3/16/19  Indy 11 tonite 7 pm, Champions League Final 8, US games 3/21 & 3/25, Full TV Game Schedule,

Champions League

So this is why its Champions League – wow. Ronaldo, a three time defending UCL winner with Real Madrid has taken his winning ways and goal scoring to Juventus and continues the unbelievable run as he scored all 3 of Juve’s goals in a come from behind win at home vs Atletico Madrid to advance 3-2 on aggregate. This is why Juventus spent $110 million to bring him to Italy for nights like Tuesday.  His 8th Hat-Trick in Champions League play ties him in first with Messi and his 124 total UCL goals is by far the most in history.  The biggest thing is he does it in the knockout rounds – he comes up big when his team needs him most.  If he can help take Juve – to the league title – he might just go down as the best ever in Champions League.  Of course as a long time Juve fan – I am not sure how I feel as legendary Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon is why I followed Juve.  I would love to see them win it all but without Buffon – man that would be heartbreaking.  I just wish Buffon had an offense when he manned the pipes for so long in Turin.

In other action Liverpool came roaring into Bayern Munich and took the game to the Germans with an impressive 2-0 victory as Mane scored the brace, while Man City and Barcelona both destroyed their opponents.  We are down to the Elite 8 now with an impressive 4 EPL teams in.

Liverpool vs Porto

Man City vs Tottenham

Barcelona vs Man United

Ajax vs Juventus  

USA

Interesting Roster in this 2nd gathering of US players for new coach Gregg Burhalter as the US will host Ecuador on March 21 at 8 pm ESPN2 and Chile on March 26 FS1 at 8 pm.   Basically the US returned much of the MLS based roster from January while adding top level internationals – Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Weston McKinney, John Brooks, Tim Ream and DeAndre Yedlin.  Missing from this line-up are young forwards Josh Sargeant, and Tim Weah among others.  It will be interesting to see how they play and how they line up the mid-field and forward line.  The US ladies sued the US Soccer Federation last weekend claiming Gender Inequality between the men’s and women’s teams with regards to pay among a ton of other things.  Interesting as the Women are 2 time World Cup Winners and are heading into this summer’s World Cup as the #1 Ranked team while the men didn’t even qualify last year.  That and the Women actually generated more revenue the last 2 years than the men.

US Men Roster

GOALKEEPERS: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, BEL; 3/0), Sean Johnson(New York City FC; 6/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0)

DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg, GER; 36/3), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas, MEX; 48/3), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 4/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 2/0), Matt Miazga (Reading, ENG; 11/1), Tim Ream (Fulham, ENG; 26/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, ENG; 57/0)

MIDFIELDERS: Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, GER; 9/1), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, CAN; 143/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 7/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke, GER; 7/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, GER; 23/9), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 7/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 13/0)

FORWARDS: Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 2/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 25/5), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 42/6)

Indy 11

Our Indy 11 dominated possession in their first game of the 2019 season on the road at St. Louis and even outshot the home team – but a late goal saw them lose a heartbreaker 2-1 on the afternoon as a sizable contingent of Brick Yard Battalion fans looked on.  The 11 are back on the road tonight at 7 pm as they travel to Charlotte on ESPN+.  Get your season ticket package today by visiting IndyEleven.com/season-tickets or by calling 317-685-1100. First home game is Sat, March 30th vs Hartford Athletic at 7 pm at the Luke!

Big Games on TV this Week

Not a lot of great games this weekend, our Indy 11 face Charlotte tonight/Fri at 7 pm on ESPN+.  Sat gives us a battle of 2 Americans in Germany as Schalke’s McKinney will face RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams on Fox Sports 2 at 10:30 am. Dortmund and Pulisic who scored 1 and assisted on 1 last weekend, play on FS2 at 1:30 pm vs Hertha. The Milan Derby – Inter vs AC Milan is 3:30 pm on ESPN+ Saturday.  FA Cup games are on ESPN+ Sat at 8:15 am as Watford faces Crystal Palace, and Wolverhampton hosting Man United at 4 pm on the plus.  Burnley hosts Leicester Sat at 11 am on NBSCN, while Sun gives us Fulham vs Liverpool at 10:15 am and Everton vs Chelsea at 12:30 on NBC.  MLS has Cincy hosting their first game vs Portland at 5 pm on FS1 Sunday while NYCFC and LAFC battle at 3 pm on FS1.  Of course the international break hits this week and next weekend as the US will play 2 games at home Thurs at 8 pm on ESPN2 vs Ecuador and Tues 3/26 at 8 pm vs Chile on ESPN2.  While European qualifications will be on ESPN+ and ESPN3.

Champions League

Zidanes Return Signals Big Changes at Real Madrid are Coming – Jonathan Wilson SI

A rested Zidane ready to Return to Madrid refreshed – SI

Crazy happenings in Champions League – SI

Messi Matches Renaldo’s Magic

Champions League belongs to Ronaldo – ESPNFC

Ronaldo’s Hat Trick Sends Juve Thru on Magical Night in Italy

Juve Advances Wow

Bayern’s humiliation vs Liverpool must lead to Changes –

– Ronaldo: Hat trick why Juventus signed me
– Guardiola: Ronaldo hat trick a warning to Man City

– Ogden: Van Dijk the player Liverpool need on quest for double
– Liverpool player ratings: Van Dijk, Mane both 9/10 as Reds advance

Champions League Power Rankings Final 8 – NBCSports

USA

What Does US Ladies Lawsuit for US Soccer Mean?  Graham Hayes ESPNW

US Ladies Will Make their Marks on and Off the Field – SI – Grant Wahl

Berhalter Excited about Flexibility Adams & Pulisic can offer US men – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Arrialo Says MLS Veterans of Camp will help US Internationals Adjust to new Coach

Pulisic comes on Late for Assist and Goal to save Dortmund

USMNT Team youngster Zelalem leaves Arsenal for Sporting KC

USWNT suing U.S. Soccer for discrimination

Foudy: USWNT union changes are step in the right direction

Carli Lloyd: USWNT negotiations will set global standard

USSF asks EEOC to dismiss USWNT wage suit

USWNT: Federation disputes equal-pay claim

Women’s filing vs. U.S. Soccer: Men paid more

EPL

Who’s got the Edge Liverpool or Man City Down the Stretch?

