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Hudson could be coming to Colorado at long last

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Up-and-coming manager Anthony Hudson is up and coming to America.

The 36-year-old British boss has been linked with the Colorado Rapids gig for some time, and the New Zealand Herald is calling the move a “done deal.”

Hudson nearly led New Zealand to the World Cup after a dominant run through Oceania qualifying, which is nothing new, though the Kiwis were unable to pip Peru in the interconfederation playoff.

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It would be a very promising hire for Colorado. Hudson is a meticulous planner and tactician, and quite willing to take risks.

Hudson is Seattle-born and the son of former Chelsea player Alan Hudson, who played several years with Seattle Sounders (indoor and out). Anthony Hudson started his managerial career in the American fourth-tier PDL before moving onto Newport County, Bahrain, and New Zealand.

The Rapids have made the MLS Cup Playoffs just twice in the last six seasons, and won just seven games this season.

Peru tops New Zealand, lands final World Cup berth

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Jefferson Farfan’s first half goal and a terrific second half save from Pedro Gallese led Peru to a 2-0 home win and the final place in the 2018 World Cup.

Christian Ramos also scored for Peru, which earns its first World Cup berth since 1982 and gives CONMEBOL five teams in the World Cup.

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Farfan, 33, laced a slightly-deflected offering past first half star Stefan Marinovic in in the 27th minute to give Peru the lead.

Still, New Zealand’s fate didn’t change much. The Kiwis would need an away goal to put them in Russia.

Second half sub Chris Wood of Burnley nearly provided it, but Gallese was wise to the threat.

WATCH LIVE: Peru vs. New Zealand

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The final spot in the 2018 World Cup will go the team to emerge from Wednesday’s second leg between New Zealand and Peru in Lima.

WATCH LIVE ON NBC UNIVERSO

The Peruvian hosts finished fifth in CONMEBOL, while New Zealand is the Oceania champions.

Kickoff is at 9:15 p.m. ET

San Jose Earthquakes’ Kip Colvey starts for New Zealand, as does West Ham’s Winston Reid. Burnley’s Chris Wood is on the bench.

LINEUPS

Peru: Gallese; Advincula, Rodríguez, Ramos, Trauco; Tapia, Cueva, Flores; Polo, Ruidíaz, Farfán.

New Zealand: Marinovic; Wynne, Colvey, Boxall, Reid, Durante, Lewis, McGlinchey, Tuiloma, Thomas; Barbarouses.

New Zealand 0-0 Peru: Goalless first-leg draw gives hosts slight advantage for World Cup spot

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New Zealand held Peru to a goalless draw in Wellington in the first leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff, a victory for the hosts as they now hit the road needing only a draw with goals to secure a spot in Russia 2018.

The Oceanic side is considered a heavy underdog against the 10th-ranked team in the world, but they locked down Peru, holding them to just three shots on target on 11 overall attempts. Peru was out of ideas missing striker Paolo Guerrero, who failed a doping test and given a 30-day suspension.

The two teams will now head to Lima to finish the tie on Wednesday. Guerrero is currently out of the return leg as well, unless Peru wins an appeal against the suspension.

Peru had a signature moment in each half, but failed to capitalize on either. New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic was the star both times, making a goal-line clearance just seven minutes in and expertly tipping an Aldo Corzo header over the bar just past the hour mark.

Burnley striker Chris Wood was withdrawn from the New Zealand starting lineup after being dogged by a lingering hamstring issue, but he was brought on in the second half as a substitute and immediately brought Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese into action.

The 90 minutes on Wednesday will now decide each country’s fate. Peru has not qualified for the World Cup in 36 years, while New Zealand – ranked 122nd in the world – is looking to reach just its third World Cup finals.

Doping ban for Peru captain threatens World Cup dream vs NZ

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Wellington, New Zealand (AP) Since arriving in New Zealand for their World Cup playoff, Peru’s players have responded cautiously and patiently to the same question. Not about who might play on Saturday, but who will not.

Paolo Guerrero, Peru’s captain and leading scorer, is missing while provisionally suspended for failing a doping test following the World Cup qualifier against Argentina.

The absence of striker Guerrero is the biggest setback Peru faces as it attempts through home-and-away playoff matches against New Zealand to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 35 years.

There are also the formidable obstacles of travel, time zones and climate which make the match against No. 122nd-ranked New Zealand more difficult than it might have been for 10th-ranked Peru.

Peru’s players have tried techniques of sleep deprivation to quickly acclimatize to a new time zone and have padded themselves lavishly against New Zealand’s strong winds and cool temperatures.

But Guerrero’s absence has been the recurring theme. He scored six times in South American qualifiers and led his team to fifth place. Peru’s football association will challenge his suspension with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland and, if successful, will have him for the return leg in Lima on Nov. 16.

For now, the South Americans have done their best to treat persistent questions about their captain with respect but indifference.

Edison Flores, whose partnership with Andre Carrillo is one of the team’s strengths, is hopeful the Guerrero-size gap will be filled by a player he is not naming.

“It will be someone who has all our confidence and characteristics similar to those of Paolo,” Flores said. “We just have to wait for him to adapt to the work so that he does it in the best way.”

New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson has said Guerrero is “irreplaceable,” taking a neat opportunity to highlight Peru’s problem.

“I don’t really think they have anyone that is a physical presence like him and who can play the type of game they like to play with him in the team,” Hudson said.

But he makes a concession.

“Attacking midfielders, the two who sit in behind whoever plays up front … they’re all quality players. Where people say (Peru goes) direct to Guerrero, they actually play a lot through (Christian) Cueva and Flores and (Yoshimar) Yotun. They’ve got some very good players through the middle.”

Flores, based in Denmark, is one of those players and part of a new generation.

The older generation is represented by 36-year-old New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz and 33-year old Peru forward Jefferson Farfan, both in their last World Cup cycles. Smeltz played for New Zealand at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but Farfan has never had that experience, which adds urgency to his personal quest in Saturday’s match.

Smeltz knows the opportunity to play in football’s showpiece will never come again for him.

“It certainly adds to the occasion, I think, knowing that this is definitely or probably my last,” Smeltz said. “It would certainly be a fairytale to get to another World Cup.

“I think it’s just as exciting, the pressure, the intensity, as it was the first time.”

Neither Farfan nor Smeltz have fully realized their youthful potential. Smeltz has played 58 games for New Zealand without matching his young promise and Farfan, whose talent was first recognized at 14, first played for Peru at 19. Now at Lokomotiv Moscow and after 75 caps, the inconsistent Farfan remains a contentious figure in Peru.

But his greatest endorsement may have come from the absent Guerrero, who said come the World Cup playoffs “Farfan will be playing. He is needed in the team.”

More AP World Cup coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup