US Timmy Chandler controls the ball duri

Chandler out injured, what options do USMNT have?


So bad news for US national team fans this morning: right back Timothy Chandler’s Bundesliga season is over.

The FC Nuremberg defender tore a knee ligament in training and is expected to be out for up to a month, according to this release from the official league site a few hours ago.

Chandler’s injury could be a huge blow for USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, as he prepares for three crucial World Cup qualifiers next month.

The 23-year-old has impressed for the US but is sure to miss the friendlies against Belgium and Germany in three weeks time. Those game lead up to three vital CONCACAF qualifiers, as the Hex is more competitive than ever this year.

First up is a tough trip to Jamaica on June 7, then a home game against Panama on June 11 followed by another home tie versus Honduras on June 18. Chandler could miss all those crucial games, or he may return early. Fingers crossed. But either way he will be lacking match fitness.

Worse case scenario, who does Klisnmann have as a possible replacement for Chandler?

Geoff Cameron would certainly be an able deputy in the right back slot, having played there for the majority of the season with Stoke City. Cameron proved during the clean sheets against Costa Rica and Mexico last month, that he looks just as composed at full back as he does in the center of defense.

(More: Huge week for Chandler after US saga rumbled on)

But if Cameron is needed at center back, there has been a huge lack of players with international experience at full back in recent squads. However, players such as Jonathan Spector and Steve Cherundolo could fill in, no problem. But Klinsi also has the option of playing Tony Beltran or even Justin Morrow or Steven Beitashour at right back.

So in fact, when you think about it, if the US were to lose one player, it would be okay to lose Chandler. They have several up and coming defenders who can fill in at full back and also have some older pros who can be called upon.

The latter will probably be used for June’s huge qualifiers, with Cherundolo and Spector helping the US qualify for World Cups in the past. They know how to get it done.

But with Klinsmann you never know, he may just feel the time is right to throw in another youngster to the back line. It paid off with Matt Besler shining against Mexico at the Azteca. Let’s see if Chandler’s injury opens the door for another young MLS defender to excel.

VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast

Kroenke: “Very high” on Wenger who is “very hard” to replace

Jeff Fisher
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LONDON — Arsenal remains “very high” on Arsene Wenger and it will be “very hard” replacing the manager who is in the final year of his contract, owner Stan Kroenke told The Associated Press on Monday.

Wenger this month celebrated 20 years in charge of Arsenal and has offered no indication whether he wants to sign a new deal into next season.

The 67-year-old Frenchman became the Premier League’s longest serving manager when Alex Ferguson retired from Manchester United in 2013. United is now on its third manager in three years and has not competed for the Premier League title since Ferguson’s departure.

In a rare interview about Arsenal, Kroenke noted the tricky post-Ferguson succession at United while discussing the challenge of eventually replacing Wenger.

“You see it (at United), you bring up a comment like that,” Kroenke told the AP after Arsenal’s annual general meeting. “It’s very hard. He’s a great manager.”

Wenger signed his last three-year contract extension in 2014.

“We will sit down and discuss the future at the appropriate time,” Arsenal chairman Chips Keswick told shareholders at a meeting where Wenger didn’t address his contract situation in his speech.

Although Wenger has won the Premier League three times, the last success came in 2004 – a drought which frustrates fans.

“He’s been a wonderful influence on the club,” Kroenke said. “We are all very high on Arsene. We are (joint) top of the table right now.”

Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are only separated on goal difference at the summit. Despite Wenger only winning the FA Cup twice since 2004, the team is in the lucrative Champions League for the 19th successive year thanks to its runner-up finish last season. Wenger is yet to win European football’s top prize.

“I know a number of (sports team) owners that are very successful that say the same thing – the hardest thing to do is be consistently competitive at the top of the league,” said Kroenke, who also owns the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. “Arsene has always done that and Arsenal has always been in that position. We have always been competitive.

“We may not always win the things we want to win. We are very focused on winning for sure the league. Arsene’s been consistently at the top and I will tell you – it’s very, very hard to do if you look around sports.”


2016 MLS Cup playoffs bracket in full

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Michael Bradley #4 and Jozy Altidore #17 of Toronto FC celebrate a goal by teammate Tsubasa Endoh #9 during the first half of an MLS soccer game against FC Dallas at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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With Major League Soccer’s Decision Day 2016 in the books, we now know who will battle it out for MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Who will win MLS Cup? ]

Up first on Wednesday and Thursday are the four knockout round games, then the Conference semifinal first legs kick off this weekend.

We get into it thick and fast.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage

The PST crew already selected their picks for the postseason and filled out their bracket. You can see that by clicking on the link above. FWIW, I have Toronto FC beating the Seattle Sounders in MLS Cup…

[ MORE: Ranking MLS playoff teams ]

Below is the MLS playoff bracket in full so you can make your picks and let us know who you went for in the comments section below.


MLS Playoff bracket, 2016

MLS Playoff bracket, 2016