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Ex-Manchester United CB Thorpe on trial with NYCFC

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The last time we saw Tom Thorpe make his way onto the pages of ProSoccerTalk, he was a Louis Van Gaal example of the thin nature of Manchester United’s center back corps.

Thorpe, now 24, played one minute in that match. That was the Manchester United Academy product’s lone Premier League minute with the Red Devils.

Thorpe has since played in the Championship with Rotherham, taking loans at Bradford City and Bolton.

Now, should a trial prove fruitful, he’ll be swapping his United red for the blue of its former rival, albeit on Manchester City’s sister side New York City FC.

Thorpe made 25 appearances for Bolton, who was a League One side before earning promotion to the Championship. If the money works, it would seem he’d fit nicely in Patrick Vieira’s side for the duration of this season.

Ever-classy, USMNT and Bolton mid Stu Holden announces his retirement

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There’s a lot of “What ifs” when it comes to retiring USMNT midfielder Stuart Holden, but his class will never be up for debate.

One of the most talented and intelligent players to don the U.S. kit, the snake-bitten 30-year-old has called it quits on his playing career, a decision that coincides with the birth of his first child.

Holden went to Clemson before signing with Sunderland, though he’d never appear for the Black Cats. He went back to Houston, where he helped the Dynamo winning the MLS Cup Final in 2006 and 2007.

[ WATCH: USMNT’s Bedoya stays hot, scores again for Nantes ]

Stuart HoldenIn 2009, the midfielder was off to Bolton, where he broke out during his sophomore season with 30 appearances and two goals. He won club Player of the Year honors that year. He also made his bones with the U.S., and he earned 17 caps and two goals during the next two seasons.

Leg injuries were the name of the game for Holden after that, and he’d make just nine club appearances between Bolton and Sheffield Wednesday over the next three seasons. A revival with the U.S. saw him play 8 times with one goal in 2013, though he tore his ACL in that year’s Gold Cup.

Jonny Evans and Nigel De Jong are names that have been linked with Holden, given their awkward at-best tackles twice broke his leg.

In announcing his retirement, Holden took to to share three keys to life: Be proud, be thanful and smile at the future:

One thing is for sure: you haven’t seen the end of me… but I might take a short break as the contractions are kicking my wife’s butt right now. That means it is time for Stuart Holden, the retired athlete and third-person self-referencer, to step up and deliver a life-winning assist! Child birth has just put all of my injuries into perspective. I now know that my wife is the real champ (and my Mom too)! Cheers to the release.

All the best to you and your family, Stu. You’re one the classiest players to ever represent the U.S., on and off the field.

Bournemouth beat Bolton, all but officially seal promotion to the Premier League

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AFC Bournemouth v Bolton Wanderers – Sky Bet Championship

Barring an unforeseen disaster of catastrophic proportions — losing their final game of the season by more than a dozen goals — Bournemouth will officially seal promotion to the Premier League for the 2015-16 season on Saturday. (Even then, Bournemouth would find themselves safely into next month’s promotion playoffs.)

[ FOLLOW: PST’s ongoing Promotion Watch series ]

Following Monday’s 3-0 victory over Bolton at Dean Court stadium in Bournemouth (seen above, covered by fans), Eddie Howe’s men are just about as close to promotion to England’s top division as is possible, without actually being guaranteed a place in next year’s Premier League.

The Cherries currently sit three and four points ahead of third- and fourth-placed Middlesbrough and Norwich City, but by virtue of the goal differential tiebreaker, are miles and miles ahead (19 and 12 goals, respectively) in the race for the Championship’s second and final automatic promotion place.

Bournemouth rode a pair of first-half goals, scored by Marc Pugh (9th league goal of the season) and Matt Ritchie (13th league goal), and a late exclamation point from leading goalscorer Callum Wilson to victory on Monday, as Bournemouth prepare for their first season of top-flight competition in club history (Bournemouth was founded in 1890 and joined the Football League in 1923).