Slumping Spurs opens door for Arsenal/Man U and Chelsea

4 Things Learned Arsenal vs Man United

Indy 11

Indy 11 vs Charlotte – Preview

Josh Penn shows Pedigree in Indy 11 Debut – Kevin Johnston  soctakes.com

Indy 11 Sign Columbus Crew Defender Alex Crognale on loan

Eastern Conference Preview – soctakes.com John Lenard

Indy 11 TV Schedule

Full Schedule Released

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

BYB Away Game Watch Parties Around Town

GAMES ON TV

Fri, March 15

3:30 pm FS2                            Borussia M’Gladbach vs Frieburg

7 pm ESPN+                                           USL- Charlotte vs Indy 11

Sat, March 16 

8:15 am ESPN+                                     Watford vs Crystal Palace FA Cup

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

9:30 am FS2                                            Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Stuttgart

11 am NBCSN                                        Burnley vs Leicester City

11:15 am beIN Sport                             Real Madrid vs Celta de Vigo

1 pm ESPN+                                            Chicago Fire vs Seattle Sounders

1:20 pm ESPN+                                    Swansea City vs Man City (FA Cup)

1:30 pm Fox Sport 2                             Hertha vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

2 pm ESPN+                                            Columbus Crew vs Dallas (Matt Hedges)

4 pm ESPN+                                            Woverhampton vs Man United (FA Cup)

Sun, March 17 

8:30 am Fox Sports 1                       Bayer Leverkusen vs Werder Bremen

10:15 am NBCSN                                 Fulham vs Liverpool

10 am ESPN2                                         Lazio vs Parma (Italy)

12:30 pm NBC                                      Everton vs Chelsea

1 pm Fox Sport 2                                Bayern Munich vs Mainz

3:30 pm ESPN+                                    Milan vs Inter 

3 pm Fox Sport 1                                NYCFC vs LAFC

3:45 pm beIN Sport                             Real Betis vs Barcelona

5 pm Fox Sport 1                                Cincinnati vs Portland (1st Cincy home MLS Game)

Thurs, Mar 21

3:45 pm ESPN3                                    Belgium vs Russia (Euro Qualifying)

8 pm ESPN 2                                          USA vs Ecuador

Fri, Mar 22

3:45 pm Watch ESPN                       England vs Czech Rep (Euro Qualifying)

3:45 pm ESPN+                                    Portugal vs Ukraine  (Euro Qualifying)

4:20 pm beIN Sport                                                  Argentina vs Venezuela

10:15 pm                                                                         Mexico vs Chile

Sat, Mar 23

3:45 pm Watch ESPN                          Spain vs Norway (Euro Qualifying)

3:45 pm ESPN+                                    Italy vs Finland (Euro Qualifying)

7:30 pm ESPN+                                    Philly vs Columbus Crew

Sun, Mar 24

3:45 pm ESPN+                                    Netherlands vs Germany  (Euro Qualifying)

4 pm ESPN+                                            New England vs Cincy

Mon, Mar 25

2:45 pm ESPN+                                    Montenegro vs England (Euro Qualifying)

2:45 pm ESPN+                                     France vs Iceland (Euro Qualifying)

Tues, Mar 26

2:45 pm ESPN3                                    Czech Republic vs Brazil

2:45 pm ESPN3                                     Norway vs Sweden

8 pm ESPN 2                                          USA vs Chile

 USWNT Puts Equal Pay Discussion Back in Spotlight With New Lawsuit vs. U.S. Soccer

By GRANT WAHL March 08, 2019 SI

The players of the U.S. women’s national team got tired of waiting, and so on Friday, International Women’s Day and less than three months before the start of the World Cup, they sued U.S. Soccer in search of pay and treatment that are equal to the U.S. men’s team.In many ways, the lawsuit is simply a furtherance of the complaint that USWNT players filed three years ago against the federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—a complaint that has essentially sat in purgatory ever since. But make no mistake, this lawsuit reignites the issue and will be a dominant topic of discussion as the team plays games before and during the Women’s World Cup.It marks a grander version of the case brought forward by former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo in August of last year, with the player accusing U.S. Soccer of committing the same violations in her own personal federal lawsuit that remains pending in California. “I’d always hoped my former teammates would follow suit and join me in the battle in Federal Court against the United States Soccer Federation,” Solo said in a statement on Friday. “It was clear that U.S. Soccer was never going to acquiesce or negotiate to provide us equal pay or agree to treat us fairly. The filing today by the entire United States women’s national team demonstrates that they no longer fear the Federation by forcefully and publicly acknowledging U.S. Soccer’s violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII.”In the days since Abby Wambach retired from soccer, she has said regularly that she wished she had done more during her career to fight for better treatment of women’s players. The 28 USWNT players who brought Friday’s lawsuit clearly don’t want to have those regrets, and they know that the three-decade history of the USWNT has shown that real gains have only come when the players have decided to go toe-to-toe with U.S. Soccer.Will that make things uncomfortable between the players and the federation over the coming months with more eyes than ever on women’s soccer? You’d better believe it. But that’s precisely why the players chose this timing of their lawsuit. Given the circumstances, we shouldn’t expect any major changes on the field as a result of their action. U.S. Soccer isn’t going to do anything that would jeopardize the chances of winning a fourth Women’s World Cup this summer in France. And the players, who are pros and are unified, won’t either.There’s no threat of a work stoppage here. But get ready for a lot of discussion—on equal pay, on revenues produced, on investment in the women’s game. And look for that discussion to ripple out into the wider world as other women’s national teams take their cues from the USWNT, which is what we’ve been seeing in recent years.This fight won’t be settled soon. But it’s one that these USWNT players are viewing as part of their legacy—and every bit as important as what they accomplish on the field itself.

