New York Red Bulls (2012) vs. D.C. United (1998)

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Steve took his stand this morning in what should be a heated debate (once Tim Cahill settles into the New York Red Bulls’ lineup). Which is the most talented team in MLS history? If New York plays to their talent level, they may eventually throw their hat into the best team of all-time debate.

(MORE: New York and Seattle upping the ante on designated players)

It’s an important distinction: Talented versus best. When LA Galaxy were being touted as the best team of all-time after last November’s title, nobody was nominating them for most talented. As Steve pointed out, they had their full allotment of designated players, but their depth was dependent on role players woven together by Bruce Arena That doesn’t necessarily make them any less of a team. It just changes the conversation.

The subject of talented teams was on my mind when I visited Montreal Impact practice late last week. With the Tim Cahill move just announced, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk to Jesse Marsch, who played for D.C. United from 1996 to 1997 before moving on to MLS Cup-winning Chicago in 1998. He got a first-hand view of two of the league’s great teams. Did New York’s collection of talent bring back any memories?

Like the coach that he’s become, Marsch brought it back to the field. The challenge was bringing all the talent together, he said (while not taking a stand on New York’s talent). The exchange reminded me that the most talented debate can be a tricky one. For many, talent can’t be separated from results. If you win, you’re talented. If you don’t, you’re not.

I can’t help, however, comparing this New York team to the squad filed in my mind under “Most Talented, MLS (all-time)”: The D.C. United teams that won three of the first four league titles.

Below, I’ve compared the teams position-for-position. D.C. acquits itself quite well, though as we see at the end, Steve is probably on to something.

Thinking of the devil’s advocate, I’ve used D.C.’s 1998 team – the one team in the four year span that didn’t win MLS Cup. The players are roughly the same as D.C.’s title-winning teams.

Goalkeepers

D.C. United: Scott Garlick
New York Red Bulls: Ryan Meara

Garlick was a journeyman goalkeeper who broke in to MLS in 1997. He would go on to play for Tampa Bay, Colorado, Dallas, and Salt Lake before retiring in 2007. Though he won an MLS Cup in his first season (making eight saves in the final), his career followed an unfortunate pattern of being (a) acquired, (b) installed as the starter, (c) beaten out for the starting job, and (d) traded.

Advantage: Incomplete (Meara’s still too new to pass judgment on)

Defense

D.C. United: Eddie Pope, Jeff Agoos, Tony Sanneh, Carlos Llamosa, Carey Talley
New York Red Bulls: Wilman Conde, Heath Pearce, Markus Holgersson, Jan Gunnar Solli, Roy Miller

Eddie Pope continues to be one of the more underrated players the United States has ever produced. He’s joined by three other U.S. internationals along with another player (Talley) who’d play 13 years in the league.

New York has two very good players accompanied by some complementary pieces.

Advantage: D.C. United

Midfield

D.C. United: Marco Etcheverry, John Harkes, Ben Olsen, Richie Williams
New York Red Bulls: Rafa Marquez, Tim Cahill, Sebastien Le Toux, Teemu Tainio, Dax McCarty, Joel Lindpere

If people don’t remember how good Pope was, they sure don’t remember much about Etcheverry. Perhaps that’s because Bolivia’s no longer a factor on the international scene (I don’t know) but while in the States, the guy was the best player on teams that won three MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields, and a CONCACAF title. He was named all MLS in each of the league’s first four seasons, won an MVP, and was named to the league’s all-decade team in 2005 … and I still can’t decide if this resumé understates his talent (Bolivia hasn’t threatened to make a World Cup since he retired).

But even with Etcheverry’s talent, New York is just too deep. Two Premier League players, one Barcelona star, and a former MVP candidate? It’s the type of collection the league hasn’t seen since it’s early days of stacked rosters.

Advantage: New York

Forwards

D.C. United: Roy Lassiter, Jamie Moreno, Roy Wegerle
New York Red Bulls: Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper

Roy Lassiter and Jamie Moreno’s MLS accomplishments speak for themselves. One holds the single-season record for goals. The other is second on the all-time list. Neither, however, had the talent of Thierry Henry, one of a handful of world class players Major League Soccer’s been able to recruit. In midfield, New York had the depth to overwhelm Etcheverry. In attack, Henry is partner makes their comparison to D.C. United an uneven one.

