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Premier League’s all-time top 5 US stars

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Since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, some great American players have graced the English game. Here are the top 5 players who have had the biggest effect on the Premier League:

5. KASEY KELLER

Leicester City:1996-1999

Tottenham: 2001-2005

After moving to England to play for Millwall in the First Division in 1992, the talented goalkeeper enjoyed four excellent years there, becoming a fans favourite in the process. He moved to Leicester in 1996, by which time he was first-choice ‘keeper for the national side, and won the League Cup with Leicester in 1997. After a spell in Spain, he returned to the Premier League in 2001 with Spurs, and he played every league game for two seasons. He eventually waved goodbye to English football in early 2005. Keller won 101 caps for America.

4. BRIAN MCBRIDE

Everton: 2003

Fulham: 2004-2008

Mcbride was a big, robust striker who enjoyed an excellent time in the Premier League between 2003 and 2008. He played eight games on loan for Everton in 2003, scoring an impressive four goals, before he made a permanent move to Fulham in 2004. He scored 41 goals in his four and a half years at Craven Cottage in a side that was often struggling at the wrong end of the rankings. He was held in high regard by the Fulham supporters, who appreciated his work-rate and hunger for the game. Mcbride left in 2008 to play in the MLS. He scored 30 goals in 96 appearances for the national team.

3. CLINT DEMPSEY

Fulham: 2007-2012

Tottenham: 2012- present

He might not be enjoying a great spell at Spurs at the moment, but Dempsey has been a terrific addition to the Premier League since his first game in 2007. That was at Fulham, who he signed for from New England Revolution, and he was one of the star players at Craven Cottage, playing with Mcbride for a short period. In 2010 Dempsey helped Fulham reach the Europa League final, and his winning goal against Juventus was memorable. Last season he scored a superb 23 goals, which earned him a move to Spurs. His debut season there has not been great, but his spell at Fulham was awesome.

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2. TIM HOWARD

Manchester United: 2003- 2007

Everton: 2007- present

Nobody knew too much about Howard when he signed for Manchester United in 2003, but his career there started very impressively. An error in a huge Champions League game with Porto in 2004 ended up defining his United career, and he eventually joined Everton permanently in 2007, following an earlier loan spell. He has been hugely consistent for David Moyes’ side, becoming an integral part of an increasingly impressive squad, and he is in him prime right now. He has 85 caps and counting for America, and is a top class ‘keeper.

1. BRAD FRIEDEL

Liverpool: 1997-2000

Blackburn: 2000-2008

Aston Villa: 2008-2011

Tottenham: 2011- present

Yet another goalkeeper in the list, but Friedel is on another level to Keller and Howard. Arguably in the top 5 ‘keepers to have graced the Premier League, the fact that he is held in similar regard to Peter Schmeichal, David Seaman and Petr Cech says it all. It didn’t start off great for him in England though, after a poor spell at Liverpool. Once he left Anfield, however, he never looked back. He enjoyed eight great years at Blackburn, three at Aston Villa and is in his second season at Spurs at the age of 41. In these three spells he broke the Premier League record for number of consecutive appearances in the league: an astonising 310. His consistency, shot-stopping ability and likeable personality during his time in England has made him a true Premier League legend.

Brazil will play Colombia in friendly for air crash victims

CHAPECO, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 03:  A fan pays tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real at the club's Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, on December 03, 2016. The players were killed in a plane accident in the Colombian mountains. Players of the Chapecoense team were among the 77 people on board the doomed flight that crashed into mountains in northwestern Colombia. Officials said just six people were thought to have survived, including three of the players. Chapecoense had risen from obscurity to make it to the Copa Sudamericana finals scheduled for Wednesday against Atletico Nacional of Colombia.  (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Brazil will play Colombia in a friendly match at the end of January to help victims of the air crash that killed most of the players, staff and directors of soccer club Chapecoense last week.

Spokesman Douglas Lunardi also said on Monday that the Brazilian football confederation will donate about $ 1.5 million to Chapecoense.

Nineteen of Chapecoense’s players were killed in the crash just outside Medellin, Colombia, as the Brazilian team headed to the first of two matches against Colombian club Atletico Nacional to determine the champion of the Copa Sudamericana – Latin America’s No. 2 club tournament.

[ MORE: U.S. Soccer’s Player of Year finalists ]

Earlier, South America’s football confederation Conmebol officially gave the title of the 2016 edition to Chapecoense, as Atletico Nacional requested.

Lunardi said the venue will be decided by Chapecoense directors and that all the ticket office revenues will go to the families of the victims. The most obvious choices, he said, are the historic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro and Chapecoense’s Arena Conda.

“The decision will be between making that tribute at home or get a bigger revenue for the victims,” Lunardi told The Associated Press. “We will let them take their time to make that decision.”

Maracana has a capacity of 78,000 and has hosted two World Cup finals as well as the opening ceremony of the last Olympic Games in August.

Arena Conda is a 22,000-seater. It hosted a memorial service on Saturday for 50 of the 71 victims.