Alex Morgan on USWNT equal pay lawsuit: ‘This is about women in all industries’

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris just shakes her head in disbelief that civilization has advanced to the year 2019 — an inclusive and enlightened time when her recent engagement to teammate Ali Krieger was celebrated among fans and athletes throughout the soccer world — and yet, Harris and her colleagues on the U.S. women’s national team are still treated as second-class citizens compared to their male counterparts.A marriage between two women is legally and socially acceptable, as it should be, but sadly, so too is unequal compensation among American men and women soccer players. Even when the women are much better at their jobs than the men.Which is why Harris, her superstar Pride teammate Alex Morgan and the 26 other members of our world champion national women’s soccer team just filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer — the federation that governs the sport in this country. Our women want equal pay, equal perks, equal working conditions, equal resources, equal per diems, equal travel arrangements, equal everything.And not only do these amazing women deserve the same treatment as their male counterparts; they probably deserve more. Our men’s national team has never won diddly poo and couldn’t even get to the World Cup last year; our dominant, dynamic women’s team is the  premier power on the planet with three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals.Memo to U.S. Soccer: Check your bleeping calendar! This is 2019; not 1919. Believe it or not, women are actually allowed to vote now and, yes, even own land.Why is this even a topic of discussion?  Why doesn’t U.S. Soccer just do what any decent parent would do: Treat your daughters with the same respect as you treat your sons?

“We’re wondering the same thing,” Harris told me Thursday during Pride media day. “This has to change and we’re trying to create that change. It shouldn’t be up for debate whether I make the same amount as a man if I’m doing the same damn job and I’m putting in the same work, the same hours and I’m getting better results and bringing in more money. This shouldn’t be a conversation; it should be a freaking right.”This is not only a fight for the U.S. women’s national team, it’s a fight for women athletes everywhere. Correction, it’s a fight for women in every profession in every country across the globe.“As female athletes, they (the U.S. women’s national team) are pioneers. They are fighting the good fight for the rest of us,” said Pride defender Alanna Kennedy, a member of the Australian national team.Said Morgan: “This isn’t just about us; It’s about women in all industries. Women fight for equality every single day. Our hope is that we not only set up ourselves, we set up the next generation as well.”U.S. Soccer should be ashamed of itself. The organization will tell you that this is a complicated compensation issue because the U.S. women’s national team and the U.S. men’s national team have separate collective bargaining agreements with different pay structures. U.S. Soccer will also tell you that they are at the mercy of FIFA, the world soccer governing body that doles out $400 million in bonuses to the 32 men’s teams participating in the World  Cup whereas the 24 women’s teams get only $30 million in bonuses.This argument is lame. The U.S. men’s national team, riding the coattails of Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, etc., has little to do with the financial success of the  World Cup. The U.S. men are sort of like Vanderbilt cashing that $50 million TV check from the SEC every year just because the Commodores are lucky enough to be in the same conference as Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Florida.Meanwhile, the U.S. women’s national team is Alabama;  they are THE reason for the financial success of their World Cup. Not only that, but an argument could also be made that the U.S. women have had 10  times the impact of their male counterparts in growing the game of soccer in this country. The U.S. women are national heroes. The U.S. men are national nobodies.Without question, if you were judging and compensating them on merit, then the U.S. women should actually get more, not less, than the U.S. men. But this should not be based on merit; it should be based on fairness.U.S. Soccer isn’t some independent, privately-owned sports league like the NBA. Nobody has an issue with NBA players making significantly more money than WNBA players because the NBA makes billions of dollars every year whereas the WNBA doesn’t even break even.But U.S. Soccer is a nonprofit organization that funds the United States men’s national team and the United States women’s national team.The two key words here are, “United States.” And in the United States, all men and women are created equal.Iconic Orlando Pride forward Marta, commonly recognized as the greatest women’s soccer player of all-time, is a Brazilian goodwill ambassador to the United Nations who says women’s inequality around the world  is a major issue on her agenda.“You shouldn’t have to win anything to be treated equally,” Marta said. “Women should be treated equally to men because it’s the right thing to do.”

