10/18 Carmel FC Day at City BarBQ Fri 10/19, Indy 11 @ Louisville playoff preview, Carmel Girls on to State, Full TV Schedule

CARMEL FC NIGHT is This Friday 11-10 pm – Oct 19 at City Bar BQ in Carmel on Range Line Road.  25% of Purchase if you mention Carmel FC will go to our Club!

Location: City BBQ on Rangeline Road

Date: Friday, October 19th

Time: 10:30am-10pm

No time to dine in, you can Pig UP N’Go! both dine in and take out sales apply. You can browse the menu here: https://www.citybbq.com/menu  City BBQ also has Party Packs available that you can order for a tasty fall TEAM dinner, or a family pack option if it is just two adults and 2 kids.  Here you can see the options avaialble https://www.citybbq.com/menu/#party-packs

CHSGirlsSectionals

The Carmel Ladies Soccer team is headed to semi-state this weekend to face Center Grove at 3 pm on Sat. in Seymore. they had a pair of 2-0 wins over Lawrence North then Avon last weekend to win the Regional Title.  Win and they head to the Mike at IUPUI for the State title next Sat.  Congrats ladies and good luck this weekend!

Indy 11

Playoffs Time at Louisville Preview

Indy 11 face Louisville in Playoffs – Kevin Johnston Indy Star

Louisville Starts Title Defense vs Indy 11 – Courier Journal

USA

US Ladies Win Concacaf Championship Beat Canada 2-0

US has hope win Sargent, Weah and Amon  but they Need Time – Jeff Carlisle EPSNFC

In the big Picture this Draw with Peru was A win – Jeff C  ESPNFC

Player Ratings vs Peru Jason Davis ESPNFC

Can Novakovich Solve USMNT Problems Scoring?

US Learned Lesson in Colombia Loss

EPL

Liverpool needs Shaqiri to Step Up

 Paul Scholes Takes Aim at Mourino, Pogba in Man U’s Season

Man United Back in Spotlight to Face Chelsea, Juve UCL Tests

Hazard can show Man U what they Missed out on First Hand

– Everton check on Liverpool’s Origi

– Loftus-Cheek won’t be sold

– Ramsey open to top six move

– PSG want Wenger on transfers

– Real Madrid monitoring Sterling

GAMES ON TV

Sat, Oct 20    

7:30 am NBCSN            Chelsea vs Man United

9:30 am FS 2                  Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Ausburg

10 am NBCSN                Man City vs Burnley 

12:30 beIN Sport        Villarreal vs Atletico Madrid

12:30 pm NBC?      Hudersfield Town vs Liverpool

12:30 pm Fox Sport 2  Schalke (McKinney) vs Werder Bremen (Seargant)

2;45 pm beIN sport   Barcelona vs Sevilla

7:30 pm ESPN+            LAFC vs Colorado

7;30 pm My Indy TV/ESPN+ Indy 11 @ Louisville (PLAYOFFS)

Sun, Oct 21     

9:30 am FS 1                  Hertha vs Frieberg

11 am NBCSN         Everton vs Crystal Palace

3 pm ESPN                       Atlanta vs Chicago Fire

3 pm bein Sport          Nice vs Marseille

5 pm FS1                         Minn vs LA Galaxy (Zlatan)

Tues, Oct 23   Champions League   

12 noon TNT                  Champs League Game Day kicks off

12:55 pm TNT                Athens vs Bayern Munich

3 pm TNT                     Man United vs Juventus

3 pm univ desp             Real Madrid vs Vitoria Plzen

Weds, Oct 24 Champions League   

12 noon TNT                Champs League Game Day kicks off

12:55 pm TNT                PSV vs Tottenham

3 pm TNT                          Barcelona vs Inter Milan

3 pm BR Live/UDesp      Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Atletico Madrid

3 pm BR Live/UDesp      PSG vs Napoli

3 pm BR Live/UDesp       Liverpool  vs Crvena Zvezda

Fri, Oct Sat 26

2:30 pm FS2                   Freiburg vs Borussia MGladbach (Johnson)

Sat, Oct 27   

9:30 am Fox Soccer      Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Hertha

9:30 am FS2                    Mainz vs Bayern Munich

10 am NBCSN               Liverpool vs Cardiff City

12 noon ESPN+             Empoli vs Juventus

12:30 pm NBC?            Leicester City vs West Ham United

12:30 pm Fox Sport 2  Hoffenheim vs Stutgart

Sun, Oct 28     

9:30 am NBCSN           Crystal Palace vs Arsenal

10:30 am FS2                RB Leipzig vs Schalke (McKinney)

11:15 am beIN Sport   Barcelona vs Real Madrid (EL CLASSICO)

12 noon NBCSN         Man U vs Everton

1 pm ESPN                  AC Milan vs Sampdoria

1 pm FS 1                     Werder Bremen (Sargent) vs Bayern Leverkusen

3:30 pm ESPN             LA Galaxy vs Houston Dynamo (MLS FINAL DAY)

3:30 pm ESPN+            All other MLS Games–Chicago vs DC United, Colo vs Dallas, Seattle vs SJ, Toronto vs Atlanta & others on ESPN+

Mon, Oct Sat 29

4 pm NBCSN                   Tottenham vs Man City  

PREVIEW | #LOUVIND – USL PLAYOFFS EDITION

By James Higdon, 10/18/18, 12:45PM EDT

“Boys in Blue” head back down to Louisville for first-round playoff fixture

PREVIEW:

Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven at Louisville City FC – #LOUvIND | #LIPAFC
Saturday, October 20, 2018 – 7:30 P.M. EST

Louisville Slugger Stadium – Louisville, Kentucky    
Watch/Listen Live:

  • Local/National TV: MyWNDY-23 Streaming Video:  ESPN+

Indy Eleven face Louisville City FC in the first round of the USL Playoffs on October 20 at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville.The knockout fixture will be the fourth meeting between the rivals in 2018. Each team finished with a 1W-1L-1D record after the conclusion of the three-game Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest series on October 13, which finished with a 1-0 Louisville City victory in the 2018 USL regular season finale. Indy’s loss sees the “Boys in Blue” finish seventh in the Eastern Conference. The defeat also resulted in the repeat fixture between Louisville and Indianapolis in the playoffs. Louisville now enters the playoffs on a six game win streak after defeating “Indiana’s Team”.Penalties have been the deciding factor in the first three meetings. Indy won the first match, 1-0, on an Ayoze penalty. The second fixture, each side miss a penalty kick opportunity as the match finished a 2-2 draw. The third and most recent fixture was a 1-0 victory for Louisville because of a converted penalty kick by Louisville City Forward Cameron Lancaster. Had each side converted their penalty chances in the second fixture, four of the eight possible goals in the series would’ve been from the spot.

