Whoever scheduled the U.S. Women’s National Team’s friendly against Denmark at the same time as the NFC Championship Game on Sunday night should really consider the Ertz family in the future.
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While noted USWNT defender Julie Ertz and her team cruised past the Danes in a 5-1 victory, her husband, Zach, was playing a hand in the Philadelphia Eagles’ progression to the NFL’s Super Bowl.
With Julie not knowing what to expect following her team’s match, find out how she took the news of her husband’s triumph in the video below.
While Zach’s night was certainly a memorable one for many reasons, it was Julie that arguably had the better performance — which included a goal in the 19th minute off of a close-range volley.
The USWNT had trailed through 14 minutes, but a combination of goals from Alex Morgan and Ertz in a span of two minutes quickly erased the deficit.
For Morgan, it was her 80th goal for the Stars and Stripes.
Meanwhile, a second-half brace from teenage sensation Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn’s finish with nine minutes to play proved to be the icing on the cake for Jill Ellis’ side, who kicked off 2018 with a bang.
Perry Kitchen’s European adventure has seen him endear himself to two fan bases in two nations, but has done little to increase his stock with the United States men’s national team.
Now with fresh eyes ready to look over the Yanks’ roster, could Kitchen be coming back to Major League Soccer.
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Kitchen, 25, left DC United in 2016 and quickly endeared himself to Hearts in Scotland, making 45 appearances and earning the captain’s armband before falling out of favor with a new manager.
He headed to Denmark’s Randers FC, and has been an impactful starter for a team in a relegation fight. The usual European place competitors sit dead last.
Washington Post soccer man Steven Goff says the LA Galaxy want Kitchen in Carson, and that a “barrel of allocation money” would help LA gets his re-entry rights from DC United.
Kitchen is five times capped from the U.S., and could stabilize an MLS midfield for a half-decade or better. Sigi Schmid will certainly have a priority on the middle of the park.
Only two spots remain in Russia after Denmark overcame an early scare to belt the Republic of Ireland in the second leg of their UEFA World Cup qualifying playoff in Dublin on Tuesday.
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen scored thrice in the Danes’ 5-1 win over Martin O’Neill’s Irish, who led on Shane Duffy‘s opener.
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Andreas Christensen made it 1-1 and Eriksen’s first had Denmark up at the break. Ireland’s hopes went down the drain when Eriksen bagged two more in the second half, and “Lord” Nicklas Bendtner converted a 90th minute penalty to bag the berth.
The only remaining spots will be settled in the next 24 hours, as Honduras-Australia and Peru-New Zealand take qualifying to the wire.
Denmark would’ve liked to have scored at its home pitch on Saturday during their UEFA World Cup qualifying playoff against the Republic of Ireland, but a scoreless draw was more than sufficient heading into the second leg.
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That being said, not everyone was pleased with the Parken Stadium’s playing surface for a match of its magnitude.
Leicester City and Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was critical of the pitch following the 0-0 draw on Saturday, calling it “horrendous” that wasn’t conducive to support Denmark’s style of play.
“It was an horrendous pitch, which was very disappointing,” Schmeichel said. “There was no grass on it, it was soft, it took me back to the old days at Bury and in League Two.
“We wanted to play incisive football, so it made a bit of difference, but no excuse. They were very dogged.”
Notice that Schmeichel also got a shot in his statement at one of his former clubs and their field — Bury — where he spent time on loan back in 2006.
The two nations will meet again on Tuesday in Ireland, and a win or scoring draw (1-1, 2-2, etc.) would be enough for Schmeichel and Denmark to reach the World Cup with the away goals rule in effect.
Ireland held firm in the face of Danish pressure and chances, ultimately securing precisely the result they were after — a 0-0 draw away to Denmark — in Saturday’s first of two legs with a place at the 2018 World Cup on the line.
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Every measurable statistical category drastically favored the home side — 72 to 28 in possession; 14 shots (5 on goal) to 8 shots (2 on goal); 81 percent to 53 percent passing; and on and on — but Martin O’Neill’s side managed to keep the clean sheet anyway, courtesy of Darren Randolph‘s five saves, and a semi-spectacular miss.
It was, by a mile, the game’s best scoring chance, and it came and went in the 32nd minute. Christian Eriksen fired a shot on target from nearly 30 yards out, and while Randolph made the save while falling to his right, the Middlesbrough goalkeeper couldn’t hold the ball and it fell to Denmark’s Pione Sisto eight yards from goal. The Celta Vigo winger took his chance with his first touch, on his preferred right foot, and fired inches wide of the far post.
Randolph made a key save in the 90th minute (above photo), denying Yussuf Poulsen’s goal-bound header from the top of the six-yard box. Jens Stryger Larsen got down the left wing, cut back inside onto his right foot and served up a tantalizing ball for Poulsen, but Randolph was quick to react, rising to tip the ball over the crossbar and complete his man-of-the-match performance.
The decisive second leg will be played on Tuesday (2:45 p.m. ET), at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.