Tottenham Hotspur v Coventry City - FA Cup Third Round

Two for Deuce sees Dempsey lead Tottenham to FA Cup win


Whether it be from formation change or the form of teammates, Clint Dempsey’s not taking any challenge to his playing time lightly. Just as he’s done throughout his career, Dempsey’s responded almost immediately, his Saturday return to Spurs’ starting lineup producing two goals in Tottenham’s 3-0 FA Cup win over Coventry City.

Dempsey missed two games over the Christmas period with a groin injury. Since he’s return to health, he’s been featured off the bench, but with André Villas-Boas changing near-half his team for today’s game at White Hart Lane, Dempsey found himself back in Spurs’ starting XI.

MORE: Ba debut highlights Chelsea rout

Since the game wasn’t broadcast here in the States (and highlights are scarce, at this point), let’s trust the words of those on the scene. From The Guardian:

Tottenham’s opening goal arrived in the 14th minute – Gareth Bale rose highest at the near post to flick on Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick, and Clint Dempsey smashed the resulting opportunity into the roof of the net from five yards.

Sounds like a very typical Dempsey goal – right place, right time, right finish.

More, on Dempsey’s part in the next two goals:

Inevitably, though, Bale volleyed home from an acute angle after Dempsey’s shot had ballooned off-target in the 33rd minute. Dempsey then bagged another himself with a looping header from a corner four minutes later.

So he might get a lucky assist on the second. The third, however, sounds like Deuce’s work.

The two goals bring Dempsey’s all-competition goal total to six in 25 games this season, not bad considering his early adjustment period at White Hate Lane. While he’s not going to come close to the 23 he posted for Fulham last year, the goal rate is right in step with his typical Craven Cottage years, a strong showing given the increased competition for playing time.

MORE: Another late comeback from Manchester United.

Whether today’s performance helps Deuce continue getting regular time remains to be seen. Obviously, it won’t hurt, but it was an FA Cup home tie against a far inferior opponent. Spurs may still end up a 4-4-2 team without a clear spot for Dempsey, but just as he did at Fulham, Dempsey looks intent on forcing his way into the team.

At a minimum, today’s goals should give him a leg up in any Dempsey versus Gylfi Sigurdsson battle.

Later today, we’ll circle back and feature your feedback on that battle (or, “battle,” as some would phrase it).

SEE: All the day’s action in the FA Cup.

Reports link Guardiola with Manchester City summer move

Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga
Photo by Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images
Leave a comment

There are claims out of Spain that Manchester City has a verbal agreement to bring Pep Guardiola to town when his Bayern Munich contract expires in June.

Don’t expect comment from Guardiola, who bristles when discussing his future. In the past he’s hinted he might not be the right man for the Bavarian side, but has lamented any questions about clubs other than Bayern.

Now Mundo Deportivo writer Francesc Aguilar says there’s a secret agreement between Guardiola and Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain to reunite at the Etihad Stadium this summer.

[ MORE: Three big battles between U.S. and Mexico ]

Both Barcelona buffs and former Spanish internationals, Begiristain was Barca’s director of football when Guardiola took over for Frank Rjikaard in 2008.

Manuel Pellegrini signed a contract extension this summer and has led the club to a Premier League title, though the club has struggled in European competition. For what it’s worth, the Manchester Evening News got rumor reaction from Sergio Aguero:

On the latest Guardiola rumour, Kun said: “It has been talked about a lot. I don’t know him, but he’s a great manager and it’s wonderful to have the best managers train you.”

But he also added: “I’m very good with Manuel Pellegrini, we talk a lot. I’m happy in the team and with him, but the club will be the one who chooses who comes in.”

In other words, “I’m really good, and they pay me well enough that I’m prepared to play for any big name that arrives.”

It’s a story to keep up with, even as it intrudes on the seasons of two big, rich European clubs.

MLS to the death: Taking stock of playoff scenarios

Portland Timbers' Diego Valeri, right, challenges Montreal Impact's Laurent Ciman during the first half of a soccer game, Saturday, May 9, 2015 in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

Five MLS teams have made the playoffs, but in the world of probability that number is a lot closer to 10.

Red Bulls, DC, L.A., Vancouver and Dallas are in the postseason, while Toronto, Columbus, New England and Sporting KC are on the verge. Seattle is just behind that group.

[ MORE: Three big battles between U.S. and Mexico ]

So how about those final two slots?

Eastern Conference

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – New York 31 16 6 9 55 39 16 11-2-3 5-4-6 54
x – D.C. 32 14 6 12 39 40 -1 10-3-3 4-3-9 48
New England 32 13 8 11 45 45 0 9-6-1 4-2-10 47
Columbus 32 13 8 11 51 53 -2 8-4-4 5-4-7 47
Toronto FC 31 14 4 13 55 53 2 10-1-4 4-3-9 46
Montreal 31 12 6 13 44 43 1 10-2-4 2-4-9 42
Orlando City SC 32 11 8 13 44 54 -10 6-5-5 5-3-8 41
New York City FC 32 10 7 15 47 53 -6 6-4-6 4-3-9 37
Philadelphia 32 9 7 16 40 51 -11 6-3-7 3-4-9 34
Chicago 32 8 6 18 42 52 -10 8-1-7 0-5-11 30

Matches remaning
at Colorado, vs. New England, at Toronto 
vs. NYC, at Philadelphia
New York City: at Orlando, vs. New England

Obviously, the Impact have the wheel here, though a pair of road tests — one across the continent — aren’t easy. If it comes down to a match against their rivals at BMO Field, all bets will be off. NYC can do Montreal a huge favor by getting a result in Orlando, but Jason Kreis’ side need all three points (Well, all six points… and a load of help). No one is playing better than Orlando right now.

Western Conference

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – FC Dallas 31 15 6 10 47 38 9 11-2-2 4-4-8 51
x – Los Angeles 32 14 9 9 53 39 14 12-3-1 2-6-8 51
x – Vancouver 32 15 5 12 42 34 8 8-2-6 7-3-6 50
Sporting KC 31 13 9 9 46 41 5 9-5-1 4-4-8 48
Seattle 32 14 5 13 40 34 6 10-2-4 4-3-9 47
San Jose 32 12 8 12 39 37 2 7-6-3 5-2-9 44
Portland 31 12 8 11 31 36 -5 7-6-3 5-2-8 44
Houston 32 11 8 13 41 45 -4 9-3-4 2-5-9 41
Real Salt Lake 31 11 8 12 37 43 -6 7-6-2 4-2-10 41
Colorado 31 8 10 13 30 38 -8 5-5-6 3-5-7 34

Matches remaning
San Jose:
vs Sporting KC, at Dallas
at RSL, at LA, vs. Colorado
Houston: vs. Seattle, at Vancouver
Real Salt Lake: 
vs. Portland, vs. Dallas, at Seattle

Quite literally anything can happen here in terms of these four. Pressure’s surely on Caleb Porter and the Timbers to finally give their supporters a side worth their passion. RSL is the only other side with three matches left, and the two pair up next. Houston has a harrowing pair of matches, one without Cubo Torres, while San Jose also has two tough efforts.