Lineup prediction for tonight’s United States-Scotland game in Nashville

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source:  The one surprise on Wednesday was Christen Press, who scored two goals in her international debut while starting out of position on at right midfield. Rightfully overshadowed by that selection was a Tom Sermanni XI that went pretty much by Pia Sundhage’s book. If those tenants hold for tonight’s rematch in Nashville, the U.S.’s Starting XI will be very easy to predict.

But remember the caveats. We don’t know much about Tom Sermanni. We don’t know how he’s approaching these games. If he’s trying to get a good look at everybody, there may be more changes.

Just like this weekend’s prediction, I’m taking a conservative tact. The regulars who didn’t start on Saturday? I’ve slid them into the team. Otherwise, the starting XI stays the same.

GOALKEEPERS: Hope Solo is back. She’ll almost certainly start in goal, with Saturday’s No. 1 Jill Loyden moving to the bench. As we discussed this weekend, Sermanni’s selections in goal have given us a good indication of the U.S.’s keeper depth chart. Solo’s number one, Loyden has passed Nicole Barnhart as the backup, with Ashlyn Harris fourth.

DEFENDERS: Rachel Buehler missed the beginning of camp for personal reasons and was withheld from Saturday’s game in Jacksonville. She’ll likely resume her first team spot partnering captain Christie Rampone. Out wide Kelley O’Hara and Ali Krieger, coming off strong outings in Florida, should be back in Sermanni’s starting XI. Liverpool center back Whitney Engen and North Carolina’s MAC Herman-winner Crystal Dunn will be options on the bench.

MIDFIELDERS: Like Beuhler, Megan Rapinoe was a late arrival to camp and missed Saturday’s game. Returning from duty with Lyon, the first choice attacker should be back in the starting lineup. Tobin Heath should return on the left, but we may see a change in the middle. Lauren Cheney was an odd-woman-out on Saturday, Sermanni may use Wednesday as an opportunity to get her in the team. Though my guess is she’ll come in for Shannon Boxx and partner Carli Lloyd, Cheney could start at any of the midfield or forward positions. We could see any of Lloyd, Heath, or Boxx slide to the bench.

Heather O’Reilly and Lori Lindsey were also named to the team. O’Reilly should see time on the right at some point in the second half, while Lindsey’s normal position is central midfield. She’ll come in for Lloyd, if Sermanni starts this XI.

Christen Press is also an option here, but with Rapinoe back, she’s more likely to see time at her natural position: forward.

FORWARDS: Abby Wambach is chasing Mia Hamm’s all-time goals record. She’s also in line to get her 200th cap. With U.S. Soccer touting both marks, expect the States’ focal point to be in Sermanni’s XI. With Alex Morgan out, Syndey Leroux or Lauren Cheney should get the start in front of Wambach. If Cheney gets the nod in midfield, Leroux’s the default choice up top.

FIFA suspends Brazilian soccer president Marco Polo del Nero

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has suspended Brazilian soccer federation president Marco Polo del Nero for 90 days while he is under an ethics investigation.

Del Nero has remained in power in Brazil despite being charged by American authorities with racketeering and money laundering in 2015.

FIFA says Del Nero has been provisionally banned from all soccer activities as formal ethics investigation proceedings are conducted.

Del Nero fled Zurich in May 2015 when FIFA colleagues were arrested, quit the executive committee of soccer’s governing body after missing meetings and was then indicted in the United States in December 2015. He has not been extradited from Brazil to face the charges.

Preview: How can Tottenham stop Man City?

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Can anyone stop Manchester City? Tottenham Hotspur will try this Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) with Mauricio Pochettino‘s men aiming to give the chasing pack some hope that City can be caught.

[ LIVE: Stream Man City v. Spurs

Pep Guardiola‘s men have won 15 consecutive Premier League games to stretch their lead atop the PL to 11 points heading into the busy festive season, but a visit from Spurs represents one of their toughest tests of the season so far.

Spurs currently sit in fourth place in the table but are 18 points behind City.

