Another Late Collapse as U.S. MNT Fall in Denmark
Another Late Collapse as U.S. MNT Fall in Denmark avatar

The U.S. MNT continued a recent trend and once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, losing 3-2 to Denmark after leading 2-1.

Altidore gone on the scoresheet to give the U.S. the lead. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Altidore gone on the scoresheet and opened the scoring for the U.S. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

The Americans started well over the first 10 minutes before the home side began to assert themselves. Jurgen Klinsmann continues to experiment with new players and combinations, and at times tonight in Aarhus, Denmark his players displayed a lack of understanding with one another. That lack of understanding played a part in all three Nicklas Bendtner goals for Denmark, and the former Arsenal man looked as good as he has always said he is tonight against the U.S.A.

Klinsmann sent his team out in a 4-4-2, and once Denmark settled into the match, the Americans had trouble gaining or maintaining possession.

With possession at a premium Jozy Altidore gave the U.S. a 19th minute lead with a fine individual effort. The powerful Toronto FC striker outmuscled the Danish defense to win a speculative ball from Timmy Chandler, before firing past Stephan Andersen with the help of a slight deflection.

After Bendtner’s 33rd minute goal the U.S. were fortunate to be level at the the break, and we waited to see what changes the inscrutable Mr. Klinsmann would have in store.

Would fullbacks Greg Garza and Chandler be pulled after being highly ineffective in the opening 45 minutes? And what about the young L.A. Galaxy attacker Gyasi Zardes. Playing as a wide midfielder, Zardes was all hustle and bustle, with little to show for it.

All three stayed in the game, maybe the coach wanted to see more from them. Brek Shea and Alfredo Morales came on after the intermission, with a oddly subdued Fabian Johnson, and Alejandro Bedoya making way.

Klinsmann has talked up Shea’s future as an international fullback, and has played the Orlando SC man there as well, so it was surprising that Shea assumed Johnson’s left midfield role with Garza remaining at fullback.

As in the first half, Denmark controlled the tempo, the home team won the possession battle 60% to 40% on the night. Tonight’s U.S. captain Michael Bradley was working very hard all over the field, and it finally paid off in the 66th minute. Bradley lofted a perfect pass over the Denmark defense right to TFC teammate Jozy Altidore, who passed up a scoring chance to place Aaron Johannsson with a fine pass that AJ finished with aplomb.

Nicklas Bendner scored a hattrick for Denmark to lead them past the U.S. (Getty Images)

Nicklas Bendner scored a hattrick for Denmark to lead them past the U.S. (Getty Images)

Despite being outplayed the Americans were now leading 2-1, would they be able to hold the lead? We know now that the answer is no. Friendlies are often a mess once the mass substitutions begin, but at some point the U.S. has to learn to close out a match.

There is always the danger of reacting too strongly either way to friendly games, after all these games do not count. And of course any coach is entitled to experiment, although with the Gold Cup coming this summer the U.S. team should be starting to take shape.

As for tonight, it is difficult to find a player that enhanced his reputation, beyond Bradley and perhaps Altidore. John Brooks was the best defender on the night, but like the rest he has to share some of the blame for the confusion that reigned on all three Bendtner tallies.

Shea had a decent 45 minutes, contributing at least one dangerous cross, but that’s about it. On the other end of the ledger, Garza and Chandler had evenings to forget, although Garza had some good attacking moments in the second half.

Zardes is promising, but showed tonight that he needs time to reach the international level. Now it’s on to Zurich to face Switzerland next Tuesday.

Since the U.S. returned from the World Cup with reputations burnished by surviving the “Group of Death,” the team has compiled a 2 win – 4 loss – and 2 draw record.

These are only friendlies, yes, but the performances have been troubling, and friendly or no, at some point it might be nice to win a couple of them.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
DEN 1 2 3

USA – Jozy Altidore (Timmy Chandler) 19th minute
DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Lasse Vibe) 33
USA – Aron Johannsson (Jozy Altidore) 66
DEN – Nicklas Bendtner 83
DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Christian Eriksen) 90+1

Lineups:
USA: 1-Nick Rimando; 21-Timmy Chandler, 15-Michael Orozco (19-Ventura Alvarado, 80), 6-John Brooks, 3-Greg Garza; 20-Gyasi Zardes (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 67) 11-Alejandro Bedoya (7-Alfredo Morales, 46), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson (13-Brek Shea, 46); 17-Jozy Altidore, 9-Aron Johannsson (18-Rubio Rubin, 67)
Subs not used: 5-Tim Ream, 10-Miguel Ibarra, 14-Danny Williams, 16-Julian Green, 22-Williams Yarbrough
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

DEN: 16-Stephan Andersen; 2-Daniel Wass, 3-Simon Kjar, 4-Erik Sviatchenko, 5-Nicolai Bollesen (17-Simon Busk Poulsen, 53); 7-William Kvist (23-Anders Christiansen, 46), 18-Jakob Poulsen (19-Thomas Delaney, 46), 21-Lasse Vibe, 10-Christian Eriksen (capt.);
9-Michael Krohn-Dehli (14-Lasse Schöne, 78), 11-Nicklas Bendtner
Subs not used: 1-Kasper Schmeichel, 6-Las Jacobsen, 8-Martin C. Braithwaite, 12-Mathias Zanka Jorgensen, 13-Kian H. Hansen, 22-Jonas Lössl
Head Coach: Morten Olsen

Stats Summary: USA / DEN
Shots: 4 / 12
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 17 / 13
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
DEN – William Kvist (caution) 25th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 78
USA – Ventura Alvarado (caution) 89

 

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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

New teams, new stadia, and some bad injury news made for another busy week in MLS, so here is our latest MLS – Big 5.

1) San Jose Christen New Stadium With a Win

San Jose enjoyed a fine first day out at the new Avaya Stadium picking up a 2-1 win at the expense of the increasingly depressing Chicago Fire.

The new Avaya Stadium (Getty Images)

The new Avaya Stadium (Getty Images)

The original Quakes decamped for Houston back in 2005 when it could not get a stadium deal that it liked. Coach Dominic Kinnear went with the team then, but now he is back and early returns are good.

Having vacated the league’s smallest stadium, the 10,525 capacity Buck Shaw, the Quakes are off to a 2-1 start. The new facility is still smallish, it holds 18,000, but it does have the largest outdoor bar in North America.

I’m not sure how that number was vetted, but in any case, it is a big bar. Enjoy the the game Quake fans and please drink responsibly.

2) Impact’s CCL Hero Porter Out

And we were just getting to know him. The former Princeton striker was not drafted until the Montreal Impact grabbed him at 45 in February’s MLS SuperDraft, but he wound up making a splash before regular season even began.

Cameron Porter looks like to be out for a long time. (Getty Images)

Cameron Porter looks like to be out for a long time. (Getty Images)

It was a late, late Porter goal that sent Montreal to the CCL semi final with an aggregate win over Mexico’s Pachuca, and the rookie continued to impress once the MLS campaign started.

Porter landed badly on the Gillette Stadium turf, and had to be stretchered off. The Impact picked up its first point of the season tying the Revolution 0-0, but the bigger story is Porter’s loss.

It looks like Porter will be out for a long stretch, costing Montreal a potential key contributor, and depriving fans around the league of the chance to watch this exciting young player grow.

Get well soon.

3) FC Dallas Start Fast

After missing out on the playoffs each of the past two years, 3-0-0 FC Dallas have started out like a team on a mission.

Blas Perez (Getty Images)

Blas Perez #7 has bagged 3 goals to his name thus far. (Getty Images)

Sure it’s early, but Blas Perez is hot with three goals, the always exciting Fabian Castillo has one goal and two assists, and Chris Seitz is playing well enough in goal to keep Dan Kennedy on the bench.

Like I said it’s early, but early or not, it looks like Oscar Pareja is building a pretty good team down in Frisco.

4) No Stopping MLS

If it seems like we’ve had this discussion before, it’s because we have. It is FIFA break time, yet MLS plays on. Like the band on the Titanic, MLS keeps on fiddling while so many of its players fill the lifeboats, headed off to join various national teams.

Many players will be missing from the MLS due to international call ups.(ISI Photos/John Todd)

Many players will be missing from the MLS due to international call ups.(ISI Photos/John Todd)

How many you say? Including U23 and U20 players, the number is approaching 60. Scheduling issues are always a challenge, but c’mon MLS, would it be so bad to take a little break?

5) Minnesota Almost Official

The league recently announced that on Wednesday it will be in Minnesota to make a major announcement. With last weeks news that Minnesota United FC had pushed past the Minnesota Vikings as the apple of Don Garber’s eye, we can expect the marriage to be confirmed on Wednesday, and the Land of 1,000 Lakes to be granted an MLS franchise.

