St. Louis

Chelsea and Manchester City are St. Louis-bound


It seems a little early for the annual spring rain shower of European club announcements, where the money clubs from abroad sprinkle themselves around our land in a cash grab disguised as preseason training or post-season touring or whatever.

Actually, that’s a bit of cynical view; domestic soccer supporters do get something from all this. They get to see a few of the big-dog stars from some big-dog teams, even if the rosters are frequently watered down.

And this one, just revealed today, does deserve special mention.

Chelsea and Manchester City, who would be duking it out right now for the English Premier League crown if the stingies from Manchester United weren’t dashing away with the doggone thing, will clash in a late-spring exhibition in St. Louis.

It’s nice to see The Lou land a marquee event.

St. Louis is one of the venerable old grounds for soccer in this country. It’s a real shame that the city’s efforts to land a Major League Soccer franchise have been stamped with “no joy.”  Jeff Cooper, a local investor, got close circa 2008, even gaining approval on a suburban facility. But the group’s financing was ultimately insufficient by MLS assessment, so Cooper gave up.

Too bad things could not be sorted out. Because the city looks so much like Portland in market size and potential to embrace the game – and the Timbers surely represent a gold standard in sales, local awareness and general wow factor. (Yes, Seattle, you get gold-standard status, too.)

The May 23 match in St. Louis will take place at Busch Stadium downtown. The link above from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch includes a snazzy graphic on how officials will wedge an apparently proper-sized field into the baseball ground.

Newcastle’s Krul on crutches after injury in Dutch win

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Tim Krul of Newcastle United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.

Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.

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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.

Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.

The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.

McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.