Anybody care to guess which four teams in MLS are least excited about Landon Donovan’s reemergence as a potential force for the Galaxy?
I think we can all agree that it’s Vancouver, Seattle, Real Salt Lake and San Jose. You might also recognize that foursome as the MLS Western Conference playoff field. Well, those four plus the Galaxy, obviously.
Donovan was hurt three weeks ago, suffering an oddly difficult-to-diagnose knee injury. He hasn’t played since.
But there he was last night, hoping to get 60 minutes, according to Galaxy manager Bruce Arena, in a “get fit, get sharp” effort against the Seattle Sounders.
Donovan started and played 90 minutes. His confidence and finishing isn’t there, although he was still able to arrange a few nice chances.
But seeing Donovan at less than full speed underscores exactly what makes his 90-minute shift incredibly important. Because Galaxy supporters want the U.S. all-time leading scorer to have this performance of lesser on a nice Sunday night in a match that doesn’t mean much to the bigger picture. They want this outing from Donovan-lite out of the doggone way. They do not want to see this game from Donovan on Thursday, in a 90-minute elimination contest against Vancouver with zero margin for error.
Thursday’s match at the Home Depot Center is a one-game knockout.
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.