United States v Canada

ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

There are few more polarizing figures in the United States national team pool than Jose Torres. He’s either “the answer,” one of the few men in a U.S. shirt with a little creative flair in his feet (and everyone who can’t see that is a damn fool!). Or he’s overrated and overly content to playing ineffective little passes with precious little end product. Depends on who you ask.

Torres turns 25 on Monday.

Longtime England international Kelly Smith, her country’s all-time leading scorer, turns 35.

According to Wiki, Robert Pires is a “free agent” today. Technically, I suppose, so am I. Anyway, Pires, the fine French international and former Arsenal man, turns 39 today.

Longtime Dutch international Phillip Cocu, now an assistant with the Netherlands’ national team, turns 41.

And finally, speaking of Dutch marquee men, longtime Holland and Manchester United backstopper Edwin van der Sar turns 42.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

Nothing that happens today is likely to outweigh the big talker that became official Sunday night: that NBC has scooped up the U.S. viewing rights for English Premier League soccer:

By the way, this is fairly big news for MLS, too. Having an EPL lead-in to MLS matches on Saturday and Sunday? Not a bad thing at all.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Kerry Zavagnin

*Ahead on the blog today:

We will start taking a look at the four MLS playoff sides that face midweek matches, taking the temperature on how we feel about the playoff chances for each one.

We’ll have more on Sunday’s announcement that will reshape domestic soccer’s TV landscape.

And since it’s Monday, we’ll have the Monday “Meh” list of the weekend’s slightly overrated.

Twitter daps:


What you should watch on TV today:

There’s just one tiny island of “live” in a sea of weekend replays: Real Valladolid vs Real Sociedad on beIN Sport.

PST background noise while blogging today: YouTubing old All-Star Soccer broadcasts with Mario Machado; I’m sure I am not the only American who got my start in watching English soccer on that old PBS show.

*Always subject to change; you know how it is

EFL Cup Tues. preview: Spurs-Reds, plenty of non-PL participants

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Sixteen teams remain in the battle to clinch the Premier League’s first European place of next season’s tournament, and we have some tremendous battles on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday in the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup).

Today we focus on the 24 hours ahead of us, focusing on Tuesday’s five matches and allowing the Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, and Southampton-Sunderland to percolate a bit.

[ MORE: Finland’s “Leicester” gets it done ]

That’s not to say we don’t have a pair of giants dueling on Tuesday. Liverpool is three wins away from a return to the final, where the Reds fell in penalties last season. Standing in their way is Tottenham Hotspur, a deep squad which won’t have to worry much about a quick turnaround from Saturday.

That said, the Reds didn’t have to play at all last week, while this will be Spurs third match in a week. Spurs have been to the EFL Cup final thrice since 2008, and one of two teams (Chelsea) to make three finals this decade. Liverpool will start Simon Mignolet between the sticks.

The remaining four EFL Cup matches include at least one team outside the Premier League.

Arsenal will host USMNT midfielder Danny Williams and Reading.

— Hull City is off to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.

— Newcastle United is leading the Championship, and will get a visit from Preston North End in the first of two matches between the two sides this week.

— Norwich City will pay a visit to Elland Road and Garry Monk‘s Leeds United.

FC Dallas gave injured Mauro Diaz a home champagne shower (video)

FRISCO, TX - APRIL 12:  Mauro Diaz #10 of the FC Dallas controls the ball against the Seattle Sounders FC on April 12, 2014 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
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FC Dallas has two jewels of its triple crown all set, having claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

One of the key reasons the club was able to sustain its pace this season was Mauro Diaz, 25, who shone even as Fabian Castillo shockingly left the club before the stretch run.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

A River Plate product, Diaz gave FCD seven goals and 15 assists over 32 appearances before tearing an achilles tendon last week.

Diaz underwent season-ending surgery, but his teammates made sure he was a part of the champagne celebration by heading to his very nice-looking house for an early morning visit.

[ MORE: Pre-playoff power rankings ]


VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast