbers come out of the World Cup break unbeaten in 10 across all competitions, which catapulted them up the standings following a slow start.

Real Salt Lake: Move forward or blow it up? Despite sitting in fifth in the West coming out of the break, RSL seems to be going back and forth with that question.

San Jose Earthquakes: Does North America’s longest outdoor bar serve hard alcohol? That’s about the only way Quakes fans are making it through October.

Seattle Sounders: How much of a difference can one player make? Raul Ruidiaz is exactly the type of player the Sounders need, but his midseason signing might come too late to save a team sitting 11 points out of a playoff place.

Sporting Kansas City: Why should anyone believe this year is different? The first-place team in the West has started hot before, but seems to always falter down the stretch. Until Sporting keep the good vibes going into October, a degree of skepticism is necessary.

Toronto FC: When is TFC finally going to turn it on? If the defending champs wait too long, the gulf with the East’s playoff contenders will be too wide to bridge.

Vancouver Whitecaps: What are the limits to the Whitecaps’ approach? Carl Robinson has wrung a lot out of a bare-bones roster, but there’s a sense that the natives are getting restless with ownership’s lack of financial commitment.

Kick Off: MLS today

July 4, 201810:38AM EDT Greg SeltzerContributor

Here is everything you need to know about MLS and North American soccer this morning:

Dynamo storm back late for draw

Houston’s goose surely looked cooked midway through stoppage time of their Tuesday game against LAFC, but the hosts rallied in just two minutes to rescue a 2-2 tie. Adama Diomande turned provider with assists on each of the goals that had the away side up two, only for Mauro Manotas and Philippe Senderos to author the unlikely comeback. RECAP

Conference leaders make tricky trips

Supporters Shield table-toppers Atlanta United will put their seven-game road unbeaten run on the line in Wednesday’s tilt at FC Dallas (8 pm ET | TV & streaming info). It should be an emotional night for the hosts, who have just completed the sale of playmaker Mauro Diaz to UAE club Shabab Al-Ahli.

Galaxy aiming for playoff zone, Cameron

The LA Galaxy welcome D.C. United for a July 4 kickabout at the StubHub with a chance to rise above the playoff line with a win (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). According to Yahoo’s Doug McIntyre, the Galaxy are proving dogged in their pursuit of Stoke City’s US defender Geoff Cameron. READ MORE | PREVIEW

Atlanta back atop Power Rankings

After a one-week absence, Atlanta United reclaimed the penthouse in our MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings. Chicago and Montreal each rose four spots, while Toronto’s three-rung drop was the biggest of the week. READ MORE

World Cup: Svensson, Sweden to final eight

Seattle midfielder Gustav Svensson stepped into Sweden’s lineup on Tuesday, helping his country clinch a World Cup quarterfinal date against England with a 1-0 win over Switzerland in St. Petersburg. The Sounders man ably deputized for suspended teammate Sebastian Larsson to help oust the world’s sixth-ranked side. READ MORE

Warshaw: My midseason award favorites

Now that we’ve reached the midway point of the season, Bobby Warshaw has offered up his picks for MLS award front-runners to date. He also chooses a midseason Best XI, which unsurprisingly includes three Atlanta United stars. READ MORE

If you can’t get enough midseason analysis, Warshaw and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle also ran the rule over all 23 teams, finding one positive and one negative for each team, no matter their record. READ MORE

MLSsoccer.com Must-Watch  Top 5 MLS goals scored by Americans in 2018 pres. by Target REDcard

 

Wiebe: Five years on, a look at Clint Dempsey’s legacy in Seattle

June 29, 20184:43PM EDTClint Dempsey seems perfectly comfortable with his place in history.When you’ve scored in three World Cups, blazed a trail the size of Texas through the English Premier League, sit (tied) atop your national team’s all-time scoring chart and made a successful comeback from a potentially career-ending heart issue, you don’t need someone else’s perspective.“I’m at peace with what I’ve been able to accomplish,” Dempsey said last December, in the days before the Seattle Sounders lost MLS Cup 2017, and I believe him.He scored his first MLS goal since that interview on Saturday, a sliding finish at CenturyLink Field that gave Seattle a hum-drum draw against Chicago in the midst of a season that’s tested the patience of the Rave Green faithful. It was the 35-year-old’s 47th regular-season goal for the Sounders, tying Fredy Montero for the club record, one Dempsey will surely own outright soon enough.It’s been almost five years since Dempsey arrived in Seattle. Five years is a long time. Long enough to win a few trophies. Long enough to play in and miss a World Cup. Long enough to become the second-longest tenured Sounder behind MLS original Ozzie Alonso.Long enough for us to wonder how will he be remembered in the Pacific Northwest once the time feels right, perhaps as soon as this offseason, to trade the daily grind of professional soccer for family time and fishing.I’m no Sounders fan. And I’m damn sure not Clint Dempsey. I won’t claim to know or understand how either feels. But with a Cascadia derby on deck for Saturday afternoon (4:30 pm ET | FOX – Full TV & streaming) – and Deuce often one to step toward rivalry-ruling opportunity – I do know which moments I remember most vividly from Dempsey’s time in Seattle.#DempseyWatch

Years before #BarcoWatch took over Soccer Twitter™, #DempseyWatch helped coin the genre.

