12/6/18 IU in College Cup Fri 10:30 pm on ESPNU, MLSFinals-Atlanta United hosts Portland Sat 8 pm on FOX, US Names New US Manager, TV Game Schedule

Indiana University is looking for its 9th NCAA Title as they head to their 2nd consecutive College Cup this Friday night at 10:30 pm vs #11 Seed Maryland on ESPNU. The Hoosiers (20-20-1) are ranked #1 in the polls and are the #2 seed coming in. Three of the Final 4 are Big Ten teams as Akron will face Michigan State in the other semi-final on ESPNU. Akron knocked off top seeded Wake Forest and 3 time National Champ Stanford in the Elite 8.  The Title game, which IU reached last season, is set for Sunday at 8 pm in Santa Barbara, CA on ESPNU. You can bet our own Director of Soccer Operations Juergen Sommer, a former National Champion and National Player of the Year at IU, will be watching!  Good luck Hoosiers!   

MLS Championship

So this Saturday night on FOX at 8 pm – Atlanta United will host the 2016 MLS Champions the Portland Timbers.  Again at least on one side the MLS Playoffs were spectacular as visiting Portland Timbers scored 3 goals – 2 in the last 20 minutes to beat Kansas City in front of a standing room only boisterous crowd Sunday evening on Fox Sports in the Western Conference Finals.  I know the rest of the country was watching NFL – but man this game was spectacular as after not scoring a goal in the first round home game – the Portland Timbers reached deep and defeated Sporting KC – with lightening fast counter attacks and 2 goals by their MVP Diego Valeri.  Portland had the 1 goal lead 2-1 as KC threw everything at them in the last 15 minutes and an amazing 15 minutes of extra time looking for the equalizer before Portland scored the 3rd late goal to put it away in the last 2 minutes of overtime.  Of course Atlanta dominated the Support Shield holder NY Red Bulls 3-0 at home as they will host the MLS cup in just their 2nd season in the League.  This is quickest an MLS expansion team has made the finals.  – and you can look for over 75,000 fans to be on hand in Atlanta as United looks to become the quickest expansion team to win an MLS title. 

USA

So the US National Team finally made it official  – what we all knew was coming that Columbus Crew head coach, and former US National team defender Gregg Berhalter has been named our next US Manager.  I have no problem with Berhalter – he becomes the first former National Team player to play in a World Cup to also manage the team so he obviously understands what it means to represent the crest.  He’s a good young but proven coach who has had a good amount of success at the Columbus Crew.  At Columbus he consistently took teams with less money, less talent and honestly a rather apathetic fan base because of ownership issues and he took them deep in the playoffs many of his 5 years there. He took Columbus to the 2015 MLS Final (that I attended) and fell late to Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017. Now he’s only been an MLS head coach for 5 years – so not the most experienced coach  – but I think his experience as a former US player should help. Remember he was the one who should have scored a goal vs Germany in 2002 when they cheated and German defender Torsten Frings handled the ball on the line – it wasn’t called allowing Germany to beat us 1-0 in the Quarterfinals. He also helped shutout Mexico in that World Cup – 1 of 2 that he played in. 

Listen I don’t think this is a bad hire.  We have a very young team – and this next coach is not about reeling in egos of superstars – we really have NO Superstars on the US team at this point.  No one consistently starring in Europe, no one that would be considered a top level star in the sport.  With this team – we need a builder, a coach who can find the right guys, teach them the way we want to play and build this team from the ground up.  I would say that is exactly what Berhalter has done at Columbus and its hopefully what he will do for the US Men’s National Team. Anyone who has seen the Crew play knows Berhalter plays a possession style of play that is entertaining to watch – and he always gets the most out of his players.  It will certainly be interesting to see how this works out, but despite the delay in hiring a new coach and taking well over a year after failing to qualify for the World Cup to hire a new coach – I am comfortable with Ernie Stewart as GM and Berhalter as our new coach.  2019 should be an interesting year for US soccer – as we look to basically start over in preparation for hosting the World Cup in 2026 and hopefully making the field in 2022. 

INDY 11 $99 Season Tickets

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What to Watch 4

On top of the College Cup Friday night at 10:30 pm on ESPNU featuring IU, and MLS Cup on Saturday night 8 pm on Fox – we have some other big games on tap this weekend and week as Champions League returns Tues/Wed of this week and Man City travels to Chelsea on Sat at 12:30 pm on NBC and Leicester City vs Tottenham at 2:45 pm on NBCSN., and American’s McKennie and Pulisic match up as Schalke hosts Dortmund at 9:30 am on FS1 Sat. 

IU

All or Nothing as IU Aims for 9th NCAA Title

IU Edges Notre Dame 1-0 in Elite 8 Thriller – IU Site

IU Wins to go to Record 20th College Cup – Indy Star Kevin Johnston

IU Readies for College Cup in Soccer – Indiana Daily Student

IUs Gutman and GK Muse Named Player of Year Finalist

IU Staff Named Coaching Staff of the Year in Region

Really Cool Video on the History of IU Soccer – the Stars Align

MLS

How Atlanta and Portland Match Up in MLS Cup Sat Night – Warshaw – MLS.com

3 Position Battles That will Decide the Winner in MLS Cup Sat Night

How MLS Foes Match Up – SI – Avi Creditor

Atlanta United in top 15 Attendance in the World !  

MLS Cup 101

Blanco: “We aren’t afraid” of playing in Atlanta

Can Timbers spoil Atlanta’s party at the Benz?

Last two MLS MVPs face off in 2018 MLS Cup

Parkhurst hopes to add ‘MLS Cup champ’ to resume

Timbers well aware of the buzzsaw that awaits them

Scouting the Portland Timbers’ Center Backs for MLS Cup Final

USA

What Does New Manager Bring to the Job for US – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

New US Coach Humbled – Wants to Get to Work – ESPNFC Noah Davis

US Names Gregg Berhalter US Men’s Coach – ESPNFC Jeff Carlisle

Berhalter Aiming for Distinct Style for US Team – Dylan Butler MLS.com

Video and discussion on Burhalter and Why he’s the Right Guy – MLS.com

Don’t Blame New Coach – blame the Process – Stars & Stripes

Five Things to know About Gregg Berkhalter

Former Teammates Discuss Berhalter – US Soccer

US Announces Jan Panama Friendly 1/27 8 pm as First Game with Berhalter in Charge

Gossip Chelsea Makes Formal Approach for Pulisic

Tyler Adams leaves Red Bulls for RB Leipzip in Germany along with coach Jesse Marsch

US wins 2nd straight Concacaf U-20 Title 2-0 over Mexico under Tab Ramos

Champions League

UCL Tables

VAR to be used in UCL from round of 16 – UEFA

Spurs must stop Messi to beat Barca – Lucas

Poch: Spurs will need to rest players to beat Barca

Missing Ballon d’Or stars: What did Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar do?

GAMES ON TV

Fri, Dec 8  

2:30 pm ESPN2       Juventus vs Inter

8 pm  ESPNU            Mich State vs Akron College Cup

10:30 pm  ESPNU       Indiana U vs Maryland College Cup

Sat, Dec 8  

7:30 am NBCSN     Liverpool vs AFC Bournemouth

9:30  Fox Sp1        Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Schalke (Mkkinney)

10 am NBCSN         Man United vs Fulham (Ream)

10 am CNBC            Arsenal vs Huddersfield  

12:30 pm NBC         Chelsea vs Man City

2:30 bein Sport        Real Madrid vs Valencia

8 pm FOX           MLS CUP Atlanta United vs Portland Timbers

Sun, Dec 9  

7 am NBCSN            Chelsea  vs Fulham (Ream)

9 am FS1                  RB Leipzig vs Brussia Mgladbach

9:05 am NBCSN       Newcastle United (Yedlin) vs Wolverhampton

Tues  Dec 11   Champs League

1 pm TNT                Schalke (McKinney) vs Locomotiv Moskav

3 pm TNT                Barcelona vs Tottenham

3 pm Uni Desp        Liverpool vs Napoli

3pm   Uni Desp       Monaco vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

3pm   Uni Desp       Zvezda vs PSG

Weds  Dec 12  Champs League

1 pm TNT                   Real Madrid vs CSKA Moskva

3pm   TNT                   Valencia vs Man United

3 pm Univision OL    Ajax vs Bayern Munich

3 pm   Uni Desp        Young Boys vs Juventus

 Sat, Dec 15   

7:30 am NBCSN            Man City  vs Everton

12:30 pm NBCSN?      Fulham vs West Ham United

12:30  Fox Sp 2       Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Werder Breman

Sun, Dec 16  

8;30 am NBCSN        Brighton vs Chelsea  

9 am FS1                  RB Leipzig vs Mainz

8:30 am CNBC?        Southhampton vs Arsenal

11 am NBCSN      Liverpool vs Man United

12:30 pm beIN Sport Barcelona vs Villarreal

All or Nothing as Indiana Men Aim for Ninth NCAA Title

By Pete DiPrimioIUHoosiers.com
 
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Andrew Gutman throws down the verbal gauntlet. Indiana won’t play for second or we-did-our-best perspective.It’s all or nothing. Win a national soccer championship, or live with regret. Nothing else is good enough.
 “We’ve got to win it,” the Hoosiers senior defender said. “This is great, getting to the College Cup, but we haven’t done anything yet. This is our last chance, and we’ve got to win it and make up for last year.”Gutman referred to last season’s national runner-up finish, when the Hoosiers lost to Stanford in overtime in the title game.
 IU (20-2-1) arrives in Santa Barbara, Calif. with a target on their backs. The Hoosiers are ranked No. 1 in the polls, and are the No 2 seed in the tourney. They will face No. 11 seed Maryland (11-6-4) in a Friday semifinal. The start is set for 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
 Akron (14-6-2) will play Michigan State (14-4-4) in the other semifinal. Akron upset top-seed Wake Forest, which beat the Hoosiers in the season opener, in the third round, then followed that by beating three-time national champ Stanford 3-2 in the Elite Eight.The title game is set for Sunday at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Indiana and Maryland have played a pair of nail-biters this season, with the Hoosiers getting the best of the Terrapins on both occasions. They won 2-1 in mid-October at Armstrong Stadium, and advanced in a PK shootout in the Big Ten tourney semifinals.”We’re excited for it,” senior midfielder Austin Panchot says. “We’re confident. We know what we’re getting.”Coach Todd Yeagley certainly does. He has led the Hoosiers to two prior College Cups, last season and in 2012, when IU won its eighth and last national championship. Only St. Louis, with 10 national titles, but none since 1973, has won more.
 Yeagley’s father, Jerry, is the winningest college soccer coach in history. That includes 16 College Cups and 12 national title games, with six national championships.Jerry Yeagley remains a fixture at practice and at games, and you’d better believe Todd seeks his input.
 My father has been my mentor. We talk about all things related to life and soccer.
“When we made the first College Cup in 2012, very clearly he said stay on the course. Don’t change what you’re doing. Shorten things.”Those advice moments from someone you have ultimate trust with gave me a lot of confidence to make those decisions and feel good about it. There’s no one who has been to more College Cups than he has. He learned some things from his early days that maybe he would have done differently. That’s valuable. I have the most successful coach at an instant if something should come up. That could help give us an advantage. We’ll certainly use that to our fullest.”The results show it. IU’s 20 victories are its most since winning 21 in 1999, a national title season. The Hoosiers have just five losses in the last three seasons. They have a nation’s best 752 victories since the program became a varsity sport in 1973.College soccer has never seen such sustained excellence over a five-decade span (no other program can match the 20 College Cups), with no end in sight. U recruits to that legacy. “It’s all about pushing it,” Yeagley says. “We ask that when we recruit players. You’re coming here to push an unbelievable program farther. Leave your mark. “This group has done that, and the story isn’t done yet. They’ve taken that challenge and gone with it. It’s a big responsibility. You look at all the success the program has had. It gives you sense a pride. The team feels that.”Win-it-all pressure doesn’t mean the Hoosiers won’t enjoy this experience. Yeagley pushes fun as much as focus. “You look at the success program has had,” he says, “and you see 20 College Cups. For being around this program forever, it means a lot. Each one is so hard to get to. So many things have to go right. We’re happy to experience another game.”IU was severely tested in Friday night’s 1-0 Elite Eight win over No. 7 seeded Notre Dame. That followed three straight dominant performances and could provide the edge needed this weekend. “This team finishes off plays,” Yeagley says. Indiana has by far the most College Cup experience of the remaining teams.Akron won the 2010 national title and was the 2009 national runner-up. It also made the College Cup in 2015 and last season. Maryland has three national runner-up finishes, the last in 2013, and 10 previous College Cup appearances. Michigan State was the national runner up in 1964 and ’65, and reached the College Cup in 1962 and ’66.

Warshaw: How Atlanta and Portland match up for 2018 MLS Cup

December 5, 20182:54PM ESTBobby Warshaw

It’s time to take a look at the 2018 MLS Cup matchup between Atlanta United and the Portland Timbers. For this exercise, we are going by pure talent. MLSsoccer.com will have plenty of articles dissecting tactical and stylistic advantages. I want to break it down by individual ability alone. Once we establish who holds the advantage in talent, then we can start to understand where the advantages may lie, and what deficits need to be fixed.Let’s assume the teams field the lineups they’ve used throughout the postseason:

The players in those lineups could be split into defenders, midfielders and attackers in various ways. Diego Valeri, for example, plays as an attacking center mid on offense but generally acts as a second striker on defense. There’s no perfect way to group them, but I’ve divided them into the following groups.

Defenders

Atlanta: Escobar, Larentowicz, Parkhurst, LGP, Garza
Portland: Valentin, Mabiala, Ridgewell, Villafaña

Midfielders

Atlanta: Remedi, Gressel, Nagbe
Portland: Chara, Guzman, Valeri

Attackers

Atlanta: Martinez, Almiron
Portland: Blanco, Polo, Ebobisse

GOALKEEPERS:

Atlanta United

My three criteria for goalkeepers:

  1. Who is more likely to make the saves he’s supposed to make: In this game, it’s Brad Guzan. Guzan hasn’t made many crazy saves this year, but he’s generally made the stops he needs to make.
  2. Who is more likely to make a huge mistake that will cost his team the game?Portland’s Jeff Attinella. It doesn’t happen often, but it happened recently when Attinella dropped a crossto gift Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz a goal, and that memory can plant a dangerous tone of doubt in ‘keepers.
  3. Who is more likely to make the huge saves to win his team again? The Timbers’ No. 1 has had some huge games this year, including the second leg against Sporting Kansas Citylast week. If a team wins this game because a goalkeeper stands on his head, it will be Portland.

There’s more variance in Attinella’s game and he’s more likely to be the star of MLS Cup, but managers prefer predictability from their goalkeepers. If you had to put a name on a team sheet, you’d go with Guzan.

DEFENDERS:

Atlanta United

Michael Parkhurst was a finalist for Defender of the Year, yet Leandro Gonzalez Pirez might be the more talented of the two, and together they formed one of the two best center back pairings in the league. Franco Escobar was the star of the Conference Championship against the Red Bulls, and a fully fit Greg Garza should be considered one of the top five left backs in the league. Jeff Larentowicz might be considered the weak link, but he’s played like an All-Star at times this year.

Portland work well as a group, but I doubt any of them would make it into Atlanta’s starting lineup.

MIDFIELDERS:

Portland Timbers

The answer is almost always Diego Chara and Diego Valeri.

Atlanta’s midfield has become a force in the last few weeks. Eric Remedi brings the bite, Darlington Nagbe offers the guile and Julian Gressel contributes the lungs. They’ve been tough to break down, quick on the break, and calm in possession when the moment has called for it. They dominated NYCFC’s group of high-end talent in the middle in the Conference Semifinals. In the next round, they had no problem with Tyler Adams and Co. But Valeri and Chara are two of the best midfielders of the last decade (plus the third guy, David Guzman, just played in a World Cup).

I’m sure Tata loves his midfield right now, but I’d bet if you gave him some truth serum, he’d slide into Chara and Valeri’s DMs.

ATTACKERS:

Atlanta United

Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron > almost anyone in league history.

If you were to create a list of the top attacking tandems in MLS history, Martinez and Almiron would be somewhere near the top: in the echelon with Marco Etcheverry/Roy Lassiter, Landon Donovan/Robbie Keane and Sebastian Giovinco/Jozy Altidore.

Jeremy Ebobisse has come a long way in 2018 and Sebastian Blanco has been marvelous this season — they certainly provide enough ability to win the game — but you’d pick the combo that could get sold for north of a combined $40 million this offseason.

BENCH:

Atlanta United

Tito Villalba is by far the best sub in the league right now. Imagine dealing with Martinez and Almiron for 60 minutes and then a fresh Villalba comes waltzing on the field.

Also, it would probably be some type of poetic ending for Ezequiel Barco, the most expensive player in MLS history, to come on and provide the winner.

COACH: Even

 There are big personnel and tactical decisions to make heading into the game — there’s logic suggesting both teams should make adjustments — but I don’t think one coach is more equipped than the other.

Tata has more overall managerial experience, but Savarese has won three finals in the last five years. They’ve both made all of the right moves this year, specifically in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Atlanta United ranks among global elite in average match attendance

December 5, 20189:07AM ESTTom BogertContributor

Atlanta United have continued to turn heads with the attendance they draw and electric atmosphere they create at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Five Stripes already own an MLS record for total home attendance: 901,033 fans across 17 games this year. They’ve also got the top seven entries for MLS regular season single-game attendance, as well as own the top three spots for MLS postseason single-game attendance. Their attendance numbers resonate across the Atlantic Ocean, too. Below is where the club ranks in worldwide average attendance: 

Club

Country

Average Attendance

Borussia Dortmund

Germany

80,309

FC Barcelona

Spain

76,021

Bayern Munich

Germany

75,000

Manchester United

England

74,481

Real Madrid

Spain

65,105

Inter Milan

Italy

62,859

FC Schalke 04

Germany

61,794

Arsenal FC

England

59,954

Tottenham Hotspur

England

58,814

Celtic FC

Scotland

58,352

Atletico Madrid

Spain

57,602

West Ham United

England

56,902

VfB Stuttgart

Germany

57,047

Hertha BSC

Germany

54,643

AC Milan

Italy

54,233

Manchester City

England

54,020

SL Benfica

Portugal

53,774

Ajax Amsterdam

Netherlands

53,012

Atlanta United

USA

53,002

Olympique Marseille

France

52,654

Liverpool FC

England

52,553

Newcastle United

England

50,979

Borussia Monchengladbach

Germany

50,522

Hamburger SV

Germany

50,305

Olympique Lyon

France

50,237

Three positional battles that will decide MLS Cup 2018

These three positions will determine who lifts Lord Don’s Cup.

By Rob Usry@RobUsry  Dec 3, 2018, 10:05am EST

When it comes to soccer, the team whose players perform the best on the day usually end up winning. MLS Cup will likely be no different as Atlanta United and Portland Timbers feature talented players all over the field. It’s a good bet that whichever team’s stars show up on the day is the squad that will be standing at the celebration podium after all is said and done.Looking ahead to this big match, we’re highlighting three different positions on the field that will could prove decisive. While these players won’t necessarily be going head-to-head against each other, it’ll be important for them outplay the player in the corresponding position to give their team an edge. Here are three positional battles that will likely decide MLS Cup:

Eric Remedi vs. Diego Chara

In the modern game, defensive midfielder is arguably the most important position on the field. If a team has a bulldog in the midfield of the field who can close down the other team’s best players in the most dangerous parts of the field, they’ll win more often than not.Eric Remedi has been a revelation since his midseason arrival in the ATL. His work often doesn’t show up on the highlight reels like most great defensive midfielders, but he’s always in crucial spots making vital contributions. His ability to close down and stifle Portland’s two attacking stars in Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco will be key. You don’t have to look far to see how important that will be. Blanco’s unbelievable tie-changing goal against Sporting Kansas City was a direct result of midfielders not closing him down. Remedi and to a lesser extent Darlington Nagbe will have their hands full but will need to have great performances if Atlanta United is to win.

Diego Chara has been one of the best defensive midfielders in MLS for at least five years now. While he may not get the MLS Best XI recognition he deserves, many experts proclaim him to be the Timbers’ most important player even with the likes of Blanco and Valeri. Much like Remedi, he will be tasked with slowing down Miguel Almiron and even keeping tabs on Josef Martinez when he drops deep.

Both players are uber-aggressive and known to lunge into a tackle with no hesitation. An early yellow card to either could change the look of the whole match. It’s something to keep an eye on.

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez vs. Liam Ridgewell

Discipline will be key in this high intensity final. Both teams feature hard-nosed centerbacks who will be looking to set the tone for the match. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez is at the top of his game so far in these playoffs. Atlanta will be hoping he has one more superhero-esque effort in him to bring the cup home. How the Argentine deals with the late runs from Blanco and Valeri will be just as important as how he and his partner Michael Parkhurst mark Portland’s striker.

Ridgewell’s 2018 season hasn’t gone very smoothly, with the veteran defender going as far as calling it “one of the worst seasons I’ve had in my playing career.” Despite being at odds with first-year manager Gio Savarese, Ridgewell finds himself back in favor in the crucial matches. Going against the best goal scorer the league has ever seen is the prize he wins for gaining his starting spot back. As with any Atlanta United match, how the opposing team deals with Josef Martinez will go a long way in deciding who wins. If the Venezuelan Viper is clicking on the day, it could be a long one for Ridgewell. But, if the Englishman succeeds in shutting Martinez down, he could turn the momentum in his side’s favor.

Miguel Almiron vs. Diego Valeri

It didn’t take too much imagination to come up with this one. Saying two of the most talent players this league has ever seen will have a huge impact on the result of this final is not a hot take whatsoever.Almiron and Valeri are their team’s most creative players and will be looking to unlock the other team’s shape. They each have their own style with Almiron more frantic and breakneck and Valeri calm and composed. The pace and style of the game could go a long way in determining which superstar has a bigger impact on the game.If Portland decide to sit back and absorb pressure, it may not be the type of game that Almiron can really put his fingerprints on. However, if it’s a more open affair that allows for Miggy to use his pace to create those odd-man counter-attacks by himself, it could play into his favor.The opposite could be said for Valeri who is better in the slower style of game where he has time in the attack to pick out a pass to breakdown the defense or to find space outside the penalty area for a chance at goal. If Portland have a negative mindset and Valeri is forced to run around and close down for the majority, it could frustrate him.These are the three battles we see deciding MLS Cup. Who do you think has the edge in each? Which other pairing did we miss or do you find important? Comment below.

MORE FROM DIRTY SOUTH SOCCER

 

U.S. confirms Gregg Berhalter as manager after year-long search; what does this mean for the USMNT?

Dec 2, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

The search for a new head coach for the U.S. men’s national team has finally reached its conclusion. It took only 13 months from the time that Bruce Arena resigned in the wake of the team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Given that timeframe, one might have expected GM Earnie Stewart and the rest of the U.S. Soccer Federation hierarchy to make a big splash. Instead, the USSF chose Gregg Berhalter to be the program’s 37th manager.Berhalter was long considered the front-runner, and the rather secretive approach the USSF took to arriving at his appointment has raised eyebrows, but now that he has been chosen, here’s what fans can expect from the former Columbus Crew manager.

After a year-long ‘search,’ is Berhalter the right hire?

In many ways, Berhalter is a safe pick. He comes from the U.S. soccer system and is a known quantity. He is unlikely to try to shake things up within the Fed in the way that Jurgen Klinsmann did. Berhalter’s record with Columbus (67-58-45 over five seasons) isn’t necessarily eye-catching, either. He didn’t win a single trophy while with the Crew, unlike competitors like Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes, RB Leipzig assistant Jesse Marsch (when he was with the New York Red Bulls), former FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja or Toronto FC’s Greg Vanney.But looked at another way, Berhalter squeezed plenty out of a Crew side that had one of the lowest payrolls in MLS, making the playoffs in four of his five seasons in Columbus. His reputation as a teacher with an almost obsessive attention to tactical detail could serve him well given that he’s set to inherit a very young pool of players. There will be peaks and valleys, and it will require plenty of patience to navigate the team through those periods. The fact that he spent the bulk of his playing career overseas should give him a fair amount of street cred, as should his brief stint coaching overseas.When asked whether he thought Berhalter was the right choice, Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst, who spent three seasons in Columbus under Berhalter, said, “I don’t think there’s only one option. I think a few guys could have been great hires. But I think everyone respects Gregg tactically and what he can do on the field with a team and how organized he is. I think that everyone thinks he’s one of the best American coaches, and I agree.”If the plan was to bring in an American, then absolutely, I think he’s the right hire.”In terms of his background, Berhalter had a solid, if unspectacular, career as a player. He spent the bulk of it overseas, with his first professional stint coming in 1994 with Dutch side Zwolle, and later moving on to Sparta Rotterdam and Cambuur Leeuwarden. Berhalter then spent a solitary season with English side Crystal Palace. His longest spell came with German side Energie Cottbus, where he played for four seasons, helping them win promotion to the Bundesliga. He later moved to 1860 Munich before finishing his career in MLS with the LA Galaxy, winning the 2011 Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double in his final season.At the international level, Berhalter made 44 appearances and was part of the U.S. roster at the 2002 and 2006 World Cup.After serving as a player/assistant with the Galaxy under Arena, Berhalter began his managerial career with Swedish side Hammarby prior to the 2012 campaign. He was fired midway through his second season with the club over concerns about the state of the team’s attack. He joined up with Columbus prior to the 2014 campaign.Berhalter’s first task will be overseeing the January camp, with two friendlies slated for late January and early February. At that point, the process of winning over the players will begin. Ultimately his decisions in terms of personnel, tactics and man management will be what carry the day. Suffice it to say, the mountain Berhalter is being asked to scale is plenty steep. He’ll need to bring a young squad together amid the backdrop of a search that is being perceived as less than robust.

What can we expect from Berhalter’s USMNT?

Berhalter is known as a cerebral, tactically detailed manager who emphasizes possession. His outside backs, at least when he was in Columbus, are known to surge forward in a bid to get service into the box. (Crew SC right back Harrison Afful had six assists this year.)”I think Gregg is one of the best tactical coaches that I’ve played for,” said Parkhurst.”He just knows the game very well, has his team very organized and prepared for each opponent and different tactical ways he wants to approach the game. He’s just very detail oriented in that way, and sets his team up for success. Everyone knows how well Columbus play, and how difficult they are to play against. That’s because of Gregg and [assistant coach Josh Wolff].”The work that we do on the field tactically, the video that we watch … it’s intense, it’s a lot. He works hard, and I think he’s a great hire.”Berhalter is also capable of being flexible. During the 2017 Eastern Conference finals against Toronto FC, Berhalter toggled back and forth between three-man and four-man back lines in a bid to thwart TFC’s high-powered attack. (Toronto ended up winning 1-0 on aggregate.) Parkhurst feels this is an area where Berhalter has grown as he’s gotten more experience.”I think that my first year there, it was one way to play and that was about it,” he said. “My second year when we played the New York Red Bulls in the conference final [in 2015], we basically just kicked long balls up to Kei [Kamara]. That was a big adjustment and now this past year he tinkered with different formations a lot during the year. I think he’s become more flexible with what the game entails, or with his team and the players available. But the overall picture stays the same, and I think that’s a good thing.”Berhalter is also known as a teacher though he tended to rely on veterans in Columbus. Yet one area that will bear watching is in the area of man management and how he’ll connect with the team’s biggest players. Back in 2016, a feud between midfielder Federico Higuain and then-Crew forward Kei Kamara festered to the point that it burst out into the open. Kamara was traded soon thereafter, but there is a sense it could have been handled better. Berhalter has no doubt learned from that experience, and the coming months will reveal just how much.

The extent to which he’ll adopt his preferred style with the U.S. is an open question. While there are outside backs like DeAndre Yedlin, and even Shaq Moore, who seem to fit his desired profile, the left back position has been notoriously difficult to fill. Keeping the ball has also been a weakness for the U.S., especially against high-caliber opponents.Next summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup will be his first major test.

How did U.S. Soccer end up picking him over everyone else?

Much of the search for a new U.S. men’s manager has been shrouded in secrecy, with details only coming out in dribs and drabs. This conveyed the impression that Berhalter was the choice from the beginning and that the search was largely for show and not at all thorough. Yet the USSF is denying this assertion.In a statement, USSF indicated that it compiled an initial list of about 33 candidates. These included the usual suspects both foreign and domestic, such as Vermes, Marsch, Atlanta United’s Tata Martino, U.S. U-20 manager Tab Ramos and then-Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio. Of course, this is the bare minimum of what one would expect in the early stages. It doesn’t guarantee a robust search.Upon being hired as USMNT general manager, Stewart developed a profile of his ideal coach. These requirements included fluency in English, experience managing a professional club or senior national team, use of analytics, as well as “added value qualifications” like familiarity with MLS and the U.S. player pool, a willingness to work collaboratively and not focus solely on the national team.”It’s very important to have a coach that can actually implement a playing style that takes into account the players that you have,” said Stewart. “Within that style, it’s trying to find a formation and a way of playing to get results. I was looking for someone that demonstrated a clear ability to implement a style of play where the players knew their roles and it showed in the results his team attained on the field.”Once the profile was applied, the list shrank to 11 candidates, a group that included multiple coaches from abroad. Martino was out because of his lack of proficiency in English. Vermes was eliminated because of his desire to control every aspect of the program down to youth level, much like he does at SKC (which is also similar to how Klinsmann managed the U.S. national team). The fact that Ramos had managed only at youth level, and never a professional or senior national team, proved to be a fatal blow to his candidacy. Why Marsch didn’t get more consideration remains an unknown.One coach who made the cut was Osorio, and a source familiar with the process indicated that Osorio did have informal discussions with Stewart about the job. But his timeline for accepting a new post didn’t align with Stewart’s, and the Colombian opted to move on quickly and sign with Paraguay. (Osorio was asked whether this was true, but in a series of voice mail exchanges with ESPN FC colleague Tom Marshall, he did not address the question.)The list was eventually culled to five candidates, a group that included Pareja, who at the time was managing FC Dallas but has since moved on to Club Tijuana. Two of the candidates dropped out of the running at their own choosing. Pareja and Berhalter were deemed the two finalists.Should it have taken this long? No, although the election of a new USSF president in Carlos Cordeiro and Stewart’s hiring are understandable factors, it shouldn’t have taken another six months after Stewart was named to reach this point. The process has also done little to dispel the notion that the USSF remains insular in its ways given that some obvious candidates such as Vermes and Marsch weren’t spoken to. The three other candidates aside from Pareja and Berhalter remain a mystery. That said, Stewart, who insisted he would take his time in finding the right coach, now has his man, and the U.S. program can at least begin to move forward.”Gregg has the background as a person, successful coach and former player,” Stewart said. “When it comes to the base and added value qualifications, he scored extremely high. His willingness, work ethic and ideas about developing this player pool and influencing these players in and outside of camp and the thought process he has about that — constantly seeking new things — set him apart.”He is a coach that is learning at all times. Every single day he tries to develop himself so he can be a better leader for the team that he has. That is something that really stood out with Gregg and went a long way in the decision to offer him the job.”

The elephant in the room: Berhalter’s brother

The USSF has been at pains to insist that Berhalter’s brother Jay, who serves as the USSF’s chief commercial officer, has played no part in the search for a new manager. But the fact that Jay Berhalter was involved in the hiring of Stewart invites skepticism.Simply put, the USSF executive should have never been involved in any aspect of Stewart’s hiring and didn’t need to be given Stewart’s obvious qualifications. Do I think Stewart rolled over and cruised through the process? No. But the USSF didn’t help itself by allowing Jay to be involved in Stewart’s hiring. It has only served to undermine Gregg Berhalter’s tenure and add considerable pressure before he’s so much as picked up a whistle, even though he is qualified for the job. That is on the USSF, not Berhalter.With Dan Flynn set to retire as the USSF’s secretary general and CEO, Jay Berhalter has been suggested as a candidate to replace him. While the responsibilities of the position are primarily on the business side, the role involves overseeing the day-to-day operations of the entire federation. Stewart’s role as GM sees him report to the secretary general.Given Gregg Berhalter’s hiring, if Jay Berhalter were named to the post, the mere appearance of a conflict of interest would be gargantuan. And if things go sideways with the U.S. men’s national team under Gregg Berhalter’s stewardship, his brother would be far from a disinterested observer.The USSF has stated that unlike under previous president Sunil Gulati, any change in manager would be made at the behest of the board of directors, but the secretary general still wields immense influence within the organization. The USSF should look elsewhere to find Flynn’s successor.

Amid U.S. Soccer’s future focus, Gregg Berhalter just wants to get to work

Dec 4, 2018Noah DavisU.S. soccer writer

NEW YORK — The focus on a Tuesday afternoon at The Glasshouses — which is, according to its website, “a collection of technologically advanced high-rise event spaces” — was the future. The future of the United States men’s national team, to be specific.Gregg Berhalter, whose announcement as the new head coach prompted the occasion, talked about looking ahead. “It’s about moving forward and thinking about where we want to end up in 2022,” he said. “How do we get there? What are the right mix of players?”Carlos Cordeiro, the new-ish United States Soccer Federation president, did too. “This is a great day for U.S. Soccer,” he said. “A great day for the U.S. men’s national team. Indeed, a great day for soccer in America.”Earnie Stewart, the American general manager and person most responsible for Berhalter’s hiring, was also on message. “The style of play was important [in looking for a coach],” he said. “It explains where we are going and what we are trying to do.”

The forward focus continued later in the afternoon. A few hours after the news conference concluded, there was a “The Future is US” fan summit.All anyone wanted to talk about was next year and beyond. Berhalter, with his deep-set blue eyes offset by a blue button-down shirt that he wore without a tie, refused to even address how the U.S. team got to this point.”I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about the failure of the past,” he said. Which makes sense because the recent past has been pretty brutal.The Americans missed the 2018 World Cup. They spent more than 14 months without a head coach, a time in which interim manager Dave Sarachan worked admirably to introduce new players but found himself hamstrung by the lack of full-time tenure and a permanent direction. The results were fine, if not spectacular: wins against Paraguay and Mexico, a draw with France a month before Les Bleus took home the World Cup trophy in Russia, listless and convincing losses to Colombia, England and Italy. Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Tim Weah and a few other young talents emerged as possible solutions going forward.Life and careers continued. The men’s national team stood still.The future couldn’t come quickly enough. You can’t, however, get to the future without dealing with the present, so back to The Glasshouses. The 21st-floor room overlooking the rapidly growing west side of Manhattan, the Hudson River and New Jersey featured U.S. national team branding on the backdrop, the walls and the windows. Even the concrete pillars holding up the roof were draped in red, white and blue banners featuring the slogans “The future is US” and “Somos el futuro.” One image with those words depicted a smiling DeAndre Yedlin, Julian Green and Bobby Wood. Are these the players you think of when you think of the future?

Before the proceedings, Cordeiro mingled. It’s a new era, one person observed to him. “Hopefully a good one,” the president responded. Elsewhere, there were assorted flavors of cookies, soda provided by U.S. Soccer sponsor Coca-Cola and various American soccer luminaries including MLS commissioner Don Garber.Following brief opening statements, the quartet seated at the dais — Cordiero, Stewart, Berhalter and USSF CEO Dan Flynn — answered questions for nearly half an hour. Most queries went to the new coach, who said the right things.”We want a team that’s going to compete. We want a team that’s going to be prepared. We want a team that’s going to understand our style of play and execute it,” he said. “The process has to accelerate. When you have quality players, when you have players that have the ability to learn, you can accelerate that process a little bit. Each and every game, you should expect to see development. That’s my job.”Berhalter talked passionately about building a cohesive style — “an attacking-based team that wants to create goal-scoring opportunities by disorganizing the opponent” — while touting his success at doing so in his last job with the Columbus Crew without coming off as overly impressed with himself. He mentioned sending supplemental materials and possibly webinars to his players when they are with their clubs around the world so they can develop as a group separately.Throughout the event, Berhalter stayed calm and poised, respectful and collected. He presented as a thoughtful manager who understands what he wants from his players and how to empower them to achieve these ends. This should be more than enough.While a news release announcing his appointment was absurdly effusive in its praise of his qualities — “known as a fiercely competitive and intelligent player, a natural leader and a detailed, forward-thinking manager” — the truth is that he’s a fine and appropriate candidate to do the job. After a playing career that spanned three European countries and featured 44 caps with the U.S. national team, he had an up-and-down managerial stint with Sweden’s Hammarby before joining the Crew as head coach and sporting director. It is this experience, which involved holding together a club with an uncertain future, that will help him most in his new job.As American manager, his first task will be re-establishing a culture of accountability and presenting a coherent, sensible plan for the next few years. This is a skill set he possesses.Still, the whole event, frankly, felt at least a tad ridiculous: the hyper-modern event space, the high production value, the flowery rhetoric. The future, man, the future. The U.S. got its guy — though Stewart admitted that one of his three top candidates was no longer available when he wanted to interview him. Berhalter sat, listened, spoke. One suspects what he really wants to be doing is coaching. He’ll get his chance starting soon, and judgment will follow quickly after.But if you’re a U.S. men’s national team fan, it’s easier to feel better about tomorrow today than it was yesterday.

United States manager Gregg Berhalter ‘humbled, honored’ as he takes over national team

Dec 4, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

Gregg Berhalter said he is “humbled” and “honored” to be taking over as manager of the U.S. men’s national team, and that he is ready for the challenge of leading the team back to the World Cup.Berhalter was introduced at a press conference in New York City, ending a 13-month period in which Dave Sarachan managed the team on a caretaker basis. Sarachan’s involvement followed the resignation of Bruce Arena after the U.S. failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.Berhalter, 45, becomes the first U.S. manager in the program’s history to have also played in a World Cup. The former Columbus Crew manager also represented the U.S. at youth level and had an extensive career as player, spending the bulk of his playing days in Europe.”I’m ready for this challenge,” said Berhalter. “The youth national team, the full national team, my experiences as a player and my experiences in the coaching ranks have prepared me for this moment. I’m excited for the opportunity to turn this group of men into a team.”I’ll be focusing on the players and team, how we can compete first and foremost. I’m focused on building a style of play, and I’m focused on team [cohesiveness]. I know it’s going to be a challenge, but I know there’s quality in this group, and I know that the closer we can come together, the closer we can come to [reaching] our goals.”U.S. men’s national team general manager Earnie Stewart, as well U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro shed a bit more light on the process that led to Berhalter’s hiring. Cordeiro called it “the most inclusive and comprehensive search in our history.”Stewart confirmed earlier reports that he began with an initial list of 33 candidates, which he reduced to 11 after applying the coaching profile he developed with other USSF staff members. That list was then ultimately reduced to three candidates, one of whom later withdrew his candidacy due to timing issues, leaving Stewart with Berhalter and current Club Tijuana manager Oscar Pareja.

Berhalter was ultimately the choice, and he added he was first contacted in late August. The decision gained unanimous approval of USSF technical development committee last Wednesday, and then the full Board of Directors last weekend.The length of the process has been criticized, but Stewart said he had no regrets on missing out on a potential head coach.”That’s part of life, part of soccer, that’s the way things go,” he said. “I think we went through this in a thorough way.”Cordeiro added, “We have no regrets at all. We got our best guy…we couldn’t have moved any faster.”Berhalter will need to get up to speed quickly in terms of imparting his philosophy to the pool of players. There will be a camp of domestic players that will take place in Chula Vista, California starting on Jan. 7, and will culminate with a pair of friendlies against Panama on Jan. 27 and Costa Rica on Feb. 2.Berhalter added that his first priority is immediately reaching out to players. He’ll be calling a number of domestic-based players, then he’ll head to the MLS Cup final between Atlanta United and the Portland Timbers on Dec. 8, and from there he’ll head over to Europe to meet face to face.”What I’m focused on is how can we do more outside of camp,” he said. “What communication can we give to the players that’s going to prepare them for the learning that’s going to take place in camp? And then setting the stage in January, setting the stage for team expectations, team culture and style of play. If we can get a head start by working with this group in an intensive period in January, and then incorporate European-based players into the squad in March.”Berhalter’s reputation is that of an attack-minded manager with a keen eye for tactical detail. While most new managers make that claim upon their introduction, Berhalter insists he’ll stay true to his preferred style, while also being smart in terms of the challenges put in front of him.”The idea is that we are an attacking-based team, that wants to create goalscoring opportunities by disorganizing opponents,” he said. “We’ll do that in a number of ways. Consistently over my time in Columbus, we’ve done it through build up. We start the ball with the goalie in the back, the teams try to press us, and we play through them to try to create goalscoring opportunities.”Another way to do that is to use pressure, whether we start in a mid-block or move into high pressure to force turnovers to win the ball and immediately create goalscoring opportunities. The idea is that it’s a fluid style [where] the players are intent on breaking lines, playing through opponent and creating goalscoring opportunities.”I think at times we can do a better job to change the tempo of the game instead of playing at such a high rhythm all the time. I think mixing that rhythm is going to be very important, especially at international level, especially considering some of the climates you’re playing in. But we want to see ball circulation, breaking lines, and creating goalscoring opportunities. That should be DNA of this team.”

Berhalter aiming for both distinct style, flexibility for US national team

December 5, 20184:19PM ESTDylan ButlerContributor

NEW YORK — Under Gregg Berhalter, Columbus Crew SC had a clear identity as a possession-based team that played an attacking, attractive brand of soccer. Will the same be true for the US national team now that Berhalter has been named their head coach? In his formal introduction Monday at a press conference in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, Berhalter gave some hints about what he expects from the USMNT tactically under his watch. “The idea is that we’re an attacking-based team that wants to create goal-scoring opportunities by disorganizing the opponent,” he said. “We’ll do that in a number of different ways.”In five years with Crew SC, Berhalter said, that plan was executed by possessing the ball out of the back and by utilizing high pressure. “We’ve done it through buildup where we start the ball with the goalie in the back and when teams try to press us, we play through them to create goal-scoring opportunities, we’re making the field big,” Berhalter said. “Another way to do that is to use pressure, whether we start in a mid block or move into high pressure to force turnovers, win the ball and immediate create goal-scoring opportunities.”The idea is it’s a fluid style that the players are intent on breaking lines, playing through the opponent and creating goal-scoring opportunities.”When closely watching the young USMNT this year, under interim manager Dave Sarachan, Berhalter said he saw potential, but also a team that “needs development, needs direction.”And it’s a team, he said, that will need some tactical flexibility based on the opponent and game conditions. “At times we can do a better job to chane the tempo of the game instead of playing at such a high rhythm all the time,” Berhaler said. “I think mixing that rhythm is going to be important, especially at the international level, especially considering some of the climates you’re playing in. But we want to see ball circulation, breaking lines, creating goal-scoring opportunities. That should be the DNA of this team.”Berhalter said the distribution of that philosophy begins with initial calls to MLS players before going to MLS Cup and a trip abroad to meet European-based players face-to-face. Then comes the critical January camp. While it was too soon to talk possible invitees, Berhalter said the camp will be his first chance to truly place his stamp on the expectations for the team. “Setting the stage in January, setting the stage for team expectations, team culture and style of play,” he said. “We can get a head start by working with the group in an intensive period in January, and then integrate the European players into the squad in March.”And while Berhalter said there will be take-home work for players in his camp, likely utilizing “supplemental materials” like video libraries and webinars to continue to stress his messaging, the work, and improvement at each camp will be vital. But the principles, he said, will not be hard to comprehend. “My job as a coach, and our job as a staff, is make it as simple as possible,” Berhalter said. “Our game is based on very simple principles, they’re not complicated principles. The training sessions are very straightforward. I think it’s easy for the players to pick up on it. I think to execute it a really high level does take some time, but it’s based on simple principles. I hope the group will be able to appreciate that.”

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT U.S. MNT HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER

BERHALTER IS THE FIRST U.S. WORLD CUP VETERAN TO BECOME HEAD COACH OF THE U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MNT by Jeff Crandall on Dec 2, 2018

With the hiring of former U.S. international defender Gregg Berhalter as head coach, the U.S. Men’s National Team has set a new course as it looks ahead to the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, Nations League and qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.Here are five things to know about the new USA boss:

Early Beginnings

Gregg Berhalter was born on Aug. 1, 1973 in Englewood, N.J. and grew up in nearby Tenafly. Notably, he is the godson of former Boston Red Sox player and baseball Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.From an early age, he played at Union County Sport Club and in high school, alongside future MNT teammate and captain Claudio Reyna at New Jersey high school powerhouse St. Benedicts Prep in Newark.A standout in high school, Berhalter went on to play at the University of North Carolina. There he played with more future MNT teammates in Eddie Pope and Kerry Zavagnin, and went on to captain the USA at the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia.

Reppin’ the Red, White & Blue

His senior international career began when he came on at halftime of the MNT’s 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia on Oct. 19, 1994 in Dharan. From there, he served as the youngest member of the U.S. side that finished fourth at the 1995 Copa America in Uruguay. Another injury kept him from making a strong case for himself to go to the 1998 FIFA World Cup, but Berhalter found his place with the MNT the following year, helping the team to a third-place finish at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup and making a steady contribution as the side qualified for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.Having made the final roster for Korea/Japan, Berhalter played in both Knockout Round matches – a 2-0 Round of 16 win against Mexico and 1-0 Quarterfinal defeat to Germany.  The latter match nearly produced the would be pinnacle moment in his career. Berhalter never scored a goal for the MNT, but if a hand or referee angle had been different he would have tallied one of the biggest in team history. In the second half of the 2002 World Cup Quarterfinal against Germany, Berhalter’s volley was handled on the line by German defender Torsten Frings. Controversially, Scottish referee Hugh Dallas waved off calls for a hand ball, allowing Die Mannschaft to edge by with a 1-0 victory.Berhalter would go on to play for the USA at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup and help the MNT qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He made the final 23-man roster and finished his career with 44 international caps. Notably, he becomes the first MNT head coach to have played for the USA at a FIFA World Cup.

Seeking A Professional Challenge

Playing at the University of North Carolina from 1991-94, Berhalter said that college soccer helped him adjust to the physical side of the game, but felt he needed a bigger challenge and elected to leave the Tar Heels after his junior season. With Major League Soccer not set to launch until 1996, he looked abroad for his first professional opportunity and perhaps foreshadowed his move into management.“I knew at the time I wanted soccer to be my life,” he told ussoccer.com in 2002. “Looking back, at the time I did choose a risky path, deciding to leave college early to go to Europe.”Fortunately, he found a good situation with Dutch Eerste Divisie side PEC Zwolle, where he was drafted into the starting XI straight away in 1994. The signing began a six-year sojourn for Berhalter in Holland, spending two years each at Zwolle and Sparta Rotterdam before winning back-to-back Player of the Year honors at SC Cambuur.Beginning to find his way with the U.S. Men’s National Team around that time, Berhalter spent a season with English League Championship side Crystal Palace in 2001. Following two strong performances for the MNT at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he moved back to the continent with German club Energie Cottbus. After helpin Cottbus regain promotion to the Bundesliga, Berhalter moved across Germany where he continued as captain of 1860 Munich for three more seasons. A smart and vocal defender, Berhalter also honed his skills with penalty kicks in Germany, often taking attempts for his clubs.Always holding a desire to play in the USA, Berhalter returned home to end his career with the LA Galaxy in 2009. That year, he helped the club to the 2009 MLS Cup Final. Despite converting his penalty, the Galaxy fell to Real Salt Lake in a shootout. He helped the Galaxy claim the 2010 MLS Supporters Shield, and while serving as a player/assistant coach in 2011 earned that title along with the MLS Cup to end his career.

An Eye Towards the Touchline

An early student of the game, Berhalter has indicated that his time playing in four different countries informed the way he looked at things, with each stop offering a different experience. In Holland, he kept detailed notes on training sessions and ideas about tactics and positional play. Defensive structure was his focus in England, while he took in the transitional and finishing aspects of the game in Germany.He began to put some of that knowledge into practice off the field during the end of his career. While playing for 1860 Munich, Berhalter assisted the technical staff in scouting the team’s upcoming opponents. In his final season, Berhalter began applying his years of study, taking up a dual player/assistant coach role with the LA Galaxy in the club’s MLS Cup and Supporter Shield winning campaign in 2011.

Harkening back to the decision to begin his playing career abroad, he instantly moved into management when he took the reins at Swedish club Hammarby weeks after the Galaxy lifted MLS Cup. There, he managed Hammarby to within one place of the Allsvenskan promotion playoffs in 2012, but returned to the U.S. the following year when he was named Sporting Director and Head Coach of Columbus Crew SC.A believer in analytics, Berhalter took a detail-oriented approach in managing the soccer operations of Crew SC. He led the small-market club to the MLS Cup Playoffs in four of five seasons, working with a salary budget that ranked in the league’s bottom half each year. He took Columbus to the 2015 MLS Cup Final and within a game of a return in 2017 when Crew SC fell to eventual champions Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference Final.Along with holding the UEFA “A” Coaching License, Berhalter was also part of the inaugural class to earn U.S. Soccer’s “PRO” Coaching License in 2016.

History of Leadership

Berhalter showed to be a leader early on in his international career, captaining the USA as it advanced to the Knockout Round of the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championships in Australia. He continued wearing the armband with that age group as they formed the U-23 MNT going into the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta but was forced out of the competition with an injury just weeks before the opening ceremony.Most notably, Berhalter is one of the few Americans to serve as captain of two European clubs. The veteran center back wore the armband in the final two seasons of his stay with Energie Cottbus (2004-06), leading the club back to the Bundesliga at the end of his tenure there. He continued as captain when he moved to 1860 Munich, spending three seasons wearing the armband in Bavaria.When he returned stateside with the LA Galaxy, the experienced defender served as a mentor for the Galaxy’s young back line which featured future World Cup player Omar Gonzalez, as well as rising players AJ DeLaGarza and Sean Franklin. The trio of youngsters would serve as stalwart pieces of the club’s successful run from 2009-2014.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: FORMER TEAMMATES DISCUSS GREGG BERHALTER AS U.S. MNT HEAD COACH Dec 3, 2018

Following the announcement of Gregg Berhalter as U.S. Men’s National Team head coach, ussoccer.com reached out to a number his former MNT teammates to get their thoughts on his hire.

Claudio Reyna, four-time FIFA World Cup veteran and former MNT captain:

“Gregg is an exciting choice for the National Team job. He is someone who is organized and extremely detailed with his preparation for every training session, camp, and game. I think without a doubt players will respond to him because of the intensity and energy he will bring. Players love the level of information and preparation he provides. No doubt he will give the team the right mentality to get results and play good soccer as the weeks and months progress.”

“As a player, he was a leader on and off the field and brought a high level of professionalism. Even though he didn’t wear the armband, he acted as a captain in terms of how he supported his teammates. He became of voice of sharing ideas and thoughts, and was always someone I spoke to about how we could play better and ways we could exploit our opponents. As a friend, colleague and teammate, it was no surprise that he transitioned into being a good coach.”

Landon Donovan, three-time FIFA World Cup veteran and joint MNT all-time leading scorer:

“What I remember about playing with Gregg is that he was always there to win and there to compete every day. That’s who Gregg is, and that’s why he’s been so successful as a coach. As I got to know him through the National Team and the Galaxy, you could tell quickly that he was someone who was going to be a very good coach. He understood the game, he studied the game, he talked about the game and he wanted to learn about the game. He’s as bright as they come in U.S. Soccer circles. I’m very happy for Gregg and excited for our National Team program. I think he’s a great hire and I think he’s the right person to be moving this team forward.” 

Kasey Keller, four-time FIFA World Cup veteran and ESPN analyst:

“If you look at the American candidates, Gregg ticks all the boxes. He has playing experience in Europe and MLS. He has coaching experience in Europe and MLS, and licenses from both. As a manager, he brings a great level of organization and professionalism, which he demonstrated in Columbus.  Working for an organization that didn’t have the most resources, he maximized their potential and really developed a high level of communication with his players. Those types of skills are big for a National Team manager. “During his playing career both at clubs and for the National Team, he worked with so many different coaches from which he can draw little ideas. He knows what it’s like being a European-based player on the National Team and what challenges that brings, and he knows what it’s like for MLS guys. He also knows what it means to represent the United States, and he demonstrated that every time he came into the National Team.“With that whole package, the choice of Gregg makes total sense.”

Eddie Lewis, two-time FIFA World Cup veteran and former teammate of Gregg Berhalter:

“Gregg‘s intensity, tactical knowledge, and professionalism as a player have already translated into success as a manager. While it comes as no surprise, it’s certainly something he has worked hard for and earned. In addition to bringing those skills to the National Team, I’m confident in this new role that he will make sure all the players understand the honor of representing our country and the responsibility of the wearing the U.S. jersey.”  

Brad Friedel, two-time FIFA World Cup veteran and head coach of the New England Revolution:

“For the last five years in Columbus, Gregg has demonstrated his ability to implement a style of play. With all progress of soccer in the United States and the increased maturity and sophistication of the players and the leagues, I think it’s important to have a coach who knows the American player and the American system. Gregg has certainly demonstrated that. In New England he will have an ally, and we’ll help in any way we can.”

USA WINS SECOND STRAIGHT CONCACAF U-20 TITLE WITH 2-0 VICTORY VS. MEXICO

ALEX MENDEZ SCORES BOTH GOALS, TIES U.S. RECORD FOR MOST GOALS IN A U-20 CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT; MENDEZ WINS TOURNAMENT’S GOLDEN BALL, BRADY SCOTT AWARDED GOLDEN GLOVE; 2019 FIFA U-20 WORLD CUP DRAW SET FOR FEB. 24 IN GYDNIA, POLAND  U-20 MNT Nov 21, 2018

BRADENTON, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team turned in a sterling effort in a 2-0 win against Mexico to capture a second consecutive Concacaf U-20 Championship title. Alex Mendez scored both goals to guide the U.S. to victory and cap off a Golden Ball-winning performance at the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship, while goalkeeper Brady Scott was recognized with the tournament Golden Glove Award. Additionally, Scott, defenders Sergino Dest, Chris Gloster and Mark McKenzie, midfielders Brandon Servania, Mendez, Ayo Akinola, and Ulysses Llanez were all named to the tournament Best XI team by the competition’s Technical Study Committee. The game began with the U.S. well in control with the wealth of possession and offensive forays. After the 15-minute mark, Mexico began to push forward with more confidence and players, having played on the counter in the early going. With increased space to operate its offense, the U.S. struck the opening blow via a nice attack down the left sideline that culminated in Paxton Pomykal cutting infield and picking out Alex Mendez at the top of the area for a one-time shot through traffic that nestled in the lower right corner of the net for the 1-0 advantage.Continuing its run of commanding play, the U.S. nearly doubled its lead in the 26th minute again through Pomykal, but the ball refused to go in, hitting a defender then the Mexico goalkeeper and bounced toward the open net before being cleared off the line.

Things began to get chippy after that as tackles from both teams came in hard and confrontations between players became more common. The disrupted nature of the game suited Mexico just fine as it won a number of free kicks in dangerous areas around the USA’s final third, one of which resulted in the best chance of the half for El Tri.With half time closing in, a set piece was lofted into the USA’s six-yard box and required U.S. goalkeeper Brady Scott to make an imperative kick save to deny a headed attempt in the 41st minute to preserve his side’s 1-0 lead.In the second half, the U.S. used the lead well, picking its spots to go forward and striking pay dirt just six minutes in. It was Pomykal again who played the catalyst, winning the ball in midfield and streaking down the left side, then cutting through the box past multiple defenders before picking out the late run of Mendez. The skillful midfielder rounded a defender and played a wall pass with Pomykal that put him in a goal and Mendez tucked his shot between the legs of the on-rushing goalkeeper to double the U.S. lead.From there, the game began to stretch, and the spotlight shined brightest on the goalkeepers who were both superb, making numerous saves to keep the match tilted on a knife edge. Mexico nearly broke through in the 62nd minute, but Brandon Saravina was on hand to clear the ball of the line for the U.S.Passions continued to flare as they had in the first half, but neither team was able to exceed the intensity of the other and U.S. head coach Tab Ramos made the right subs to keep the U.S. in the driver’s seat and across the finish line for a second straight U-20 championship.

Goal Scoring Rundown: 
USA – Alex Mendez (Paxton Pomykal), 17th minute:
 The U.S. worked the ball down the left touchline to Paxton Pomykal who cut inside past a Mexico defender before spotting Mendez waiting unmarked at the top of the box. Pomykal laid off a perfectly weighted pass that Mendez hit first time with his left foot, sending a low drive through traffic into the bottom right corner of the net. USA 1, MEX 0 [WATCH]

USA – Alex Mendez (Paxton Pomykal), 51st minute: The U.S. struck on a lightening quick counter attack early in the second half as Pomykal stripped the ball from the opposition and raced down the left sideline before cutting across the top of the Mexico box past a number of defenders. He picked out the late arrival of Mendez who played the ball right back to Pomykal at the top of the box and he returned it into Mendez’s path. As Mexico ‘keeper Carlos Higuera came out to close down the angle, Mendez slipped the ball between his legs and into the vacated net, tying the all-time U.S. record for goals scored by a single player at the Concacaf U-20 Championship. USA 2, MEX 0 [WATCH] FINAL

Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_ynt@ussoccer_esp); FacebookInstagram

NOTES:

  • With the result, U.S. head coach Tab Ramos moves to 20-3-2 all-time in Concacaf U-20 Championship play and has led the team to four straight World Cups.
  • The USA is unbeaten in its last 13 Concacaf U-20 Championship matches dating back to the opener of 2017, establishing a new team record for longest stretch without a loss in this tournament. Previously, the USA went unbeaten in 10 games from the opener of 2005 (5-0-1), 2007 (2-0-1), before falling to Costa Rica in the 2009 final after going 2-0-2.
  • The USA now has a 3-8-0 all-time record versus Mexico in this competition.
  • U.S. head coach Tab Ramos made three changes from the team that started versus Honduras: Brady Scott returned to goal, Matt Real, who wore the captain’s armband, replaced Chris Gloster at left back, and Justin Rennicks replaced Sebastian Soto at forward. 
  • Paxton Pomykal and Rennicks have appeared in all eight matches.
  • Tournament Golden Ball winner, Alex Mendez led the U.S. with eight goals, which ties the USA’s tournament record set by Ricky Davis who scored eight in 1976. 
  • The teams both played in their third final over the last four tournaments. They met in 2013, with Mexico winning 3-1 in overtime. Mexico also won the 2015 Championship, while the USA captured its first ever CU20 title in 2017.
  •  

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11/26/18 MLS Conference Finals Leg 2 Thurs, US Men Lose 2 Games in Europe, Champions League Returns Tues/Wed

 Well we still have great goalkeepers.  That’s about all I can say after watching a youthful Italian side absolutely obliterate our US National team in time of possession and shots as they finally conceded a goal in the 94th minute.  Ethan Horvath playing his first game for the Red, White and Blue in over a year – was godlike between the pipes as he saved no fewer than 9 shots – 5 point blank spectacular saves.  Yes this was a young squad and yes we wereplaying a different type of line-up – employing what looked like a never before practiced 3-5-2 alignment.  It was painful to watch folks as our manager elected to change out 9 of 11 starters from the England debacle.  I honestly don’t know if there is anything positive to say about US soccer right now.  This was Italy’s youngsters vs our youngsters and well if 75% possession and 12-3 shots on goal says anything  – Italy’s group was a little stronger.  Of course our goalkeeper – Ethan Horvath –who by all accounts has fallen behind Columbus keeper Zach Steffen – played well enough to perhaps think he might should be second on our new list of Goalies(in front of Brad Guzan).  That’s about all I got out of the 2 games.  The 4 man back line looked horrible vs England and the brand new 3 man back line vs Italyfared no better in my mind.   Pulisic hadhis moments, but didn’t have much help and honestly was just a little about average at best – even though he was the best player for the US again (besides the keeper).  Not sure I have ever felt less excitement about our US Soccer team or US Soccer program.  With no manager over a full year after being eliminated from last summer’s World Cup, despite the youth – US soccer on the men’s side is at a standstill.  Now about the guy who should have put himself on the radar to being the US Starting Goalkeeper moving forward, EthanHorvath is from Highlands Ranch, Colorado – the 23 year old recently became just the 2nd US goalie ever to play in the Champions League (Tim Howard the other) when he was in the net for a Club Brugge tie with Monaco afew weeks back.  The future in goal looks good for the US with 2 really strong young under 24 year old Goalkeepers battling for the top spot.  As for the rest of the US team and men’s program – 1 big huge UNKNOWN at this point –thanks to US Soccer.   Thank Goodness – the USLadies soccer team looks like the team to beat in this summer’s 2019 Women’sWorld Cup in France. 

Champions League

Big games this week as PSG must win at home vs Liverpool on Wednesday at 3 pm or at least draw and have Red Star lose at Napoli.  This group is really wide open still.  In Group G – Real Madrid is thru with a win at Roma or a draw and some help. Roma: Only need a point from their remaining two matches (home to Real Madrid, away to Plzen) to secure qualification. Group H has Man U thru with a home win vs Young Boys and Juventus advances with a win or draw at home vs Valencia.  Dortmund and maybe US youngster Pulisic are thru with a win or tie at home vs Club Brugge Wed at 3 pm online and Atletico Madrid will be thru with a home win vs Monaco also at 3 pm also online only.  Tottenham must win at home vs Inter on Wed on TNT at 3 pm and must still take a point at Barcelona – who will win the group B with a win at PSV Wed online.  Man City needs just a tie vs Lyon to win group F on Tuesday afternoon 3 pm online, while US midfielder McKinney and Schalke advance in this next to the last game of Group D play with a win at Porto.

MLS

The MLS Playoffs has reached the Conference Finals– 2nd legs starting with the top 2 teams in MLS – NY Red Bulls hosting Atlanta down 3-0, Then Sporting KC will host Portland Thurs eve 9:30 on Fox Sports 1. The Finals are Sat Dec 8 on ESPN. 

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 GAMES ON TV

Tues  Nov 27   Champs League

1 pm TNT                   Athens vs Ajax

3 pm TNT                ASRoma vs Real Madrid

3 pm Uni Desp        Juventus vs Valencia

3pm   Uni Desp       Bayern Munich vs Benefica

Weds  Nov 28   Champs League

1 pm TNT                   AtleticoMadrid vs Monaco

3pm   TNT                   Tottenhamvs Inter Milan

3 pm Univision OL    PSG vs Liverpool

3 pm   Uni Desp        Schalke vs Porto

Thurs  Nov 29   MLS Playoffs

7 pm FS1                 NY Red Bulls vs Atlanta United vs MLS Con Champ Leg 2

9:30 pm ESPN       Sporting KC vs Portland Timbers vs MLS Con Champ Leg 2

 Sat, Dec 1   

9:30 am Fox Sp 2       Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Freiburg

10 am NBCSN                 Man City  vs Bournmouth

12:30 pm NBCSN?      Southampton vs Man United

12 pm EPSN+                Fiorentina vs Juventus

2:30 bein Sport        Real Madrid vs Valencia

Sun, Dec 2  

7 am NBCSN            Chelsea  vs Fulham (Ream)

9 am FS1                  RB Leipzig vs Brussia Mgladbach

9:05 am NBCSN       Arsenal vs Tottenham

11:15 am NBCSN      Liverpool vs Everton

12:30 pm beIN Sport Barcelona vs Villarreal

2:30 pm ESPN+    Roma vs Inter

Saturday, Dec. 8 (8 p.m.): (FOX, UniMas)

UD= Univision Desportes 

Champions League

How Teams Can Advance to Knockout Rounds – eSPNFC

PSG Need to Learn from Liverpools Collective Spirit

Arturo Vidal’s Son becomes Social Media Star with help from Messi

MLS

Timbers, Sporting KC draw first-leg blank

Sporting Kansas City and the host Portland Timbers played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Western Conference final on Sunday.

Echoes of 2013 as SKC hold out against Portland

There was something eerily familiar about Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with the Portland Timbers on Sunday night.

Atlanta pounces on Red Bulls abandoning the press

The New York Red Bulls pressed their way to MLS’ summit, but they were a different team in the East finals. So was Atlanta, who was prepared to win.

Sources: U.S. keeper Steffen in talks with City

Multiple sources have confirmed that the fee expected for the Crew goalkeeper’s transfer to the Etihad could be between $7 million to $10 million.

 USA 

US ends 2018 and Sarachan Era with Predictable Defeat to Italy – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Gomez – the US at the Lowest Point Ever – Video –  

Italy beats US Men, GK Horvath at the End 1-0 – SI Avi Creditor

Player Ratings – US team look timid in year end defeat to Italy – Greg Seltzer MLS

US Youth Given Reality Check by England Player Ratings  Jason Davis ESPN F

US Learns in Loss to England

Stats behind the US Loss

US Rising Stars

Cherundolo Happy to Help US after Losing Coaching Job

 US Men to Play Costa Rica Feb 2

US U20s to face Mexico in Concacaf Champ – Wed night at 7 pm on Univision Desportes

US LADIES Finish Year Unbeaten

What’s Next for the US Ladies

 

Champions League: How teams can qualify for the knockout rounds

Nov 22, 2018Dale JohnsonGeneral Editor, ESPN FC

The top two teams qualify for the round of 16, with the third-place team dropping into the Europa League and the bottom club eliminated from Europe.If two teams are level on points, head-to-head record is the first tie-breaker.

Qualified for round of 16: Barcelona
Eliminated: AEK Athens, Lokomotiv Moscow, Monaco, PSV Eindhoven, Viktoria Plzen, Young Boys

GROUP A

Borussia Dortmund: Need a point at home to Club Brugge to qualify and will top the group with a win if Atletico lose to Monaco.

Atletico Madrid: Will be through if they secure victory at home to Monaco, or if Brugge do not win at Dortmund.

Club Brugge: Must win both their remaining games, away to BVB and home to Atleti, to even have a chance.

Monaco: Have been eliminated and must get at least four points from their remaining two games to make the Europa League.

GROUP B

Barcelona: Have qualified as only one of Spurs and Inter Milan are able to overtake them. Will secure top spot with a win away to PSV on Matchday 5, or a draw if Inter fail to beat Spurs.

Inter Milan: Need a point away to Spurs on Nov. 28 to secure their place.

Tottenham: Must win at home to Inter to remain in contention, and will then likely need at least a point away to Barcelona.

PSV Eindhoven: Have been eliminated and need a minimum of four points to make the Europa League.

GROUP C

Liverpool: Will book their place with a win at PSG on Nov. 28 if Red Star fail to win at Napoli. Would also be guaranteed to go through regardless should they win at home to Napoli on Matchday 6 by at least two goals.

Napoli: A victory over Red Star would see them through if PSG do not beat Liverpool.

Paris Saint-Germain: Will be eliminated if they lose at home to Liverpool and Napoli beat Red Star, but a draw or win very much keeps PSG in the hunt with Liverpool to play Napoli on Matchday 6.

Red Star Belgrade: A draw away to Napoli would keep them in contention, and they could then hope a home win over PSG might send them through at the Italian club’s expense. Eliminated if they lose to Napoli.

GROUP D

Porto: Will be through with a draw at home to Schalke, or if Galatasaray do not to win at Lokomotiv Moscow. A Porto victory would secure top spot.

Schalke: Through with a victory away at Porto, or if Galatasaray fail to win at Lokomotiv.

Galatasaray: Have to win at Lokomotiv and realistically hope Porto beat Schalke to stay in contention.

Lokomotiv Moscow: Have been eliminated but could still earn a place in the Europa League, though they would need to win at home to Gala first.

GROUP E

Bayern Munich: Will go through if they avoid defeat at home to Benfica on Nov. 27.

Ajax: Will definitely be through if they win at AEK Athens on Matchday 5, or if Benfica fail to win at Bayern Munich.

Benfica: Must win both their remaining games and hope Ajax pick up no more than one point.

AEK Athens: Have been eliminated and must pick up at least four points, including a win away to Benfica, to be in with a chance of the Europa League.

GROUP F

Manchester City: Need a point against Lyon on Matchday 5 to secure qualification and will top the group with a win.

Lyon: Will be through if they win at home to Manchester City on Nov. 27, or if both group games are draws that night.

Hoffenheim: Not guaranteed to qualify even if they win both of their remaining games. They lose the head to head with Lyon on away goals so must pick up four more points than the Ligue 1 team in the remaining two games to qualify ahead of them. Could still finish ahead of Man City for second if they win both games and City lose in Lyon.

If the top three all finish on nine points, Lyon would win the group with Hoffenheim second and Man City eliminated on the three-team head-to-head mini-league

Shakhtar Donetsk: If Lyon pick up no more than a point at home to Man City, Shakhtar will be through with two wins. Shakhtar host Lyon on Matchday 6.

GROUP G

Real Madrid: Will qualify, and secure top spot, if they win at Roma on Nov. 27. Would also be sure of going through with a draw/defeat if CSKA fail to beat Viktoria Plzen.

Roma: Only need a point from their remaining two matches (home to Real Madrid, away to Plzen) to secure qualification. Also through if CKSA do not beat Plzen. Roma would need to beat Real Madrid by four goals to secure top spot on Matchday 5.

CSKA Moscow: Must win both their remaining matches and hope either Roma lose both games or Real Madrid pick up no more than a point at Roma.

Viktoria Plzen: Are out of the Champions League but would be in pole position for a Europa League spot by winning at CSKA next time out.

GROUP H

Juventus: Will be through if they avoid defeat to Valencia on Matchday 6. Top spot in the group will be secured if they win and Man United do not beat Young Boys.

Manchester United: Qualification will be sealed if they win at home to Young Boys on Nov. 27 and Valencia do not beat Juve.

Valencia: Must hope they stay within three points of Manchester United going into Matchday 6, when they are at home to the Premier League team.

Young Boys: Have been eliminated and would need to win both remaining games to even have a chance of the Europa League.

 

 

 

U.S. ends 2018 and Dave Sarachan era with predictable defeat to Italy

5:09 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

GENK, Belgium — The U.S. men’s national team finished off 2018 with a 1-0 defeat against four-time World Cup champion Italy. In a match that Italy dominated from start to finish, U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath stood tall, but Matteo Politano’s goal in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time proved to be the difference.Here are three thoughts from the match.

1. Sarachan era ends with a disheartening, predictable defeat

Tuesday’s match was almost certainly going to be the last in charge for caretaker manager Dave Sarachan. And as has been his habit, he fielded a youthful starting XI — the youngest, in fact, in the modern era — with an average age of 22 years, 71 days. All told, he made 10 changes from the team that fell 3-0 to England on Thursday. Christian Pulisic was the only holdover, and at 20 years, 63 days, also became the youngest U.S. captain in that timeframe, besting Landon Donovan’s mark of 22 years, 220 days back in 2004.Italy manager Roberto Mancini also fielded an experimental lineup, with six players having fewer than five caps, including Stefano Sensi, who was making his international debut.Mindful of the timid defending against England, Sarachan set the U.S. out in a 5-3-2, with Pulisic partnered up top with Josh Sargent. What unfolded was a match that was in many ways similar to last June’s 1-1 draw with France, which just so happened to be another time the U.S. employed this formation. The U.S. was content to defend deep and rely on stout defending and some sharp goalkeeping — in this case, from Horvath — to keep them in it.The lack of familiarity with the formation was evident just three minutes in, when a simple long ball to Federico Chiesa gave him a clear look at goal, only for Horvath to save from close range.The U.S. rarely kept the ball long enough to build any kind of sustained attack. Tyler Adams would occasionally break pressure by either dribbling or passing his way out of trouble, but the Americans’ first-half pass-completion percentage of 66.7 largely told the tale. And on the rare occasions when Pulisic got into the open field, Italy was more then willing to engage in some tactical fouling to stifle any budding counter-attacks.The only bit missing was a goal, and while the U.S. central defending trio of Aaron Long, Walker Zimmerman and Cameron Carter-Vickers had some vital interventions, it was the play of Horvath who kept the U.S. in the match, coming up with several sharp saves in the first half.The second half started out with more of the same, as Horvath saved brilliantly with his left foot to deny Kevin Lasagna’s breakaway attempt. The match then began to get more end-to-end, although Italy always looked more likely to score.That said, the U.S. conjured up its best chance of the night in the 64th minute, when Salvatore Sirigu did well to deny Zimmerman’s header.The match soon returned to the Horvath show as he dove to his right to deny substitute Vincenzo Grifo’s curling shot. But ultimately his efforts weren’t enough. Some sharp passing through the U.S. defense put Politano in on goal, and he fired past Horvath with about a minute remaining.Certainly, the U.S. worked hard on the night, but the result was totally deserved for Italy. The defeat marks a disappointing end to 2018 for the Americans, and there remains a ton of work to do for 2019.

2. Horvath an example for teammates to follow

Any young player wanting to get some insight into the ups and downs of playing in Europe could do worse than consult with Horvath. The Club Brugge keeper not only has had spells in and out of the lineup, but there have been moments where he was buried so deep on the Brugge bench, that observers were left to wonder if he had any kind of future in Europe.But to Horvath’s credit he’s stuck it out, and he’s been rewarded of late with some impressive performances, including in the UEFA Champions League. That sharpness carried over into this match. In addition to his aforementioned close-range saves, he did well to tip over a Domenico Berardi shot in the 39th minute, as well as parry away a seeing-eye free kick that oftentimes can sneak in. Horvath then delivered his best save of the night on Lasagna’s attempt in the 59th minute, holding his ground well to save with his left foot.About the only downside to Horvath’s performance is that it occurred in a position of relative strength for the U.S., as Zack Steffen and Brad Guzan are plenty capable in their own right.

3. Where does the U.S go from here?

The Sarachan era now ends with a record of 3-5-4, and in the process, he fulfilled the task handed to him by relying heavily on young players in a bid to kick-start the next cycle.Yet there are still plenty of questions as the team heads into 2019, beyond the naming of the next manager. The biggest one of the lot is just who beyond Pulisic is going to step up and help lead this attack. Granted, the U.S. has been forced to plow through a withering lineup of opponents. It will not be going up against the likes of England and Brazil when the Gold Cup commences next summer — and it will feature an older, more veteran lineup.But the reality is that there isn’t much in the way of refined talent in the U.S. squad at the moment. Beyond Pulisic, Adams and perhaps John Brooks, there are plenty of positions where the competition is wide open.With the World Cup cycle beginning for real in January, that may not necessarily be a bad thing. But the U.S. pool isn’t rife with players where you’re saying, “There are a lot of guys who should be on the field.” Instead there are a lot what-ifs, and that progress will largely take place at club level, where plenty of Americans currently find themselves struggling for playing time.The immense task of solving that puzzle will now be the responsibility of the next manager.

WATCH: Italy Beats USMNT, Horvath at the Death on Politano’s Winner

By AVI CREDITOR November 20, 2018 The U.S. men’s national team closed its 2018 slate in heartbreaking fashion, losing to Italy 1-0 on Matteo Politano’s 94th-minute goal in a friendly played at a neutral site in Genk, Belgium.The two 2018 World Cup spectators brought rather young and inexperienced squads to the match, with both turning the pages at their own paces after a massive qualifying failure, but it was Italy that dominated the run of play, maintaining 73.5% of the possession and outshooting the U.S. 17-3. If not for Ethan Horvath’s saves in goal, the result would have been considerably more lopsided.Horvath was one of 10 changes to the U.S. lineup after last Thursday’s loss to England. Christian Pulisic, who donned the captain’s armband for the first time and became the youngest captain in modern U.S. Soccer history, was the lone holdover to start in Dave Sarachan’s experimental 3-5-2 formation.Horvath, who plays his club soccer a couple hours away in Bruges, was called into action early when Federico Chiesa was played in behind left wingback Shaq Moore. Horvath came up with the save in the third minute, denying Fiorentina’s rising star.Italy continued to command possession, and Chiesa threatened again a few minutes later, pulling a shot by the far post.Domenico Berardi came close to scoring next, snapping a header from the center off a box after a Chiesa cross wide of the right post.The USA’s first moment of danger didn’t come until the 15th minute, when Pulisic got in behind racing down the left-hand side and fired in a cross aimed for Josh Sargent, only to have it cleared to safety.Italy retook control after that and nearly scored in the 18th minute off a set piece. Stefano Sensi, making his Azzurri debut, served in a great ball for veteran Leonardo Bonucci, who had beaten Walker Zimmerman to the spot. Horvath made the point-blank save off the flying kick, though, keeping the game scoreless.It was then Chiesa’s turn once again to cause some trouble, sending in another teasing ball from the right side that Emerson Palmieri headed well over the bar in the 22nd minute.Some 16 minutes later, Berardi forced Horvath into his third save of the night off a curving, dipping blast from long range, which the goalkeeper managed to get a fingertip on to make sure it sailed over the bar. Horvath was at it again in the 44th minute, managing to parry away a dangerous free kick from the left by Marco Verratti, one that whizzed through the area and bounced toward the goal mouth before Horvath was able to react quickly and make the diving save.More of the same continued in the second half, and Italy nearly capitalized on a U.S. defensive mistake in the 52nd minute. Aaron Long and Moore both presumed a wayward ball was going out of play, but it stayed in, and halftime substitute Vincenzo Grifo raced to claim it before sending in a dangerous cross. Verratti flashed through the box for a leaping header, but he put the chance over the bar.Horvath made his fifth save of the night in the 59th minute, denying Kevin Lasagna on the doorstep after the forward had been played in behind by Bonucci. On the other end, the U.S. finally tested goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu for the first time in the 63rd minute. It came off a set piece, with Kellyn Acosta’s teasing ball bouncing through the area to the far post. Zimmerman put his header from a tight angle on target, but Sirigu made an impressive, one-handed reaction save to swat it out for a corner.Horvath then made another highlight-reel save in the 69th minute, with Grifo having the time and space to try and curl one in from the edge of the area only for Horvath to make a diving stop to his left. Moments later, Lasagna was played in behind, and while eventually being flagged for offside, it came after Horvath raced off his line to deny the forward on the 1-v-1 opportunity.Italy wasted a golden chance in the 85th minute when Lasagna had a loose ball fall to him 12 yards from goal, but he overcooked his left-footed chance, firing well over the bar and failing to test Horvath.The U.S. tried to sneak a winner in the 90th minute through substitute Romain Gall, who came on in the 83rd minute to make his U.S. debut. His speculative blast from 25 yards forced Sirigu into a diving save, though nothing came from the ensuing corner kick.Italy got its winner at the death, with Politano getting on the end of a fantastic combination to finish from the center of the box, beating a helpless Horvath in the 94th minute and giving the Azzurri a deserved victory. Player Ratings: US national team look timid in year-ending defeat to Italy November 20, 20187:05PM ESTGreg SeltzerContributor Thanks to a monster effort from goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, a timid US men’s national team kept friendly foe Italy off the scoreboard until the final minute of stoppage time before succumbing, 1-0, in Genk, Belgium on Tuesday night. For decent stretches, the young USMNT looked more organized than in last week’s loss to England, but the sheer volume of defending they had to do caught up to them in the end. With the team unable to keep the ball for any appreciable amount of time, Dave Sarachan’s caretaker era ended in disappointment. Ethan Horvath (9.5) — The Club Brugge ‘keeper officially announced his candidacy for the USMNT’s No. 1 job moving forward with a sterling display. What kind of stop would you like to see? Smothering rush off the line? Kick save? Fingertip push over the bar? Diving denial of a curler? Horvath offered them all on this night. Were it not for some shabby distribution, he’d have garnered a perfect mark. Reggie Cannon (3.5) — The FC Dallas right back is still trying to get up to speed at this level, both on the ball and defending it. Cannon rarely even attempted to push up his flank, which contributed to the visitor’s inability to possess. Cameron Carter-Vickers (3) — The young defender made a couple of nice early interventions, but his night was largely characterized by nervy play. Carter-Vickers was especially shaky with the ball, causing stress for the US in a few notable incidents. To top of a subpar night, he neglected to squeeze the space in front of goal on Italy’s last-gasp winner. Walker Zimmerman (3.5) — While he piled up a decent number of helpful clearances, the LAFCcenter back struggled mightily with the Azzurri’s movement. He was beaten on the ground, over the top and even lost a restart mark. Zimmerman did sneak onto a great chance to open the scoring just past the hour, only to be robbed. Aaron Long (6.5) — For the second game in a row, Long was the coolest cucumber on the US backline. The Red Bulls center back made some difficult defensive stops look easy, chalking up a dozen in total. It wasn’t a perfect outing, but he continues to show promise at this level. Shaq Moore (5) — A natural right back, Moore was handed a tough Italy assignment on his off wing. He was taken to school a few times, but passed his tests more often than not. He also was the only US wingback to creep forward consistently (most of their possession sequences included his help), and served a dangerous cross after being shifted to his preferred flank. Tyler Adams (6.5) — The Red Bulls youngster was easily the most successful USMNT pressure valve in the game, and was arguably the team’s bright spot in the first half. However, the bad giveaways did start piling up as the game wore on. Kellyn Acosta (3) — Simply put, the team needs more from him. Aside from the highly troublesome restart service that set up Zimmerman’s attempt on goal, Acosta was extremely disappointing with the ball at his feet and you could count his successful run of play touches in the attacking half on one hand. Marky Delgado (4) — The Toronto FC midfielder shipped a couple of positive passes, made a couple of decent defensive stops and won a couple of final-third free kicks, but he still needs more seasoning at the international level. Christian Pulisic (5.5) — It’s certainly not all his fault, but the young US captain was unable to conjure any magic on this night. Yes, Pulisic fed on scraps, but he failed to complete a single positive pass in, or into, the final third. Only his pressure-breaking bursts pulled this mark up near average. Josh Sargent (5) — Not to sound like a broken record, but it’s hard to blame the striker for not contributing when he is only sparingly utilized. Sargent battled when he could, and pitched in with a couple of set piece clearances, but most of his service was either speculative or received with a defender already in his shirt. Coach Dave Sarachan (2) — If the interim boss wanted to go out with a bang, as he claimed, it would have been best to field a starting unit with more than two lonely attackers. Sarachan always seemed to offer a poor lineup choice or two, and this contest was no exception. While the high press had its moments, there weren’t enough of them when the team registers 26 percent possession and doesn’t even attempt a shot during the run of play until the waning moments. If not for Horvath’s huge effort, this could have easily gone down as a four or five-goal humbling. SubsWil Trapp (7) — This was the strongest half hour of face-up defensive play the Columbus Crew SCcaptain has offered in a US shirt to date. Bobby Wood (4.5) — In his 30 minutes of work, Wood got his wheels turning a couple times, but never linked up well with teammates. He also pulled his lone half-chance wide. Jorge Villafaña (7) — The Portland left back added some real defensive bite for the final quarter hour, including a terrific doorstep block. Sebastian Lletget (2.5) — The late sub did very well to break free with a loose ball in the final third, but the LA Galaxy midfielder hesitated away his window to create a chance from it. More disappointingly, Lletget gave up following the mark that broke into the US box to score the winner. That shouldn’t happen with a player that’s been on the field for 10 minutes Romain Gall (-) — It was just a cameo, but the debutant did manage to show he was unafraid with the ball at his feet.       ENGLAND 3-0 USMNT 0: YOUNG SIDE LEARN TOUGH LESSONS IN ROONEY FAREWELL By James Nalton, Football Whispers\ A young United States Men’s National Team suffered a 3-0 defeat against England at Wembley.A quick brace, with Jesse Lingard and Trent Alexander-Arnold getting on the scoresheet, gave the hosts the lead they deserved in the first half, and a late strike from Callum Wilson was a reward for the Englishman’s impressive debut.The average age of the USMNT side was 24, but the opposition also fielded a young team as both looked to the future.The game was centred around DC United’s Wayne Rooney, who was getting a ceremonial send-off for England. The Three Lions all-time top scorer replaced Lingard in the second half, taking the captain’s armband, and showed he still has what it takes to play at this level.For the USMNT it was another steep learning curve, and though there were some encouraging signs, they lacked cohesion and good decision making.Weston McKennie confirmed that he should be a key part of the side going forward, Christian Pulisic showed signs that he is on a par with some of the best at this level, and Tyler Adams had some bright moments after being introduced in the second half.However, they struggled to finish off their own moves and also to cope with many of England’s, even though some good pressure on Wilson prevented him scoring more on the night.It was Pulisic who had the first big chance of the game, taking McKennie’s pass and knocking it behind the England defence himself. Having latched on to his own through ball he faced Jordan Pickford in the England goal, but was thwarted by the England netminder.Lingard opened the scoring with an excellent finish over Brad Guzan after an England break down the left. The lead was doubled almost immediately when Pulisic’s clubmate Jadon Sancho fed the attacking full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right wing.Julian Green tested Pickford from distance, Pulisic remained bright in attack, and Bobby Wood had a couple of opportunities which he couldn’t take, but England had the final say when Wilson turned in Fabian Delph’s cross.“It’s tough. Dave [Sarachan]’s doing what he can,” said Pulisic.“He wants to win these games just like we do. It’s going to help a lot when we get a permanent head coach moving forward, a guy who has a real plan and a style of how we want to play.”The USMNT now head to Belgium where they will face Italy, in what could be Sarachan’s last game as coach.     USMNT: THE STATS BEHIND USA’S DEFEAT IN ENGLAND By James Nalton, Football Whispers The match at Wembley between England and the United States Men’s National team produced an interesting list of numbers and statistics, but was dominated by the all-time records of an England great currently plying his trade stateside in Major League Soccer.Wayne Rooney was handed one last appearance in an England shirt, and, as his performances in DC United have also shown, he still has what it takes to play at this level.The 33-year-old moved onto 120 caps for England following this farewell game which saw his side defeat the United States Men’s National Team 3-0.The forward is England’s all-time top scorer, but he was unable to improve on his England goal tally of 53 thanks to a couple of routine stops from USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Stats From The Game England outshot the US but they weren’t as far ahead as you might expect in this area, with the total shot count being 15-10.However, seven of England’s shots were on target, while the US only managed to test the opposition goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, twice. Half of the USMNT’s shots were also from outside the box, meaning they were generally less threatening than the 12 shots England had from inside the box. This was in part due to poor decision making in the final third, as it was often the case that the player releasing the shot still had other options ahead of him but chose not to pass.England dominated the game in terms of keeping the ball, enjoying 61 percent of the possession, completing 692 passes to the USA’s 448.Overall pass completion was fairly even at 88 percent to 85 percent in favour of the home side. USMNT Stats This was a young USMNT team, and their starting XI average age was 24 years, 278 days.It was the first time the back four of DeAndre Yedlin, Matt Miazga, John Brooks and Jorge Villafaña had played together, which was reflected in their performance. Brooks led his team for interceptions in this game with five, while he was also the team’s most accurate passer, completing 95.1 percent of his passes.The side attempted 14 crosses, with only two finding their target, a stat which highlights their wastefulness and lack of composure in attacking areas.Will Trapp, Timothy Weah, and Bobby Wood have made the most appearances for the USMNT in 2018, with eight apiece.The USMNT’s all-time record against England now reads two wins, eight losses, and one draw, but they have lost all three games played in England. Pulisic Stats Christian Pulisic was the best player on the park for the US, even though he also struggled to finish moves off in the final third.The match was just his second appearance in a USMNT jersey this season and his first against European opposition, with his other start coming against Bolivia back in May.The Borussia Dortmund man was up against his Dortmund team-mate Jadon Sancho for the first time at international level.Pulisic managed four of his side’s ten shots, and only he and Julian Green managed a shot on target. His was the best chance, coming in the first half when he put himself through on goal but saw his shot saved by Jordan Pickford.He was involved in 69 actions during the game — the most of any USMNT player bar the two centre backs Matt Miazga and John Brooks, who had 75 and 82 actions respectively by the end of the game.Pulisic completed more succesful dribbles than any other player on the pitch, with seven, four more than the next best player in this regard — England’s Ben Chilwell.He was the most fouled player, level with England’s Dele Alli having been pulled up unfairly by the opposition on three occasions.Perhaps more surprisingly, but maybe not for those who’ve watched him at Dortmund, he made more tackles than anyone else in USA colours with four.In order to change the stat which matters — the scoreline — the USMNT need to become less reliant on Pulisic, and look to work as a team unit. There were occasional encouraging signs here, but there is still plenty of work to do. Christian Pulisic returns, Bobby Wood struggles as U.S. beaten handily by England Nov 15, 2018Jason DavisU.S. soccer writer In the penultimate game of 2018 — and the penultimate game for interim head coach Dave Sarachan — the United States fell to England 3-0 at Wembley Stadium in London. The game was marked by a decided gap in quality between the two teams and another disjointed performance by a USMNT still in the middle of a transition. Positives Beyond the simple fact that the United States were able to get a significant number of their young players on the field against England, a second-half improvement in a comprehensive defeat stands out as the biggest positive for the Americans. Among the individual performances, few performances can be called encouraging. Negatives For all the improvement in the second stanza, the Americans were flatly abysmal in the first 45 minutes. England exploited large gaps between the American lines and rarely looked pressured when on the ball. When the U.S. were able to grab a bit of possession in the second half, the final pass was lacking or crosses missed their mark. Manager rating out of 10 4 — Sarachan decided against starting Tyler Adams because of the young midfielder’s recent workload, alleviating the blame he should get for that choice. But the American approach in the first half, sitting deep and inviting pressure from England’s speedy attack, put the US down two goals before half-time and ensured there would be no way back for his team. Pushing Weston McKennie higher up the field and allowing the Americans to apply more pressure on the ball helped in the second half, though some of that was down to England pulling back with a two-goal lead. Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating) GK Brad Guzan, 4 — Hung out to dry on all three of England’s goals. Struggled with distribution, giving away one pass that ended up as a chance in the first half. DF Jorge Villafana, 3 — Pinned back for most of the day, but still struggled to keep up with England runners in the space behind him. Made little mark on the attacking end of the field. DF John Brooks, 4 — Part of a central defense that lost track of England runners throughout the match. Passed competently when on the ball. The better of the two center-backs. DF Matt Miazga, 3 — Guilty of several poor turnovers that led to England attacks. Suckered into playing several poor passes from the back that gifted England possession. A step slow for most of the evening. DF DeAndre Yedlin, 4 — Exploited space in behind England’s defense in the second half to good effect. Unable to find his teammates with crosses, missing on all three attempts. MF Wil Trapp, 3 — Unable to slow down England’s passing in the midfield. He managed a smaller number of passes than needed from a player in his position. Showed good bite with a tackle that led to a U.S. attack. MF Weston McKennie, 6 — Left in England’s dust as the home side played easily through the midfield, especially in the first half. Improved in the second half as the Americans pressed higher up the field. MF Tim Weah, 4 — Isolated, especially in the first half. Caught in possession on the touchline more than once and failed to arrive in attacking areas at the right times to aid in forays forward. MF Julian Green, 4 — Provided the best of the American attackers in the poor first half. Limited in ability to influence the game with the U.S. on the back foot for most of his time on the field. MF Christian Pulisic, 5 — His game brightened in the second half with the Americans pushing higher. Lacked a final touch and failed to find teammates making runs into the box. Struggled defending. FW Bobby Wood, 3 — Duffed the few opportunities to shoot that he had in a game in which those opportunities were extremely limited. Slow with his decision-making when trying to bring teammates into the play. Substitutes: MF Tyler Adams, N/R — Added legs and life to the midfield in just less than half an hour. MF Kellyn Acosta, N/R — Didn’t miss a pass during a run out that coincided with England scoring a third goal. MF Kenny Saief, N/R — Had a handful of touches in 15 minutes or so, connected one key pass during his appearance. MF Sebastian Lletget, N/R — Popped up in the box with an opportunity to create a chance for the U.S. that ultimately went wanting. DF Shaquell Moore, N/R — Made a single defensive intervention during a short substitute appearance. After a difficult year, young USMNT goalkeeper Ethan Horvath is ready for his next chance Doug McIntyreYahoo SportsNov 14, 2018, 6:33 PM LONDON — In some ways, Ethan Horvath is still crazy young for a goalkeeper. At a position where it’s not uncommon to be serviceable north of 40 years old, the Colorado native, 23, remains a long way from reaching his prime.By other measures, Horvath can no longer be considered a prospect. He’s already a good bit older than U.S. teammates Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, who at 20 are automatic starters on the rebuilding American squad that will face England in Thursday’s high-profile friendly at Wembley Stadium. Horvath is among just seven players on the current USMNT roster who was also on the squad that finished fourth at the 2016 Copa America Centenario. And he’s desperate to take on a bigger role for a national team lacking an undisputed No. 1 at what historically has been its strongest spot.“In the beginning it was just about getting to know the group, the system,” Horvath told Yahoo Sports in an interview here this week. “Now I have a ton of experience: Europa League, Champions League, being called in to the national team consistently. If I play on Thursday, I will be ready.”Ah yes, games. For all of Horvath’s obvious potential — last week, his six saves helped Club Brugge post a clean sheet at Monaco in the UEFA Champions League group stage — consistent playing time has been elusive the last couple of years. The most recent of his two career caps came exactly 12 months ago. And he’s reclaimed his starting job with Brugge in recent weeks after sitting out 13 of 14 games before that and also losing his place for a six-month stretch last season, although he did return to the lineup in time to help Brugge win the league title.“I thought it was a bit unfair how everything unfolded,” said Horvath, who sought advice from friends, family and former coaches, including ex-USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann, during his time on the sidelines. “You just have to take it. There wasn’t much explaining to me at all, and there was nothing I could do about it. It was probably the longest six to eight months of my career.”t didn’t help matters that in last November’s 1-1 tie with Portugal, which marked the Americans’ first game since their epic failure to reach the 2018 World Cup, Horvath made an error that resulted in a goal.“It happens, but of course in the next days I thought about it,” said Horvath, who received a pep talk from Pulisic, his close friend and roommate with the U.S., after the match. “I think if you look at that game overall, I can be happy with how I performed.”Still, it has been fellow 23-year-old Zack Steffen, not Horvath, who has emerged as the next great U.S. goalkeeping hope, following the likes of World Cup standouts Tim Howard, Brad Friedel and Tony Meola. Then Steffen withdrew from this roster because of a hamstring injury. That cracked the door open for Horvath, who will likely split the final two U.S. games of the year with veteran Brad Guzan. The Americans meet Italy in Belgium next week.“The margins between Brad and Zack and a few others are fairly thin,” interim coach Dave Sarachan said Wednesday. “Ethan’s been playing quite well for Club Brugge … it’s good to have some good competition there.”Like Horvath, Guzan wants to play. The 34-year-old served as Howard’s understudy at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and he’s not going to go quietly, not with the chance to lead the U.S. to Qatar 2022 very much up for grabs.“You’re there to do a job and compete at the highest level,” said Guzan, who spent a decade in the Premier League before joining Atlanta United last year. “Every day you have to bring it. That’s what it’s about. You try and help guys where you can. You’re there if they want to talk, but at the same time I’m not here to babysit them being the senior guy. It’s about pushing guys in the right way.”Still, Guzan has been impressed by Horvath’s resilience. “It’s good to see him continuing to grow because when you’re in Europe, it’s sink or swim,” he said. For Horvath, who moved to Belgium after a successful four years with Norway’s Molde, the secret to navigating that cutthroat world has been a newfound ability to let go.  “In those difficult periods, I learned that you have to take a step back and breathe,” he said. “You can’t look too far in the future, even a couple of days. You have to go back to basics.“These last two weeks, I told myself that I don’t have to do anything spectacular, I don’t need to be Superman,” he added. “I’ve learned to be patient and be ready, because you never know when your next chance is going to come.”Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.     ‘Lucky for you I just got fired’: Steve Cherundolo talks coaching, U.S. player pool and more 1:04 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent Steve Cherundolo’s stint as a guest assistant with the U.S. men’s national team was a case of near-perfect timing.On Oct. 9, Cherundolo received an email from U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan asking him to help out with the U.S. during the November international window. Little did Sarachan know that two days earlier, VfB Stuttgart manager Tayfun Korkut was axed and Cherundolo was cut loose, as well. “I guess you guys didn’t do a good job of reporting that,” Cherundolo joked during a roundtable with reporters the day before the Americans’ 3-0 loss to England. “Thank you, it’s a good thing [Sarachan] wasn’t aware of that. I said, ‘Lucky for you I just got fired, so I have plenty of time.'”As for what went down in Stuttgart, Cherundolo said, “I can tell you that there were more problems than just results. On the inside, there were issues with the GM and the coaching staff, and that plays a role, as well. At the end of the day, you’re all professionals and you try to get the job done, but everything feeds off of each other, and eventually there has to be a decision made. Unfortunately for coaches, you’re always the weaker link.”Cherundolo is perhaps the most underrated player in U.S. history. He made 87 appearances with the U.S. and was named to three World Cup rosters. So of course he jumped at the chance to not only help out Sarachan, but also get an up-close look at the next generation of American players.”It’s like coming home,” he said. “You’re just seeing new faces in your living room now. Not all, some familiar… but it’s always an easy entry into a group, and with the U.S. national team it’s always a pleasure. It would be very difficult for me to say no to the U.S national team because some of my favorite memories of my career as a player have been with this team.”Cherundolo’s playing career with the U.S coincided with a period of tremendous growth for the sport and an increase in respect for the U.S. program. That ascent has leveled off.”I think the U.S. national team has taken a hit as far as respect level goes because of failing to qualify for the World Cup,” he said. “This kind of break in passing of the torch, there’s been a big generation gap and now we’re trying to rebuild the pool, which is the right step. But it’s a process.”Cherundolo’s perspective is always worth listening to, given his playing and coaching experience. Not only did he spend the entirety of his professional career with German side Hannover (setting a team record for Bundesliga appearances), but he has worked as a youth coach and assistant coach, as well. His job prior to the Stuttgart gig was managing Hannover’s under-19 team. So what’s his main takeaway regarding the current U.S. team? “I would say the amount of young quality players that we have,” he said. “I think a lot of players aren’t finished yet, of course. But how can they be? And they’re still getting used to this level of play and to each other.”Over the past year, the current coaching staff has done a good job of introducing a lot of new players to the program and really teeing this up for the next cycle. That’s work that in my eyes needs to be complimented. It’s hard work. But I think you have this large pool of young guys, it’s trying to figure out who works the best together and who can further U.S. Soccer the best among the new players. It’s always a mix between the veterans and young guys and stuff.”One player who oozes talent is U.S. midfielder Christian Pulisic, although Cherundolo eschews use of the word “talent” in favor of “perspective” because he has seen too many players rely on raw ability and not put in the work. He lauded Pulisic for his work ethic, as well as his ability, and is among those expecting big things — although he notes there are no absolutes.”Right now, [Pulisic] is in a club where they play a style of soccer that suits him, and he’s done really well at Dortmund,” Cherundolo said. “Now, for him, it’s just a matter of keep growing, staying hungry and taking on more of a leadership role with this team. And it doesn’t have to be a leadership role by opening your mouth in the locker room, the meal rooms and all that, but on the field with performances and bringing what he can bring to the game, his one-v-one, setting up goals, scoring goals, being dangerous, a go-to guy on the offensive end for U.S. Soccer. For him, now it’s just plugging away, working, playing, getting better and not being complacent.”Pulisic is by no means the only American playing in the Bundesliga. Weston McKennie is at Schalke, and Tyler Adams is widely reported to be heading to RB Leipzig. As for why American players are being recruited by German clubs, Cherundolo said Americans are noted for having a good mentality, a good attitude, being intelligent and adaptable.”Obviously, there is the language barrier, but it’s not a barrier at all because everyone speaks English there, and if you want to, you can learn German, which is not that difficult,” he said. “The biggest difference you see [in American players] is on the tactical side of the game. How they respond to certain changes that happen during the game; formations, plays, how they react to that.”What I feel is that within Germany, players from ages 16 to 18 have week in and week out, top-quality games that they’re playing, these junior Bundesliga matches, where kids are playing against other kids the same age, maybe a year older, but also the same level or maybe better. It’s a matter of getting at that age, from 16 to 18, more top-quality games where I’m pushed to my level, where I have to learn or I’m going to fall off. I feel like the U.S. players don’t get enough of those games at that age.”Cherundolo added that the cutthroat nature of the game in Europe is also something that many American players don’t anticipate when they head over.”[My youth coaches] told me, ‘You’re going to get six games to get the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t perform in those six games, then you’re out.’ That stuck with me,” he said. “And I always approached the game that way, and I still do as a coach. Unfortunately, I don’t see enough of that in young players. Part of it is a lot of the money they [make]. You’re protected by your contracts, and they are larger.”Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter is widely viewed as the front-runner for the vacant U.S. managerial post. Cherundolo was an international teammate of Berhalter’s and also shared ideas with him when the two moved into the coaching ranks. He indicated he hasn’t yet spoken to another old international teammate, current U.S. men’s national team GM Earnie Stewart about the program, but “that time will come.” As for Berhalter, Cherundolo has been impressed by what he has seen.”I think Gregg knows what he wants,” he said. “You can see that from the teams he coaches. He gets that out of his players, and that’s a good sign for a coach. But is that the right fit for him and U.S. Soccer? Time will tell.”As for what is next for Cherundolo, he noted that he’s “open to everything. My phone is on.” He said he had no regrets for taking the Stuttgart assistant coach position after spending almost 20 years with Hannover. He has in fact been speaking to both clubs about a new role — he is after all still getting paid by Die Roten — and he wouldn’t rule out someday returning to the U.S. to share what he has learned. Last year, former international teammate and current Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra sent some of the club’s youth coaches to Stuttgart to pick Cherundolo’s brain, so there is some recognition of his work.But Cherundolo said his next order of business will be to obtain his UEFA Pro coaching license, a 10-month task that will start in the first quarter of next year. After that, his options should be wide open.His immediate priority is to impart some wisdom to the current U.S. team, which showed its inexperience in losing to England. Cherundolo insists such games can still have value, especially in terms of getting used to the higher speed of the international game.”[It’s] not just on the physical side of things but on the soccer side of things,” he said about the speed of play. “Make decisions quickly, thinking quickly, closing down spaces, making those decisions. When do I go? When do I stay? All that happens faster. The other component, as well, at international level is mistakes are punished quicker. I think those are lessons that younger players who haven’t been at this level playing will learn. And I hope that’s what they take from these next two games, because that is the most important thing.” With World Cup berth in hand, what’s next for U.S. women? y Graham Hays | Oct 22, 2018

