Birthdays of Note: Former England player and longtime Ireland manager Jack Charlton turns 72. In his playing days Jack Charlton (brother of Bobby) was a center half. Not a “center back.” They didn’t know what a center back was in England back then. It was a center half. In fact, it was a centre half. Now Marvell Wynne of the Colorado Rapids, for instance, he’s a center back. And he turns 26 today.
Big Important Story of the Day: With the European Championships now just one month away (beginning June 8), expect to see more stories like this one, where an official of the world players’ union worried over violence in and around the grounds. Or this one, where we see the world of politics and sport intersect.
What you should watch on TV: Liverpool meets Chelsea for the second time in four days (3 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel). Chelsea still has an outside chance of climbing into a Champions League qualification spot; Liverpool, having just lost to the Blues in Saturday’s FA Cup final, gets the chance to finish off those hopes.
Ahead on the blog today*: Early reports from the initial facility tours offered down at BBVA Compass Stadium plus some early talk on the upcoming U.S. national team camp.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Tony DiCicco
Twitter dap: MLSSoccer.com writer Jonah Freedman (@jonahfreedman), on Monday’s Premiership relegation development: “Anyone else surprised that Blackburn actually had stayed up this long? To me, far more stunning than their relegation.”
We’ll leave you with this: I always wonder why more players don’t figure this out: If you want to slow play legally when challenging for a ball near the sideline, don’t kick it into the stands. Instead, whack in off signboard, back into the field of play.
*Always subject to change; you know how it is
Bayern Munich has confirmed that legendary goalscorer Gerd Muller is suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Muller’s 70th birthday is in November, and the club published a statement that no celebrations would be held due to his ongoing treatment.
One of the greatest strikers to ever play the game, Muller scored 525 goals during his 15-years with Bayern, the most in club history. Karl Heinze-Rummenigge is Bayern’s second leading goalscorer with 218 goals.
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Rummenigge currently serves as the club’s director, and spoke about Muller’s legacy.
Gerd Müller is one of the all-time greats of world football. Without his goals, Bayern Munich and German football would not be what it is today.
There will probably never be another goalscorer like Gerd, yet despite all his successes, he was always very humble and reserved, which particularly impressed me.
He was a fantastic team-mate and is a friend. Gerd will always enjoy a place in the Bayern family.
After he ended his playing career, he brought his experience as a coach of youngsters to the club, helping define the likes of world champions Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller, and we are also grateful to him for this.
Muller won the Golden Boot at the 1970 World Cup with ten goals, helping West Germany to a third-place finish. That same year he won the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, and helped the West German team capture the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974.
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He is one of the top scorers in German national team history with 68 goals, second only to Miroslav Klose’s 71. However, Muller reached 68 goals in just 62 caps, while it took Klose 137 appearances to reach his mark. His 14 World Cup goals are third all-time to Klose (16) and Ronaldo (14).
The United States U-23 team has gotten off to a great start in Olympic qualifying, winning their opening two matches by a combined score of 9-2.
Already into the semifinals, the U.S. faces Panama tonight in Colorado for a chance to stay perfect in Group A play. The U.S. needs a draw or a win to lock up the top spot in the group.
UPDATE: Due to Canada’s 2-2 draw against Cuba, the U.S. has clinched first place in Group A.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]
One of the keys to the United States’ success has been balance, as the team has nine goals from seven different players. Andreas Herzog’s side has also gotten off to quick starts in both matches, as Jordan Morris scored in the opening minute of play in a 3-1 win over Canada. Against Cuba, the U.S. had a 3-0 lead heading into halftime.
You can watch the match live on NBC Universo, or online by clicking the link below.
Group A — USA vs. Panama
When: 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
Live Stream: Telemundo