Everton v Sunderland - FA Cup Sixth Round

Watch Live: Sunderland vs. Everton (Lineups and Discuss)

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Both Sunderland and Everton will be desperate for a win at the Stadium of Light today – but both have very different reasons for wanting to secure all three points (Watch live at 10:07 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).

The visitors are currently fifth, one point behind Arsenal but with a vital game in hand. A win today puts Everton in fourth, in a position to qualify for the Champions League. The last time the Toffees accomplished such a feat was in 2005, when they lost out in the qualifiers to Villarreal.

It should be an easy task for Everton against Sunderland. The Premier League’s bottom side likely needs a miracle to reach safety. The Black Cats haven’t won since February 15, when they beat Southampton 1-0, and have since picked up just a point from their last eight matches. After last weekend’s 5-1 blowout at Tottenham, it looks increasingly likely that Sunderland will be the latest side to reach a Cup final only to be relegated in the same season.

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Gus Poyet makes a few changes to the team that lost to Spurs last time out. The Sunderland boss is making attempts to tighten up at the back, leaving out Santiago Vergini and Carlos Cuéllar. John O’Shea returns to the starting XI, as do Jack Colback and Conor Wickham. Liam Bridcutt also misses out.

It’s just one change for Roberto Martínez, who starts Gerard Deulofeu in place of Kevin Mirallas, who is on the bench for Everton. Leon Osman, subbed out early against Arsenal last week, starts once more, with Ross Barkley back on the bench. Tim Howard is in goal, of course, and Romelu Lukaku starts up top.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Alonso, O’Shea, Brown, Cattermole, Ki, Colback, Johnson, Wickham, Borini

Subs: Larsson, Gardner, Cuellar, Vergini, Giaccherini, Scocco, Ustari

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Baines, Stones, Distin, McCarthy, Barry, Deulofeu, Naismith, Osman, Lukaku

Subs: Joel, Hibbert, McGeady, Mirallas, Barkley, Garbutt, Alcaraz

Columbus, NYCFC release new kits to mixed results

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New York City FC
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Two Major League Soccer clubs have put their kits out there for the 2016 season. They’ve received a mediocre welcome at best.

Columbus was the first, and their kit makes a bold statement moving away from the traditional yellow and black that so often adorns their regular shirts. Instead, the kit incorporates the Columbus flag onto it. The release has seen quite a negative reaction on social media.

The kit was unveiled at the Columbus City Hall on Wednesday, featuring the traditional adidas stripes, although instead of the usual placement on the shoulders, the stripes come down the side of the torso. Recently, adidas has the tendency to copy general jersey patterns across its multiple properties, so look for this design with other clubs in the near future.

The negative reaction to the Columbus release isn’t terribly surprising considering fans often enjoy sticking to tradition, and backlash is common when clubs deviate from the norm. As an additional hurdle, the color contrast between red and yellow is somewhat stark, lending to the difficult reception. Add in the bright pastel blue shorts and…yikes.

While the club didn’t describe how they will utilize this kit during the season, it’s likely to be the primary (at least for now) as the club release says the kit portfolio also includes last year’s black kit, which is traditionally the away kit.

NYCFC’s release of their secondary kit was more positive, receiving a mixed response on social media.

As you can see, adidas again copied their general outline with the stripes down the side of the torso. However, the German clothing manufacturer did much better with the general design of these kits than the Columbus ones. I will give a bit of personal opinion here: I absolutely love these kits. The ripple effect accentuates the crest with a near-3D effect, and the colors mesh perfectly which serves to assuage the eye from being overwhelmed by a busy design. If there’s any criticism, it’s that without an outline, the Etihad logo tends to get in the way a bit, but that’s nitpicking. Well done NYCFC. Columbus…I’ll leave that one to you all.

Men In Blazers podcast: Romelu Lukaku Pod Special

Men In Blazers
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Rog and Davo break down Leicester City’s 3 – 1 win at Manchester City, marvel at Spurs going second in the table, and talk about the headlines surrounding the mid-table clash between Chelsea and United.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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FA Cup recap: West Brom survives with penalty win over Peterborough

PETERBOROUGH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  Darren Fletcher of West Bromwich Albion celebrates with team-mate Saido Berahino after scoring his team's first goal during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round replay match between Peterborough United and West Bromwich Albion at ABAX Stadium on February 10, 2016 in Peterborough, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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West Brom is the last team through to the FA Cup fifth round with a penalty win over Peterborough United after a 1-1 draw in their replay at ABAX Stadium.

Down 1-0 10 minutes after the halftime break, Darren Fletcher scored the equalizer in the 71st minute, and that scoreline lasted through regulation and extra time. Fletcher missed a penalty in the shootout, but Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster saved twice to put West Brom through.

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Other than the penalty shootout, things were quite even throughout the match. Posh actually lead slightly on possession, and had an 8-5 shots-on-target advantage as well. Jon Taylor was the man to score for Peterborough, putting them 1-0 ahead shortly after halftime. The 23-year-old midfielder also scored in the 2-2 draw at The Hawthornes in the original matchup.

West Brom will now take on Reading in the fifth round, a team that hammered Walsall 4-0 in their fourth round meeting. Reading currently sits 15th in the Championship table

VIDEO: Alejandro Bedoya scores extra-time winner for Nantes in Coupe de France

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JULY 01: Alejandro Bedoya of the United States controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Belgium and the United States at Arena Fonte Nova on July 1, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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With USMNT World Cup qualifying not far away, Jurgen Klinsmann will certainly look to club performances to find out which of his players are grasping club opportunities by the horns.

One US national teamer in great form is Alejandro Bedoya. The 28-year-old has scored four times across all competitions since January 23rd, and his latest is a massive one. Bedoya sent Nantes to the quarterfinals of the Coupe de France with a 118th-minute winner against Bordeaux.

Bedoya has been a lightning rod for Nantes the past two or three seasons, but something he struggled for occasionally is consistent game time. Not anymore. The American has started five of their last six league matches, and since returning from some time off due to illness, Bedoya has featured in the starting lineup in nine of 11 Ligue 1 matches. What’s more, he’s finished the full 90 minutes in seven of those.

Klinsmann has looked to Bedoya in the past for a combination of electricity and defensive ability on the wing. Now, he may bring both endurance and a goalscoring threat to international competitions, which would go a long way in raising his national team stock.