US Men in FIFA Top 10
Fantastic to See the US men ranked in the top 10 for the first time in like 10 years – huge wins over Mexico twice in both Nations League with our starters and the undefeated run to the Gold Cup Championship with our B team including a win over Mexico’s A team with our B/C team no doubt helped along with the close game with the Swiss in Europe. Of course funny to see Mexico 2 spots above us – but you could say the same Italy and Argentina being ranked below Belgium after wins this summer in the European Championships and the COPA. Either way having the US back on the radar is huge. Remember you heard it here first – our golden young generation is bound for the Quarterfinals in Qatar in 2022 followed by a Semi-Final run at home in 2026 – so says the OBC!
Of course a bunch of American’s overseas will start their season’s this weekend see the full update here. Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic came of the bench for the blues when Ziyech got hurt in Wednesday’s SuperCup game vs Valencia. He actually had some good plays and was unlucky not to score in the final seconds of Extra Time. He did take the 6th penalty kick in the Shootout and netted it to keep Chelsea in front in their 1-1 (5-4 win over the Spanish side.) We’ll see if he gets the start Sat vs Crystal Palace at 10 am on the Peacock.
English Premier League, German Bundelisga, Spain’s La Liga all start this weekend
Of course the European leagues kicked off today – with new EPL entrant Brentford knocking off Arsenal 2-0 at home in their first home game in 75+ years as members of the EPL. The Championship team last season won the playoff over Darrel Dike’s Barnsley to advance to the Premier League – GOTTA LOVE THE EPL – there is not a more competitive league in the world than the EPL. Of course the EPL will be on NBCSN, NBC and Peacock pay service this season, while the German Bundesliga has moved from Fox Sports to ESPN+ unfortunately. Spain’s La Liga has moved from beIN Sport to ESPN+ as well – making the Plus – must buy TV – as they also have MLS and USL and the Indy 11. Italy and Renaldo and of Juventus will start next weekend and will play on CBS Sports Network and Paramount + – who also has Champions and Europa League. France with the newly minted Champions League favorites PSG with Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar play their games on beIN Sport.
As Spain’s La Liga moves to ESPN+ and makes their debut on ABC Sunday as Barcelona faces Real Sociadad at 4 pm – the league is in as much flux as it has ever been. Perennial winners Barcelona and Real Madrid – two of the most successful teams in the World – are both struggling to make ends meet after the pandemic – have had massive exits this summer and might struggle to hold in the top 4. My Atletico Madrid returns almost intact after winning the league last year and should be favorites this year but they haven’t won back to back titles in 70 years. Barcelona still has American Serginio Dest – but things will not be the same without Messi. I would love to see one of the minnows of La Liga knock the big boys off – maybe Sevilla or Valencia (Europa League kings). Preview here
Germany’s Bundesliga is always Bayern Munich, Dortmund and everyone else. But it will be exciting to see how American Coach Jesse Marsch and Tyler Adams do at Red Bull Leipzig – this is the first big gig for an American coach ever – and it will be great to see how Marsch does and if Tyler Adams will play the holding #6 midfield slot America so desperately needs him to play. They finished 2nd last year and get started on Sun at 9:30 am on ESPN+ vs Mainz. Of course America’s abound thru-out Germany and Dortmund’s Reyna should start up front Saturday at 12:30 on ESPN+ when they play Frankfort and Timmy Chandler, that follows John Brooks last season’s 4th place finisher Wolfsburg hosting Bochum at 9:30 am on the plus. Preview Here
Finally England’s EPL gets started this weekend – with what I think is the world’s most competitive and compelling league. Sure we only have like 3 American’s in the league right now – unbelievable in my opinion. Of course I root for the EPL teams who have American’s so Chelsea with Pulisic, Zach Steffan of course at Man City – fresh off a solid run last weekend in their loss to Leicester City and newcomer Josh Stewart just signed by Norwich. We’ll see if he can break his way into the line-up after his 10+ million dollar transfer. As for the season – Man City and Chelsea just have too much money in my mind – they will battle it out up top while Liverpool and Man United try to sneak in to the top 3. I like Leicester City and Everton to round out the top 6 Europa League spots – but we’ll see. Preview Here This weekend we get Liverpool and Norwich at 12:30 on NBC Saturday after Man United and Leeds United at 7:30 am on NBCSN and Leicester City and Wolverhampton at 10 am. Sunday gives us the top game of the weekend as Tottenham will host Man City as the Harry Kane drama continues – should be thrilling theater Sunday at 11:30 am on NBCSN. (why NBC doesn’t pick this up I have no idea!!)