Watch: Christian Pulisic’s goal, assist help Borussia Dortmund keep pace with Bayern Munich

Doug McIntyre,Yahoo Sports Sat, Mar 9 12:27 PM EST

Christian Pulisic’s goal and assist off the bench on Saturday might just have saved Borussia Dortmund’s season, with the American’s 15-minute cameo in a crucial 3-1 win over Stuttgart keeping BVB even on points — if not goal difference — with Bayern Munich atop the Bundesliga table.The 20-year-old U.S. national team star has struggled with nagging leg injuries and form for most of the season. But he was the difference-maker in a match that Dortmund, which has seen its huge lead in Germany’s top division evaporate over the last number of weeks, simply had to have.With the score knotted at one and just 12 minutes of the 90 remaining, BVB manager Lucien Favre summoned Pulisic. It marked just his third appearance, all as a substitute, since Feb. 13 as he continues to gain match fitness after returning from a muscle injury. And Pulisic made the most of the opportunity, his clever footwork inside the box setting up Paco Alcacer’s all-important go-ahead goal in short order:

Then Pulisic, who will move to Chelsea this summer after agreeing to a $73 million transfer in January, got onto the scoresheet himself deep into stoppage time. The first-time finish with his left foot off a pass by Mario Gotze easily beat Stuttgart keeper Ron-Robert Zieler to the far post:The goal sealed the vital three points for the hosts. It could also help Pulisic earn more playing time as his tenure in Germany winds down. Pulisic’s last two starts came in the German Cup and the Champions League, competitions Dortmund is no longer involved in. The Pennsylvania native has not made Favre’s lineup for a Bundesliga match since late last year, before his looming move to Chelsea was announced.Maybe this is why BVB insisted on Pulisic sticking around until the end of the season, with the club bent on ending Bayern’s string of six Bundesliga titles this spring. Dortmund has not won the domestic championship since 2012. The two clubs both have 57 points after Bayern crushed Wolfsburg 6-0 on Saturday, and Bayern’s plus-2 goal differential give it the top spot. If Dortmund does manage to reclaim the lead and break its chief rival’s stranglehold on the trophy between now and May, the impact Pulisic made on Saturday will be a big reason why.Doug McIntyre

 covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

Berhalter excited about ‘flexibility’ Pulisic, Adams can offer United States men’s national team

Mar 12, 2019 Jeff Carlisle  U.S. soccer correspondent

For Gregg Berhalter, the U.S. men’s national team is akin to a jigsaw puzzle at the moment. He has a fair idea of where certain pieces go, while others are still scattered. Then there are those who might not end up fitting in. The pieces can also change shape depending on circumstances. Such is the way of things in the early days of a national team tenure.At least in this instance, with upcoming friendlies against Ecuador on March 21 in Orlando, Florida, and a second match against Chile five days later in Houston, Berhalter has more of his preferred pieces available, particularly in midfield. Christian PulisicWeston McKennie and Tyler Adams are all available, and Berhalter has some ideas on where each would be positioned. Pulisic will be deployed as “the No. 10 slanted to the left.” It looks as if Adams could play the right back/holding midfielder hybrid position occupied by Nick Lima during the January camp, though a more central role wasn’t ruled out. That would leave McKennie to either occupy the right-sided No. 10 slot or play in more of a holding role.Most of the attention will be focused on Pulisic. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder — for a few more months anyway — has invited plenty of debate as to where he should be positioned at the international level. With Dortmund, he’s usually deployed out wide, but given the relative dearth of creativity in the U.S. team, there have been calls for him to be stationed more centrally, the better to impact the game. But Berhalter isn’t so rigid in terms of where Pulisic finds space once the whistle blows.”When you look at last camp, there’s times where the wingers go inside and the 10s go wide,” Berhalter said. “We just want to see how that looks. We want Christian to be flexible, we want him to take advantage of his one-v-one [abilities], but we also want to get him in front of goal.”That versatility isn’t limited to Pulisic. He wants the likes of McKennie and Adams to show the same trait.”If I’m thinking about Weston who as a No. 10 but then defends as a No. 8, Christian as a No. 10 who also moves wide, or Tyler is a right back who can come inside and can also overlap or inner-lap; those are the things that are exciting to me,” the U.S. coach said. “It gives a lot of flexibility in the team.”As with most rosters, the players who were left off generated as many questions as those on it. In particular, forwards Josh Sargent and Tim Weah were, at least on the surface, surprise omissions. But Berhalter has chosen this moment to reconstitute the U.S. U23 team that, it is hoped, will qualify for the 2020 Olympics. With playing time not guaranteed for either player — and with clubs usually directing some stink-eye at national teams that make players travel and then don’t play them — Berhalter has hit upon a reasonable compromise. A pair of U23 games are being planned and it seems likely that both players will take part if the plans come to fruition. A U.S. Soccer spokesperson also said that the USSF is “deep into the hiring process” for the U23 manager.”When we looked at players that were U23 eligible, and weren’t necessarily going to be in our starting group, we had to weigh is it more beneficial for them to try to play full international games at a level where they can gain confidence and potentially bring that back to their club and then get a boost in performance with their clubs,” Berhalter said.Another interesting takeaway from Berhalter’s second roster is the notion that age isn’t as much of a barrier to a player being part of the 2022 World Cup team as was once thought. In addition to Michael Bradley, center backs Tim Reamand Omar Gonzalez are back in the fold. Fabian Johnson, while he didn’t make this roster, is still in contention. Berhalter has long valued veteran leadership, and in a young team that makes sense. The extent to which that will impact 2022 — should the U.S. qualify — is still to be determined, though Berhalter isn’t eliminating any possibilities at the moment.”This roster is [composed of] guys that we think can potentially play in 2022,” he said. “Some of them will be pushing the limit, and some of them may not make it to there because of the physicality of it. When we’re projecting this, we’re saying, ‘It can’t be all young players. It could be three guys on the roster in 2022 who are in their mid-30s. It can happen, especially when you’re trying to balance a young team.”At present, Berhalter isn’t looking that far out into the future. Rather his focus remains on getting the most out of what will be a short window. The Ecuador game falls on a Thursday, and for some players that will take place just four days after their last club match. That’s why Berhalter is calling this camp, “the most challenging two games we’ll have together as a group,” especially given that the 10 players will be taking in his tactical approach for the first time. The U.S. coach has attempted to mitigate this by doing video conferences with players in a bid to transfer the tactical know-how ahead of time.Berhalter acknowledges there is no substitute for practicing on the field. That will put a premium on “the players openness to learn, take information in. We know it’s not going to be perfect, but how much of that information is absorbed and executed upon, that’s what we’re going to be looking for.”If that takes place, then perhaps more puzzle pieces will snap into place.

