Looks like the Dom Dwyer for the United States push is on


Dom Dwyer is having a breakout season for Sporting Kansas City, shedding the hard-working but goal-shy performances that characterized his first two seasons in favor of hard-working and goal-filled outings this year. After scoring twice in his first 19 Major League Soccer appearances, Dwyer’s 14 goals in 17 games has the England-born striker second on the league’s scoring charts. Kansas City has another star.

That Dwyer is England-born has left him on the outside looking in at international soccer, something that could change going forward. According to the 23-year-old, playing for England is still the dream, but three years away from citizenship, he wouldn’t turn down a chance to play for the United States.

From MLS’s website:

“If the offer ever came to me, I think it would be a difficult one to say no to,” he said. “I’m from England, born and raised there, but I’ve been in the US for quite a few years and have a lot of love for this country and enjoy being here.”

Get excited, right? A lot of fans already were, and with the league’s website fueling the fire, the connection between Dwyer and the U.S. national team will persist. As long as he’s scoring goals and remains uncapped, the dream will grow.

Much like Dwyer’s quotes, though, this story isn’t so straightforward. As the third-year pro notes later in the interview, 2017 is a long way off, and while it seems unlikely he’ll be called up by England any time soon, it’s not certain the former Norwich City trainee will still be in the United States at that time. If this year’s performance proves more than a hot streak, it will be difficult to prevent Dwyer from jumping back to his nation of birth to further his career.

We should also keep that “if” in mind. Dwyer has been one of Major League Soccer’s best players his season, his defensive tenacity combining with his attacking production to make him a Most Valuable Player candidate. But this run may still prove anomalous. When a guy jumps from two in 19 to nearly a goal-per-game, it’s fair to wonder if there’s some significant regression in his future.

With World Cup fever still in effect, and Dwyer hinting he could be one of MLS’s best forwards, fans’ interest in his international future seems natural enough. But there are a lot of questions about that future.

Let’s see if Dwyer’s still around in two years. By then, we’ll have a better idea if he can help the U.S., provided he becomes eligible to do so.

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
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A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia

Jurgen Klopp announced as new Liverpool manager

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
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Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.

According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.

[ QUOTE KING: Top 10 “Klopp-isms” from his time at Dortmund ]

The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright will be at Anfield on Friday for Klopp’s unveiling, so be sure to follow JPW on Twitter and check back to PST for wall-to-wall coverage of Klopp’s first press conference as Liverpool manager.