Germany v USA - Abby Wambach, USWNT

A week worth noting from Abby Wambach


It’s fitting that Abby Wambach’s week started in Canada.

With all the attention on the star U.S. striker centered around #ChasingMia — Wambach’s 155 goals are three off the all-time international mark held by Mia Hamm, a record that will inevitably fall in the coming weeks or months — the bigger picture for the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year has been overshadowed: the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Wambach will turn 35 years old four days before the tournament kicks off, on June 6, 2015. While she’s been part of two of the last three U.S. Olympic gold medals, she’s yet to win a World Cup, one of those poster board, wakes up to it every morning for motivation sort of facts that drives one of the most genuinely competitive players in the sport.

Alex Morgan has emerged as the young star striker of the U.S., already 10th all-time on the U.S. goal scoring charts (44 goals) a month ahead of her 24th birthday. Morgan mania leads the conversation that the U.S. needs to be — and will be — younger come Canada 2015. The emergence of Christen Press and Sydney Leroux adds to the connotation that the Americans will have a young, speedy front line two years from now.

But to write off Wambach from anything — particularly the biggest prize in the game — is to not know her at all.

This week, like so many others, she proved why.

Wambach played three full matches in seven days this week, showing a durability that didn’t come without pain in 2011 when Achilles tendonitis gave her fits. Seven days. Three games. Two hundred seventy minutes. Two goals and three assists. That was Abby Wambach’s week with the U.S. and the Western New York Flash.

Twice Wambach played provider in the United States’ 3-0 win over Canada. She scored a classic ‘Abby will just out-jump you’ header on Wednesday that helped the Flash tie the Boston Breakers and Wambach capped off the week with a goal and an assist in the Flash’s 3-0 rout of co-league leaders Sky Blue FC on Saturday.

(MORE: Five takeaways from the U.S. women’s 3-0 win over Canada)

Oh, and she hit the crossbar twice in those two NWSL games.

Wambach’s scoring ability and determination have never been in question and they never will be in question. She’s one of the greatest — statistically soon to be the best — goal scorer ever. What has hung over the idea of her still being one of the United States’ go-to forwards in 2015 is her health and durability; she’s admitted that her body needs to hold up and it’s part of why she’s led a movement to have the 2015 World Cup played on grass instead of turf, as is currently scheduled.

The week of June 2-8 won’t show up in Abby Wambach’s career highlight film. It won’t be something talked about in 2015 and it may not even be noted much beyond this article. But it goes a long way in showing that Wambach is healthy and ready to make this stretch-run of her legendary career one that includes another World Cup. The frequency of games, the regional travel — this past week mimicked a World Cup.

It’s too early to call anyone a definite starter for 2015; U.S. coach Tom Sermanni will try plenty of experiments and make a good number of changes along the way. But if you think Wambach won’t be a significant part of the mix, think again.

Five Premier League players make UEFA Team of the Year shortlist

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with his team mate Sergio Aguero (L) 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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UEFA has released the 40-man shortlist for the 2015 Team of the Year, with five Premier League players making the cut.

[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is on the list after being named the Premier League Player of the Year last season, as is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.

Manchester City accounts for the other three players, as Joe Hart, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne have been selected. However, De Bruyne makes the list mainly based off his play for Wolfsburg last season.

Three teams have more players selected than the entire Premier League combined. Barcelona leads the list with eight players, while Bayern Munich and Juventus each have six.

[ MORE: FIFA Ethics Committee seeks lifetime ban for Sepp Blatter ]

Cristiano Ronaldo already has the most appearances on the final list with nine, and is looking to make his ninth consecutive Team of the Year. No other player has been selected more than six times since the beginning of the award, which was started in 2001.

Below is the complete 40-man shortlist.

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Denys Boyko (Dnipro).

Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), David Luiz (Paris St-Germain), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris St-Germain), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen).

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St-Germain), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).

New York Red Bulls’ Jesse Marsch voted MLS Coach of the Year

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Red Bulls’ Jesse Marsch has been voted Major League Soccer’s Coach of the Year, the first to earn the honor in the two-decade history of the New York team.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Red Bulls went a league-best 18-10-6 in Marsch’s first season after replacing Mike Petke, winning 14 of their last 20 games with one tie. They trail Columbus 2-0 going into Sunday’s second leg of their Eastern Conference final.

MLS said Tuesday that from combined team, media and player votes, Marsch received a weighted total of 152 out of a possible 300.

Dallas’ Oscar Pareja was second with 91 and Vancouver’s Carl Robinson third with 24.

How can Chelsea qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

HAIFA, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 24: Willian of Chelsea celebrates scoring his teams second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC and Chelsea FC at Sammy Ofer Stadium on November 24, 2015 in Haifa, Israel.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
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With one match left in UEFA Champions League group play, Chelsea control their own destiny.

After beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv 4-0, the Blues sit tied with FC Porto on ten points at the top of Group G.

[ MORE: Champions League standings

However, with Dynamo Kyiv earning a big win over Porto on Tuesday, Chelsea must wait until the final matchday to qualify for the knockout round, as there is a possibility of a three-way tie for the top spot in Group G.

With Chelsea hosting Porto on December 9, here are the scenarios for Jose Mourinho’s men to assure advancement.

  • A win over Porto will clinch Chelsea the top spot and a place in the last 16.
  • A draw against Porto will see Chelsea advance.
    • Chelsea draw/Dynamo win: Chelsea win group, Dynamo finish second
    • Chelsea draw/Dynamo draw or loss: Porto win group, Chelsea finish second
  • A loss to Porto and a Dynamo Kyiv draw/loss to Maccabi Tel-Aviv will see Chelsea finish second in the group and advance to the last 16.
  • The Blues have secured at least a berth in the Europa League, regardless of the result in their final match.

Simply put, get a point at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea advance.

Mourinho says bad pitch in Tel-Aviv injured Ramires, John Terry

during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC and Chelsea FC at Sammy Ofer Stadium on November 24, 2015 in Haifa, Israel.
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Chelsea left Israel with a 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv, but also left with some injuries.

Ramires was hurt in training the day before the match, and John Terry was forced off in the second half.

[ RECAP: Tel-Aviv 0-4 Chelsea ]

Jose Mourinho talked about the condition of the pitch before the match, and was even more upset after it as two of his players are now hurt, although the extent of those injuries is not yet known.

Terry was stretchered off and looked to be in quite a bit of pain after going up for a challenge, as his ankle twisted awkwardly when he landed.

The pitch in Tel-Aviv was in poor condition, as large chunks of turf could be seen flying up when players planted or went in for tackles. Mourinho himself was seen on the field trying to fill in divots during stoppages of play.

While Mourinho said he didn’t want to jump to conclusions before getting test results, he believes John Terry will be unable to play this weekend, a huge Premier League match away at Tottenham.

[ MORE: Arsenal ready to “play for our lives” in match vs. Olympiacos ]

Other than his issues with the conditions, Mourinho was relatively happy with the team’s play and believes they are getting some confidence back, now with consecutive wins after beating Norwich City over the weekend.