11/26/20 USA Women vs Dutch Fri 12 noon ESPN2, Diego Maradona Dies, MLS Playoffs Spectacular Sun

Iconic, legendary superstar Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60
  So I have to admit I have never been a huge Maradona guy, he was just before I really started watching soccer. I know about the el Mano El Dio and the wonder goal where he dribbled 7 guys before dribbling the English goalkeeper then scoring in the World Cup Semis in 1986. Maradona’s Top 5 Goals But as I hear the players who played with him wonder at the marvel of this wonderful player Maradona the legend becomes more apparent. I hear there is a great HBO documentary about him as well. Hope to watch this weekend. One of the strangest stories I have read involved his warmups -Fans would arrive an hour before gametime just to watch Maradona’s legendary warm ups – especially when he played at Napoli in Italy.   Nice short video on Diego by The Guardian.  While the man was often missunderstood and a bit nuts – the legendary player their is not doubt about. RIP Maradona.

MLS Playoffs Are Spectacular

So I will admit – with nearly all the games on ESPN+ over the last few months of the MLS season – I have not watched a lot of MLS Soccer after the MLS tourney in Orlando to start the season.  But now that the SINGLE ELIMINATION MLS playoffs are underway – I have been sucked back in.  I know a lot of European soccer fan buddies who laugh at MLS still – but man if tune in for Playoff Soccer MLS style I promise you will return.  It started with high scoring games and shootouts – some of them crazy early.  But each and every game I have watched has been dripping with Drama – most of them decided late and extremely competitive.  The Top 2 seeds in the East were sent home #2 Toronto – 4 time finalist was knocked out deservedly by MLS Expansion team Nashville.  More huge games this Sunday as Orlando City hosts NE Revs and coach Bruce Arena at 3 pm on ABC, while ESPN will have Columbus and US Forward Zardes hosting Nashville and Walker Zimmerman at 8 pm. Tues and Wed have the other 2 games see schedule below.

USA Women Face Netherlands Fri  12:30 on ESPN

The World Champs will travel to face the team they beat to win the last world cup in their first competitive match since the She Believe’s Cup back in March. Returning to the fold is Forward Alex Morgan back from having a baby and now playing in Tottenham.  The full roster is here – of course missing are Rapino, Pugh, and Carli Lloyd still recovering from injuries and Horan who has been diagnosed with Covid.  Will be interesting to see how coach works in the newcomers with the old guard next week.  A Good Friday after Thanksgiving Sitdown at 12:30 on ESPN – along with football,

US Ladies Roster

GOALKEEPERS (3): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash)

DEFENDERS (8):  Alanna Cook (PSG), Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals), Midge Purce (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (Orlando Pride)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City), Sam Mewis (Manchester City), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Jaelin Howell (Florida State), Catarina Macario (Stanford)

FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Tottenham), Christen Press (Manchester United), Tobin Heath (Manchester United), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)

Short-handed by COVID-19, Vanderbilt brings in women’s soccer player as kicker

Vandy women’s soccer player option to kick for football team


(American’s in parenthesis)

Thurs, Nov 26  Europa League

1 pm  Unimas, CBSAA          Molde vs Arsenal 

12:55 TUDN, CBSAA           Lille vs AC Milan

3 pm TUDN, CBSAA            Tottenham vs Ludogorets

Friday, Nov 27

12:30 pm ESPN2         Netherlands vs USA Women

2:30 pm ESPN+                    Wolfsburg (Brooks) vs Werder Bremen (Sargent)

Sat, Nov 28 

7:30 am Peacock                     Brighton vs Liverpool

9:30 am ESPN+                      Bayern (Richards) vs Stugart

9:30 am ESPN+                      Dortmund (Ryna) vs Koln

10 am beIN Sport                    Valencia vs  Atletico Madrid  

10 am NBCSN                        Man City vs Burnley 

 12:30 pm NBC                   Everton vs leeds United 

12:30 pm  ESppn+              Frankfort vs RB Leipzig (Adams)

2:30 pm EPSN+                      Hertha Berlin (Brooks) vs Dortmund (Reyna)

3 pm beiN Sport                   Real Madrid vs Alaves

Sun, Nov 22 

9 am NBCSN                         Man United vs Southampton 

9 am ESPN+                           Milan vs Fiorentina 

10:15 am beIN sport               Real Sociadad vs Granada (Sp)

11:30 am NBCSN               Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Tottenham 