Indy Eleven Player to Watch | GK Owain Fon Williams

In three meetings with Louisville City FC in 2018, Indy Eleven Goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams has recorded 13 saves and one clean sheet, one of which was a penalty save that came in the 2-2 draw on August 5.In his most recent 90 minutes against the Kentucky side, he managed eight saves in a fixture that saw him face nine shots on target. The eight-save performance brings his saves per game average against Louisville to 4.3 saves per game.

Louisville City FC Player to Watch | FW Ilija Ilic

When 2018 Golden Boot winner Cameron Lancaster struggles to find the back of the net, striking partner Ilija Ilic has picked up some of the slack. Ilic is the second highest goal scorer on Louisville City’s roster. He’s found the back of the net 11 times during the 2018 campaign.The 27-year-old is also the joint assist leader for Louisville City. He’s tied with Midfielder Oscar Jimenez at 10 assists each. The Serbian’s ability to not only score, but to create goals for his teammates makes him a dangerous matchup in the first-round playoff matchup. It will be up to Indy’s backline to slow down the creative forward.

Matchup to Mark | Indy Eleven Offense vs. Louisville City Defense

The phrase “defense wins championships” reverberates through locker rooms after leaving the mouth of a coach during the pre-game pep talk. Louisville City will need its defense to remain sturdy if they are to lift the championship come the end of the playoffs. The Kentucky based side went undefeated in their last six fixtures, allowing three goals and kept three clean sheets on their way to claiming the last 18 points of the season. They enter the first round of the playoffs coming off one of those shut out performances, which came against Indy Eleven.The “Boys in Blue” enter the first round having scored five goals in their last five matches. Despite the one goal-per-game average, “Indiana’s Team” was shut out in two of those matches and won only one. Indy will need forwards Jack McInerney and Eugene Starikov to perform well during the playoffs, as they did during 2018. The striking pair combined for 16 of Indy’s 45 goals during the 2018 regular season.Additionally, keep an eye out for Forward Soony Saad and Midfielder Dylan Mares, who both scored multiple goals at the start of their respective 2018 seasons with Indy.

Don’t miss out on your chance to see the “Boys in Blue” on the road. Click here to purchase tickets to this weekend’s match in Louisville. Can’t make the match? No problem. Watch the match from home on ESPN+ or on MyWNDY-23.

USL playoffs take Indy Eleven-Louisville City FC rivalry to new level

Kevin Johnston, Special for IndyStarPublished 7:20 p.m. ET Oct. 17, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – For all the sarcastic hyperbole thrown around on social media by the supporters’ groups of both the Indy Eleven and Louisville City FC, the budding I-65 rivalry is legitimately developing into a Midwest gem.Is it Yankees-Red Sox or IU-Purdue? No. But there’s no denying the passion of the two clubs supporters’ groups, the Brickyard Battalion and Louisville Coopers.“Obviously, we joke about it, but the proximity between the two teams is what can help make this rivalry what it should be — lighthearted but competitive,” said Louisville City FC director of public relations and broadcasting Scott Stewart. “The USL has given us an opportunity to develop something that fans can latch onto and really flourish in, which helps both clubs.”The teams are set to meet again Saturday in the first round of United Soccer League playoffs at Louisville Slugger Field, where LouCity just beat Indy 1-0 last week. The result left the Eleven playing the waiting game to determine its first-round matchup, which appeared most likely to be at Charleston or Pittsburgh.

Instead, home victories by New York Red Bulls II and Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday meant Indy finished as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, earning an immediate return south to face No. 2 seed Louisville City.In just its first season in the USL, the Eleven earned a playoff berth after finishing with 49 points (13 wins, 10 draws, 11 losses). Welcome results for a team that’s future was up in the air last winter, and roster and coaching staff experienced a massive overhaul.“It’s a great reward being we didn’t know if we would have a club a year ago,” explained Eleven vice president of sales and marketing Josh Mason. “This is a love letter to the fans, as we inside the organization and outside completely understand just how important this is. And that we build on this for 2019 is paramount. Count on that.”At 66 points, defending USL champ Louisville City represents one of the toughest outs in the league, especially at home on a surface that’s built a reputation for being difficult to play on. Louisville Slugger Field is also the home to the Louisville Bats, and the much of the sod-covered infield and pitcher’s mound rest in prime real estate near the goal and 18-yard box. It doesn’t make for the easiest footing and can be especially frustrating for visiting teams to cope with.As for the burgeoning rivalry, one person with a unique perspective on it is Stewart. His ties run deep in both cities. In 2017, Stewart was the Indy Eleven’s public relations and communications manager before landing his new gig across the Ohio River.“From a personal standpoint, it’s been a little odd having to take shots at my hometown and my first club,” he said. “But, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve enjoyed everything up to this point. Saturday has real potential to deal a final blow either way and I’m excited to see how things play out.”Indy and Louisville will kick off 7:30 p.m., Saturday with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinalsIn the spirit of keeping the trash talk alive, the Eleven are even plotting a special troll job for the occasion, one that’s perfectly in line with the good-natured banter between the cities.“We love (the back and forth), and if you read it, it’s all great content,” Mason added. “The fight as to who Abraham Lincoln would have been a bigger fan of? The false narratives created by fans to build a rivalry where there isn’t one, while understanding the need for one. It’s absolutely beautiful and perfect for our sport and our clubs.”