Huge congrats to all those players who made high school rosters last week and are getting ready for their opening games this weekend. Special congrats to our Carmel FC current and former Goalkeepers for making their teams at Carmel High School, Guerin and others. On the girls side all 6 goalies came thru our program – as Aubre Empie and Bethany Ducat are on varsity, while Chloe Fouts and Claire Bartley made JV Blue and Mary Grace Knapp and Paulina Cernovi made 9th Grade. On the CHS boys side Charlie Featherson is on Varsity, while Ryan Bartley made JV. The CHS boys are home Thursday at Murray vs Noblesville, while the Highly ranked girls host games at Murray Sat at 11 am vs Hamilton SE, Mon Pike at 6:30 pm and vs Guerin next Fri at 7 pm.
I promise I will get back to the Indy 11 and MLS next week – oh MLS huge games this weekend as Saturday night we get Minnesota United hosting the LA Galaxy at 6 pm on FOX and Sunday night – Portland hosts Seattle in the Cascadia Cup at 9:30 pm on FS1 – this is always a huge matchup between hated rivals both near the top of the table !!
GAMES TO WATCH
Friday, Aug 13
2:30 pm Mgladbach vs Bayern Munich Germany ESPN+
3 pm Brentford vs Arsenal NBCSN
Saturday, Aug 14 EPL, Bundelsiga, La Liga Kickoffs
7:30 am Man United vs Leeds United NBCSN
9:30 am Wolfsburg (Brooks) vs Bochum Germany ESPN+
10 am Liecester City vs Wolverhampton NBCSN
10 am Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Crystal Palace Peacock
12:30 Norwich vs Liverpool NBC
12:30 Dortmund (Reyna) vs Frankfort ESPN+ .
3 pm PSG (Messi) vs Strasbourg beIN Sport
6 pm Minn United vs LA Galaxy FOX
7 pm Indy 11 vs OKC home ESPN+
7 pm KC vs OL Reign NWSL Paramount +
Sunday, Aug 15 – EPL, Bundelsiga, La Liga, Kickoffs
7 am Angers vs lyonnais France beIN Sport
9:30 am RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Mainz Germany ESPN+
9 am New Castle United vs Westham NBCSN
11:30 am Celta Vigo vs Atletico Madrid Spain ESPN+
11:30 Tottenham vs Man City (Steffan) NBCSN
2 pm Barcelona (Dest) vs Real Sociadad ABC
4 pm Atlanta United vvs LAFC ESPN
9:30 pm Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders Cascadia Cup FS1
Tuesday, Aug 17 –
2:30 pm Dortmund (Reyna) vs Bayern Munich German Supercup ESPN+
Wednesday, Aug 18 –
7 pm Loudon United vs Indy 11 ESPN+
8:30 pm Lyonnais vs Barcelona (Women’s Supercup) ESPNU
10 pm Portland Thorns vs Houston Dash (Women’s Supercup) ESPNU
Friday, Aug 15
2:30 pm RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Stuttgart Germany ESPN+
3 pm Brest vs PSG (Messi, Neymar) France beIN Sport
10:30 pm LA Galaxy s San Jose ESPN2
Ian Darke’s team-by-team Premier League preview
Premier League 2021-22 kit power ranking: Which club wins title of most stylish? Chris Wright
Chelsea outlast Villarreal in penalties to win UEFA Super Cup
Kepa the hero as Chelsea edge out Villarreal to win Super Cup
MESSI LEAVING BARCELONA FOR FRANCE’s PSG
Messi and PSG: A drama in five acts
- Wilson: What Lionel Messi Joining PSG Means for Club, Barcelona
Messi ‘dreaming of Champions League win’ with PSG
What does Messi arrival mean for Mbappe’s future at PSG?
