West Ham 2-3 Tottenham: Kane leads Spurs to derby win

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  • 6 goals in 4 games for Kane
  • Spurs win 3 away games on spin
  • Hammers lost 4 of opening 6

LONDON — Tottenham Hotspur beat West Ham United 3-2 at the London Stadium on Saturday in a feisty London derby.

Harry Kane scored twice in the first half to set Spurs on their way and Christian Eriksen made it 3-0 but West Ham pulled one back 25 minutes from time through Mexico’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

Spurs ended the game with 10-men as Serge Aurier was sent off for two quickfire yellow cards but the north London club held on after Cheikhou Kouyate‘s header made it 3-2 in the closing stages and set up a nervous finale.

With the victory Spurs move on to 11 points for the season, while the Hammers remain on four points.

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The Hammers had an early chance as Marko Arnautovic raced clear on the left but his cut back couldn’t find Javier Hernandez in the box. Spurs struggled to settle into the game as Christian Eriksen’s deflected shot which Joe Hart palmed over tentatively.

Arnautovic made a real nuisance of himself with the Austrian winger surging into the box but just as he was about to let fly Serge Aurier slid in with a perfectly timed tackle to clear the danger.

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At the other end a flowing move down the right saw Aurier cross for Kane who somehow missed from two yards out but his blushes were saved by the offside flag.

Andy Carroll came on to replace the injured Michail Antonio and his first big contribution was to help Spurs go 1-0 up. His loose ball was picked up by Eriksen who played in Dele Alli and his cross was headed home brilliantly by Kane who flung himself at the ball.

Before the break Kane had his second as Jan Vertonghen played in Alli down the left and although Hart saved his effort the ball rebounded to Kane to slot home as Spurs led 2-0.

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Stunned by Tottenham’s late first half surge, West Ham barely got going after the break.

Eric Dier and Dele Alli surged forward from midfield to cause multiple problems for a creaking Hammers defense and their resistance was eventually broken.

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Kane (who else?) had a free kick which struck the far post and the rebound fell to Aurier. His deflected cross found Eriksen on the edge of the box and the Dane fired home. 3-0.

Kane hit the post again soon after but there was some hope for West Ham as Hernandez headed home at the back post to make it 3-1 after Jose Fonte flicked on a corner.

Further hope arrived when Aurier was sent off for picking up two yellow cards in six minutes after first fouling Carroll and then having a hack at the Hammers forward soon after for two blatant yellows.

Kouyate’s header made it 3-2 to set up a tense finish late on, which included a mini brawl in the center circle, but Spurs held on to secure a third-straight away win to open the season.

Sporting KC giving away creative “Bike Opara” bobblehead

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In his ninth Major League Soccer season, Ike Opara has scored just a dozen regular season goals.

He’s known more for his physicality in the backline, for creating space for teammates on set pieces, or heading balls on to teammates with slightly more fleeter feet.

But in June 2017, it all came together for Opara in a magical moment, where he beat an offside trap from the LA Galaxy and scored an insane bicycle kick for Sporting Kansas City.

Now, to honor Opara’s ridiculous goal, Sporting KC has announced the first 10,000 fans through the gates at Children’s Mercy Park on March 31 will get a “Bike Ike” bobblehead, with him in flight kicking the ball towards goal over his shoulder.

You’ve gotta love the creativity and fun the Sporting KC marketing department is having. Hopefully, Opara can give the team another memorable goal in 2018.

Van Dijk named new Netherlands captain

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Virgil Van Dijk has had a pretty decent last three months since moving to Liverpool, and the towering defender earned a new personal achievement on Thursday.

Van Dijk was named the newest captain of the Netherlands National Team, where he’ll play under former manager Ronald Koeman. Van Dijk’s first game as captain will be against the nation where he currently plies his trade, England, on Friday.

“I am very happy with it, it is a great honor to be the captain of your country,” van Dijk said at a pre-match press conference Thursday. “Everyone knows that Koeman gave me the chance at Southampton, I am very grateful to him. This is very special.”

Van Dijk’s commanding presence in the Liverpool backline and previous stops at Southampton and Celtic make him an obvious choice for captain, taking the place of the now-retired Arjen Robben. At just 26-years old, van Dijk could carry the armband for a half dozen years if he keeps up his strong form.

MLS All-Stars to face Juventus in 2018

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For the first time, Juventus will be taking on Major League Soccer’s best in the MLS All-Star Game.

MLS announced on Thursday that the six-time defending Italian champions will take on the MLS All-Stars in Atlanta United’s Mercedez-Benz Stadium on August 1, 2018. Juventus will be the second Italian club to play in the MLS All-Star Game, following AS Roma’s appearance in 2013.

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Since MLS adapted its all-stars vs. foreign club format in 2002 (with a brief return to the old East vs. West format in 2004), MLS has gone 9-6. Last year the MLS All-Stars lost 4-2 on penalty kicks to Real Madrid in Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Klinsmann: “I’m sure I’ll come back” to coaching

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Jurgen Klinsmann hinted that he could return to full-time coaching after the 2018 World Cup.

Klinsmann appears to be enjoying life as a full-time soccer dad after his dismissal from U.S. Soccer in November 2016, having taken home a portion of a $6.2 million buyout from U.S. Soccer for he and his staff. Speaking to Socrates Magazine in Germany, Klinsmann gave his thoughts on the Bundesliga, the German National Team, and whether he’d be back in the hot seat one day.

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“I’m sure I’ll come back,” Klinsmann said. “Right now I’m having a nice break, I enjoy it. I do not know when I’ll take on a coaching job again. I’m looking forward to the World Cup in Russia and then I’ll be back in action.”

Klinsmann has been linked with a number of jobs over the past few years, even before he was fired as U.S. Men’s National Team coach, including with Everton, Sunderland, and Club Tijuana in Liga MX. But instead, Klinsmann has remained in the stands, cheering on his son Jonathan at the 2017 Under-20 World Cup along with the rest of the U.S. parents in their section.

Following the disastrous start of World Cup qualifying and the fact that Klinsmann never took the U.S. to the level he promised, it is hard to see where he will go next, unless it’s a lower level, with lower expectations. Based on his work with the USMNT and Bayern Munich, he has shown that he struggles tactically and is mainly a man-motivator, which is just one part of the coaching package.

The 53-year-old former German coach and player also had a bit of a warning to the Bundesliga, after a particularly tough season in Europe. Three Bundesliga teams (Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig) made the UEFA Champions League, but both Dortmund and Leipzig finished third in their groups, dropping down to the Europa League. FC Koln, Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin all failed to advance to the knockout stages in the Europa League as well.

“The recent development at the European level is not a good sign, it is important that everyone is aware that success is lacking,” Klinsmann said. “Recently, you have lost too much ground.

“It’s a very critical moment. There is a certain amount of satisfaction after winning the World Cup in Brazil and the Bundesliga clubs having done very well in the Champions League.”