Costa Rica v United States - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier

One last thing to be said before U.S-Mexico kickoff

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Obscured by the novelty of the night and by the brave resistance shown by a U.S. team nearing crisis mode was some highly questionable intelligence on display by Jurgen Klinsmann’s team.

All credit in the world to the snow capped U.S. men for finding a way Friday – but if we’re being honest, the game was not managed very wisely.

Foremost, those fouls at the end of the match were ridiculous. Giving Costa Rica three late chances to place balls into the penalty area on restarts was the very height of “asking for it.”  It was inexcusable.

So treacherous was the footing on the DSG Park field by then, the only way Costa Rica was going to score was through some gift opportunity, an invitation to clear a little spot of the fluffy white menace and target a ball into the penalty area, where slippery mayhem could ensue.

You could see Jurgen Klinsmann, usually cool as German asparagus over there, losing his mind with the late fouling.

Costa Rican defenders figured it out. Why body up on some attacker when they probably can’t do anything with the ball anyway?

Here’s something else the Costa Ricans figured out: tiki-taka didn’t work. Not even close. So, why, why, why would the United States keep trying to magically make it work? Why where they inviting disaster with 10- to -15-yard passes, attempting to be all smooth and under control, hoping to play through Michael Bradley as if conditions had not deteriorated to historic proportions?

Costa Rica, meanwhile, had it pegged. This game was about 30- to 40-yard passes that could be lifted off the snow. If those lower percentage passes wiggled or squirted away, so what? The Costa Rican passes were going into spots of lesser danger, where the Ticos were prepared to defend if they did lose the ball.

They kept Alvaro Saborio up high and dumped in a series of exploratory long balls, and kept the pressure on the United States by doing so.

A young U.S. side looked like one afraid to improvise as Costa Rica did. Young players seemed afraid to go against the usual Klinsmann way.

But that’s the game. Improvise and adapt. Figure it out.

Let’s hope they do a little better at it tonight Azteca Stadium.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).