FRISCO, Texas — The U.S. women’s national team looked comfortable playing with the lead in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. And they had plenty of practice not letting it go to their heads. Megan Rapinoe scored inside of three minutes in the opening game against Mexico. Rose Lavelle scored two minutes into the final against Canada. Indeed, in a tournament that encompassed 450 minutes, the Americans led for 435 of them.Now they have to hold the lead against the rest of the world for about eight more months.The U.S. women need not shy away from their place as the World Cup favorite. Some of that status comes from the state of the world around them. Germany, champion twice this century, righted a shaky qualifying effort but is in flux because it will soon take on a new coach. Japan, the champion in 2011 and finalist four years ago, has five losses by a combined 16-5 margin this year as it transitions to a new era. Australia, Canada, England and host France are close — all but Canada has beaten the United States on its own turf within the past two years — but have yet to win a major title.The U.S. success in qualifying came against overmatched opposition, at least up until the final. But a 26-0 margin of victory in five games merely tells a slightly embellished version of the same story the Americans wrote throughout 2018. Generally good enough against the likes of England, France and Germany early in the year, they grew into rampaging excellence against Australia, Brazil and Japan during the summer and CONCACAF more recently.But we’re still a long way from the World Cup title game July 7 in Lyon, France. The U.S. team that won the World Cup in 2015 arguably didn’t hit its stride until the quarterfinals of that event. Much as U.S. coach Jill Ellis said she used halftime of this past week’s game against Canada to stress staying on the attack, rather than protecting the lead the team held at the time, the U.S. women will try to avoid protecting the pole position they hold.”The beauty when you work with elite people or athletes is they’re always looking for what’s next and they’re always pushing the envelope,” Ellis said last week. “I think as coaches, that’s the environment we want to create. I do believe we can get better in what we do in every facet of our game. …”To get this done next summer, we certainly have to continue make strides. It’s not going to be a smooth journey; it never is.”So while recent days answered the question of qualification, questions remain for next summer. How set is the midfield? The United States used the same starting lineup in four of five games in the CONCACAF event. It didn’t repeat a lineup four times in either the 2016 Olympics or Olympic qualifying. Nor did it repeat a lineup four times in either the 2015 World Cup or qualifying for that event. The depth chart is clear.That’s most striking in the midfield, where none of Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan or Rose Lavelle were starters in their current roles as recently as last summer.”They’re just a good blend of midfielders,” Ellis said. “I don’t think you can have the same profile in every position in the midfield. So they’re a little bit diverse in that way.”And much as Ertz used 2017 to cement her place as the defensive midfielder, no one has used 2018 to greater effect than Horan, MVP in the NWSL and indispensable to the national team as a box-to-box presence.”I think she’s taken another step in terms of her influence to our team and her importance to our team,” Ellis said. “She can get us out of tight spots, she can play-make, she can finish. She’s just multi-dimensional in that regard. And I think the confidence is there. … When you’re dealing with a younger player, that’s a big part of it. You can tell she feels valued and she’s valuable.”But if that’s true for one young player, it begs the same question in reverse for Sam Mewis. A workhorse for the United States in 2017, Mewis came back from offseason surgery and finished the NWSL season playing like a familiarly formidable, confident presence for the record-setting North Carolina Courage. Yet with just 274 minutes on the field for the U.S. team this year, is she a starter without a home on the field at the moment or is she penciled in as insurance?When healthy, McCall Zerboni seems a likely fit for a 23-player World Cup roster because she would fill a specific role and need as a defensive presence capable of closing out leads or even doubling up with Ertz against particularly problematic opposing attacks. For Mewis and Morgan Brian, the question is whether they still have cards to play in a game in which the stakes are World Cup minutes. Where does Mallory Pugh fit? The long-awaited opportunity to see what the U.S. forward line would look like with Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh and Rapinoe all finally available at the same time didn’t produce much drama.The veterans started all but one game and poured in goals. Pugh came off the bench three times and started with the second line against Panama.In a conversation during group play of the CONCACAF tournament, North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance singled out Pugh as the embodiment of the attacking, pressing style the United States is playing under Ellis. Yet after a series of injuries the past two years, most recently the knee injury that kept her out much of the summer, the player who still wouldn’t even be a senior in college can’t seem to catch a break in realizing that potential.One of the most important X factors for the U.S. women between now and next summer will be how much more development Pugh can squeeze in and how her body responds. It’s still not out of the question that Pugh could have the same effect next summer that another young star, France’s Kylian Mbappe, had on the 2018 World Cup.”My expectation is she’s already showed us glimpses of a high level,” Ellis said. “Now as a player it’s getting back into driving to that point. What is she capable of? I think what she’s prepared to put in is part of it. But she’s a very dynamic player that can change a game. I think she’s proven herself as both a goal scorer and a facilitator. Our hope, and I certainly know that Mal’s hope, is, again, push her and see what her full potential is.” What should the schedule look like? The United States will find out its World Cup group on Dec. 8, but it still has the better part of seven months to control its own planning. That time won’t be wasted.Once the 2018 schedule wraps up next month, strength and conditioning coach Dawn Scott will be asked to make good on Ellis’ desire for this to be not just the fittest team in the world — which it might already be — but the fittest possible version of itself. That must be done without exerting too great a toll on a roster that is neither particularly young nor injury-free over the past 18 months. More from espnW.com U.S. women withstand Canada’s challenge to win CONCACAF crown With no shortage of goals, U.S. women qualify for World Cup Rapinoe: FIFA doesn’t ‘truly care’ about women From boos to captain’s armband, Rapinoe is better than ever Horan is the answer the U.S. women need in the midfield We won’t see the national team in December, but combine the draw with the offseason work, and that month will have a great deal to do with success next summer. After playing all but three games on home soil since the Olympics, expect the U.S. women to pile up some international miles before the World Cup — as they did under Ellis in 2015 with games in England and France in addition to the Algarve Cup in Portugal (although the United States will again host the SheBelieves Cup early next year, an event which didn’t exist in 2015).Games in the spring will be designed as nothing more than tuneups that excite the fan base, and perhaps mimic group opponents to whatever degree possible, but too much of that on the schedule and the U.S. women would incur risks equivalent to the rest of us eating junk food.”The routs are feel-good games, I guess; everyone feels good about themselves,” Rapinoe said last week. “But I don’t think it really does much to prepare you for [a game like the 2015 World Cup semifinal against Germany in front of more than 50,000 people], when you really have to be locked on, you have to take the two chances that come and you have to be at your very best.”The more we can play these teams, see these players, see how they like to play and kind of figure them out — obviously that gives them a chance to figure us out, as well, but I think that competition sharpens your edge as much as possible.”Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999.

11/14/18 US Men plays England in Rooney Finale Thur 2:45 ESPN2, IU Wins Big 10 Tourney, Carmel FC Night at Panera Fri 11/16

US Men Play England and Italy this Week

The US men – still with no word on who the head coach will be (Its Greg Burhalter from Columbus by the way) now that Columbus has lost in the MLS Playoffs I look for the announcement to come as early as this weekend.  England will play tribute to Wayne Rooney at Wembley when they face the US men on ESPN 2 Thursday at 2 pm (anyone want to catch lunch to watch Thursday?).  The US then will face Italy on Tuesday at 2:45 pm.  Of course Nations League soccer continues Thur thru next Tuesday with some huge games on ESPN+, along with some good friendlies on beIN sport including Mexico vs Argentina on Fri 7 pm.  (see full TV Schedule below) 

Champions League

Some unbelievable results in Champions League last week right after the leak that certain huge clubs in Europe might be planning a Super League to replace Champions League (read stories below).  First Liverpool lays an egg at Red Star 2-0 meaning qualification may well come down to the final round as they have 2 difficult games left.  Then Juventus loses to Man United in the last second 2-1 showing just how much they miss Buffon between the pipes. 

The Indiana U Men – won their 2nd Straight Big 10 Tourney – as our own Director of Coaching Juergen Sommer was on hand for the finals Sunday a 3-0 win over Mich.  Of course Juergen won a National Championship and was player of the Year during his years at IU before going on to success in the EPL.  IU hosts a first round NCAA Tourney game Sun in Bloomington! 

IU Wins the Big 10 Tourney with win over Mich at Grand Park –Kevin  Johnston special to Indy Star

Hoosiers Complete Goal 2 of 3 in Big Ten Tourney – Michael Ramirez – The Hoosier Network

4 Teams make NCAA Men’s Soccer Tourney

Carmel FC Night is this Friday night 11/16 4-8 pm at Panera Bread in Greyhound Pass –

20% of proceeds will go to the club – so make plans to drop by and grab dinner at Panera and help the club at the same time – be sure to mention Carmel FC when ordering !  

CARMEL FC PLAYERS Training at Murray 

Our Nov outdoor training sessions for Carmel FC travel players and our Select Players wraps up this week.  

Here are the dates:

  • Thursday (11/15),  5:45pm – 6:45pm  *Goal Keeping Training Only

USA

The Future of US Soccer Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie

Greg Berhalter Silent on Future amid links with US National Team – ESPNFC

US In need of Pulisic’s Creativity

Rooney to return for England farewell vs US at Wembley

Optimistic View of our New US Manager – Greg Berhalter  Stars and Stripes

Pulisic Wants Revenge for US World Cup Failure

Atlanta United’s Martino Never Contacted about US Job before Taking Mexico’s

USA Complete squad:for England and Italy Games Next Week

Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 59/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0), Klinnsman

 Defenders (10): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 35/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 1/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; 6/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), Matt Miazga (Nantes/FRA; 10/1), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu/ESP; 3/0), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic/ENG; 6/0), Jorge Villafaña (Portland Timbers; 19/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 56/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 3/1)

 Midfielders (13): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 21/2), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 7/1), Luca de la Torre (Fulham/ENG; 1/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 5/0), Romain Gall (Malmö/SWE; 0/0), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth/GER; 14/4), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 3/1), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 6/1), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United FC; 25/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 21/9), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL; 3/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 9/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 7/1)

 Forwards (2): Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 5/2), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER; 43/13) 

Champions League

Red Star’s Upset of Liverpool a reminder of What a Superleague Would Lose

Man U Stuns @ Juve

Atletico Gets Revenge on Dortmund in 2-0 win at home

– Latest Champions League tables

European Super League Details Leaked? ESPN

European Super League a serious problem for European Leagues ESPNFC    

UEFA President to fight European Super League FC

It’s time to fix — and save — the Champions League  ESPNFC

GAMES ON TV

Thur, Nov 15  

12 noon ESPN+     Poland vs Czech Republic (Nations League)

3 pm ESPN2           England vs USA Men  (Rooney last match)

Fri, Nov 16  

2:45 pm UD/ESPN3 Netherlands vs France  (Nations League)

2:45 pm ESPN3     Wales vs Denmark (Nations League)

3 pm beIN Sport   Brazil vs Uruguay

7 pm Univ Desp   Argentina vs Mexico

7:15 pm beIn Sport Chile vs Costa Rica

Sat, Nov 17 

12 noon FS2          USA U17 vs Korea U17 WWC

12 noon ESPN3     Turkey vs Sweden (Nations League)

2:45 pm UD/ESPN3 Italy vs Portugal (Nations League)

3 pm FS2                Germany U17 vs Cameroon U17 WWC

Sun, Nov 18

9 am ESPN3           England vs Croatia (Nations League)

2:45pm UD/ESPN+Switzerland vs Belgium (Nations League)

Mon, Nov 19

12noon ESPN3      Czech rep vs Slovakia  (Nations League)

2:45 pm Uni Des Germany vs Netherlands (Nations League)

Tues, Nov 20  

2:30 pm beIN Sport Brazil vs Cameroon

2:45 pm FS1           Italy vs USA Men

2:45 pm ESPN+     Portugal vs Poland

2:45 pm ESPN3     Sweden vs Russia

7:30 pm beIN Sport Peru vs Costa Rica

Wed, Nov 21

12 noon FS2          Spain U17 vs Canada U17 WWC

3 pm FS2                Germany u17 vs USA U17 WWC

Saturday, Nov. 24

11 am beIN Sport PSG vs Toulouse

12:30 pm NBCSN Tottenham vs Cheslea

2:45pm beIN Sport Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona

Sunday, Nov. 25

5 pm ESPN           Atlanta United vs NY Red Bulls MLS Con Champ Leg 1

7:30 pm FS1         Portland Timbers vs Sporting KC MLS Con Champ Leg 1

Tues, Nov. 27                Champions League

Weds, Nov. 28              Champions League

Thursday, Nov. 29

7 pm FS1                 NY Red Bulls vs Atlanta United vs MLS Con Champ Leg 2

9:30 pm ESPN       Sporting KC vs Portland Timbers vs MLS Con Champ Leg 2

Saturday, Dec. 8 (8 p.m.): (FOX, UniMas)

UD= Univision Desportes 

IU men’s soccer wins Big Ten tourney title, still has unfinished business at College Cup

Kevin Johnston, Special for IndyStar  Published 4:05 p.m. ET Nov. 11, 2018

WESTFIELD – Following the Indiana men’s soccer team’s victory Friday in the Big Ten conference tournament semifinals, left back Andrew Gutman explained that the second-ranked Hoosiers have three concrete goals this season: hoist the Big Ten regular-season title, win the Big Ten tournament and capture the College Cup.Gutman and his teammates can now cross item No. 2 off the list.ndiana routed Michigan 3-0 to win the Big Ten tournament at Grand Park on Sunday afternoon behind a complete team performance. The Hoosiers jumped out to an early lead before tacking on two more second-half tallies to seal it.

More: IU men’s soccer sinks Maryland in PKs, advances to Big Ten tournament final

Hoosiers striker Griffin Dorsey returned from his under-20 U.S. men’s national team call up and immediately stepped into head coach Todd Yeagley’s starting 11. It didn’t take long at all for him to make his presence felt.Trevor Swartz ripped a shot on target that forced Michigan goalkeeper Henry Mashburn into a difficult diving save, which left the Wolverines net wide open. Dorsey fired again on the rebound and the ball ended up right at the feet of Cory Thomas with no one around. Thomas, whose penalty conversion sent Indiana past Maryland in a shootout in Friday’s semifinal, calmly slotted it home to give the top-seeded Hoosiers an early 1-0 lead.Dorsey also assisted on Indiana’s second goal. His quality service to the head of teammate Jeremiah Gutjahr put the Hoosiers comfortably ahead 2-0 about midway through the second half. Minutes later, Indiana added a third when Austin Panchot connected with Spencer Glass for an easy tap in. “We found out yesterday,” Thomas said of learning about Dorsey’s availability. “Kind of kept it on the low. You don’t want to get the (scouting report) out there too early.”Michigan’s best chance of the match came late in the first half on a dangerous ball whipped in by Jack Hallahan. All alone at the edge six-yard box, Wolverines striker Zakyi Mohammed’s header trickled wide as he failed to make clean contact.Gutman, who was awarded the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year via a unanimous vote, was held relatively in check. He got forward on a few occasions, but Michigan mostly contained him by keeping an attacker pressed high on the right side and sending extra defensive help when he ventured upfield.“Hallahan is an absolute handful going forward,” Yeagley said. “We knew that if Andrew left spaces a little earlier, that transition potentially could be dangerous for us. Andrew, you know he loves to get forward, but he loves winning games more than getting forward. So, he knew that Hallahan was a handful and I thought he picked and chose his moments really well today.”But the Hoosiers still have some unfinished business to tend to regarding their third and final goal of the season after falling to Stanford in the 2017 national championship match.“Yeah, I think we know the goals,” Gutjahr said. “And I think we’re excited for the selection show tomorrow to see what our path is to get back there and make it happen.”“Honestly, we see it as a failure if we don’t win the next one,” Thomas added.The College Cup, NCAA soccer’s version of the Final Four, will be held Dec. 7-9 in Santa Barbara, Calif.

‘Let’s enjoy this one:’ Indiana soccer completes goal two of three in Big Ten Tournament

MICHAEL RAMIREZ

WESTFIELD, Ind. — Senior midfielder Frankie Moore held the Big Ten Championship trophy high and proud while his teammates rejoiced.The No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers had just completed the second of their three goals they set out to accomplish at the beginning of the season. The Hoosiers defeated Michigan 3-0 to win the Big Ten Tournament — the 13thin program history.Sunday’s result embodied Indiana’s 2018 season — a 3-0 win behind team play and a clean sheet. Sophomore attacker Griffin Dorsey and senior midfielder Cory Thomas were a headache down the sidelines for the Michigan Wolverines, and IU’s midfield controlled possession for most of the 90 minutes. Sophomore goalkeeper Trey Muse earned his 12th clean sheet of the season in a game where the Hoosier back line didn’t give up many chances.

IU’s three goals came from different goal-scorers each time, too. The elflessness displayed throughout the season was once again put on display Sunday afternoon.Thomas opened up the game in the seventh minute after senior midfielder Trevor Swartz fired a shot from the top of the box. The shot was blocked, then rebounded by Dorsey and fired at Michigan goalkeeper Henry Mashburn again. Mashburn was able to deflect Dorsey’s shot, but the ball then fell to Thomas, who tapped the ball into the back of the net.Not even 10 minutes into the Big Ten Championship, and Indiana was already ahead of Michigan. The Hoosiers kept that lead going into the halftime break, and they extended it in the 73rd and 75th minutes courtesy of senior and sophomore midfielders Jeremiah Gutjahr and Spencer Glass.When the final whistle blew, the Hoosiers were crowned Big Ten Champions — something they couldn’t claim at all last season.All of 2018, Indiana had three goals to accomplish throughout the season. The Hoosiers wanted to win both Big Ten titles and the national championship. Now with two under their belt, only the last goal remains left to be completed. “To make this run, and to win today against a good Michigan team, was fantastic,” IU Head Coach Todd Yeagley said. “I’m really proud of the two-for-two, but they know how hard it is to get back to that championship game. This is a confident group that’s really driven.”Thomas was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Tournament and senior Andrew Gutman was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Tournament. Yet, neither seemed too interested in the awards they won. The only thing they wanted to win was the trophy they could hold with the rest of the team.Thomas said winning titles as a team has been the best part of his season.“It’s got to be the titles,” Thomas said. “We’ve got two and, honestly, we see it as a failure if we don’t win the next one.”All year, the Hoosiers haven’t been content with anything they have accomplished thus far. After clinching the Big Ten regular season title, multiple players weren’t satisfied with it. Yeagley said the team has kept its sights on all three goals throughout the year, and they haven’t gotten sidetracked no matter the result of any match.But now, the Hoosiers can enjoy what they have done so far. Yeagley had one message to the huddle of players surrounding the Big ten trophy after the match.“Let’s enjoy this one,” Yeagley said.

The future of U.S. soccer? You’re looking at it right here: Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie

Back in August, Tyler Adams wanted to give a special shoutout to U.S. international teammate Weston McKennie for his birthday. He happened across a photo of the two of them when they were both in Bradenton, Florida, training with the U.S. under-17 national team.   “That photo came up and I just lost it,” said Adams via telephone. “I thought it would be hilarious to post.”

And with good reason. At the time, Adams was a good inch or two taller than McKennie, so he placed it side-by-side with a more recent shot, one in which the tables height-wise had definitely been turned.Wes hadn’t hit his growth spurt yet, not even close to it,” Adams said about the older photo. “Now he’s six feet tall.”When Adams posted the photos to Twitter, they had their intended effect.”It was definitely a shock because it was such a long time ago and you can see how far we’ve come,” McKennie said.It’s an understatement: the two boys have become grown men, and the growth hasn’t been just physical. When the first photo was taken, Adams and McKennie were just a pair of young players whose potential was only outdone by their dreams. Now the two midfielders are on the cusp of becoming mainstays with the U.S. national team, part of a generation aiming to blunt the stigma from the team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.There is a hope wrapped up in those photos that McKennie and Adams — and the rest of their teammates as well — can grow further and lead the U.S. to greater things.The two are making considerable headway at club level. McKennie has been getting steady minutes with German club Schalke, both in the Champions League and the Bundesliga, while Adams is the heartbeat of a New York Red Bulls side pushing towards a Supporters Shield and MLS Cup double. On top of that, Adams is widely reported to be heading to RB Leipzig this winter. Along the way, McKennie and Adams have forged a friendship that carries onto the field, a bond that began with the U-17s.

