Getty Images

Brad Friedel named New England Revolution coach

Leave a comment

Brad Friedel has made a speedy transition into head coaching.

The 46-year-old legendary U.S. national team goalkeeper was named the new head coach of the New England Revolution on Thursday and will be unveiled alongside Revolution President Brian Bilello and GM Michael Burns next Monday.

Friedel played for the likes of Liverpool, Aston Villa, Blackburn and Tottenham in an illustrious 25-year playing career and since he retired in 2015 he has been involved with coaching the U.S. youth teams and has been the head coach of the U.S. U-19 side since January 2016.

Speaking about this appointment as the new boss of the Revs, Friedel is excited to start his managerial career as Mike Lapper and Marcelo Neveleff have been named as his assistants.

“My staff and I are delighted and honored to have been hired by the New England Revolution,” Friedel said. “I can guarantee that we, the staff and players, will give 100 percent commitment to the club and our fans while looking forward to all the challenges ahead. We can’t wait to get started right away building this club for the 2018 season.”

Friedel has his UEFA “Pro” licence and has been building towards this moment for some time.

As for the ‘Revs, they’ve been without a head coach since Jay Heaps was sacked in September. Heaps’ six seasons in charge saw plenty of improvement initially as they reached MLS Cup in 2014, but New England finished one place and five points out of the MLS playoffs in 2017 and now Friedel will try and help them compete in 2018 and beyond.

There isn’t a whole lot wrong with the Revs as the likes of Juan Agudelo, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe and Andrew Farrell will all be key players and despite uncertainty around the future of a soccer-specific stadium in Boston, they have the potential to challenge in the East.

Given Friedel’s vast experience in the game, the Ohio native was always planning to move into coaching and he has done his apprenticeship with Tottenham’s academy and the U.S. setup over the past few years as he helped out various youth teams in many roles.

From his 13-year career with the USMNT (he was in the USA’s World Cup squads for 1994, 1998 and 2002), Friedel spent 17 seasons in the Premier League and has worked as a TV analyst for FOX, the BBC and many others in recent years. His credentials and experience are undoubted and perhaps unrivaled in terms of the American soccer community.

Still, New England handing him the chance is still a slight surprise.

Friedel is an impressive character who has taken on every challenge which has faced him head on. This is a new challenge and it will be intriguing to see how he gets on. The aim for the Revs next season simply has to be to get back into the playoffs and anything else is a bonus.

Jonas nets 2 late goals to keep Benfica in title hunt

Twitter/@slbenfica_en
Leave a comment

LISBON, Portugal (AP) Jonas scored two late goals to lead Benfica’s 3-1 comeback win at Pacos Ferreira on Saturday, keeping it close to Portuguese league leader FC Porto.

Jonas equalized in the 72nd minute and gave the defending champion the lead in the 88th.

[ MORE: Man United-Chelsea meet in giant Sunday PL clash ]

Rafa Silva added a third goal after the host was reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when Gian dos Santos was shown a direct red card.

Luiz Phellype gave Pacos Ferreira the lead in the ninth.

The double increased Jonas’ league-leading tally to 27 goals.

Benfica moved to within two points of Porto before the pacesetter visits Portimonense on Sunday.

Sporting Lisbon is third at five points behind Porto. It hosts Moreirense on Monday.

Orlando City trades defender Jose Aja to Whitecaps for allocation money

Twitter/@OrlandoCitySC
Leave a comment

The Vancouver Whitecaps have struck a deal with an Eastern Conference side to help solidify their back line.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Johannsson leads Werder Bremen to win ]

On Saturday, the Cascadia club finalized a deal to acquire Orlando City defender Jose Aja in exchange for $125,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) for 2019.

Additionally, Orlando could receive another $100,000 in TAM if Aja remains on the Whitecaps roster next season and a 2021 second-round MLS SuperDraft pick if Aja is in Canada for the 2020 campaign.

Aja has made 25 appearances for Orlando since coming to MLS in 2016 from his native Uruguay.

The timing of the deal is intriguing, given Tim Parker’s willingness to exit the Whitecaps ahead of the 2018 MLS season.

PST reported on Thursday that Parker is seeking a move back to the East Coast, and the New York-native is being tracked by several Eastern Conference sides, including the New York Red Bulls, D.C. United and the Montreal Impact.

Parker is considered one of the top American defenders in MLS, and is actively seeking a massive pay raise ahead of the new season, after making just under $100,000 in 2017.

PL Sunday preview: Red Devils battle Chelsea at Old Trafford

PA via AP
Leave a comment

It will surely be one of the biggest fixtures of the season when Manchester United and Chelsea get together on Sunday, and for both clubs a victory could be vital in projecting their form for the rest of the 2017/18 campaign.

Meanwhile, a crucial meeting at Selhurst Park pits teams on opposite ends of the table against one another. Crystal Palace enters the weekend levels on points with 18th-place Swansea, while Tottenham could leap Chelsea for fourth if results go in favor of Spurs.

[ MORE: Liverpool continues to score at lightning pace against West Ham ]

Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN

The injury bug has hit Palace hard as of late, with a total of 12 senior team players being left out of Roy Hodgson‘s squad. The list includes Wilfried Zaha, Yohan Cabaye and Mamadou Sakho, which won’t make things easy against a talented Spurs side.

Tottenham have had a ton of success in this fixture recently, winning the last five encounters and only allowing one goal in the process.

Mauricio Pochettino‘s men have hit the ground running in the second half of the season thus far, picking up a league-high 15 points in the Premier League since the start of 2018.

If there is a saving grace for the Eagles though, it is that Palace has been solid at home this season, and gone unbeaten in nine of its last 10 fixtures at Selhurst.

Manchester United vs. Chelsea — 9:05 a.m. ET on NBCSN

After a pair of draws from the PL sides kicked off their Champions League Round of 16 campaigns midweek, United and Chelsea can now focus their attention back to England; at least for the time being.

Jose Mourinho’s team came away from Seville with a crucial scoreless draw after the hosts tested goalkeeper David De Gea on numerous occasions, while Chelsea were close to pulling out a victory against Barcelona had it not been for a big-time mistake from Andreas Christensen late in the match.

Nonetheless, this is a fixture that always garners significant attention, especially from the Blues, who tend to have a better go of it. United has won just once against Chelsea in their last 14 fixtures, with the lone victory coming last season.

That said, Antonio Conte and his side have failed to exemplify consistency this year, and that includes road matches. The Blues have just two road wins in their last nine attempts across all competitions, which bodes well for the Red Devils.

The good news for Chelsea is the recent form of attacking duo Willian and Eden Hazard. The Brazilian was constantly in dangerous positions up the pitch against the Blaugrana in their recent UCL encounter, nabbing the lone goal for the Blues, while Hazard has scored six times in his last six PL matches.

The 2 Robbies: Unstoppable Liverpool, Man United-Chelsea and more

Twitter/@AbsoluteChelsea
Leave a comment

In today’s episode, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe discuss Liverpool’s emphatic win over West Ham (0:17), breakdown an extremely complicated relegation situation where nearly half of the league is in jeopardy of going down (10:05), before closing the show with a preview of tomorrow’s Man United v. Chelsea match (28:10).

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:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies