If Pia Sundhage was a double-Gold Medal winning soccer coach, she was more like a triple-Gold Medal winning motivator. Figuratively speaking, of course.
The women of the U.S. national team loved playing for her and thrived under Sundhage’s infectious enthusiasm. Her players are prone to use words like “joy” and “spirit” when they speak of the woman whose happy and peppy ways were a stark contrast to the more dour Greg Ryan, who left the position when things went fairly sideways in 2007.
Sundhage finished her time in charge of the national team Wednesday night, as players sent their master motivator out the right way with a resounding 6-2 win over Australia.
Not long before kickoff, ESPNW posted a piece from Tobin Heath, one of the players who grew and thrived under Sundhage. (Heath, in fact, embodies the very type of player Sundhage is encouraging the United States to cultivate as things move forward, a technically gifted sort whose performance relies more on skill and wits than speed and athleticism.)
A short excerpt from Heath’s kind words about the coach who brought her along:
Pia always, always, looks at the positives in any situation, and that has been a huge key to our success. We have such high expectations — in every game and in every tournament we’re expected to win — and her outlook helps us to deal with the pressure, and push ourselves to another level. Her enthusiasm is so evident in everything she does. She gets so excited when a player does something well, and she has never lost that passion. It’s pretty cool she loves the game that much.”
Last night’s win at a sold-out Dicks Sporting Goods Park outside of Denver set the punctuation mark on a five-year run that included those two Olympic Gold medals and a second-place finish at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sundhage, who will now take over the women’s national team in her native Sweden, was 91-6-10 as United States coach.
New York City FC has found its feet pretty well in MLS, and the club could finally be closing in on a location for its own stadium moving forward.
Newsday Sports is reporting that NYCFC is prepared to bid on land at Belmont Park as the club continues its search to find a permanent stadium for its future.
[ MORE: Which players should be up for MLS MVP honors? ]
The report also states that Belmont isn’t NYCFC’s preferred destination to play matches, with the stadium in Elmont — roughly an 18-mile distance from the club’s current venue, Yankee Stadium.
In the past, Flushing Meadows has been one of many sites discussed as a location for NYCFC to build its own venue, which would make sense given the fact that the land currently houses the New York Mets as well as the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
NYCFC has shared Yankee Stadium with MLB franchise, New York Yankees, since the MLS side entered the league in 2015.
A move to Belmont could hinge on what the New York Islanders of the NHL do moving forward as well because the hockey team is reportedly looking at options outside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where they currently play.
Round two of the UEFA Champions League is back on Tuesday, and while clubs cannot book their place in the Round of 16 just yet it’s just as easy for them to put themselves out of contention.
Three Premier League sides will be action on the afternoon, including Tottenham — who has the chance to start Group H play with six points.
Meanwhile, Liverpool and Manchester City will also take the pitch in Group E and F, respectively.
The day’s biggest clash of the day though comes in Germany as Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid meet in the other Group H fixture. Dortmund will be looking for a positive result after falling to Spurs in their opening day loss in the competition.
[ MORE: Who is the most complete striker in the Premier League? ]
Here’s the full rundown of matches on Tuesday’s UCL docket.
All games kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET
Spartak Moscow vs. Liverpool
Sevilla vs. Maribor
Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Napoli vs. Feyenoord
Besiktas vs. Red Bull Leipzig
Monaco vs. Porto
Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid
APOEL vs. Tottenham Hotspur
The New Orleans Saints will be playing a different sort of football on Sunday at historic Wembley Stadium, but the NFL franchise took in Arsenal’s match today during their trip to London.
[ MORE: PL playback — Who is the most complete striker in the PL? ]
Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees posted a picture on Instagram with several of his Saints teammates taking in the Arsenal-West Brom fixture at the Emirates Stadium six days before the NFL team plays the Miami Dolphins.
The Saints-Dolphins matchup is the second NFL game to take place in England thus far in 2017, after the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 44-7, on Sunday at Wembley.
Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe react to Arsenal’s 2-0 win over West Brom, Brighton’s 1-0 victory against Newcastle and get into a deep discussion over the plethora of strikers in the Premier League.
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