Birthdays of note: Gabriel Alejandro Milito turns 31. The former Argentina, Barcelona, Zaragoza, and Independiente central defender scored 11 goals in 350 matches. Luckily, that wasn’t his job. He was on the field to keep the ball out of the back of the net, a skill at which he excelled. He retired earlier this summer, citing mental and physical exhaustion.
Ahead on the blog today*: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying returns; other World Cup qualifiers around the globe; the Houston Dynamo-Real Salt Lake match and What It All Means; a (very brief) MLS weekend in action; Steve Davis’ deep thoughts on the European debt crisis**
Big Important Stories of the Day: U.S.-Jamaica. Can the Yanks get three points in the Caribbean? Or will The Office turn into da Fortress, mon? Does Clint Dempsey start? Can the depleted Americans thrive? Will Kyle Beckerman break out into some Buju Banton at midfield in the 60th minute?
(Also, don’t sleep on Antigua and Barbuda going into Guatemala, either. Those results are perhaps more important for the future of Group A than the Stars and Stripes-Reggae Boyz tilt.)
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Sebastian Lletget
If the MLS playoffs started today:
- Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
- New York Red Bulls vs. Houston
- Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy
- San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
- Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle
PST background noise while blogging today: Bob Marley. But only until the start of the U.S.-Jamaica game. Then it’s “Born in the USA” on repeat.
*Always subject to change; you know how it is…
** Especially subject to change; you know how it is…
NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.
Soccer personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.
If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.
The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.
Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.
Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.
Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.
Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.
Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.
[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]
The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.
Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.
The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.
The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.
In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.