The U-17 residency program in Bradenton, Fla. is now one that has now been consigned to history. Starting in 1999, the U.S. Soccer Federation would gather roughly 30 of the top youth players in the country with an eye towards forming the backbone of the U17 national team. But with the advent of MLS academies, as well as the USSF Development Academy, the residency program outlived its usefulness and the program ended in 2017.

Regardless, it’s where the likes of Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Jozy Altidore and Christian Pulisic spent some of their formative years; it gave up-and-coming players a taste of international soccer, as well as a glimpse of what life as a professional might look like, all while taking care of their schooling. It also included a competitive environment in which some players were away from home for the first time. That intensity can put a strain on relationships, but also form strong bonds.”Residency isn’t the easiest, because you’re at a time period in your social life where you’re missing out on high school and being back home, but you sacrifice that for being able to play soccer every day,” Adams said.”In my position, and for Weston as well, it was a big sacrifice. It’s so enjoyable because you’re around people that you like and who share the same passion as you. It was good to create such good friends because I feel like a lot of the kids that I went to residency with are still friends to this day. You form these good relationships.”Yet in the case of Adams and McKennie, it was one that took a while to germinate. Both players recalled the physical demands often didn’t lend itself to much hangout time. Initially, Adams wasn’t even a full-time participant in residency, jetting in for a week or two at a time before heading back to his home outside of New York City.”We were more mutual friends but we were always cheering for each other,” McKennie said. “Tyler was the more the chill, laid-back kid. We definitely had our fun times, our fun memories.”That is the way of friendships, be it over the course of a life or even a few years. They ebb and flow; some even vanish. As one’s job or city of residence changes, new relationships are formed and different roots are laid down. Interests can diverge and sever bonds thought to be unbreakable. Yet this was one connection that endured, even as Adams and McKennie took different paths towards becoming professionals.When Adams’ time with the U17s was up, he went back to the New York Red Bulls and began getting professional minutes with their reserve team. McKennie went back and played for FC Dallas’ academy before signing with Schalke. Nick Taitague, McKennie’s teammate at Schalke, proved to be the hub that kept the bond intact. fuel last year when the pair was among those called in for the friendly against Portugal. The match proved to be the international debut for both players, with McKennie scoring the lone U.S. goal in a 1-1 draw. The fact that McKennie wasn’t included in the U17 and U20 World Cup teams, of which Adams was a part, made their initial minutes at the senior level that much sweeter.

“It was just really cool, because we just had the same joy for each other,” Adams said. “You’ve reached another milestone, and to see each other and how we’ve grown is definitely very special.”

Their chemistry that was limited to time off the field now had more of an on-field component. Of the two, McKennie is the player with more of an attacking edge, though Adams has shown in recent months — last Sunday’s postseason triumph against the Columbus Crew in particular — that he’s making some headway in this regard.There is a stylistic synergy as well.”I think we’re both eager to press,” McKennie said. “We both like pressing and we both have a good set of lungs — we can definitely run for a while. I think that’s one of the things we talk about when we do talk about going into games and game plans. We know we like to press, we know what kind of style we like to play. We’re normally good together on the field. Whenever one guy goes up, the other has the other guy’s back. I think we definitely compliment each other.”Adams added, “I feel like we’re two very dynamic players and I think that’s something that maybe the U.S. hasn’t had in a long time. I think that having two midfielders like ourselves who can play and pivot off of each other is something that would definitely be unique going forward.”The upcoming friendlies against England (Thursday, ESPN2, 3 p.m. ET) and Italy will provide a measure of their progress, though the presence of Pulisic for just the second time this year will no doubt aid their respective causes.But there is also optimism, and Adams’ proposed move to Germany will offer the chance for a deeper connection, something beyond the group video chats now being held by not only McKennie and Adams, but also the likes of Taitague and Pulisic. Then there is the fact that after playing on the same team intermittently over the years, Adams and McKennie will find themselves being combatants instead of teammates.”We’re definitely tight now,” said McKennie of Adams. “He’s one of the few guys on the team that I’ve known since we were 14 years old — Timothy Weah, too, and Pulisic. And with Tyler possibly making a move here, we’ll probably have even more to talk about.”There will be more room for both players to grow as well.

 

LONDON — As Matt Miazga strolls through the U.S. men’s national team hotel near Heathrow Airport outside London, there are no outward signs that he’s going through one of the more difficult spells of his professional career. The American defender has always carried himself with a high level of confidence, and this day is no different. The tone in Miazga’s voice is one of optimism, with one phrase continually coming up in conversation.

“You’ve got to keep pushing,” he told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview.The 23-year-old’s mood is at odds with his current predicament at club level, though in one sense, he has little choice. The native of Clifton, New Jersey, is currently on loan with Ligue 1 side Nantes from Chelsea, but so far, it hasn’t gone as he hoped.Initially, Miazga was a consistent presence in Nantes’ defense, but some poor results saw manager Miguel Cardoso fired just eight games into the season. Miazga then made a poor first impression with new manager Vahid Halilhodzic in a 3-0 loss to Bordeaux, delivering a subpar performance and receiving a yellow card that saw him suspended for the club’s next match.Nantes’ form has improved since, with the club claiming 10 points from its past four league matches, but in the meantime, Miazga’s situation has deteriorated further. He hasn’t been in the matchday squad since the Bordeaux defeat, banished to the reserves instead. There have even been reports that his loan will be cut short in January amid questions about his attitude.But Miazga isn’t thinking about any of those things, and he isn’t about to give up, either.”You’ve got to learn, you’ve got to adapt,” he said. “Obviously you always want to be playing, you always want to be a part of it. I kind of got stuck in a bad-timing situation with the club, getting suspended and with a new coach [coming in]. Right now I’m not playing, so I have to continue to stay fit, control what I can control and be ready for when my chance comes again.”As for the rumors that the loan will be terminated early, Miazga responds with a laugh and a shake of the head.”I don’t know where those rumors came from but they’re obviously not true,” he said. “People saw that I was playing every game and then all of a sudden not playing, so people are going to make assumptions, make up rumors and random things up in their head and I guess publish it.”The reality is that’s not true: I’m on loan with Nantes until the end of the season. I lost my starting spot and I’ve got to earn it back. It’s as simple as that.”Such a comment might come off as spin, but there is some substance behind the statements due to the fact Miazga has been in this position before. Back in 2014 with the New York Red Bulls, he started six times in an eight-game midseason stretch before some costly mistakes saw him benched for the rest of the season. The following year, he rebounded and was an ever-present force in the Red Bulls’ Supporters’ Shield-winning campaign. The next season, his first on loan with Dutch side Vitesse after signing with Chelsea, Miazga also found himself out of the lineup early on only to come back and help the club win its first top-flight trophy in its 125-year history.

Miazga said that his benching in New York left a deep impression, and he watched how veterans like Kosuke Kimura conducted themselves when they were out of the lineup. It’s why he’s confident he’ll be able to work his way back this time as well.”Kimura was very helpful in terms of always working extra, always pushing yourself to your limits,” Miazga said. “Work hard and be ready for your chance. Every time [I’ve been benched] I’ve gotten out of the situation, so I’ve got to keep pushing. It’s as simple as that.”I’ve seen [bad attitudes] before in the past. You see different scenarios, different sports as well — a guy with a bad attitude can be a cancer to the team or can be a distraction to the team. You don’t want to be that. You want to continue to be positive, help the team any way you can, and continue to train hard and be ready for your chance. I made sure I stayed fit for an opportunity like this, to get called up again.”Without question, Ligue 1 is a considerable step up in quality from the Eredivisie, and even before France’s World Cup triumph last summer, Ligue 1 clubs have been lauded for the way they develop players. But there is more to a move than just dealing with matters on the field. There is a new culture to adapt to and, most crucially of all, a new language to pick up. The coaching change, one in which Cardoso’s staff spoke English but Halilhodzic’s is more limited, drove home that necessity, though it’s one that Miazga is well aware of.”I feel like when you’re in a different country, you have to really strive to learn their language and show your intent to immerse yourself,” he said. “They’re not coming to America to speak English, you’re going to France to play football in France. You should learn their language to be able to speak with people, your teammates, the physios.”Miazga said that he’s eschewing social media and texting in favor of more time practicing his French. He hopes to get his French to the level where he can “hold a decent conversation” by the end of the season, but in the meantime, he’s enjoying what his new surroundings have to offer.”Every day, you’re so excited to see something new, you’re always doing something new, meeting new people, seeing new things, new places, ideas,” he said. “Constantly in my head I’m always learning, just processing everything I see.”Miazga’s immediate focus is Thursday’s friendly against England, and it’s unlikely the defender will be overawed by the occasion. After all, he was on the field when the U.S. tied France 1-1 just before the World Cup. But given the immense talent at England manager Gareth Southgate’s disposal, the test should be immense even amid the hubbub caused by Wayne Rooney’s inclusion.”England has obviously evolved as a nation, making the semifinal of the World Cup this past [summer], and obviously they have world-class players playing at big, big clubs,” Miazga said. “It’s going to be a good challenge for us, and something that we’re all looking forward to, to be able to showcase ourselves in a top international game like this.”A good performance from Miazga might also serve another purpose: reminding his club coach of his potential. If that’s the case, then it gives Miazga another reason to keep pushing.

Columbus Crew’s Gregg Berhalter silent on future amid links to USMNT job

Nov 11, 2018ESPN

Columbus Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter declined to speak about his future or the United States national team’s coaching vacancy after his team was eliminated from the MLS playoffs on Sunday night.Berhalter, who for months has been widely considered the favorite to become the next U.S. coach, watched Columbus let a slim first-leg lead slip away in a 3-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals. But asked after the game if he wanted to comment on his future plans, Berhalter said simply, “No.”However, Berhalter later wiped his eyes when asked how he would want his tenure as Crew SC coach to be remembered if Sunday did his mark his final game in charge after five years.”I don’t think we need to talk about that right now,” he said after a beat. “What’s in Columbus is identity, the way they’re playing. We’ve given the players belief and made them better, and that’s what we’ve done for a long time.”The job of permanent U.S. coach has been vacant since October 2017, when Bruce Arena resigned following the team’s World Cup qualifying failure. Since then, Dave Sarachan has managed the team on a caretaker basis.U.S. general manger Earnie Stewart said in September that he hoped to fill the position by the end of the year, and the end of Columbus’ season could lead to some movement.Stewart has said he a specific profile in mind for the next manager.”It’s somebody that has to have a ‘We’ mentality, who wants to work together,” Stewart said in September. “That’s important. In this day and age I don’t think one person can do the whole job, especially a country as big as this.”Stewart and Berhalter played on the U.S. team together, though Stewart has cautioned that their relationship is more professional than overly friendly.

Christian Pulisic returns to U.S. squad for England, Italy friendlies

Nov 6, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

Christian Pulisic headlines the 28-man squad named by United States caretaker manager Dave Sarachan for upcoming friendlies against England and Italy.The U.S. will take on England at the famed Wembley on Nov. 15, and will then play Italy in Genk, Belgium five days later.”These last two matches provide a fantastic set of challenges and experiences, so we’re excited to bring in this group of players for another huge opportunity,” said Sarachan. “We continue to build with a core group that has developed throughout the last year, while including some players who we haven’t seen in some time.”Injuries and club commitments have limited Pulisic to just one U.S. appearance this calendar year, a May 28 match against Bolivia. But now the Borussia Dortmund midfielder appears to be healthy enough to take part in the last two U.S. matches of 2018. The squad is weighted slightly in favor of foreign-based players, with 16 of the 28 invitees playing abroad. Of the 12 MLS-based players, seven belong to teams still competing in the MLS Cup playoffs. This could explain the reason for the slightly greater squad numbers compared to previous camps, as those seven will arrive at camp later than others given that the second leg of the conference finals will take place this weekend.”These are important matches and we only have so many opportunities every year to bring our players together,” said Sarachan, speaking about the decision to include players involved in the MLS playoffs. “This is a FIFA window and we are one of many countries playing matches during this time, so you want to include players that you feel are vital to your program. There are other leagues around the world that have games right before and after these windows, but I feel when the national team calls, there is still an importance to bringing players that we feel will be significant to the team now and in the future.”Sarachan will also use the expanded squad to take a look at more Europe-based players. There are no specific plans to release players in between games, though circumstances could dictate otherwise.One notable absence is Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley. Two reasons were given by Sarachan for his exclusion: that the younger midfielders on the squad are in greater need of minutes at international level, and that Bradley hasn’t had much rest in two years due to his involvement in MLS Cups and the CONCACAF Champions League.”At this stage, it made sense to give [Bradley] some extra time off and also allow these games to be a platform for players that lack that kind of experience,” he said.Otherwise, Sarachan has continued to call in the core group of young players he’s developed over the past year. This includes Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen, Nantes defender Matt Miazga, New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams, Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie, and Paris Saint-Germain forward Tim Weah.All told, 17 of those named in the squad took part in the previous national team camp back in October. The average age of the squad is 23 years, 241 days, with the average number of caps 13.Four players on the squad play in the U.K. They are Wigan Athletic defender Antonee Robinson, Swansea defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, Fulham midfielder Luca De La Torre, and Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin.Midfielder Romain Gall is the lone first-time call-up on the squad. Gall, 23, has recorded 15 goals in 27 league and cup matches for Swedish sides Sundsvall and Malmo in 2018.

Complete squad:

Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 59/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew; 6/0)

Defenders (10): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 35/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 1/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; 6/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), Matt Miazga (Nantes/FRA; 10/1), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu/ESP; 3/0), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic/ENG; 6/0), Jorge Villafaña (Portland Timbers; 19/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 56/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 3/1)

Midfielders (13): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 21/2), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 7/1), Luca de la Torre (Fulham/ENG; 1/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 5/0), Romain Gall (Malmö/SWE; 0/0), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth/GER; 14/4), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 3/1), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 6/1), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United FC; 25/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 21/9), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL; 3/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 9/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 7/1)

Forwards (2): Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 5/2), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER; 43/13)

Christian Pulisic’s return is sorely needed for U.S. side lacking creativity

Nov 6, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

The year of discontent for the U.S. men’s national team is almost over.Caretaker manager Dave Sarachan named his 28-player roster for friendlies against England on Nov. 15 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and against Italy five days later. It figures to be the last time Sarachan engages in this exercise for the U.S.To be fair, Sarachan was handed a thankless job last year, and he’s conducted himself with aplomb. His decisions to go with mostly young players have induced a collective nodding of heads. A total of 50 players have been used during Sarachan’s tenure, with 19 making their international debuts. The team has gotten some decent results along the way, although it’s clear that there is a long way to go for many of these players. For these two games, it will help to have Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams all back in the fold. The trio, which figures to form the core of the U.S. midfield for the next cycle, missed the last round of games in October due to injury. That they will (hopefully) be back ought to give U.S. fans a glimpse of what is to come.Pulisic’s return is undoubtedly the most welcome, although McKennie and Adams will be critical as well. The U.S. has shown a distinct lack of creativity for much of this calendar year, and with Pulisic limited to just one U.S. appearance in 2018, that burden has been left to others with predictable results. With the Borussia Dortmund attacker back, it will be interesting to see what the knock-on effect will be on the offensive contributions of McKennie and Adams, who have both shown an ability to score from late runs into the box.There are other attack-minded players who will be worth a look. It seems like every month there’s a new player brought into the fold with an eye-catching skill set. Last month it was Jonathan Amon. This time around it’s Malmo’s Romain Gall, whose numbers — 14 goals in 30 matches across two teams in 2018 — have piqued some interest. Gall’s career had seemed to stall during a two-season stint with the Columbus Crew, but his game has been reborn in Sweden, and his ability to run at defenses and strike at goal makes him intriguing.Sebastian Lletget, a player whose slick passing has always made him an interesting option, is back in the frame as well. The tendency has always been to look at him as a purely attacking option, but the last few months of the MLS season with the LA Galaxy saw him perform well in a deeper role beside Jonathan dos Santos, giving the U.S. added versatility.

Darlington Nagbe is another player returning to the fold, but he remains something of an enigma, a player who everyone wants to be a No. 10 but is more of a linker instead.Then there’s Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent and Paris Saint-Germain’s Tim Weah. Sargent has been getting steady playing time with the team’s reserves, although his promotion to Bremen’s first team has been teased for some time now. Of late, Weah hasn’t been even getting time with PSG’s reserve team, but both players figure to get extended minutes for the U.S.One player who won’t be joining up with the U.S. is Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley. The reasons given for his exclusion centered around giving minutes to younger players and allowing Bradley to take some time off. The second of those explanations is the one more grounded in logic. If playing time for younger players was a concern, why call him back in during the October window? But it’s clear that after playing virtually nonstop for the past two years, Bradley could use a rest.The concerns for Sarachan — and whoever succeeds him — are a bit different on the defensive side of the ball. Matt Miazga has been a mainstay for Sarachan ever since he took over, but poor form and change of coach at Nantes have consigned the center-back to the team’s reserves, leading to speculation that his loan from Chelsea might be terminated early. A couple of respectable performances for the U.S. might catch the eye of another team if his way at Nantes remains blocked. At minimum, he should get the chance to get some more reps with Wolfsburg center-back John Brooks.

Wayne Rooney to return for England farewell vs. U.S. at Wembley

Mark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC

Wayne Rooney will win his 120th England cap later this month after Gareth Southgate sanctioned a farewell appearance for the DC United forward against the United States at Wembley on Nov. 15, the English Football Association (FA) has announced.The former Manchester United and Everton captain — England’s all-time leading scorer with 53 goals — has not represented his country since lining up against Scotland at Wembley in November 2016.

– Rooney’s record-breaking England career in numbers

Rooney, 33, who had by that stage lost his regular starting spot at United under Jose Mourinho, was then omitted from a series of squads by manager Southgate before announcing his international retirement in August 2017, having initially targeted this year’s World Cup in Russia as his swansong.But with Rooney ending his England career having made more appearances than any other outfield player, as well as eclipsing Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of England goals, Southgate and the FA have agreed to give Rooney the honour of a farewell appearance, at the same time as handing supporters the opportunity to show their appreciation of the former England captain.The game against the U.S. — three days before the decisive Nations League clash with Croatia at Wembley — has been designated as a charity fundraiser by the FA. Some of the monies raised will go towards the Wayne Rooney Foundation.

Despite Rooney’s impressive form in the MLS since moving to DC United in July, where he helped the team into the playoffs after scoring 12 goals in 21 games, his return to the England set-up is purely on a one-off basis, sources have told ESPN FC.Rooney will be presented with an award in recognition of his contribution before the game, but sources have told ESPN FC that he will not play the full 90 minutes and that he will not be considered for the game against Croatia.Rooney’s MLS season is now over after the team’s defeat in the knockout round against Columbus Crew last week, but he told ESPN last month that he will not seek a loan move back to Europe during the closed season, opting instead to focus on the start of the 2019 MLS season next March.

 

Indiana University 2018 Big 10 Champions 

11/8/18 MLS Playoffs tonite/Sun, Big 10 Men’s Tourney Fri/Sun at Grand Park, US plays next week, Champs League Results, Carmel FC Trainings next week

MLS

Ok so I know a lot of you do not watch MLS soccer – its not as good, the players are no where as good as Europe – etc etc etc.  Well i am hear to tell you – if you haven’t watched MLS PLAYOFF SOCCER – You are Really missing out.   Last night’s battle between the oldest Rivals in US Soccer – Seattle hosting Portland winner advances to the conference finals – WAS SPECTACULAR.  Seattle scored in the 2nd half to tie it up on aggregate 2-2 – then Portland scored the go ahead goal with just 5 minutes to play plus 6 minutes of injury time.   That 11 minutes of soccer was the most exciting soccer I have witnessed this year – Seattle attacking, Portland countering, finally the home squad hitting a stinger when Riu Diaz scored his 2nd of the night on a screaming shot from the top of the box. Then 2 more minutes of up and down play – 40,000 plus fans of both teams jumping and screaming, rooting their teams on.  It ends in a 2-2 tie on to Extra time.  In Extra time Portland again takes the lead just 2 minutes in – then a hand ball in the box by Portland (the 3rd on the night finally this time given a penalty) allowed Lidero to tie it up once again for the Sounders from the penalty spot.  Finally Portland won it in PKs at 1:40 am!  Love MLS playoff soccer!

The 2nd legs of the other 3 semi-finals are all Sunday afternoon starting at 3 pm on ESPN with Salt Lake @ Sporting KC  & NYCFC @ Atlanta down 0-1 at 5 pm on ESPN, and Columbus up 1-0 @ NY Red Bulls at 7:30 pm  on FS1.

US Men Play England and Italy next Week

The US men – still with no word on who the head coach will be (Its going to be Gregg Berhalter from Columbus by the way) just waiting for Columbus to lose in the MLS Playoffs first.  England will play tribute to Wayne Rooney at Wembley when they face the US men on ESPN 2 Thursday at 2 pm (anyone want to catch lunch to watch ??).  The US has a young crew with many oversea’s US players being called up.

Big 10 Men’s Soccer Tourney at Westfield’s Grand Park Fri/Sun  

Quarterfinals: Two Big Ten Men’s Soccer Tournament quarterfinal games needed extra time to determine a winner, No. 1 Indiana versus No. 8 Northwestern and No. 4 Michigan State against No.  5 Maryland. Indiana advanced with a 2-1 victory and Maryland won 1-0.  No. 2 Wisconsin went down 2-0 against No. 7 Rutgers in the first 14 minutes, but rebounded to move on to the semifinals with a 6-3 win. No. 3 Michigan advanced with its 3-1 victory against No. 6 Penn State.  Carmel FC Director of Soccer Operations Juergen Sommer (a former National Champion Goalkeeper at IU) will be on hand for the coin toss of the Championship Game on Sunday afternoon!  Tickets are available at the gate  on-site, for $12 for adults, $7 for youth, high school and college students with school ID and $1 for veterans and active military.

Fri 1 pm on BTN  #1 Indiana U vs 5 Seed Maryland/ 3:30 pm BTN #2 Mich vs #2 Wisc

Sun 12 noon BTN Championship Game

Champions League

Some unbelievable results in Champions League this week right after the leak that certain huge clubs in Europe might be planning a Super League to replace Champions League (read stories below).  First Liverpool lays an egg at Red Star 2-0 meaning qualification may well come down to the final round as they have 2 difficult games left.  Then Juventus loses to Man United in the last second 2-1 showing just how much they miss Buffon between the pipes.

 INDY 11 $99 Season Tickets

Ok for folks looking for great Christmas ideas – the Indy 11 have come out with a family Season ticket plan that simply rocks.  $99 Season tickets in the South End Zone, or $150 in the BYB.  Seriously -these are level 1 seats for the full season for less than 1 Colts or Pacers game.  If you put just $50 down on Reserved Seat Tickets that start at just $289 before Nov 26th you get the bonus of Free Parking ($15 per game value).  All Season ticket holders get Exclusive Meet the Team Events, More Games on Saturdays less on Weds, Ticket Exchange Program (mix and match your games if you miss a game get double seats for another game of choice, 20% off team merchandise.  Click here for more info or Call 317-685-1100 for more details and tell them the Ole Ballcoach Sent you !

 CARMEL FC PLAYERS

We have access to Murray Stadium the next two weeks and we will be offering free outdoor training sessions for Carmel FC travel players and our Select Players.

Here are the dates:

  • Monday (11/12),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Wednesday (11/14),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Thursday (11/15),  5:45pm – 6:45pm  *Goal Keeping Training Only

Here is the schedule for the training sessions:

  • Academy Sessions (8U-10U boys and girls) – 5:30pm to 6:30pm
  • 11U/12U Boys & Girls – 6:40pm to 7:40pm
  • 13U/14U/15U Boys & Girls – 7:50pm to 8:50pm
  • Goal Keeping training will be on Thursdays only
  • 5:45pm – 6:45pm (U11-U15, Boys & Girls only)

USA

US In need of Pulisic’s Creativity

Rooney to return for England farewell vs US at Wembley

Optimistic View of our New US Manager – Greg Berhalter  Stars and Stripes

Pulisic Wants Revenge for US World Cup Failure

Atlanta United’s Martino Never Contacted about US Job before Taking Mexico’s

US Women play in Europe this Week

USA Complete squad:for England and Italy Games Next Week

Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 59/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew; 6/0)

 Defenders (10): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 35/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 1/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; 6/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), Matt Miazga (Nantes/FRA; 10/1), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu/ESP; 3/0), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic/ENG; 6/0), Jorge Villafaña (Portland Timbers; 19/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 56/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 3/1)

 Midfielders (13): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 21/2), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 7/1), Luca de la Torre (Fulham/ENG; 1/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 5/0), Romain Gall (Malmö/SWE; 0/0), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth/GER; 14/4), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 3/1), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 6/1), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United FC; 25/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 21/9), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL; 3/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 9/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 7/1)

 Forwards (2): Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 5/2), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER; 43/13)

 Champions League

Red Star’s Upset of Liverpool a reminder of What a Superleague Would Lose

Man U Stuns @ Juve

Atletico Gets Revenge on Dortmund in 2-0 win at home

– Latest Champions League tables

European Super League Details Leaked? ESPN

European Super League a serious problem for European Leagues ESPNFC   

UEFA President to fight European Super League FC

It’s time to fix — and save — the Champions League  ESPNFC

MLS

Biggest Take-Aways for the MLS Semi-Final First Legs – SI

Real Salt Lake Boots LAFC from Playoffs in Thrilling Knockout Match

Berhalters Gamble Works out for Crew SC in 1 leg of East Conf Semis – Kevin Johnson Soc Sakes

538: Who is likeliest to make Conf Championship?

Injury letoff, response boost Sounders for Leg 2

How each Leg 1 turned on a key coaching call

Wiebe: Who’ll win MLS Cup? The haters will say…

Power Rankings – Greg Doyle MLS.com

EPL

Ibra – EPL Overrated

EPL Big 6 demoralizing for small Clubs and Fans

Man U Paul Pogba and Mourino Relationship 1 of Happiness

Indy 11

Indy 11 Season tickets for just $99 if U order by 11/26

Meet the Team Events, Free Parking for the Games ($85 savings), More Games on Saturdays less on Weds, Ticket Exchange Program (mix and match your games if you miss a game get double seats for another game of choice, 20% off team merchandise. Call 317-685-1100for more Details and tell them the Ole Ballcoach Sent you!

11 Reasons to Get Your Indy 11 Season Tickets today with Mike Henn

USL Championship Features Louisville vs Phoenix Rising & Drogba Thurs Eve 8 pm on ESPN2

 GAMES ON TV

Thurs  Nov 8   MLS Playoffs

10:30 pm FSI                Seattle Sounders vs Portland (Leg 2)

8 pm ESPN 2                Louisville FC vs Phoenix Rising USL Champ Game

 Sat, Nov 10   

9:30 am Fox Soccer      Werder Bremen (Seargent) vs Mgladbach (Johnson)

12:30 pm NBC            Crystal Palace vs Tottehham

12:30 pm FS 2              Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Bayern Munich  

12:30 bein Sport        Atletico vs Athletic Club

Sun, Nov 11  

7:30 am NBCSN            Liverpool vs Fulham (Ream)

9;30 am FS1                  RB Leipzig vs Bayer Leverkusen

9:15 am NBCSN             Chelsea vs Everton  

11:30 am NBCSN         Man City vs Man United

2:30 pm ESPN+            Milan vs Juventus

3:30 pm ESPN             NY Red Bulls vs Columbus   (MLS Playoffs)

3:30 pm FS1                 Atlanta United vs NYCFC (leg 2)  

5:30 pm FS1?           Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake(leg 2)

Thur, Nov 15  

2 pm ESPN2           England vs USA Men  (Rooney last match)

Tues, Nov 20  

2:45 pm FS1           Italy vs USA Men

Sunday, Nov. 25

Conference championship first legs

Thursday, Nov. 29

Conference championship second legs

Saturday, Dec. 8 (8 p.m.): (FOX, UniMas)

MLS Cup final

Christian Pulisic returns to U.S. squad for England, Italy friendlies

Nov 6, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

Christian Pulisic headlines the 28-man squad named by United States caretaker manager Dave Sarachan for upcoming friendlies against England and Italy.The U.S. will take on England at the famed Wembley on Nov. 15, and will then play Italy in Genk, Belgium five days later.”These last two matches provide a fantastic set of challenges and experiences, so we’re excited to bring in this group of players for another huge opportunity,” said Sarachan. “We continue to build with a core group that has developed throughout the last year, while including some players who we haven’t seen in some time.”Injuries and club commitments have limited Pulisic to just one U.S. appearance this calendar year, a May 28 match against Bolivia. But now the Borussia Dortmund midfielder appears to be healthy enough to take part in the last two U.S. matches of 2018. The squad is weighted slightly in favor of foreign-based players, with 16 of the 28 invitees playing abroad. Of the 12 MLS-based players, seven belong to teams still competing in the MLS Cup playoffs. This could explain the reason for the slightly greater squad numbers compared to previous camps, as those seven will arrive at camp later than others given that the second leg of the conference finals will take place this weekend.”These are important matches and we only have so many opportunities every year to bring our players together,” said Sarachan, speaking about the decision to include players involved in the MLS playoffs. “This is a FIFA window and we are one of many countries playing matches during this time, so you want to include players that you feel are vital to your program. There are other leagues around the world that have games right before and after these windows, but I feel when the national team calls, there is still an importance to bringing players that we feel will be significant to the team now and in the future.”Sarachan will also use the expanded squad to take a look at more Europe-based players. There are no specific plans to release players in between games, though circumstances could dictate otherwise.One notable absence is Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley. Two reasons were given by Sarachan for his exclusion: that the younger midfielders on the squad are in greater need of minutes at international level, and that Bradley hasn’t had much rest in two years due to his involvement in MLS Cups and the CONCACAF Champions League.”At this stage, it made sense to give [Bradley] some extra time off and also allow these games to be a platform for players that lack that kind of experience,” he said.Otherwise, Sarachan has continued to call in the core group of young players he’s developed over the past year. This includes Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen, Nantes defender Matt Miazga, New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams, Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie, and Paris Saint-Germain forward Tim Weah.All told, 17 of those named in the squad took part in the previous national team camp back in October. The average age of the squad is 23 years, 241 days, with the average number of caps 13.Four players on the squad play in the U.K. They are Wigan Athletic defender Antonee Robinson, Swansea defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, Fulham midfielder Luca De La Torre, and Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin.Midfielder Romain Gall is the lone first-time call-up on the squad. Gall, 23, has recorded 15 goals in 27 league and cup matches for Swedish sides Sundsvall and Malmo in 2018.

