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Closing statement: Tim Sherwood wants new contract, continues lauding his performance

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When Tim Sherwood brought a fan down to the Spurs managers’ seat for the last five minutes of Tottenham’s victory over Aston Villa, it was difficult to avoid searching for meaning behind the act, though it’s unclear which meaning fits. Was it a symbol that the role, so revered in English soccer, was less precious than assumed? Or was the act an unconscious confession that the man currently in the role could be swapped for one of White Hart Lane’s faithful. Maybe, it was an invitation – something Sherwood has been unwilling to confess to the camera: You can have this job.

It’s a bit cruel to take what was a a lighthearted gesture and turn it against the man, but Sherwood’s future is the talking point as Spurs embark on their offseason. It is largely assumed that, in the face of mixed results, Tottenham is looking for a new boss, with Dutch national team head coach Louis van Gaal having been linked with the club before Manchester United’s job opened up.

In the face of that speculation, Sherwood continues reciting his résumé, seeing each proffered microphone as an opportunity to trumpet his accomplishments.

“I can only be judged for the season when I’ve taken over,” Sherwood told the BBC after today’s victory. “A 59 percent win ratio is second to none. I’m happy with how I have done.”

It is an impressive number, but it’s also been accomplished with one of the club’s most-talented squads, a factor that led to André Villas-Boas’s dismissal after a series of terrible results. But those terrible results came against the league’s best, meaning at the time the former boss was dismissed, the fixture list in front of Sherwood wastemporarily cleared.

When the schedule brought the league’s best back around, the results were terrible once more. A two-goal loss at Arsenal in the League Cup. Losing by four to Manchester City. A 4-0 defeat at Chelsea, home loss to Benfica, another derby loss to Arsenal. Then, a four-goal failure at Anfield. If Sherwood made any progress, it wasn’t against the teams Spurs need to pass to secure Champions League soccer.

The 45-year-old remains defiant. As has become tradition under Sherwood, today’s post-match interviews were used to cite an opposing view of his record.

“If I had started the season, we would have finished in the Champions League places …” Sherwood claims. “If I’d have known it would only be for five months, I wouldn’t have done it, to be honest.”

On the surface, it’s a beguiling statement, particularly from a man who was at the club when Villas-Boas lost his job after lopsided losses to Manchester City and Liverpool. But if you consider that Sherwood may know he’s gone — that the 12 months left on his contract were only to back him for this season — you see his words as auditioning for other jobs. If he is happy with his results, hopefully other, future employers will be, too.

“This club means a lot to me but if I’m not to continue here as a manager I’ll be somewhere else,” Sherwood, a former Spurs midfielder, explained. “I think a quick decision would make sense..”

But if he is to continue with Spurs, Sherwood needs a new deal.

“It can only be [a new contract or leaving],’ Sherwood explained. ‘It will be interesting to see what I’ve been judged on. If I’m to leave it can’t be on results.”

But it will be. Sherwood was never the favorite to stay beyond this game, but he didn’t do himself any favors in the process. Had he won some of those games against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, or Arsenal, he would have made his case. Now there’s no argument that he can do with Villas-Boas did not.

In touting his record, Sherwood’s merely pointing out he’s the best flat track bully Spurs have had. That won’t be enough to save his job.

Wales manager says Arsenal could have avoided Aaron Ramsey injury

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - AUGUST 07: Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal during the Pre-Season Friendly between Arsenal and Manchester City at Ullevi on August 7, 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)
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Wales manager Chris Coleman says Arsenal could have prevented Aaron Ramsey‘s current hamstring injury had they left him out of the early-season matches.

Ramsey was withdrawn in 62nd minute of Arsenal’s season opener against Liverpool after pulling up, and Coleman believes it happened for a reason. “It’s disappointing he’s got an injury. Could it have been prevented? Possibly, yes,” Coleman told the media ahead of the international window. “I think we all expected him to [miss the start of the season]. So I don’t know what happened between then and when he ended up on the pitch. Obviously only Arsenal can answer that. I think, to a man, if you were looking at [Arsenal’s team-sheet], it was a bit of a surprise he started.”

