Soccer birthdays: Thomas Sorenson, who would be with the Danes for their Euro 2012 adventure, turns 36 today. The Stock City No. 1 was recently ruled out due to back injury.
Big Important Story of the Day: Remember that Tampa cake walk the American soccer team enjoyed Friday to commence World Cup qualifying? Well, tonight will be nothing of the sort. Jurgen Klinsmann’s men will be smack up against tonight when they meet Guatemala at the Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.
Ahead on the blog today*: Lots on the U.S.-Guatemala match, on the men involved and the silly politics of the TV situation. (The game is available only on pay-per-view; I mean, what is this, boxing?). Plus lots more from the EUFA European Championship in Poland and Ukraine. But if you’ve been watching the blog over the last few days, you knew that, didn’t you?
What we should all be watching on TV:
Greece-Czech Republic, noon ET, ESPN
Poland-Russia, 2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
El Salvador-Mexico, 9:30 p.m., Telemundo
Guatemala-United States, 10 p.m., pay-per-view
RASNoD: Amy Rodriguez
Twitter daps: L.A. Galaxy center back A.J. DeLaGarza (@AJD_20), who is excited about his town’s sporty success: “2009- LA Lakers 2010- LA Lakers 2011- LA Galaxy 2012- LA Kings #ChampionsLiveInLA …more to follow…”
Broadcaster and special U.S. Soccer assistant Allen Hopkins (@AllenAHopkins): “Time flies. #USMNT summer tour comes to end tomorrow. 6 cities, 5 matches, 3 countries, 30 days. 3 points is best way to close trip. #WCQ”
USMNT kicks off 2026 World Cup cycle with 7-1 win in Grenada
The victory puts the USMNT (7 points) atop Group D with one game left to play, against El Salvador (5 points – 2nd place) on Monday.
The Yanks got on the board in the 4th minute, and it was a sensational cross from Christian Pulisic which found Ricardo Pepi atop the six-yard box. Pepi used the considerable pace on Pulisic’s cross to head the ball down and out of goalkeeper Jason Belfon’s reach.
Brenden Aaronson made it 2-0 in the 21st minute, as the Leeds attacker received the ball atop the 18-yard box, turned into open space and cut inside before firing a right-footed finish hard and low to the near post.
Weston McKennie made it 3-0 just after the half-hour mark, as he smashed an off-balance, left-footed volley home after his initial header on Pulisic’s free kick was blocked. Two minutes after Myles Hippolyte fired a laser past Matt Turner (a minute after McKennie’s first goal), the recently acquired Leeds midfielder struck again to make it 4-1, applying the final touch after Auston Trusty headed the ball down after another free kick from Pulisic.
The USMNT jumped on Grenada just as quickly when the second half began, with Pulisic putting his name on the scoresheet in the 49th minute. Luca de la Torre found Pulisic cutting in from the left wing, and the ball somehow found its way past Belfon for 5-1.
Four minutes later, De la Torre played a slightly trickier through ball to spring Pepi in behind the Grenadine defense, and Pepi made no mistake with his one-on-one chance against Belfon. Pepi, who is currently on loan to Groningen from Augsburg, waited for the goalkeeper to go down one way and coolly slotted the ball the other way.
Alejandro Zendejas, who recently elected to represent the USMNT internationally, became cap-tied to the USMNT when he came off the bench in the 64th minute. Eight minutes later, the 25-year-old winger got his first senior international goal.
For all intents and purposes, the USMNT kicked off the 2026 World Cup cycle on Friday, with the first team reconvening for the first time since the 2022 tournament in Qatar. A new World Cup cycle means brand new opportunities for new players, and a fresh start for those who didn’t get the starts or appearances that they thought they should have.
The net will be cast far and wide as the rest of 2023 sees the USMNT (likely) head to the finals of the Nations League and then the Gold Cup, with a handful of players seemingly coming from out of nowhere to claim consistent call-ups ahead of Copa America 2024 (on U.S. soil once again). There will be even more opportunities than usual for fringe players to make a case, with the Yanks automatically qualifying for the 2026 tournament as hosts.