U.S. finally has hope in Sargent, Weah and Amon, but youngsters need time

 USMNT are too reliant on defending and set pieces, wishing they would take it to their opponents by throwing numbers forward. (2:16)

Oct 17, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Building for the future often means navigating through the ups and downs of the present. Such was the case for the U.S. attack in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Peru.Caretaker manager Dave Sarachan opted to start three teenagers in offensive positions — Jonathan Amon, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah — and each of them showed flashes of the kind of ability that has the U.S. fan base, still emotionally scarred from last year’s World Cup qualifying failure, clamoring for more.Amon, who was making his U.S. debut, showed off his quickness and directness when causing problems for the opposition defense. Sargent scored the only U.S. goal off a set piece but also revealed an eye for the killer pass, while Weah has shown a bit more polish with each outing in a U.S. shirt.Yet there were also areas that need more refinement. Weah would like to have another crack at a second-half chance that he fired wide of goal; Sargent, for whatever reason, kept dropping deep to help out defensively, especially in the first half, thus robbing his teammates of an outlet when the ball was won; Amon needs to sharpen his decision-making interms of when to release the ball and when to have a go at goal himself.

Sarachan summarized the night when he said about Amon: “He showed some moments that give you hope and showed you moments that make you realize he’s [19].”Hope, of course, can be a dangerous thing given its capacity to obscure reality, but it’s something the U.S. program is in dire need of at the moment. It’s now been over a year since the U.S. had a full-time head coach, though Sarachan has struck the right tone in using his grandfatherly approach with such a young squad. All that’s left is to look for any hint of progress, and there were a few thanks to the club environments that the three players find themselves in.”Being in a professional environment … your mind has to be a lot quicker and my movements need to be a lot more active,” said Sargent, who has been getting steady minutes with Werder Bremen’s reserve team. “I can’t just stand still.”Sargent showed he’s been a quick study in that regard, using some clever touches and fast movements to set up Weah for his aforementioned look at goal. That the two nearly connected isn’t a surprise given that they played together last year at the FIFA U-17 World Cup; Weah also has a connection with Amon, having played with him at U-14 level.But acclimatizing to the international game is an ongoing process, no matter how well you know your teammates.”It was pretty fast-paced,” said the soft-spoken Amon about his debut. “You’ve just got to get used to it. I’ve got a taste of it now. Now I know what to expect.””I think in the first half, our structure hurt us in a lot of ways because we were winning it deep and now we don’t have a lot of outlets to play,” said midfielder Wil Trapp. “When we did win the ball higher up the field, now we can get at them.”The U.S. looked better after it switched to a 4-4-2 after halftime, but Peru gradually re-established its dominance and that played a significant role in the result, as La Blanquirroja finally managed to break through for an equalizer through Edison Flores with four minutes to play. In the build-up, the U.S. had a chance to break pressure only for Peru to immediately win the ball back.”It’s small things,” Trapp said of the U.S. team’s inability to keep the ball. “It’s being in the right spaces in a lot of ways. The times we did that, it was effective. The times we didn’t do that, we lost the ball. Being calm and being on the same page, that’s something we certainly have to work on, but the spaces, turning, playing forward, that’s important.”

The tests won’t get any easier for this group. In fact, a pair of year-end exams loom in November, when the U.S. will face England and Italy on European soil. That squad figures to be heavily skewed toward European-based players, meaning the likes of Amon, Weah and Sargent may get additional opportunities to show off their skills and progress.”We’re still young,” said Weah. “A lot of us don’t have a lot of professional experience. We’re just getting the hang of it. We’re just going to get better and better.”Of course, there will be some ups and downs along the way.

Disappointing Peru draw a ‘big picture’ win for the United States – Dave Sarachan forward. (2:16)

Oct 17, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — United States caretaker manager Dave Sarachan expressed disappointment over this team’s 1-1 draw with Peru, but also acknowledged that his youthful side competed well against La Blanquirroja.Chances were scarce for both sides in the first half, though it was Peru that had the vast majority of possession. But a sharper U.S. team emerged after half-time, and Josh Sargent put the home side ahead in the 49th minute when his deflected effort from Kellyn Acosta’s free kick snuck past Jose Carvallo in the Peru goal.Peru piled on the pressure, and after Andy Polo hit the bar in the 75th minute, Edison Flores latched on to Andy Polo’s low centering feed in the 86th minute to blast home at the far post.”We feel disappointed that it ended in a tie,” Sarachan said post-match. “We realize they have chances but when you’re 1-0 up that late in the game, you want to close it out. We allowed a player to get on the back post, didn’t do great there, they tied it.”But in the big picture of things we had three players who earned their first caps tonight. We had a lot of young guys, some new guys. You’ve always got to keep in mind that we played a team that’s been together a long time in Peru and we’ve been together for four or five days here.”So I thought the response from the guys, competing wise, was excellent. Coming away with a draw from a very strong Peru team is nothing to sink your heads down for. Keep your heads high is what we told them; a good night for this young group.”Sarachan could feel good about an improved defensive performance from a backline that included two debutantes in Reggie Cannon and Aaron Long, as well as Ben Sweat making his first start. Cameron Carter-Vickers, 20, counted as the old head in the group with five caps. But overall the group stood strong, and for much of the night made the plays it had to make.”It’s always a question mark when you have some inexperienced players working together for the first time but you hope that when the curtain raises, they get tuned in and don’t get too nervous on the occasion,” Sarachan said.”I thought there were some moments of indecision and some nerves but I think as the game went on, it got better. As I keep repeating, this is a group that hasn’t played together for a long time. I thought throughout the rest of the game, that was good.”But this was also a night where the U.S. struggled to keep the ball, managing just 31.7 percent possession according to ESPN Stats & Information. It ended up costing the U.S. in the end as Peru launched wave after wave of attacks.”The ability to start to string a few passes together just to give yourself a breather and to keep possession and build with numbers, I didn’t think the balance of that was great in the first half,” he said.”It was better in the second, we talked about it during half-time.”When you’re protecting a lead and the other team’s bringing numbers and you’re backed up and you’re clearing a ball, it’s difficult to keep hold of it. I think in the last play that led to the Peru goal, we had an opportunity to keep the ball out of pressure but we lost it. Give credit to Peru, they turned up the volume on us and did what good teams do.”Sarachan admitted the night was a mixed bag for young attackers like Jonathan Amon.”[Amon] showed some moments that give you hope and showed you moments that make you realize he’s [19],” he said.”The speed of play got him on a few occasions but the moments that came where he had to take off and be creative, that was impressive and I think I’d love for this young kid to take away a lot in that regard.”The night proved more productive for Sargent, who in addition to getting his goal helped set up a couple of other opportunities for the U.S.”The kid’s moving in a good direction,” said Sarachan about Sargent. “As a lone striker in the first half, he didn’t have a lot of the play but the moments that came to him, I thought he did pretty well.”He did some clever movements in terms of keeping possession. He’s a strong kid. I thought on the night he had a good night. Getting the goal was the cherry on the sundae.”Tim Weah, who earned his seventh cap on the night, also earned positive reviews from Sarachan.”I think [Weah] is growing,” he said. “He’s got a lot to learn still but he’s getting used to the speed of play at this level and that’s been a real plus.”

