U.S WNT roster for 2012 Summer Olympics unveiled

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Pia Sundhage announced the USWNT’s 18-player roster for the 2012 Summer Olympics. What better way to kick off today’s pre-match festivities?

First off, the names:

Goalkeepers: Nicole Barnhart, Hope Solo

Defenders: Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kelley O’Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn

Midfielders: Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe

Forwards: Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach

And the alternates:

Lori Lindsey (M), Jill Loyden (GK), Meghan Klingenberg (M), Christen Press (F)

So, any surprises? None that would quite move the needle on the Richter scale, but additions and omissions always provide a few talking points.

– For one, no Ali Krieger. The right back had an outstanding World Cup last summer, but sustained a serious knee injury thanks to a horrific tackle in Olympic qualifying earlier this year (a replay if you can bear it). This video highlighted the steady progress she’s been making in rehab. It wasn’t enough, however. Something that’s really jarring? Krieger will be 31 the next time a major international tournament rolls around.

– Lori Lindsey also missed out on a berth on the first-team squad. The central midfielder holds 30 senior caps and made one World Cup start last summer. Erstwhile striker Lauren Cheney has essentially made her home in an already congested midfield, which may have pushed other candidates out. It will be interesting to see what kind of Plan B Sundhage hopes to adopt in midfield if the tried-and-tested formula fails to come off in the U.K.

– No sign of Stephanie Cox – not even as an alternate. The 26 year-old defender might not be first-choice, but has proven to be a handy player to keep on call. Cox has won 82 caps with the senior team, the last four coming in 2012. She got a run-out in two World Cup matches last summer and tallied an assist. Cox made two most recent World Cup rosters as well as the 2008 Olympics squad which makes her absence particularly conspicuous.

– Sydney Leroux made the final cut and could inherit Alex Morgan’s super sub role. Listed forward Amy Rodriguez has been pushed back to the wing in recent games, giving Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan an opportunity to further develop a strike partnership. At age 22, Leroux is the youngest player in the squad. Her international career has gotten off to a hot start. The Canadian-born striker has scored seven goals in her first nine appearances with the senior team.

– This squad has experience to boot. Only six players are making their Olympic team debuts. Eleven won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The average age of the 18-player roster comes in under 28 and the average number of caps on the roster is 91. Christie Rampone’s extraordinary cap total likely has an inflationary effect on the numbers, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

– The team first faces France in Glasgow on July 25, Colombia in Glasgow on July 28, and North Korea in Manchester on July 31.

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.