Minnesota United FC look favorites to be selected by the MLS. (Getty Images)

Minnesota United FC look favorites to be selected as the new MLS franchise.(Getty Images)

The Vikings aren’t happy about it and the state reportedly may not be too forthcoming with the funds, so we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.

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Matt Miazga – Making his Way With Club and Country
Matt Miazga – Making his Way With Club and Country avatar

With a series of international friendlies on the docket U.S. Soccer jump started this busy period of international activity Sunday afternoon, when the federation released rosters for the full U.S. MNT, U23 and U20 squads.

19 year old Matt Miazga missed out on a U20 call, but it’s understandable, the central defender is busy at the moment with his club team, the New York Red Bulls.

Matt Miazga (ISI Photo/Brad Smith)

Matt Miazga in action for the Red Bulls. (ISI Photo/Brad Smith)

“Yeah, club obligations,” the 6’3” defender laughed when GotSoccer asked if he had been expecting to be left home. The youngster responded as he stood ringed by reporters in front of his locker, following Sunday’s 2-0 shutout victory over DC United, still not quite comfortable with this part of the profession.

“I thought you guys were gone,” was the defenders opening remark once he emerged from the trainer’s room, fresh from a recuperative ice bath. No fear of that, the 19 year old had played his part in the Red Bulls 2-0 home opening victory over DC United, now it was time to meet the press.

Sunday wasn’t Miazga’s first start for the Red Bulls, the New Jersey native made seven appearances in 2014, six as a starter, after signing a professional contract a year earlier.

But Sunday was Miazga’s first start since last August, when a rash tackle on New England’s Lee Nguyen earned the youngster a red card, and a seat on the Red Bulls bench.

GotSoccer spoke one on one with Miazga after Friday’s practice at Red Bull Arena, and we asked if his recent experience with the U.S. U20’s had helped him prepare for the rigors of the MLS season.

“Yeah, definitely,” Miazga replied. Miazga was a regular starter for the U.S. throughout January’s CONCACAF Championships, which also served as the World Cup Qualifying Tournament for the Confederation.

Tab Ramos consulting with his bench during a match. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

U20 Coach Tab Ramos consulting with his bench during a match. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

“At the qualifiers I got more confident, and it helped me to develop to get those international games.” Qualifying for the World Cup from the CONCACAF region is often downplayed by those unfamiliar with the heat and humidity common in countries like Honduras, where those CONCACAF Championships were held. And then there are the field conditions, and the sometimes “excitable” home fans to consider.

Jurgen Klinsmann and a couple of his Germerican recruits found that out the hard way when the U.S. dropped a 2-1 decision to Honduras to open the final round of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup. On that scorching February day in 2013, a heavy legged U.S. side fell 2-1 to Honduras.

German born fullback Timmy Chandler was so put off by the experience that he seemed to reconsider his decision to play with the U.S. At the time Chandler was favored to claim the right fullback spot, but when he stayed away from the team for an extended period, Chandler needed a late surge to earn a subs role in Brazil.

The U20’s looked like avoiding any similar drama, winning its first three matches in January. Miazga and his teammates were set to secure an automatic qualifying spot by finishing on top of its group, but suddenly it wasn’t that easy.

First the U.S. allowed the host nation to snatch a late draw, stopping the Americans from clinching that World Cup berth. Then a shocking 1-0 loss to Jamaica forced the U.S. into a playoff, where they drew the rugged Jamaicans again.

When the rematch ended goalless, it took a penalty kick shootout for the U.S. to earn a spot in the U20 World Cup.

Miazga called the near collapse, “a learning experience,” admitting that, “we kind of let our guard off. “The first two games,” Miazga said as he searched for the right words, “I mean, qualifiers are tough. People don’t realize how tough it is.” “Playing against those opponents, the atmosphere, the fields, the crowds, they are all tough.”

“We all stuck together,” Miazga said of the U20 team, and that trait is no less valuable for a senior club side than it is in a international youth team.

On Sunday Miazga’s veteran teammates stood by the still developing prospect, after his late foul conceded a penalty that could have cost the team the shutout. Miazga called his challenge, “kind of naive,” adding, “me and Dax talked about it after the game, and that’s the good thing about it, I can talk about it with the guys and learn how to improve on it.”

DC veteran Chris Pontius launched the penalty try skyward, taking Miazga off the hook. Afterwards the aforementioned Dax, as in team captain McCarty, said, “Matt played really well.” As for the penalty, the captain felt that Miazga, “got caught a little flat footed, but he’s going to learn from those things.”

Goalkeeper Luis Robles also said that Miazga, “did very well,” and echoed his captain’s statement that the center back needs to continue his soccer education.

“He’s at such a young age,” the keeper said, “that I think he needs to continue to learn and to cultivate his professionalism.”

Miazga was putting in the hard work during last Friday’s practice at Red Bull Arena, when he was the last player off the pitch. Miazga stayed behind working on the finer points of his game while his veteran teammates sought refuge from the unseasonable New Jersey cold.

Red Bull Sporting Director Ali Curtis has shown himself unsentimental when it comes to building this Red Bull team, famously replacing popular and successful coach Mike Petke with Jesse Marsch. Curtis has been similarly quick to move out players that don’t fit his vision, but Miazga remains.

Matt Miazga in action against Toronto FC. (ISI Photos/Mike Lawtence)

Matt Miazga in action against Toronto FC. (ISI Photos/Mike Lawtence)

Curtis calls Miazga, “ a very talented player,” saying, “we have to find a way to continue to present opportunities and to put him in an environment where he can grow and develop.”

“We have a customized plan for Matt,” Curtis told GotSoccer on Friday. The national team fits Curtis’ plan, and the Sporting Director also wants, “to find experiences with our first team, so that Matt can continue to develop and to grow.”

For Miazga, it is a bit simpler. “I don’t know what that plan is,” the young center back told GotSoccer on Friday, “but I’ve just got to prove myself every day at training and try to impress and play well and get better every day.”

Sounds like a plan.

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MYSA 2015 Summer Camp
MYSA 2015 Summer Camp avatar

The 2015 Missouri Youth Soccer Association Summer Camp is ready to roll! The camp is open to all 6-16 year old players, held June 22rd – Friday, June 26th, 2015 at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.

Players will get the opportunity to improve individual soccer skills and team tactics in a fun learning environment with age appropriate activities and small-sided games. Denny Vaninger, the current Director of Coaching & Education for Missouri Youth Soccer, will lead the camp, and the entire staff will ensure all players enjoy this fun, unique soccer experience.

For more information please visit the Missouri Youth Soccer website.

Camp Location
Lindenwood University
209 S. Kingshighway
St. Charles, MO 63301

Camp Cost
Full Day (9:00 AM – 3:00 PM) – $315/player (lunch provided)
Half Day (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM) – $165/player

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U.S. Soccer Names Men’s Senior-U23 and U20 Rosters
U.S. Soccer Names Men’s Senior-U23 and U20 Rosters avatar

On a busy Sunday for U.S. Soccer, the federation released rosters for the Men’s full national team, U23’s and U20’s.

Jurgen Klinsmann named 23 players for away friendlies against Denmark, March 26, and Switzerland on the 31st.

Yedlin has dad very little opportunity to shine in the EPL. (Getty Images)

Yedlin has dad very little opportunity to shine in the EPL. (Getty Images)

Klinsmann has selected a mostly European based squad that includes Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin, two young players that are not seeing first team soccer with their clubs.

Current first choice keeper Brad Guzan has been left out as his wife prepares to give birth, while Geoff Cameron, the only U.S. field player seeing minutes in the English Premier League has also been bypassed as Klinsmann has a look at some newer faces.

With CONCACAF Olympic Qualifications for Rio de Janeiro 2016 approaching, recently appointed U.S. U23 Men’s National Team coach Andi Herzog called 18 players to Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina, for the U23’s first training camp of 2015.

Andi Herzog (center) work with the men's nation team at the 2014 Brazil World Cup. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Andi Herzog (center) work with the men’s nation team at the 2014 Brazil World Cup. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Following a training camp from March 23-26 the Olympic hopefuls will face Bosnia’s U23 National Team on Friday, March 27, in Tuzla, before moving on to face Denmark on Tuesday, March 31.

8 of the players called in by Herzog were members of the Tab Ramos coached side that represented the U.S. at the 2013 U20 World Cup.

And speaking of Ramos and the U20’s, 18 players are headed to London where the team will train from March 23-30, before playing Tottenham (3/27) and then England’s U21 (3/29) team’s. Neither game will be televised or live streamed, and only the England match will be open to the public.

