Last week’s 4-0 loss to the under-strength LA Galaxy certainly sent up a warning flare. A big, red smoking one. And make no mistake, the four-goal margin wasn’t even that close.
But then to turn around and lose their home opener, while getting shut out once again – things may be worse in Chicago than we thought.
Yes, there are new men and new things going on around Toyota Park. And yes, Frank Klopas’ team is missing a very important defensive leader in Arne Friedrich. Then again, everybody has new elements to integrate. And most teams are dealing with an injury or two.
And Friedrich has zilch to do with an offense that is 180 minutes into the season without a goal. Chris Rolfe looked better than last week, but still needed more. Meanwhile, striker Sherjill MacDonald absolutely blew two great opportunities that fell to his right foot.
A striker that cannot put away the chances is about as good as a guard dog who can’t bark.
So … yes, Chicago Fire, you are on notice.
Meanwhile, the New England Revolution can be quite proud of their 1-0 win Saturday at chilly Toyota Park. Jerry Bengtson had the goal, but it was all the good work of midfielder Kelyn Rowe. The sophomore pro won a header as Chicago cleared one ball, then got back around the ball to provide a delicate little ball into the back post for Bengtson’s easy header put-away.
CONCACAF released its Best XI from 2016 on Wednesday and there were zero U.S. national team players in the list of 11.
Players from Mexico and Costa Rica dominate, while Canadian midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, Jamaican defender Wes Morgan and French forward Andre-Pierre Gignac were also included. The top 11 players were selected after either playing for a national team or club team in the CONCACAF region.
Only one player from Major League Soccer made the list, Ronald Mataritta of New York City FC.
Still, the fact that USMNT defenders Geoff Cameron and John Brooks didn’t get in the Best XI of 2016 after their heroics at the Copa America Centenario is quite mind-boggling. No offense against Morgan or Mexico’s Rafael Marquez, but come on. Also, surely Christian Pulisic or Jozy Altidore would have been worthy additions to this team?
Then again, when you see the highlight video below, most of the winners are shown scoring or playing well against the USMNT. That could go a little way to explain why there are no U.S. players on this list…
Below is the team in full. Intrigued to hear your comments in the section below.
An incredible stat emerged at the weekend which stated that United has the worst “big chance” conversion rate in the whole of the Premier League. Stats company Opta state that United have had 37 big chances (this stat is described as “a situation where a player should be reasonably expected to score”) this season, converting just 12 of them at a ratio of 32.43 percent.
There is, however, a complication surrounding any deal as Atletico currently have a transfer ban and if their appeal falls through then the Spanish club won’t be able to buy or sell any players in the summer.
For United, 25-year-old Griezmann would be the major arrival at Old Trafford this summer and the report also suggests that Mourinho is eager to offload Luke Shaw this offseason, plus Memphis Depay will leave in January as Lyon’s pursuit continues.
Back to Griezmann though, and it is reported that United have been pursuing the diminutive striker since the summer when he stole the show at EURO 2016 as the top goalscorer in the tournament which saw the host nation France lose in the final to Portugal.
On paper, Griezmann would be a phenomenal buy for United. He is exactly what they’ve been missing this season.
Yes, Zlatan has been ruthless in recent weeks — 11 goals in his last 11 games in all competitions says as much — but he is 35 years old and can’t be expected to go on forever. He has also had bad moments in front of goal this season and when you look around United’s squad they have raw young talents in Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford but not much else, and certainly no clinical strikers like Griezmann.
When I think of United, I think of a team creating copious amounts of chances and with their direct play under Mourinho they have certainly missed plenty of “big chances” this season, dropping points after failing to finish teams off and drawing many games they should have won.
If Griezmann was at United this season he’d probably be leading the PL in goals scored. I’m sure of it. He is of the same ilk as a Javier Hernandez or Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, a lightning quick poacher who is cool in the box. Yet, Griezmann also offers more with his pace and creativity and that’s why United should break the bank to sign him this summer.
This season Griezmann has scored 12 goals in 25 appearance for an Atletico side battling back from adversity to position themselves in the La Liga title race once again. Over the course of his two-and-a-half seasons at the Vicente Calderon he has now scored 69 goals in 132 games in all competitions. Every step up he has made the striker has done it with ease.
For United to become title contenders and get back to the upper echeleons of Europe, Mourinho needs a predator in the box. Zlatan and Wayne Rooney are getting on and youngsters Martial and Rashford will take time to develop. With the likes of Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan putting chances on a plate for those in front of them, United’s fans must be salivating at the thought of seeing Griezmann in a red shirt.
If United go out and buy Griezmann this summer it will be yet another huge statement in their intent to be back among the elite.
O’Reilly, 32, is the eighth-highest capped player in USWNT history and retired from the national team in September 2016. She was an integral part of the team which won the 2015 World Cup in Canada, plus she has three Olympic gold medals from the 2004 games in Athens, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
The midfielder scored 47 goals in 231 appearances for the USWNT, while she has also played for the Boston Breakers and most recently the Kansas City Stars in the NWSL.
Speaking about signing for the FA Women’s Super League powerhouse, O’Reilly was delighted to be moving to London.
“Having come over to Arsenal last year to train, I was very impressed with the club,” O’Reilly said. “The facilities are world class and they have a tradition of excellence at the club that I wanted to be a part of, I’m very happy to be here.”
The schedules for the 2017-18 season in both the WSL 1 and 2 were released last week and the opening weekend of the season is on Apr. 22 when O’Reilly’s Arsenal play Notts County.
O’Reilly joins USWNT winger Crystal Dunn in the WSL 1, as she plays for Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea.