Three more Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals continue Paris Saint-Germain star’s scorching run (video)

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Sunday’s was one of the more imperfect of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s recent hat tricks, with Toulouse goalkeeper Zacharie Boucher palming away a late, chipped penalty to seemingly prevent the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s third goal. But like most keepers who’ve had to face-down the Swedish star of late, Boucher’s best efforts faded into the footnotes of what became another stellar Ibrahimovic performance. Running onto the rebound, “Ibra” made amends for his failed conversion, raising his Ligue 1 goal total to 22 (in 25 games) while PSG downed Toulouse, 4-2.

Ibrahimovic started his day with a first half goal converted from the spot after Ezequiel Lavezzi won a 31st minute penalty. In the second half, after Lavezzi had scored the team’s second, a perfectly placed far post flick on a 68th minute restart put the Parisians up 3-1. The 89th minute miss cum goal allowed Ibrahimovic to record his third hat trick of the 2013-14 campaign – the ninth time he’s scored multiple goals this season.

And as typically happens on Ibrahimovic’s best days, he was a part of everything, even when his name didn’t end up on the scoresheet. On Lavezzi’s early second half goal, it was Ibrahimovic who drew the defense to the left of the Toulouse penalty area before laying off toward the middle of the box. Two touches later, Lavezzi had restored PSG’s lead.

Combined with his mid-week performance in Champions League, that’s a five-goal week for Ibrahimovic, a span in which he’s been involved in each of his team’s eight goals. The stretch also runs Ibrahimovic’s goal tally since joining PSG to 72 in 84 games. Add in his performances with the Swedish national team during that run and “Ibra” has scored 91 goals (in 105 games) since he left Milan in May 2012.

In that sense, Sunday was just another standout performance from one of the world’s most prolific attacker. If anything, his late, failed panenka made it one of his more blemished ones.

How will USMNT line up vs. Mexico in CONCACAF Cup?

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You probably don’t need reminding, but just in case you do, the U.S. national team face Mexico in a huge one-off CONCACAF Cup game on Saturday at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

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The winner will represent CONCACAF at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia as Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT side are the underdogs against El Tri.

With plenty of struggles and a hangover from the 2015 Gold Cup failure, Klinsmann is under pressure and getting his team selection spot on will be crucial if the USA are going to get past Mexico in front of over 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl.

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Below I suggest three possible starting lineups, then give my conclusion on how I think the U.S. will lineup.

Let us know if you agree by posting your own lineups in the comments section below.

JPW’s choice

—– Guzan —–

— Johnson — Cameron — Besler — Ream —

Jones —– Bradley

— Bedoya — Dempsey — Zardes —

—– Altidore —–

Mix-and-match XI

—– Howard —–

— Cameron — Besler — Ream — Beasley —

—– Williams —–

— Yedlin — Bradley — Zusi —

— Altidore — Zardes —

Stopping Mexico

—– Howard —–

— Johnson — Besler — Ream — Beasley —

—– Cameron —–

— Dempsey — Williams — Bradley — Jones —

— Altidore —


I think Klinsmann’s choice is the way to go, although Tim Howard‘s presence in goal over Brad Guzan would certainly help strengthen the USA’s defense. A center back pairing of Cameron and Besler must happen, while having Johnson in at right back will be a boost and Ream’s size may see him get the nod over Beasely but the veteran is likely to start if fit. In midfield I’d go with Jones and Bradley sitting in front of othe back four and then that would allow, Zardes, Bedoya and Dempsey to support Altidore up top.

The final selection is ultra-defensive, but given the form of his team and Mexico’s attacking talents, Klinsmann may start more defensive and then change tact as the game goes on. Having all of your most-experienced players on the pitch will prove vital to succeeding at the Rose Bowl, therefore, even though the Mix-and-Match XI looks speedy and is dangerous, I’d expect to see “JPW’s choice” or “Stopping Mexico” to be more like the starting lineup on Saturday.

“Legends World Cup” hope to bring Beckham, Zidane to Mexico

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David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane coaxed out of retirement to play in a “Legends World Cup” you say?

Well, that got my attention.

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According to an interview with the BBC’s world service, the organizers of the 2017 Legends World Cup are hoping to entice both Becks and Zizou to roll back the years and represent their nations in Mexico.

Beckham, 40, and Zidane, 43, are already putting their boots back on to captain a Great Britain and Ireland XI vs. a World XI for a friendly at Old Trafford on November 14 to raise money for UNICEF, and former Mexico goalkeeper Jorge Campos, 48, has urged the duo to take part in the tournament in 2017 where he will coach Mexico’s team.

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From the BBC:

“I want to see Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Brazilian Ronaldo,” said Campos, 48, the flamboyant ex-Mexico goalkeeper who will coach his country.

“Everybody wants to see Argentina’s Diego Maradona, but he can’t play. He’s too old.”

The tournament is scheduled to take place at the beginning of 2017, with 12 teams in total — four from the Americas, six from Europe and one each from Africa and Asia — taking part.

Given the age (players must be aged between 35-45) and caliber of the players Campos and Co. are trying to recruit, let’s have a think about who would play for the U.S.

Landon Donovan and Brian McBride up front? Brad Friedel in goal? Let us know who would make the squad.