Photo credit: Sydney Leroux / Instagram: @sydneyleroux

Dwyer, Leroux become first husband-wife pair to score for U.S.

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EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Dom Dwyer volleyed in a go-ahead goal in the 19th minute of his international debut, ran to the corner flag and did a double back flip that would make a gymnast proud.

Back home in Missouri, wife Sydney Leroux was overjoyed.

The goal made Dwyer and Leroux the first husband-and-wife couple to score for the United States, which beat Ghana 2-1 on Saturday in an exhibition ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

[ MORE: Dwyer, Acosta power USMNT to win over Ghana | Three things ]

“I’m very proud of Sydney and what she’s achieved and still achieving in the national team,” Dwyer said. “I’ve got quite a few caps to catch up to her, and a few goals, too.”

Brad Guzan saved Asamoah Gyan’s penalty kick in first-half stoppage time, and Kellyn Acosta added his first international goal in the 52nd minute on a low free kick that bounced in. Gyan curled a free kick just under the crossbar in the 60th, leaving the final 2-1 – matching Ghana’s victories that eliminated the U.S. from the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and the American win over the Black Stars at the 2014 tournament.

“I got fired in 2006. It took me 11 years to get this job back,” Arena said, laughing, after the U.S. improved to 4-0-4 since he replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November.

Born in Cuckfield, England, Dwyer was in Norwich City’s youth system but broke his right foot three times and was released. He moved to the United States in 2009 to attend Tyler Junior College, shifted to the University of South Florida, then was drafted by Sporting Kansas City in 2012 and has played for the team ever since. He became a U.S. citizen on March 16 and made his international debut at age 26.

Leroux, a 27-year-old forward from British Columbia, played for Canada at age 14 in the 2004 Under-19 Women’s World Cup, became a star at UCLA and switched affiliation to the U.S. She has 35 goals in 75 international appearances and helped the Americans win a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics and the title at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

[ MORE: Germany outlast Chile to win Confederations Cup ]

They met when she was training with the national team in Kansas City and were introduced by a mutual friend.

“We just kind of hung out. We were buddies, and then we started to hit it off,” he said.

Dwyer and Leroux announced on Valentine’s Day 2015 that they had married a month earlier. She wears No. 2 and he No. 14

Of course, the home is filled with competition.

“We have little bits here and there. We definitely encourage each other,” he said. “She definitely owes me money for this one.”

They are only the fourth husband and wife to both play for the U.S., joining Jim Gabarra and Carin Jennings, Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan and Zach Loyd and Casey Nogueira. Egan’s only goal was in 1993, four years before she married Reyna.

“I’m insanely proud of him and so happy for the overall win for the MNT,” Leroux said through a spokesman. “I love the fact that we both came to the USA from other countries and get to chase our dreams together wearing the crest that means so much to us. When he scored, it’s really hard to describe the feeling. Just chills. I know this is only the beginning for him.”

Arena changed eight starters from his lineup in the June 11 World Cup qualifier at Mexico, retaining only Guzan, Acosta and Paul Arriola. Seven American starters entered with fewer than 10 international appearances.

[ MORE: Infantino still expects VAR to be used at 2018 World Cup ]

There also were debuts for a pair of midfielders: Kelyn Rowe started on the left flank and Kenny Saief, who played twice for Israel before switching his affiliation to the U.S. last month, entered in the 71st.

Atop a 4-5-1 formation, Dwyer failed to take advantage of scoring chances in the 14th and 17th minutes, then broke through. Jorge Villafana dribbled from the left flank past defenders and laid the ball back to Joe Corona, who made his first U.S. appearance in two years. Corona’s shot hit Villafana and bounced up to Dwyer, who scored with his left foot from 8 yards.

Dwyer broke in again in the 24th and was sent tumbling by a studs-up tackle from goalkeeper Richard Ofori, who was given only a yellow card by referee Ismael Ornejo of El Salvador.

“First 10 minutes or so, he looked a little nervous out there, but he got ahold of the game and did well,” Arena said.

Getting ready to open the Gold Cup against Panama on July 8, the U.S. wore new uniforms with red and blue horizontal stripes. Leroux, at home for FC Kansas City’s National Women’s Soccer League match on Sunday, watched with 10-month-old son Cassius and teammate Becky Sauerbrunn.

Cassius wore a white home U.S. kit with mom’s number, according to a photo she posted on Instagram. Will he wind up playing for the U.S.?

“I’m not going to put any pressure on him,” Dwyer said, “but he’s probably going to want to copy mommy and daddy.”

Arena, 65, won’t be waiting.

“You don’t expect me to be coaching, do you?” he said.

Klopp: Liverpool “not 500 miles away” from Man City’s standard

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Jurgen Klopp remains bullish on his Liverpool’s credentials as one of the Premier League’s top-four sides title challengers this season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup | Sunday preview — Spurs vs. Liverpool ]

While everyone else might be writing off the Reds due to their propensity for defensive disasters on an every-game basis, Klopp refuses to concede that a gap of “500 miles” exists between his side and Manchester City, the early-days runaway leaders of the 2017-18 season — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t compare City with us, but I think everyone can see we are not 500 miles away. But they fly. It was a very decisive day when we lost 5-0. Dealing with a 5-0 defeat is not the easiest thing. We didn’t lose confidence but we were not that fluent afterwards and it was not like we could close our eyes and finish [thinking about it]. They did exactly the opposite. I saw the Stoke goals, you see the shot from Fernandinho and you think, ‘If it works, it works even like this.’ They are a fantastic team and we don’t have to compare, but it starts so early again with us having to apologize for the season so far because one team is flying.”