Pulisic, McKennie and Adams called up to U.S. squad for March friendlies

Mar 12, 2019Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

The European-based contingent of Christian PulisicWeston McKennie and Tyler Adams headlines the roster for the United States ahead of friendlies against Ecuador on March 21 and Chile five days later.  The 24-man roster is the second put together by manager Gregg Berhalter since taking over the U.S. team back in December. But whereas his first camp in January was comprised entirely of domestic players, this get-together sees nine performers playing abroad while the remainder are with MLS clubs. Of the 15 MLS players that were invited, 14 took part in the January camp.”We thought it was important to tie some of the themes of last camp into this next camp and to have some consistency in the personnel made a lot of sense,” said Berhalter. “We still think we’re able to evaluate a new group of players, and we think that is going to be valuable as we move into the Gold Cup.”That said, the roster assembled is closer to what will look like a full-strength side, though there are some notable absences. Toronto striker Jozy Altidore is still not fully recovered from a recent knee injury. Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan was not included, nor was Hannover 96 striker Bobby Wood.A USSF spokesman said that the U.S. U23 team — the side that will attempt to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 2008 games in Beijing — is also planning to play a pair of matches during the upcoming international window. Berhalter indicated that the scheduling of those games played a role in determining who was called up to the full team and who will play for the U23s. It’s likely that this is why Werder Bremen forward Josh Sargent and Celtic winger Tim Weah were excluded from the full team.  “We had to make decisions for this camp and we looked at the players in a number of different buckets,” said Berhalter. “For example, we have some younger guys that aren’t getting the game time that they would have expected and they’re still age-eligible for the Olympics, so we think it’s a great opportunity for them to play two international games with the Olympic team.”We have other players that we have evaluated thoroughly in the January camp and we’re going to bring back in the future, but not in this camp. That’s another group. Then we have some guys that are returning from injury and we thought now is not the right time to subject them to the intensity of international soccer and the national team.”The squad is a bit older than some those in other recent camps, with an average age of 25 years, 261 days. It also average 21 caps. Among the more experienced call-ups are Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (143) and Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin (57).Berhalter also took the opportunity to pick some players who have been out of the U.S. mix for extended periods. Defenders Tim Ream of Fulham and Atlas center-back Omar Gonzalez were called in for the first time since 2017.”We have been saying all along that we thought it was important to have a veteran presence in the national team,” he said. “I think it’s really important when you talk about the history, the heritage and culture of what it means to play for the national team.”In Omar and Tim’s case, they’re both playing at a high level, they’re both playing every week and we thought this would be a good camp to evaluate their performance.”Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris was called up for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee early last year. He scored two goals for the Sounders in the season-opening 4-1 win over FC Cincinnati.”We’re excited for Jordan,” said Berhalter. “He’s a player that we had contact with in January Camp and it will be great to see him live and in person on the field.”Most of all, Berhalter will be looking to build on the concepts that he established in his inaugural camp last month.”Our goal is to keep making progress. Building on the themes of last camp, building on the style of play of last camp, but also now evaluating a new group of players,” Berhalter said.”We made progress in the first camp and it’s now asking if we can take it to another level. When we are done with this camp, it’s important that we have a good idea of our strongest group of players heading into the Gold Cup.”

FULL U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals)

GOALKEEPERS: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, BEL; 3/0), Sean Johnson(New York City FC; 6/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0)

DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg, GER; 36/3), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas, MEX; 48/3), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 4/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 2/0), Matt Miazga (Reading, ENG; 11/1), Tim Ream (Fulham, ENG; 26/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, ENG; 57/0)

MIDFIELDERS: Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, GER; 9/1), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, CAN; 143/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 7/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke, GER; 7/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, GER; 23/9), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 7/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 13/0)

FORWARDS: Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 2/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 25/5), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 42/6)

What Josh Sargent and Tim Weah being off the USMNT means for “The Process”

If there is such a thingBy Parker Cleveland  Mar 14, 2019, 7:00am PDT Stars and Stripes

The second wave of friendlies under new USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter has some shape now that the roster has been announced. The team that he’s called in seems… underwhelming. There’s Michael Bradley poised to continue his steady march toward breaking the USMNT record for caps, the anonymous college graduate at left back, an entire forward line filled with MLS players with only one that scored double digit goals last season, and a center back that scored an own goal in World Cup qualifying. What is this?Where are the kids? Where are the players that are testing themselves at the highest level? WHERE ARE TIM WEAH AND JOSH SARGENT? Is this what fans want to overpay to see? Is this the best that Gregg Berhalter can do? A roster that looks like 15/24 of a January camp with Tyler AdamsChristian Pulisic and Weston McKennie mixed in? Is everyone who says SUM controls USSF right and is this roster the shooter on the grassy knoll in the flesh?At the very least it’s disappointing and at the worst it seems like a step back in terms of the work that American Manager Dave Sarachan did at expanding the player pool in his year as interim manager. So what are we supposed to make of this?