Complete squad:

Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 59/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew; 6/0)

Defenders (10): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 35/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 1/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; 6/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), Matt Miazga (Nantes/FRA; 10/1), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu/ESP; 3/0), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic/ENG; 6/0), Jorge Villafaña (Portland Timbers; 19/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 56/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 3/1)

Midfielders (13): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 21/2), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 7/1), Luca de la Torre (Fulham/ENG; 1/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 5/0), Romain Gall (Malmö/SWE; 0/0), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth/GER; 14/4), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 3/1), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 6/1), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United FC; 25/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 21/9), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL; 3/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 9/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 7/1)

Forwards (2): Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 5/2), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER; 43/13)

Christian Pulisic’s return is sorely needed for U.S. side lacking creativity

Nov 6, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

The year of discontent for the U.S. men’s national team is almost over.Caretaker manager Dave Sarachan named his 28-player roster for friendlies against England on Nov. 15 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and against Italy five days later. It figures to be the last time Sarachan engages in this exercise for the U.S.To be fair, Sarachan was handed a thankless job last year, and he’s conducted himself with aplomb. His decisions to go with mostly young players have induced a collective nodding of heads. A total of 50 players have been used during Sarachan’s tenure, with 19 making their international debuts. The team has gotten some decent results along the way, although it’s clear that there is a long way to go for many of these players. For these two games, it will help to have Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams all back in the fold. The trio, which figures to form the core of the U.S. midfield for the next cycle, missed the last round of games in October due to injury. That they will (hopefully) be back ought to give U.S. fans a glimpse of what is to come.Pulisic’s return is undoubtedly the most welcome, although McKennie and Adams will be critical as well. The U.S. has shown a distinct lack of creativity for much of this calendar year, and with Pulisic limited to just one U.S. appearance in 2018, that burden has been left to others with predictable results. With the Borussia Dortmund attacker back, it will be interesting to see what the knock-on effect will be on the offensive contributions of McKennie and Adams, who have both shown an ability to score from late runs into the box.There are other attack-minded players who will be worth a look. It seems like every month there’s a new player brought into the fold with an eye-catching skill set. Last month it was Jonathan Amon. This time around it’s Malmo’s Romain Gall, whose numbers — 14 goals in 30 matches across two teams in 2018 — have piqued some interest. Gall’s career had seemed to stall during a two-season stint with the Columbus Crew, but his game has been reborn in Sweden, and his ability to run at defenses and strike at goal makes him intriguing.Sebastian Lletget, a player whose slick passing has always made him an interesting option, is back in the frame as well. The tendency has always been to look at him as a purely attacking option, but the last few months of the MLS season with the LA Galaxy saw him perform well in a deeper role beside Jonathan dos Santos, giving the U.S. added versatility.

Darlington Nagbe is another player returning to the fold, but he remains something of an enigma, a player who everyone wants to be a No. 10 but is more of a linker instead.Then there’s Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent and Paris Saint-Germain’s Tim Weah. Sargent has been getting steady playing time with the team’s reserves, although his promotion to Bremen’s first team has been teased for some time now. Of late, Weah hasn’t been even getting time with PSG’s reserve team, but both players figure to get extended minutes for the U.S.One player who won’t be joining up with the U.S. is Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley. The reasons given for his exclusion centered around giving minutes to younger players and allowing Bradley to take some time off. The second of those explanations is the one more grounded in logic. If playing time for younger players was a concern, why call him back in during the October window? But it’s clear that after playing virtually nonstop for the past two years, Bradley could use a rest.The concerns for Sarachan — and whoever succeeds him — are a bit different on the defensive side of the ball. Matt Miazga has been a mainstay for Sarachan ever since he took over, but poor form and change of coach at Nantes have consigned the center-back to the team’s reserves, leading to speculation that his loan from Chelsea might be terminated early. A couple of respectable performances for the U.S. might catch the eye of another team if his way at Nantes remains blocked. At minimum, he should get the chance to get some more reps with Wolfsburg center-back John Brooks.

Wayne Rooney to return for England farewell vs. U.S. at Wembley

Mark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC

Wayne Rooney will win his 120th England cap later this month after Gareth Southgate sanctioned a farewell appearance for the DC United forward against the United States at Wembley on Nov. 15, the English Football Association (FA) has announced.The former Manchester United and Everton captain — England’s all-time leading scorer with 53 goals — has not represented his country since lining up against Scotland at Wembley in November 2016.

– Rooney’s record-breaking England career in numbers

Rooney, 33, who had by that stage lost his regular starting spot at United under Jose Mourinho, was then omitted from a series of squads by manager Southgate before announcing his international retirement in August 2017, having initially targeted this year’s World Cup in Russia as his swansong.But with Rooney ending his England career having made more appearances than any other outfield player, as well as eclipsing Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of England goals, Southgate and the FA have agreed to give Rooney the honour of a farewell appearance, at the same time as handing supporters the opportunity to show their appreciation of the former England captain.The game against the U.S. — three days before the decisive Nations League clash with Croatia at Wembley — has been designated as a charity fundraiser by the FA. Some of the monies raised will go towards the Wayne Rooney Foundation.

Despite Rooney’s impressive form in the MLS since moving to DC United in July, where he helped the team into the playoffs after scoring 12 goals in 21 games, his return to the England set-up is purely on a one-off basis, sources have told ESPN FC.Rooney will be presented with an award in recognition of his contribution before the game, but sources have told ESPN FC that he will not play the full 90 minutes and that he will not be considered for the game against Croatia.Rooney’s MLS season is now over after the team’s defeat in the knockout round against Columbus Crew last week, but he told ESPN last month that he will not seek a loan move back to Europe during the closed season, opting instead to focus on the start of the 2019 MLS season next March.

Red Star’s upset of Liverpool a reminder of what football stands to lose with a super league

Nov 6, 2018Nick AmesESPN.com writer

BELGRADE, Serbia — What would football be without nights like this?

Red Star Belgrade had not enjoyed a victory of this significance since their European Cup win in 1991, and the timing could hardly have been better. On a week when details of the big guns’ apparent plans for a continental super leaguehave dominated the news agenda, the Serbian champions served up a vibrant, wild demonstration of everything the sport cannot afford to lose.

Perhaps the executives and money men who would like to create a closed shop among the elite should be made to watch Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over a rattled Liverpool side on a loop, and at full volume. It hammered home a vital, increasingly urgent fact: that the soul of football is worth fighting for.Before kickoff, Red Star’s supporters cheered members of the team that, 35 years ago to the day, won 2-1 at Anfield. In those days they would go toe to toe with the best every season. Those players’ names were read out one by one on the public-address system; at full-time it was Vladan Milojevic’s class of 2018, rank outsiders in a fiendish Group C, who were being hailed in sequence over the loudspeaker.”This generation will become equal to others in the club’s history,” Milojevic said afterward. They are in this famous old institution’s pantheon now and, at least until their visit to Napoli in three weeks, can keep dreaming of a previously unthinkable place in the knockout stage.That kind of dream would be dead if clubs from England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France cleaved off to play among themselves. One version of the proposed new setup would, it appears, include guaranteed immunity from relegation for 20 years.

On Tuesday’s lacklustre showing, it was possible to see how this might appeal to Liverpool, who are among those believed to want a slice of the cake. Although they missed the game’s first big chance through the recalled Daniel Sturridge, they did not really get going in the opening period and paid a heavy price — beaten to every ball by 10 whirling dervishes in red and white stripes, finding themselves picked apart far too easily and failing completely to deal with the towering target man Milan Pavkov, whose two emphatic finishes settled the issue.”The second goal was out of the blue,” Jurgen Klopp said of the 25-yard piledriver that turned the Marakana into a cauldron of bedlam. “That’s not cool in a game like this, an atmosphere like this, a situation like this.”The noise was deafening, as it had been from the moment the teams emerged to a silver-and-red tifo display that covered the entire stadium. Red Star warm up for big games on their practice pitch, adjacent to the ground, only taking the long walk through one of football’s most hair-raising tunnels when it is time for kickoff. It creates a delicious extra frisson of suspense among the Delije, the ultras who stand behind the north goal, and the fans to either side; it also ensures the team are roared out when they finally emerge and that a raucous, intimidating tone is set from the start.Klopp stressed his team had not been fazed by the atmosphere, which had been heavily discussed in the buildup and never let up. “It was a good football atmosphere, noisewise and singingwise, not a problem,” he said, noting how the temperature rose as Red Star scented blood. That eliminates one potential excuse for a performance that clearly troubled him.

·        

“We made life a bit too easy tonight,” he continued. “They were not as lucky as they should be if they win against us.”That was right and, despite dominating the second half, Liverpool posed a consistent threat only in the final 10 minutes. On the back of this and a similarly pallid display in another football hotbed, Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo, it suggests an issue that needs correcting when they face the might of Paris Saint-Germain later this month. If Liverpool are not to fall well short of last season’s Champions League heroics, they need to rediscover a semblance of their swashbuckling, fearless best form.Here it was Red Star who had the swagger, the strut and the hard work to go with it. In the latter stages, each bulldozing challenge, each successful clearance was greeted by mini-celebrations from those who had prevented Liverpool from breaking through yet again. “I think even bigger victories will come, I’m not just satisfied with this one,” Milojevic said. Red Star’s return to the top has left romantics misty-eyed, and much bigger battles are to come if it is to be sustained.But more raw, visceral, old-fashioned football nights of this measure would help underline the point that they must simply not be lost to corporate greed.At Milojevic’s prematch news conference Monday, Red Star’s press officer had blocked questions (on UEFA’s request, he claimed) about any potential super league. The thought occurred at the time that it was a short-sighted move: Surely the clubs who would be cast into the ether by such a breakaway need to be allowed a voice at this point more than ever. What nobody knew then was that they would state their own case — and that of football’s supposed also-rans — in such overwhelming fashion the following day.

Paul Pogba underwhelms but Man United grab lucky late win at Juventus

5:10 PM ETMark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC

TURIN, Italy — Three thoughts from the J Stadium as two late goals gave Man United a 2-1 win Wednesday at Juventus.

  1. Heroic United stun Juve with late fightback

Manchester United turned the clock back to 1999 by turning defeat into victory against Juventus with a dramatic late victory in Turin.Juan Mata’s 86th-minute free kick and an Alex Sandro own goal in the final minute gave Jose Mourinho’s team a crucial win against the Italian champions, which could see United qualify for the Champions League knockout stages with a home victory against Young Boys later this month.

Nineteen years after Sir Alex Ferguson’s Treble winners overturned a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in Turin, Mourinho’s men showed similar fighting spirit to win this game. It had appeared to be lost after Cristiano Ronaldo, kept quiet by United for the majority of the game, made his one decisive contribution when, in the 65th minute, he volleyed Leonardo Bonucci’s long pass beyond goalkeeper David de Gea to register his first Champions League goal of the season.The goal looked to be enough to win the game and secure top spot and qualification for the knockout stages with two games to spare for Massimiliano Allegri’s team. But Mata hauled United level with his free kick before Sandro bundled in Ashley Young’s late, in-swinging set-piece.United had been unfortunate to fall behind to Ronaldo’s goal, and a draw would have been a fairer result on the night. Yet with Juve hosting Valencia later this month, a win for the Italians combined with a United victory against Young Boys at Old Trafford will ensure both clubs make it into the round of 16.

  1. Sanchez states his case to play through the middle

Alexis Sanchez has been a major disappointment in a Manchester United shirt since arriving from Arsenal in January, with not even his staunchest supporter able to suggest any different. But one argument in the Chile international’s defence is that he’s not been handed the chance to play on his best position by Mourinho.Mourinho has consistently stuck with Romelu Lukaku as his centre-forward, choosing instead to use Sanchez out wide, but with Lukaku injured, Sanchez was given his chance through the middle against Juventus and he impressed. It was clear at times that his confidence is still low: after all, he entered Wednesday’s game having scored just four times in 27 appearances, and his appearances this season have been sporadic at best.But Sanchez offers totally different qualities to Lukaku, and they were on show in Turin. Lukaku is one-dimensional, a classic striker in the sense that his first thought is always to head for goal. Sanchez, meanwhile, is more prepared to assess his options, hold up the ball and bring teammates into play. There was more of a thread between United’s attacking players against Juve than there is when Lukaku plays.Lukaku’s injury means he is a doubt for Sunday’s trip to Manchester City, so Sanchez might get another outing at the Etihad. He still needs to sharpen his fitness and intensity, but if he gets the game time, Sanchez can still be the big-game player Mourinho expected him to be when he signed him.

  1. Pogba goes missing back “home”

Paul Pogba really wanted to own the stage back on his old turf with United against Juventus, but he went missing again Wednesday night.Having spoken bullishly in the prematch news conference about his form, happiness and United’s prospects of winning a major trophy, Pogba was applauded back to Turin by the Juventus fans before the game. But two years after leaving in an £89 million move to United, Pogba did little justify his fee or make the Juve fans yearn for his return.This was Pogba on one of his bad days. He failed to track Juventus runners and he was poor in possession. He really should have approached the game determined to show his old fans what they were missing, but he was simply swallowed up Juve’s midfield of Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira and Rodrigo Bentancur.Pogba has talent, that is without question. He has won big honours for club and country and can be a game-changer, but fails to deliver too often. His late involvement in Sandro’s own-goal winner for United wasn’t enough to make Pogba stand out.It is on nights like these that Pogba should demand to be centre of attention, but he was a bit-part player again.

European Super League a ‘serious’ problem for professional football – leagues group

Nov 6, 2018Reuters

A breakaway European Super League would have “serious and lasting implications” for professional football across the continent, the European Leagues group (EL), which represents domestic leagues, said on Tuesday.German magazine Der Spiegel and European Investigative Collaborations, a network of international media, reported on Friday that plans for a Super League involving clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester United were back on the table.Citing leaked documents, Der Spiegel said a fresh plan had recently been drafted for Real Madrid by Spanish company Key Capital Partners. The plan foresees 11 top European clubs creating a Super League in 2021.Key Capital Partners and Madrid have not commented on the report, while the European Club Association, which represents more than 200 European clubs, said it was not aware of discussions by clubs to develop a breakaway league.The EL, which represents 25 domestic leagues including England’s Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga, voiced its “strong opposition” to any such plan on Tuesday.”The European Leagues note the ongoing rumours and speculations around the possible creation of a European Super League by the big European professional clubs,” it said.”[EL] has consistently voiced its strong opposition to the creation of any ‘closed and franchised style’ Super League.”The Leagues supports the European sports model based on a pyramid structure where the mechanisms of promotion and relegation and the sporting merits of clubs are at the core of any competition.”The statement said domestic football was at “the heart of the game throughout Europe” for players, clubs and fans.”Proposals for a closed Super League will have serious and lasting implications for the long term sustainability of professional football in Europe,” it said.It said it “fully supported” European football’s governing body UEFA in the organisation of the Champions League and Europa League and “shares with UEFA the common principle of protecting and enhancing competitive balance in European football.”The EL recently presented its own suggestions for the format of European club competitions in the next three-year cycle, starting in 2021, which it said would ensure a more equal distribution of revenue.According to Der Spiegel, the 16-team Super League would replace the Champions League from 2021 and include 11 “founders” who could not be relegated for the firt 20 years.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin to ‘fight’ European Super League

Nov 5, 2018Stephan UersfeldGermany correspondent

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said he will “fight against” the idea of a European Super League as long as he is at the top of European football’s governing body.

The latest batch of Football Leaks stories released by German magazine Der Spiegel claimed on Friday that plans for a European Super League with 11 founding members: Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich remain intact.The report added that, from as early as November 2018, the 11 teams could sign a “binding team sheet” and commit to the new European Super League from 2021.”It would damage football worldwide,” Ceferin told kicker. “It would be boring.”To see Juve vs. Bayern every week would be more boring than let’s say Juve vs. Torino. It’s no question for me that I will fight and do all I can against such a league for as long as I am here.”If we are talking about a closed system, we can forget about solidarity and the development of football. In the long run, the clubs would be the losers.”Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, meanwhile, rejected reports of the club’s push for such a league.”I am not aware of any Super League news,” he was quoted as saying by kicker. “We neither have any knowledge about this nor have we participated in any talks. That’s out of the question for us.”

Ex-Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic calls Premier League ‘overrated’

 Nov 5, 2018

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said the quality of the Premier League is “overrated” but that very few can handle the pace required to succeed in English football’s top flight.Now at LA Galaxy, Ibrahimovic spent 19 months at Manchester United between 2016 and 2018 — scoring 29 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions with much of his time blighted by a serious knee injury. Previous to that, he had played in his native Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France.Ibrahimovic, 37, said a lot of people tried to persuade him not to join United as he could produce a low mark in a career which had seem him win 13 league titles up to that point; but he was determined to prove them wrong.”I’d had a long career before I came — different kinds of countries, different kinds of clubs,” he told FourFourTwo. “People said: ‘You don’t need to go to ngland, because if you fail in England, people will always say you weren’t good enough.'”Everybody was against it. And guess what? That made me motivated. That gave me adrenaline. I liked the Premier League. I found it very motivating and very exciting.”It gets a lot of attention, although I feel the quality is a little bit overrated — the individual quality, the technical part. But the rhythm is high. Even if you are the best, if you can’t handle the rhythm, the pace, then you will not succeed, because the pace is very high.”Ibrahimovic’s first season ended prematurely with his knee injury after he had scored 17 league goals and helped United win the League Cup and Europa League, and he struggled to recapture his best form when he came back.He made just seven more appearances before joining LA Galaxy in March 2018 — and said his Premier League rivals were fortunate not to have faced him when he was 10 years younger.”I’m super proud and super happy that I went to United — it was the right club,” he added. “We won, and I did what I did before I got injured.”I had an excellent time — great memories. I’m attached to United forever. The supporters are amazing: wherever I went, I saw red shirts, which was fantastic. It’s a very important moment in my career.”As I said when I was in England, you’re lucky I didn’t come 10 years ago, because if I did what I did at 35 years old, imagine it if I was 25. Then it would have been a different story.”I came there and they said I came in a wheelchair. All the people that talked, in the whole Premier League, I put them in a wheelchair. That’s what I did.”

11/6/18 Champions League Tues/Wed, MLS Playoff Spectaculars, Indy 11 $99 Season Tix Specials in Nov, Carmel FC Training

Champions League

Barcelona sits top of the table with Inter Milan in 2nd as Barca hosts the 3 pm game Tues at 3 pm on TNT.  Of course Dortmund and US youngster Christian Pulisic will be on to the round of 16 if they win as group winners vs Atletico at 3 pm Tues online – while Atletico is thru with a win and Monaco and Brugge tie.  Liverpool is thru as the # 1 team with a win as they travel to Crevena on TNT at 1 pm Tues.  While the winner of PSG and Napoli will determine who goes thru in Group C at 3 pm Tues on TNT as GK Gigi Buffon returns from his suspension from last season for PSG.  Wed Juventus and Renaldo return to Juve for the 3 pm game on TNT – Juve will be thru as the top team with a win.  In the other TNT game Wed CSKA Moskva will travel to Roma who stands tied with Real Madrid for top slot.   For those who are frustrated like me trying to find your favorite team’s games – try visiting https://www.univision.com/deportes and see if your cable allows you to log in and watch for free – I have been able to watch all the games online along with the TNT games on TV.  Yes it stinks –but it has worked for me.  Email if you need my login to try to watch!  I hate this new set up!

MLS

The MLS Playoffs have been great so far as LAFC was surprisingly eliminated early and Columbus has a 1-0 lead on MLS wins leader NY Redbulls after the first leg.  Seattle will host Portland down 2-1 in aggregate on Thurs eve at 10:30 pm on FS1.  While the 2nd legs of the other 3 semi-finals are all Sunday afternoon starting at 3 pm on ESPN with Columbus @ NY Red Bull & NYCFC @ Atlanta 5 pm on ESPN, and 7:30 pm Salt Lake @ Sporting KC on FS1.

 INDY 11 $99 Season Tickets

The USL Final featuring defending Champs Louisville City hosting former Chelsea Star Drogba and Phoenix Rising will take place Thurs night at 8 pm on ESPN2.  Ok for folks looking for great Christmas ideas – the Indy 11 have come out with a family Season ticket plan that simply rocks.  $99 Season tickets in the South End Zone, or $150 in the BYB.  Seriously -these are level 1 seats for the full season for less than 1 Colts or Pacers game.  If you put just $50 down on Reserved Seat Tickets that start at just $289 before Nov 26th you get the bonus of Free Parking ($20 per game value).  All Season ticket holders get Exclusive Meet the Team Events, More Games on Saturdays less on Weds, Ticket Exchange Program (mix and match your games if you miss a game get double seats for another game of choice, 20% off team merchandise.  Click here for more info or Call 317-685-1100 for more details and tell them the Ole Ballcoach Sent you!

Indy11_Seasontix

 CARMEL FC PLAYERS

We have access to Murray Stadium the next two weeks and we will be offering free outdoor training sessions for Carmel FC travel players and our Select Players.

Here are the dates:

  • Monday (11/5),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Wednesday (11/7),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Thursday (11/8),  5:45pm – 6:45pm  *Goal Keeping Training Only
  • Monday (11/12),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Wednesday (11/14),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Thursday (11/15),  5:45pm – 6:45pm  *Goal Keeping Training Only

Here is the schedule for the training sessions:

  • Academy Sessions (8U-10U boys and girls) – 5:30pm to 6:30pm
  • 11U/12U Boys & Girls – 6:40pm to 7:40pm
  • 13U/14U/15U Boys & Girls – 7:50pm to 8:50pm
  • Goal Keeping training will be on Thursdays only
  • 5:45pm – 6:45pm (U11-U15, Boys & Girls only)

 Champions League

How teams can Qualify for the Knockout Rounds this Week ESPNFC

European Super League Details Leaked? ESPN

It’s time to fix — and save — the Champions League  ESPNFC

Man United in awe of Juve but can win in Turin Smalling Says

Liverpool Omits Shaquiri for Red Star Belgrade Trip

Spurs Season like a House of Cards – Pochettino Says ESPNFC

Barca Are UCL Favorites but Look out for Juve – Allegri Says

– Latest Champions League tables

– Upcoming group fixtures

– Champions League statistics

MLS

Biggest Take-Aways for the MLS Semi-Final First Legs – SI

Real Salt Lake Boots LAFC from Playoffs in Thrilling Knockout Match

Berhalters Gamble Works out for Crew SC in 1 leg of East Conf Semis – Kevin Johnson Soc Sakes

538: Who is likeliest to make Conf Championship?

Injury letoff, response boost Sounders for Leg 2

How each Leg 1 turned on a key coaching call

Wiebe: Who’ll win MLS Cup? The haters will say…

Power Rankings – Greg Doyle MLS.com

Indy 11

Indy 11 Season tickets for just $99 if U order by 11/26

Meet the Team Events, Free Parking for the Games ($85 savings), More Games on Saturdays less on Weds, Ticket Exchange Program (mix and match your games if you miss a game get double seats for another game of choice, 20% off team merchandise. Call 317-685-1100for more Details and tell them the Ole Ballcoach Sent you!

11 Reasons to Get Your Indy 11 Season Tickets today with Mike Henn

USL Championship Features Louisville vs Phoenix Rising & Drogba Thurs Eve 8 pm on ESPN2

Defending Champion Louisville City FC to Host Drogba, Phoenix Rising FC for 2018 USL Cup

Sights & Sounds – Louisville City FC Claims the Eastern Conference

 GAMES ON TV

Tues  Nov 6   Champs League

1 pm TNT                   Crevena vs Liverpool

3 pm TNT                                                  Inter Milan vs Barcelona

3 pm Uni Desp        Atletico Madrid vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

3pm                             Tottenham vs PSV

3 pm Univision OL Napoli vs PSG

3 pm                            Schalke vs Galastary

Weds  Nov 7   Champs League

1 pm TNT                     CSKA vs Roma

3 pm TNT                    Juve vs Manchester United  

3pm                               Man City vs Shaktar  

3 pm                             Viktoria vs Real Madrid

3 pm                             Bayern vs Athens AEK  

3 pm                             Benefica vs Ajax  

Thurs  Nov 8   MLS Playoffs

10:30 pm FS1                    Seattle Sounders vs Portland (Leg 2)

8 pm ESPN 2                Louisville FC vs Phoenix Rising USL Champ Game

 Sat, Nov 10   

9:30 am Fox Soccer      Werder Bremen (Seargent) vs Mgladbach (Johnson)

12:30 pm NBC            Crystal Palace vs Tottehham

12:30 pm FS 2              Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Bayern Munich  

12:30 bein Sport        Atletico vs Athletic Club

Sun, Nov 11  

7:30 am NBCSN            Liverpool vs Fulham (Ream)

9;30 am FS1                       RB Leipzig vs Bayer Leverkusen

9:15 am NBCSN             Chelsea vs Everton  

11:30 am NBCSN         Man City vs Man United

2:30 pm ESPN+            Milan vs Juventus

3 pm ESPN             NY Red Bulls  (0) vs Columbus (1)  (MLS Playoffs)

pm ESPN               Atlanta United (1) vs NYCFC (0)  (leg 2)  

7:30 pm FS1           Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake (leg 2)

Thur, Nov 15  

2 pm FS1                  England vs USA Men

Champions League: How teams can qualify for the knockout rounds

Dale JohnsonGeneral Editor, ESPN FC

The top two teams qualify for the round of 16, with the third-place team dropping into the Europa League and the bottom club eliminated from Europe.If two teams are level on points, head-to-head record is the first tie-breaker.

GROUP A

Borussia Dortmund are almost home and hosed with a 100 percent record, three points clear of Atletico Madrid. Dortmund’s place in the knockout rounds will be confirmed if they win at Atleti on Tuesday or if Monaco vs. Club Brugge — who both have a slim chance of progressing — is a draw that day. Atleti have a five-point cushion to the group’s bottom two teams, and they can book their place with a home win over Dortmund next time out if Monaco vs. Club Brugge is a draw. The only realistic chance for the bottom two is that Atleti lose to Dortmund.

GROUP B

The group is a carbon copy of Group A. This time, Barcelona have the 100 percent record and will be through if they win away to Inter Milan, who have six points, or Tottenham vs. PSV Eindhoven is a draw. Inter, meanwhile, will be through if they beat Barca and Tottenham vs. PSV Eindhoven, who both have one point, is a draw. Spurs or PSV must win and really need Inter to be beaten at home.

GROUP C

Liverpool, on six points, have the edge, but this group is exceptionally tight, and no team can advance on Matchday 4. It is very evenly poised with Napoli on five points and Paris-Saint Germain on four. With Napoli hosting PSG next time out, Liverpool know they can take a firm grip on the group by winning away to Red Star Belgrade, who have one point, but the Serbian outsiders could give themselves a chance with a shock win against the Reds.

GROUP D

Porto are well placed in the group on seven points and will expect to take a giant leap toward the knockout rounds when they host Lokomotiv Moscow, who have lost all three of their matches, on Tuesday. But they cannot secure qualification until Matchday 5. Schalke, on five points, and Galatasaray, on four points, meet in Germany in two weeks, and the Bundesliga outfit know they will almost be through if they can win that match.

GROUP E

Ajax and Bayern Munich are in control of the group, on seven points with identical records and four points ahead of Benfica. Ajax will book their place in the round of 16 if they can win at Benfica on Wednesday, and that result would also allow Bayern to secure safe passage with a victory at home to rock-bottom AEK Athens. While a draw at home to Ajax would keep Benfica mathematically in the hunt, they need to win that game to bring themselves truly back into contention. AEK will have to win all three of their remaining games to have a chance of going through.

GROUP F

It is tighter in this group, with Manchester City a point ahead of Lyon and both Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk a further three points back. But City can book their place with a win at home to Shakhtar, should Lyon pick up a victory at home to Hoffenheim. Lyon cannot qualify on Matchday 4, but Hoffenheim would be eliminated if they lose to Lyon and City beat Shakhtar. However, if Hoffenheim or Shakhtar can pick up an away win next time out, it will make the group very interesting.

GROUP G

Real Madrid and Roma are well placed on six points, two better off than CSKA Moscow. No team can qualify on Matchday 4, though bottom club Viktoria Plzen will be eliminated should they lose at home to Madrid and Roma win in Moscow. CSKA probably need to avoid defeat to Roma to stay in with a realistic chance of making it through, while victory would move them into the top two.

GROUP H

Juventus have a 100 percent record and will be through should they win at home to Manchester United on Wednesday. United, meanwhile, have just a two-point cushion over third-placed Valencia and could be overtaken should they lose in Turin. The final-day meeting of Valencia and United on Dec. 12 looks like it will be decisive, but Young Boys will have a say if they pull off a shock in Spain on Matchday 4.

European Super League plans detailed by leaked email sent to Real Madrid – reports

Nov 2, 2018ESPN

A leaked document sent to Real Madrid last month appears to show that plans are still ongoing for a long-speculated European Super League featuring the continent’s top football clubs.An Oct. 22 email to Real Madrid from Madrid-based investment firm Key Capital Partners included a “binding term sheet” of 11 clubs and five “initial guests” to form a breakaway, private league, according to multiple news outlets that received the document among thousands of others from the “Football Leaks” whistleblower platform.Reports of a potential new league for Europe’s top clubs have persisted for years, most notably in 2016 when officials from English clubs met in Londonwith American businessman Charlie Stillitano, the founder of the International Champions Cup summer tournament in the United States.Information regarding that meeting was also included in the “Football Leaks” documents, German magazine Der Spiegel reported. And though nothing ever came of those talks, the email to Real Madrid purports to show that the idea of a Super League is far from dead.

According to Der Spiegel, the term sheet in the email awaited signatures dated November 2018 from 11 “founders” — Spain’s Barcelona and Real Madrid; England’s Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United; Italy’s Juventus and AC Milan; France’s Paris Saint-Germain; and Germany’s Bayern Munich.Under the plans outlined in the documents, those clubs would register a company to organize the “European Super League,” of which they would be members for 20 years, ineligible for relegation. To begin, the founders then would be joined by five other guest clubs — Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Marseille and Roma.It also mentions a second league of teams that could face those initial guests for a chance of promotion to the Super League.The plan outlined in the documents reportedly makes no mention of UEFA, European football’s governing body, which organises the Champions League. While such a Super League likely would replace the Champions League, it is not known how it would affect clubs’ domestic leagues.Der Spiegel reported that Real Madrid and Key Capital Partners declined to comment. But the magazine also quoted Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke as saying the documents prove it is “clear” that discussions are ongoing.”I also believe that a few of Europe’s large clubs are clearly working on it,” Watzke said, though he noted that the plans are “not very concrete.”Watzke also said Dortmund under no circumstances would leave the German Bundesliga, but beyond that, the club would “keep all its options open.”

