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Saturday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Real Madrid players on the market?

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The number one story making the rounds on Saturday morning? Well it’s that Landon Donovan might be joining Everton on loan. Yes, yes, we hear this transfer rumor every winter. But if you’re hungry for all things USMNT, or LA Galaxy, or just a big fan of Landon, click here for more words on whether he’ll be wearing a Toffees kit once more.

In another transfer story that just never seems to die, it seems Chelsea are in the mix for Fábio Coentrão once more. Ashley Cole has struggled with injury for much of the season, with Cesar Azpilicueta, a right back by trade, stepping in on the left. With Cole getting up there in years (he’s about to hit his 33rd birthday) it’s only natural the Blues would try and swoop for a man once considered one of the world’s top left-backs. And with Marcelo first choice at Real Madrid, and Álvaro Arbeloa his back up, Coentrão barely gets a look in. In other words, it’s not out of the question that Madrid would allow Coentrão to leave on loan come January, although Chelsea would wrangle for the option to make the move permanent.

Speaking of the Spanish giants — no, we’re talking Madrid here, not Barcelona, do try to keep up — it’s rumored that Sergio Ramos may be on his way out. The, shall we say, temperamental defender was shown a straight red before 30 minutes had passed in Real Madrid’s match against Galatasaray. Real went on to win anyway, of course, but Carlo Ancelotti was none too pleased with Ramos. Again, Chelsea are interested, as José Mourinho takes great comfort in the familiar. So too, though, are Manchester City. Apparently Matija Nastasić isn’t truly they wonderkid they were hoping for in central defense.

And now that we’re on the subject of Serbs, let’s discuss Filip Đorđević. Dete, as he was known in his Red Star days, is lighting up Ligue 1, with eight goals for Nantes so far. His 20 goals helped them clinch promotion last season, and have them in an impressive fifth at the moment. The 26 year old may finally be hitting his stride, and that’s caught the attention of Hull City and Crystal Palace, particularly since he’s individually scored more than Palace have as a team this season. Without proven Premier League experience, and considering Serbian internationals aren’t nearly as trendy as, say, Belgians, Đorđević just might come at a very nice price.

Klinsmann blames Costa Rica loss on Mexico hangover

Jurgen Klinsmann

The United States lost their third straight match on home soil tonight, the first such losing streak since 1997.

Following an extra-time loss to Mexico on Saturday, the U.S. failed to compete in a friendly against Costa Rica, putting in another poor performance as the side continues to struggle.

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In his post match press conference, Jurgen Klinsmann said his team was still shaking off the loss against Mexico, and couldn’t recover in time for tonight’s game.

Yes, the United States’ match against Mexico went 120 minutes. Yes, it was a very tough game both physically and mentally. However, it’s time for Klinsmann to stop making excuses.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from the USMNT’s loss to Costa Rica ]

Of the starting XI against Costa Rica, only four started against Mexico. Of the six substitutes Klinsmann brought in today, only Bobby Wood played in the Mexico match, and for less than 25 minutes.

The problem isn’t that the U.S. lost tonight; it’s that they didn’t even show up. What Klinsmann needed to do was walk into his press conference and say, “We didn’t come to play tonight. We stunk. That can’t happen and we need to be better. It starts with me.”

[ PLAYER RATINGS: Howard’s return highlights poor performances from USMNT ]

Top teams don’t dwell on past results. Top teams rebound quickly and back up poor performances with strong performances. When a top team would have bounced back, the United States fell flat.

Clearly the argument is, well, the United States isn’t a top team. But isn’t that what Klinsmann was brought in to do? To help develop the USMNT into a top team? The least they could do is act like one, and that starts with the manager.

College Soccer Update: Tragedy strikes USC Upstate with horrible car accident

USC Upstate
USC Upstate
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No interviews today. No star players and programs. Just mourning.

USC Upstate lost four students earlier this week, two of them men’s soccer players, in an early morning car accident this weekend. A fifth was injured when the car they were driving in ran off the road, hit a tree, and caught fire.

James Campbell and Mills Sproul are the soccer players who’ve left the pitch for the final time.

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USC Upstate’s athletic department held a candelight vigil on Monday, and honored both players with online memorials.

From Campbell’s, entitled “James Campbell Was an Intense Player Whose Competitiveness Made Those Around Him Play Harder”:

While Kyle Juell and James attended different high schools, they played club soccer together. “James was intense and passionate on the field,” Juell said. “He was the kind of aggressive player you wanted as a teammate. He was fun and warm and full of life and he cared so much about his teammates.”

From Sproul’s, entitled “Mills Sproul Put the Needs of Others Before His Own and Was Accepting of All”:

Mills’ teammate Deon Rose said that Mills was like the brother he never had.

“The first time I met him, I knew that he was special,” Rose said. “Not because he asked me if we had beaches in Canada or how Canadians survived without Chick-fil-A, but because he had an unconditional love for everyone and everything.”

Our thoughts are with the USC Upstate team, and entire community. Rest in peace.

Three stars of the week

1. University of California Santa Barbara — The Gauchos leapt from “receiving votes” to No. 14 in the nation. The Gauchos have won five-straight, all in-state, by a combined score of 13-3.

2. Joey Piatczyc, West Virginia — The midfielder leads the nation in assists with 12, one coming in Tuesday’s upset of Penn State, a match in which he also scored his first of the year. The Mountaineers shocked PSU with a 3-0 home win in Morgantown.

3. Francis Atuahene and Colin McAtee, Michigan — The Ghanaian freshman is a lightning bolt, and keeps producing goals along with the redshirt senior McAtee, who hails from San Diego. The Wolverines beat Duquesne 3-0 on Tuesday.

Other notes

— Creighton dropped two of its 24 first place votes, one each to North Carolina and Stanford, but remains the No.1 men’s team in the nation.

— Wake Forest hasn’t allowed a goal in three matches, against quality competition in NC State, South Carolina and Boston College. There were stretches in the 2-0 win over South Carolina where they looked unbeatable.

— Speaking of the Demon Deacons, they’ll face dangerous UNC on Saturday in what will be a cracker.

— Also No. 1:Florida State (Women’s D-1), Gannon (Women’s D-2), Trinity of Texas (Women’s D-3), Pfeiffer (Men’s D-2), Franklin & Marshall (Men’s D-3).