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With Gareth Bale’s holiday in Marbella ruined, he returns to London frustrated and unhappy

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Last Saturday Gareth Bale was chilling.

Sunglasses on, feet up, Bale lounged on a sun-drenched beach in Marbella, sipping an ice-cold concoction of fruit in wine that beat the pants off of any shandy he’d tasted before.

Life was good. It was about to be great. After months of protracted talks and haggling over a transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid, the stage was set. Quite literally, in fact, as his would be new employers had actually erected a stage at the Bernabéu where, on Tuesday, they were prepared to unveil their new high-powered toy.

Bale had already agreed to a package with Madrid that would see him sign a six year contract in exchange for an annual salary of close to $13.4 million (€10m). All that remained to do was for Spurs to finalize that darned transfer fee. Madrid wanted $121.5 (€90.8m). Tottenham wanted $133.8 million (€100m).

Meet half-way and be done with it, Gazza probably thought. Either way it felt like a done deal.

But as the ice in his sangria began to melt, the taste began to change. The beverage had morphed from a beach cocktail into something that tasted like it had been whipped up by a bunch of frat boys who had come across a bottle of grain, powdered flavor, a trash can and a garden hose.

By Sunday, a deal still hadn’t gotten done and even worse, Spurs claimed that another bid had been received. Although unconfirmed, the prevailing thought was that Manchester United had now become a player. As the situation spiraled and the transfer that seemed so close was now once again acres apart, Bale jetted back to London.

And now, on Tuesday, it’s safe to say that Bale is no chilling. Reports from Sky Sports claim the player is “unhappy and frustrated” with how White Hart Lane has handled his transfer. With his arms crossed and a pouty look, Bale has taken his ball and is refusing to meet up with his Spurs teammates to train.

As for that other bid, after the nil-nil draw with Chelsea on Monday night, United boss David Moyes was asked if the Red Devils made the bid and the Scotsman responded, “no.” But few believe the denial. Despite promises to the contrary, the United boss has yet to make a splash in the summer transfer window. Could we be in line for a sensational ending to a summer-long saga?

The transfer window closes on September 2nd.

Klinsmann blames Costa Rica loss on Mexico hangover

Jurgen Klinsmann

The United States lost their third straight match on home soil tonight, the first such losing streak since 1997.

Following an extra-time loss to Mexico on Saturday, the U.S. failed to compete in a friendly against Costa Rica, putting in another poor performance as the side continues to struggle.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

In his post match press conference, Jurgen Klinsmann said his team was still shaking off the loss against Mexico, and couldn’t recover in time for tonight’s game.

Yes, the United States’ match against Mexico went 120 minutes. Yes, it was a very tough game both physically and mentally. However, it’s time for Klinsmann to stop making excuses.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from the USMNT’s loss to Costa Rica ]

Of the starting XI against Costa Rica, only four started against Mexico. Of the six substitutes Klinsmann brought in today, only Bobby Wood played in the Mexico match, and for less than 25 minutes.

The problem isn’t that the U.S. lost tonight; it’s that they didn’t even show up. What Klinsmann needed to do was walk into his press conference and say, “We didn’t come to play tonight. We stunk. That can’t happen and we need to be better. It starts with me.”

[ PLAYER RATINGS: Howard’s return highlights poor performances from USMNT ]

Top teams don’t dwell on past results. Top teams rebound quickly and back up poor performances with strong performances. When a top team would have bounced back, the United States fell flat.

Clearly the argument is, well, the United States isn’t a top team. But isn’t that what Klinsmann was brought in to do? To help develop the USMNT into a top team? The least they could do is act like one, and that starts with the manager.

College Soccer Update: Tragedy strikes USC Upstate with horrible car accident

USC Upstate
USC Upstate
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No interviews today. No star players and programs. Just mourning.

USC Upstate lost four students earlier this week, two of them men’s soccer players, in an early morning car accident this weekend. A fifth was injured when the car they were driving in ran off the road, hit a tree, and caught fire.

James Campbell and Mills Sproul are the soccer players who’ve left the pitch for the final time.

[ MORE: College soccer news ]

USC Upstate’s athletic department held a candelight vigil on Monday, and honored both players with online memorials.

From Campbell’s, entitled “James Campbell Was an Intense Player Whose Competitiveness Made Those Around Him Play Harder”:

While Kyle Juell and James attended different high schools, they played club soccer together. “James was intense and passionate on the field,” Juell said. “He was the kind of aggressive player you wanted as a teammate. He was fun and warm and full of life and he cared so much about his teammates.”

From Sproul’s, entitled “Mills Sproul Put the Needs of Others Before His Own and Was Accepting of All”:

Mills’ teammate Deon Rose said that Mills was like the brother he never had.

“The first time I met him, I knew that he was special,” Rose said. “Not because he asked me if we had beaches in Canada or how Canadians survived without Chick-fil-A, but because he had an unconditional love for everyone and everything.”

Our thoughts are with the USC Upstate team, and entire community. Rest in peace.

Three stars of the week

1. University of California Santa Barbara — The Gauchos leapt from “receiving votes” to No. 14 in the nation. The Gauchos have won five-straight, all in-state, by a combined score of 13-3.

2. Joey Piatczyc, West Virginia — The midfielder leads the nation in assists with 12, one coming in Tuesday’s upset of Penn State, a match in which he also scored his first of the year. The Mountaineers shocked PSU with a 3-0 home win in Morgantown.

3. Francis Atuahene and Colin McAtee, Michigan — The Ghanaian freshman is a lightning bolt, and keeps producing goals along with the redshirt senior McAtee, who hails from San Diego. The Wolverines beat Duquesne 3-0 on Tuesday.

Other notes

— Creighton dropped two of its 24 first place votes, one each to North Carolina and Stanford, but remains the No.1 men’s team in the nation.

— Wake Forest hasn’t allowed a goal in three matches, against quality competition in NC State, South Carolina and Boston College. There were stretches in the 2-0 win over South Carolina where they looked unbeatable.

— Speaking of the Demon Deacons, they’ll face dangerous UNC on Saturday in what will be a cracker.

— Also No. 1:Florida State (Women’s D-1), Gannon (Women’s D-2), Trinity of Texas (Women’s D-3), Pfeiffer (Men’s D-2), Franklin & Marshall (Men’s D-3).