ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays: Dmitri Sychev, better known as “The Russian Michael Owen,” celebrates his 29th birthday. The lightning fast midfielder is losing some steam as he grows older (aren’t we all?) but still calls Lokomotiv Moscow home. He will not, however, play for Russia when the United States goes to Krasnodar next month.

Elsewhere, Vasilis Hatzipanagis turns 58. The former Greek international did little of note — beyond, of course, being a professional footballer — but he has an amazing name and even better hair.

Big important soccer stories of the day: The CONCACAF Champions League groups are set. Who ya got? Yeah, we don’t have a clue either, but Steve Davis will break it all down. And there’s more of the 2016 Copa America “will it or won’t it happen?” deal. Oh, and MLS is having a pumpkin-carving contest.

Yes, we are aware that’s three separate stories. Lo siento.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Bob Bradley.

Ahead on the blog today*: SD and RF have all your MLS playoff implications for the coming weekend. What to watch, when to watch, why to watch, what to drink while you’re watching.

I also heard a rumor that Steve was going to announce his appointment as NBA deputy commissioner, but I could be wrong. This seems like a remarkably strange venue to do so.

PST background noise while blogging today: The kids screaming outside our apartments.

What we should all watch on TV: Saint-Étienne and Rennes are playing at 2:45 in a battle of teams for which Carlos Bocanegra used to play. The winner gets the Chicago Fire.

We’ll leave you with this question: We mentioned this yesterday, but in a USMNT fantasy draft, who gets picked first? Who are the top five? And where, oh where, does Mr. Jonathan Bornstein rank?

VIDEO: Pedro scores stunning goal for Chelsea

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Not a bad way to start the Premier League weekend…

12 minutes into the first game of Matchweek 9, Chelsea’s Pedro curled home a stunning effort into the far corner and off the far post after a corner was played short to him.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A simply stunning goal from the Spaniard which you can watch in the video above.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Watford in top five clash

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Chelsea host Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via as fifth and fourth clash.


Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea are without a win in three games in all competitions and some pressure is starting to build on the Blues as they’ve fallen further behind the two Manchester clubs atop the PL table.

As for Watford, Marco Silva‘s men are in fourth place and aiming to keep up their impressive away form in the PL this season with three of their four wins coming on the road.

In team news Chelsea’s injuries are piling up with Victor Moses and N'Golo Kante missing but Alvaro Morata does start after recovering from his hamstring injury, while Watford start Troy Deeney up top after his impressive cameo against Arsenal last week.


Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Ampadu, Zappacosta, Musonda, Willian, Batshuayi

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenia, Cleverley, Doucoure, Holebas; Pereyra, Deeney, Richarlison. Subs:

Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr named NWSL league MVP for 2017

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CHICAGO (AP) Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Most Valuable Player for this season.

Kerr, a standout on the Australian national team, had a league-record 17 goals and became the league’s fifth Golden Boot winner to also be named MVP.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

She became the first NWSL player to score four goals in a game on Aug. 19 against the Seattle Reign. Kerr rallied Sky Blue from a 3-goal deficit to beat the Reign 5-4.

Kerr’s award was announced Friday. The league had earlier announced the season’s other award winners: North Carolina’s Abby Dahlkemper was named Defender of the Year, teammate Ashley Hatch was named Rookie of the Year, Portland’s Adrianna Franch was named Goalkeeper of the Year and the Thorns’ Mark Parsons was named Coach of the Year.

The Mendy Effect: Pep praises injured back

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Full back Benjamin Mendy cost Pep Guardiola and Manchester City $68 million, but perhaps he’ll be just as valuable as a very expensive sports psychologist.

The “Shark Team” member was amusing on social media even before his ACL injury sent him to the sidelines until at least April, but he’s become a must-follow Twitter fixture with his in-game messages (See some of his work below).

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

City faces Burnley at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on CNBC and online via

It’s fairly clear his act has translated in private, too, as apparently Mendy is just as good in group messages (Let us in, Pep. We won’t tell anyone). From

“Usually, players who are out for a long time with injury are sad. They sometimes train apart and feel isolated.

“Mendy decided to be present. He is communicating on social media, WhatsApp and he calls his teammates and messages me. He is going to be so important outside the pitch because people like him make the atmosphere much better.”

It’s not surprising for anyone who’s been following the former Le Havre, Marseille and Monaco man.

Keep in mind, these Tweets below are from the last few days alone!