The good: this is “The Process”

Let’s give the US Soccer Federation more credit than it deserves and think that it’s making decisions with the “long game” in mind. Suspend your belief in reality for just a minute and step back and look at how the roster fits into “The Process.”Obviously, Sargent and Weah aren’t on the team sheet. Addressing their omission the coach noted, “We’re looking at this from the big picture standpoint. The big picture is Tim and Josh have the opportunity to play at the U-23 level and gain experience. I see them very much as part of the group moving forward, this is a way for them to keep playing and get on the field.”That’s nice; they’re in the group going forward and are with the U-23s for this camp. On its face, it would appear that US Soccer is prioritizing getting back into the Olympics on the men’s side. If so, the thinking that the youngsters would have time to get some experience under a new U-23s coach, which the article linked above also mentions will be hired shortly, makes sense. It is still three years and then some between now and the 2022 World Cup kicking off and there’s a lot that needs to happen in that time. One thing that will come up is the 2020 Olympics, a tournament the US men have only qualified for once in the past four times it’s been held.Concacaf U-23 qualifying has not been scheduled (for 2016 it occurred in October 2015), but holding Weah, Sargent, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Antonee Robinson and other promising players out of the senior squad for now would give them time to gel under a new coach. That time will be more valuable to prep for Olympic qualifying than playing a pair of friendlies that will let Berhalter assess the player pool ahead of the Gold Cup.The 2020 Olympics are also a way to turn the page for the USMNT. The failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was in some ways the end of a chapter that began with failing to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Those teams were full of players who took a different track and focused their development and careers in MLS. The current crop of U-23s, at least its brightest members, are choosing to challenge themselves at the highest level in Europe and not repeat the mistakes of the “lost generation” that had its ultimate failure in Trinidad & Tobago.If the goal is a successful run in the 2022 World Cup, this is the right roster for Berhalter to call in, “The Process” is working, and everything is fine. Of course, that’s only if it means that the players who will make the biggest impact in that tournament are taking the field in Tokyo next summer.

The bad: there is no “The Process”

There’s no way that Sargent and Weah should be behind Corey Baird, Jonathan Lewis, and Christian Ramirez in the depth chart and no way that they don’t have a higher upside for 2022 than Gyasi Zardes. There is room on the roster for them. On top of that, their clubs are under no obligation to release them for a U-23 camp. Plus, if the goal was to have them playing meaningful soccer against tough competition, friendlies against senior players for two tough South American teams would be just that.In its recent decisions, such as extending Jurgen Klinsmann with a massive contract before ever coaching a World Cup game, hiring Bruce Arena to try and pick up the pieces after Klinsmann’s early qualifying losses, alienating a top dual-national prospect, creating a general manager position that seemed to be aimless that few candidates were interested in, and seemingly pre-selecting the USMNT manager without a competitive hiring process (you know, again), USSF has exercised foresight like it was planning a music festival on Pablo Escobar’s island in the Bahamas. Is that changing?A good sign is that there are exciting young players in Europe who could make a big difference with the Stars and Stripes ahead of 2022, but does that mean there’s a “Process” that the federation set in motion to make that happen? The crop of players choosing to play in Europe and not MLS it might make it seem like US Soccer is thinking more strategically. Another way to look at it is that the young talented players that are choosing to go abroad over MLS are making the case for long-term planning easier for the federation to take credit for.Whatever Berhalter says, we don’t know why Sargent and Weah are being sent to the U-23s. If this is not “The Process,” then Weah and Sargent not being called in to the senior team is quite simply just another in a long line of bad decisions.

Premier League title race: Who has the best fixtures in the run-in? Manchester City or Liverpool?

Mark CritchleyThe IndependentMar 10, 2019, 10:19 AM  photos

Premier League title race: Who has the best fixtures in the run-in? Manchester City or Liverpool?

Eight games remain in the Premier League season, with champions Manchester City and challengers Liverpool the only teams left in contention to win the Premier League title.The two clubs are currently separated by just one point, after their respective wins over Watford and Burnley this weekend.The competitive standard they have both set has simply been too difficult for the rest of the pack to keep up with.At this rate, one of Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola will end in second place having managed one of the Premier League’s best-ever runners-up.And whether City defend their crown or Liverpool end their 29-year wait for a domestic title will depend in part on how their fixtures fall in these final weeks and months.By calculating the average points-per-game home and away of each top-flight club, we can weigh up the difficulty of their run-ins and see where the title may be won and lost.

Manchester City

Current position: 1st

Points: 74

Average home/away points of opponents: 1.33

Remaining fixtures

30/03 Fulham (A)

06/04 Cardiff (H) *

14/04 Crystal Palace (A)

20/04 Tottenham (H)

24/04 Manchester United (A)

28/04 Burnley (A)

04/05 Leicester (H)

12/05 Brighton (A)

* Subject to change due to FA Cup

City’s schedule comes with two reminders of the last time they contested a Premier League title race with Liverpool five years ago.The champions travel to Crystal Palace on the same afternoon that Liverpool host Chelsea, just as they did on a pivotal April day of the 2013-14 campaign.And if that was not eerie enough, Brendan Rodgers will be given the chance to enact revenge when Leicester City visit the Etihad on the penultimate weekend.But the key game in the remainder of this title race is likely to be City’s trip to Old Trafford on 24 April.The Manchester derby will be City’s most difficult test. It will also be a game in hand over Liverpool, who play Fulham next weekend while their rivals are in FA Cup action.It comes at a challenging time too. City host Tottenham four days before playing United, then face a tough trip to Burnley four days later.Six points away to Fulham and at home against Cardiff will be expected.The champions will also hope that Brighton are all but on the beach rather than fighting to stay up on the final day. Chris Hughton’s side can be a tough nut to crack at the Amex.