Ramos is bringing in a familiar group, with just three newcomers included on the roster. The U20 team will be back in Europe for a second camp, this time in Austria, from April 18-26. The Americans will play the U20 teams from Qatar and Croatia in preparation for the U20 World Cup in New Zealand.

The U20 World Cup runs from May 30-June 20. The Young Yanks open Group A play against Myanmar on May 30, then face host’s New Zealand on June 2, before wrapping up group play versus Ukraine on June 5.

Here are the three U.S. MNT rosters.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)

DEFENDERS (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Hamburg), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht)

U23
GOALKEEPERS (2): Charlie Horton (Cardiff City; Cleveland, Ohio), Tyler Miller (Zweibrücken; Woodbury, N.J.)

DEFENDERS (5): Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Birmingham City; Concord, Mass.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire; San Jose, Calif.), Ariel Lassiter (LA Galaxy II; Temecula, Calif.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)

FORWARDS (6): Alonso Hernandez (Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Alfred Koroma Shams (Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach; North Hollywood, Calif.), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC; Leander, Texas)

U20
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Thomas Olsen (University of San Diego; Las Vegas, Nev.)

DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Conor Donovan (Orlando City SC; Fuquay-Varina, N.C.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne (Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.).

MIDFIELDERS (6): Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland; Santa Cruz, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Ethan Sonis (SC Freiburg; Coral Springs, Fla.), Joel Sonora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina).

FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Andrija Novakovich (Reading; Muskego, Wis.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.), Dembakwi Yomba (Atlético Madrid; Lithonia, Ga.).

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Ellis Names 25 Player Roster to Face New Zealand
Ellis Names 25 Player Roster to Face New Zealand avatar

Fresh off of leading the U.S. WNT to its 10th Algarve Cup championship, coach Jill Ellis has named a 25 player roster to face New Zealand April 4, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Wambach will not play club soccer this season.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Wambach will not play club soccer this season.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Ellis has kept faith with the same 25 players that triumphed last week in Portugal, including star striker Abby Wambach. The former Western New York Flash forward is listed as unattached on the roster released by U.S. Soccer, just days after announcing that she would forgo the NWSL season to concentrate on the upcoming Women’s World Cup.

The Algarve Cup has long been seen as a pleasant way for the U.S. WNT to start the calendar year, a low key bit of fun in the sun, on the way to collecting another honor to jam into the team’s bulging trophy case.

But 2014 changed all of that, as the Americans finished a historically bad seventh in the Algarve Cup, a result that led to the firing of Ellis’ predecessor, Tom Sermanni.

The USWNT training during the Algarve Cup. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

The USWNT training during the Algarve Cup. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

By selecting the same roster that won the Algarve Cup for this match against New Zealand, Ellis would appear to have settled on her top 25, with the 2015 Women’s World Cup coming up this summer in Canada.

Ellis will likely use the Send Off Series games against New Zealand, Ireland, Mexico, and South Korea to finalize her starting lineup and top substitutes for Canada 2015, running from June 6 through July 5.

Send Off Series

April 4, 2015 2:30 PM CT
WNT vs New Zealand Busch Stadium; St. Louis, Mo.
FOX Sports 1

May 10, 2015 11:30 AM PT
WNT vs Ireland Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.
FOX Sports 1

May 17, 2015 6 PM PT
WNT vs Mexico StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.
FOX Sports 1, Univision Deportes

May 30, 2015 4:30 PM ET
WNT vs Korea Republic Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J. ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision Deportes

World Cup

June 8, 2015 7:30 PM ET
WNT vs Australia Winnipeg Stadium; Winnipeg, Canada FOX

June 12, 2015 8 PM ET
WNT vs Sweden Winnipeg Stadium; Winnipeg, Canada FOX

June 16, 2015 8 PM ET
WNT vs Nigeria BC Place; Vancouver, Canada
FOX

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

DEFENDERS (10): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)

FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (Unattached)

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EPL Week 30 -Top Picks and Predictions
EPL Week 30 -Top Picks and Predictions avatar

It is Week 30 in the EPL and will only eight games to go all is yet to be decided. Chelsea look odds on to win the title, but only eight-points separate second place Man City from seventh place Tottenham meaning every game will be vital from now until the end of the season.

NEWS

Kane earns first England call-up

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has been called up for the England squad for the games against Lithuania and Italy at the end of the month.

Harry Kane earns his fir senior team selection for England.(Getty Images)

Harry Kane earns his fir senior team selection for England.(Getty Images)

The 21-year-old has been hotly tipped to earn his first senior call up after scoring 26 goals in 42 games this season.

“I think the whole country is excited about Harry,” said England manager Roy Hodgson. ”

“It would have been a surprise if he wasn’t selected.”

Kane, who has been named the EPL player of the month for January and February, admitted it was a dream come true. “It’s something I’d always dreamed of as a kid.”

Kane is one of a 24-man England squad that meet Lithuania at Wembley on March 27 in their latest Group E Euro 2016 qualifier before a friendly in Turin against Italy on 31 March.

England Squad

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City).

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).

 

Sterling puts contract talks on hold

England winger Raheem Sterling has put contract talks off with Liverpool until the end of the season according to Liverpool boss Brenden Rogers.

Raheem Sterling(Getty Images)

Raheem Sterling will not commit his future to Liverpool just yet.(Getty Images)

The 20-year-old’s current contract with the Reds expires in 2017 and he has yet to agree to any extension. However, Rogers says the delay is only because Sterling wants to concentrate on his soccer.

“It has been made clear by Raheem’s representative he wants to concentrate on his football and see what can be resolved in the summer,” said Rodgers.

“I am sure it will be resolved and the concentration for Raheem is now on his football, and it is clear when those talks will begin again.”

Sterling has been linked moves to Chelsea, Man City and Real Madrid, nevertheless, Brenden Rogers insists the club will not be held to ransom and pay over the odds to keep young talent at Liverpool.

 

Predictions

Last Week’s Predictions

Week 29

Result

My Preds

Luke

Mabs

Neil

SATURDAY
Crystal Palace v QPR 3-1 2-1 2-0 3-1 2-0
Arsenal v West Ham 3-0 2-0 2-1 2-0 2-1
Leicester v Hull 0-0 1-2 1-1 1-2 1-1
Sunderland v Aston Villa 0-4 0-1 0-2 2-1 1-2
West Brom v Stoke 1-0 2-1 2-1 1-0 2-1
Burnley v Man City 1-0 0-2 1-3 1-3 1-3
SUNDAY
Chelsea v Southampton 1-1 2-0 2-1 4-1 2-1
Everton v Newcastle 3-0 1-1 1-1 0-1 1-1
Man Utd v Tottenham 3-0 2-2 1-2 1-1 1-2
MONDAY
Swansea v Liverpool 0-1 1-1 2-1 0-2 2-1
TOTAL: 4-points 5-points 8-points 5-points

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.

Last week I got FOUR correct results and ZERO prefect scores to gve me a dismal total of FOUR-points—a record low for the season.

Challenger Mabs got FOUR correct results, including TWO perfect scores to give him a total of EIGHT-points.

Do you think you can do better? If so, feel free to leave your predictions below.

This Week’s Predictions

Week 30

My Predictions

SATURDAY
Man City v West Brom 3-0
Aston Villa v Swansea 2-1
Newcastle v Arsenal 0-2
Southampton v Burnley 1-0
Stoke v Crystal Palace 2-1
Tottenham v Leicester 2-0
West Ham v Sunderland 1-0
SUNDAY
Liverpool v Man Utd 2-2
Hull v Chelsea 0-2
QPR v Everton 2-2

Previews

SATURDAY

Man City v West Brom

EPL champions Man City have endured a torrid last few weeks, losing four of their five games in all competitions.

Last week the Sky Blues lost away to Burnley 1-0 to fall further behind EPL leaders Chelsea. They were also knocked out of the Champions League midweek losing 1-0 away to Barcelona, and could well have lost by a NFL score line if not for the heroics of keeper Joe Hart.

The EPL champions were easily cut open by a classy Barcelona, but their problem is that every team they play against seems to be doing the same. City just don’t work hard enough defensively and it seems other teams have worked this out and are no longer afraid to attack them.

Visitors West Brom won 1-0 last week and have done fairly well under new boss Tony Pulis—the Baggies have picked up 15 points from a possible 27 under Tony Pulis (W4, D3, L2).

The biggest impact Pulis has had on the Baggies is making them harder to beat—West Brom has kept six clean sheets in nine league games with Pulis as boss—and with a striker like Saido Berahino in their ranks that means they always have a chance of winning a game.