Ramsey helped Wales progress to the Euro 2016 semifinals. Many starts from countries that went deep in the Euros got a rest to start the season. Many of France’s team members, including Dimitri Payet and even Ramsey’s Arsenal teammate Olivier Giroud saw time off to start the Premier League season.

“When you’ve got a player as good as Aaron, take him out of any team and you are going to know about it,” Coleman said. “He is irreplaceable. He makes a huge impact for us. He is a great player and it’s a shame he’s not here. He’s a loss to any team.”

Wales has a World Cup qualifier against Moldova on September 5.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 1-2 Toronto FC

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Sebastian Giovinco #10 of Toronto FC dribbles the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game against FC Dallas at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Orlando City defense played a 75 minute match, and those 15 minutes off cost them the match. A pair of sleepy moments early and late in the match saw Toronto bag two goals on the road and leave Citrus Bowl Stadium with all three points. Sebastian Giovinco had the assists on both, a pair of perfectly timed through balls – one over the top and one through the middle – sprung the Toronto strikers.

Three moments that mattered

7′ – Toronto had a dream start just seven minutes in when a looping ball from Sebastian Giovinco found Tousaint Ricketts. He torched Tommy Redding down the right, breaking free on goal and finishing the one-on-one chance around Joe Bednik cooly.

56′ – Greg Vanney’s anger was doubled. First, the Toronto FC manager was left seething at a foul called as Marco Delgado clipped Matias Garcia and gave Orlando a set-piece opportunity. In the ensuing spell of possession, a cross from Luke Boden met the head of Clye Larin, who deposited it into the back of the net. A stone-faced Vanney was left seething on the bench as the home side leveled it up at 1-1.

86′ – Jozy Altidore came off the bench to finish off the game, and while he had a horrible miss just minutes into the game, he atoned at the end. The visitors again caught the Orlando defense completely asleep, with the back line pressed way high up the pitch. Altidore timed his run perfectly, and the hosts didn’t even attempt to catch up. One-on-one, the USMNT striker finished easily.

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Man of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Ricketts 7′, Larin 56′, Altidore 86′

Men In Blazers podcast: Leicester vs. Arsenal, plus wins for Mourinho, Pep, and Conte

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Rog and Davo recap the discordant draw that was Leicester vs. Arsenal and break down perfect starts for Mourinho, Pep and Antonio Conte.

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Hope Solo suspended from USWNT for 6 months, contract terminated

KANSAS CITY, KS - JULY 22:  Goalkeeper Hope Solo #1 of the United States in action during the game against Costa Rica at Children's Mercy Park on July 22, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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U.S. Soccer has announced that Hope Solo has been suspended from the USWNT for six months following the comments she made about Sweden’s performance in the quarterfinal match that saw the U.S. eliminated from the 2016 Olympics in the quarterfinals.

Sweden played a defensively-minded match, which finished in a 1-1 draw and progressed to penalties, where Sweden defeated the reigning World Cup champions. Solo told reporters following the match that “I think we played a bunch of cowards” and “the best team did not win.”

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“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a statement on Wednesday evening. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions. ”

The statement said that prior incidents were considered “as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. National Team member” when determining the length of the suspension. Solo was suspended in 30 days back in 2015 for a build-up of conduct issues. Even considering her prior conduct problems, the length of suspension is surprising for simply inflammatory comments, but U.S. Soccer made it clear in the statement that there is likely more to this than meets the eye.

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With the six-month layoff, Solo will be eligible to return to the team in February of 2017. The team has just two more matches scheduled for the remainder of 2016. She can still play for her club team Seattle Reign during the suspension. There was another term of punishment levied on Solo:

Other reports have confirmed that, because U.S. Soccer pays her club contract as well, only her national team portion of the contract was revoked.

“During our current National Team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” coach Jill Ellis said in a separate statement. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”

Solo responded to the suspension, saying, “I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation who have always supported me,” she wrote. “I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.”

[ MORE: Yedlin, Newcastle make it official ]

While Hope Solo seems to accept the decision, the player’s union isn’t so much.