Bradley

With Bob Bradley’s future uncertain, should the ‘American Pharaoh’ return to MLS?

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Following the 6-1 demolition of Egypt by Ghana on Tuesday, rumors surrounding the future of Bob Bradley have been doing the rounds.

Bradley, 55, is still the coach of the Egyptian national team as multiple sources have confirmed, however how much longer that lasts is another story entirely.

On Wednesday the Egyptian FA released a statement on its website stating that a meeting would be held on Monday Oct. 21 to discuss the fallout from Egypt’s embarrassing playoff loss away from home. That sounds pretty ominous for the man many have dubbed the ‘American Pharaoh’ and it seems as though his time in the turbulent North African nation could be coming to a premature end.

But what next for Bradley?

Well, it’s not like he’ll have a shortage of options after the stellar job he’s done so far for Egypt. The 6-1 pummeling by Ghana aside, he led the troubled country to a 100 percent record in the group stages of CAF qualifying as the only nation in the world go through WC qualifying winning every game. So, Bradley deserves a huge amount of credit for handling the situation in Egypt and turning a struggling nation into a side that can at least dream of World Cup qualification once more.

(MORE: Huge first leg loss to leave Egypt, Bradley in search of a miracle)

The turmoil hasn’t made life easy, as the Port Said disaster coupled with the Egyptian uprising and revolution has seen Bradley and his squad working in uncertain circumstances without a national league for most of his tenure. Perhaps all of that pressure and stress put on Bradley and the Egyptian people amongst all the troubles proved too much against Ghana on Tuesday. It will take a miracle to turn around that heavy first-leg defeat next month. But I think Egypt owes Bradley and if he wants to give it one more shot and go out in a blaze of glory in the first soccer match staged in Cairo for almost two years, despite Ghana’s protests, then he should be allowed to do that.

A match in Cairo in November will give Egypt a chance to say thanks to the ‘American Pharaoh’ and vice versa.

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Often under-appreciated in MLS and with the USMNT, is now the right time for Bradley to make a heroic return to the USA?

Bradley has revitalized a soccer nation desperate for success, and in turn his relative success has helped rebuild his status as a top international coach after being knocked out of the 2010 World Cup to, you guessed it, Ghana With the brilliant job he’s done with Egypt, other national teams in need of a rebuild or smaller clubs in Europe may be sniffing around Bradley.

But I think now is a good time for him to return to MLS.

Could Chivas USA use the expertise and calmness of their old coach? Definitely. And let’s face it, despite all the uproar and misgivings at Chivas, Bradley’s now used to handling much more pressure and craziness in Egypt. With another of his old MLS teams, Chicago Fire, desperate to return to former glories, could Bradley return to move Frank Klopas’ side to the next level? Perhaps. And in reality, almost every MLS teams and their fans would love to see Bradley back in the U.S. coaching.

After all the bad things written and said about Bradley towards the end of his stint as USMNT head coach, now U.S. fans are desperate for him to succeed in Egypt or wherever he ends up. His status as a top American soccer coach has returned.

Now it’s time he returned home, to MLS.

Dempsey returns to training after second heart procedure

SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 28:  Clint Dempsey #2 of MLS All-Stars chases after the ball up field against the Arsenal FC during the second half of the AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Avaya Stadium on July 28, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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Many were concerned about USMNT and Seattle Sounders attacker Clint Dempsey‘s future when he underwent a pair of heart procedures in 2016.

The 33-year-old Dempsey took another step to allay those fears when he hit the pitch for Seattle’s first day of preseason camp.

[ MORE: How will U.S. line up vs. Serbia? ]

The Sounders won the 2016 MLS Cup despite the absence of Dempsey, and his return would further strengthen the side. General manager Garth Lagerwey said Dempsey won’t be rushed, but could be nearing a return.

EFL Cup second legs preview: Liverpool, Hull City aim for comebacks

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Divock Origi of Liverpool battles with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (L) and Ryan Bertrand of Southampton during the EFL Cup semi-final first leg match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on January 11, 2017 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images
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Manchester United and Southampton are 90 minutes from Wembley Stadium.

