FIFA.com did nice story on Benny Feilhaber, much of it about Feilhaber’s Brazilian roots; he moved from Rio de Janeiro to suburban New York City at age 7.
Some of it was over the top. Like the part where the writer went on about Feilhaber’s “true genius in the middle – a classic No 10 creator.” I mean, he’s a fine passer and can certainly hold his own as a creator … but let’s not get carried away.
Either way, the piece is centered around Feilhaber’s arrival into Brazil with the United States national team last month. It is a swell angle and a good read … but there’s a big asterisk to all this.
Is Feilhaber even destined to be on the U.S. team this summer?
The Sporting Kansas City man didn’t even start on the national team’s MLS-heavy version against South Korea that punctuated Jurgen Klinsmann’s January camp. That doesn’t say great things about his chances of gaining one of those 23 golden invitations.
If Feilhaber’s role in the U.S. plan is the linking man (the Michael Bradley role, that is), he probably remains behind Mix Diskerud (who started in the 2-0 win over Korea, but yielded to Feilhaber after an hour). And Sacha Kljestan is probably ahead of Feilhaber, too, having spent far more time and been given far more opportunities under Klinsmann over the last two years. (Like most other European-based players in the U.S. pool, Kljestan remained abroad for that match.)
Feilhaber seems to be in that big lump of players who are in the mix for three or four spots still up for grabs. He’s in the mix … but his appearance in Brazil is far, far from a sure thing.
Paul Pogba made amends for an early marking error that led to a Spurs opener by setting up Alexis Sanchez’s equalizer as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are tied at 1 after 45 minutes of their FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium.
[ LIVE: Updates from Wembley ]
Spurs went ahead through Dele, as Pogba lost Christian Eriksen as the Dane raced onto a long ball. Eriksen crossed to the back post for Dele’s sliding finish.
Pogba made amends in his preferred third of the pitch, stealing the ball from a Mousa Dembele and lofting an inch-perfect cross for Alexis to nod home. The headed finish was anything but easy, hit across the goal while falling to the pitch.
It’s one-and-done for Sunderland in the Championship, though not in the way expected by most supporters of the Black Cats.
[ RECAP: WBA 2-2 Liverpool ]
Relegated from the Premier League under David Moyes‘ guidance last season, Sunderland lost Saturday to leave them six points back of safety with two to play.
But either Burton Albion or Bolton will get at least a point from a match against each other, meaning Sunderland would need at least seven when all is said and done.
- Twenty-one clubs have been relegated since the start of the 2010-11 season.
- Six have sunk as low as League One (including Sunderland)
- Seven returned to the Premier League (including Wolves for 18-19)
- Ten are currently in the Championship
It’s a message to all Premier League sides expecting favorite status in the Championship, including likely relegation side West Bromwich Albion.
Here’s how the most recent sides have fared since dropping out of the top flight.
Relegated sides this decade, and current status
*club still alive for 2018-19 promotion to Premier League
#club could be relegated from current league
Hull City (2016-17) — Championship
Middlesbrough (2016-17) — Championship*
Sunderland (2016-17) — Relegated to League One
Newcastle United (2015-16) — Returned to PL in one season
Norwich City (2015-16) — Championship
Aston Villa (2015-16) — Championship*
Hull City (2014-15) — Promoted at first chance, then relegated last season
Burnley (2014-15) — Promoted at first chance
Queens Park Rangers (2014-15) — Championship
Norwich City (2013-14) — Has since been promoted, relegated back to Championship
Fulham (2013-14) — Championship*
Cardiff City (2013-14) — Championship*
Wigan Athletic (2012-13) — promoted to Championship for 2018-19
Reading (2012-13) — Championship#
Queens Park Rangers (2012-13) — Since promoted, relegated back to Championship
Bolton (2011-12) — Championship#
Blackburn (2011-12) — League One*
Wolves (2011-12) — Promoted to Premier League this season
Birmingham City (2010-11) — Championship#
Blackpool (2010-11) — League One
West Ham United (2010-11) — Promoted at first chance, still PL
Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur clash in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Saturday (12:15 p.m. ET kick off) with both Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho aiming to keep alive their only remaining hope of winning a trophy this season.
[ LIVE: Updates from Wembley ]
For Spurs, they are certainly used to playing at Wembley after calling it home all season long while their new stadium is completed. Yet Harry Kane and Co. know they will keep hearing about how they need to win a trophy to prove themselves as Spurs have gone 10 years without a piece of silverware.
Mourinho is the master of grinding out wins in these kind of situations but United were dominated by Spurs at Wembley back in January in the PL and were lucky to escape with just a 2-0 defeat.
[ MORE: Minute-by-minute on United v Spurs ]
Click on the links above to follow the action live, while we will have reaction and analysis live from Wembley right here on Pro Soccer Talk.
- Watford tops Palace in shots, 14-6
- Zaha involved in two PK shouts
- One of 2 PL matches on Saturday
Cagey sides Watford and Crystal Palace each picked up a point from a nil-nil draw at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Palace moves six points clear of the drop zone, while Watford is nine above 18th.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Stefano Okaka headed a Troy Deeney cross off the cross bar in the fourth minute.
The match boiled over as Abdoulaye Doucoure, already booked, shoved Wilfried Zaha after the Ivorian hit the deck in the box after a 50/50 with Christian Kabasele.
Deeney hit a low drive into Wayne Hennessey‘s mitts as three minutes of first half stoppage began at Vicarage Road.
The second half snapped to life around the hour mark, and Luka Milivojevic whipped a free kick off the cross bar.
Zaha saw a 63rd minute yellow card for diving in a scrum of Watford bodies in what could’ve easily been a penalty for the Eagles.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]