Germany v USA - Abby Wambach, USWNT

A week worth noting from Abby Wambach

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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.

FA Cup: Kane’s hat trick sees Spurs sail past Fulham, into QF

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur (R) celebrates with team mate Dele Alli as he scores their third goal and completes his hat trick during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage on February 19, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Tottenham Hotspur have done plenty to frustrate and confound their supporters in recent weeks — their Premier League title race has all but officially gone, and they’ve got some work to do in their Europa League round-of-32 tie — but Mauricio Pochettino‘s side is now just 270 minutes from lifting the club’s first major trophy since 2008.

[ MORE: FA Cup roundup — Premier League sides underwhelm in 5th round ]

A 3-0 victory away to Championship side Fulham on Sunday sends Tottenham through to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, where they’ll join the likes of Lincoln City and Millwall — as well as PL leaders Chelsea, and possibly Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Harry Kane bagged all three of Spurs goals — the first two of which were created courtesy of delightful wide service from Christian Eriksen — the first a simple tap-in from six yards out in the 16th minute; the second a slightly more difficult, waist-high redirect from inside 10 yards not long after halftime. The hat trick was complete on 73 minutes, when Kane raced in behind the Fulham defense and fired past Marcus Bettinelli at the near post.

[ MORE: Fifth-division Lincoln City shock PL side Burnley in FA Cup ]

Elsewhere in the FA Cup

Burnley 0-1 Lincoln City — RECAP | REACTION
Huddersfield Town 0-0 Manchester City
Middlesbrough 3-2 Oxford United
Millwall 1-0 Leicester City
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea

Sunday’s FA Cup schedule

Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester United — 11:15 a.m. ET

Monday’s FA Cup schedule

Sutton United vs. Arsenal — 2:55 p.m. ET

VIDEO: David Villa given red card via MLS’s video replay

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David Villa was sent off following the use of video replay during New York City FC’s preseason game against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Villa, the reigning league MVP, was initially shown a yellow card by referee Nima Saghafi for a slap to the face of Dynamo defender A.J. DeLaGarza (the incident begins at the 36:50 mark of the above video). Following a review of video evidence (Video Assistant Referee — VAR), which MLS has implemented on a trial basis this preseason, Saghafi correctly changed Villa’s booking to a straight red card.

The biggest stumbling block for video replay in soccer is, undoubtedly, the length of time each video-assisted decision would require to be made. From the moment Villa made contact with DeLaGarza’s face, to the time Saghafi re-enters the field of play and shows Villa his red card, 2 minutes and 33 seconds has passed. From the initial incident to the restart of play, 3 minutes and 43 seconds.

[ MORE: U.S. U-20s lose to 10-man Panama in opener of WCQ ]

That might not sound like a ton of time, but when you consider that’s time that will have to be added on in stoppage time, the typical three or four minutes quickly balloons to seven or eight minutes. The fact that a referee’s decision was corrected is a huge win, and proof that the use of video replay can and will help referee’s make game-altering decisions; the process by which that happens, though, still needs expedited.

Update: This post previously misidentified Villa as the first MLS player to be sent off via the use of VAR. Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara was shown a red card via the use of VAR earlier in the preseason.

Ranieri criticizes Leicester for lacking “desire and heart”

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Claudio Ranieri, Manager of Leicester City looks dejected during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Millwall and Leicester City at The Den on February 18, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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LONDON (AP) Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri criticized his players for lacking “desire and heart” in a 1-0 loss at third-tier Millwall in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday, the latest setback for the stuttering English champion.

[ MORE: FA Cup roundup — Premier League sides underwhelm in 5th round ]

Leicester, which is one point above the relegation zone in a woeful defense of its Premier League title, is without a victory in its last eight matches.

Millwall played most of the second half with 10 men and won thanks to a 90th-minute goal.

“I want to speak again with the players and say we have to fight every match,” an animated Ranieri said. “Who wants to fight? Tell me. I need the soldiers, I need the gladiators.

[ MORE: Fifth-division Lincoln City shock PL side Burnley in FA Cup ]

“It is strange because last season we won for this, to be more determined than the opponent and play with more heart than the opponent. We could also lose but we would fight every match. I want to see this, the fight until the end.”

Leicester’s next match is against Sevilla in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.

FOLLOW LIVE: Spurs, Man United away in FA Cup 5th round

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his third and his sides third goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 first leg match between Manchester United and AS Saint-Etienne at Old Trafford on February 16, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-rounders served up the biggest Cupset of them all — fifth-division side Lincoln City knocking off Burnley of the Premier League — as well as two moderately shocking results — Leicester City losing to 10-man Millwall (League One) and Manchester City drawing 0-0 with Huddersfield Town (Championship).

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Sunday’s FA Cup 5th-rounders ]

On Sunday, two more of the PL’s big boys hope to avoid upsets and reach the quarterfinals of the 2016-17 tournament. First up, Tottenham Hotspur visit Fulham’s Craven Cottage in a renewed London derby, followed by Manchester United’s trip to Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park. For live scores and updates, hit the above link, or click right here.

Saturday’s FA Cup results

Burnley 0-1 Lincoln City — RECAP | REACTION
Huddersfield 0-0 Manchester City
Millwall 1-0 Leicester City
Middlesbrough 3-0 Oxford United
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea

Sunday’s FA Cup schedule

Fulham vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 9 a.m. ET
Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester United — 11:15 a.m. ET

Monday’s FA Cup schedule

Sutton United vs. Arsenal — 2:55 p.m. ET