Chelsea begins defense, Shakhtar’s must win – UEFA Champions League Group E preview

0 Comments

It probably won’t be able to top yesterday’s headliner at the Bernabeu, but the names alone make it a must see. One of Europe’s truly iconic clubs playing the defending champions under the lights in London. Matchups like Chelsea-Juventus define UEFA Champions League.

Chelsea vs. Juventus

Stamford Bridge, London, 2:45 p.m. Eastern

Nothing speaks to the primacy of Champions League like a qualifier who finished sixth in their domestic league. In the past there were debates as to whether even second place teams should be in this tournament, but not anymore. Nobody’s saying Chelsea shouldn’t be in this competition. Nobody’s questioning their credentials or even claiming England’s fourth place team (Tottenham) deserves the spot instead. The league criteria is almost meaningless. We have become so used to this Champions League-centric world that misgivings about Chelsea’s place have been muted.

More: Group E Group F Group G Group H

On Wednesday, the holders begin their first European title defense against Italian champion Juventus, a team they met in the knockout round three years ago. Then Chelsea won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, a game from which the Blues return only five starters. Juventus bring back only two (Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini). What little history these clubs have against each other becomes meaningless in the face of those kinds of changes.

Juventus’s turnover continued this offseason, bringing in Kwadwo Asamoah, Mauricio Isla, Sebastian Giovinco, and Lúcio. The results have been perfect so far, Juve on nine points through three Serie A rounds, continuing an unbeaten league run that extends back to Mar. 5, 2011. Having failed to qualify for last season’s European competition, Juventus has only lost once in all competitions since Milan won in Turin 17 months ago, falling to Napoli in May’s Coppa final.

Like Juventus, Chelsea sits at the top of their domestic league after a series of summer buys, bringing in Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin, and Victor Moses. In the process, the Blues have started to shift away from José Mouinrho’s core, seeing Didier Drogba leave while the team has become less dependent on Frank Lampard and John Terry. Hazard has quickly become the team’s best player (and perhaps their last hope to salvage Fernando Torres).

More: Tuesday’s winners and losers

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Nordsjaelland

Donbass Arena, Donetsk, 2:45 Eastern

Don’t envy Danish champions Nordsjaelland, first time participants in UEFA Champions League. Thanks to Juventus’s diminished UEFA coefficient, the Danes are drawn into a group with three Round of 16-caliber clubs. They get the pleasure of being the team each opponent sees as a needed three points, chance to pad goal difference, and major slip should they fail to win (home or road). You won’t get that type of patronization in quotes espousing the quality of every Champions League team, but even when teams venture to Farum, they’ll be thinking “We can’t lose to these guys, right?”

That’s why this is a must win for Shakhtar. They have to assume Chelsea and Juventus will get full points against the Danes. They can’t give up any points to Nordsjaelland, let alone during the home leg. The points Ukraine’s champions drop will cancel out any progress they make against the group’s other contenders.

If Shakhtar can manage those expectations, they shouldn’t have any trouble with Nordsjaelland, particularly if Henrikh Mkhitaryan continues his goalscoring exploits. The Armenian midfielder came into the season with 13 goals in 43 league appearances for Shakhtar. In nine games this season, the 23-year-old has already scored 12 times. The next highest scorer in Ukraine has eight.

Nordsjaelland has one of the best defenses in Denmark (20-year-old center half Jores Okore may not be in the Superliga for long), but this is small fish-big pond territory for them. Copenhagen is the big team in Denmark, but their huge collapse at the end of last season allowed the Wild Tigers to barge through the door. They may be out of their depth – less Champions Leguae quality than the team that was there when FCK fell. Okore and U.S. international Michael Parkhurst may be able to hold up for a result in Denmark, but in Donetsk, it’s too much to ask.

USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup

0 Comments

After reaching the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup, the USMNT have a big 2023 coming up as they aim to build off a successful showing on the world’s biggest stage.

[ LATEST: Balogun named to Nations League roster ]

For the next few months CONCACAF Nations League takes center stage, while the program is very much in transition as Anthony Hudson was in temporary charge but he has now moved on with B.J. Callaghan taking over an interim basis as the search for a new permanent head coach continues.

After both the general manager (Brian McBride) and sporting director (Earnie Stewart) left in recent months, Matt Crocker has arrived as U.S. Soccer’s new sporting director and has some huge decisions coming up as the USMNT’s talented youngsters need some guidance with a World Cup on home soil just three years away.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

As for now, here is the USMNT’s upcoming schedule for 2023, with plenty more games to be added based on their qualification for the 2023 Gold Cup on home soil. 