Advantage: New York

I admit: Part of the reason I did this was to offer a counter point. “Most talented ever,” I asked myself when I saw Steve’s headline. Surely Bruce Arena’s teams were being under-appreciated.

Perhaps I’m nostalgic for those first years of MLS when my collegiate naivete thought the league would explode. Perhaps, from near 4,000 miles away, I always built United up to be a juggernaut. Perhaps, back when there was still a fleck of momentum from the 1994 World Cup, I wanted things to be bigger than they were. I want those early D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago teams to match my nostalgia.

After looking at it player for player, I can’t help but side with Steve. Despite greater transparency making today’s roster, spending limits more difficult to transcend, New York has assembled a squad that is (at least) as talented as the league’s legends.

Now, as Jesse Marsch said, it’s about bringing the team together on the field.

Got a more talented team in mind than the late-90s United squads? Hey, that’s what the comments are for.

Premier League injuries, 2020-21

Premier League injuries
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
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Premier League injuries: With the 2020-21 Premier League season set to kick off this weekend, it’s time to take a look at the players who might be unavailable for the opening weekend.

[ MORE: 2020-21 Premier League season previews, all 20 clubs ]

Prior to every matchweek of the 2020-21 season, we’ll update this Premier League injuries page with the latest news and update, so make sure to check back regularly to see how your favorite — or least-favorite — club is getting on.

Note: Any player listed for COVID-19 reasons — whether a positive test or additional precautions — will always be deemed “questionable” until they make their return to action.

Arsenal injuries

QUESTIONABLE: David Luiz (back) | OUT: Gabriel Martinelli (knee), Shkodran Mustafi (thigh), Pablo Mari (ankle), Calum Chambers (knee)

Aston Villa injuries

OUT: Tom Heaton (knee), Wesley (knee), Ahmed El Mohamady (thigh)

Brighton & Hove Albion injuries

QUERSTIONABLE: Ben White (ankle) | OUT: Jose Iquierdo (knee), Florian Andone (knee), Christian Walton (ankle)

Burnley injuries

OUT: Jack Cork (ankle)

Chelsea injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Christian Pulisic (hamstring), Timo Werner (thigh), Hakim Ziyech (knee), Cesar Azpilicueta (thigh), Ben Chilwell (ankle), Thiago Silva (undisclosed) | OUT: Mateo Kovacic (suspension)

Crystal Palace injuries

OUT: James Tomkins (thigh), Mamadou Sakho (thigh), Nathan Ferguson (knee), Patrick van Aanholt (shoulder), Christian Benteke (ankle), Gary Cahill (thigh), Jairo Riedewald (undisclosed)

Everton injuries

OUT: Mason Holgate (ankle), Cenk Tosun (knee), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf), Fabian Delph (calf)

Fulham injuries

OUT: Jean Michael Seri (undisclosed), Stefan Johansen (ankle)

Leeds United injuries

OUT: Gaetano Berardi (knee), Adam Forshaw (groin)

Leicester City injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Wes Morgan (thigh) | OUT: Ricardo Pereira (knee), Jonny Evans (thigh), Filip Benkovic (groin)

Liverpool injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Xherdan Shakiri (undisclosed), Konstantinos Tsimikas (COVID-19) | OUT: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee)

Manchester City injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Sergio Aguero (knee), Bernardo Silva (undisclosed) | OUT: Aymeric Laporte (COVID-19), Riyad Mahrez (COVID-19)

Manchester United injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Paul Pogba (COVID-19) | OUT: Axel Tuanzebe (ankle), Phil Jones (knee)

Newcastle United injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Matty Longstaff (thigh) | OUT: Martin Dubravka (ankle), Fabian Schar (shoulder), Paul Dummett (thigh), Dwight Gayle (knee)

Sheffield United injuries

OUT: Lys Mousset (ankle)

Southampton injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Nathan Redmond (knock) | OUT: Stuart Armstrong (thigh)