[ MORE: Van Gaal unsure about Rooney’s knee injury | Sturridge may be done for the season ]

Howe, who made over 250 appearances for the club as a player, is in his second stint as Bournemouth manager at the tender age of 37. Howe reassumed the reins at Dean Court in October 2012 and helped the club to promotion to the Championship later that season. Fast forward through two seasons in the Championship, and Howe’s side is now Premier League-bound.

Wilson, 23, led the line for Bournemouth for much of the season, scoring 20 goals in 44 games thus far, but is just one of four players (Yann Kermorgant, Brett Pitman and Ritchie) to reach double-digit goals scored, with another pair of players — Hugh and Harry Arter — on 9 and 8 goals, respectively.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback: Chelsea brilliant, not boring, as title inches closer ]

No team in the Championship has scored more goals that Bournemouth’s 95, as things stand now (Watford, who gained promotion on Saturday, have scored 90), while only Middlesbrough (37) have conceded fewer goals than Bournemouth’s 45.

As for Bournemouth fans, they’re understandably thrilled to be going up to the Premier League next season, as they voiced their joy throughout the final 15 minutes of Monday’s game.

Bournemouth are away to Charlton on Saturday, needing only a point — or a loss and points dropped by both Middlesbrough and Norwich — to officially officially go up.

Bolton boss Lennon furious with “rubbish” refereeing in FA Cup loss to Liverpool


The FA Cup fourth-round replay between Bolton and Liverpool had its fair share of thrills, but Wanderers boss Neil Lennon walked away feeling dissatisfied.

And that’s not just because he lost the game.

[ MATCH RECAP: Bolton 1-2 Liverpool ]

Lennon called the work of head referee Roger East “rubbish” after the official sent off Bolton’s Neil Danns on a second yellow just a few minutes after the Wanderers took a 1-0 lead on Eidur Gudjohnsen’s penalty conversion.

Even that didn’t escape Lennon’s wrath. From the BBC:

“I thought he was rubbish,” said Lennon. “I thought he spoiled what was a very good game.”

The first booking Neil Danns gets isn’t a booking. He doesn’t make contact and it’s his first challenge of the game. I thought there were other things that went on in the game that went Liverpool’s way.

“I understand the sending-off and I told Neil at half-time he had to be careful but the first one wasn’t a yellow card. I don’t think the referee had a choice with the second yellow card.”

Lennon also said he was “not convinced that our penalty was a penalty either”.

Well, then.

Liverpool’s equalizer and match-winner were class, but Bolton did stand a chance at a resounding upset before the sending off. We’re obviously dealing in sour grapes here, and the former Celtic boss can surely expect a fine for his strong words.

Bolton 1-2 Liverpool: Reds come back to top 10-man Trotters

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Steven Gerrard and Liverpool’s FA Cup hopes are still alive thanks to late goals from Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, as Liverpool came back to beat 10-man Bolton 2-1 at Macron Stadium on Wednesday.

Nineteen-year-old academy product Zach Clough and veteran Bolton keeper Andy Lonergan looked to be the stars of the fourth-round replay, only for Liverpool to find its way back. Clough won a penalty off Martin Skrtel that sprung the game’s first goal in the 59th minute. Eidur Gudjohnsen finished capably, and Bolton were up 1-0.

[ MORE: Van Gaal charged by FA ]

But, oh no! The home crowd saw Neil Danns pick up a second yellow in the 66th minute. Liverpool would have close to a half-hour to find an equalizer. And Raheem Sterling did just that when he passed home Emre Can’s brilliant pass in the 86th minute.

And Coutinho gave Liverpool its first lead in the second of five stoppage time minutes, curling a brilliant shot from distance into the center of the goal.

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Once Bolton went down to 10 men, Liverpool found its stride. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers brought Daniel Sturridge on for the occasion, but the visitors still couldn’t beat Bolton. Sterling and Jordan Henderson were among the Reds to have good chances to no avail.

Andy Lonergan made a strong save on Emre Can in the 83rd minute before Can and Sterling combined to equalize the match.

Liverpool earns a date with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Feb. 14 in the fifth round. Ten of the remaining 16 teams left hail from the Premier League