City began the year well but have really struggled lately.(Getty Images)

City began the year well but have really struggled lately.(Getty Images)

City have no fresh injury concerns, but could name a changed line-up to the side that lost away to Barcelona with Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Edin Dzeko and Frank Lampard all likely to be recalled.

West Brom keeper Ben Foster is expected to be out for a month with knee cartilage trouble, meaning Boaz Myhill will play between the sticks.

Chris Brunt and Claudio Yacob are suspended for the Baggies, but Victor Anichebe could return from a groin injury.

Man City are unbeaten against West Brom in the last 10 league meetings (W9, D1). They have scored 24 goals in that period, conceding just seven. However, the EPL champions are experiencing their poorest form for sometime—City has only earned 15 points from a possible 30 so far in 2015—so West Brom may feel it is a good time to face their Nemesis.

However, I feel City need a big performance and I expect them to put it on against West Brom.

Prediction: 2-0

 

Newcastle v Arsenal

Newcastle lost last week to continue their poor run of recent results. The Magpies lost 3-0 away to Everton and have now lost three of their last four league matches, conceding nine goals in the process.

Danny Welbeck had an excellent game against Monaco and can count himself unlock not to have scored. (Getty Images)

Danny Welbeck had an excellent game against Monaco and can count himself unlock not to have scored. (Getty Images)

Arsenal beat West Ham 3-0 last week to continue their imperious form in 2015—the Gunners have won 13 out of 15 games in all competitions since New Year’s Day, including eight wins from nine league matches.

They also beat Monaco 2-0 in the Champions League, but were still dumped out of the competition on away goals after losing the first leg 3-1 at home. You might expect being knocked out of Europe to affect Arsenal, but the Gunners have responded well after similar experiences in recent years, so Newcastle should be wary.

Newcastle will be without captain Fabricio Coloccini who begins a three game suspension, meaning right-back Daryl Janmaat could move into the middle.

Arsenal has no new injury concerns and they will probably name a different starting eleven to the one that started in Monaco.

Arsenal usually ends the season well and has traditionally reacted well after being knocked out of Europe. Combine that with the fact that the Gunners have won their last six games against Newcastle and it looks like their can only be one result.

Prediction: 0-2

 

SUNDAY

Liverpool v Man Utd

This game is always a big one, but it is especially important this season as both sides are fighting for a place in the Champions League.

Liverpool continued their great form by edging past Swansea 1-0. The Reds were put under a lot of pressure by the home side, especially in the first-half and had keeper Simon Mignolet to thank for keeping them in the game. However, they improved vastly after the break and were rewarded with a bit of fortune when Jordan Henderson netted late on.

The win was Liverpool’s sixth on the trot and they remain the only side in the EPL yet to lose a game in 2015—The Reds have gone 13 Premier League games without defeat; only Chelsea (14) have been on a longer run at some point this season.

(Getty Images)

Di Maria returns after supssion for Man Utd after serving a one match ban.(Getty Images)

Manchester United bounced back from their defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup by beating another north London club in the EPL. The Red Devils have looked fortunate to get results in recent weeks, but for once they look good for their money, easily dispatching of Tottenham 3-0.

Wayne Rooney was once again on the score sheet—Rooney has scored five goals in his last six games in all competitions—and looks to have cemented his place as United’s first choice striker. However, Maroune Fellaini was the talk of the game, as he caused Spurs all kinds of trouble up top, and it will be interesting to see if van Gaal opts to play the big Belgian up top with Rooney at Anfield.

Liverpool welcome back Lucas Leiva and Mario Balotelli to their squad, though neither are likely to make the starting eleven.

Manchester United has record signing Angel Di Maria available again after he served a one-game suspension, though he might start on the bench after Juan Mata impressed against Spurs. However, Luke Shaw is out, while Marcos Rojo is a doubt with a groin injury.

Manchester United beat Liverpool 3-0 earlier in the season, but the score line did not tell the story of the game, as Liverpool dominated and could well have scored a hat full of goals if not for an incredible performance by United’s keeper David de Gea.

Since then Liverpool has gone from strength to strength and are currently the best team in the EPL on form. The return of Daniel Sturridge has certain helped them and they will be full of confidence come Sunday, especially as they have a good recent record against their rivals at Anfield—The Reds have only lost one of their last seven meetings in all competitions with Manchester United at Anfield (W5, D1).

Liverpool still look a bit vulnerable at the back and United look even worse defensively, so I expect goals.

Prediction: 2-2

 

Hull v Chelsea

Hull drew 0-0 away to Leicester last week and remains just three points above the relegation zone. The Tigers have tightened their defense up after a poor run and have now lost just one of their last six league games (W2, D3).

Chelsea continue to lead the way in the EPL.(Getty Images)

Chelsea continue to lead the way in the EPL.(Getty Images)

Chelsea have played well in 2015, but still remain top of the EPL by six-points and with a game in hand. The Blues drew 1-1 at home to Southampton last week, but had enough chances to score five or six goals, with a combination of bad luck and poor finishing costing them all three points.

Hull will be without striker Nikica Jelavic who underwent knee surgery, while midfielder Tom Huddlestone is suspended.

Chelsea’s only absentee this weekend is John Obi Mikel, who has a knee problem.

Hull is in good form, but they have never beaten Chelsea in the EPL—losing five times and drawing twice—and I think that bad streak will continue.

Prediction: 0-2

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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

Major League Soccer’s Season 20 is off to a bang up start, so let’s check in with this week’s Big – 5.

1) Minnesota In as MLS Expansion Plans Expand

24 by 2020 has been Commissioner Don Garber’s expansion plan for a while now, but with this week’s news that Minnesota United FC has been moved to the top of the queue, the commish will “evaluate potential potential expansion beyond 24.”

MLS draft  (Getty images)

Minnesota beat rivals to make it in the MLS Expansion. (Getty images)

Minnesota United FC beat out a rival Minnesota bid, backed by the NFL Vikings. United is owned by Bill McGuire, partnered by Minnesota Twins and Timbers owners. United’s intention to build an outdoor stadium was a key to the bid, which is expected to be finalized in the next month or so.

Atlanta and a new Los Angeles franchise are set to join the league in 2017, with Minneapolis and Miami, pending a stadium deal, on deck.

2) Ronaldo to MLS?!

So says Sports Illustrated, who say that the reigning Ballon d’Or winner is targeting 2018. Ronaldo will be 33 then, and his Real Madrid contract will have expired.

Ronaldo might just be enticed by the MLS. Getty Images)

Ronaldo might just be enticed by the MLS. Getty Images)

No surprise in Ronaldo’s preferred MLS destinations, Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Who knows if this will happen, but Ronaldo has enjoyed good health throughout his career, and should still be a world class player in 2018.

3) What’s Up With Norway?

Is it Bob Bradley? Or maybe it’s because it’s so much fun saying Tippeligaen? Who knows, but suddenly the Stabaek coach is not the only Yank pursuing his soccer dream in the land of the midnight sun.

Danny Cruz is the latest MLS player to leave for Norway. (Getty images)

Danny Cruz is the latest MLS player to leave for Norway. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

First, former New England Revolution defender A.J. Soares landed with Viking after a deal in Italy fell through. Soares was soon followed by Colorado’s young Jamaican international striker Deshorn Brown, and now Philadelphia winger Danny Cruz is on his way to Tippeligaen side Bodo/Glimt on a season long loan.

4) Seattle Sign for 10 More Years at CenturyLink

And why wouldn’t they? Every year Seattle lead the league in attendance by a wide margin. In 2014 the Sounders drew an average of 43,734 per match to the stadium they share with the Seahawks. Toronto were a long way back in second place, with an average crowd of 22,086.

Seattle will continue to play on CenturyLink. (Getty Images)

Seattle will continue to play at CenturyLink. (Getty Images)

The team also announced that a new (artificial) turf field will be installed prior to next season, now let’s see if the Sounders can deliver an MLS Cup to all of those loyal fans.

5) NYC FC Sells Out – Its Scarves

NYC FC, another team sharing a stadium, set single game MLS merchandise records at last Sunday’s home opener.

NYC FC sold out of the scarves. (Getty Images)

NYC FC sold out of the scarves. (Getty Images)

David Villa took care of business on the field, his goal and assist led the new club to a 2-0 win over New England. Off the field vendors was kept busy selling out the teams entire supply of 4,000 scarves, as well as woolen caps, jerseys etc.

Last Sunday’s cold weather might have something to do with the sales figures, but that is still a lot of scarves.

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Wambach to Skip 2015 NWSL Season
Wambach to Skip 2015 NWSL Season avatar

Abby Wambach will not be playing with the Western New York Flash in the upcoming NWSL season, preferring to concentrate on winning her first Women’s World Cup with the United States.