Liverpool

Current position: 2nd

Points: 73

Average home/away points of opponents: 1.32

Remaining fixtures

17/03 Fulham (A)

31/03 Tottenham (H)

05/04 Southampton (A)

14/04 Chelsea (H)

21/04 Cardiff (A)

26/04 Huddersfield (H)

04/05 Newcastle (A)

12/05 Wolves (H)

When comparing the home and away points-per-game totals of Liverpool and City’s remaining opponents, the difference is 0.01 of a point in Liverpool’s favour.In other words, there is no meaningful difference in difficulty when comparing the remaining schedules of the two title contenders.Liverpool’s remaining away days are against bottom-half clubs, which can be a double-edged sword at this time of the season.Fulham, Southampton and Cardiff are all currently fighting for the points they require to retain their top-flight status, even if some look more doomed than others.Newcastle, meanwhile, are in excellent form and will be no pushovers at St James’ Park on the penultimate weekend of the campaign.Two ‘top six’ clubs visit Anfield before the end of the season. Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham arrive at the end of the month and have struggled of late.Chelsea have not travelled particularly well under Maurizio Sarri but have already won at Anfield this season in the EFL Cup.Huddersfield’s form on the road is woeful and Jan Siewert’s men may well be relegated by the time they turn up on Merseyside.But Wolverhampton Wanderers are not ideal final day opponents and Anfield itself could be a gift or a curse if it does come down to the very last game.

Verdict

It remains very close to call though, with a point advantage and a relatively even schedule, City must be considered favourites.How Guardiola’s side negotiate their commitments in other competitions next month is likely to be the deciding factor.Their league sequence of Palace away, Tottenham at home, United away and Burnley away comes at a key moment in their season as a whole.A probable Champions League quarter-final second leg falls in the middle of that spell and a possible semi-final comes right after it, the midweek before Leicester’s visit.Add in a likely FA Cup semi-final, which would force the Cardiff game to be rearranged, and City’s April suddenly appears quite hectic.  Liverpool could be involved in European action as well, of course, though there is a sense at Anfield that domestic success is their priority.

Four things we learned: Arsenal v. Man United

Joe Prince-Wright

NBC Sports•Mar 10, 2019, 5:45 PM

LONDON — It was a case of unlucky 13 for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he lost for the first time as Manchester United manager in the Premier League at Arsenal on Sunday.

The Gunners scored in each half through Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyangto push themselves into the driving seat in the top four battle as they won a ninth-straight home game. United missed numerous glorious chances and hit the woodwork twice as their heroic midweek win at PSG seemed to catch up with them.

Here’s a look at what we learned from a gripping encounter in north London.

EMERY HAS INSTILLED STEEL

It wasn’t pretty from Arsenal, but they got the job done and kept a clean sheet, and it is clear that Unai Emery has instilled a steely resolve into this Gunners team. In recent weeks they’ve held firm against the rampant attacks of Tottenham and Man United in the Premier League, and on Sunday it took a lot of courage to dig deep and fight back after their disappointing midweek defeat at Rennes in the Europa League. By the end of Arsene Wenger‘s Arsenal reign, they had become a weak-minded, fragile bunch of players. There is now a fighting spirit and grit to their play which complements their free-flowing attacking prowess. Despite various setbacks along the way this season, one thing that has improved drastically under Emery is their defensive organization. And despite that improved defensive solidity, helped mainly by Sokratis’ arrival, they have also scored more goals (63) than they had at this point last season. With three goals conceded in their last five PL games, if Arsenal’s defense keeps this up it will get them into the top four. Coupled with turning the Emirates into a fortress, the Gunners have finally added some steel to their silky attack.

UNITED’S MIDFIELD MUDDLE COSTS SOLSKJAER

25 minutes into the game Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had seen enough from his midfield. He switched the formation from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 because Fred and Nemanja Matic were left woefully exposed to Arsenal’s fluid attacks. Young shifted to center back, Diogo Dalotwent to right wing-back and all of a sudden United had more control. Pogba was drifting around aimlessly early on, not sure if he was playing in the center or on the left of midfield, and it was all a bit of a muddle. Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay were badly missed alongside Matic, and although Fred gave away a penalty kick, he didn’t play too badly. United’s failure to finish chances was their biggest downfall on Sunday, as Solskjaer’s fine unbeaten run is over. Injuries, constant personnel changes and the PSG win in midweek caught up with them, but there is still plenty of life left in their top four quest.

LUKAKU GOES COLD IN FRONT OF GOAL

After scoring twice in each of his last three outings, Romelu Lukaku was bang on form heading into this game. Moments before Arsenal took the lead he somehow hit the crossbar from close range, and before half time he gave Bernd Leno just enough time to claw the ball away after he rounded him. In the second half Lukaku was clean through again but was denied and it just wasn’t his day in front of goal. The Belgian striker still caused problems with his runs and combination play with Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, but he had an off-day in front of goal. Lukaku going stone cold in front of goal was the main reason why Man United failed to get anything from this game. And the fact that only 14 percent of Lukaku’s 113 Premier League goals have come against “big six” opposition (16 in 75 appearances) will add fuel to the fire of those saying Anthony Martialmust replace him in the starting lineup.

TOP 4 BATTLE BLOWN WIDE OPEN

The race to finish in the top four of the Premier League got real this weekend. Tottenham lost at Southampton. Chelsea drew at home against Wolves. And Arsenal beat Man United. Arsenal now sit in fourth on 60 points (just one point short of third-place Spurs), Man United are in fifth on 58 points and Chelsea are in sixth on 57 points with a game in hand.In the matchday programme Arsenal skipper Laurent Koscielny said that this was a “crucial game” for the Gunners and their season. It’s cliche, but every game between now and May 12 is huge for Emery’s Arsenal project. And the same can be said for Pochettino, Sarri and Solskjaer at their respective clubs.