‘Just madness’: Fans queue before dawn to witness ‘Messimania’ in Paris
Messi joins PSG with Barcelona legacy intact
Soccer-Real president Perez denies he influenced Messi’s departure
What comes next for USWNT after underwhelming Olympics?
Gators soccer legend Becky Burleigh named Orlando Pride interim head coach
Who Will Win the Premier League Title? Follow the Uncapped Money.
As a new season starts, it’s very much looking like a title race between the two clubs who have the means to grossly outspend the competition.JONATHAN WILSONAUG 12, 2021 Crisis? What crisis? As the rest of European football has felt the pinch of the pandemic, Premier League spending—at least for three of the very biggest clubs—has gone on unchecked with Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United all doling out in excess of £100 million on players, and with the possibility of more to come. As Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan struggle to complete the sales that would allow them to bring in any new blood, this summer has been a startling assertion of the Premier League’s financial might.There are good reasons for that—a more equitable division of broadcast revenues than elsewhere (although the biggest clubs are trying to change that) helps everybody, and also ensures a level of competition, which in turn has been a factor in making the Premier League the most watched league in the world—but they must come with caveats. The most obvious of them is that the money spent by Chelsea and Man City has very little to do with the league.It felt apt that the four Champions League semifinalists last season were Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid. In March, Madrid lost an appeal in the European Court of Justice against a ruling that it had received illegal state aid. Man City and PSG are effectively owned by Abu Dhabi and Qatar, respectively, and Chelsea is owned by an oligarch. Madrid now is in trouble, but none of the other three is dependent on football for an income, even if Chelsea has made significant efforts to be self-sustaining.And that, of course, was a key motivation behind the Super League proposal in the spring: An established elite realizing it was struggling to keep up with arrivistes who did not operate under the same financial constraints, forced into action by the exacerbating effects of the pandemic. All that matters then is how strict the financial regulations in your country are, and the Premier League’s are relatively lax, even if there is an ongoing wrangle with Man City that has already lasted more than two years.The club has already spent $139 million on Jack Grealish, with a possible deal in the $200 million range for Harry Kane still on the wish list. With Sergio Agüero gone and Gabriel Jesus seemingly out of favor, the need for Kane would seem more pressing, but Grealish offers something a little different, a dribbler with a sense of anarchy who could perhaps help to break open tight games. That said, anarchy is not often something usually associated with Pep Guardiola sides, and there is the potential for tension.Chelsea is spending a similar figure on Romelu Lukaku in the hope that he will correct its one obvious failing after the arrival of Thomas Tuchel: Struggling to convert possession and domination into an abundance of goals. If he can, Chelsea should be City’s main rival for the Premier League title. Chelsea did beat City three times in the second half of last season, across three competitions, but the doubt is whether it has quite the depth of squad to sustain a title challenge over the course of a full season.Given its debt, Man United’s spending has been more of a surprise: $100 million on Jadon Sancho and $56 million on Raphaël Varane. That perhaps is a reaction to the fan protests against the Glazer family ownership that characterized the end of last season and at the very least expresses a confidence about the financial future of the club that must in part be linked to the decision to roll over the existing domestic broadcast deals for an additional three years without tender.The two signings fill obvious gaps in the squad, and United should be stronger than it has been at any time since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. This now is a test of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s management and whether he is capable of constructing a coherent attacking plan beyond playing on the break. With what he’ll have at his disposal, there can be no excuses.Then there is Liverpool, which has lost Georginio Wijnaldum to PSG and whose only signing so far has been center back Ibrahima Konaté. The Reds will have Virgil van Dijk back from his ACL tear, though, and surely can’t be as badly afflicted by injuries as it was last season (although left back Andy Robertson already is ruled out to start the season with an ankle ailment). The drop off in the contributions of Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino last season must be a concern, but if they can rediscover their form, then Liverpool could also be a title threat again after scraping to a top-four finish last season.”We are not blind. We see what others are doing. We just have to be able to beat them. We will try to do that,” manager Jürgen Klopp recently said.But unless trying is enough for Liverpool, or unless Solskjaer can achieve something remarkable with his new assets, this still feels like a battle between City and Chelsea—the two reigning Champions League finalists, the two clubs who exist outside usual financial constraints.