2:15 pm NBCSN                    Arsenal vs Wolverhampton

3pm ABC                    Orlando City vs New England MLS Playoffs

8 pm ESPN                  Columbus Crew vs Nashville MLS Playoffs

Mon, Nov 23

12:30 pm NBCSN                  Lecivester City vs Fulham  

3 pm NBCSN                         West Ham vs Aston Villa

 Tues, Dec 1 

3 pm                                       Champions League

9:30 pm                       Seattle (Morris) vs FC Dallas (Carmel’s Matt Hedges)

Wed, Dec 2 

3 pm                                       Champions League

9  pm                           Sporting KC vs Minn United

 Argentina’s Diego Maradona Dies at 60

Diego Maradona Was a Timeless Icon BY GRANT WAHL SI
Diego Maradona, gifted Argentine soccer legend, dies at 60
Diego Maradona played and lived with abandon

Maradona’s legendary career in pictures

Argentine legend Maradona dies at 60

Messi on Maradona passing: Diego is eternal

Pope Francis mourns Maradona’s passing
Vatican: Pope prays for Maradona, fondly recalls meeting him

Diego Maradona dies at 60, remembered as an artist on the field

Diego Maradona – a life in 10 key dates

‘An immense sadness’: Argentina mourns death of Maradona

Maradona’s relationship with Naples went beyond football

Feuding no more, Pelé mourns friend, legend Diego Maradona

Maradona v Pele — who’s the greatest of them all?

 Maradona’s Skills

Maradona FIFA 6 min video


US vs Netherlands – 5 THINGS 2 KNOW
Why USWNT GM Kate Markgraf understands the program’s mentality better than any executive has before
Dest, De la Fuente speak on making USMNT, Champions League history
Sergiño Dest becomes first American to score for FC Barcelona

Sergino Dest nabs 1st Barcelona, Champions League goal in style (video)

Chelsea’s Lampard: Christian Pulisic fit for Spurs, wants fan return ‘if 

Top 25 players in the USMNT pool right now
Fastest 3 Minutes: Upsets, stoppage time goals and more video 
Playoffs Bracket: Conference Semifinals are set!
Conference Semifinals matchups are set! Here’s what to watch for
Dallas ready for Seattle rematch: We learned hard lessons last year
LAFC’s season once again ends in playoff loss to Seattle Sounders
Sounders outclass LAFC in Round 1 win
Nashville SC upsets No. 2 seed Toronto in MLS Cup Playoffs on Daniel Rios’ extra time goal
Toronto FC: Everything “caught up with us” in playoffs exit
New England tops top seed Philadelphia, Bruce Arena sets record

Supporters’ Shield curse? Union became latest winners to fall short in playoffs

Toronto FC: Everything “caught up with us” in playoffs exit
Nashville upset Toronto! Rios, Mukhtar power expansion side to glory
Shock, pain and rage for Union as dream season ends with a thud
Bogert: What’s next for the Philadelphia Union?


Champions League
Champions League: Juve, Sevilla among 4 to advance on day of golazos

3 things learned as Man City qualify for Champions League last 16

Sloppy Liverpool beaten at home by Atalanta

Sergiño Dest becomes first American to score for FC Barcelona

Haaland continues record exploits as Dortmund beat Brugge

‘Lucky’ late Morata strike seals Juventus last-16 berth

Atletico’s Costa to miss a month with blood clot

Europa League: How to watch, odds, start time, predictions


NOVEMBER 25 2020 

On Friday, the U.S. Women’s National Team will take the field for the first time in 261 days when it faces the Netherlands at 12:30 p.m. ET at Rat Verlegh Stadium in Breda, the Netherlands. The match, which will be the final game of 2020 for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions, will be televised live on ESPN2 and TUDN.   Here are Five Things to Know about the reigning European Champions and Women’s World Cup runners-up.