 

USMNT’s Josh Sargent 8/10, shows promise in partnership with Tim Weah

Oct 16, 2018Jason DavisU.S. soccer writer

A young U.S. men’s national team nearly managed a victory against a talented Peru team in East Hartford, Connecticut, only to see a late goal from the South Americans ruin the party and push the game to a 1-1 draw.

Positives

Despite their youth, the Americans seemed intent on engaging the Peruvians whenever possible. The defending from the backline was solid, with good communication between goalkeeper Brad Guzan and center backs Aaron Long and Cameron Carter-Vickers. The attacking duo of Josh Sargent and Tim Weah worked well together, which is a good sign for the future.

Negatives

The Americans were simply unable to hold much possession over the course of 90 minutes. Without a strong ball-winner in midfield and featuring green players still trying to learn how to play together, the USMNT was forced to defend for most of the night. Pressure on the ball was lacking or applied ineffectively. Because of that, Peru regularly found space between the American lines.

Manager rating

6 — Dave Sarachan’s mandate for another friendly against a talented South American side was to give young players a chance. He did that at almost every position. The tactical plan was adequate and allowed Peru’s superior understanding and ability to hold the ball. His substitutions made sense considering the circumstances of the game.

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

GK Brad Guzan, 6 — Made a clear difference for the American defense with organization. Hung out to dry to on the Peru goal. Made a late punch on a free kick that helped the U.S. hold onto the tie.

DF Ben Sweat, 3 — Poor defensively, especially in the first half. Showed plenty of desire to make up for mistakes but simply made too many of them.

DF Cameron Carter-Vickers, 6 — Solid most of the night. Made no obvious errors aside from a bit of sloppiness on aerial balls. Stayed at home and defended well.

DF Aaron Long, 6 — Equal to, if not slightly better than, his center back partner. Guilty of a few more rushed long balls than is usually acceptable, even considering the pressure the USMNT was under most of the night.

DF Reggie Cannon, 5 — Not much of a threat going forward but did not look out of place, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Benefited from Peru’s repeated forays up the U.S. left flank.

MF Wil Trapp, 4 — Not involved enough from a deep-lying position. Played as a shield for the backline but was bypassed too easily by Peru’s passing. Had nine defensive interventions, a decent number made poor by the amount of Peru possession.

MF Tim Weah, 5 — Strong in the first half but faded dramatically in the second half. The brightest player in the U.S. attack in the first 45 and provided the pass that led to their best chance ahead of halftime.

MF Kellyn Acosta, 5 — Set up the U.S. goal with a clever free kick that found Sargent’s run. Inconsistent with his touch, did not provide enough bite in midfield to limit Peru’s possession. Middling as a passer.

Josh Sargent earned top marks for the U.S. vs. Peru, scoring the goal and impressing with his hold-up play. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

MF Marky Delgado, 5 — Involved, maybe more than any American midfielder. Passed well at times. Gave the ball away cheaply a handful of times in the first half as well.

MF Jonathan Amon, 5 — Mixed bag for the young winger. First-half slackness on defense helped Peru dominate the U.S. left side. Missed chance to spring Weah on goal with a break in the first half after running onto a flick from Sargent and cutting back into space well. Drew the foul ahead of the corner that led to the U.S. goal.

FW Josh Sargent, 8 — Showed excellent hold-up play and instincts with the ball at his feet, in addition to the goal. Tracked back effectively to provide the first line of American defense. Guilty of one egregious turnover that led to a Peru chance.

Substitutes

MF Julian Green, 5 — Helped grab some possession after his entry with half an hour to go. Showed good bite with a pair of recoveries. Played a poor ball with the Americans breaking in the 68th minute.

FW Bobby Wood, N/R — Touch not good enough on holdup opportunities. Created a good chance with a run in the right channel and a cutback pass.

MF Michael Bradley, N/R — Sloppy with the ball deep in the U.S. half with Peru pressing for goals in the last 15 minutes. Made two clearances from the American penalty area.

DF DeAndre Yedlin, N/R — Appeared complicit on Peru’s goal in combination with Delgado.

DF Antonee Robinson, N/R — Mad

Dave Sarachan hopes U.S. learned lesson in Colombia loss: ‘That’s why you play these games’

Oct 12, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

TAMPA, Fla. — United States caretaker manager Dave Sarachan said his side learned some hard lessons in its 4-2 defeat to Colombia on Thursday.