Chapeco, the city of the club impacted by the tragedy, has 200,000 residents and sits about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) south of Rio.

In a press conference in Chapeco, Chapecoense’s president Ivan Tozzo said the club will decide the venue for the match in the next few days. He also said that the donation from the confederation will help cover the expenses for the memorial services.

UEFA Champions League preview: Arsenal in Basel, Man City hosts Celtic

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 28: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City takes on Stuart Armstrong of Celtic during the UEFA Champions League match between Celtic FC and Manchester City FC at Celtic Park on September 28, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
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The final week of group stage matches in this season’s UEFA Champions League are upon us, and only a pair of berths remain in Tuesday’s groups.

Those are in Group B, where Napoli, Benfica, and Besiktas enter the day a point a part. Only Dynamo Kyiv has been eliminated, and they’ll host a Besiktas side which is in the catbird seat. If the Turkish side wins, it will finish above either Napoli or Benfica.

Benfica is at home to its Italian rivals, with both sides on 8 points. And they’ll each head to the knockout rounds of Besiktas (7 points) fails to earn a result.

[ MORE: U.S. Soccer’s Player of Year finalists ]

As for our Premier League contestants, Arsenal looks pretty locked into the second seed in Group A. Trailing PSG after a 2-2 draw in London, the Gunners head to Switzerland to face Basel. Arsenal needs to better PSG’s result against visiting Ludogorets Razgrad.

Manchester City hosts Celtic knowing it’s already clinched second place in Group C and cannot catch leaders Barcelona. Expect youth.

In Group D, things are also settled with Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich 1-2 regardless of what happens in their match in Germany. Atleti is the only team which can finish the group stage 6-0. The last team to achieve that 2014-15 Real Madrid, who swept Basel, Liverpool, and Ludogorets Razgrad.

Tuesday’s UCL schedule
PSG vs. Ludogorets Razgrad
Barcelona vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid
Manchester City vs. Celtic
Basel vs. Arsenal
Benfica vs. Napoli
PSV Eindhoven vs. Rostov
Dynamo Kyiv vs. Besiktas

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Everton’s Bolasie needs ACL surgery, will miss AFCON

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Jose Mourinho manager of Manchester United reacts as Yannick Bolasie of Everton is given treatment during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 4, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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This is a big blow to Everton, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yannick Bolasie is set for a long spell on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

The 27-year-old attacker has played in every match for the Toffees, and is an electric attacking threat. He has one goal and four assists in PL play this season, after nabbing five and four for Palace last season.

[ PL: Grading the superstars’ seasons ]

A $32 million buy from Crystal Palace, Bolasie will miss the Africa Cup of Nations next month and likely send the Toffees into the transfer market.

Manager Ronald Koeman has made no secret of his Memphis Depay admiration, and this could tip Everton’s hand.

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Aubameyang raises transfer eyebrows in midst of otherworldy season

LISBON, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 18: Pierre Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund in action at the warm up during the UEFA Champions League match between SC Sporting and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Jose Alvalade on October 18, 2016 in Lisbon, Lisboa. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)
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Game changer, season changer, title changer.

It’s hard to find a phrase that would overstate what it would mean if a club could pry Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the hands of Borussia Dortmund.

Aubameyang raised eyebrows Monday with his non-dismissal of a transfer possibility. It wasn’t quite a “come and get me”, but the door is certainly open.

[ MORE: U.S. Soccer’s Player of Year finalists ]

“I don’t know if I will stay. I just think about playing good football right now. I want to give my best and win titles. I just think about the sport and nothing else.”

If you don’t pay a lot of attention to the Bundesliga, it might be easy to overlook Aubameyang. But the season he’s having with BVB’s wealth of playmaking midfielders is overwhelming. Give him less than a yard, and he’s all set.

Throw in the UEFA Champions League, and “Auba” has 18 goals in 18 matches. In the Bundesliga, he has a 4-goal night at Hamburg but also goals against Bayern and Hertha. Aubameyang has two braces, and has only been held off the score sheet three times (BVB is 1D-2L in those contests).

Put plainly, no one is doing what he’s doing right now.

Top Five leagues, 2016-17 goals (matches)

  1. Aubameyang, BVB — 15 (12)
  2. Edinson Cavani, PSG — 14 (14)
  3. Anthony Modeste, Koln — 12 (13)
  4. Mauro Icardi, Inter Milan — 12 (14)
  5. Eden Dzeko, Roma — 12 (15)
  6. Alexandre Lacazette — 11 (11)
  7. Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal — 11 (14)
  8. Diego Costa, Chelsea — 11 (14)
  9. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid — 10 (11)
  10. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City — 10 (12)
  11. Andrea Belotti, Torino — 10 (13)
  12. Lionel Messi, Barcelona — 9 (9)
  13. Luis Suarez, Barcelona — 9 (12)
  14. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich — 9 (13)
  15. Iago Aspas, Celta Vigo — 9 (13)
  16. Ciro Immobile, Lazio — 9 (15)
  17. Alassane Plea, Nice — 9 (16)

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