In team news Man City have no fresh injury concerns as Vincent Kompany could return after missing out at Swansea City in midweek, but John Stones remains out injured.

Tottenham will be missing Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld through injury, while Davinson Sanchez serves the final game of his three-match ban.


What they’re saying

Guardiola on Man City going the entire season unbeaten: “It is not going to happen. We are going to lose games, it belongs to Arsene Wenger. Now what happens is an exception, it’s not normal what we’ve done. We’ll try to maintain it but we are going to lose games. It is important is to play better, that’s important. Records are OK but they stay there and one day they will be broken. We focus on the pitch and try to be better, make chances, concede few. I’m happy with the way we play – although I feel we can do much, much better.”

Pochettino on Man City’s incredible run: “They [Manchester City] are showing that they are not only the best in England but in Europe too with the Champions League. They are playing so well and deserve all the praise. It will be so tough. I think Manchester City deserve all the credit with what they are doing.”

Prediction

Spurs will prove a tough test for a rampant Man City squad and I expect Dele Alli and Harry Kane to cause plenty of problems for a threadbare City defense. 2-2.

Source: MLS rejected deal that would’ve brought Ousted to LA Galaxy

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TAM has become a great discussion in Major League Soccer, allowing teams to acquire more top-caliber players, but it appears in one instance the mechanism could actually hurt a player’s chances of being re-signed.

[ MORE: LAFC close to signing third DP, Portuguese midfielder Geraldes ]

Pro Soccer Talk has learned through an MLS league source familiar with the situation that the LA Galaxy had a deal in place to acquire Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), however, the league rejected that offer.

The 32-year-old took to Twitter on Friday, stating that a total of three teams offered him a contract using TAM, however, none of them were able to be executed.

It was announced back on Nov. 7 that Ousted would not return to the Whitecaps for the 2018 season, after spending nearly four-and-a-half years with the Canadian side.

Additionally, Ousted was scheduled to be one of the players eligible to be selected in Friday’s MLS Stage 1 Re-Entry Draft, but he has since been “forced to opt out.”

There are several ways a player can qualify to participate in the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft, and with Ousted having played over three MLS seasons and being over the age of 23, that previously ruled him eligible.

Under MLS’ current TAM rules and regulations, Ousted would have had to have been making at least $480,625 in 2017 in order for the veteran goalkeeper to qualify for a TAM offer.

That number is scheduled to increase for the next season, with the maximum budget charge set at $504,375 in 2018.

Ousted was only making roughly $378,933 in 2017, with a base salary of $360,000, per the MLS Players’ Union website.

In order for an MLS club to sign Ousted at this stage would require them to go above and beyond his option for next season, which as the goalkeeper states in his second tweet would be a “gamble.”

Below are the ways MLS has declared it possible for clubs to use TAM in order to sign or re-sign players.

Prince William’s dilemma: Royal Wedding clashes with FA Cup final

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The date for the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle has been set and there’s a bit of a dilemma for Prince William: it’s on the same day as the 2017-18 FA Cup final on May 19, 2018.

Why does that matter?

William has been the president of the English Football Association for the last 10 years and he, along with other members of the Royal Family, usually attend the showpiece final at Wembley and hand out the trophy to the winning team.

Not this time.

With the date confirmed on Friday for the Royal Wedding takes place at Windsor Castle on May 19, specific times have yet been announced for the ceremony. Could that mean a late dash from the wedding to hand out the trophy at Wembley for Prince William? If his beloved Aston Villa make the final, maybe it’s not out of the question…

In a statement to the BBC, the FA had the following to say about the “fixture clash” in May:

“Everyone at The FA is delighted for HRH Prince Harry and Megan Markle with the announcement of their wedding at Windsor Castle next year. Saturday May 19 promises to be a wonderful day with a special royal occasion followed by English football’s showpiece event, the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. With millions coming together to watch both events at home and around the world, it will be a day to celebrate.”

The life of a royal isn’t all fun and games…