The U.S. trailed 1-0 at half-time due to James Rodriguez’s 36th minute opener, but then stormed back early in the second half as goals three minutes apart from Kellyn Acosta and Bobby Wood staked the U.S. to a 2-1 lead.The advantage lasted just three minutes, however. Carlos Bacca equalized in the 56th minute and as the game became more stretched Colombia took advantage on goals from Radamel Falcao in the 74th minute and substitute Miguel Borja five minutes later.It proved a difficult night overall, especially on the defensive side of the ball.”You can scout teams, you can watch teams, you can talk about moments that might come in the game, but now you’re stepping on the field [against Colombia] and having to make decisions, and to do things quickly,” said Sarachan.”And so speed of play, technical speed, the moments they play a ball and take off, all of these moments for young players I hope add up in terms of their experience, and that’s so important for these guys. That’s why you play these games.”The night was especially difficult for the left side of the U.S. defense, with left-back Antonee Robinson and left-midfielder Kenny Saief struggling to stop a Colombia team intent on attacking that side. Saief eventually switched wings with Tim Weah, but that didn’t stop Colombia from targeting that side.”We did not do good job in terms of passing guys along and staying in what I would say is a better zone position,” said Sarachan. “So Antonee got pulled in at times, which allowed the right back [Santiago] Arias to get forward.”I didn’t think the coordination was very good, they had a pretty easy time of switching play to get it to that side, so we obviously we would have liked a little more pressure on the ball. We addressed it in the second half, still spotty at times, and they took advantage of that.”But Sarachan stressed that the defensive difficulties were team-wide.”[In] moments we could have made better decisions,” he said. “Whether it was Bacca or Falcao when they withdrew [into midfield] we could have stepped and been a bit tighter on players, I think even just simple plays of winning tackles could have been better on the defensive side in terms of our backs.”Obviously the vulnerability we showed at times when the ball was swung from one side to the other, the movement and the sliding was a little bit off at times. At the same time it’s not an easy night when they’re cutting through you like that. It was a hot night, they put in a workload.”The match marked Michael Bradley’s first match with the U.S. in over a year. While Bradley was clean on the ball, he along with the rest of the midfield had difficulty keeping up with Colombia’s attack. That said, Sarachan said he was pleased with Bradley’s contribution.”Michael is still a guy that has played in big games,” said Sarachan. “Nothing phases him, he’s still a presence and an organizer. On the whole, he had a very solid night.”He’s trying to carry himself and do his job along with making sure he’s helping the guys alongside him. He does what he always does, tries to make sure as a collective in terms of our shape and everything. He’s the catalyst to make sure that goes pretty well. When they start throwing numbers, it’s not just on Michael, he needed some help, left and right, but a solid night.”Sarachan also gave full credit to a veteran Colombia team for showing off the effectiveness of its attack.”You saw the quality and when you allow them time and space, they can punish you,” he said. “Some pretty clever, pretty good goals tonight. Some were the benefit of some mistakes on our end, and some were great individual efforts.”Let’s keep in mind one thing tonight — and I said this after the Brazil game — we were playing against a team that’s been together a long time and they’ve come from a World Cup. There weren’t a lot of young faces and they know each other’s movements pretty well.”

 

Mourinho, Man United back in spotlight to face Chelsea, Juventus tests

2:57 PM ETAndy MittenManchester United writer

After the turmoil that dominated the days leading up to the international break, attempts have been made to clear the air at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground. There has been serious discussion among chief figures, in hopes of resetting the season and removing the cloud that has enveloped the club.From club officials to the manager, players and beyond, reputations have been battered due to the team’s poor form, which has seen them lose three of their opening eight Premier League games and suffer elimination at the hands of Championship side Derby in the Carabao Cup.If things do not improve then Jose Mourinho will lose his job, but he is not giving up — he has even been seen cracking a smile at times — and he does not want his players t, either. Moreover, he has support from fans at matches; he will need it in the weeks ahead.Mourinho’s old club Chelsea await on Saturday — United have an appalling recent record at Stamford Bridge of one draw and seven defeats in their last eight visits — before Juventus visit Old Trafford in the Champions League three days later.The games are undoubtedly the most difficult fixtures of the season so far and further tough games will follow on their heels. Any fragile confidence that came from the comeback win over Newcastle could be shattered, but that result could also prove to be a turning point and lead to a fresh start, especially given expectations are low.Mourinho is under serious pressure and has been unhappy for some time, but he is also capable of incredible gestures. In August, when contacted by the family of a seriously ill Swiss fan, he realised that he would soon be in Switzerland for a UEFA coaches conference and promised to personally visit. Sadly, the patient passed away before it happened, but Mourinho still insisted on meeting his family.He is not as miserable as is sometimes portrayed, but nor is he consistent with players. He feels they could and should be playing better, while they are of the opinion that he does not need to battle with them so often, something he has done since taking the job in 2016, complaining privately from day one that things are not as good as they should be.

Mourinho wants people with him 100 percent and do things his way. If they do, he thinks he will lead them to glory. Sir Alex Ferguson had a similar “all or nothing” mindset, but that usually came from a position of strength, not when the team were in mid-table.It is fine to create an “us against the world” mentality if there is unity among “us,” but if the boss is at loggerheads with too many, he is going to struggle. Players have more power and money than ever before and, if push comes to shove, it is easier to get rid of a manager.Mourinho might be irritated by comments from former players, but most do not want him to be sacked. Paul Scholes, for example, wants the manager to turn things around because he is a United fan.”I hope the situation is retrievable,” Scholes told ESPN. “I’d like Jose to show people why he’s such a great coach, because this is his biggest test in football. Is it possible? I don’t know.”Most fans are doubtful. When United went from so bad to so good under Ferguson in the late 1980s, it took three years. Mourinho finished second last season, which was a fine achievement, but to finish lower or to do worse than reach the Round of 16 in Europe this term will be seen as a step back.United do not want to be seen as a sacking club; it is expensive for the cost-conscious Glazer family, for one thing. Mourinho’s predecessors Louis van Gaal and David Moyes were not fired as kneejerk reactions to individual results, but only when it was impossible to qualify for the Champions League and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had established that players felt things were not working.Having been outplayed by the likes of Derby, Wolves and West Ham, it looked like the wheels were coming off when Newcastle took a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes on Oct. 6, but then came a response that resulted in victory. United need to show more of that spirit and it is not like the squad lacks talent.Fewer than six months ago, a similar comeback sealed a win that ensured Manchester City had to cancel their title-winning party, but United are too inconsistent, not only from game to game but within matches. The league table does not lie and, while the season is only eight games young, the rest of the big six are at least five points better off.Thursday’s announcement that Luke Shaw has signed a new contract is another positive, as is news he is back in training after missing England duty with an ankle injury. The same goes for out-of-form Nemanja Matic, who had a similar problem, while Marouane Fellaini is also expected to be fit. None of United’s other expected starters are unavailable.After a two-week hiatus that came at the right time, Mourinho and Co. return to the spotlight and the glare will be as strong as ever. Starting on Saturday at an unhappy hunting ground, positive results are needed to ensure tension does not return.