Difficult days for Real Madrid and Barça plunge La Liga into uncertainty
Zinedine Zidane was the first one out, so early it feels like a lifetime ago. Then Sergio Ramos departed, the full-time whistle finally catching up with him. Now Lionel Messi has gone, flying back into Barcelona to find the contract he had come to sign was no longer there. Arguably the three most significant men in Spanish football over the past decade, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, all gone in a single summer. And Ronaldo had already left three years earlier.This week, Ramos contacted Messi to say he could stay at his place if he liked. There was always respect there – well, not always – but it still feels a bit weird, after all those confrontations. Between them, they have played 1,449 games for the biggest clubs in Spain or anywhere, but no more. They have won 15 La Liga titles and eight Champions Leagues. No one has played more clásicos, 45 each. Symbols of the greatest rivalry of all, now they’re teammates. The captain of Real Madrid and the captain of Barcelona have both joined Paris Saint-Germain.
Read moreThese are difficult days for La Liga. Raphaël Varane went too and Bryan Gil, the excitement surrounding a kid who is different ended early. Luka Modric is 35, Luis Suárez 34, and Karim Benzema 33. Sergio Agüero has arrived but he is 33, injured and still not registered. Eden Hazard is, well, no one is really sure what he is yet. It may be natural to look around at what’s left and ask: is that it? Worse, on the eve of the season and a fortnight from the close of the transfer window, Spanish fans could be forgiven for hoping that’s it. Don’t take anyone else, please.
Or, in Barcelona’s case: please do. It is not just that the captains of Madrid and Barcelona have gone to PSG, it is that they have gone for free. It is not just that they went, it is that they went even though they didn’t want to. And why it happened. Barcelona’s likely salary cap this year – the limit that led to their loss – will be set at a level below Premier League clubs, and not just the biggest ones. Their financial difficulties are a full-blown crisis, the president, Joan Laporta, talking about the risk to their viability, even Messi’s departure not enough. On Sunday their season starts: right now their signings Memphis Depay, Eric García and Agüero can’t play.Barcelona’s case is extreme, their debt more than €1bn, and shouldn’t be seen as a measure of the health of the league. Yet it is true that the pandemic hit hard and the financial strain is felt across Spain, particularly at the big two, still clinging grimly to the Super League. Last summer, Real Madrid did not make any signings for the first time since 1980. This summer, only David Alaba has signed, and he came on a free to replace Ramos. Carlo Ancelotti rejoined partly because he understood and accepted the limitations.One potential solution came last Thursday when the league voted to sell 10.95% of its commercial business over the next 50 years to the investment fund CVC in return for €2.7bn. That would provide interest-free loans for clubs now, and many need that.The league promised that accepting it would have meant keeping Messi, probably thinking they had Laporta in a corner. But Madrid and Barcelona do not see it as a solution. Laporta described it as “mortgaging” the club, and Madrid insisted that the valuation was too low and have announced legal action to prevent it from going ahead.Despite that heavyweight opposition, the majority of Spanish league clubs approved the deal on Thursday . The league confirmed 38 of the 42 clubs from the first and second divisions in Spain voted in faour of the deal. The league and CVC gave the four clubs who voted against the deal the option to opt out, meaning they would not benefit from the new funds and would not relinquish a percentage of their future revenues. Athletic Bilbao also opposed the agreement. The fourth club that voted against the deal was not disclosed.There is a curious, almost amusing disconnect in the two clubs who championed the European Super League because football was dying claiming La Liga is not sufficiently valued and La Liga, which insisted it was in fine health, saying that those clubs are overvaluing its earning potential. More importantly, there is a bitter, open war for control of football whose consequences are uncertain. The Super League – a super league, at least – has not gone away. Plotting continues, an assault on power prepared. Barcelona, Madrid and Juventus met just as Barcelona backed out on Messi.
