Paris Saint-Germain's coach Carlo Ancelotti is seen before his team's French Ligue 1 soccer match against FC Lorient, western France

Confirmed: Carlo Ancelotti new Real Madrid manager, Laurent Blanc in at PSG

Leave a comment

It is official, Carlo Ancelotti has his wish and is now the manager of Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Ancelotti has long been the favorite to take over at the Santiago Bernabeu, after telling Paris Saint-Germain of his desire to manage Real however the deal has been held up as PSG searched for Ancelotti’s successor. But now they’ve found him with former French national team manager Laurent Blanc handed a two-year deal.

PSG won the French title for the first-time since 1994 last season under Ancelotti’s stewardship, however as soon as the 2012-13 campaign ended the former AC Milan and Chelsea manager made it clear that he wanted a move away from Paris.

Ancelotti has shown his managerial nous across the European continent, winning trophies in Italy, England and France. The 54-year-old Italian manager is now hoping to bring domestic and European success back to the Spanish capital.

But what about that old saying, “be careful what you wish for…” Yeah, I think the Italian maestro will do just fine.

PSG’s former boss has been handed a three-year contract with Madrid, as they aim to bounce back from the José Mourinho era and challenge Barcelona’s dominance on Spanish soccer. Ancelotti could be the man to bring success to Madrid, with a whole stack of trophies already under his belt.

While Blanc is the new man at the helm of the reigning French champions, and will have plenty of money to spend at the mega-rich club. Domestic success at Bordeaux in 2007-10 lead to the former French international defender taking charge of the national team, but Blanc’s reign in charge of Les Blues ended in turmoil after a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign. He has been out of the game ever-since but is still highly regarded as one of Europe’s top club managers.

Now is the chance for him to prove just how good he is.

(MORE: With Blanc in at PSG, Ancelotti now free to takeover at Real Madrid)

Ancelotti’s appointment makes sense for both parties. He wanted a move back to Spain, Italy or England to manage in the worlds biggest leagues but he is also adept at handling the massive egos and talent at his disposal when managing a club of Real Madrid’s stature, he proved when succeeding at both AC Milan and Chelsea.

We’ve been waiting for this announcement for quite some time, but now both managers have landed in their respective jobs, it all seems to make sense and slot into place symbiotically. Blanc is a tactician who can help develop PSG’s youngsters into a well-organized side that can prosper in Europe. While Ancelotti has the capability to turn Real Madrid into a winning machine once more.

Morgan, USWNT cruise past Costa Rica 5-0 behind early flurry of goals

Leave a comment

The U.S. Women got off to a flying start in Olympic qualification Group A play by torching Costa Rica 5-0, including goals from Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Crystal Dunn.

Morgan led the way with a double, including one in the opening 12 seconds – only six passes off the opening kick – that set the record for quickest goal in U.S. Soccer history. Lloyd and Dunn both struck in the opening 15 minutes to make it 3-0 before Costa Rica even had time to blink. Lloyd’s came on a penalty after Dunn was felled for the captain’s 83rd international goal, and then the latter bagged one of her own minutes later on a rebound off a shot by Morgan.

[ VIDEO: Alex Morgan caps off a 12-second, six-pass goal ]

The visitors were able to make it Morgan scored her second after the hour mark to cap the goal tally. Jill Ellis completed her trio of substitutions after the fourth goal and the U.S. saw the game out easily.

The fifth came late on a cross from Tobin Heath that fell to Christen Press in the box. With her back to the goal, the 27-year-old produced a simply stunning first touch, back-heeling the ball down before whipping around the opposite direction to lose her defender and firing home the fifth goal.

With the final whistle, the United States improved their record against Costa Rica to a perfect 13-0. The U.S. will play Mexico next on Saturday before finishing out Group A play against Puerto Rico on Monday, February 15.

VIDEO: Alex Morgan scores goal against Costa Rica in 12 seconds

Leave a comment

The United States got off to a historically roaring start in Olympic qualifying. Taking on Costa Rica in Frisco, Texas to begin Group A play, Alex Morgan opened the scoring in just 12 seconds, taking just six passes to complete the masterpiece.

According to the USWNT twitter account, the goal is the fastest in U.S. Soccer history.

According to CONCACAF, the goal is also the quickest in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, breaking Abby Wambach’s of 35 seconds in a 14-0 domination of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The United States scored three goals in the first 15 minutes against Costa Rica tonight. They will take on Mexico and Puerto Rico across the next five days.

Watch Live: USWNT vs Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 23:  (L-R) Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States is congratulated by teammate Alex Morgan #13 after a goal against Ireland at Qualcomm Stadium on January 23, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The United States women are set to begin Group A play in Olympic qualification, taking on 36th ranked Costa Rica at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The game takes place after a 17-day camp at the national training camp in Carson, California.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Other teams in the group include Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Mexicans dominated Puerto Rico 6-0 in the first game.

LINEUP

United States: Solo; Krieger, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg; Brian, Horan, Dunn, Lloyd, Heath; Morgan.

Columbus, NYCFC release new kits to mixed results

NYCFC
New York City FC
Leave a comment

Two Major League Soccer clubs have put their kits out there for the 2016 season. They’ve received a mediocre welcome at best.

Columbus was the first, and their kit makes a bold statement moving away from the traditional yellow and black that so often adorns their regular shirts. Instead, the kit incorporates the Columbus flag onto it. The release has seen quite a negative reaction on social media.

The kit was unveiled at the Columbus City Hall on Wednesday, featuring the traditional adidas stripes, although instead of the usual placement on the shoulders, the stripes come down the side of the torso. Recently, adidas has the tendency to copy general jersey patterns across its multiple properties, so look for this design with other clubs in the near future.

The negative reaction to the Columbus release isn’t terribly surprising considering fans often enjoy sticking to tradition, and backlash is common when clubs deviate from the norm. As an additional hurdle, the color contrast between red and yellow is somewhat stark, lending to the difficult reception. Add in the bright pastel blue shorts and…yikes.

While the club didn’t describe how they will utilize this kit during the season, it’s likely to be the primary (at least for now) as the club release says the kit portfolio also includes last year’s black kit, which is traditionally the away kit.

NYCFC’s release of their secondary kit was more positive, receiving a mixed response on social media.

As you can see, adidas again copied their general outline with the stripes down the side of the torso. However, the German clothing manufacturer did much better with the general design of these kits than the Columbus ones. I will give a bit of personal opinion here: I absolutely love these kits. The ripple effect accentuates the crest with a near-3D effect, and the colors mesh perfectly which serves to assuage the eye from being overwhelmed by a busy design. If there’s any criticism, it’s that without an outline, the Etihad logo tends to get in the way a bit, but that’s nitpicking. Well done NYCFC. Columbus…I’ll leave that one to you all.