Liverpool’s lack of X-factor exposed by injuries – with no Coutinho or Fekir, Shaqiri must step up

5:18 AM ETDavid UsherLiverpool blogger\

The international break has not been kind to Liverpool as several key players reported back with injuries varying in severity.

The biggest concern surrounds Naby Keita, who will undergo a scan on his hamstring after limping out of Guinea’s midweek international with Rwanda.

Keita had also been forced off early in Liverpool’s recent defeat at Napoli after suffering a back spasm. The Merseysiders can only hope the two issues are not linked as they can ill afford to lose him right now given the lack of goals and creativity provided by their midfield so far this season.

For the first time since they sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona last January, Liverpool are missing the Brazilian. It’s to the great credit of Jurgen Klopp and his squad that his absence was barely noticed as the Reds rampaged their way through Europe before finally coming up short against Real Madrid in the final.No-one was thinking about Coutinho in the opening weeks of this season either as Liverpool reeled off seven straight wins to kick off the new campaign.Recently though, the lack of a creative spark in midfield and — more surprisingly — in attack, has been glaring. Liverpool’s strong defensive set up has compensated to some extent for the lack production further forward, but the Reds have now failed to win any of their last four games and back up striker Daniel Sturridge is the only player to find the net in that time.It is now clear why Klopp had been so keen to add Lyon skipper Nabil Fekir to his squad last summer. The Frenchman is exactly what Liverpool are missing right now and he would have been the ideal replacement for Coutinho.The move for Fekir fell through on medical grounds and Klopp brought in Xherdan Shaqiri instead, but the maverick Swiss attacker is not as accustomed to playing in the attacking midfield role that Coutinho and Fekir regularly excel in.Liverpool’s midfielders are all fine players with admirable qualities. The problem is most of those qualities are the same: Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum are hard-working, disciplined, talented footballers but they are predictable and too similar in style. There is no X-factor in Liverpool’s midfield.The proposed move for Fekir was seen by many at the time as something of a luxury signing as the Reds already had a number of midfield players competing for just three spots. However, this was before we knew that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury was far worse than had been disclosed and that the former Arsenal man would likely play no part in this season.Liverpool could really do with a Coutinho or a Fekir right now, but in the absence of that type of player they’ll need to find another solution. f Keita can rid himself of these types of little injuries then he’s the man most likely to provide that thrust and goal threat from midfield, although it must be said that he is yet to show anything other than brief flashes of the explosiveness that persuaded Liverpool to spend €52m to acquire him from RB Leipzig.He’s been underwhelming to this point but Klopp’s system isn’t the easiest to adapt to and it can take time. It wasn’t until the second half of last season that we saw the best of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrew Robertson and it might be a similar story with Keita and fellow new boy Fabinho.Shaqiri is in the same boat, although it largely depends on where he is deployed. He should not have too much difficulty adapting his game to fit into Liverpool’s forward line but if Klopp wishes to use him in midfield he will almost certainly need to alter his system to accommodate him.Klopp did just that in a 3-0 home win over Southampton last month but he wasn’t exactly happy with what he saw. Shaqiri was Liverpool’s best player in the first half against the Saints yet still found himself replaced at half-time as Klopp was concerned by how open his side looked when not in possession.Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner are playing very well this season but they struggle to unlock a defence, rarely make runs ahead of the forwards and do not score enough goals. Having two of them in there is fine, but when all three play it can be problematic when the front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah aren’t producing.

That’s the key to it all really. When those front three are playing as they were last season it makes everyone else look better. Nobody was complaining about Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum when Liverpool were destroying Roma at Anfield last season for example. This season the forwards aren’t scoring at the same rate and it is exposing some flaws in other areas — specifically the middle of the park.In the long term, Keita should provide the solution, but if he is ruled out for the next few weeks then that leaves Adam Lallana and Shaqiri as the two most attacking options available to Klopp.A fully fit Lallana would make Liverpool a much more potent threat, but he’s been out for so long with various ailments that it’s impossible to count on him anymore. Sadly, if he were to start the next few games there’s as much chance of him breaking down injured as there is of him scoring or creating a goal.So perhaps it’s time to have a look at Shaqiri in the deeper role that Coutinho often excelled in?The quality of opposition meant that wasn’t a realistic option for Klopp in Liverpool’s most recent games, but Huddersfield, Red Star Belgrade and Cardiff are up next and none are likely to show too much ambition.Liverpool need a spark and this could be the perfect time to give Shaqiri an extended run in the side to see if he can provide the ammunition to get the forwards firing again.

 

Paul Scholes takes aim at Mourinho, Pogba and Man United’s season of discontent

central role. (2:56)

Oct 16, 2018Andy MittenManchester United writer

“I say what I believe,” explains Paul Scholes over a morning coffee in Manchester a few days after some of his honest and forthright Manchester United comments on television have made headlines. “I don’t make anything up and I’m not very good at hiding how I feel.”If people ask me something I’ll give my view, whether it’s right or wrong. I’m just a frustrated United fan, a father of a son who goes home and away watching the team. My lad is a proper United fan, a lunatic who wants to go everywhere to follow his team on a bus. I try to talk to him about some of the games but he can’t remember all of them — which at this point is probably not a bad thing. They make me laugh, the lads he goes with. When the cup draws are made, they want the furthest away game possible so that their day out lasts longer. As a player, you think the opposite.”As a fan and a local lad, I was always around the culture of fans going to games. Going to Old Trafford felt like a big mission but we went to the odd games. One of my first games was with my dad and we went to a game against Chelsea and it kicked off between rival fans outside the ground. I s— myself and my dad grabbed hold of me and we sprinted off. I lost my shoe.”

