Soccer birthdays: Slim pickin’s today on birthdays. You saw where U.S. striker Alex Morgan turned 23 yesterday, right?
Ahead on the blog today*: Major League Soccer rankings ahead of Round 18 games, any transfer news from here or abroad and some set-up ahead of two MLS contests tonight.
Big Important Stories of the Day: Transfer news? Yes there will be transfer news. (Or at the very least, transfer speculation, rumor and whispers.)
What we should all watch on TV: Two MLS games begin Round 18 tonight, if you have MLS Live or the Direct Kick package:
Houston – Chicago (8:30 pm)
Portland – San Jose (10:30 pm)
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Mark Dodd
U.S. women’s striker Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13): Thank you for all the birthday wishes!!
Soccer writer Daniel Robertson (@Bigdsoccer): Under Reported: Kevin Hartman will join the MLS 400 games played club on Wednesday. He will be the only member.
MLSSoccer.com writer Matthew Doyle (@MLS_Analyst), having a little fun with the ways of the British press: Frank Lampard to the toilet. You read it here first.
San Jose Earthquakes striker and MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski (pictured) (@ChrisWondo), answering fan questions yesterday via Twitter: @CallinBaykur: @ChrisWondo what do you like to do on your free time away from the game?” playin golf and playin with my dogs
Rog and Davo marvel at Mo Salah’s four goal, one dime haul in Liverpool’s 5-0 beatdown of Watford, analyze Jose Mourinho’s recent rants about football heritage at Manchester United, and recap Rog’s family trip to Stoke vs. Everton.
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A 106-year-old footballing relic has been snatched from a house in England.
The home of the 82-year-old grandson of former Barnsley player Philip Bratley was burglarized last weekend according to the BBC and other reports, and among the items stolen was an “invaluable” FA Cup winner’s medal from 1912.
That year, Barnsley defeated West Bromwich Albion in the finals of the 41st FA Cup, with Bratley scoring the winning goal in the semifinal replay over Swindon Town. He went on to make over 100 appearances for Barnsley between 1910 and 1014 before moving transferring to Liverpool, where he spent one season before he left during the first World War.
“This item is of great sentimental value to the family and belonged to the 82-year-old victim’s grandfather who, at the time, played for Barnsley,” the South Yorkshire police said. “The family is extremely upset that this, along with many of their belongings, have been stolen. If you have any information please get in touch so we can try and reunite this invaluable item with its rightful owner.”
Barnsley has offered to assist the South Yorkshire police in their search for the stolen artifact, as those with any information are encouraged to contact either entity to share what they may know.
French striker Antoine Griezmann is no stranger to seeing his name in the transfer rumor mill, but that familiarity doesn’t make it any more enjoyable for the Atletico Madrid attacker (who celebrates his 27th birthday on Wednesday).
Long-tipped for a move to either Barcelona or Manchester United, Griezmann knows one thing: He wants his future sorted before the World Cup.
[ MORE: Key newcomers for USMNT friendly ]
“I want to travel to Russia without this concern,” he told L’Equipe. “It’s not about knowing where I’ll play, but about having the peace of mind if I’m still in one place or another.
“It may be boring, but I have told my sister that, whether I stay or not, this will have to be resolved beforehand. What bothers me the most is that everyone asks me about this issue.”
That’s both honest and reasonable, and we can imagine it’s not a blast to answer questions on your future every day. He also has a contract through 2021-22, which won’t make any transfer a simple one.
Griezmann has 23 goals and 13 assists in all competitions for Atleti this season, as La Liga’s second place side remains alive in the UEFA Europa League. He’s scored 106 goals for Atleti since arriving from Real Sociedad.
Four years, two Homegrowns.
That’s the decent track record for New York City FC, which has spotted a second youngster from amongst its ranks in 15-year-old Joe Scally.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
Scally joins United States youth international James Sands as Homegrown Players from NYCFC. Here’s USMNT legend and NYCFC technical director Claudio Reyna:
“Joe has been one of the top performers in the Academy for the past few seasons and represented US Soccer at U-15 and U-17 level.”
“He has all of the attributes we look for in a right-back: he’s strong in defense and can support in attack to help create chances from wide areas.”
Sands was signed last summer, and played 23 minutes for NYCFC against Colorado in his lone senior appearance.