U.S. Women’s striker Alex Morgan; examining her amazing goal totals – Part I

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Alex Morgan is many things to many people. Her knack for scoring late, vital goals has endeared her to the USWNT faithful. She’s poised to become the face of the USWNT, if not the women’s game as a whole. Her spread in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition has, ahem, exposed her to wider audiences.

For once, it appears the hype is wholly justified. Morgan has plenty of substance to match the star power. And she’s got the stats to back it up.

ESPN’s stats sage Paul Carr crunched the numbers and found that her goals-per-international game average bests the likes of Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm. Paul also noted via Twitter the myriad ways in which her 22 career goals have been scored.

Here are a few other stats that illustrate how impressive – and indeed historic – her young career has been so far:

  • The closing stages of matches are dubbed ‘Alex Morgan Time’ for a reason. Fourteen of her 22 total goals have come after the 60th minute.
  • Morgan has had five multi-goal games thus far. All have occurred in matches in which she’s started.
  • Speaking of which, Morgan initially made her name as a dependable super sub. Ten of her first 12 international goals came in games in which she came off the bench. 2012 has seen Pia Sundhage give Morgan more license to start. It’s certainly paid off. She has made eight starts this year and has scored and/or assisted in five of those games.
  • Flat track bully? Au contraire, mon frére. Sixteen of Morgan’s 22 goals have come against teams ranked top FIFA 20 in the world. Make it 18 if you expand it to top 25. Lest we forget 24th ranked New Zealand.
  • The former Cal Bear became a known commodity to the women’s soccer community during the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, scoring picturesque goals (like this one in the final) and winning many Chilean hearts. Morgan formed a dynamic strike partnership with Sydney Leroux. Leroux has been formally introduced to the senior USWNT set-up this year and the two have picked up where they left off. The pair has either scored and/or assisted 47.2% of the USWNT’s goal total this year.

(Be sure to check back for Part II in about an hour. Meanwhile…)

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Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

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Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

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On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET