Courtois

Report: Thibaut Courtois will start in goal for Chelsea vs Burnley

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Things are changing at Stanford Bridge, and we may be bearing witness to a changing of the guard.

According to talkSPORT presenter Richard Keys, 22-year-old Belgian star Thibaut Courtois will start in goal for Chelsea tomorrow against Burnley, displacing 10-year Blues veteran Petr Cech.

There’s no word on whether this is a long-term decision or if manager Jose Mourinho will parlay the two and look to play the hot hand.

The decision is a big one, as Cech has nearly 500 appearances for Chelsea (478 to be exact) and is just 32 years of age – not yet past his prime for a goalkeeper.

Courtois spent three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, where this past season the club had overarching success.  At his young age, Courtois has already played in a Champions League final and experienced the elation of winning the championship in a major European league.

In his pre-match press conference two days ago, Mourinho admitted that whomever he chooses, the other shall likely be jaded enough to want to leave.

“If Petr plays, Courtois can think about leaving, or visa versa,” Mourinho told reporters. “In this moment they are working well and hard and we are so happy to have them both. I prefer to analyse this in that perspective.”

“During the season if one is definitely my first choice I have to support and stimulate the other one. I can’t have one of these incredible goalkeepers on the bench three or four months waiting for a Capital One Cup game. I have to stimulate the competition and I have to praise some top goalkeeper which is not my first choice.”

Usually, this is described as a “good problem to have” but in this situation, that’s not necessarily true, given that one would likely look elsewhere to get playing time. But Mourinho still believes this can only help the club.

“My opinion with all the respect to fantastic goalkeepers around the world, I think Chelsea has two of the three best goalkeepers in the world,” Mourinho said. “This is something unique. Is it a problem for me? A great problem. They are both fantastic goalkeepers. It’s a problem every manager in every club would like to have.”

The Daily Mail suggested yesterday that the youngster would start, and it seems that will be true.

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

NYCFC
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

Men In Blazers
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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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