Wambach will be concentrating on her international duty.(Getty Images)

Wambach will be concentrating on her international duty.(Getty Images)

Wambach, 34, has scored 178 goals in 238 appearances for the U.S. WNT and has not been a guaranteed starter in recent months with the national team.

The NWSL season kicks off in April and Wambach will not want to suffer an injury that would limit her chances of participating in the World Cup, being held in Canada in June.

The forward suffered a LCL sprain in May 2014, which kept her sidelined for over a month and limited her appearances for the Flash, only making ten over the course of last season.

“I am so proud of our league and truly appreciate the support of the Sahlens and the fans of Western New York,” Wambach said. “At this stage of my career, I know what I need to prepare mentally and physically for this summer. My sole focus is to help bring a World Cup back to the U.S.”

Wambach  won the silver ball and bronze boot at the 2011 World Cup(Getty Images)

Wambach won the silver ball and bronze boot at the 2011 World Cup(Getty Images)

Wambach has scored 13 goals across three World Cups in her career, but has yet to win the tournament. The U.S. WNT finished third in 2003 and 2007 and lost on penalties in the 2011 final versus Japan.

“While it’s difficult to lose a player like Abby, we are grateful for her contributions over the past two years, not only to the Flash but to the entire Rochester and Western New York soccer community,” admitted Alex Sahlen, President of the Flash.

The news comes after a difficult offseason in which the Flash traded away US WNT midfielder Carli Lloyd and Australian forward Samantha Kerr. Lloyd and Kerr, along with Wambach, were the top three goal scorers in the 2014 season.

Wambach has had to make way for younger players in recent games with the national team, with Alex Morgan, Christen Press, and Amy Rodriguez leading the line on occasions.

She will hope this hiatus from professional soccer will give her the focus needed to lead the red, white, and blue to a third all-time World Cup title.

The U.S. kicks off the World Cup on June 8th in Winnipeg versus Australia before taking on Sweden and Nigeria in Group D.

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Villa Stars as NYC Top Revs in Yankee Stadium Debut
Villa Stars as NYC Top Revs in Yankee Stadium Debut avatar

Bronx, N.Y. – For the first time since 1976 when Pele and his Cosmos called Yankee Stadium home, a professional soccer team hosted a game in the Bronx this Sunday, with New York City Football Club emerging 2-0 victors over 2014 MLS Cup runner-up New England Revolution.

David Villa showed his quality on NYC FC home opener. (Getty Images)

David Villa showed his quality on NYC FC home opener. (Getty Images)

Like in Pele’s day the club’s star, in this case David Villa, showed his teammates how it’s done, scoring NYC’s first goal in the 19th minute, before setting up Patrick Mullins for the second half clincher.

Villa’s heroics took place in a city that is in many ways unrecognizable from the crumbling metropolis that Pele graced all those years ago, even the Stadium itself is new.

Change has come as well to the Stadium’s South Bronx neighborhood, which is no longer shorthand for urban blight, as it was in 1977 when Howard Cosell proclaimed on national television, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning,” while the Goodyear blimp projected that very image to the nation, as the Yankees prepared to play the L.A. Dodgers in game two of the World Series.

The stadium on NYC FC's home opener. (Getty Images)

The stadium on NYC FC’s home opener. (Getty Images)

And while the condition and size of the Yankee Stadium pitch has been much scrutinized these last few days, nobody seemed overly concerned back then that Pele and company might compromise the playing surface for a Yankee team that would advance to the Series in October 1976, the first time the Bronx Bombers had contested the Fall Classic in a dozen years.

That the infield dirt went uncovered for the Cosmos was just another thing no one kicked up about in those laissez faire days. No helicopter shots of the field were splashed across the back page of the New York Daily News, as happened this week, and if anyone asked Pele if the field was ok with him, his answer has been lost to history.

In contrast, after Sunday’s win, the overflow press contingent asked pretty much everyone to comment on the condition and width of the pitch, and NYC FC coach Jason Kreis soon tired of the topic.

Kreis came to New York with a MLS Cup win with Real Salt Lake on his coaching resume, along with a reputation for intensity. The latter was evident when the playing field was brought up during the postgame press conference. After complimenting the Yankee Stadium grounds crew for its work in getting the field prepared after a tough winter, the coach was asked about the fields width.

“Do you know how wide all the fields are in the league?” Kreis quizzed his inquisitor. The answer came back yes, between 74 and 80 yards. “You’re incorrect,” Kreis admonished, “all of them are between 70 and 75, so ours is four yards less than average.”

Kreis added that “quite a few are actually 72, so you’re making a big deal out of nothing.”

Villa and his teammates were similarly satisfied with the Yankee Stadium playing surface, and something else all could agree on was the Yankee Stadium atmosphere.

GotSoccer asked center back Jason Hernandez if, as a native New Yorker, he felt his foreign born teammates understood the significance of playing at Yankee Stadium. “I think,” Hernandez said, “a lot of them know in a general sense, but the fact of the matter is when you’re stepping onto this field you know it’s hallowed ground. It’s an honor to be there.”

Hernandez was very happy with his team’s performance, telling GotSoccer, “I really think that the guys rallied around the atmosphere that was created by the fans and the supporters.”

(Getty Images)

The atmosphere was eclectic.(Getty Images)

Mix Diskerud called that atmosphere, “awesome,” and actually credited the supporters with influencing the game. “In the second half you could really hear them,” Diskerud said. “I wanted to run extra yards and do extra things, just because of the fans, the 12th man as they call it, it’s super important.”

Interestingly, both Director of Football Claudio Reyna and Kreis were unsure what sort of support the team would generate for the home opener.

Both men used the word nervous to describe their pre match state of mind. Reyna said he was “nervous to get a result, about what message that sends out. But NYC’s architect was pleased that “the fans came away encouraged with the team, with their performance, and the pride that they showed.”

“It was,” Kreis conceded, “a nervous moment for me, “not to know what the fans would be like here, and to meet them for the very first time.”

All the NYC FC players that GotSoccer spoke with following the match were thrilled with that atmosphere and support from the Yankee Stadium crowd. Shay Facey, a 21 year old defender on loan from parent club Manchester City, who came in as a late sub, called the atmosphere, “fantastic.” “I’ve never seen anything like it, not even at the Etihad (Manchester City’s home ground). “I’ve been to all the Premier League stadiums, but it was just different here,” Facey said, “there was a warmth and togetherness.”

And while much has changed about New York since the Cosmos sublet Yankee Stadium, one constant is that New York City loves its stars.

The North American Soccer League of the Pele era was driven by stars, and no team employed the star system like the Cosmos. And if Major League Soccer, is to the old NASL,  as today’s Disneyfied Times Square is to the down and dirty Forty Deuce of the 1970’s, stars still draw.

Even the slow growth, single entity MLS realizes that, and has long brought in the likes of David Beckham and Thierry Henry to add a little flash to its steady as she goes business model. On Sunday David Villa introduced himself to New York City as only a true star could, and after the match even his teammates were star struck.

Mullins came off the bench to score. (Getty Images)

Mullins came off the bench to score. (Getty Images)

Patrick Mullins entered the game as an 83rd minute substitute for Sebastian Velasquez. Less than a minute later the former New England striker had scored his first NYC FC goal, teed up perfectly by his captain, Villa.

After the game Mullins could only laugh. “He’s such a special player,” the former two time College Player of the Year chuckled. “If me and the rest of the forwards get in the right position,” Mullin added, “we can really benefit off him.”

Khiry Shelton, a young forward who has made an impact in both NYC matches coming off the bench in the midfield, considers it an education playing alongside the Spanish master.

“He’s a teacher,” Shelton told GotSoccer. “We try to learn as much as we can, and we try to get to know him more, and to read and visualize what he does.”

NYC FC may not approach Sunday’s attendance of 43,500 again this season, we will have to wait and see on that. But if first impressions are as important as we believe, then the stargazers could find themselves making regular trips to the Bronx, and not just to see the Yankees.

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U17′s Qualify for the World Cup
U17′s Qualify for the World Cup avatar

It wasn’t easy, but the U.S. MNT is going to the U17 World Cup in Chile after beating Jamaica on penalty kicks Sunday night in Honduras. After 90 goalless minutes, it was on to overtime, where neither side was able to find the net, sending the game to penalty kicks with the final CONCACAF World Cup berth at stake.

There had been high expectations for this young side going into the tournament.(ISI Photos/John Dorton)

There had been high expectations for this young side going into the tournament.(ISI Photos/John Dorton)

The pressure was squarely on the shoulders of the Young Yanks, who seemed all set to cruise into a place in Chile after winning its first two games. But, as always seems to be the case for the U.S. in the male youth ranks, trouble was lurking.