MLS is a much different league now than it was in Summer 2013, when word started trickling out that the US national team star’s time with Tottenham could be coming to an end, a return stateside with the Sounders the likely next destination. It was by far the biggest story in American soccer that summer.As the rumors heated up, photos of Dempsey at various airports trickled into the social media conversation. Sounders sleuths tracked his movement from Heathrow Airport in London to the West Coast. By the time Dempsey removed his hoodie to reveal a Seattle jersey at halftime of a blowout victory against FC Dallas on August 3 of that year, the club had inked their new star to a deal that made him the highest paid player and biggest incoming transfer in MLS history.There was elation, from Sounders fans in particular, but there was also serious blowback, from the internet trolls all the way up to Jurgen Klinsmann. A top-tier player, arguably the country’s most accomplished in Europe, returning to MLS in his prime? One year before the World Cup no less?That decision, just as much as the goals he’d go on to score, is part of Dempsey’s legacy. When he signed that contract, the trajectory and perception of the league changed.For MLS, Dempsey was the personification of the “league of choice” mantra. If he could do it, why couldn’t others like him? His signing provided precedent for the moves that followed, bringing the biggest USMNT stars – Michael BradleyJozy Altidore, Jermaine Jones, Tim HowardAlejandro Bedoya – to MLS from Europe.For Seattle, Dempsey represented raw ambition. Along with Obafemi Martins, signed earlier that year, the more than $30 million outlay, according to reports, showed a desire not just be among MLS’s biggest spenders in but at the very top of the hierarchy. That the Sounders were the club to pull it off only reinforced the growing sentiment that there was an MLS super club in the Pacific Northwest, a giant both on the field and off.I remember being thrilled by the transfer coup, and a bit gob-smacked as well. No more setting alarms to watch Deuce do his thing in England. American soccer fans could watch the national team’s biggest star every week in person.

Oba-Deuce

Trust me, you should watch this goal. And this one. And this one. For sure this one, too.These are among the many masterpieces of Oba-Deuce, the sort of attacking partnership that left spectators and opposing defenders slack jawed just about every time they took the field.These goals are everything Dempsey came to represent in Seattle during his first two full seasons. Every time he took the field, there was buzz. There was anticipation. There was the possibility that, with or without Martins’ assistance, he’d do something we’d never seen before.There was plenty of success, too. That fourth goal I told you to watch? It was the game-winner in extra time of the 2014 U.S. Open Cup. That same year, the Sounders lifted the Supporters’ Shield, a fitting tribute to the folks who packed CenturyLink and made it all possible.Above all, there was swagger, a brash confidence unique to Dempsey. Don’t drag me, he seemed to be saying to those who doubted him or his decision to return. I make the big bucks, and I’m worth every penny.Then he brought that same swagger to the 2014 World Cup while repping the Sounders and Seattle.

Tear it all down

We remember the goals, but we also remember the outbursts. Dempsey has a knack for delivering spectacularly on both fronts.The only three red cards of his MLS career have come, one per season, over the last three years. Before that, however, is the moment that will stick with me forever.There’s not much I can say about this one. You’ll just have to watch it. It will almost certainly be the first and only time you’ll see a referee’s notebook ripped to shreds on the field.

Can’t Tell Me Nothing

Dempsey did not play in MLS Cup 2016, his heart condition forcing him to watch from the stands as Seattle put together a historic run to the playoffs and then eked out the only domestic championship to elude them.Never one to go missing in the big moment, Dempsey made his mark during the club’s victory parade a few days later. “Now that we’ve won one,” Dempsey said, “Portland can’t say [drawn out expletive].”The Cascadia rivalry matters to Sounders supporters, and it matters to Dempsey. He’s saved his best for the rivalry games, scoring nine goals (three game-winners) in 11 games.I’ll leave you with this, Dempsey’s three-goal outburst in April 2014 to snatch a sure victory from the Timbers’ grasp. Perhaps there’s more like this left to come. Rui-Deuce anyone?

Indiana Youth Soccer Night

Post-Game Photo On The Field

In celebration of Indy Eleven’s official Indiana Youth Soccer Night all youth soccer teams across the state are invited to participate in a post-game photo on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium at the completion of our game. All participants need a game ticket and all teams must register to be eligible for the post-game photo. To register, please sign up here. The deadline to register is Thursday, July 5th. Only one (1) member from each team is required to register for the entire team. For questions, please contact Youth Club Coordinator, Shawn Burcham, at 317-685-1100 or shawn@indyeleven.com.

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