Alexis Sanchez, after combining for 19 league goals in his first seasons with Barcelona, has already scored 11 times in La Liga's first 18 rounds. (Photo: AP.)

Arsenal and Liverpool to battle it out for $50 million Alexis Sanchez

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After a superb World Cup with Chile, lightning-quick striker Alexis Sanchez is a man in demand.

Except, not with his own team.

As FC Barcelona plan to cash in all of their chips for Liverpool’s star striker Luis Suarez, more from PST’s Mike Prindiville about that potential $130 million deal, the Catalan club are looking to offload Sanchez.

Liverpool were thought to have been initially offered Sanchez as a make-weight in the Suarez deal but instead the Anfield club want straight cash for their Uruguayan ace. According to reports in the Daily Mail, Sanchez will cost at least $50 million as Barca look to recoup cash in order to fund their deal for Suarez.

Sanchez, 25, shone at the World Cup as he scored twice and added an assist as Chile qualified from Group B ahead of Spain before their heartbreaking defeat to hosts Brazil on penalty kicks in the last 16. His pace and power make him extremely well-suited to the Premier League, so it’s no wonder Liverpool and Arsenal are now involved in a good old fashioned tug of war.

After joining Barca in 2011 from Serie A side Udinese, Sanchez has scored 47 goals and added 34 assists in 141 games for Barca. His ability to play centrally or out wide would fit into both Arsenal and Liverpool’s systems as their attackers fluid movement across the lines make the Chilean speedster an ideal acquisition.

Arsenal’s need is perhaps greater, as they only have Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo up top, plus the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are coming off injury-hit 2013-14 seasons. As for Liverpool, if they sell Suarez, they only have Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert as recognized strikers but do have the likes of Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and many others who can play in advanced roles supporting a lone front man.

Let’s see how this race plays out and if Sanchez ends up at Anfield or the Emirates by the end of this summer.

VIDEO: Alex Morgan scores goal against Costa Rica in 12 seconds

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The United States got off to a historically roaring start in Olympic qualifying. Taking on Costa Rica in Frisco, Texas to begin Group A play, Alex Morgan opened the scoring in just 12 seconds, taking just six passes to complete the masterpiece.

According to the USWNT twitter account, the goal is the fastest in U.S. Soccer history.

According to CONCACAF, the goal is also the quickest in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, breaking Abby Wambach’s of 35 seconds in a 14-0 domination of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The United States scored three goals in the first 15 minutes against Costa Rica tonight. They will take on Mexico and Puerto Rico across the next five days.

Watch Live: USWNT vs Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 23:  (L-R) Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States is congratulated by teammate Alex Morgan #13 after a goal against Ireland at Qualcomm Stadium on January 23, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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The United States women are set to begin Group A play in Olympic qualification, taking on 36th ranked Costa Rica at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The game takes place after a 17-day camp at the national training camp in Carson, California.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Other teams in the group include Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Mexicans dominated Puerto Rico 6-0 in the first game.

LINEUP

United States: Solo; Krieger, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg; Brian, Horan, Dunn, Lloyd, Heath; Morgan.

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

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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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