ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set


Soccer birthdays:

Seventy-five years ago today, the best English soccer player in history was born. At least, that’s how most people would introduce Sir Bobby Charlton, and I don’t use that “Sir” lightly. I usually refrain from including the title, since I’m not subject to the crowd, but for Sir Bobby, I make an exception on sure soccer grounds.

Charlton made 106 appearances for the English national team, scoring 46 goals from midfield, winning a World Cup in 1966 (he was awarded the Ballon d’Or the same year). In 606 appearances over a 17-year career with Manchester United, Charlton scored 199 goals, leading the Red Devils to a European Cup in 1968.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

It’s all about the U.S. Men’s National Team, particularly given their injury troubles. With Landon Donovan, Brek Shea, Fabian Johnson, and Edgar Castillo ruled out over the last two days, the U.S.’s injury problems are starting to feel like an epidemic.

Where’s that stupid Outbreak monkey (oh, he’s pictured)? That’s the only explanation for this type of crisis.

If nobody else is ruled out, the news will be that the national team survived a day without losing another player. And if another player has to be scratched?  U.S. Men’s National Team fans will just be hoping it’s not Clint Dempsey or Michael Bradley.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Mike Burns

*Ahead on the blog today: If it’s Thursday, it’s time for the estimable Noah Davis to drop by to add his perspective to what’s become a hyperactive buildup to the U.S.’s Antigua excursion. Plus, we’ve still got three depth charts to go.

What you should watch on TV today: It’s not often I say something like this, but given how much soccer’s going to be happening on Friday, take a break on Thursday. Get out of the house, walk the dog – enjoy the fundamentals. On Friday, there’ll be no excuses. Then, your life will be soccer.

If CONCACAF’s final qualifying round started today:

  • Guatemala
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • El Salvador
  • Panama
  • Honduras

Outside looking in: Jamaica, Costa Rica, Canada

Background noise while we’re blogging: Beth Orton, who’s song Concrete Sky is one of the more underrated pure-pop songs of the last 15 years.

We’ll leave you with this: How much different would the perception of the national team be if the Jamaica matches were the second and sixth of the round rather than the third and fourth?

*Always subject to change; you know how it is

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.