Hull City and Liverpool would prefer to change that.

After first legs a fortnight ago, the EFL Cup semifinals play out on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of Feb. 26’s final at Wembley.

[ MORE: How will U.S. line up vs. Serbia? ]

First up is Southampton‘s trip to Liverpool, with the Saints nursing a 1-0 lead from the first leg at St. Mary’s. The Wednesday kickoff sees Saints hoping the Reds’ poor run of form will continue at Anfield. Liverpool has one win 2017, and that was an FA Cup replay victory over Plymouth Argyle.

Southampton boss Claude Puel knows the Reds will be ornery:

“We know Liverpool. They lost against Swansea at home, and I am sure they will want to react against us, but it’s important to keep all of our focus about our play.

“We know they are fantastic, a great team, with great players, but you saw in the first leg we have the ability to produce a strong game against them. It will be important to make a strong game – a perfect game – I think.”

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United got a terrific result in the first leg at Old Trafford, scoring twice and holding Hull City from scooping up a valuable road goal. Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini scored the goals in the 2-0 win, but the KC Stadium will be rocking on Thursday as the Tigers look to reverse the result.

United midfielder Michael Carrick says the Red Devils will play as if they are starting from scratch:

“It’s definitely not over, we all know that. We are telling ourselves that. I think we’ll be pretty much full strength and will approach the game like it’s a 0-0 and starting from scratch.

“It’s dangerous when you go in there defending a lead to tell yourself this result will do or that result will do, or we can afford to do this or that.”

Report: China tempting TFC’s Giovinco with big offer

Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Union during the first half of an MLS soccer playoff match in Toronto, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP
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Could Sebastian Giovinco’s chances of another MVP award be diminishing?

It wouldn’t be on account of a lack of production, rather massive money coming his way from the Chinese Soccer League.

[ MORE: How will U.S. line up vs. Serbia? ]

Great, and right when we were daydreaming about how Toronto FC’s Italian attacker could run a revenge tour on the folks who somehow left him out of the MVP finalists last year.

Giovinco turns 30 on Thursday.

From The Toronto Sun’s Kurtis Larsson:

“The Chinese club seems to be very interested, but I don’t think it’ll be easy to take him away from Toronto,” Giovinco’s agent, Andrea D’Amico, told the broadcaster.

“We received an important offer from China and we’ll talk to Toronto to decide, along with Sebastian, what to do.”

Giovinco is with Toronto FC for preseason training camp, and both the club and player have shown no interest in moving on from the diminutive winger and 2015 MVP.

But if China comes calling with crazy money, say a $25-30 million transfer fee, shouldn’t TFC think twice? Any figure above $25 million would be more than the sum of the three biggest incoming transfer fees in MLS history (Miguel Almiron, Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe).

AFCON wrap: Ivory Coast bounced, DR Congo wins Group C

Congo's soccer players celebrate after scoring a goal against Togo during the African Cup of Nations Group C soccer match between Congo and Togo at the Stade de Port-Gentil, Gabon, Tuesday Jan. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
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Down went another knockout round mainstay from the Africa Cup of Nations, as the Ivory Coast failed to capture one of the top two spots in Group C.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Morocco 1-0 Ivory Coast

Needing a win to move on, the Ivory Coast fell in its final group match. Rachid Alioui scored a 64th minute goal that meant the Ivory Coast needed two to advance to the quarterfinals. The goals didn’t come, and Morocco will face the Group D winner next.

Togo 1-3 DR Congo

Junior Kabananga, Paul-Jose M’Poku, and Ndombe Mubele scored as the Leopards finished the group stage with an unbeaten record of 2-1. DR Congo will face the runner-up of Group D in the quarterfinals.

Wednesday’s matches

Ghana is through with six points, while Uganda is out. Egypt will go through with a result against Ghana, while Mali needs a win and an Egypt loss to get to tiebreakers.

Egypt vs. Ghana — 2 p.m. ET
Uganda vs. Mali — 2 p.m. ET