1 – With Miles Robinson a healthy scratch, the @USMNT will play a competitive match without using a single MLS player for the first time since the league began in 1996. Global. pic.twitter.com/Pitx2lt41e
The USMNT will host El Salvador in a winner-take-all Group D finale on Monday (7:30 pm ET), at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. The group winner will qualify for the finals (four teams) of the 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League (June 15-18) as well as the 2023 Gold Cup (June 24-July 16); the group runners-up will also qualify for this summer’s Gold Cup.
A number of nations have guaranteed themselves no worse than a playoff spot due to their performances in the UEFA Nations League: Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Georgia, Croatia, Turkey, Serbia, Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan 1-2 Slovenia
Slovakia 0-0 Luxembourg
Italy 1-2 England – Video, player ratings as Kane breaks Rooney record
Denmark 3-1 Finland
Portugal 4-0 Liechtenstein
San Marino 0-2 Northern Ireland
North Macedonia 2-1 Malta
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 Iceland
Friday, March 24
Bulgaria 0-1 Montenegro
Gibraltar 0-3 Greece
Moldova 1-1 Faroe Islands
Serbia 2-0 Lithuania
Austria 4-1 Azerbaijan
Sweden 0-3 Belgium
Czech Republic 3-1 Poland
France 4-0 Netherlands
Saturday, March 25
Scotland vs Cyprus — 10am ET
Israel vs Kosovo — 1pm ET
Armenia vs Turkey — 1pm ET
Belarus vs Switzerland — 1pm ET
Spain vs Norway — 3:45pm ET
Croatia vs Wales — 3:45pm ET
Andorra vs Romania — 3:45pm ET
Sunday, March 26
Kazakhstan vs Denmark — 9am ET
England vs Ukraine — Noon ET
Liechtenstein vs Iceland — Noon ET
Slovenia vs San Marino — Noon ET
Slovakia vs Bosnia and Herzegovina — 2:45pm ET
Northern Ireland vs Finland — 2:45pm ET
Luxembourg vs Portugal — 2:45pm ET
Malta vs Italy — 2:45pm ET
Monday, March 27
Montenegro vs Serbia — 2:45pm ET
Netherlands vs Gibraltar — 2:45pm ET
Poland vs Albania — 2:45pm ET
Austria vs Estonia — 2:45pm ET
Sweden vs Azerbaijan — 2:45pm ET
Moldova vs Czech Republic — 2:45pm ET
Hungary vs Bulgaria — 2:45pm ET
Republic of Ireland vs France — 2:45pm ET
Tuesday, March 28
Georgia vs Norway — Noon ET
Wales vs Latvia — 2:45pm ET
Romania vs Belarus — 2:45pm ET
Switzerland vs Israel — 2:45pm ET
Kosovo vs Andorra — 2:45pm ET
Turkey vs Croatia — 2:45pm ET
Scotland vs Spain — 2:45pm ET
EURO 2024 qualifying standings
Republic of Ireland
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Premier League relegation scrap needs some serious paring down, as a remarkably-high nine teams sit within four points of 20th place on the 2022-23 Premier League table.
That means we’re set, at least for now, for more relegation six-pointers than at any time in recent memory — many of them, you’ll see below, will involve Bournemouth — and the odds are in favor of a relatively surprising team heading down to the Championship.