Do you still see any of those lads you went to games with?

Not really, I had to get out of that environment. I found myself drinking Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday sometimes. I’d drink the night before a game. I was in a culture where you’d also go to games and drink on the bus on the way there and then the way back. It was a working-class culture of watching football. I know that still happens because I have mates who go to games. I’d love to go with them, to be a normal fan, but I don’t think it would be easy.But it’s not the environment you want to be in as a footballer. I was picked for an England squad and remember thinking ‘I’ve got to get out of this environment.’ I was drinking, I was overweight. I needed to get fitter, I needed to get out of the area and my mates were fine about it.

And you were becoming close with lads you played with, lads you are still best friends with now.

Gary [Neville], Phil [Neville], [David] Beckham, Nicky [Butt]. We were all close. The dressing room was a good place to be as a young professional. You had lads like Ben Thornley, a great player who was good in the dressing room. His autobiography has just been published. It’ll be a great read.Ben was quick, dedicated, fit as you could be and could beat men. My best memory of Ben is him beating five men and smashing the ball in the net during a Milk Cup youth tournament in Northern Ireland against Hearts. He was a top player.It was a shame he suffered a cruciate injury. You never know how good any young player will be, but you knew he was going to be a top player from a young age. Ben was liable to put a bit of weight on. He was small and chunky like me. Unlike me he was quick. He had two good feet, too.Ben still had a good career but it would have been better without that injury. He was unlucky and it could have been any of us. We were always told to enjoy our football because we could be injured at any time. Luck plays a massive part in football.I was a later developer than anyone else. Ben made the successful youth team in 1992 — he only had [Ryan] Giggs to compete with for a place! But they both played. I was a later developer, skinny and not quick. I was playing as a centre forward. I sat back and watched the other lads break into the first team. At 18 or 19 I was in the reserves and not playing very well, but you need a bit of luck, an opportunity. Then some came my way, but Ben got injured.Ben’s cruciate injury was treatable when he had it but not to the level we have now. You’d be out for six or seven months now. The rehabilitation would be intense. At United in the 1990s, if you were injured you sat on a treatment table. There wasn’t a pool to help with the recuperation. The gym was tiny. That’s all changed now.

And United has been through big changes since you stopped playing. How do you feel about the present United team?

I hate going back and saying ‘when we played, we did this and we did that’ but I look at the current squad of players and I don’t think there’s a lack of quality there. I do think they miss a couple of real class players that other top teams seem to have.

Which positions?

A link player between the midfield and the forwards.

A player like Luka Modric?

Yes, a link player and also a controlling midfield player. They’re different. The link player must have the quality to pass and create.

Like you did?

I did it a bit. I’m thinking more of a [Kevin] De Bruyne, [Eden] Hazard or David Silva. We have Jesse [Lingard] who, on his day, can be that type of player, but you never really know what his best position is. Juan Mata has those type of qualities but the manager plays him wide on the right-hand side and he’s never going to have the legs to play that position. I’ve been there, being put out wide, and you hate it. You want to get into the middle of the pitch where things are happening and pace isn’t as vital.The rest of the United team is ok. [Anthony] Martial and [Marcus] Rashford, two really talented players, they need to develop their confidence and then… it scares me that these really talented players will be sold and be brilliant for another club. I could see that happening with Martial.

What do you think is Martial’s best position?

On the left, but it’s difficult for him and Rashford to find some confidence because they come in for a game, they might not have the best game and then they’re out for three or four matches. If the team don’t play well then they’re brought back in for an hour, then left out. You never get consistency or a run of performances. That’s frustrating.

What about Alexis Sanchez?

I know he has qualities and has been a good player but I never saw him as a United player. I saw him as a bit selfish, someone who played for himself sometimes. I didn’t think he was a player that we needed, especially for that type of money. How would we be able to get rid of him now when he earns those wages? The signing felt like it happened just to stop Man City signing him.It feels like every player who comes into the team struggles. I feel like we could sign Lionel Messi at the moment and he’d struggle in this team.

What have you made of Manchester United’s recruitment?

I didn’t like the manager praising West Ham’s chief scout after the defeat there and congratulating him on finding [Issa] Diop. It was a massive dig at his own scouts. If you’re a scout at Man United, how can you know what type of player to look for when the manager is changing his team every week and his formation all the time? Where’s the blueprint for the player you want? It must be an impossible job.

Jose Mourinho has been a great manager.

He still is. Well, I think he still is, but you wonder why his side keep getting outplayed. People talk about the first 10 games of this season but last year it was the same. The reason we finished second last year was because of the goalkeeper. Good goalkeepers are not easy to find. [David] De Gea’s not been quite as good this season, not saving them all like did all last year.

You say it’s hard for Rashford or Martial when they come in and out. Is that the same for the defenders?

Yes. The back four changes every week and it’s half understandable because when they do come in and play they make mistakes. I think Chris [Smalling] is the best defender (at the club), the most difficult to get past, though he could be better on the ball.Eric Bailly? We just don’t know because he’s been injured, he’s been in and out. You need a settled back four. Think of the best United teams. We had [Rio] Ferdinand and [Nemanja] Vidic, [Jaap] Stam and [Ronny] Johnsen, [Steve] Bruce and [Gary] Pallister. They played all the time, they were settled. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen with this team. class=”imageLoaded lazyloaded” data-image-container=.inline-photo v:shapes=”_x0000_i1025″>Said Scholes of Mourinho, “I think he still is a good manager, but you wonder why his side keep getting outplayed.”

Luke Shaw has been one of the few bright spots from this season…

He has… after getting stick for a couple of years. I’ve always liked him, always felt he could be one of the best left-backs. I don’t know the lad but it looks like the penny has dropped about his attitude and he’s now playing every week. He’s been all right this season. He’s not been amazing, but then I don’t think any players have been amazing this season.