Lurking in the form of a late goal against Honduras that forced the U.S. to settle for a 2-2 tie, preventing the team from claiming one of four CONCACAF spots in this autumn’s U17 Mundial.

Up next was Jamaica, but behind an inspirational performance from goalkeeper Jahmali Waite, the junior Reggae Boyz topped the Americans 1-0, setting up this knockout match with the World Cup in the balance.

The U.S. were unable to beat Waite again, but Will Pulisic kept a clean sheet for the U.S., and so it was on to overtime, and then penalty kicks.

After U.S. super prospect Christian Pulisic missed the first kick, the next four U.S. kickers hit the target. Jamaica matched the U.S., converting four of five pk’s, and it was it was on to sudden death.

This young team will be happy with their performance. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

The young Americans made it through on pi’s. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Alex Velela cooly fired past Waite, before Jamaica’s Alex Marshall blasted his shot wide of the U.S., net sending the American players into rapturous celebrations.

Canada fell 3-0 as Costa Rica claimed CONCACAF’s third World Cup spot, with the U.S claiming the fourth and final berth. Mexico beat Honduras 3-0 to claim the CONCACAF title, although the two nations had already qualified for Chile as Group winners.

24 nations will travel to Chile to compete for the U17 World Cup title, running from October 17 through November 8.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
JAM 0 0 0

Penalty Summary:
USA – Christian Pulisic (saved), Joe Gallardo (goal), Danny Barbir (goal), Alejandro Zendejas (goal), John Nelson (goal), Alexis Velela (goal)
JAM – Nicholas Nelson (goal), Jahwani Hinds (missed), Jahlanie Hammond (goal), Shandel Senior (goal), Ajeanie Talbott (goal), Alex Marshall (missed)

Lineups:
USA: 1-Will Pulisic, 2-Matthew Olosunde, 4-Alexis Velela, 15-Danny Barbir, 3-John Nelson; 18-Tyler Adams, Alejandro Zendejas (Capt.), 10-Christian Pulisic, 7-Haji Wright, 9-Joe Gallardo, 11-Josh Perez (8-Luca de la Torre, 81)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Kevin Silva, 6-Eric Calvillo, 13-McKinze Gaines, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 16-Tommy McCabe, 17-Pierre Da Silva, 19-Brandon Vazquez
Head coach: Richie Williams

JAM: 13-Jahmali Waite, 2-Javian Brown, 4-Shandel Senior (Capt.), 5-Jahwani Hinds, 6-Fabian Grant, 7-Peter Vassell (3-Donovan Dawkins, 59), 8-Tajea Brown (16-Jahlanie Hammond, 88), 9-Nicholas Nelson, 11-Zaire Bartley (10-Alex Marshall, 46), 17-Ajeanie Talbott, 19-Nathaniel Adamolekun
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Akeem Chambers, 12-Antoniel Mullings, 14-Hakim Williams, 15-Deshane Beckford, 18-Chris-Andrew Dixon, 20-Demar James
Head coach: Andrew Edwards

Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 17 / 4
Shots on Goal: 8 / 1
Saves: 1 / 8
Corner Kicks: 9 / 1
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Haji Wright (caution) 70th minute
USA – Alexis Velela (caution) 83
JAM – Tajea Brown (caution) 88

 

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New York City FC Ready to Take Field at Yankee Stadium
New York City FC Ready to Take Field at Yankee Stadium avatar

Wednesday was Media Day at Yankee Stadium for New York City Football Club and GotSoccer went along. With President of Football Operations, Claudio Reyna, coach Jason Kreis and select players seated at tables, media members circulated around the room in search of a quote.

(Getty Images)

Sunday’s opener will be played at the Yankee’s Stadium.(Getty Images)

With Sunday’s home opener rapidly approaching after an especially brutal New York City winter, the condition of the shared Yankee Stadium playing surface was bound to be a topic of discussion.

Recent remarks by N.Y. Yankee players insured as much, with Gold Glove first baseball Mark Teixeira bluntly saying of the ground where he makes his living, “it’s going to suck.”

GotSoccer asked Chris Wingert what he thought of the issue, and not surprisingly the veteran defender was too smart to further fan the flames of the controversy.

Chris Wingert #17 in action for New York City F.C. (Getty O,ages)

Chris Wingert #17 in action for New York City F.C. (Getty O,ages)

“As an athlete,” Wingert began, “I think it’s just something I can’t concern myself with. I have no control over how good or poor the field will be.” The Long Island native added, “we played on turf last week (in Orlando), we’re going to play on grass this week. We play on different fields throughout the season, and that’s not something I have any control over.” Wingert concluded, “I just try to focus on what I can control, and that’s doing my best in whatever the conditions are.”

Members of the Fourth Estate were unable to gauge the quality of the field for themselves, the pitch was strictly off limits. However, the back page of Thursday’s New York Daily News featured an aerial view, showing the field to be in worrisome shape.

Kreis echoed Wingerts remarks, telling the Daily News, “I haven’t looked. I don’t plan to. My mother told me not to worry about what I can’t control, and I don’t think they’ll put me on the grounds crew.”

That the much touted Yankee Stadium grounds crew is currently doing yeoman’s work to ensure that the filed will be in the best possible condition is undoubted. Still, anyone who watched last week’s opening MLS games in Philadelphia and Washington DC saw that Mother Nature can be a tough foe for even the most professional crew.

With Sunday’s home opener rapidly approaching the playing field wasn’t the only topic on the agenda for New York City’s newest sports franchise, and GotSoccer spoke to three of the biggest reasons that the club began its MLS journey with a 1-1 draw last week in Orlando.

Josh Saunders shook off the effects of a scary collision with a goal post to backstop NYC to the draw, Spanish superstar David Villa, quiet for much of the game, set up the New York goal, and Mikkel, call me Mix, Diskerud scored that first ever NYCFC goal.

The 34 year old Saunders was bloodied from Sunday’s collision, but when GotSoccer pulled up a chair the keeper said simply, “I feel fine,” when asked about his health.

Despite the newness of the club, Saunders calls his team, “an experienced and intelligent group, and we know how to play the game.” A two time MLS Cup winning goalkeeper with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Saunders was beaten just once by Orlando, denied a win and a shutout on a deflected free kick from Orlando star Kaka.

The veteran shrugged off the disappointment, saying “what are you going to do? You can’t change it, the ball bounces funny sometimes, and you use it for motivation.”

New York’s U.S. international midfielder Mix Diskerud’s performance against Orlando earned the Norwegian-American a spot on the MLS Team of the Week, and his goal was one of five nominated for Goal of the Week, although his fellow national teamer Clint Dempsey claimed the prize.

Mix Diskerud (Getty Images)

Mix Diskerud is enjoying his time at New York. (Getty Images)

Diskerud is enjoying the experience of playing on a team that is starting from scratch. “Yeah, not a lot of soccer players get to experience that,” Mix told GotSoccer, “unless you’re born in 1901 or something.”

Diskerud got a laugh with that answer, but he quickly turned serious acknowledging that, “it’s definitely difficult, but I love it. You have to build friendships quickly, connections on the field, and everything has to be done fast.”

One of the most important connections has already borne fruit, it was some clever interplay between Diskerud and Villa that resulted in NYC FC’s first ever goal.

Although much in demand, Villa, Spain’s all time leading goal scorer gave GotSoccer a moment just before he headed back out into his new city.

Villa’s translator was unnecessary when GotSoccer asked if spending time in the city has been helpful. “Si, sis, si,” was Villa’s answer, before the translator stepped in to add, “it has definitely helped a lot to get some time to get used to the city and to get to know the club.”

Unlike NYC’s other high priced DP, Frank Lampard, Villa avoided controversy, cutting short, rather than extending his overseas loan, coming to New York after playing just four games of a 10 day contract for Melbourne City.

NYC FC unveiling Lampard signing for the club. (Courtesy of NYCFC)

NYC FC unveiling Lampard signing for the club. (Courtesy of NYCFC)

While Lampard angered NYC FC fans by staying with Manchester City until the summer, Villa became the face of the new franchise, and a role model for his new teammates. The superstar seemed a bit uncomfortable with the notion, saying modestly, “I’ll continue to work hard, so if they look up to me I need to set an example as captain, and to continue to work hard for the team.”

Sunday at 5:00 PM Villa will lead NYC FC out onto the Yankee Stadium pitch against 2014 MLS Cup runner ups New England Revolution.

It will be just the first of 17 regular season home games for the Yankees new tenants. Hopefully the story on Sunday and throughout the season, will be the product on the field, and not the field itself.

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Gold Cup Schedule Announced
Gold Cup Schedule Announced avatar

CONCACAF has released the 2014 Gold Cup schedule, and the host U.S. finds itself in the toughest group in the regional Championship.

Jermaine Jones celebrating his world cup goal. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Jermaine Jones celebrating his world cup goal in Brazil 2014. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The Americans are grouped with Panama, Haiti and most likely Honduras, unless Los Catrachos are upended by French Guiana in a playoff qualifier.

As winners of the 2014 Gold Cup the U.S. would advance directly to the 2017 Confederations Cup, if they can win the competition. However, if Jurgen Klinsmann’s crew don’t take the title this summer, they will face a showdown with the 2015 champion for the right to represent CONCACAF in Russia one year before the 2018 World Cup.

The Gold Cup will be played out across 12 cities in the U.S. and one, Toronto, in Canada, beginning on July 7 and concluding with the Championship game July 26, at Lincoln Financial Field.

The semifinals will be in Atlanta on July 22, and the third place game, a first for the Gold Cup, will be played at the Philadelphia Union’s home field, PPL Park, the day before the Championship match.

2015 CONCACAF GOLD CUP SCHEDULE:

GROUP A: USA, Panama, Haiti, Winner Play-in Series (Honduras or French Guiana)
GROUP B: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Canada, Jamaica
GROUP C: México, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Cuba

July 7, 2015
Toyota Stadium (Dallas, TX)
5:00 PM Panama vs. Haiti (FOX Sports 2/UDN)
7:30 PM USA vs. Honduras/French Guiana (FOX Sports 1/UniMas)

July 8, 2015
StubHub Center (Los Angeles, CA)
8:00 PM Costa Rica vs. Jamaica (FOX Sports 2/UniMas)
10:30 PM El Salvador vs. Canada (FOX Sports 2/UniMas)

July 9, 2015
Soldier Field (Chicago, IL)
7:00 PM Trinidad and Tobago vs. Guatemala (FOX Sports 2/UDN)
9:30 PM Mexico vs. Cuba (FOX Sports 1/UniMas)

July 10, 2015
Gillette Stadium (Boston, MA)
6:00 PM Honduras/French Guiana vs. Panama (FOX Sports 2/UniMas)
8:30 PM USA vs. Haiti (FOX Sports 1/UniMas)

July 11, 2015
BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)
6:30 PM Jamaica vs. Canada (FOX Sports 2/Univision)
9:00 PM Costa Rica vs. El Salvador (FOX Sports 2/Univision)

July 12, 2015
University of Phoenix Stadium (Phoenix, AZ)
6:30 PM Trinidad and Tobago vs. Cuba (FOX Sports 2/Univision)
9:00 PM Guatemala vs. Mexico (FOX Sports 2/Univision)

July 13, 2015
Sporting Park (Kansas City, MO)
7:00 PM Haiti vs. Honduras/French Guiana (FOX Sports 1/UDN)
9:30 PM Panama vs. United States (FOX Sports 1/UniMas)

July 14, 2015
BMO Field (Toronto, CAN)
6:00 PM Jamaica vs. El Salvador (FOX Sports 1/UniMas)
8:30 PM Canada vs. Costa Rica (FOX Sports 1/UniMas)

July 15, 2015
Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)
6:00 PM Cuba vs. Guatemala (FOX Sports 2/UniMas)
8:30 PM Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago (FOX Sports 2/UniMas)

July 18, 2015
M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)
5:00 PM & 8:00 PM
1A vs. 3B/C* (FOX/Univision)
2A vs. 1B*(FOX Sports 2/Univision)

July 19, 2015
Met Life Stadium (New York, NY)
4:30 PM & 7:30 PM
1C-3A/B*(FOX Sports 1/Univision)
2C-2B*(FOX Sports 1/Univision)

July 22, 2015
Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA)
6:00 PM SF 1* (FOX Sports 1/UniMas)
9:00 PM SF 2* (FOX Sports 2/UniMas)

July 25, 2015
PPL Park (Philadelphia, PA)
4:00 PM 3rd Place (FOX Sports 2/Univision)

July 26, 2015
Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, PA)
7:30 PM Championship Final (FOX Sports 1/Univision)

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EPL Week 29 – Top Picks and Predictions
EPL Week 29 – Top Picks and Predictions avatar

NEWS

Kane and Pulis bag monthly awards

Tottenham forward Harry Kane and West Bromwich manager Tony Pulis have been awarded for their performances in February with the Barclay monthly awards.

Kane picks up the award for the second month in succession after also winning the player of the month award for January. The 21-year-old has scored eleven goals in the EPL so far this year, nine of which came in January and February.

Harry Kane has been outstanding for Tottenham.(Getty Images)

Harry Kane has been outstanding for Tottenham.(Getty Images)

“It’s an honor to get this award once in a season, let alone twice in two months,” he said.

“Winning against Arsenal and getting both goals was a special day for myself and for the club.”

Kane could make history by becoming the first player to win the award three months in a row, having already bagged two goals this month.

“To make history would be special,” he said. “I’ve scored a couple of goals this month and there are still a few more games to go so hopefully I will be able to get a few more goals and we will see what happens. I am looking forward to the games ahead.”

Tony Pulis(Getty Images)

Tony Pulis has turned around West Brom’s season.(Getty Images)

Meanwhile, West Bromwich manager Tony Pulis was named manager of the month after steering the Baggies to an unbeaten month of results in the EPL in February.

Pulis, who only took over as manager of West Brom in January, guided his side to a 2-2 draw at Burnley, a 2-0 victory over Swansea at home, before drawing 0-0 away to Sunderland and finally a 1-0 win over Southampton.

“I’m very happy and honoured,” said Pulis upon receiving is award. “Since I came to the club everyone has made me feel welcome: that’s the players, the training ground staff and, most importantly, the fans.

“What we need to do now is make sure we finish the season on a high.”

Pulis receives the award for the second time in his career after claiming the award last April when he was manager of Crystal Palace.

Votes for the awards came from the Barclays Panel, a group of former players, journalists and key football stakeholders.

 

Evans branded ‘simply disgusting’ by FA report

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans’ actions of spitting at Papiss Cisse have been described as “simply disgusting” by an FA panel that found him guilty.

Evans, 27, was involved in an incident with Newcastle forward Cisse during United’s 1-0 win over the Magpies on March 4. Television footage suggested the players had spat at one another, with Evans the instigator.

Cisse can count himself unlucky to get 1 more game ban than Evans the instigator. (Getty Images)

Cisse can count himself unlucky to get 1 more game ban than Evans the instigator. (Getty Images)

Senegal international Papiss Cisse accepted the initial charge and apologized for his behavior. However, Evans denied spitting at Cisse and fought the charge. Nevertheless, he was found guilty along with Cisse of spitting and the reasons for the punishment given to Evans and Cisse, 29, were released by the FA on Thursday.

“The ordinary man in the street will find his action to be simply disgusting,” said the three-man panel about Evans.

“It should not be allowed in any walk of life, let alone any football field.”

Evans was given a six-game ban by the FA, whilst Papiss Cisse was given a seven-game ban, Cisse was give one game extra as he was already suspended in December for violent conduct.

“It is clear that Mr Evans is looking directly and indeed aggressively at Mr Cisse. His lips are ‘pursed’ and he is close to Mr Cisse,” added the report by an independent regulatory commission.

“If he was, as alleged to be the case, a person who ‘habitually spits’, then the commission were concerned as to why he did not turn his head away from Mr Cisse when so spitting.

“If that had been a family member or indeed another team member or his manager in front and below him would he still have carried out the same manoeuvre?

“Mr Evans had (and has) a duty of care, if spitting for whatever reason, not to direct the same in the general direction of an opponent, or indeed anyone else. The video clips clearly show that he failed in his duty of care.”

The six-game ban means Evans will miss United’s crucial games against Tottenham, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Everton.

 

Bruce signs extension with Hull

Steve Bruce has confirmed a three-year extension to manage Hull City.

“I’m delighted to have signed,” said Bruce. “This season has been difficult at times but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed managing this club.”

Steve Bruce (Getty Images)

Steve Bruce was delighted with his new contract. (Getty Images)

Bruce took charge of the Tigers in 2012 leading them to promotion to the EPL and their first ever appearance in the FA Cup final last season, where they finished runners-up to Arsenal.

The former Manchester United player started his managerial career at Sheffield United in 1998 and has since managed Huddersfield Town, Wigan, Crystal Palace, Birmingham City, Sunderland and Hull.

