Egypt's head coach Bob Bradley of the U.S. gestures during their 2014 World Cup Brazil qualifying soccer match against Mozambique at Borg El Arab "Army Stadium"

Bob Bradley’s Egypt face Ghana, as African World Cup playoff draw sets up huge CAF clashes

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After being seeded in Pot 2 for the final round of CAF World Cup qualifying, Egyptian national team manager Bob Bradley knew his side would face strong opposition in the last hurdle to get to Brazil.

But the former U.S. national team manager was handed an extremely tough draw as the Pharaohs face Ghana in a home and away playoff series to play out in October and November.

The winner will make the 2014 World Cup and the loser…. well, that doesn’t bear thinking about.

Bradley’s men won all six of their group stage games, the only nation in the world to have gone through their qualifying group with a 100 percent record. Yet due to their FIFA World Ranking, 50, they were placed outside the top seeds for the playoff draw and now face one of Africa’s strongest teams in a duel that will result in either Ghana or Egypt heading to Brazil 2014.

During his time in charge of the USMNT, Bradley’s men were knocked out of the 2010 World Cup by the Black Stars in the last 16 in South Africa. Ghana will prove a massive test for the Egyptians.

However Egypt do have the advantage of playing away from home in the first leg against Ghana between October 11-15 and then hosting the Black Stars between November 15-19 to decide their World Cup fate in front of their home fans.

Elsewhere, two other huge matchups were drawn out as the Ivory Coast will face Senegal and Tunisia square off with Cameroon for a spot at the World Cup. Rounding off the draw surprise package Ethiopia play Nigeria and Burkina Faso clash with Algeria.

All first legs will be played between October 11-15 and the second legs will take place on a date to be arranged between November 15-19.

Here is the CAF World Cup playoff round draw in full:

Ivory Coast v Senegal

Ethiopia v Nigeria

Tunisia v Cameroon

Ghana v Egypt

Burkina Faso v Algeria

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

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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)
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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
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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.

Men In Blazers podcast: Romelu Lukaku Pod Special

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Rog and Davo break down Leicester City’s 3 – 1 win at Manchester City, marvel at Spurs going second in the table, and talk about the headlines surrounding the mid-table clash between Chelsea and United.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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