Are United’s issues compounded because Liverpool and Man City are so good?

It shouldn’t make any difference but it does. United now feels like Liverpool from years ago, like we’re making all the same mistakes as they did.

United were champions of England, Europe and the world a decade ago.

And we were watching Liverpool and City from afar and smirking as they changed managers and players every year, never getting anything right. It feels like we have turned into a Liverpool or a Man City.I feel like people at Liverpool and Man City are looking at us and laughing like we did at them many years ago. But if you look across the road, they’re doing everything right. They’ve brought the best manager in the world in. They’ve brought staff in to be responsible for signing players. They have a set way of playing every week.Everything becomes easy for them. It becomes easy for the scout who knows that they play 4-3-3 and knows the positions of players and what they’re looking to sign. It’s virtually impossible for a chief scout at Man United to do the same.Whether Jose has a clear way in the future, I don’t know because the form is that bad. United are all over the place.

Is the situation recoverable for Mourinho? Are the players playing for him?

It’s hard for me to say because I was never in a team, be it Man United or England, where I went out with the intention of getting a manager sacked. I never went out and thought ‘I’ll not try.’ I’m not saying that any Man United player has ever done that but you hear so much stuff now that you think it could be possible. I’d hate that if it’s true, if any player set out t play badly on purpose. I’ve had loads of bad games, but never on purpose.The big thing with United is the effort and the attitude. When you looked at the West Ham game last week, it looked like the biggest sign of players not wanting to play for Jose, but I would not sack him. I hope the situation is retrievable. I’d like Jose to show people why he’s such a great coach because this is his biggest test in football.

It’d be great if he could.

It’d be amazing. Is it possible? I don’t know.

Do you know Jose Mourinho?

Not really, only from when I’ve played against him. I loved watching his interviews, his cockiness. I thought he was brilliant, but that Jose has gone. Now it’s just a moaning Jose, which frustrates you. He’s moaning at his players and what he hasn’t got. But look what he does have. He tells people he’s the best coach, so he should now prove that.It’s not like he’s been given nothing [at Man United]. He’s been given fortunes to spend and he’s bought a lot of these players. He’s bought the two centre-halfs who don’t look good enough. If he doesn’t think they’re good enough, then coach them and make them better.

It’s not a club on its uppers, it’s a money-making machine that is doing well financially.

It is, but it feels like they’ve lost sight of the most important thing at a football club, which is what happens on the pitch. The club are great at making money but how long can that last when the team are playing so badly?

A lot of that money was spent on Paul Pogba. Has he done enough for United?

How old is he, 25? He does some of the best things in games, a great pass or dribble, a great touch or dribble. Then, five minutes later, he’ll do one of the worst things like his brain has switched off, like it’s all about him because he’s just shown everyone how good he is. That becomes easy to play against because you know that cockiness will come. Against Wolves, he showed a great touch to Fred but then the next minute he’d given the ball away in midfield, which led to a goal. That sums him up.We never saw that at Juventus, but [Pogba] was a smaller fish there. Look around that team, with [Gianluigi] Buffon, [Andrea] Pirlo, [Leonardo] Bonucci, [Giorgio] Chiellini, [Claudio] Marchisio: great experienced players. I loved that team, especially Pirlo and the way he was so relaxed as he controlled the game. Pogba was part of a great team but he’s come to United where he’s got nobody to control him like he had at Juventus.

What about Romelu Lukaku?

I’m just not sure you are ever going to win the league with a goal scorer like him. I don’t think his play outside of the box is good enough. I’m not sure if he works hard enough but he’s still a young man who has done well and scored a lot of goals. He’s quick and strong, but Lukaku is one of many United players who look like they’re short of confidence. I don’t think he realises how good he can be, but he needs help because who else can play centre-forward at United now?

Martial, Rashford…

Maybe, but they look like wingers. And they’re getting slagged off by the manager. We had four centre-forwards — [Andy] Cole, Teddy [Sheringham], Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and [Dwight] Yorke — and when they through bad spells, which every footballer does, someone else was waiting to come in. That helped their performances because they knew that if they didn’t perform then they would be taken off. Maybe Lukaku needs that, too.

When were you short of confidence?

Loads of times. Sometimes it would last for months. You’d be fit but you’d drive home from training thinking you were not fit. I never doubted that the manager didn’t rate me because even when I played badly, he’d play me. You feel really bad when you’re not playing well. You worry about where your next goal is coming from, your next good pass. It really got to me.

And you’re getting criticism at the same time…

Social media wasn’t really around when I played but you know when you’re not playing well. You feel it in the groans in the crowds. You’d hear comments like ‘Scholesy was rubbish today.’ When you live in and among and fans you hear it all the time. Or when the manager comes up to you, puts his arms around you and says ‘Can we see the real Paul Scholes today?’

You’re not stupid. You know when you’re having a bad time… and yet it can change in pass or a scruffy goal off your knee. Everything goes from being so difficult to so easy and you have no idea why. A lot of it is mental and I’d love to see the players who are struggling at United see their fortunes change.

Would you like to coach players, to help get the best out of them?

I enjoy it when I’m doing it with kids or when I did it with the [Man United] team. It’s not something I’d go searching for, but if someone asked me or invited me to go and do something, I would.

Would you consider management?

Why not? A manager is a coach these days. Sir Alex [Ferguson] was a manager rather than a coach. Nowadays they’re coaches. I know I’d enjoy it….

Even the pressure and dealing with the media.

You don’t know until you do it. I wouldn’t say that I don’t care what the media say, but it doesn’t matter as long as you and your players know what is going on.

Who do you enjoy watching?

Real Madrid, Barcelona, City, Liverpool. I rather be saying United than any of those.

Which players do you enjoy watching?

Modric, [Toni] Kroos, Messi. Watching Messi against Tottenham at Wembley made me think about the Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo debate again.

What do you think about it? Who is the best?

Messi. But Ronaldo is brilliant.

Ronaldo is sensational at what he does, with pace and power. He scores, he takes free-kicks. But as an all-round footballer, Messi — wow, his passing — has absolutely everything.

 

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