Two important U.S. World Cup qualifier talking points that may be slipping by everyone as we kick and fuss over Benny Feilhaber, Jose Torres, Jermaine Jones, etc. … you know, and all the other usual suspects in the spin cycle of U.S. Soccer debate:
It’s going to be hot. And humid.
Forecasts for San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Wednesday call for temperatures in the high 80s with a chance of showers. Meanwhile, today finds the nation’s second largest city at 70 percent humidity, which is pretty much Houston- or New Orleans-type icky-ness.
When is the last time Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler and several others who earn a living in Europe found themselves on the business end of a unholy heat-humidity union like that one? They could struggle.
By the way, kickoff for this one is not under the lights, when the evening cool could tame the temps a little. Which brings us to Point No. 2 that may be escaping folks at the moment:
Starting whistle Wednesday is 4 p.m. ET (live on beIN Sports). Yes, an afternoon kick.
So start setting up your Wednesday bug-out now.
Why, is that a cough I hear from you? I do believe you might be coming down with something.
Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.
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Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.
According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.
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The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.
Jose Mourinho got the
dreaded much-needed vote of confidence from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last weekend, seemingly giving the Portuguese manager a temporary stay of execution despite the Blues’ worst start to a season in 37 years.
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Speaking this week, Mourinho has revealed that while he’s thankful to have been kept on at the club for which he regularly professes his love, he still thinks it was no-brainer for Abramovich. In other words, Mourinho’s not backing down from his incredible, seven-minute rant to one question following Saturday’s defeat to Southampton.
Mourinho, on what he’s doing to turn Chelsea around — quotes from the Guardian:
“It shows the confidence of Abramovich in the manager who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I thank him and I keep working.
“What’s going on? I do not know. The results with Chelsea at the moment have been really bad. I cannot hide that reality, and I don’t want to. And I struggle to find an explanation. But I assure you: I’m working like never before and we will come out of this. And there is also the Champions League that we will not neglect, for certain.”
What did you expect from Mourinho? Well, you know, I should probably be fired, but thanks to Mr. Abramovich for not realizing this and keeping me employed? It’s simultaneously interesting and the least surprising thing ever, though, that Mourinho claims to not know what’s wrong with Chelsea at the moment. Of course he has a theory (or five), and of course he’s “working like never before” to correct it.
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The most fascinating thing about Chelsea’s sluggish start to the season is to see, hear and read Mourinho speaking from a position of powerlessness. Always the clever one, the one dictating where the discussion goes, the one in charge of every press interaction, Saturday’s rant felt like watching a desperate Mourinho grasping for anything by which to pull himself back up.