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

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

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

EPL Weekend #3

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

German Bundesliga Starts Friday

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

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

CHS Games

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

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

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

Fri, Aug 24                   German Bundesliga Starts

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1    Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim

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

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

Sat, Aug 25     

7:30 am NBCSN            Wolverhampton vs Man city 

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

10 am NBCSN                Arsenal vs West Ham United

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

12 noon ESPN2            Juventus vs Lazio

12:30 pm NBCSN        Liverpool vs Brighton

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

2 pm ESPN+                  Napoli vs Milan

2pm GOLTV                   Benefica vs Sporting CP – Portugal

4 pm beIN Sport          Real Valladolid vs Barcelona

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

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

10 pm FS2                      Monterey vs Morillia (Mexico)

Sun, Aug 26    

8 am NBCSN                   Watford vs Crystal Palace 

9:30 am FS1                    Mainz vs Stuttgart

11 am NBCSN                New Castle United vs Chelsea

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

2:15 pm beIN Sport  Sevilla vs Villaarreal

4:15 pm beIN Sport     Girona vs Real Madrid 

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

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

Mon, Aug 27    

3 pm NBCSN                   Manchester United vs Tottenham

Wed, Aug 29   

10:30 pm ESPN+          Portland Timbers vs Toronto FC

Fri, Aug 31   

11 pm ESPN2                 US Ladies vs Chile  (LA)


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

US Boss Sarachan gives situation for USMNT Veterans

David Moyes New US Boss?

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

US Rising Stars

Peter Vermes Deserves Chance as Next US Coach says Caleb Porter

Yanks Abroad – Stars and Stripes

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Cup Memories – Grant Wahl

MLS Rivalry Week

How MLS Rivalry Week compares with Europes Biggest Derbies – eSPNFC

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

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

Rivalry Week Viewing Guide – MLS.com

Zlattan Questions – Anything Can happen in El Traffico –

How Mexican Fans decide who to root for in LA

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

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

MLS Scoring Record Broken by Martinez of Atlanta

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

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

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


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


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

How Should Allegri use Juve’s new Star Ronaldo

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


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

Save of the Week – National Womens SL –

Saves of the Week – USL

MLS Save

Buffon Was Spectacular for PSG in First Game

Indy 11

Indy 11 topple Toronto 3-2

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

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

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

Painting Success On and Off the Field – GK

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

Indy 11 Game Schedule

USL League Standings

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

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


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

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

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

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


Fri, Aug 24                     German Bundesliga Starts

2:30 pm Fox Sport 1      Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim

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

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

Sat, Aug 25     

7:30 am NBCSN            Wolverhampton vs Man city 

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

10 am NBCSN                Arsenal vs West Ham United

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

12 noon ESPN2            Juventus vs Lazio

12:30 pm NBCSN        Liverpool vs Brighton

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

2 pm ESPN+                    Napoli vs Milan

2pm GOLTV                     Benefica vs Sporting CP – Portugal

4 pm beIN Sport          Real Valladolid vs Barcelona

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

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

10 pm FS2                       Monterey vs Morillia (Mexico)

Sun, Aug 26    

8 am NBCSN                   Watford vs Crystal Palace 

9:30 am FS1                    Mainz vs Stuttgart

11 am NBCSN                New Castle United vs Chelsea

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

2:15 pm beIN Sport  Sevilla vs Villaarreal

2:30 pm FS2                   Frankfurt vs Bayern Munich  Super Cup

4:15 pm beIN Sport     Girona vs Real Madrid 

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

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

Mon, Aug 27    

3 pm NBCSN                   Manchester United vs Tottenham

Wed, Aug 29   

10:30 pm ESPN+          Portland Timbers vs Toronto FC

Fri, Aug 31   

11 pm ESPN2                 US Ladies vs Chile  (LA)

Sat, Sept 1     

7:30 am NBCSN            Leicester City vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS 1                  Wolfsburg vs Bayern Leverkusen

9:30 am FS2                    Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen ( )

10 am NBCSN                Chelsea vs Bournemouth

11 am bEIN Sport        Nimes vs PSG (Tim Weah)

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

12:30 pm FS 2              Stutgart vs Bayern Munich

2:30 ESPN+?                   Parma vs Juventus

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Real Madrid vs Leganes

7 pm Wish TV8             Indy 11 vs Richmond Kickers

Tues, Sept 4   

10 pm ESPN2                 US Ladies vs Chile  (San Fran)

Fri, Sept 7

7:30 pm FS1                   USAMNT vs Brazil (Metlife)

Tues, Sept 11

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

Thurs, Oct 11

7:30 pm FSI                     USA vs Colombia (Tampa)

Thurs, Nov 15

3 pm ESPN2                    England vs USA (Wembley)

Sat, Nov 20

3 pm ESPN2                    Italy vs USMNT

Indy 11 Game Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

EPL Schedule

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

Hoodzpah Design

8:40 AM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Report: David Moyes could become new USMNT boss

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

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

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

5:59 PM ETAssociated Press

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

Yanks Abroad: Goals, Assists, & Injuries

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How MLS Rivalry Week compares with Europe’s biggest derbies

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

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

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

Aug 20, 2018Jason Davis

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

New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls

How it started

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

Best moment

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

The quote

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

LA Galaxy vs. LAFC

How it started

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

The best moment

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

The quote

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

Seattle vs. Portland

How it started

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

The best moment

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

The key man

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

The quote

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

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

9:56 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

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

PAthetic Manchester United prove Jose Mourinho warning true in Brighton embarrassment

1:00 PM ETRob DawsonManchester United correspondent

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

  1. Jose Mourinho warning appears true

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

  1. United’s centre-backs a shambles

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

  1. Brighton off to a flyer, home form key

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

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


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

11:19 AM ETGabriele MarcottiSenior Writer, ESPN FC

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

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

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

Aug 16, 2018ESPN

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

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

World Cup 2018 Never Stopped Captivating En Route to Crowning Champion

By Grant Wahl  July 16, 2018  SI

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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