Two intriguing goals, compelling in vastly different ways, were the difference between Juventus and Celtic on Wednesday. Both cases serve as example of why Juventus’s exquisite execution make them threads to beat anybody.
The first goal was made by Federico Peluso, Juve’s left wing back who caught Celtic’s Gary Hooper on the ball. Turnovers like that are common in world soccer, but the execution that followed is not. Juventus showed the kind of speed and urgency that would break better teams than Celtic, quickly generating a chance for Fabio Quagliarella. Frazier Forester’s save placed the ball in front of goal, allowing Alessandro Matri to put Juventus in front.
The second goal’s one you’ll want to watch a couple of times. Give Andrea Pirlo this much time and he’s going to hurt you, but the man he’s putting on goal with his chip is Arturo Vidal. It’s one of Juventus’s common tactics, to throw one of their central midfielders forward, but the execution is what makes his move successful. Perfect ball, well trapped, touched nicely back across goal at the perfect moment. Quagliarella’s there to pile on.
Of course, Celtic contributed to these goals. Cooper made an error and their midfield gave Pirlo too much time on the ball. But these are mistakes even top teams will occasionally make, errors that often go unpunished.
Not against Juventus. The Old Lady’s not perfect by any means, but in a one-game scenario, that have the type of team, setup, and mentality to exploit the smallest of openings.
They may not be the best team in Europe, but something about them makes you think they could beat anyone.
The United States takes on Costa Rica in a friendly tonight at Red Bull Arena, as the USMNT must put the Mexico match behind them and focus on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
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The biggest inclusion in tonight’s starting XI is that of Tim Howard in goal, marking his return to the national side after taking a self-imposed sabbatical. It will be Howard’s first appearance for the USMNT since his legendary performance against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.
Klinsmann has chosen to go with a 4-4-2 tonight, and Geoff Cameron remains the only starter in the back-line from the Mexico match. He’ll partner with Michael Orozco in the center of defense, with Brad Evans and Tim Ream on the outsides.
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In the midfield, Klinsmann has put some speed on the wings through the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and recent call-up Brek Shea. Danny Williams joins Jermaine Jones as the central midfielders.
Up top, Jozy Altidore will play alongside Gyasi Zardes, who returns to his more comfortable position as forward.
Cristiano Ronaldo has added another trophy to the collection, winning his fourth Golden Boot as Europe’s top scorer for the 2014-15 season.
The award accounts for goals in league play only, which means the Champions League and domestic tournaments are not included. In La Liga, Ronaldo scored 48 goals in 35 appearances.
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Ronaldo first won the award after the 2007-08 season with Manchester United, and has now added three more with Real Madrid in 2010-11, 2013-14, and 2014-15.
With his fourth win, Ronaldo moves ahead of Lionel Messi as the only player to win the award four times. Messi has won three, while eight players have won two.
Below is a post from Ronaldo’s Facebook page reflecting on the award:
What a special moment in my professional life!
Winning four Golden Boots is a privilege for me and I’ll keep challenging myself because I want to do better every time and I want to keep chasing for more records.
I have to thank everyone in Real Madrid that made this possible and we want to keep winning more titles and more trophies. Thank you everyone.
Ronaldo alone scored more goals in La Liga play last season than 14 clubs did, which shows how prolific his season was. The only player to score more than 48 league goals in a European season was Messi, who scored 50 in 2011-12.
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While it was a successful year for Ronaldo personally, it was a very disappointing campaign for Real Madrid, who fired manager Carlo Ancelotti after finishing the season without a trophy.