Thursday’s match was never about the result for the U.S. women’s national team.
There were some nice moments on the field, highlighted by Carli Lloyd’s brace for her 49th and 50th career international goals, and the U.S. will take the 3-0 victory over China. The U.S. is now unbeaten in 82 straight home games.
But Thursday was a chance to for the U.S. to get back on the field just days after coach Tom Sermanni’s firing. Interim coach Jill Ellis, who is considered by public opinion to be one of the main candidates for the job, tried just about everything, playing Lauren Holiday as a forward and using all six substitutions in the victory.
Ellis deployed a 4-3-3 formation with Holiday playing as one of the three forwards, a role she was comfortable with in college and her early U.S. days. Holiday has since transitioned to and mastered the attacking midfielder role, which she played for FC Kansas City in her 2013 NWSL MVP campaign.
Lloyd impressed in the first half with her two goals in addition to several other chances, and Sydney Leroux’s goal 14 seconds into the second half gave the U.S. a third and final goal in the victory.
The most important happening on Thursday may have actually come just three minutes into the match, when defender Rachel Van Hollebeke went down with what looked like an ankle injury. Van Hollebeke is the focal point of Portland Thorns FC’s defense, and the NWSL season begins on Saturday with the defending champion Thorns facing the Houston Dash, an expansion team owned by the Houston Dynamo owners.
Hope Solo earned her 150th cap, and the shutout was her 70th in a U.S. jersey. She is one shutout shy of tying Briana Scurry for the most in U.S. history.
The U.S. women next play on May 8 against Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba. By then, it’s possible they’ll have a new coach.
It was another memorable European night for Liverpool in front of the Kop at Anfield.
Lifted by three goals in the opening 21 minutes, the Reds cruised to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim 1899 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff stage Wednesday evening. With the win, Liverpool returns to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.
[ MORE: Champions League scores ]
Sadio Mane set up Emre Can twice and both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with goals of their own to lead Liverpool to victory. After Can’s double and Salah’s goal gave Liverpool a three-goal lead, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann brought Mark Uth off the bench onto the field and he promptly scored in the 28th minute to draw within two.
Firmino again put Liverpool ahead by three goals with a goal into an open net in the 63rd minute. Hoffenheim recorded a consolation goal in the 79th minute through Sandro Wagner but Liverpool was resolute and held on for victory.
Liverpool, and the rest of the winning clubs, will learn their fates for the group stage on Thursday.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Champions League playoff scores:
Slavia Prague 0-0 APOEL (APOEL advances 2-0 on aggregate)
FC Copenhagen 2-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag advances on away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)
FCSB (Steaua București) 1-5 Sporting CP (Sporting CP advances 5-1 on aggregate)
CSKA Moscow 2-0 BSC Young Boys (CSKA advances on aggregate, 3-0)
In Part 2 of Everton Unseen, European football returns to Goodison Park as Everton host MFK Ruzomberok in the qualifying round of the Europa League.
Click play on the video below to get a feel for how Goodison Park will be in the second leg of the Europa League in Part 2 of this videos series.
[ MORE: Live Europa League scores ]
[ WATCH: Part 1 of Everton Unseen ]
ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it is sending in an emergency management team to run the troubled Cameroon football federation.
The panel to be appointed by FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will oversee elections by next March to replace disputed polls in 2015 for the Cameroon federation board.
FIFA’s intervention comes amid speculation Cameroon could be stripped of hosting the next African Cup of Nations in June-July 2019.
CAF President Ahmad this month cast doubt on Cameroon’s ability to prepare for the expanded 24-team tournament.
FIFA says Wednesday it acted after “recent failed attempts … to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse.”
Tottenham reportedly broke the bank for its first transfer of the summer.
The North London club confirmed that it had completed a transfer with Ajax for defender Davinson Sanchez after the Colombian international passed a medical. According to The Telegraph, the deal is worth around $54 million, a club record. The deal is subject to acquisition of Sanchez’s work permit but given the transfer fee and him being in Colombia’s squad, it’s likely a mere formality at this point.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
The 21-year-old defender brings speed and strength to Tottenham’s backline as well as a year of seasoning in the Eredivisie, which features plenty of attacking talent. Sanchez will battle with Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen for a place in Spurs’ three-man backline.
It’s a risk moving to a new club a year ahead of the World Cup, but Sanchez is hoping that with appearances in the UEFA Champions League and Premier League up for grabs, he can do well enough to keep his place in the Colombia National Team squad.
Here’s some more transfer news from across England: