Joe Hart

Pellegrini has “two No. 1 goalkeepers”; City adds Argentine midfielder

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Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini says Joe Hart is the best goalkeeper in England.

But No. 2 keep Willy Caballero is from Argentina, and the manager is thrilled to have “two number one goalkeepers” in town this season.

Despite his status as England’s top choice keeper and his experience leading City, Hart lost some playing time late in 2013 to now-Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon.

While no one is claiming Hart, 27, is about to lose his job, Pellegrini has familiarity with his new back-up — he coached Caballero at Malaga — who is viewed as a far bigger threat than Pantilimon.

From ESPN:

“I have two number one goalkeepers, [the same as] I have two number one full-backs, on the right and left, and in other positions,” Pellegrini said.

“[Caballero is settling in] very well – he is a very good goalkeeper,” said Pellegrini. “I know him from Malaga, and I think he is very happy here.

“I am sure Willy will be very important for us but I also continue thinking we have the best goalkeeper in England in Joe Hart. Top teams need two players for each position because we have to play so many games during the year.

“The best way to have the highest performance from the players is for it to be very competitive between them.”

Caballero, 32, may start in Sunday’s Community Shield match against Arsenal, and Man City’s No. 1 goalkeeper will be a storyline to follow all season. Hart has received plenty of leeway as one of the only Englishmen on City’s roster, but winning knows no nationality.

Do you see Caballero usurping Hart at any point this season (and legit usurping, not a Cup goalkeeper position)?

Meanwhile, City has added a new playmaker in 21-year-old Argentine midfielder Bruno Zuculini. He’s appeared eight times for Argentina’s U-20 side, scoring twice, and played club ball at Racing Club in his home nation. There he posted 10 goals in 92 matches dating back to 2010.

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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