Who put Michael Jordan’s secret stuff in the Rome city pipelines?
Whatever the boost happens to be, they’re on an absolute tear at Stadio Olimpico.
Roma defeated second-place Napoli 2-0 today in the capital as Miralem Pjanic’s fabulous double provided all the offense for the Giallorossi.
The 23-year-old Bosnian midfielder converted a luscious free kick on the stroke of halftime to give his side the lead just before the break, and then blasted home a penalty in the 71st minute after Napoli’s Paolo Cannavaro was sent off for receiving his second yellow card.
Daniele De Rossi also acrobatically cleared a would-be Goran Pandev goal off the line after former Azzurri goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis got only half a touch on the 35th minute shot. That, combined with a trio of bar-clattering shots left Napoli frustrated with their lack of luck.
At 8-0-0, this is officially the point in the season where it becomes more than just a hot start, and raised eyebrows change to thoughts of a season for the history books. The only other team to start a Serie A season perfect through eight matches is Juventus, who have done it three times – the last being the infamous 2005/06 season.
Napoli themselves have had a wonderful start to their year, and for Roma to brush them aside in this manner says a lot about the quality of the squad. The loss is the first Serie A defeat of Rafa Benitez’s tenure at Napoli.
The match also provided good news for USMNT star Michael Bradley as well, having been named to the bench as he looks to return from his ankle injury.
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.
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.
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West Brom is the last team through to the FA Cup fifth round with a penalty win over Peterborough United after a 1-1 draw in their replay at ABAX Stadium.
Down 1-0 10 minutes after the halftime break, Darren Fletcher scored the equalizer in the 71st minute, and that scoreline lasted through regulation and extra time. Fletcher missed a penalty in the shootout, but Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster saved twice to put West Brom through.
[ MORE: Full schedule for every PL club ]
Other than the penalty shootout, things were quite even throughout the match. Posh actually lead slightly on possession, and had an 8-5 shots-on-target advantage as well. Jon Taylor was the man to score for Peterborough, putting them 1-0 ahead shortly after halftime. The 23-year-old midfielder also scored in the 2-2 draw at The Hawthornes in the original matchup.
West Brom will now take on Reading in the fifth round, a team that hammered Walsall 4-0 in their fourth round meeting. Reading currently sits 15th in the Championship table
With USMNT World Cup qualifying not far away, Jurgen Klinsmann will certainly look to club performances to find out which of his players are grasping club opportunities by the horns.
One US national teamer in great form is Alejandro Bedoya. The 28-year-old has scored four times across all competitions since January 23rd, and his latest is a massive one. Bedoya sent Nantes to the quarterfinals of the Coupe de France with a 118th-minute winner against Bordeaux.
Bedoya has been a lightning rod for Nantes the past two or three seasons, but something he struggled for occasionally is consistent game time. Not anymore. The American has started five of their last six league matches, and since returning from some time off due to illness, Bedoya has featured in the starting lineup in nine of 11 Ligue 1 matches. What’s more, he’s finished the full 90 minutes in seven of those.
Klinsmann has looked to Bedoya in the past for a combination of electricity and defensive ability on the wing. Now, he may bring both endurance and a goalscoring threat to international competitions, which would go a long way in raising his national team stock.