PREVIEW | INDY DEPART FOR QUEEN CITY CLASH AGAINST CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE

By IndyEleven.com, 03/13/19, 8:00PM EDT  Boys in Blue gear up for second consecutive road match of the season

Indy Eleven at Charlotte Independence – #CLTvIND
Friday, March 15, 2019 – 7:00 P.M. EST

Sportsplex at Matthews Stadium – Matthews, NC

Watch/Listen Live:Streaming Video: ESPN+ ($)
WEEK 2 | SHOOTING FOR THE FIRST THREE POINTS

Indy Eleven aim to capture the first three points of the season against Charlotte Independence in the team’s second road game in as many weeks. The Boys in Blue look to improve their all-time record against Charlotte, which currently stands at 1W-1D-0L.Indiana’s Team fell in their first match of the 2019 USL Championship season 2-1 on the road against Saint Louis FC. Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie’s side featured several new faces during the matchup, some of which included defender Neveal Hackshaw and forward Josh Penn. Hackshaw excelled in his Boys in Blue debut as he completed nearly 90 percent of his passes, acted as a stiff presence in the back third, and scored Indy’s only goal of the match in the 61st minute. Youngster Penn also caused havoc down the flanks for Saint Louis, as the 18-year-old nearly scored a goal in the 19th minute and almost assisted forward Dane Kelly in the 48th minute. Despite his best effort, the USL Championship all-time leading goal scorer watched his header clang off the post. Even though Indy dominated possession and created seven chances, the side fell 2-1 on the road. The focus is now claiming points in Charlotte.“For us, we’ve played a competitive game now and we’ve learned things from that game that we could improve on in practice,” said Rennie. “The start of the season is tricky for us. There’s a lot of away games that’ll be quite tricky, so we need to really dig in and truly get results to set us up for the rest of the season.”Charlotte Independence begin their 2019 USL Championship season against Indy Eleven on Friday night after having a bye week in league’s opening weekend. The side will play its first competitive match after a preseason loss to 2018 Major League Soccer champs Atlanta United on March 2, finishing the preseason with a 3W-1D-1L record. Charlotte, now with first-year head coach Jim McGuiness leading the charge, will look to bounce back from a 2018 USL Championship season that saw the side finish 11th in the Eastern Conference standings. Charlotte’s defense could prove to a soft spot in the side after allowing 57 goals in the 2018 season, the fourth most goals conceded in the Eastern Conference. The Independence were able to move the efficiently in the midfield last season, completing 80 percent of passes played throughout the game.

INDY ELEVEN PLAYER TO WATCH: MF TYLER GIBSON

Midfielder Tyler Gibson was one of four FC Cincinnati players signed in the offseason by Coach Rennie. Gibson’s presence in the midfield can be felt most with his quality of play. The 28-year-old navigates the ball with precise accuracy through passing channels, helping to facilitate counter attacks and control the pace of the game.During the match against Saint Louis, Gibson completed 91 percent of the passes he played. He also completed 88 percent of the long balls he played through the midfield. Accurate passing isn’t a new concept to the midfielder, who averaged 84-percent passing accuracy last season.

CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE PLAYER TO WATCH: MF JORGE HERRERA

The man that will martial the midfield of Charlotte Independence is veteran Jorge Herrera, something the midfielder has been doing since 2015. His 106 appearances for Charlotte have led to the Columbian finding the back of the net a total of 36 times.The 38-year-old led Charlotte in goal scoring last season, scoring 13 goals in 30 appearances. He also moved the ball well through the midfield, averaging just under 80-percent passing accuracy and creating four assists for his teammates. The Boys in Blue midfield will need to keep a close mark on the midfielder in order to keep the first clean sheet of the season.

MATCHUP TO MARK: INDY FW DANE KELLY VS CHARLOTTE FW DOMINIC ODURO

Friday night’s matchup will feature two prolific strikers in Indy Eleven’s Dane Kelly and Charlotte Independence’s Dominic Oduro. Both forwards have impressive resumes in regards to scoring goals, as Kelly is the USL Championship all-time leading goal scorer and Oduro spent 16 years in MLS.Kelly looks to open his goal scoring account with Indy Eleven on Friday after nearly getting things going against Saint Louis. The forward, who signed with the Boys in Blue in mid-January, struck the post against Saint Louis after youngster Josh Penn played him a cross. Then a dozen minutes later, the Jamaican saw his well-placed penalty kick saved by Saints goalkeeper Jake Fenlason. With a mind for the back of the net, Kelly will be eager to capitalize on any goal scoring opportunity that comes his way.Kelly’s opposite will be 16-year MLS veteran, forward Dominic Oduro. One of the paciest forwards ever to play in MLS, the 33-year-old has featured for sides like FC Dallas, Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls, Chicago Fire, Toronto FC and Montreal Impact. He’s used his searing speed to score 63 goals in 346 appearances. In addition to scoring the goals, the native of Ghana can create them as well. The Charlotte forward has assisted on 32 goals during his extensive career. Each forward will look to put their mark on Friday’s fixture as the two players look to score their first goals for their clubs. Indy’s backline will need to work hard to keep tabs on the pacey Oduro, and Charlotte will need to mark the Kelly in the 18-yard box in order to keep a clean sheet against an Indy Eleven side they have yet to defeat.Don’t miss a second of the Boys in Blue on the road. All home and away USL Championship matches are available at your fingertips with ESPN+. New users can click here or visit plus.espn.com to start a seven-day free trial.

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