As part of our ongoing package previewing the start of Major League Soccer’s 18th season, here are the best and brightest MLS men who are eligible to play for the United States na tional team:
- GK = Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando
Why we like him: Real Salt Lake’s backstopper is solidly ensconced as Jurgen Klinsmann’s third man in the net. Just 33 years old — not a bit too old for ‘keepers — he is about to begin his 14th season as an MLS starter. How about them apples?
- RB = Real Salt Lake’s Tony Beltran
- CM = Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler
- CB = LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez (pictured)
- LB = New York Red Bulls’ Heath Pearce
Why we like them: Those who would like to debate the center back scene haven’t been paying attention. Gonzalez is a no-brainer (now apparently a U.S. starter until further notice) and Besler isn’t far behind. Beltran just edges San Jose’s Steven Beitashour for right back. Pearce is an interesting one because the Red Bulls and, before that, Chivas USA, like to use him at center back. But Pearce has 35 full U.S. national team appearances … all at left back. That’s his best spot.
- RM = D.C. United’s Chris Pontius
- HM = Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman
- LM = Houston Dynamo’s Brad Davis
- AM = Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi
Why we like them: Pontius lines up at left midfield or forward for D.C. United; I’m sure he’d play along the right if asked for our little team here. Before anyone reminds me that Osvaldo Alonso is now an American citizen, he is not yet eligible to play for the United States; There are still some fairly significant FIFA hoops to jump. So, it’s Beckerman, who is well in the U.S. national team muddle of holding mids. Between Zusi, Davis and Pontius, you could move them around liberally at the three most advanced midfield spots.
- FW = San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski
- FW = Seattle Sounder’s Eddie Johnson
Why we like them: A total of 41 goals between them last year in league play (27 by Wondolowski)? Yep, we’ll take some of that.
(MORE: full roster of ProSoccerTalk’s Major League Soccer previews and predictions)
Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.
Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.
[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]
A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.
The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:
The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.
The United States U-20 men are on the precipice of the U-20 World Cup after beating Mexico 1-0 on Monday, scooping their first win against El Tri in 31 years.
Brooks Lennon continues to look the part for the U.S. ahead of his loan season from Liverpool to Real Salt Lake.
[ MORE: Liverpool flops again ]
The youngster sent in this free kick that Erik Palmer-Brown, himself a loan man at Porto from Sporting KC this year, headed into the Mexico goal courtesy of a back post defender who opted for his right leg over a decent clearing attempt.
The U.S. took that lead into halftime.
Things got chippy as the second half unfolded, with referee Melvin Matamoros turning a blind eye to a few clattering tackles.
Tab Ramos subbed NYCFC prospect Jonathan Lewis into the match, and he sprung a counterattack that should have put the match to bed. But Lewis’ through ball missed FC Dallas’ Coy Craft and the latter took too much time, frittering away the chance.
Craig Shakespeare had a pretty strong opening bow as interim Leicester City boss, with the Foxes climbing out of the drop zone after a 3-1 defeat of Liverpool on Monday.
Now Leicester has to figure out, at least in the short-term, if Shakespeare is capable of more.
[ RECAP: Leicester 3-1 Liverpool ]
It’s not unusual for a club to respond to a manager change. Hull City was buoyed by some early season results and stuck with Mike Phelan in a move that didn’t work out well. Garry Monk was given the reigns of Swans soon after winning the South Wales Derby, and enjoyed a good reign in Swansea.
Here’s what Shakespeare had to say after Monday’s win, from the BBC. He sounds more Nigel Pearson than Claudio Ranieri.
“You could tell from the word go there was intensity and passion.
“All credit to the fans tonight. I think there was a worry in some quarters about how they would react but they were outstanding.
“The professionalism of the players has never been questioned by me. Having taken training with them, I know the criticism has hurt and perhaps there was a little more fire in the belly because of that.
“They know they are guilty of under performing but this is only one result and we must build on that.”
Leicester hosts Hull City next weekend, and then has 10 days before its UEFA Champions League second leg against Sevilla. Should Shakespeare be given the chance to make history?
A desperate Leicester City battered Liverpool at the King Power Stadium on Monday, leaving Reds boss Jurgen Klopp to question how his side lost to another relegation candidate.
That’s four teams in the Bottom Seven to beat the Reds this season, and the fifth is 11th place Burnley.
[ RECAP: Leicester 3-1 Liverpool ]
Klopp said he could explain the loss in German, but the challenge of doing it in English was proving difficult.
“The language issues always come a little bit more when you have to explain defeats and it’s really difficult to find the right words. It was not an over aggressive game from Leicester. Even for this level we were not physical enough today.”
Liverpool did look soft without midfielder Jordan Henderson, and did have multiple midfielders in the back line with Lucas Leiva at center back and James Milner on the right.
But moreover, the players failed to follow some of Klopp’s guidelines. For example, Christian Fuchs was able to launch several of his big throws into the 18. One helped Leicester to a goal.
“We gave throw-ins away like we never spoke about it. It does not make much sense to give away 20 throw-ins to Fuchs from that position.”
It wasn’t good enough, and it’s baffling to see Liverpool this season. A club that took four of six points from Chelsea has lost to a quartet of relegation battlers. This isn’t good.