Mile Jedinak gets some much deserved love, scoops Aussie POY honors

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Not a lot of good things have happened to Crystal Palace this season so with the announcement that the Football Federation Australia has named Mile Jedinak their Player of the Year, let’s take a moment to recognize one of the Eagle’s bright spots.

In large part Jedinak won the award for his efforts in captaining Crystal Palace to what many deemed to be a shock promotion to the Premier League last spring.

After finishing fifth in the Championship by virtue of a final week victory, Palace saw off Brighton & Hove Albion in the play-off semi-finals and Watford in the play-off final to gain promotion to the England’s top-flight for the first time in eight years.

“It was a massive year, it was very successful and one I’m not going to forget in a hurry,” Jedinak said upon receiving the honor.

Life in the Premier League has proven difficult for Palace so far, beating only Sunderland and drawing with Everton for a total of four points in 11 matches. But parity among the league means the Eagles are down, not out, and if Palace are to pull off the incredible it will be at the hands of their burly captain.

Jedinak is a grinder. With an unstoppable engine and a penchant for tough tackling, he can be a nightmare for opposing teams. Planted alongside the similarly broad-shouldered Kagisho Dikgacoi, the pair have proven very difficult to unlock.

Jedinak’s story is one of a late bloomer. He spent five years as a semi-professional at Sydney United before receiving the call to play in Australia’s top league with Central Coast Mariners. After three productive seasons, Jedinak decided to take his game abroad and signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Turkish club Genclerbirligi.

At 27-years-old Jedinak then moved to Palace, became a fan favorite in his first season, was handed the captain’s armband in his second season and is now raising eye-brows with his rugged performances in the Premier League.

With his POY award in tote, Jedinak remains a player to watch as Palace seek to fight off relegation. Even if the Eagles go down, don’t be surprised if the Aussie is scooped up by a Premier League mainstay this summer.

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

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Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]

Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

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Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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