Horror tackle in Philadelphia injures Brek Shea… Stoke City not impressed

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It was all going so well for US national team winger Brek Shea.

In Sunday’s Gold Cup final, Shea came off the bench and scored the game-winning goal with his first touch. Life is pretty good right now. Well, was.

Because, sadly, that upturn in his fortunes is over.

On Tuesday night Shea suffered a bad knee injury after a poor tackle from Philadelphia Union reserve Matt Kassel. Uh oh.

The friendly between the Union and Stoke took place at PPL Park and Shea had already scored after starting for the Potters. But that bright start was ended, as Kassel took Shea out in the 27th minute.

(MORE: Brek Shea’s late goal gives USA Gold Cup win over Costa Rica)

Needless to say Stoke City manager Mark Hughes wasn’t impressed with Kassel, as Shea know faces an anxious wait to find out the extent of the injury to his left knee.

It was a nasty injury. It looks like some damage to the ligaments in his knee. I thought it was a very, very poor challenge by the boy. What the hell was he was thinking of, I have no idea. It’s a friendly game. You need to protect your fellow professional. And I don’t think the guy did that. I don’t know who he was. Maybe he was trying to make a name for himself, I don’t know. He went the wrong way about it.

So Shea’s nightmare with injuries continues. Just when everything was on the up for the FC Dallas product, wham, a crunching tackle from Kassel has changed all that.

Even Kassel’s own fans were booing him after they saw Shea limp off in severe pain. But as yet there this is the only video footage of his tackle, as the link to the game video from last night is actually showing a ticket promotion when the challenge comes in. But you can see Shea rolling around in agony after Kassel lunges in.

Check it out here at the 37:53 mark.

Shea, 23, has been hampered by injury since joining Stoke from FC Dallas in January. And after impressing in spells at the Gold Cup, scoring crucial game-winners, Hughes will have been eager to give Shea an extended run in the team as the winger had only joined Stoke’s preseason tour yesterday.

Let’s hope this injury isn’t a serious as it looks. The last word on this should go to Shea.

“Obviously I’m pretty upset right now . I was excited to get back to Stoke and get ready for the season. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it feels. When I was walking off, he [Kassel] apologized. And I said, ‘[Expletive] happens.’”

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia

MLS (afternoon) roundup: Historically awful MNUFC spanked again

Photo credit: New England Revolution / Twitter: @NERevolution
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The fourth (partial — playing during international breaks should be banned) MLS Saturday of 2017 is two-thirds of the way complete. A quick roundup of the day’s early games…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

New England Revolution 5-2 Minnesota United

What else needs to be said about Minnesota at this point? What else can be said? The number of goals they’ve conceded in their first four MLS games: 5, 6, 2, and 5. While (we think) a bit of luck will eventually go their way, and they’ll curtail the goals they’re conceding (we can’t be sure anymore), Adrian Heath’s side is on pace to conceded 153 goals this season.

Anyway, New England picked up their first win of the season. The quality (and ease) of goals scored will tell you everything you need to know about Minnesota’s defending.

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

New York Red Bulls 0-0 Real Salt Lake

Five days after firing head coach Jeff Cassar, RSL returned to their inept, toothless ways in a scoreless draw away to New York. Through four games, the Claret and Cobalt have scored all of one goal, and genuinely look the league’s most lifeless side; Minnesota have at least shown signs of quality in the attacking half.

On Saturday, New York created the majority of the game’s best chances — a pair of shots from distance, masterfully saved by deputy goalkeeper Matt VanOekel — but the chance that will live in the memories of RSL fans for a lifetime came and went in agonizing fashion.

Albanian federation denounces “extremist acts” of their fans in Italy

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TIRANA, Albania (AP) Albania’s soccer federation has strongly denounced the incident that halted the World Cup Group G qualifier with Italy for nearly nine minutes on Friday.

During the match, which was won by Italy, 2-0, a group calling itself Illyrian Elite threw flares onto the pitch.

“Such totally extremist actions from the grouping Illyrian Elite have nothing to do with the excellent Albanian fans” who were distinguished in the EURO 2016 finals in France for their friendship and camaraderie in their festivities, the statement added.

The federation said an coach Gianni De Biasi also was “upset by the flares,” adding that during five years he has been in charge “I’ve seen something that’s never happened before.”