Perhaps it wasn’t a miracle as much as it was a sports miracle, but it never gets old, and not because it’s the United States doing it. If any team had this penchant for the dramatic, we would be enthralled. We’re a U.S.-based blog writing for mostly U.S.-based readers, so a lot of what you see in the comments and linked-to content might transcend enthralled and embrace enamored. For the rest of the world, there’s still plenty to love about a team that engineered three comebacks and capped off a semifinal victory with a 123rd minute game-winner.
After the game, U.S. Soccer’s Studio 90 caught up with three of Monday’s key players: Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, and Abby Wambach. The trio talk about the team’s undying confidence, the goals that pushed them to the final, and their respect for a rival that upped that took their game to a new level:
Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table
That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.
Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.
A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:
“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”
She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there havebeen protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.
An MLS mock draft is always tricky given the wildly varying opinions on players from the college game. This year, it’s even trickier as clubs without picks and some with multiple first round picks may be looking to move up and down even more than the norm.
Here’s how we think the draft could play out:
LAFC – Tomas Hilliard-Arce, CB, Stanford
LA Galaxy – Jon Bakero, FW, Wake Forest
DC United – Francis Atuahene, FW, Michigan
Montreal – Joao Moutinho, LB, Akron
Minnesota – Wyatt Omsberg, CB, Dartmouth
Orlando City – Ema Twumasi, FW, Wake Forest
Montreal – Chris Mueller, FW, Wisconsin
New England – Mo Adams, MF, Syracuse
New England – Chris Lema, MF, Georgetown
Real Salt Lake – Justin Fiddes, LB, Washington
FC Dallas – Marcelo Acuna, FW, Virginia Tech
San Jose – Brandon Bye, RB, Western Michigan
Sporting KC – Ed Opoku, FW, Virginia
Atlanta – Alex Roldan, MF, Seattle
Chicago – Mason Toye, FW, Indiana
New York Red Bulls – Alan Winn, MF, North Carolina
Vancouver – Tristan Blackmon, RB, Pacific
Sporting KC – Jon Gallagher, FW, Notre Dame
New York City FC – Daniel Musovski, FW, UNLV
Houston – Mo Thiaw, FW, Louisville
Columbus – Brian White, FW, Duke
Seattle – Tim Kubel, MF, Louisville
Toronto FC – Oliver Shannon, MF, Clemson
There are a few players to keep an eye on for the later rounds that I won’t project for the first round due almost exclusively to first person bias (Some I’ve seen play in college, others at other levels). Afonso Pinheiro from Albany produced like crazy until this season, and Bowling Green defender Alexis Souahy has a skill set that could really transmit to the MLS level.
Again, before we lay it out, we know that both clubs would not be able to use Cup-tied players in the UCL and that gives the rumor its unrealistic bent.
Chelsea reportedly is willing to send $62 million and striker Michy Batshuayi on loan to Roma in exchange for Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmeiri. Reports say Roma is holding out for another $20 million, potentially add-ons.
Dzeko isn’t producing at his otherworldly rate of last season, but is far and away i Lupi’s leading scorer and bagged a brace against Chelsea in the UCL. And Batshuayi scored in Chelsea’s first two matches of the tournament.
There is something to the rumor, at least in terms of Emerson. The London Evening Standard quotes the player’s agent as saying talks are ongoing and the move is a “dream” one for Emerson, who is behind Aleksandar Kolarov on the left back depth chart since returning from injury.
West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Pardew is the latest to find himself baffled at the prices on the transfer market.
To be fair to the Englishman, 56, it doesn’t sound like he’s raving in ‘old man yelling at the sky’ fashion. Rather he thinks the numbers are hard for fans to gauge and perhaps it’s causing a disconnect.
And for him, at least, it’s a challenge to sort out whether the prices he’s being quoted are reasonable relative to the market. That makes sense, considering that as Newcastle boss in 2012 he sold Fraser Forster to Celtic for about $3 million and PSG bought Yohan Cabaye — then 28 — from him for $26 million.
Both fees would be a little different right now, we think (from the BBC).
“It’s difficult with the prices now to gauge what’s good value,” Pardew said. “We live in a hyper-inflated world because of the TV money received by the football clubs. Therefore, transfers and wages are going way out of kilter with real life. I think we’re all losing the plot with the figures. It’s just becoming, ‘Oh okay,’ and not even reacting to things any more.”
Now, to play devil’s advocate, if Pardew is actually just old man yelling at the sky, he’d better get out of the manager’s box. The fees aren’t changing for top clubs, which is why Jonny Evans is at risk from a Man City bid but not Newcastle United or Crystal Palace. And the TV money he talks about is going to allow clubs like WBA to hold onto players by offering better wages if they choose that route.
But it’s a fair sentiment regarding how to gauge these numbers. While it’s usually a bit laughable when fans and writers estimate whether clubs have paid too much or sold for too little, managers and administrators risk looking foolish if they agree too low or too high a fee relative to other teams.