Alex Morgan enters exclusive 20/20 club

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Even when she has a quiet night, Alex Morgan still makes news. She didn’t score — she didn’t even start — but in 45 minutes of play, Alex Morgan made history. Again.

With her second half assist on Sydney Leroux’s goal, the 23-year-old became the second player in U.S. women’s soccer history to post 20 goals and 20 assists in a single season.

From the near the top of the area in the 71st minute, Morgan found Leroux in the left of the box. When her teammate went back across goal to beat keeper Zhang Yue, Morgan joined U.S. Soccer legend Mia Hamm as the only members of the new 20-20 club.

In 1998, Hamm posted exactly 20 goals and 20 assists in the year before the States’ famous 1999 World Cup triumph. Morgan has long ago passed 20 goals, now adding her milestone assist to the 28 tallies she’s accumulated throughout the calendar year.

The U.S. Women’s National Team star started on the bench during the team’s 2-0 Saturday victory over China, a match that opened the three-game series that will wrap up the team’s Fan Celebration Tour. With fellow attacker Amy Rodriguez set for her 100th international appearance, Morgan’s spot in the starting lineup was given to the player she’s supplanted in the normal starting XI.

MORE: Amy Rodriguez talks about hitting the 100-mark

She still found a way to make an impact, and with two matches left on the tour, Morgan could be looking at creating a club of her own. Averaging near a goal per game this season, Morgan may hit the 30-goal mark, starting a 30-20 club that may prove lonely.

With the competition level in women’s international soccer improving, it’s difficult to see numbers like these being racked up on a team like the United States (a team that plays a high level of competition). And the numbers came in a year when there were no club requirements to draw Morgan away from a season’s worth of national team games. Hopefully that won’t be true in the future.

It makes Morgan’s achievement all the more remarkable. As with any record, the stars have aligned, leaving a year’s worth of open nets and teammates for her to pick out.

Two years ago, she was a super sub — a recent Cal grad that was having trouble breaking to Pia Sundhage’s set XI. Now she’s coming off one of the best seasons in U.S. Soccer history.

Transfer rumor roundup: Matic to Manchester United; Barkley, Everton news

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Tottenham Hotspur’s depth means it can wait out Everton as the Toffees demand plenty of money for young star Ross Barkley.

The 23-year-old England international won’t sign a new deal with Everton, and Ronald Koeman has been clear that he’s ready to cash in on the wantaway midfielder.

[ MORE: Latest on Ronaldo ]

Spurs are interested according to Sky Sports, but rolling their eyes at a requested fee of close to $64 million. So the North Londoners will wait, a move that makes sense given Barkley’s up-and-down form.

The Liverpool Echo says that Koeman is close to making it official with Sandro Ramirez, as the ex-Barcelona prospect will join Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen as new Toffees in a $7 million deal.

The BBC says Koeman will quickly move onto two more transfers, aiming to woo Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City and center back Michael Keane from Burnley.


The Manchester Evening News says Manchester United is close to reuniting Jose Mourinho with defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic.

The tough-minded Serbian turns 29 in August, and would give Mourinho flexibility with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera. United also has Michael Carrick as a deep-lying option.

Matic has 121 Premier League appearances and two titles since returning to Chelsea in January 2014.


 

Germany mulls letting China under-20s play league soccer

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BERLIN (AP) The German soccer federation is mulling a proposal to allow China’s under-20 team to play friendly matches in the fourth tier of its league system.

Because the Southwest Regional League is comprised of 19 clubs, each currently has two match-days free that can be used for friendly games. The one-off action would allow China’s under-20 team to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

[ MORE: Juve confirms Alves release ]

“Nothing has been fixed yet but the clubs are all in favor,” league president Felix Wiedemann told The Associated Press on Thursday. “There’s a lot of interest in it. It’s important to say that there will be no points at stake, so it won’t influence the outcome of the league.”

Clubs would receive about 15,000 euros ($16,700) in compensation for two home games against the Chinese side, if the plan is approved. The Chinese are planning on a base near Heidelberg in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Southwest Regional League members are meeting on July 11, when a decision will likely be made in consultation with the German soccer federation, Wiedemann said. The league kicks off at the end of the month.

China and Germany agreed to a five-year soccer partnership last November, aimed at developing the game in China with training and other programs.

WATCH LIVE: Australia vs. Cameroon in Confederations Cup

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Australia and Cameroon fight for their Confederations Cup lives on Thursday at 11 a.m.ET live on Telemundo Deportes.

[ WATCH LIVE: Cameroon vs. Chile on Telemundo Deportes ]

Cameroon will have its top attacker in the form of Vincent Aboubakar in its bid to overcome an opening loss to Chile, while Australia will hope goalkeeper Maty Ryan can get the job done following a 3-2 loss to Germany.

Germany and Chile square off at 2 p.m. ET.

Reports: De Boer offered Crystal Palace manager’s spot

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Multiple reports claim Crystal Palace has offered its managerial position to Dutch boss Frank De Boer.

Palace has been without a manager since Sam Allardyce retired after the season. The Eagles finished 15th in the Premier League, five points behind eighth place Southampton and seven points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Latest on Ronaldo ]

An accomplished defender at Ajax and Barcelona, the 47-year-old De Boer led Ajax in his first managerial stint before spending less than three months at Inter Milan last season.

De Boer twice won the Rinus Michels Award as the top manager in Dutch football, and would become just the second Palace manager from outside the British Isles.

He would inherit a very good group of attackers with Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, and Andros Townsend. Palace also has a talented midfielders Luka Milivojevic and Yohan Cabaye to go with marauding Dutch back Patrick Van Aanholt.