 

It’s time to fix the Champions League or start a European mega-league

Oct 2, 2018  Brian Phillips, Special to ESPN FC

There’s a strange kind of conceptual bloat that tends to infect international soccer competitions, which is fascinating because it so often works against the nature of the competitions themselves.You start with a simple idea — say, let’s figure out the best club team in Europe. Only then you try to draw up the tournament, and there’s a lot of arguing; before you know it, you’re trying to remember whether the sixth-rated confederation per UEFA coefficient receives one or two automatic byes to the subgroup qualifying pre-phase, or whether the losing team with the highest goal differential parachutes directly into the Europa League’s third knockout round-robin or has to play Borussia Monchengladbach first and it all seems a little too abstract. And somehow, just while you were trying to Google this, you’ve accidentally watched three Heineken commercials and you wonder whether it wouldn’t be a good idea to turn off the soccer and do something comparatively easy, like learn advanced number theory.I’m thinking about number theory, and also Heineken, because the Champions League roars expensively back to life this week, with Matchday 2 of the group stage. The Champions League is not, obviously, the worst exemplar of the kind of bloat I’m talking about. Format-wise, it’s positively straightforward compared to the Europa League, a tournament of such ghastly intricacy that future generations will use it to predict the end of the world. (“When Feyenoord enters the sixth house…”)But the Champions League, in its own, peculiarly vexed relationship to the fun it is nominally offering its audience, makes for a revealing case study in the way money, politics and media — and the competing interests surrounding each — can warp the essentials of the modern soccer competition.The form of the tournament itself means we’re forever watching matches whose stakes aren’t as high as they could be. The group stage, as it plods on, guarantees that the smaller clubs get a lot of TV time but the bigger clubs always have the best chance to advance. The two-legged knockout rounds work to preserve stability, and its accompanying ad revenue, over surprise. There’s nothing wrong with this, exactly. But it does sometimes make the Champions League look like a kind of drab hybrid, poised between the true free-for-all of a single-elimination knockout tournament and the shameless maximalism of a corporate super league.Is the Champions League fun? Obviously, in one sense, it must be. It’s the one venue where big European clubs from different countries play one another for stakes anyone cares about, and that inevitably comes with a lot of excitement, a lot of atmospheric drama (something the tournament duly exploits via its faux-operatic anthem, which sounds like a song a feather boa wrote about itself), and a lot of intriguing games.And sometimes these games are amazing. Liverpool vs. PSG, during matchday one, was a happy riot from start to finish, even if it symbolically seemed to pit two of the most corrupting influences in contemporary soccer (“the inertial power of established clubs” on the one hand versus “new money” on the other) against each other. There’s something weird, though, about the way the Champions League seems to regard its own capacity for delightfulness — the way it seems to see fun as a resource to be carefully amortized for the audience over a long period of time, as if it were managing a trust fund for an impetuous teenager. “No, Eric,” the Champions League always seems to be saying, “you can’t have a jet-ski until you get into Dartmouth.” The thrill of Liverpool vs. PSG was always moderated by your awareness of the context of the group stage, where matches are important but not tooimportant, and by your corresponding sense of the long, slow road ahead, where any number of shortcomings and reversals could be met and overcome on the way to the final.Think about this for a second. What’s the most exciting kind of game in sports? A final, right? And after that, a single-elimination knockout match, like the ones in the later rounds of the World Cup. That’s where the stakes are highest: The winner advances, the loser goes home.I don’t know about you, but as a sports fan, I am way more into excitement than patience or careful math. But in the Champions League, as in most big soccer tournaments, the function of the format’s complexities is almost always to diminish, rather than intensify, the tension of the individual match because the format is almost always working to lower the stakes. Instead of being sent home, the loser of a group-stage match is only somewhat disadvantaged in a multiphase round-robin mini-tournament that nearly always includes some relative minnows against whom the big clubs can sort out their problems. And even later, in the knockout rounds, the format gives teams two games rather than one to determine which side advances.If the single-elimination format makes for the most exciting sports tournament, why doesn’t the Champions League simply switch to life-or-death knockout games? That may seem like a naive question, but really, you’d think an athletic competition that needs a hundred sopranos to announce its advent would try to be as thrilling as possible.But here’s where things get interesting, because, of course, the Champions League has many reasons not to want to be thrilling, and nearly all them speak to the importance to the tournament of considerations other than fun. Week to week, in other words, the Champions League has strong incentives not to care very much whether you enjoy it.The first of those incentives is also the most defensible: fairness. Actually, maybe a better word would be “accuracy.” One of the reasons a single-elimination tournament is so deliriously entertaining is that it maximizes the chances for upsets — think of the early rounds of the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.Generally speaking, the longer two teams spend playing each other and the more times they play, the greater the odds that the more skilled team will win. Upsets are fun for fans, but if you’re constructing a tournament with the goal of actually identifying the best team, they’re a design flaw. Let the teams play more games, and even if each game feels less urgent, as it inevitably will, you will increase the chances that Real Madrid end up as champions a hundred consecutive times and drive everyone crazy — and that you will therefore, somehow, because the world is mysterious, have achieved the scientifically correct result.Of course, there are other reasons why the Champions League might want to minimize the possibility of upsets. Keeping the fan bases of big clubs interested for as long as possible doesn’t hurt TV ratings. High TV ratings don’t hurt MasterCard commercials.Perhaps most significantly, the Champions League is a desperate ongoing compromise between the most popular and powerful European associations (your Spains and Englands) and the smaller ones. The biggest clubs are forever threatening to trigger UEFA’s doomsday scenario by forming a breakaway European Super League, a threat that helped trigger the most recent round of format changes. Beginning this year, all four of the top clubs from all four of the top associations have guaranteed spots in the group stage, whereas previously, only some of them had guaranteed spots, and the others had to qualify via a system of what I visualize as scholastic debates in Latin.The smaller clubs are forever threatening UEFA, too — I don’t know to do what, exactly, but they complain a lot in the press.This four-dimensional diplomatic compromise that UEFA has cobbled together to keep all of its constituencies happy has meant tilting the competition massively in favor of the clubs that already have the most advantages while still giving the smaller clubs lots of games to play. Everybody gets something. The corporate behemoths get to take turns lifting the trophy, while the also-rans get to lose extensively, and profitably, on TV.There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this arrangement; it’s hard to see how else you could satisfy all the clubs once you accept that satisfying all the clubs is something you need to do. But it does sit a little oddly under the glossy skin of epic warfare that has been the Champions League’s brand. UEFA is deploying a lot of trumpets for what’s essentially a gradualist exercise in predictability and continuity. The opening credits may be lasers and glitzy chaos, but the tournament itself values stability over everything else; it turns even most of its legitimately thrilling matches into cautious data points. It’s a gladiatorial contest devised by an accounting consultancy.I sometimes think the problem with 21st-century soccer isn’t that money has transformed everything but that money has transformed things only halfway. You could say, I guess, that there are two kinds of fun in soccer. There’s the old kind, where the game is rooted in the community, the clubs are authentic expressions of supporter culture and something is meant to be at stake other than advertising revenue, and then there’s the new kind, where everything is mediated and packaged for TV and what’s enjoyable is the shiny commercial spectacle.he Champions League wants to be both things at once, which is why it pretends to care about small clubs while ultimately catering exclusively to rich ones. But the result is that little shiver of alienation you feel during the group stage, when you know you’re being asked to invest your feelings in something that’s been very exactly calibrated to be slightly less than honest. If I ran soccer, the European club championship would be open to a thousand teams every year. Each round would be a one-game knockout, and every so often we would get to watch the beautiful and hilarious spectacle of a Belgian Third Division B team knocking off Manchester United, though admittedly it’s no longer clear that this would qualify as an upset.Short of that, though? I think the Champions League might be more fun if it more flly embraced its evil nature. We’re here to buy shirts, watch Playstation commercials and see Chelsea play Juventus — and unless you happen to be a Club Brugge fan, it’s not clear where or how Club Brugge factors into any of those priorities.For that matter, why not have a breakaway European Super League? Everyone would be furious about it, and then it would be spectacularly popular. Could we devise a whole season in which Manchester City only played Barcelona? Can you fit a trumpet inside another trumpet? Could Manchester City somehow play itself?Tournament designers have to balance a lot of factors. But human nature is the loudest soprano of all.

Tottenham’s season is like House of Cards – Mauricio Pochettino

9:39 AM ETBen PearceTottenham correspondentEmail

Tottenham Mauricio Pochettino has said football is becoming as political as a series of House of Cards.Pochettino is having to cope with a lengthy injury list, a lack of summer signings and delays to the club’s stadium construction project.”It’s a weird season but I look so happy now because the new season of House of Cards has started,” Pochettino told a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League showdown with PSV Eindhoven. “Yesterday I watched three episodes. “I learn a lot from this series. I recommend it. I think it represents very well sometimes how we are. Sometimes football is so political, and it’s going in this direction.”Which character am I? I don’t know, it’s difficult to say. It’s dangerous to say this or this one. It’s fiction but it can translate to many businesses.”Pochettino is missing eight players against PSV, with Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama all injured, while Hugo Lloris is suspended and Juan Foyth and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou are both ineligible in the Champions League.Dembele limped off with an ankle problem in the opening minutes of Saturday’s 3-2 victory at Wolves, but Pochettino played down the injury.”The most important thing is he didn’t suffer an injury to his bone, and that is good,” Pochettino said. “Maybe his ligament is damaged but after the scan today we will know better.”Dembele has become the third central midfielder to suffer an injury in the last week, leaving Pochettino short of options at a busy time, but Dele Alli is available after being rested against Wolves and Victor Wanyama’s knee injury is not serious.”He [Wanyama] got a knock against West Ham,” Pochettino said. “Today he was training and close to being available. Maybe for Saturday he will be available [against Crystal Palace].”Could Dele play 90 minutes? It’s possible. He needs to work a lot to get in his best condition to build his fitness. We’re helping him.”Tottenham face an uphill battle to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, having only picked up one point from their opening three Group B fixtures. But Pochettino says Spurs’ situation will have little effect on his team selection.”I don’t have too many players to select or not select!” he said. “Now we’re only 18 or 19. There’s a small chance to go to the next stage — that’s the reality. We know very well we need to win tomorrow.”With Lloris suspended, Pochettino added: “There are three different options — Michel Vorm, Paulo Gazzaniga and Alfie Whiteman. I still haven’t decided who is going to play. But sure it will be one of the three names. Each has a 33 percent possibility.”For me it’s not that they own the No. 1, the No. 2, the No. 3 [shirts]. Football is dynamic and we change a lot the things. Our decision is always to be fair for everyone.”The Wembley pitch was in a poor condition when Spurs hosted Manchester City last Monday, following three successive weekends of NFL action.A UEFA pitch inspection is likely to take place on Monday afternoon, but Pochettino said: “I think it’ll improve a little bit — they’re working so hard to improve it.”I saw pictures; I think it’s better. The condition will be the same for both sides. There’s nothing to complain about.”

Barcelona are Champions League favourites but Juventus can win it – Allegri

Nov 2, 2018Ben GladwellItaly correspondent

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has said Barcelona, not his team, are favourites to win the Champions League.The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and three successive victories in the tournament this season have seen Juve tipped as winners after two final defeats in the last four years.The first came against Barcelona in Berlin in 2015, and Allegri believes the La Liga champions will again be the team to beat.”Barcelona are No. 1 candidates — just look at the way they play,” he told a news conference on Friday.I feel I am coach of a side who can win it, but you can’t take it for granted that we will. We are among the top four candidates, but we need to keep calm.”Earlier this week, Allegri said winning the Champions League was his priority and “the only thing that can improve us” after seven straight Serie A titles.”In March a different Champions League starts, and that is when you need a bit of luck because the Champions League is a competition that gets decided by minor incidents,” he said.’m sure we’ll see Barca going all the way to the end.”Juve host Manchester United on Wednesday, when a win would book their place in the round of 16 with two games to spare.However, Allegri said he was more concerned about their forthcoming league game against Cagliari on Saturday.”All I am asking my team is to win it,” he said. “We saw against Empoli that no game is easy, while for everybody who faces us, the Juve game is always a big one.”We need to win and not drop any points because Napoli and Inter are there. Cagliari are tough opponents and we need to win it and prepare well for Wednesday.”Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Bernardeschi are out of Saturday’s Allianz Stadium clash, but Sami Khedira and Mario Mandzukic are both in the squad.

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba excited by Juventus return: ‘Turin is my home’

Nov 1, 2018ESPN

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has told RMC he regards Turin as “home” as he prepares to return to Juventus in the Champions League next week.Pogba, who rejoined United from Juve in what was then a world record deal, played for the Serie A club between 2012 and 2016, winning four Serie A titles and two Coppa Italias.The France international said he had predicted that United would be drawn in the same Champions League group as Juve, who beat them 1-0 at Old Traffordlast month. “I expected it, it was mad,” he said. “I’d spoken about it with my brother last summer. I said to him: ‘Imagine we’re in the same group as Juve.'”For me, it’s a pleasure. Turin is my home — that’s where I scored my first professional goal.”Pogba said he remained in touch with some of his former Juventus teammates and had learned from legendary players including Andrea Pirlo.”[Juan] Cuadrado, [Paolo] Dybala, [Leonardo] Bonucci … I hear from them, we speak from time to time. We were a family, so of course we stay in contact,” he said.”When you’re alongside players like Pirlo, Gigi [Buffon] or [Giorgio] Chiellini, you can only learn.”Every day, in training, you try to observe them. Even as an established player, you can always learn from those sorts of men.”Pogba said he was targeting victory in the Champions League, calling it “a trophy I think about, I always have it in mind.”

Biggest Takeaways From the MLS Conference Semifinal First Legs

  • Columbus continued neutralizing its chief threats, Portland came back on an injury-riddled Seattle, Atlanta received contributions from an unlikely scorer and Sporting KC received an instant impact from an opportunistic substitute to open the MLS conference semifinals.

By AVI CREDITOR November 04, 2018

MLS’s hectic midweek knockout drama gave way to more measured and tempered first legs of the conference semifinals on Sunday, when all eight teams remaining were in action, looking to take steps forward on the road to MLS Cup. The drop in gripping action is normal when shifting from single-elimination knockout matches to two-legged series, with the combination of tired legs (from the teams not fortunate to have first-round byes) and the teams’ lack of willingness to gamble and leave themselves susceptible to series-killing mistakes typically resulting in lower scoring, more cagey theater in playoff series openers.Half of the midweek winners capitalized on their recent momentum in hosting those opening legs, with the Columbus Crew toppling the Supporters’ Shield-holding New York Red Bulls, 1-0, and the Portland Timbers coming from behind to beat the Seattle Sounders, 2-1. Both the Red Bulls and Sounders entered the postseason on five-match winning streaks, while the Red Bulls had lost twice since July 14 and the Sounders had lost twice since July 4. So needless to say, these were not the results the higher seeds desired or expected.

On the flip side, Atlanta United and Sporting Kansas City handled business on the road and will go home for the second legs with the odds in their favor, with the former conquering NYCFC at Yankee Stadium, 1-0, and the latter drawing Real Salt Lake 1-1, taking the away-goal edge into its home game.Here are the major takeaways from the opening legs to the four series:

IDEAL RESULT FOR BERHALTER’S CREW

If Gregg Berhalter is indeed going to be the next U.S. men’s national team manager, as has been speculated by plenty for some time, he’s doing a nice job going in with a head of steam. After devising a tactical game plan to largely remove D.C. United’s star tandem Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta in the knockout round, Berhalter pushed the right buttons again on Sunday.

He took the calculated risk of keeping 34-year-old Federico Higuain on the bench to start the match, which came three days after a grueling 120 minutes in the nation’s capital. After his side saw out a scoreless first half, he turned to his veteran playmaker to make a difference. That he did, turning a slick back-heel pass into Gyasi Zardes’s path inside the Red Bulls box. Zardes scored, and that was that.he match–not to mention the series–was nearly changed on a pair of late saves. Losing 1-0 on the road isn’t the end of the world for the Red Bulls, but it was very nearly 2-0, when Pedro Santos found space to rip from the edge of the box, forcing Luis Robles into a diving save that preserved the scoreline.

On the other end, the one time Kaku and Bradley Wright-Phillips were able to link up in a dangerous area resulted in a glanced header by the latter, who looked likely to even the score at the death. That is, until goalkeeping hero Zack Steffen made an instinctive, diving save to his left, pawing the ball to safety.To concede an away goal and settle for a draw at that juncture could have been a dagger for the Crew. To keep the Red Bulls scoreless and turn up the pressure on the MLS Cup-hungry side heading into the second leg, on the other hand, is the ideal outcome for Berhalter’s well-drilled side.

SEATTLE’S DREAM START TURNS INTO AN INJURY-LADEN NIGHTMARE

After 10 minutes in Portland, Raul Ruidiaz had scored, and the Sounders were enjoying a perfect start: the lead plus an away goal and carrying full momentum on a team that just endured through a hard-fought win in Dallas a few days prior. But then Cristian Roldan, the influential midfielder, went out with a groin injury. And with about 10 minutes to go in the first half, center back rock Chad Marshall, the heartbeat of MLS’s second-best defensive unit, injured his right knee making a seemingly innocuous pass out of the back. Factor in that Portland scored twice directly off giveaways, through Jeremy Ebobisse and Sebastian Blanco, all while this was happening, and Seattle’s brilliant start turned south real quickly.To Seattle’s credit, it weathered the storm. The 2-1 loss, given everything that transpired after the opener, was not a worst-case scenario, and Portland will surely rue not going for the jugular against an opponent that was ripe for the picking. The problem for the Sounders, though, is that unlike the three other conference semifinal series, there’s less rest in this one. Seattle will host the second leg Thursday night, not next Sunday, and if Roldan and Marshall can’t go, it’ll require a major turnaround against a team–and more specifically a dominant midfield–that holds the early advantage.

ATLANTA’S NEUTRALIZER FOR NYCFC’S SMALL FIELD: SET PIECES

Atlanta United is a team that thrives off space and dynamic combinations, and with that not entirely feasible during a physical and choppy match on NYCFC’s narrow, slippery set-up in the Yankee Stadium outfield, Tata Martino’s side needed a Plan B. That turned out to be excelling on set pieces.

Atlanta had one apparent goal off a set piece taken off the board via VAR and another would-be goal off a set play shanked by Leandro Gonzalez Pirez before finally breaking through off another corner. Josef Martinez’s initial volley off the corner was saved, but the rebound fell nicely on the doorstep for Eric Remedi, who touched home the first goal of his professional career for the opener and crucial away strike. If NYCFC wanted to win this series, it really needed to hold serve at home and use its confines to its advantage. The task will be immense to top Atlanta at what will surely be a rocking Mercedes Benz Stadium next Sunday.

INSTANT IMPACT CHANGES SKC’S OUTLOOK

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes was hoping for an impact out of second-half substitute Diego Rubio, but he couldn’t have possibly anticipated it coming so soon.Less than a minute after the Chilean stepped onto the field, with his side trailing 1-0 at No. 6 Real Salt Lake, he was on the scoresheet, pouncing on a blocked Nick Rimando clearance and firing home with his first touch of the game. While he’ll garner all the praise for the crucial away goal, which totally changes Sporting KC’s series outlook, it’s his countryman, Felipe Gutierrez, who deserves ample credit as well. It was his hustle and block that altered Rimando’s clearance, and his sly seal off of Kyle Beckerman that created Rubio’s unimpeded shooting lane. The draw gives SKC the slight edge going home, thanks to the away goal, and it’ll have the benefit of knowing one of RSL’s chief attacking threats won’t be available to play in the return leg. Albert Rusnak was one of five RSL players carrying yellow cards into the conference semifinals, after Thursday’s action-packed win over LAFC. So his needless tackle on Graham Zusi less than half an hour into Sunday’s bout ruled him out for the second leg, due to card accumulation. One look at what he was able to do in opening the scoring in the first leg, and you can see what RSL will be missing.The draw is clearly not the worst-case circumstance for RSL, but knowing that Rusnak won’t be playing in the second leg all while conceding the road goal on an entirely unnecessary sequence has it feeling like more of a loss than a tie for the lowest seed remaining in either conference.

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11/1/18 Carmel High Girls win 12th State Title, MLS Playoffs Begin, Champs League Tues/Wed, Big 10 Tourney at Grand Park, CFC Training at Murray

Huge Congrats to the Carmel High School Girls Soccer team for winning Coach Frank Dixon’s 14th State Title this past Saturday night with a 2-1 overtime win over #7 Homestead at IUPUI Stadium in downtown Indy!  Lots of former Carmel FC girls on that team and in the program including former Carmel FC coach Carla Baker.

CHSGirlsStateChamps

Carmel Girls Win State Title – Indy Star Rich Torres

Carmel Girls State Finals vs Homestead Replay

 MLS

So its playoff time in MLS which means knockout rounds start this week.  Disappointed that Zlattan and the LA Galaxy did not win the last game they needed to get them in the playoffs.  Hopefully Zlattan will be back for 1 more season.  Also sad that Atlanta United didn’t win their last game to take home the supporters Shield to the team with the best overall regular season record – but I think that might be the kick they need to win it all this season.  I am picking an all Expansion Team final with Atlanta United vs Bob Bradley’s LAFC.  The Playoff Winner Take All Knockout Games are Wed with NYCFC hosting Philly at 7 pm on Fox Sports 1, and 9:30 pm Dallas and former CHS star and US National Team defender Matt Hedges will host Portland at 9:30 pm on Univision.  Thurs at 8 pm DC United and player of the year candidate Wayne Rooney face the Columbus Crew while LAFC will host Real Salt Lake at 10:30 pm on ESPN2.

Great to see Pulisic back in the starting line-up for Dortmund after battling injuries for a few weeks – he started twice last week including a securing a goal, an assist and drawing a penalty to have a hand in all 3 goals Wed vs Union Berlin in a German Cup game.  Dortmund and US Star Pulisic return for Champions League action this Tues 3 pm on TNT at Atletico Madrid right after Liverpool travels to Crevena at 12:55 pm on TNT.

Of course Dortmund will be on to the round of 16 if they win as group winners, while Atletico is thru with a win and Monaco and Brugge tie.  Liverpool is thru as the # 1 team with a win as they travel to Crevena on TNT at 1 pm Tues.  While the winner of PSG and Napoli will determine who goes thru in Group C at 3 pm Tues.  Wed Juventus and Ronaldo return to Man United for the 3 pm game on TNT – Juve will be thru as the top team with a win.  In the other TNT game Wed CSKA Moskva will travel to Roma who stands tied with Real Madrid for top slot.

This weekend we get Arsenal vs Liverpool on Saturday at 1:30 pm on NBC, after Pulisic and Dortmund host Wolfsburg on Fox Soccer at 10:30 am.  Sunday we get the first legs of Playoff Soccer in MLS with 3:30 (NY Red Bulls), 5:30 (Sporting KC), 7:30 (Atlanta United) and 10 pm (Seattle) games.

CARMEL FC PLAYERS

We have access to Murray Stadium the next two weeks and we will be offering free outdoor training sessions for Carmel FC travel players and our Select Players.

Here are the dates:

  • Monday (11/5),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Wednesday (11/7),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Thursday (11/8),  5:45pm – 6:45pm  *Goal Keeping Training Only
  • Monday (11/12),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Wednesday (11/14),  5:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Thursday (11/15),  5:45pm – 6:45pm  *Goal Keeping Training Only

Here is the schedule for the training sessions:

  • Academy Sessions (8U-10U boys and girls) – 5:30pm to 6:30pm
  • 11U/12U Boys & Girls – 6:40pm to 7:40pm
  • 13U/14U/15U Boys & Girls – 7:50pm to 8:50pm
  • Goal Keeping training will be on Thursdays only
  • 5:45pm – 6:45pm (U11-U15, Boys & Girls only)

Big 10 Women’s Tourney at Grand Park This Friday/Sunday 11/2-11/4 

 Fri 11/1  (tix avail on site)

11 am #1 Penn State vs #5 Illinois

1:30 pm  #6 Nebraska vs #7 Minn

Sun 11/4           Championship Noon also on BTN

 QUARTERFINAL RECAP: All four Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament quarterfinals were decided in the 88th minute or later, with two games going to penalty kicks and three of the top four seeds (and quarterfinal hosts) ultimately falling. Top-seeded Penn State escaped the upset bug with a 1-0 win over No. 8 seed Michigan, thanks to Marissa Sheva’s goal with 1:52 left in regulation. Second-seeded Rutgers wasn’t as fortunate, with No. 7 seed Minnesota claiming a similar 1-0 win on a goal by Big Ten Forward of the Year April Bockin with 2:43 remaining in regulation.

The other two quarterfinals ended in draws and were decided on penalties. No. 3 Ohio State and No. 6 Nebraska played to a scoreless double-overtime draw before the Huskers upended the Buckeyes, 3-2 on PKs to book Nebraska’s first semifinal berth since 2013. Fourth-seeded Wisconsin and fifth-seeded Illinois finished 2-2 after two overtimes, with the Fighting Illini prevailing 3-0 on penalties to return to the semifinals for the first time in six years.

MLS

Atlanta United Throws Away Supporters Shield with loss to Toronto

Etiene goal gives Red Bulls 1-0 Win and Supporters Shield Triumph

MLS Bracket Challenge

Analyzing the 8 Knockout Round Team in MLS Playoffs

Why Your Team will Win the MLS Cup

France’s and Atleticos Greizman wants to End Career in MLS

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

UCL Who Needs What this Week to Go Thru ?

Real Madrid New Coach Santiago Solari

Last Matchday in 90 Seconds

Awesome Crowd was Key to Huge Dortmund win over Atletico says Pulisic

Schalke  Disappointed with Draw – Goal scored by American

Who Can Rescue Man United or Real Madrid’s Seasons?

WORLD

US Pulisic Scores 1 and has Assist in German Cup Game

US Josh Sergeant Closer to Starting for Breman

Tragedy Strikes Leicester City Owner in Helicopter Crash

Man City Strikes Early in 1-0 win over Spurs

Player Ratings Man City vs Tottenham

New Arsenal Mgr Unai Emery’s Touchline Passion in contrast to Wenger

Arsenal’s 11 game Winning Steak ends with 2-2 Draw with Palace

Anthony Martial Saves Man United in 2-1 win over Everton

Suarez Scores Hat as Barca humiliates Real Madrid 5-1 in Classico

Ronaldo blames Real Prez for move to Juve

PSGs Tuchel stands up to Player Power Play in win

Mbappe doesn’t start for PSG but saves them in end

Top 5 Saves on Matchday 11 France

GAMES ON TV

Wed,  Oct Sat 31 (MLS Playoffs)

7pm FS1                            New York City FV vs Phily Union

9:30 pm univision      Dallas (CHS Matt Hedges) vs Portland Timbers

Thurs, Nov 1 (MLS Playoffs)

3:45 pm ESPN+            Man City vs Fulham –League Cup

8 pm FS1 DC United (Rooney) vs Columbus Crew

10:30 pm ESPN2         LAFC vs Real Salt Lake

Fri, Nov 2

4 pm beIN Sport        PSG vs Lille

7:30 pm ESPN+             Louisville vs NYRB II  USL Playoffs

Sat, Nov 3   

8 am beIN Sport           Leganes vs Atletico Madrid

10:30 am Fox Soccer      Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Wolfsburg

10:30 am FS2                    Bayern Munich vs Freiberg

11 am NBCSN               Liester City vs Cardiff City

11:15 am beiN sport     Real Madrid vs Real Valladodid

12 noon ESPN+             Empoli vs Juventus

1:30 pm NBC            Arsenal vs Liverpool

1:30 pm FS 2                 Hertha vs RB Leipzig

3:30 pm beIN sport Rayo vs Barcelona

3:45 pm CNBC              Tottenham vs Wolverhampton

10 pm ESPN+                 Orange County vs Phoenix City USL Playoffs

Sun, Nov 4  

10 am NBCSN           Man City vs Southampton

11 am NBCSN         Chelsea vs Crystal Palace

12 noon FS 2            Werder Bremen (Sargent) vs Mainz

3:30 pm ESPN             NY Red Bulls vs TBD?   (MLS Playoffs)

5:30 pm ESPN?             Sporting KC vs TBD?

7:30 pm ESPN?             Atlanta United vs TBD?

10 pm ESPN?                 Seattle Sounders vs TBD?