Tottenham Hotspur injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Serge Aurier (undisclosed) | OUT: Japhet Tanganga (thigh)

West Bromwich Albion injuries

OUT: Kenneth Zohore (calf)

West Ham United injuries

OUT: Jack Wilshere (ankle)

Wolverhampton Wanderers injuries

OUT: Jonny (knee)

VIDEO: ProSoccerTalk team unfiltered – Review, preview, Power Rankings and more

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ProSoccerTalk is now on video as well as in written format. Unleash the beast, as they say.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Each week Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards will tell us what they learned from the Premier League action, rank their top five PL players based on current form, preview the upcoming weekend and handle any other news from around the soccer world.

Expect opinions, analysis and insight, as well as plenty of friendly banter along the way.

Basically, they have these chats on their own anyway so we thought we would record them and let them loose on the Premier League, USMNT and everything in-between. This is going to be a lot of fun and a lighthearted look at all of the action from across the soccer world each week.

With JPW is based in England and heading to Premier League games and traveling to stadiums/ training grounds, plus Andy and Nick based Stateside, we will be checking in with them regularly to get their views on just about anything when it comes to Pro Soccer. Because, well, ProSoccerTalk.

Follow the ProSoccerTalk lads on Twitter below, and click play on the video above to watch ProSocccerTalk this week in full.

League Cup fourth round draw results

League Cup draw
LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images
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Following the completion of the second round of the League Cup on Thursday, the draw for the fourth round was held prior to the third round, which is set to be played next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

[ MORE: Spurs come from behind to beat 9-man Plovdiv in UEL qualifier ]

The potential gem of the round depends upon Chelsea beating EFL Championship side Barnsley, and Tottenham Hotspur getting past EFL League Two Leyton Orient. Liverpool v Arsenal is another tasty possibility.

The draws for the third and fourth rounds of the 2020-21 League Cup are as follows…

League Cup third round draw

Lincoln City v Liverpool
Bristol City v Aston Villa
Morecambe v Newcastle United
Luton Town v Manchester United
Preston North End v Brighton
Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday
Manchester City v Bournemouth
West Ham United v Hull City
Millwall v Burnley
Chelsea v Barnsley
Stoke City v Gillingham
Leicester City v Arsenal
West Brom v Brentford
Newport County v Watford
Fleetwood Town v Everton
Leyton Orient v Tottenham Hotspur

League Cup fourth round draw

Lincoln City/Liverpool v Leicester City/Arsenal
Millwall/Burnley v Manchester City/Bournemouth
West Brom/Brentford v Fulham/Sheffield Wednesday
Fleetwood Town/Everton v West Ham United/Hull City
Bristol City/Aston Villa v Stoke City/Gillingham
Leyton Orient/Tottenham v Chelsea/Barnsley
Newport County/Watford v Morecambe/Newcastle United
Preston North End/Brighton v Luton Town/Manchester United

UEL roundup: AC Milan, Rangers reach next qualifying round

Europa League results
Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
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Europa League results: AC Milan and Rangers were victorious in the second round of UEFA Europa League qualifying on Thursday, advancing to within two more wins of the group stage.

[ MORE: Spurs come from behind to beat 9-man Plovdiv in UEL qualifier ]

Shamrock Rovers 0-2 AC Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored early and Hakan Calhanoglu added a second-half insurance goal to secure Milan’s passage into the third qualifying round.

Up next for Milan is a home clash with Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt with a place in the playoff round, the final level of qualification to reach the group stage, on the line.

Lincoln Red Imps 0-5 Rangers

James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Alfredo Morelos (twice) and Jermain Defoe bagged goals for Steven Gerrard’s Rangers side as they cruised to a 5-0 victory over Gibraltarian side Lincoln Red Imps.

Rangers will now be away to Dutch side Willem II in the third qualifying round.

Notable Europa League results

Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (RECAP)
Kekesi 0-4 Wolfsburg
Hibernians 0-1 Fehervar
Coleraine 2-2 *Motherwell
Viking 0-2 Aberdeen
Servette 0-1 Reims
Budapest Honved 0-2 Malmo
Teuta Durres 0-4 Granada
FK Neftchi 1-3 Galatasaray