12/19/20 Columbus wins MLS Cup, Lewandowski wins Player of Year, Busy Holiday European Games on TV

MLS Columbus Wins its 2nd MLS Cup

Wow Columbus got off to a fantastic first half and knocked the defending Champion Seattle Sounders off last weekend.  The 3-0 score line is really misleading – as after getting off to a surprising 2-0 lead Columbus really buckled down and defended with occasional counters.  After playing their worst half of the year/decade in the first half – Seattle attacked with reckless abandon in the 2nd half.  Shots to the left of goal, shots over the post – 3 times, shots just over the goal.  In all Seattle peppered Columbus with 15 shots in the 2nd half – but they just couldn’t put them on target and late in the game – 1 final counter attack made it 3 – 0 for Columbus as the title returned to Columbus for the first time since in 25 years.  Great story for Columbus who this time last year were headed to Austin.  Until the Owner of the Browns stepped up on the ownership side with begging from the Columbus fans holding one of the original 8 MLS franchises at its home in Columbus.  The first ever soccer specific stadium built – hosted its last game – a Championship Win – bookcasing a fantastic 25 Years of MLS.  I for one am happy Columbus stayed – Columbus is still the home of the USMNT in games that must be won vs Mexico – and I can’t wait to be there next time the game takes place with fans.  Congrats Columbus – I guess its ok you beat my Seattle this time. 

On the CCL – Atlanta won their 2nd game but only LAFC will advance to the final 4 Tuesday on FS2 at 10 pm in the annual battle between MLS and LigaMX. The Finals are Sat night on FS2. (See the schedule)

 Champions League last 16 schedule

Borussia Monchengladbach v Manchester City

Lazio v Bayern Munich

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea

RB Leipzig v Liverpool

FC Porto v Juventus

Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain

Sevilla v Borussia Dortmund

Atalanta v Real Madrid

The first legs of these games will be played on Feb. 16-17 and 23-24, while the second legs will take place on March 9-10 and 16-17.

GAMES ON TV

(American’s in parenthesis)

Sat, Dec 19 

7:30 am Peacock                  Liverpool vs Cyrstal Palace  

9:30 am ESPN+                    RB Leipzig (Adams)  vs Koln

10 am beIN Sport                 Barcelona (Dest) vs Valencia  

12:30 pm NBCSN              Everton vs Arsenal

12:30 ESPN+               Bayern (Richards) vs Bayern Leverkusen

2:45 pm               Parma vs Juve (Mckinney)

8 pm FS2                                           Tigres vs Olimpia CCL 

10:30 pm  FS2                                 LAFC vs America  CCL

Sun, Dec 20 

9:15  am NBCSN         Tottenham vs Leicester

11:30  am NBCSN                Man United vs Leeds

12 pm ESPN+                       Geonoa vs Juve (McKinney)

12 pm ESPN+                       Leverkusen vs Hoffenheim

2:15 pm NBCSN                   West Brom vs Aston Villa  

3 pm beIN Sport                   Eober vs Real Madrid  

Mon, Dec 21  

1 pm NBCSN??                    Burnley vs Wolverhampton

3 pm NBCSN                       Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Westham

Tues, Dec 22

1 pm NBCSN                        Brentford vs Newcastle United

3 pm NBCSN               Arsenal vs Man City  

8 pm FS2                     CONCACAF Champs Final  

Wed, Dec 23 

1 pmEPSN+                          Stoke City vs Tottenham  League Cup

3 pm NBCSN??                    Everton vs Man United 

Sat Dec 26

3  pm NBC                    Arsenal vs Chelsea (Pulisic)

Sun, Dec 27

11:30  pm NBCSN                                Liverpoool vs West brom

2:!5 pm NBCSN                   Woverhampton vs Tottenham

USA

US Weston McKennie Wins Player of the Year for US –  SI  

Key USMNT questions heading into a busy 2021 that includes the start of World Cup qualifying

Pulisic Starts and plays full 90 in Weird game for Chelsea in loss to Wolves

USMNT golden generation? Why Pulisic, Reyna & Co. are on course to make a run at 2022 World Cup 

Weston McKennie earns 2020 US Male Player of the Year award

MLS

News Analysis: Was it worth it to have an MLS season amid coronavirus?

