How U.S. men in England’s Premier League performed Saturday and Sunday in Round 13:
Clint Dempsey, Tottenham Hotspur: Duece made a big contribution to a worthy win at White Hart Lane. His little scoop pass to put Gareth Bale clean through for Spurs’ second goal was truly wonderful stuff. And Dempsey’s added a quick little pass to help along possession on the home team’s third in a 3-1 victory over London rival West Ham.
Brad Friedel, Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas went with French international Hugo Lloris for this one. It was a great week for Lloris (he was huge in a 0-0 draw against Lazio in a mid-week Europa League match), which makes it a less-than-great week for Friedel.
Tim Howard, Everton: A slow first half for the U.S. No. 1 got slightly busier in the second 45. Howard can’t be completely happy with the way he dealt with Sebastien Bassong’s stoppage time header. Hard to call it a gaffe (especially in an EPL round that had a couple of real doozies from other ‘keepers) but perhaps he could have pushed the initial header away to preserve all three points. Otherwise, Howard was his usual steady self in the 1-1 draw at home with Norwich. His work included a solid stop on the goal line as Anthony Pilkington put a sturdy, 85th minute header on goal.
Brad Guzan, Aston Villa: Mostly unbothered in a drab 0-0 contest with Arsenal, the U.S. international did kick away an Aaron Ramsey shot with a swell foot save. No goals at home will not help the struggling side (still in the relegation zone), but Guzan certainly isn’t to blame for that.
Eric Lichaj, Aston Villa: Came in at left back for Villa but never looked comfortable, especially against a fresh Andrey Arshavin in the scoreless contest.
Geoff Cameron, Stoke City: The former Houston Dynamo man has mostly settled in at right back for Tony Pulis’ men, but he was on the left Saturday for the Potters, who took all three points against mostly lifeless Fulham at the Britannia Stadium. His only nick was a second-half yellow card. Mid-table now (12th) is a good place for Stoke.
Maurice Edu, Stoke City: The U.S. international did not make Pulis’ 18-man selection for Stoke.
The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.
While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.
[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]
The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.
The aesthetics are terrific.
Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.
The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.
Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.
[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]
Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.
Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.
Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).
Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).
Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.
Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.
[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]
While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.
Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:
The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.
“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”
Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.
We may see him on the field in August 2018.
ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.
FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.
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The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.
FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.