Swansea City's Shelvey passes Liverpool's Sakho before shooting to score a goal during their English Premier League soccer match in Swansea

Swansea 2-2 Liverpool: Goals galore in Jonjo Shelvey’s eventful debut against former club (video)

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Just 90 seconds into the game, Shelvey scored against his former team, putting home his own rebound after an initial sliding block from Martin Škrtel. If that was the best start Shelvey could have hoped for, he was brought back to earth less than two minutes later.

After his team won the ball in its defensive half, Shelvey attempted a backpass with the outside of his right foot that inadvertently split his center backs. Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, in an offside position from the previous attack, pounced on the ball.

He was not flagged offside, as an opponent passed him the ball. (It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position.) Sturridge needed just one touch to level the score in the fourth minute and leave Shelvey to walk back to midfield with his head in his hands.

Perhaps he had not completely mentally recovered when he made another goal-inducing error.

With his team in calm possession and looking to break out, Shelvey misplayed a wide pass that Liverpool winger Victor Moses easily cut out. Moses dribbled toward goal, cut inside and slammed a shot on the ground inside the near post in the 36th minute.

Swansea nearly equalized two minutes later, but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet barely saved Nathan Dyer’s original back-post effort, and Škrtel slid in to rob Wilfried Bony of an easy tap-in from inside the six-yard box.

source: AP
Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey, centre, is mobbed by team-mates after scoring his sides first goal of the game as Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard walks away at right, during the English Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea Wales Monday Sept. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Nick Potts/PA)

The second half started in a flurry of yellow cards, including one on a tackle by Swansea defender Ashley Williams that sent Philippe Coutinho to the bench with an apparent shoulder injury. Moments later, Mignolet came off his line to punch a cross that left Bony on the ground.

Bony left the game soon after, although it was unclear whether it had anything to do with Mignolet’s intervention.

Mignolet could not keep Swansea out for long. Leon Britton lofted a ball forward in the 64th minute that found Shelvey just outside the penalty area.

Leaping with his back to goal, Shelvey swiveled to flick a ball into Michu’s path as he streaked toward goal. Finding space between two converging defenders, Michu calmly struck the ball on his first touch beyond Mignolet and into the back of the net.

Substitute Jonathan de Guzman nearly won it for Swansea in the 88th minute, but Mignolet continued his good early-season form and stretched to his left to tip the free kick around the post. On the ensuing corner kick, Mignolet punched twice, clearing the original cross and the secondary attempt.

Swansea looked more likely to score as the match wound down, with Liverpool happy to absorb pressure and earn a point to take it back to the top of the Premier League. Try as it might, Swansea could not penetrate Liverpool’s back line again, as the defenders held strong.

But the final whistle blew as Liverpool hit on the counter-attack, with Iago Aspas nearly scoring a winner at the death. Chico Flores slid in to clear the danger, and referee Michael Oliver suitably ended the game on a close chance to cap a 90-minute period full of opportunities.

Liverpool (3-1-0, 10 points, first place) returns home on Saturday to take on Southampton. Swansea City (1-1-2, 4 points, 13th place) heads to London on Sunday to play Crystal Palace but must first travel to Spain on Thursday to face Valencia in the UEFA Europa League.

Lineups

Swansea City: Michel Vorm — Àngel Rangel, Chico Flores, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies — Leon Britton, Jonjo Shelvey, Michu — Nathan Dyer (Jonathan de Guzman, 46), Wilfried Bony (Alejandro Pozuelo, 66), Wayne Routledge

Unused substitutes: Gerhard Tremmel — Jordi Amat, Dwight Tiendalli, José Cañas, Álvaro Vázquez

Liverpool: Simon Mignolet — Andre Wisdom (Kolo Touré, 69), Martin Škrtel, Mamadou Sakho, José Enrique — Lucas, Steven Gerrard — Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho (Iago Aspas, 55), Victor Moses (Raheem Sterling, 81) — Daniel Sturridge

Unused substitutes: Brad Jones — Luis Alberto, Jordon Ibe, Martin Kelly

MLS Preview: Conference leaders meet as Philly head west to Colorado

COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO - APRIL 02:  Dillon Powers #8 of Colorado Rapids controls the ball against the Toronto FC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 2, 2016 in Commerce City, Colorado. The Rapids defeated Toronto FC 1-0.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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The weekend is nearing, which means another full slate of ten matches across Major League Soccer.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

With Sporting KC and D.C. United kicking things off on Friday night, Saturday is jam-packed with eight matches before the league’s youngest clubs NYCFC and Orlando wrap up the action on Sunday.

Colorado Rapids vs. Philadelphia Union — Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET

There’s not a misprint on the table, Colorado and Philadelphia are both at the top of their conferences. After sitting near the bottom of MLS for the past two seasons, Colorado has shocked everyone, currently leading the league in points (27) with the fewest goals conceded (9). On Saturday, the Rapids put their perfect 6-0 home record on the line when they host the Union, who currently lead the East by two points.

