It looks as though New York Red Bulls coach is on the Pia Sundhage plan and will return to Sweden after the season. In itself, not much of a surprise.
But, but but: Why now? The timing is strange — okay, bad — given that the New York Red Bulls are trying to qualify for the playoffs, win MLS Cup, and a variety of other things that won’t be helped by distractions.
Backe gave the interview to a Swedish newspaper after telling NYC-based media he wouldn’t comment. If you’re a Hans apologist — really a Hans apologist — you could maybe — maybe — make the argument that he didn’t think news would reach the U.S. That is, of course, ridiculous in this day and age, but not inconceivable that he would think that (or, at least, use it as an excuse).
But there’s a big issue, which is what the heck is going on in New York, and does the management care about this year? The Red Bulls have won just one of their last four and are still not assured of making the playoffs. But the focus seems to be on anything but the soccer being played at Red Bull Arena. If you were a player, how would you feel about getting a new GM and your coach leaving at the end of the year? Distractions much? It’s a squad filled with senior leadership, but they are really going to have to step up to keep the club together.
Transfer rumor roundup: Schurrle to Newcastle, Spurs
Newcastle United reportedly leads the pack for the former Chelsea scorer, who is struggling to get time at BVB thanks to a glut of fantastic wingers including Christian Pulisic.
Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has a good relationship with the Westfalenstadion set, having taken Mikel Merino off their hands in August. Newcastle currently uses Christian Atsu on the left wing and Matt Ritchie on the right, but Schurrle can play center forward and Benitez may prefer to use the 27-year-old in the middle of his trident.
But they’ll face competition, and HITC says BVB is willing to pay half of his wages on an 18-month deal to keep him reasonable for some clubs. This could be a boon for Spurs.
Newcastle and Stoke City have also been linked with Galatasaray midfielder Papa “Badou” Ndiaye, with the Magpies said to have bid just a bit higher than the Potters but still under Gala’s buyout clause.
And here’s a wild one, according to ESPN: Chelsea’s rumored pursuit of current Premier League scorers now includes Marko Arnautovic. The audacious Austrian attacker cost West Ham around $35 million when his head was turned from Stoke City in the summer.
He didn’t perform well but Slaven Bilic, but David Moyes has been able to get some fine performances from the powerful Arnautovic. Chelsea has previously been linked with West Ham teammate Andy Carroll, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, and Stoke’s Peter Crouch as it attempts to find a center forward to ease the burden placed on Alvaro Morata in his first Premier League season.
Voted “the best right back” in Europe between 1962-64, the former England and Blackpool captain also had a successful management and broadcasting career.
Armfield was a member of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup squads, though a toe injury kept him from his place in the starting lineup when England won the tournament.
He spent his entire playing career with Blackpool before managing Bolton Wanderers to promotion and Leeds United to the European Cup Final, righting the ship after Brian Clough’s infamous spell in charge of the club.
There’s a statue outside Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road, and the club legend has a stand named after him inside the venue.
While Zach’s night was certainly a memorable one for many reasons, it was Julie that arguably had the better performance — which included a goal in the 19th minute off of a close-range volley.
The USWNT had trailed through 14 minutes, but a combination of goals from Alex Morgan and Ertz in a span of two minutes quickly erased the deficit.
For Morgan, it was her 80th goal for the Stars and Stripes.
Meanwhile, a second-half brace from teenage sensation Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn’s finish with nine minutes to play proved to be the icing on the cake for Jill Ellis’ side, who kicked off 2018 with a bang.