There’s one fewer mystery about the draft today.
Unless new Chivas USA manager Jose Luis Sanchez Sola has become a quick devotee of MLS Draft disinformation, he’s making no secret about which player the L.A. club will select Thursday with its No. 2 overall pick: They like UConn attacker Carlos Avalrez.
The Big East Player of the Year last fall as a senior at the University of Connecticut has done little to dent his stock during the ongoing combine in Florida. Alvarez is a playmaker who can also score. A centrally stationed figure for the Huskies, he may need to play wide in MLS, at least initially, until his soccer brain catches up with the speed of the professional game.
(MORE: Alvarez hopes for Chivas USA selection)
Alvarez is all over the highlight pack from the first game over the weekend down in Fort Lauderdale. (Thanks to MLSSoccer.com for the video.)
Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.
Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.
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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.
Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.
The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.
McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.