New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC — Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET

Coming off of a massive 7-0 win in the Hudson River Derby against NYCFC, the Red Bulls will look to continue trending upwards when they host Toronto FC. Two of the preseason favorites to top the Eastern Conference, both sides are currently tied on points, although the Red Bulls have a game in hand. For Toronto, Sebastian Giovinco will be keen to prove Antonio Conte wrong after being left out of the Italy squad for EURO 2016 after the Italian boss talked down upon MLS.

[ MLS: Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

Montreal Impact vs. Los Angeles Galaxy — Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET

Didier Drogba has scored in each of his last three starts, a streak he will look to keep alive against the Los Angeles Galaxy this weekend. While Drogba will be looking to score, Montreal must make sure their defense is in top form as the Galaxy have scored a league-high 25 goals through 11 matches.

Elsewhere around MLS

Sporting KC vs. D.C. United — Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Houston Dynamo — Saturday, 6:00 p.m. ET
Columbus Crew SC vs. Real Salt Lake — Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
New England Revolution vs. Seattle Sounders — Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers — Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas — Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET
New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC — Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET

Cantona claims ethnicity played role in Benzema, Ben Arfa France snubs

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 14:  Former Footballer Eric Cantona of France speaks during a press conference at the Shanghai Grand Theatre prior to the  Laureus World Sports Awards  on April 14, 2015 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images for Laureus)
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Eric Cantona has made the headlines again, this time making some bold claims against France national team manager Didier Deschamps.

Cantona, a former Manchester United legend and French international, questioned whether Deschamps excluded Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa from the team due to their North African origins.

[ MORE: Skrtel set to leave Liverpool ]

Speaking to The Guardian, Cantona calls Benzema and Ben Arfa two of France’s best footballers, both of whom will not be playing for the national team this summer.

Benzema is a great player. Ben Arfa is a great player. But Deschamps, he has a really French name. Maybe he is the only one in France to have a truly French name. Nobody in his family mixed with anybody, you know.

So I’m not surprised he used the situation of Benzema not to take him. Especially after [French Prime Minister Manuel Valls] said he should not play for France. And Ben Arfa is maybe the best player in France today. But they have some origins. I am allowed to think about that.

One thing is for sure – Benzema and Ben Arfa are two of the best players in France and will not play the European Championship. And for sure, Benzema and Ben Arfa, their origins are north African. So, the debate is open.

Cantona’s view doesn’t hold much merit as Deschamps did not even have the option of selecting Benzema, the country’s active leading goalscorer. The Real Madrid striker is suspended by the federation, embroiled in a blackmail sex-tape scandal involving French teammate Mathieu Valbuena, who was also left off the EURO roster.

[ MORE: Three battles that could determine the Champions League final ]

France is an extremely diverse nation with a large North African population, Benzema of Algerian descent and Ben Arfa’s father a former Tunisian international. Both players were born in France and have received prior call-ups under Deschamps, with Cantona’s quite ridiculous comments likely to cause a stir before the EURO.

FA Cup will no longer have quarterfinal replays

HALIFAX, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09:  The FA Cup is seen prior to the FA Cup First Round match between FC Halifax and Bradford City  on November 9, 2014 in Halifax, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Starting in 2017, the FA Cup will no longer have replays in the quarterfinal round.

The decision was made in an effort to combat the congested English fixture list, which has been a topic of debate for years now.

[ MORE: Lukaku wants out at Everton ]

This season, Manchester United defeated West Ham in a quarterfinal replay before going on to win the competition.

In a statement released by the FA, these changes aim to add drama to the matches while eliminating an extra matchday needed for replays.

The revamped competition will see eight clubs battle it out over one weekend with each tie to be played to a finish on the day, adding to the drama and impact the competition has enjoyed in recent years.

Other new initiatives will be explored to ensure The FA Cup retains its status and appeal. These plans also form part of The FA’s commitment to help ease English football’s congested fixture schedule.

There will still be replays in the earlier rounds of the tournament, which allows lower level clubs the opportunity to earn a nice financial boost should they force a second match at a Premier League ground.

The Premier League is the only top league in Europe that does not take a winter break, a schedule that has been criticized by multiple managers, including Jurgen Klopp.

Judge hears arguments on US women’s team strike rights

HARRISON, NJ - MAY 30:  The United States team poses for a team picture before the match against the South Korea during an international friendly match at Red Bull Arena on May 30, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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CHICAGO — A federal judge in Chicago has heard arguments whether the world champion U.S. women’s soccer team has the right to strike for improved conditions and wages before this year’s Olympics.

Lawyers for the U.S. Soccer Federation told Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman at a Thursday hearing that a no-strike clause is implied in a still-valid 2013 memorandum with players.

[ MORE: All of PST’s USWNT coverage ]

But a lawyer for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association balked at that claim. Jeffrey Kessler said the federation had “screwed up” by not securing a no-strike clause in writing and can’t argue three years later that such a provision is implied.

The union wants the option to strike before the Olympics start in August, but hasn’t said it will. Many players have voiced concern over gender equity in soccer.