“Their way of football I would say is not something we are too far away from but to be as clinical as they have been so far? We weren’t.

“That’s the thing. We are still in the race, not with City in the moment because they have I don’t how many points, and I don’t say already that we should only fight for a top-four place. Performance-wise we are a team that should be there but now we have to get the results.”

[ TACTICS SESSION: Inside the brilliant mind of Kevin De Bruyne ]

All due respect to Klopp and Liverpool, the league table says City currently have 25 points (having played one game more), while Liverpool have 13. That’s not a difference of 500 points, but taking into account not only results but performances, it might as well be.

Ligue 1: Falcao, Balde score to keep Monaco close to PSG

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PARIS (AP) French champion Monaco got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home win against Caen on Saturday.

Monaco lost three and drew one of its previous four games in all competitions. But coach Leonardo Jardim’s side was largely in control against a Caen side that started brightly and faded after Keita Balde’s opening goal and first for Monaco.

“It was important to win, to get a bit of confidence back,” Jardim said. “We’ve been working hard and the players were very serious today.”

Captain Radamel Falcao scored his league-leading 13th from the penalty spot in the 59th, confidently sending goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre the wrong way.

The win moved second-place Monaco within three points of Paris Saint-Germain, having played one game more. Unbeaten PSG is away at bitter rival Marseille on Sunday.

Falcao’s partnership with teen star Kylian Mbappe was crucial to Monaco’s charge to the league title and the Champions League semifinals last season. Mbappe left to join PSG in a high-profile move — as did several other key players — but Falcao’s new partnership with the unselfish Balde looks a promising one.

“We’ve lost a few players and we need a bit of time, it’s been a bit difficult for us,” Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic said. “I hope we can stay at the top of the table and that the young players can shine. We have a lot of quality here.”

Balde has been sharp in his handful of appearances since joining from Lazio in the offseason, but mainly as a link player and a provider.

This time, the Senegal forward finished off the move as he ran onto Thomas Lemar’s perfectly weighted pass into his path, cut across a defender on the edge of the penalty area and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.

Lemar almost created another goal when his corner was headed against the crossbar by Brazilian defender Jemerson late in the first half.

Falcao put the game beyond doubt from the spot after Slovenian midfielder Jan Repas fouled attacking midfielder Rony Lopes.


After a tricky start to his tenure at Nantes, Italian coach Claudio Ranieri has turned things around.

Nantes beat Guingamp 2-1 at home to move up to third place, extending Ranieri’s unbeaten run to eight matches after losing the first two.

Nantes, which scored through defender Chidozie Awaziem and midfielder Abdoulaye Toure, is just two points behind Monaco.

The 2 Robbies: Terriers Triumph And Chelsea Leave It Late

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe start today’s show off by discussing Huddersfield Town’s surprising win against Manchester United (00:20), Jose Mourinho’s measured post-match interview (03:50), praise Manchester City again (10:30), discuss Sean Dyche’s next move (16:10), analyze that exciting match between Chelsea and Watford (18:30) and finally, weigh in on Slaven Bilic’s future at West Ham United (27:30).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

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Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

La Liga: Barca win to maintain lead, but Valencia won’t go away

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona regained a four-point cushion atop the Spanish league with a ho-hum 2-0 win over visiting Malaga and surging Valencia dismissed Sevilla 4-0 at home on Saturday.

Barcelona faced last-placed Malaga in the closing match of the day, with added pressure from second-placed Valencia, which has won five in a row.

Barcelona is unbeaten after starting with seven straight wins and drawing with Atletico Madrid last week.

Seldom-used Gerard Deulofeu opened the scoring for Barcelona after just two minutes, and Andres Iniesta celebrated his first of the season in the second half thanks to a brilliant assist by Lionel Messi.

Defending champion Real Madrid hosts Eibar on Sunday.

Barcelona benefited from a flagrant referee misjudgment to get its go-ahead goal against Malaga. Left back Lucas Digne was allowed to center the ball after it clearly crossed the byline, and Deulofeu acrobatically back-footed it inside the net.

Despite the blow, the visitors got back up and managed to neutralize Barcelona for most of the first half, but lost striker Diego Rolan just before the second period. The Uruguayan import was forced off by injury.

Without Rolan, Malaga lacked bite in its pressure of the home backline, and Barcelona was able to polish ball circulation and find Messi with more frequency.

Messi received a clean pass from defender Javier Mascherano, drew the defense, and dropped a perfect pass for Iniesta, whose shot was deflected by defender Roberto Rosales on its way to the upper left corner.

Malaga surrendered and Barcelona dominated the rest of the way.


Gonzalo Guedes opened the scoring for Valencia near halftime with a majestic strike from outside the box after deftly outmaneuvering two defenders on the chase.

Simone Zaza added his eighth league goal after the break with a spin and low cross shot. Santi Mina came off the bench and scored the third with just five minutes to go, finishing off a speedy counterattack for the hosts.

But the show was all Guedes, and the Portuguese midfielder rounded off his great game with the closer, subtly poking the ball over goalkeeper Sergio Rico in added time.

Sevilla has lost three in a row in all competitions. Managed by Eduardo Berizzo, the team started off red-hot in La Liga but has floundered lately, ranking fifth.