 

Predictions

Week 28 Predictions

 

Result

My Preds

Luke

Samuel

TUESDAY
Aston Villa v West Brom 2-1 1-1 2-1 1-2
Hull v Sunderland 1-1 1-0 1-1 1-0
Southampton v Crystal Palace 1-0 2-0 3-0 2-1
WEDNESDAY
Man City v Leicester 2-0 3-0 3-0 4-0
Newcastle v Man Utd 0-1 1-2 1-1 1-2
QPR v Arsenal 1-2 1-2 0-2 2-3
Stoke v Everton 2-0 1-0 1-1 1-0
Tottenham v Swansea 3-2 1-0 3-1 2-1
West Ham v Chelsea 0-1 0-2 0-2 0-2
Liverpool v Burnley 2-0 2-0 4-0 2-1
POINTS: 12-points 12-points 8-points

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.

Last week I got EIGHT correct results, including TWO perfect scores, to give me a grand total of 12-points. However, it was not enough to beat challenger LUKE who also managed to score 12-points.

The challengers have brought a new dynamic to the predictions and forced me to up my game. Do you think you can have what it takes to beat me and the rest of the challengers in Week 29?

If so, feel free to leave you predictions below.

 

Week 29 Predictions

Week 29

My Predictions

SATURDAY
Crystal Palace v QPR 2-1
Arsenal v West Ham 2-0
Leicester v Hull 1-2
Sunderland v Aston Villa 0-1
West Brom v Stoke 2-1
Burnley v Man City 0-2
SUNDAY
Chelsea v Southampton 2-0
Everton v Newcastle 1-1
Man Utd v Tottenham 2-2
MONDAY
Swansea v Liverpool 1-1

Previews

SATURDAY

Arsenal v West Ham

It’s another London derby for Arsenal this week, as the Gunners from north London take on the Hammers from east London.

The Gunners edged past west London rivals QPR last week with a narrow 2-1, but were not at their most convincing. However, they followed that victory up with another 2-1 away win, but this time at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Arsenal will be full of confidence after a convincing win against Man Utd. (Getty Images)

Arsenal will be full of confidence after a convincing win against Man Utd. (Getty Images)

They gave up possession to their United, but defended well and looked devastating on the break, and could well have scored a couple more goals if not for the heroics of United keeper David De Gea.

Meanwhile, West Ham’s miserable run of 2015 continued with the Hammers losing 1-0 at home to EPL leaders Chelsea. West Ham were actually the better side against Chelsea, but you don’t get points for being the better side and the Hammers have now only won once in their last 11 games since Christmas.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlande-Chamberlain looks set to be out for a month with a hamstring strain, however, Mathieu Flamini is back in contention after recovering from a similar problem.

West Ham seem likely to be without striker Enner Valencia, who suffered a deep laceration after stepping on a broken teacup at home, while Alex Song is also a doubt with a knee injury.

The Hammers also have defensive troubles with James Tomkins and Winston Reid both out and Arsenal loanee Carl Jenkinson ineligible to play against his parent club. However, midfielder Morgan Amalfitano returns after a three-game ban.

Arsenal are in good form this year winning 11 of 13 games since New Year’s Day, including seven wins from eight league matches, and will be brimming with confidence following their victory at Old Trafford earlier in the week.

The Gunners have a great record against the Hammers, having won their last nine league and cup games against West Ham, including eight Premier League matches.

Earlier in the season I may have gone for a West Ham victory, but they have recorded just one victory in their last 11 Premier League games since Christmas Day (D5, L5).

Prediction: 2-0

 

Burnley v Man City

Burnley lost last week and needs to start picking up points quickly if they want to stay in with a chance of avoiding relegation. The Clarets lost 2-0 at home to a good Liverpool side and have now only won one game in their last 12 Premier League games (D4, L7), earning seven points.

Manchester City have struggled to sustain consistency in their style of play. (Getty images)

Manchester City have struggled to sustain consistency in their style of play. (Getty images)

City beat Leicester City 2-0 last week to maintain their pursuit of EPL leaders Chelsea. However, the EPL champions still remain unconvincing and have won just three of their last 10 games in thee league and cup (D3, L4).

Burnley will be without midfielder Matt Taylor who is not quite ready to return from an Achilles injury.

Manchester City could recall club captain Vincent Kompany and full back Pablo Zabaleta, who were both unused subs against Leicester.

Burnley are winless in their last 13 league and cup games against City (D4, L7). However, they did fight back from two goals down earlier in the season to earn a draw away to City, so the Clarets have what it takes to match the champions.

City do have an important game against Barcelona on Wednesday and may have one eye on that games, however, I don’t think they want to let Chelsea get any farther away from them and I expect them to do everything to win this game.

Prediction: 0-2

 

SUNDAY

Chelsea v Southampton

Chelsea won 1-0 away to West Ham last week to maintain five-point lead at the top of the EPL. However, the Blues did not play particularly well and were fortunate to leave with all three-points.

Chelsea  will be looking to redeem themselves after a disgraceful performance in the Champions League.(Getty Images)

Chelsea will be looking to redeem themselves after a disgraceful performance in the Champions League.(Getty Images)

They had no such luck in mid-week though, as they were dumped out of the Champions League by French side PSG. Chelsea actually took the lead twice against a 10-man PSG side, but look nervy and in the end the better side went through.

Southampton stopped their mini slump with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. The goals have dried up for the Saints recently and they look like they lack the stamina to keep up in the race for Champions League places. Nevertheless, new coach Ronald Koeman has done a terrific job with a side many thought would be relegated this season.

Southampton have shown they are a good side and have what it takes to play the big sides, and may feel it is a good time to face Jose Mourinho’s side. However, even though the Blues experienced disappointment midweek I don’t expect them to have the ‘blues’ and I predict they will win this one.

Prediction: 2-0

 

Man Utd v Tottenham

This is arguably the biggest game of the weekend as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs battle it out in a game that could prove decisive to who finishes in the top four at the end of the season.

Manchester United beat Newcastle 1-0 away last week to stay within one point of third place Arsenal. However, they lost on Monday night to Arsenal in the Cup and suddenly look like they could struggle to finish in the top four.

This game could be decisive in for a Champions League Spot. (Getty Images)

This game could be decisive in for a Champions League Spot. (Getty Images)

The Red Devils have been on quite an impressive run, but without looking convincing. In fact, in most games they have looked rather fortunate to be on the winning side and their luck may be beginning to run out.

United have a tough schedule ahead of them facing Tottenham, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Everton in their next six games and with only four-points separating fourth from seventh, the Red Devils know they cannot afford to have any slip ups.

Tottenham bounced back from defeat in the Carling Cup first with a 3-2 win at home to Swansea and then with a 2-1 win away to QPR. Harry Kane surprisingly didn’t score in Spurs’ win over Swansea, but made up for it with a brace against QPR.

Manchester United will be without Angel Di Maria and Jonny Evans, who are both suspended. Robin van Persie remains out with a calf problem, while Marcos Rojo is a doubt, but Ashley Young should be fit to play after shaking off a knock received on Monday.

Manchester United have not been playing well and may be short of confidence having lost to Arsenal earlier in the week. However, Old Trafford is never an easy place to go, especially for Spurs, who have won only once there in 24-years last season.

However, the Red Devils’ defense has looked leaky all season and I expect Harry Kane to give them a torrid time, but Manchester United simply cannot afford to lose this game and I don’t think they will.

Prediction: 2-2

 

MONDAY

Swansea v Liverpool

When Swansea sold Wilfred Bony to Manchester City many, including myself, thought they would really struggle, but the Swans have done relatively well and Liverpool will not be looking forward to the task ahead of them on Monday night.

Swansea lost out narrowly 3-2 to Spur last week, but did tremendously well to work their way back into the game, especially after striker Bafetimbi Gomis collapsed early in the game needing four minutes of attention before going off on a stretcher in a conscious state.

A number of players were visibly upset but despite seeing their attacking strength greatly depleted Swansea still managed to give Spurs a tough game and score twice.

Sturridge's return to the Liverpool lineup has improved their offensive play. (Getty Images)

Sturridge’s return to the Liverpool lineup has improved their offensive play. (Getty Images)

Liverpool’s great run in 2015 continued as the Red saw off Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moore to move with two-points of rivals Manchester United in fourth place. The Reds remain the only side in the EPL yet to lose a game in 2015, having won 7 of the 9 EPL games they have played in 2015.

However, their legs looked tired in their 0-0 draw at home to Championship side Blackburn in the FA Cup and they were recently beaten in Istanbul in the Europa Cup, so they are beatable.

Nevertheless, I don’t think Swansea possess enough attacking might to beat Liverpool so I’ll go for a stalemate.

Prediction: 1-1

 

 

 

 

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