Mon, Nov 5

3 pm NBCSN                   Huddersfield (Williams) vs Fulham (Tim Ream)

Tues  Nov 6   Champs League

1 pm TNT                   Crevena vs Liverpool

3 pm ??                             Atletico Madrid vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

3pm                                     tottenham vs PSV

3 pm                                    Napoli vs PSG

3 pm                                    Schalke vs Galastary

Weds  Nov 7   Champs League

1 pm TNT                     CSKA vs Roma

3 pm TNT                                                  Juve vs Manchester United  

3pm                                     Man City vs Shaktar  

3 pm                                    Viktoria vs Real Madrid

3 pm                                    Bayern vs Athens AEK  

3 pm                                    Benefica vs Ajax  

Thrs  Nov 8   MLS Playoffs

5:30 pm FSI                     Seattle Sounders vs TBD (Leg 2)

 Sat, Nov 10   

9:30 am Fox Soccer      Werder Bremen (Seargent) vs Mgladbach (Johnson)

12:30 pm NBC            Crystal Palace vs Tottehham

12:30 pm FS 2              Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Bayern Munich  

12:30 bein Sport        Atletico vs Athletic Club

Sun, Nov 11  

7:30 am NBCSN            Liverpool vs Fulham (Ream)

9;30 am FS1                    RB Leipzig vs Bayer Leverkusen

9:15 am NBCSN             Chelsea vs Everton  

11:30 am NBCSN         Man City vs Man United

2:30 pm ESPN+            Milan vs Juventus

3:30 pm ESPN             NY Red Bulls vs TBD?   (MLS Playoffs)

3:30 pm FS1                   TBD vs Atlanta United vs TBD? (leg 2)  

5:30 pm ESPN?             TBD vs Sporting KC vs TBD? (leg 2)

 

3A girls soccer state final: Carmel gets the job done

Rich Torres, Special for IndyStarPublished 10:29 p.m. ET Oct. 27, 2018 | Updated 10:36 p.m. ET Oct. 27, 2018

Carmel girls soccer wins state title

(Photo: Leah Klafczynski, Leah Klafczynski for IndyStar)

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INDIANAPOLIS – After 80 minutes of regulation on Saturday night, Carmel girls soccer coach Frank Dixon delivered a message to junior forward Kelsie James and her teammates on the Greyhounds’ sideline.”He came over to us and said, ‘end it in the first overtime,'” James said. “It got me focused and settled in.”The team captain didn’t let her hall of fame coach down. James scored the fourth-ranked Greyhounds’ first goal on a penalty kick in the 51st minute and book ended the Class 3A state championship at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium with the go-ahead goal in the 85th minute.James’ game-winner in the first overtime put Carmel up 2-1 over No. 7 Homestead in the first seven-minute overtime period, and the defense held strong in the required second to secure the Greyhounds’ 10th state championship and first since 2011 in 2A.”I knew it was going to be a battle in overtime, but I told myself I wasn’t going to let us go into PKs,” James said. “It was not going to happen. And so, finished business.”With the mantra, “unfinished business” this season, Carmel completed it mission by making good on late opportunities in the clutch.In the first half, the Greyhounds went on the attack, racking up 11 shots and five on goal, but nothing fell in for them despite consistently peppering Spartans’ goalkeeper Samantha Castaneda.The Carmel defense, which hadn’t allowed a goal since Sept. 20 against Brebeuf Jesuit, minimized UAB recruit Morgan Halliwill, who entered with 24 goals on the year.After 40 minutes, the match stood in a scoreless tie.”I always say I’m going to write a book, and it’s going to be, ‘you only get so many chances,'” Dixon said. “When we wasted those four or five chances in the first five minutes of the first half, I thought, we’re in a for a long night if we can’t put a ball in the net.”James put everyone’s minds at ease in the second half after Homestead’s Sophia White drew a yellow card. Facing backup goalkeeper Sarah Warren with Castaneda out following an ankle injury she endured less than 20 seconds earlier, James fired her goal into the upper left corner of the net.The Greyhounds held a 1-0 lead until the 61st minute when Halliwill returned the favor. Hit while in the box, Halliwill earned a penalty kick and converted to tie the match 1-1.”I switched formations to get a little bit more defensive, and then we gave away the PK in the box and that went out the window and we had to go back to what we were doing,” Dixon said.The routine was pressure — both on offense and defense — and it led to a pair of yellow cards for Halliwill, who was issued a red card in the 79th minute, ending her night.James nearly won the match in regulation with an indirect kick that hit the corner post with 1 minute remaining and another shot on goal with 18.3 seconds that Castaneda smothered for one of her nine saves.”During tournament time, I just go for it,” said James, who registered eight of Carmel’s 25 shots and five of its 11 shots on goal. “I play my hardest the whole game and don’t want to let down for the team.”With Homestead a player down and Castaneda slowed after returning midway through the second half, James found her moment.Ashley Witucki set the table with a cross pass, which James punched past Castaneda, who dove to tip the ball, causing it to drop in front of her.”We tried to take advantage of that. We knew she couldn’t move that quickly, so we tried to make her come off the line and go get balls,”Dixon said. “She did a really good job doing it, and I think we only caught her that one time.”James didn’t miss as the Valparaiso recruit was at the right place at the right time.”I knew it was going to go in. I knew the goalie was going to drop it,” James said. “She was unfortunately injured. She’s a good goalie, but she couldn’t move very well, and I felt like I was going to beat her fairly well.”The defense clamped down in the second overtime with Carmel outscoring opponents 15-1 through seven postseason match ups.  Homestead had won 11 straight going into the title game. Carmel won 11 straight to win state.  Carmel finished 20-1-2 to Homestead’s 18-4. The victory pushed Dixon’s career win total to 519, and ended the program’s drought. Carmel last reached the state finals in 2014, finishing runner-up. This time, the team took care of business.”You get less and less time to get them, so they’re even more special as you go along because you know sooner or later, you’re not going to get a chance,” said Dixon, who leads the state with 10 girls soccer state titles. “It’s hard to get back. It took us four years to get back here. There’s no guarantee I’ll get here again. I told (my athletic director) I want to catch Bud Wright. I guess we’ll start working on 11 now.”Find a photo gallery of Carmel vs. Homestead at IndyStar.com

 

Christian Pulisic has goal and assist in Dortmund win against Union Berlin

4:36 PM ET

Borussia Dortmund needed a Marco Reus penalty late in extra time to beat second division Union Berlin 3-2 on Wednesday and book their spot in the DFB Pokal third round.The Berliners had twice come back from a goal down but Christian Pulisic, who scored the first goal and set up the second, earned a last-gasp penalty for Reus to convert and protect Dortmund’s unbeaten run in all competitions.The Bundesliga leaders were made to work hard against the gutsy Berliners, third in the second division, and had the 20-year-old American Pulisic to thank for the lead.Dortmund, whose defender Abdou Diallo left the pitch injured after 13 minutes, never really found their footing until late in the first half.Pulisic stabbed in on the rebound after Shinji Kagawa’s header was saved by Union keeper Rafal Gikiewicz in the 40th minute.Union hit the crossbar two minutes later with a superb effort by Kenny Prince Redondo and got a deserved equaliser through substitute Sebastian Polter who scored with his first touch.Their joy lasted only 10 minutes, however, when Pulisic sent Maximilian Philipp through with a superb pass and the forward drilled in an equally stunning finish.But Union refused to give up and were rewarded with another goal in the 88th as Polter’s header wrong-footed keeper Marwin Hitz.They hung on and soaked up the pressure in extra time before Pulisic was brought down for the penalty.

U.S.’s Josh Sargent moving closer to Werder Bremen start –

5:47 AM ETStephan UersfeldGermany correspondent

United States international Josh Sargent is moving closer to a senior debut for Werder Bremen, with coach Florian Kohfeldt confirming that the 18-year-old is “competing for a squad place.”Sargent, who joined Bremen earlier this year, has been playing for the under-23s since the summer, scoring six goals in 10 appearances.The 18-year-old forward, who has played for the first XI in friendlies, last week linked up with a senior squad flying high in the Bundesliga after taking 17 points from nine matches.”We’ll see about that,” Kohfeldt told reporters when asked whether Sargent could make the squad for the DFB Pokal match at Weiche Flensburg on Wednesday. “Josh is now someone who is competing for a squad place.”We wanted him to find his rhythm [in the U23s], and you can see that he has his qualities.”Kohfeldt warned that Sargent faced “prominent competition” from players including Max Kruse and Claudio Pizarro for a place in attack.”If Josh does not win minutes with us in the next two, three weeks, he will play for the U23s again,” he added.

Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge: Who brackets pick to win Cup

October 30, 20187:07PM EDTMLSsoccer staff

They may be the second best team in the MLS regular season after being nipped by the New York Red Bulls for the Supporters’ Shield on Decision Day, but MLS fans still think Atlanta United have the best chance of winning MLS Cup 2018.A total of 27 percent of bracket entries in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge have the Five Stripes winning it all, compared to the 19 percent crowning the New York Red Bulls.The Eastern Conference powerhouses are the clear favorites, but the top candidate to win MLS Cup from the Western Conference is also a No. 2 seed, according to the fans: They give the Seattle Sounders (16 percent) a better shot at winning the league title than the West’s top seed Sporting Kansas City (13 percent).

  • Atlanta United: 27%
  • New York Red Bulls: 19%
  • Seattle Sounders: 16%
  • Sporting Kansas City: 13%
  • C. United: 8%
  • Los Angeles Football Club: 6%
  • New York City FC: 3%
  • Portland Timbers: 3%
  • Columbus Crew SC: 2%
  • Real Salt Lake: 2%
  • FC Dallas: 1%
  • Philadelphia Union: 1%

Who do you think will win MLS Cup? Be sure to fill out your bracket before the deadline at 4 pm ET on Wednesday, October 31. Prizes include season tickets to your favorite club or a VIP Audi driving experience on a Formula One track.

 

‘We threw it away’ – With playoffs looming, Atlanta United squanders first crack at MLS history

Goal.com Sun, Oct 28 11:34 PM EDT

A win Sunday would have been enough for the second-year club to lock up a trophy, but an uncharacteristic dud against Toronto FC served as a humbling

It was all there for the taking for Atlanta United. Sunday was a chance at a record, it was a chance at a trophy, and it was a chance to solidify a special end to a special regular season.

The 2018 campaign may still be special, trophies will someday come and records have fallen, and probably will fall, at Atlanta’s hands. But Sunday night proved little more than a wasted chance for a team that has wasted so few since joining MLS.With the Supporters’ Shield and a potential league record for points in a season on the line, Atlanta United fell completely flat on Sunday. The result was a 4-1 loss to a Toronto FC team that, for the first time all season, played like a group that wasn’t yet ready to concede the title of best ever.The loss was enough to end Atlanta’s Supporters’ Shield hopes and bump the second-year club behind the New York Red Bulls heading into what in all likelihood will be a postseason collision of two of the most thoroughly-dominant teams in the league’s recent history.But on Sunday, history was in their grasp and, for the first time in what felt like forever, Atlanta slipped up.“This was the most important game of the year and we didn’t play well enough,” said Tata Martino, who is entering his final days as Atlanta United manager following a recent announcement that he’ll be leaving the club at the end of the season, to MLSsoccer.. “We let all the hard work that we had done until that point go to waste.”We betrayed ourselves, threw away everything we had worked for this season,” he added. “It’s always a possibility that you can lose away at Toronto, the important thing is the way that we lost it today.”That “betrayal” started early. Just nine minutes into the match, Atlanta was already up against it as Lucas Janson scored to give TFC the lead. With the Red Bulls lurking just one point behind and facing lowly Orlando City, Atlanta knew a win would likely be the only path to a Supporters’ Shield.

The response wasn’t there.  Marky Delgado scored in the 21st to double Toronto’s lead and all but bury Atlanta’s hopes while late goals from Janson and Sebastian Giovinco were just an exclamation point on what ended up feeling like an Atlanta United collapse. “We knew what this game meant for us, in terms of winning the shield and everything that came with it,” goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. “We just didn’t show up.”“It’s rough at the minute,” he added. “We didn’t expect this from ourselves. There will be some conversations, tough [ones]. We need to make sure we put things right and put this behind us.”The club can take some solace in the fact that, by and large, the loss shouldn’t impact too much when it comes to the MLS Cup playoffs. Atlanta will still have home-field advantage if the club reaches the MLS Cup final and will still have a coveted first round bye. Aside from a flip-flopped home game in a two-legged clash with the Red Bulls should both sides reach the conference finals, Atlanta’s path to a trophy remains largely the same.

There’s also the record set by the club’s striker, although that loses a bit of its luster given the result. Josef Martinez’s second half penalty kick goal was the striker’s 31st of the season, further adding to the record haul for the Venezuelan while sealing a nine-goal gap between Martinez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the Golden Boot. Martinez broke the single-season mark in August with his 28th, but has scored just three in the eight matches since.

Etienne goal gives Red Bulls 1-0 win, Supporter’s Shield

The Associated Press Sun, Oct 28 6:01 PM CDT

New York Red Bulls midfielder Derrick Etienne (7) drives with the ball before scoring a goal on Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono during the second half of a soccer game, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Harrison, N.J. The Red Bulls won 2-0. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

HARRISON, N.J. (AP) — Derrick Etienne scored a slick goal in the 53rd minute to give the New York Red Bulls a 1-0 victory over Orlando City and the Supporter’s Shield for the best record as the Major League Soccer regular-season ended Sunday.Driving left in the box, Etienne atoned for a missed penalty kick in the first half by drawing the ball back to his right, leaving him room to go far corner for his fifth goal of the season.

The Red Bulls (22-7-5) won their fifth straight to reach 71 points, the first team to ever crack 70 points in the regular season. Atlanta entered Decision Day with 69 points, tied with last year’s Toronto team for the most in the regular season, but lost at Toronto 4-1.The Red Bulls, who earned the Supporter’s Shield for the third time in six seasons, are the sixth team in league history to average at least two points a game.Luis Robles only had to make one save to give him his league-leading 14th shutout.Orlando City (8-22-4), which beat the Red Bulls 4-3 in their first meeting, lost their 14th straight on the road, tying the 2005 DC United for the second-longest streak of futility away from home.

Wiebe: Why your (playoff) team will lift the 2018 MLS Cup

October 31, 20182:34PM EDTAndrew WiebeSenior Host & Producer

Can your team win MLS Cup? Sure, why not? It could happn. It probably won’t, though – better to get that out of the way now.

That’s how I started this column back in March, in which I did my best to make a case for all 23 teams to win MLS Cup. Let’s just say there were some serious logical fallacies in there. Looking at you Colorado RapidsSan Jose EarthquakesOrlando City and eight other clubs for whom the dream is dead. Better luck next year.For the 12 who qualified for the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs – in my book, the bare minimum it takes to call the league season a success – there’s another case to be made for lifting the Phillip F. Anschutz trophy on December 8. There’s also a chorus of haters waiting to bring everyone down.Here we go, from No. 12 to No. 1 in the Supporters’ Shield standings, all in 280 characters or less because we’re all addicted to Twitter and nobody’s got time for 5,000 words on a Wednesday gameday. Don’t forget to get your Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge set and join the ExtraTime Radio league.

Real Salt Lake

They’ll Win Because they’ve done it before. Remember ’09? RSL eked into the final playoff spot and won it all. Rusnak = Javi, Savarino = Espindola, Beckerman/Rimando = Beckerman/Rimando and … there is no Saborio equivalent. If they can get past the KO Round and get a home game, they’ve got a shot.

Haters Will Say Those “1 in a million” odds aren’t going to go their way twice, and LAFC already dropped five on them earlier this season at the RioT, and won 2-0 in Los Angeles. No playoff team has taken more road Ls (11) than RSL. Rested or not, Knockout Round is the logical end of the road.

Philadelphia Union

They’ll Win Because Corey Burke and Fafa Picault get stupid hot, and whoever pairs in central defense (pick from Auston TrustyMark McKenzieJack Elliott) goes full Maldini. The Union can draw on their USOC run. That will give them the drive (and necessary pragmatism) to grind out an MLS Cup shocker.

Haters Will Say it’s a step too far. If Philly couldn’t finish the Open Cup job in Houston after a raft of home games, what makes anyone think they can get past NYCFC at Yankee Stadium then the Shield-winning Red Bulls then likely ATLUTD or D.C. United and finally MLS Cup on the road? Dream on.

Columbus Crew SC

They’ll Win Because It’s fate. After the toughest year in club history off the field, Gregg Berhalter and the boys cook up the perfect reward for Crew SC supporters. Justin MeramPipa Higuain and Pedro Santos turn the clock back to 2017, and 3G cooks up the perfect tactical plan round after round.

Haters Will Say no team scored fewer road goals this season than Columbus (11), and you think they’re going to Audi Field and knocking LuchoRoo and D.C. United off their perch as league darlings? Please. Ain’t gonna happen. Their season ends on Thursday night.

D.C. United

They’ll Win Because The Law Firm of Rooney, Acosta, Canouse & Hamid has quality, momentum and home-field advantage on their side. Check out the matchups. Semifinals against Red Bulls? You can’t hold them back, c’mon. Next up Atlanta? Benny vs. Tata = W. Bring the raccoons to the parade. They’ve earned it.

Haters Will Say They’ve won just once away all year. Red Bull Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium don’t have the same juju as Audi Field. Rooney’s magic has to fade at some point, right? You can get to Lucho Acosta by kicking him, which will happen a lot in the playoffs. Their luck will run out.

Portland Timbers

They’ll Win Because Diego Valeri is healthy this year, Sebastian Blanco can win a game singlehandedly and Diego Chara lives to smother your happiness, assuming you aren’t a Timbers fan. Gio’s got titles. He knows there’s no need to overcomplicate things. Solid defensive block and counter … all the way to MLS Cup.

Haters Will Say You can’t play Real Salt Lake every game. Since winning 3-2 at Seattle back on June 30, the Timbers’ only wins against playoff teams are the Union and Crew SC at home and the recent double vs. RSL. That’s two No. 6 seeds and a No. 5. Same period, other playoff teams: 0-3-2.

New York City FC

hey’ll Win Because They’re finally healthy (ish). Did you read what David Villa said about Yangel Herrera? You should. NYCFC were already nails at Yankee Stadium. Now they’ve got their most influential player back in the nick of time. Jesus Medina is back, too. And everyone is doubting them. Good mix and a good read on it to boot.

HATERS WILL SAY Dome hasn’t found the answers, Villa isn’t the Villa of old and 2 wins in 10 (against Chicago and Philly … at home) aren’t indicative of postseason success. It’s too much to ask of Herrera to dominate games. Medina will be rusty. Same old, same old for the blue side of New York, which is to say … playoff flame out.

FC Dallas

They’ll Win Because They’re consistent, if unspectacular. The backline isn’t gonna make boneheaded errors, and Maxi Urruti and Michael Barrios go HAM. Dated reference? Fair, but you could say the same about Urruti the goalscorer. May is a long time ago. Basically, Dallas find a way to score, and that sluggish second half doesn’t matter.

Haters Will Say Dallas can’t score and that sluggish second half matters. Forget MLS Cup, the Timbers are going to win in the Knockout Round because they have better attacking players and won’t give Dallas space to break into on the counter. Even if Dallas win, they’re not on the same level as Sporting, Seattle or LAFC.

LAFC

They’ll Win Because That’s what Bob Bradley does in expansion seasons. Coaching matters, and Bradley’s gonna gameplan like there is no tomorrow. Also, they’ve got the best collection of top-end attacking talent in the Western Conference. Vela, Rossi, Diomande and a couple former MVP candidates in the midfield.

Haters Will Say The backline can be shaky, and they can’t hold leads. And when you can’t hold leads, particularly at home, you lose in the playoffs. That could apply to the Knockout Round, but it most definitely applies to home-and-home series in which road goals matter a whole hell of a lot.

Seattle Sounders

They’ll Win Because they’ve had the best half-season in MLS history, they know exactly what it takes to get to MLS Cup and they have Stefan FreiChad MarshallOzzie AlonsoCristian RoldanNico Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz up the gut. That’s a #squad. Roll the balls out, let these guys do their thing and have a parade at the end.

Haters Will Say What are they even good at? Do they have an identity? Whoops, that was Bobby Warshaw circa four months ago. Don’t worry, he’s come around.

They’ll be eliminated because they come up against a team as good or better (Sporting? LAFC? East top two?) and just can’t get it done on the day. The Sounders have weaknesses – every single team in MLS does – but I find it near impossible to pick against them in the playoffs.

Sporting KC

They’ll Win Because They’re balanced. No more defense and timely goals win championships … or perhaps more accurately, get you eliminated in the Knockout Round. Bad jokes aside, this version of Sporting can shut you out and blow you out. They’ve got loads more attacking quality and they’re deeper than ever before, plus the back six and Tim Melia are rock solid.

Haters Will Say Seth Sinovic is the key to everything and he’s missing the first leg of the conference semis. I’m only partially kidding. Dude only scores in the playoffs. Look it up. Haters will say that they still don’t have a primary goalscorer. It’s true. They’ve got a whole bunch of sporadic scorers, and that’s been more than enough. But in the playoffs when there’s no room for a dry spell?

Atlanta United

They’ll Win Because they’re the most talented team in MLS, and they keep things tight in the first leg of the Conference Semifinals to buy time for Miguel Almiron. He helps finish off either NYCFC or D.C. United, then Atlanta get two weeks to rest up and recover for the Red Bulls, who bottle it like usual. MLS Cup at MBS? That’s a win.

Haters Will Say “Hahahahahahaha [deep breath] Hahahahahahaha”

That’s literally what they’ll say on Reddit and Twitter. They’ll say it because Miguel Almiron wasn’t ready to be Miguel Almiron again, Josef Martinez’s historic season sputtered at exactly the wrong time and Tata said adios before the job was done. Don’t worry Five Stripes faithful, you’ll be fine.

New York Red Bulls

They’ll Win Because they’re MLS’s best team. Most points ever, and nobody understands their collective ethos/identity better than these Red Bulls. That goes a long way in the playoffs, when the games get more physical and the margins narrow. Then there’s the legacy aspect. This club isn’t lacking for motivation or pressure.

Haters Will Say “That’s so Metro.”

Need I say more?

 

Champions League permutations: Who needs what to go through?

Friday 26 October 2018

  • Dortmund, Atlético, Barcelona, Inter, Ajax, Bayern, Manchester City and Juventus can all go through next time: here’s how.

 

Borussia Dortmund, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Internazionale Milano, Ajax, Bayern München, Manchester City and Juventus could all book their UEFA Champions League round of 16 places with two games to spare on matchday four while ten other clubs are fighting to keep their hopes alive. UEFA.com explains the permutations.

All information in this article is subject to final confirmation from UEFA. These examples may not cover all potential situations.

TUESDAY 6 NOVEMBER

Group A: Monaco (1 point) v Club Brugge (1) [18:55CET], Atlético Madrid (6) v Borussia Dortmund (9)

  • Dortmundwill be through as group winners with victory.
  • Atléticowill be through with a win if the other game is drawn.
  • Monacowill be unable to finish in the top two if they fail to win and Atlético gain victory.
  • Club Brugge will be unable to finish in the top two if they fail to win and Atlético gain victory.

Group B: Internazionale Milano (6) v Barcelona (9), Tottenham Hotspur (1) v PSV Eindhoven (1)

  • Barcelona will be through as group winners with victory.
  • Inter will be through with a win if the other game is drawn.
  • Spurs will be unable to finish in the top two if they fail to win and Inter gain victory.
  • PSV will be unable to finish in the top two if they fail to win and Inter gain victory.

 

Group C: Crvena zvezda (1) v Liverpool (6) [18:55CET], Napoli (5) v Paris Saint-Germain (4)

  • Crvena zvezda will be unable to finish in the top two if they lose and Napoli win.

Group D: Schalke (5) v Galatasaray (4), Porto (7) v Lokomotiv Moskva (0)

  • Lokomotiv will be unable to finish in the top two if they lose and there is a winner in the other game. Lokomotiv will also be unable to finish in the top two if they draw and Schalke win.

WEDNESDAY 7 NOVEMBER

Group E: Benfica (3) v Ajax (7), Bayern München (7) v AEK Athens (0)

  • Ajax will be through if they win.
  • Bayern will be through with a win if Benfica lose.
  • Benfica will be unable to finish in the top two if they lose and Bayern win.
  • AEK will be unable to finish in the top two if they lose, or if they draw and Ajax avoid defeat. Group F: Manchester City (6) v Shakhtar Donetsk (2), Lyon (5) v Hoffenheim (2)
  • Manchester City will be through if they win and Hoffenheim lose.
  • Hoffenheim will be unable to finish in the top two if they lose and City win.

Group G: CSKA Moskva (4) v Roma (6) [18:55CET], Viktoria Plzeň (1) v Real Madrid (6)

  • Plzeň will be unable to finish in the top two if they lose and Roma win.

Group H: Valencia (2) v Young Boys (1) [18:55CET], Juventus (9) v Manchester United (4)

  • Juventus will be through if they avoid defeat, and confirmed in first place if they win.

Standings are provisional until all matches have been played.

Luis Suarez scores hat-trick as Barcelona humiliate Real Madrid in El Clasico

Daniel Zeqiri,The Telegraph Sun, Oct 28 1:35 PM EDT

Barcelona 5 Real Madrid 1

Luis Suarez stepped up in the absence of Lionel Messi to score a hat-trick in a humiliating El Clasico for Real Madrid and their beleaguered head coach Julen Lopetegui. Barcelona controlled the first period with ease, building a two-goal lead by the break through Philippe Coutinho and a Suarez penalty awarded by a Video Assistant Referee review. Marcelo’s goal during a flurry of Madrid pressure at the start of the second period briefly raised hopes of a comeback before a Suarez double and Arturo Vidal header sealed the game as the visitors fell apart. The result leaves Lopetegui in a seemingly untenable situation after Madrid’s heaviest Clasico defeat in three years and Barcelona building a seven-point lead over their old rivals in the league. Madrid midfielder Casemiro told Spanish television after the match: “This 5-1 sums up our season so far. We have played well in some spells, But that is this season – we are a disaster, all playing very bad, all of us.”

Lopetegui’s side started the match in startlingly naive and passive fashion, with Jordi Alba raiding their right-flank where utility defender Nacho was playing at full-back. Alba provided the opening goal when he cut-back to Coutinho from the bar-line, and the former Liverpool man swept past Thibaut Courtois.  Saurez won the penalty he converted, darting across Rapheal Varane with a near-post run. Despite obvious contact from the defender, referee José María Sánchez Martínez waved away appeals for a penalty before changing his decision after consulting VAR.Lopetegui switched to a back three at half-time with Casemiro moving back into defence, and Lucas Vazquez replacing Varane. The alteration paid dividends when Marcelo got on the end of Isco’s cross from his new, advanced wing-back position and turned home at the second attempt. Karim Benzema headed over unopposed from six yards, and Real rued not capitalising on that short period of dominance as Barcelona slowly re-established their superiority. The game was effectively over when Suarez showed magnificent reflexes and striker’s instincts to turn home Sergi Roberto’s cross with a stunning header from fully 14 yards. A sumptuous dinked finish over Courtois secured the hat-trick, before fine work from substitute Ousmane Dembele assisted Vidal’s headed goal to complete the rout.

 Unai Emery’s touchline passion encapsulates how far Arsenal have shifted since Arsene Wenger

Sam Dean,The Telegraph Mon, Oct 29 5:57 AM EDT

On the touchline, Unai Emery is so fun to watch that, in the spring of 2015, Sevilla’s media team fired up their cameras and decided to do nothing else. For their entire game against Barcelona, a single lense was fixed on Emery, the then Sevilla manager. Looking at it now, it feels similar to when broadcast companies track a player, except this time the subject of the footage is wearing a suit and is confined to a dugout. Coach-cam, rather than player-cam.The resulting video is still available online. It’s worth a watch, not least because of the remarkable array of contorted body positions and poses that an impassioned Emery manages to display throughout a match fraught with tension. Sevilla concede two early goals (to Lionel Messi and Neymar, no less) but fight back to claim a draw.Much like his team, Emery starts off slowly. His game begins with nothing more dramatic than a waving of the arms, his finger extended in a point. But he soon gets into his rhythm, dropping into a squat and beating his knees with his fists. Next he alternates his fist pumps, throwing one into the air after another like an overeager dad at a school disco. A pirouettefollows, and so does an exaggerated folding of the arms when an appeal goes against his side.When the late equaliser arrives, Emery launches himself into the arms of his assistants, roaring and skipping in delight. These are the delirious actions of a man totally plugged into the game, a coach completely wired on the excitement and passion of football.Emery has yet to reach a state as frenzied as this at Arsenal, but he is getting closer by the week. In Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, a game high on stress and low on composure, he was as animated as he has been at any stage in his short Arsenal career. He ordered every movement, berated every player and reacted to every twist with such energy that you wondered how his body coped with the strain.Earlier in the season, Match of the Day drew up a ‘heatmap’ for Emery in his technical area. Against Palace, it might have burned through the screen. Ask Alexandre Lacazette, who felt the full force of Emery’s emotion deep in the second half after a poor pass had led to the home side’s equaliser. The Arsenal head coach clapped his hands to Lacazette’s face, screamed some choice words of encouragement and then slapped the striker on the cheek.The first reaction upon watching this was to marvel at Emery’s intensity. The second was to think back to how Arsene Wenger would carry himself on the touchline and realise how quickly times have changed at Arsenal. The Frenchman enjoyed the occasional outraged stretch of the arms, but he preferred to sit back and let his players perform, his face often as long as his coat. Emery, by contrast, demands more in every moment.The Arsenal hierarchy knew about the Spaniard’s touchline demeanour when they were considering Wenger’s replacement this summer. The process to appoint the new head coach was painstaking and detailed, and one of the qualities the club was looking for was “winning spirit”. Emery wears that spirit louder and prouder than most.It is easy to see the arguments in favour of appointing someone of Emery’s obvious energy. Few observers of Arsenal in recent years would disagree that some of the players would benefit from a more intensive and demanding style of management. There will be mistakes under Emery — from the players and from him, of course — but there will not be any coasting in these first few months. Emery’s ruthlessness with his substitutions, particularly with his willingness to hook Mesut Ozil if things are not going his way, is indicative of that.

There is, however, an obvious question that needs asking. How much do the players actually listen? Are they fully aware of what Emery is bellowing from his technical area? They certainly cannot be seeing each hand movement or hearing each command. How much is it all for show?Perhaps the answer is another question. Does it matter? Does it matter if the players do not take on every message, or do not listen to every positional demand? They will certainly hear some of it, even if it takes Emery grabbing them by the sides of their face, as he did with Lacazette. And we know they are listening occasionally at least, because Granit Xhaka made a point of celebrating with Emery after scoring his rasping free kick at Selhurst Park.“I chose to shoot because the coach asked me why I didn’t take the corners or the free kicks in the first half,” Xhaka said, while Emery added: “At half-time we spoke about this situation. He has good quality from free kicks and also to try to make more crosses. I tried to push him to do that.”The nature of the draw with Palace brought all this into sharper focus. It was chaotic, tempestuous and far too open for Emery’s liking. But it also gave him a greater taste of the turbulent world of Premier League football ahead of this weekend’s potentially nerve-shredding encounter with Liverpool. Last season, this fixture ended in a breathless 3-3 draw. If the same happens again, Emery will be hard to miss.

 

10/26/18 Carmel High Girls in State Final Sat 6 pm Carroll Stadium, El Classico Sat,

CHSGirlsSectionals

The Carmel Ladies Soccer team is headed to the State Finals this Saturday at the old Indy 11 Stadium on IUPUI Campus on Saturday night at 6 pm. Lots of former Carmel FC girls on this roster!!  Head on down and cheer on our Lady Greyhounds as they look for their and coach Frank Dixon’s 10th State Championship!

They had a pair of 2-0 wins over Lawrence North then Avon 2 weekends ago to win the Regional Title then 3-0 over Center Grove last weekend in Semi-states their 10th.  Congrats ladies and good luck this weekend!

GAMES ON TV

Fri, Oct Sat 26

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

Sat, Oct 27   

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

9:30 am FS2                    Mainz vs Bayern Munich

10 am NBCSN               Liverpool vs Cardiff City

12 noon ESPN+             Empoli vs Juventus

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

12:30 pm Fox Sport 2  Hoffenheim vs Stutgart

Sun, Oct 28     

9:30 am NBCSN           Crystal Palace vs Arsenal

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

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

12 noon NBCSN         Man U vs Everton

1 pm ESPN                  AC Milan vs Sampdoria

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

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

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

Mon, Oct Sat 29

4 pm NBCSN                   Tottenham vs Man City