La Liga lost him too – a victim of its own rules on financial fair play, its greatest ever asset gone in the pursuit of a greater good, although right now it feels doubtful that such a thing exists. There was delirium in Paris and a hint of depression on the other side of the Pyrenees, two days before the new season.It was left to Messi himself to offer some optimism. “In the end what matters is the teams: Barcelona and Madrid are still there, so are Sevilla, Valencia, Atlético, big clubs,” he told El País. “The club has always been there despite players going. La Liga is still a big, important competition. Players go but the clubs remain. Real Madrid and Barcelona are going to find it hard but the big stars are going to return to Spanish football.”That may take a while, Messi suggested, but others remain. This week, Gerard Moreno hid inside the Villarreal mascot’s suit, pulling off his gigantic head to reveal that he had renewed his contract. Offers from elsewhere rejected, a couple of days later he produced another wonderful performance to take Chelsea to penalties in the European Super Cup final. Villarreal are Europa League holders, the seventh time in 10 seasons that a Spanish club has won the trophy, a reminder of the quality and reason for continued faith.Still around, too, are Iago Aspas, Joaquín Sánchez (at 40, for goodness sake) and João Félix; Papu Gómez, Mikel Oyarzabal, Comandante José Luis Morales. Modric, Suárez and Benzema are veterans but far from finished, last season showed. Toni Kroos continues to carry around his own personal patch of pitch. Ansu Fati is returning to fitness, Gareth Bale is returning.Rayo Vallecano, the team from barrio, are back. And Mallorca, who have Daniel Sturridge on trial. So are Espanyol, whose timing turned out well: relegated and promoted again during the pandemic, their fans hadn’t seen them play in the second division in 25 years and they still haven’t. And that’s the most important thing: the fans are returning, ground capacities ranging from 20% to 40% for now.
There’s plenty for the fans to see still, the emotional attachment, the identification, still deep. This weekend Pedri, the summer’s great revelation, may play despite only just returning from the Olympics. It would be his 74th game in less than 12 months. Hazard has another chance, hope still not extinguished. And then there’s Antoine Griezmann. Sometimes it seems that people forget how good he is. His sister warned him that if he went to Barcelona no matter what he did he would remain in Messi’s shadow. Could this be his moment, at last?Look at Barcelona’s likely XI and it impresses. Time for some optimism amid the gloom perhaps, a structural and a sentimental dimension to consider: the pressure will be huge and some supporters blame the men who remain for the departure of the player they least wanted to see go, but could Griezmann and his teammates – Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembélé particularly come to mind, maybe even Philippe Coutinho – finally have the balance of obligation and opportunity they need? Could the exposure be good for them, no place to hide, responsibility theirs? Some of them believe so: not all were so sorry to see Messi depart.
Standing before them and Madrid are Sevilla, perhaps offered a unique opportunity to fight for the title, and of course Atlético, seeking back-to-back titles for the first time in 70 years. Some consider them favourites, getting on with adding Rodrigo de Paul (and possibly Rafa Mir) to a settled squad with margin for improvement. Although others departed, Diego Simeone renewed for three more years. There wasn’t much noise but there should have been. When it comes to that opening statement, Spanish football’s most significant over the last decade, he is the one missing: Simeone has to be there, the ultimate competitor. And that, in the end, is the point of it all.
“We’re the champions,” Simeone told his players in training on Wednesday, “and they’re going to come and bite our arses.” All week, in the wake of Messi’s tearful departure, a question has floated in Spain: what now? Now, we play.