Cyprus car bomb puts USMNT friendly with Ukraine in doubt again


The USMNT only three days ago moved their March 5 friendly against Ukraine away from the country suffering from political unrest (which now appears to be even better of a move).

However, the match is once again under a black cloud of doubt, with no word yet on its fate.

A car bomb targeting a top Cyprus official detonated today, and while nobody was injured in the blast, all first-division matches in the Cypriot First Division were postponed this weekend as a result.

Cypriot police confirmed that an explosive device was found on the hood of referee Leontios Trattos’s car, and it detonated early Friday morning.

No word has been given as to why the official was targeted.  He most recently was in charge of a 1-0 derby win last Saturday for Apollon Limassol over AEL Limassol.  Eight yellow cards were handed out in that match.

The Ukraine match is scheduled for the final day in FIFA’s international window, meaning that postponement of the match is out of the question.  This is the last FIFA international window before the 2014 World Cup, and is therefore a last opportunity for Jurgen Klinsmann to call up European-based players.

His last opportunity to look at domestic players will be on April 2 in a friendly with Mexico scheduled to be played in Phoenix, AZ.

The USMNT friendly match, originally scheduled to be played in Kharkiv, Ukraine, was moved to Larnaca, Cyprus due to political unrest in the former Soviet state.

The US Soccer Federation has not yet commented on the situation.

In the Cypriot First Division, the club with the most name recognition is APOEL (pictured), who won the league title last season and were eliminated in this year’s Europa League group stage, finishing third behind Eintracht Frankfurt and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Memphis jersey biggest seller in Premier League

during the Barclays Premier League match between XXX and XXX on September 26, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.
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Memphis Depay‘s name has been printed on more Premier League jerseys than anybody else.

[ PHOTOS: Must-see Klopp merch ]

According to Kitbag.com, the Manchester United winger is the biggest climber on their top 10 list and fans have flocked to have “Memphis” printed on the back of their United jerseys.

The Dutch winger, 21, has had an up-and-down start to life at Old Trafford but that is not detracting fans from having Memphis, the name he prefers, emblazoned on the back of their shirts. Folks from an unnamed city in Tennessee, have you been buying lots of jerseys on the internet? No doubt the number of United fans in that region has sky-rocketed in the last few months. No doubt.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT ]  

Anyway, below is the list of the top 10 players name printed by Kitbag.

Top 10 selling jerseys worldwide

1. Lionel Messi – Barcelona
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid
3. Memphis Depay – Manchester United
4. Bastian Schweinsteiger – Manchester United
5. Eden Hazard – Chelsea
6. Wayne Rooney – Manchester United
7. Neymar – Barcelona
8. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
9. Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal
10. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool

New Arsenal contracts on the way for Alexis, Ozil

Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil
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Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are both in line to be handed new contracts by Arsenal.

The attacking duo, who have been in fine form in recent weeks after slow starts to the season, both have current deals which run until 2018 but the Gunners are said to be keen on locking the attacking midfielders down to contract extensions.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT ] 

According to the Daily Mail, Sanchez is set to become Arsenal’s top earner with a new deal on the table in excess of $220,000.

Sanchez is currently being paid $197,000 per week but is not the highest paid player at the Emirates, with Ozil taking that mantle and earning a cool $215,000 a week. Speaking of Ozil, talks over a new deal for him are also being prepared by Arsene Wenger and club officials with the German playmaker finally showing consistency this season, which is his third campaign in the Premier League following his $63 million move from Real Madrid in 2013.

[ MORE: Sanchez, Ozil dazzle in Arsenal’s win vs. United ]

Sanchez, 26, missed most of Arsenal’s preseason after winning the 2015 Copa America with Chile on home soil this summer, but he is now back in his groove and the former Barcelona forward has scored five goals in his last two PL games and seven times in his last four outings for club and country.

Ozil scored his first goal of the season against Manchester United in Arsenal’s recent 3-0 win, as Ozil and Sanchez ripped United’s defense apart in a stunning 19-minute spell at the beginning of the match.

[ MORE: Klopp merchandise you need to see ]

With Theo Walcott locked down to a new long-term contract in the summer, Wenger now looks to have found his go-to front three as Walcott, Sanchez and Ozil possess a superb combination of pace, power and trickery. It’s no surprise to hear reports about new deals being prepared for Sanchez and Ozil, as the duo have that extra bit of class which has seen the Gunners win back-to-back FA Cups and comfortably finish in the top four of the PL.

Now, can they kick on and contend for the title this season? If Sanchez and Ozil stay fit and in-form, there’s no reason why not.