Zakuani: Three takeaways (and a little more) from MLS Cup 2020

Unbelievably special” Zelarayan delivers ultimate prize for Crew

MLS Cup Player Ratings: Perfection from Zelarayan, Porter

“Our worst half of the season”: Sounders not deflecting blame after MLS Cup loss

Columbus Crew win MLS Cup 2020! Sounders repeat denied

St. Louis celebrate stadium construction milestone

Carlos Vela relishing CCL run as LAFC star helps oust another Liga MX foe

Atlanta beat Club America, but exit CCL quarters on aggregate

MLS vs. Liga MX: Is the tide turning in CCL?

History! Davies first North American named to FIFA Men’s World XI

Zlatan’s stunner wins “The Greatest Goal” vote

WORLD

Which Premier League club in Europe dealt best with fixture congestion?

Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, and 

The growing number of USMNT players featuring for top clubs overseas is reflected in the 2020 voting, won by Weston McKennie.

BRIAN STRAUS4 HOURS AGO

It’s noteworthy, perhaps historic, that the winner of the 2020 U.S. Soccer male player of the year award is a 22-year-old midfielder who, after standing out for struggling Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in the spring, became the first American player to sign for mighty Juventus.It’s equally noteworthy that Weston McKennie, who’s played 13 times and already scored twice for the Bianconeri, beat out U.S. teammates at Barcelona, Chelsea and RB Leipzig for the American game’s most prestigious honor.After a couple down years for the men’s national team program, not only has the player of the year award recouped some of its luster, it’s also become much tougher to win. And that trend is likely to continue as more U.S. players climb the club pyramid in Europe and play games at the highest level. MLS players are eligible as well, of course, but the bar for contention has been raised considerably. It’s yet another sign that the USMNT has entered a new era.McKennie, 22, won the award after being named on 44% of the ballots cast by national team coaches, players who were called up to the USA in 2020, members of the U.S. Soccer Federation board of directors and Athletes Council, MLS and USL head coaches, media members and “former players and administrators,” according to the USSF. Each voter selects just one nominee. Last year’s winner, Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, finished second with 27% of the vote and Barcelona’s Sergiño Dest placed third at 14%. The other finalists were Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) and Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew).McKennie was informed Friday after training in Turin by new National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Carlos Bocanegra, who met McKennie in 2006 when he was a child growing up at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. McKennie has said that meeting, which also included Landon Donovan, sparked his dream to play for the national team.“I want to thank everyone for this huge honor. It’s been a journey, especially through these difficult times during the pandemic,” McKennie said. “Our fans have stuck with us throughout and we really appreciate it. Hopefully in 2021 we can have many more memories together.”The pandemic limited the USA to four friendlies in 2020, and only two of those came during a FIFA window and were open to players based in Europe. McKennie started and excelled in those October games, a 0-0 draw at Wales and a 6-2 win over Panama. But this was a year in which club performance was going to take precedence, and McKennie’s was good enough at Schalke to earn the move to Juventus. Once there, he attacked the opportunity. He’s made eight starts already, including three in the UEFA Champions League, and there are reports that Juventus is ready to make his loan from Schalke a permanent transfer.McKennie is the fourth-youngest recipient of the award, which was first handed out in 1984. He finished third last year, but the 2019 honor was a two-man race between Pulisic and Morris. It was an uneven period for the USA as coach Gregg Berhalter looked to get comfortable and implement his system during his first year in charge. ADVERTISING

U.S. Soccer's Player of the Year winners

U.S. Soccer The Americans advanced to the Concacaf Gold Cup final but were beaten by Mexico on a frustrating night outside New York City. Then there was the embarrassing Nations League defeat to Canada in Toronto. By year’s end, only Pulisic and Morris really stood out. Pulisic tallied three goals and three assists at the Gold Cup and then completed his move to Chelsea, for which he scored five times. Morris was outstanding for Seattle in MLS, notching 13 goals and eight assists, but no one else really staked his claim during a year of national team transition.Goalkeeper Zack Steffen was named player of the year in 2018, an even stranger period marked by coach Dave Sarachan’s interim tenure, a lot of friendlies and a voting dynamic that saw Adams and McKennie split the “exciting European prospect” vote. Steffen started in five of the USA’s 11 games and backstopped the Crew to the MLS Cup quarterfinals as he was named MLS’s goalkeeper of the year. In 2018, that was enough.The year before, untainted by the USA’s World Cup qualifying failure, Pulisic won the first of his two awards with a ridiculous 94% of the vote. That type of landslide won’t happen again. That year, the voting was an indication of crisis. This time and in the future, it’s likely to reflect the unprecedented growth and progress of the American player pool.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.