The United States Mens’ National Team’s return to home soil is less than two months away. According to U.S. Soccer, the team will welcome fellow World Cup qualifiers Ecuador to Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 10, the team’s first home game since reaching the Round of 16 at Brazil 2014.
The friendly, scheduled for a 7 p.m. Eastern kick off at Rentschler Field, will be the U.S.’s second match of the new World Cup cycle, with the team scheduled to meet the Czech Republic in Prague on Sept. 3.
“We are really excited to get our first chance to play at home after the World Cup,” head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said, via an announcement from U.S. Soccer. “The support from our fans in the United States and everyone that traveled to Brazil was awesome, and we want to build on that energy.”
Ecuador’s roster will likely include Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, who captained his team to a 1-1-1 record at this summer’s World Cup. Swansea City’s Jefferson Montero and West Ham United’s Enner Valencia are also prominent players in new head coach Sixto Vizuete’s squad, one that’s ranked 21st in the world.
For the U.S., the match will be part of the process of forming a team for next summer’s Gold Cup, a springboard to the 2017 Confederations Cup.
“We have an exciting four years ahead of us, and this is just the beginning,” Klinsmann said. “The U.S. team has a great history at Rentschler Field, so we are hoping for another big crowd against Ecuador.”
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Jamie Vardy could leave Leicester City, says the Independent. The thought here is that the Foxes couldn’t refuse a $45 million offer from a giant like Chelsea or Manchester City. Straight swap for Diego Costa (We kid, we kid; How would the mercurial striker possibly live with Tony Pulis?).
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Harry Kane forced Asmir Begovic into two good saves in the first half and Song Hueng-min should’ve scored in the second half with a header but even after after a grueling 5,000-mile round trip to Azerbaijan on Thursday night for Europa League action which saw them arrive back in England at 6 a.m. local time Friday, manager Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t pleased his team didn’t win to move into the top four.
“No, not really happy. We deserved more than we got, so I was disappointed, but it’s true that I’m proud of the players. For me they’re big heroes,” Pochettino told ProSoccerTalk. “The effort was massive. Chelsea played one of their best games of the season, and when you make the effort we showed and the maturity, you have to be happy with your players but disappointed with one point.”
With Spurs now stretching their unbeaten run to 13 games this season — their one and only defeat in 2015-16 came on the opening day of the season, 1-0 at Manchester United — Pochettino was asked if his side, who sit five points off the top, should be pleased that a draw against Chelsea felt like two points dropped.
The Argentine coach then released his inner Jose Mourinho — the pair have a close relationship and before Poch came to coach in England he spoke at length to Mourinho — dishing out a backhanded compliment to the master of the backhanded compliment.
“This is a good thing. We play the champions. It’s good. You got the feeling that Chelsea were a small team and Tottenham can win every game we play,” Pochettino said. “It’s very difficult, though. Not easy. We’re the youngest team in the PL and the maturity we showed today we have shown in different games. We have to feel happy. It’s a good thing that, maybe, we are a bigger club than Chelsea or that we deserve more. We showed good performances in the last few games, and I’m happy, but we have to keep working hard. We’ve only had 14 games in the PL and it’s too early to think about the end of the season.”
Whether or not those comments were lost in translation from a man who is still getting used to English as his second language, Pochettino clearly felt Spurs deserved more than the point they got and it’s apparent from the differing predicaments both teams find themselves in that Spurs have more chance of winning the title and finishing in the top four than Chelsea this season.