Nine of the 14 players who saw action for the Netherlands during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final are on this roster, led by midfielder Sherida Spitse, the Netherlands’ all-time leader in caps. Spitse has 180 caps and 41 goals for the Netherlands. She received a yellow card early in the World Cup Final in Lyon. Of the 23 players on the roster, 12 play outside of the Netherlands, with a strong contingent of five in England, two in Spain, three in Germany, one Norway and one in France. Of the 11 domestic-based players, three play for Ajax, three play for PSV, and five play for FC Twente, which are the top three teams currently in the Women’s Eredivisie, respectively.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Lize Kop (Ajax), Sari van Veenendaal (PSV), Daphne van Domselaar (FC Twente)DEFENDERS (8): Stefanie van der Gragt (Ajax), Dominique Janssen (Wolfsburg, GER), Kika van Es (Twente), Merel van Dongen (Atlético Madrid, ESP), Danique Kerkdijk (Brighton & Hove Albion, ENG), Aniek Nouwen (PSV), Lynn Wilms (Twente)MIDFIELDERS (5): Sherida Spitse (Vålerenga, NOR), Daniëlle van de Donk (Arsenal, ENG), Jackie Groenen (Manchester United, ENG), Inessa Kaagman (Brighton & Hove Albion, ENG), Victoria Pelova (Ajax)FORWARDS (8): Lieke Martens (Barcelona, ESP), Shanice van de Sanden (Wolfsburg, GER), Lineth Beerensteyn (Bayern Munich, GER), Renate Jansen (Twente), Sisca Folkertsma (Twente), Katja Snoeijs (Bordeaux, FRA), Jill Roord (Arsenal, ENG), Joëlle Smits (PSV)


Friday’s game will be the eighth meeting all-time between the USA and Netherlands and the fourth in the last eight years. The USWNT leads the overall series with a record of 7-1-0, with its lone loss to the Dutch coming in a 4-3 defeat during the first matchup between the teams in 1991. Since then, the USA has won the last seven games and outscored the Netherlands over that span, 24-2. Friday’s match will be just the third time the U.S. Women have played in the Netherlands. The most recent match took place on April 9, 2013, in The Hague, a 3-1 U.S. victory. Tobin Heath had one goal and Christen Press had two in that match while Sydney Leroux dished out a pair of assists. The goals were the fifth and sixth international goals for Press, who is now in the top-10 in U.S. Women’s National Team history with 58 career goals.

The 2017 European Champions, Netherlands qualified for the next UEFA Women’s Euros by routing Estonia 7-0 at home on Oct. 23. After a 6-0 win over Kosovo on Oct. 27, head coach Sarina Wiegman’s side sits atop their group with a maximum of 27 points from nine matches, earning their spot at the Euros in England, which were originally scheduled to be played in the summer of 2021. Due to COVID and the postponement of the Olympics to 2021, the UEFA Women’s Euros will be played July 6-31, 2022.
Only three of the Netherlands’ UEFA qualifiers were played this year, a 1-0 victory over Russia in September in Moscow followed by the drubbings of Estonia and Kosovo during the most recent FIFA window. Forward Katja Snoeijs tallied a hat trick for Netherlands in their 6-0 win over Kosovo while midfielders Daniëlle van de Donk and Jackie Groenen both tallied braces in the 7-0 victory over Estonia.Following the match against the USA, the Netherlands will play Kosovo on December 1 to finish the UEFA group play, but with a nine-point cushion over Russia in Group A, qualification for the Euros is already secured.

The defending European champions feature some of the world’s best players at their positions in goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal (PSV), who was named the Best Goalkeeper of the tournament at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, midfielders Daniëlle van de Donk (Arsenal), Jackie Groenen (Manchester United) and Sherida Spitse (Vålerenga), and forwards Lieke Martens (Barcelona) and Miedema (Arsenal). The 25-year-old Groenen, who has 64 caps and five goals, is currently teammates with Tobin Heath and Christen Press at Manchester United and has appeared in all seven Women’s Super League matches for top of the table United this season.The Netherlands will be without one of its star forwards in Arsenal star Vivianne Miedema, who has a hip injury. At the age of 24, she has scored a remarkable 71 goals in 90 games for the Dutch. With Miedema’s absence, the top scorer on the roster is now Martens, who at age 27 has 46 goals in 116 caps. Martens won the Bronze Boot as the third leading scorer and the Golden Ball as the best player at the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euros and was named the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in 2017.


Head coach Sarina Wiegman, who was recently named to the seven-person shortlist for The Best FIFA Women’s Coach 2020, will coach the will coach the Netherlands through the Olympics next summer before taking over as the head coach of England. Wiegman played college soccer in the USA at the University of North Carolina and earned 104 caps representing the Netherlands as a player. Six months after becoming head coach of Netherlands, Wiegman led her home country to the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro title, a feat that earned her the 2017 Best FIFA Women’s Coach award.

 Diego Maradona Was a Timeless Icon

The Argentina legend died Wednesday at 60 of a heart attack. His career was marked by extremes—especially the heights of the 1986 World Cup—but he was beloved every step of the way.GRANT WAHL  Sports illustrated

It is an accepted truism of modern soccer that, unlike in the five-on-five world of basketball, the 11-on-11 nature of fútbol makes it nearly impossible for a single superstar to take over a game and lead his team to a championship. In fact, data shows that soccer tends to be a “weakest-link” sport, which is to say that you’re only as good as your worst player on the field. If there is a singular exception, however, it is Diego Armando Maradona’s performance at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. In the history of the men’s World Cup, which has now been contested 21 times, no player has ever lorded over a single tournament the way Maradona did that year by leading Argentina to its second title.