Leicester City: Palace (A), Villa (H), Bournemouth (H), Man City (A), Wolves (H), Leeds (A), Everton (H), Fulham (A), Liverpool (H), Newcastle (A), West Ham (H)
West Ham: Southampton (H), Newcastle (H), Fulham (A), Arsenal (H), Bournemouth (A), Liverpool (H), Palace (A), Man Utd (H), Brentford (A), Leeds (H), Leicester (A)
Nottingham Forest: Wolves (H), Leeds (A), Villa (A), Man Utd (H), Liverpool (A), Brighton (H), Brentford (A), Southampton (H), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Palace (A)
Leeds: Arsenal (A), Forest (H), Palace (H), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A), Leicester (H), Bournemouth (A), Man City (A), Newcastle (H), West Ham (A), Spurs (H)
Everton: Spurs (H), Man Utd (A), Fulham (H), Palace (A), Newcastle (H), Leicester (A), Brighton (A), Man City (H), Wolves (A), Bournemouth (H)
Southampton: West Ham (A), Man City (H), Palace (H), Arsenal (A), Bournemouth (H), Newcastle (A), Forest (A), Fulham (H), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H)
Bournemouth: Fulham (H), Brighton (H), Leicester (A), Spurs (A), West Ham (H), Southampton (A), Leeds (H), Chelsea (H), Palace (A), Man Utd (H), Everton (A)
Key fixtures that will decide the Premier League relegation scrap
Saturday, March 18: Wolves 2-4 Leeds – RECAP/HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday, April 1: AFC Bournemouth vs Fulham — 10am ET
Saturday, April 1: Crystal Palace vs Leicester — 10am ET
Saturday, April 1: Nottingham Forest vs Wolves — 10am ET
Sunday, April 2: West Ham vs Southampton — 9am ET
Tuesday, April 4: Leeds vs Nottingham Forest — 2:45pm ET
Saturday, April 8: Leicester vs AFC Bournemouth — 10am ET
Saturday, April 8: Leeds vs Crystal Palace — 12:30pm ET
Saturday, April 15: Southampton vs Crystal Palace — 10am ET
Saturday, April 22: Crystal Palace vs Everton — 10am ET
Saturday, April 22: Leicester vs Wolves — 10am ET
Sunday, April 23: AFC Bournemouth vs West Ham — 9am ET
Tuesday, April 25: Wolves vs Crystal Palace — 2:30pm ET
Tuesday, April 25: Leeds vs Leicester — 2:45pm ET
Thursday, April 27: Southampton vs AFC Bournemouth — 2:45pm ET
Saturday, April 29: Crystal Palace vs West Ham — 7:30am ET
Sunday, April 30: AFC Bournemouth vs Leeds — 9am ET
Monday, May 1: Leicester vs Everton — 3pm ET
Saturday, May 6: Nottingham Forest vs Southampton — Time TBD
Saturday, May 13: Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth — Time TBD
Saturday, May 20: West Ham vs Leeds — Time TBD
Sunday, May 28: Crystal Palace vs Nottingham Forest — Time TBD
Sunday, May 28: Everton vs AFC Bournemouth — Time TBD
Sunday, May 28: Leicester vs West Ham — Time TBD
Premier League title odds (As of March 24, 2023)
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Can Arsenal win the first Premier League title since 2003-04? Will Manchester City win three in a row to make it five titles in the last six seasons under Pep Guardiola?
For a while it looked like Manchester United could come from nowhere to stun everyone and secure their first title in a decade, but they have regressed in recent weeks and it is now truly a two-horse race between Arsenal and Man City.
Below is a look at the key fixtures, current form, odds and predictions for the contenders to be crowned Premier League champions.
Arsenal (69 points through 28 games): Leeds (H), Liverpool (A), West Ham (A), Southampton (H), Man City (A), Chelsea (H), Newcastle (A), Brighton (H), Nottingham Forest (A), Wolves (H)
Manchester City (61 points through 27 games): Liverpool (H), Southampton (A), Leicester City (H), Brighton (A), Arsenal (H), Fulham (A), Leeds (H), Everton (A), Chelsea (H), West Ham (H), Brentford (A)
Key fixtures that will decide the Premier League title
Saturday, April 1: Manchester City vs Liverpool – 7:30am ET
Sunday, April 2: Newcastle vs Manchester United – 11:30am ET
Sunday, April 9: Arsenal vs Liverpool – 11:30am ET
Wednesday, April 26: Manchester City vs Arsenal – 3pm ET
Thursday, April 27: Tottenham vs Manchester United – 3:15pm ET
Saturday, April 29: Arsenal vs Chelsea – 12:30pm ET
Saturday, May 6: Newcastle vs Arsenal – 10am ET
Saturday, May 20: Manchester City vs Chelsea – 10am ET
Current form (As of March 20, 2023)
Arsenal’s last 5 results: WWWWW Manchester City’s last 5 results: WWWDW