Maradona, the flamboyant and controversial legend who died of a heart attack Wednesday at age 60, will forever be frozen in time at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca as the 25-year-old genius who confounded the best efforts of West Germany, Belgium and England and lifted an otherwise ordinary Argentine team to glory. During the same game, a 2–1 quarterfinal victory against England, Maradona scored two goals four minutes apart that could be described as the greatest and most notorious World Cup goals of all time. On the first, Maradona leaped in the air and beat English goalkeeper Peter Shilton to the ball, surreptitiously (and illegally) using his left fist to punch the ball into the goal. Maradona would later say the goal had been scored by “la mano de Dios,” and it was forever known as the Hand of God goal.

But Maradona’s second goal that day was a distillation of all the qualities—superhuman ball control, next-level speed of thought and the sheer audacity of his imagination—that made him perhaps the sport’s greatest genius. Receiving the ball in his own half near midfield, Maradona spun and flicked it with his left foot to elude two defenders, then embarked on a glorious 60-yard run at speed, never touching the ball with his right foot, beating four more hapless English interlopers before sliding the ball past Shilton into the net. The television call from Argentine commentator Víctor Hugo Morales remains indelible: “What planet did you come from?” 

Maradona added two more goals to beat Belgium 2–0 in the semifinals and the assist on Argentina’s game-winner in a 3–2 classic against West Germany in the final, sealing his place in the lore of the sport.Maradona would end up playing in four World Cups from 1982 to ’94, losing in the final to West Germany in ‘90 and being thrown out of USA ’94 when he failed a doping test. Meanwhile, his greatest exploits at club level came in Italy at Napoli, which Maradona captained to the club’s first league titles in 1987 and ’90. But Maradona’s tumultuous time in Italy came to an end after he failed a drug test for cocaine and faced a 15-month suspension from 1991 to ’92. Maradona’s drug use and weight gain led to a pattern of health scares over the years, including multiple occasions when he was near death but survived.Yet Maradona’s dark side and human frailties only seemed to endear him more to an Argentine public that anointed him a cultural deity among the likes of Eva Perón and the tango singer Carlos Gardel. Raised in the Buenos Aires shantytown of Villa Fiorito, Maradona rose to the closest position in sports to the King of the World—and then tumbled dramatically off its pedestal. It is a peculiar aspect of Argentine public life that Argentines have always adored Maradona far more than Brazilians have loved Pelé. The two are inextricably linked as the greatest men’s soccer players of the 20th century. Pelé won three World Cups to Maradona’s one, but Maradona hit loftier heights in 1986 than Pelé did in any of his World Cups. Ultimately, a fan’s choice of one player over the other reveals not just a sports preference but a general worldview. For what it’s worth, Maradona and Pelé clearly had differing perspectives on the United States. While Pelé played for the New York Cosmos in the NASL from 1975 to ’77 and visited the U.S. frequently, Maradona reveled in his disdain of Uncle Sam and his support of leftist leaders from Cuba’s Fidel Castro to Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. (For many years, Maradona’s drug record prevented him from gaining admission to the U.S.)Unlike Pelé, who never became a coach, Maradona had a checkered career as a manager that never came close to matching his playing achievements. His most memorable coaching tenure lasted from 2008 to ’10 with the Argentine national team and its superstar, Lionel Messi, who was always as reticent as Maradona was voluble. It was a poor match. Messi never appeared comfortable with Maradona, who was unable to put together a tactical game . plan that unleashed Messi’s talents for the national team. While Maradona regularly won the press conference during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, his rudderless Argentina was throttled by Germany 4–0 in the quarterfinals, wasting Messi at the height of his powers.Yet for as combative and rude as he could be, Maradona will always be known for his unparalleled love affair with the ball. It is no coincidence that one of his most popular highlight videos—with millions of views on YouTube—has no game highlights at all. Instead, it’s a three-minute video of Maradona warming up by himself before a 1989 game, shoes untied, oblivious of the camera, performing casually jaw-dropping tricks with the ball to the soundtrack of the Opus song Live Is Life. Maradona is 28 years old in the video, but he still exudes the simple joy of a boy with his ball. That feeling, which he may have possessed more deeply than any human to live on this planet, is universal. Timeless.

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