How to watch USMNT

TV channels in English: HBO Max, TNT
TV channels en Español:
Universo, Telemundo Deportes
Streaming en Español: Peacock


USMNT upcoming schedule

* Friendly | ** CONCACAF Nations League | *** 2022 World Cup | **** Gold Cup

2023

vs. Serbia* — Jan. 25, 10 pm ET — Loss 2-1 | Recap & highlights
vs. Colombia* — Jan. 28, 7:30 pm ET — Draw 0-0 | Recap & highlights

at Grenada** — March 24, 8 pm ET — Won 7-1 | Recap & highlights + Player ratings
vs El Salvador** — March 27, 7:30pm ET — Won 1-0 | Recap & highlights
vs Mexico* — April 19, 10:22pm ET — Glendale, Arizona – More details

vs Mexico ** — June 15, 10pm ET — Las Vegas, Nevada (Nations League semifinal)

2023 Gold Cup from June 16 to July 19 

vs Jamaica**** — June 24, 9:30pm ET — Chicago, Illinois 
vs TBD****
— June 28, 9:30pm ET — St. Louis, Missouri 
vs Nicaragua****
— July 2, 7pm ET — Charlotte, North Carolina

October 2023

vs Germany* — October 14, 3pm ET — Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT
vs Ghana* — October 17, 8:30pm ET — GEODIS Park, Nashville, TN


USMNT games in 2022

vs. Morocco* — June 1 — Win 3-0
vs. Uruguay* — June 5 — Draw 0-0
vs. Grenada** — June 10 — Win 5-0
at El Salvador** — June 14 — Draw 1-1
vs Japan* — Sept. 23 (in Dusseldorf, Germany) — Loss 2-0
vs Saudi Arabia* — Sept. 27 (in Murcia, Spain) — Draw 0-0


USMNT at 2022 World Cup

Group B
vs. Wales*** — Nov. 21, 2 pm ET — Draw 1-1
vs. England*** — Nov. 25, 2 pm ET — Draw 0-0
vs. Iran*** — Nov. 29, 2 pm ET — Win 1-0

Last 16
vs. Netherlands*** — Dec. 3, 10 am ET — Loss 3-1


USMNT 2022 World Cup qualifying scores, recaps, analysis

at El Salvador — Sept. 2Draw 0-0
vs. Canada — Sept. 5 — Draw 1-1
at Honduras — Sept. 8 — Win 4-1

vs. Jamaica — Oct. 7 — Win 1-0
at Panama — Oct. 10 — Loss 0-1
vs. Costa Rica — Oct. 13 — Win 2-1

vs. Mexico — Nov. 12 — Win 2-0
at Jamaica — Nov. 16 — Draw 1-1

vs. El Salvador — Jan. 27 — Win 1-0
at Canada — Jan. 30 — Loss 0-2
vs. Honduras — Feb. 2 — Win 3-0

at Mexico — March 24 — Draw 0-0 
vs. Panama — March 27 — Win 5-1
at Costa Rica — March 30 — Loss 0-2 


Final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings

Canada — 28 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +16 – automatic qualification
Mexico — 28 points (QUALIFIED) GD +9 – automatic qualification
USMNT — 25 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +11 – automatic qualification


Costa Rica — 25 points (PLAYOFF) GD +5


Panama — 21 points (ELIMINATED)
Jamaica — 14 points (ELIMINATED)
El Salvador — 10 points (ELIMINATED)
Honduras — 4 points (ELIMINATED)

Follow @AndyEdMLS

USMNT’s new interim boss Callaghan names Nations League squad

0 Comments

New interim United States men’s national team coach B.J. Callaghan has named his 24-man roster for the CONCACAF Nations League final round in Las Vegas later this month.

Callaghan took the wheel for Anthony Hudson after the former Colorado Rapids coach stepped down late last month.

The USMNT will meet Mexico in a June 15 semifinal in a rematch of the memorable first CNL final, with the winner meeting the winner of Panama and Canada for a June 18 final.

[ MORE: Sevilla come back, win Europa League in penalties ]

There are some new names in the mix, including Champions League veteran goalkeeper Josh Cohen of Maccabi Haifa and Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun.

Eight players have four caps or less, and Christian Pulisic’s 58 caps are by far the most of the group.

Weston McKennie, Sergino Dest, Walker Zimmerman, Giovanni Reyna, Yunus Musah, and Brendan Aaronson are all listed, as is Timothy Weah.

Tim Ream of Fulham, Zack Steffen of Man City, and Tyler Adams of Leeds miss out through injury

Full roster after the jump.

USMNT roster for CONCACAF Nations League Finals

Attached clubs are listed by USMNT and include loan spots at end of 2022-23 season.

Goalkeepers: Drake Callender (Inter Miami), Josh Cohen (Maccabi Haifa), Sean Johnson (Toronto FC), Matt Turner (Arsenal). 

Defenders: Sergiño Dest (AC Milan), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace, Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC) 

Midfielders: Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Leeds United), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Alan Soñora (FC Juárez).

Forwards: Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Folarin Balogun (Stade Reims), Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Tim Weah (Lille), Alex Zendejas (Club América)

The Soccer Tournament to air across NBC platforms in summer 2023

0 Comments

27 games from the The Soccer Tournament (TST) will be aired across NBC Sports’ platforms in the summer of 2023 as some of the biggest clubs in the world will be represented as teams square off to try and win the $1 million grand prize.

[ LIVE: Watch The Soccer Tournament on Peacock ]

Games will be aired on Peacock and CNBC, as the inaugural 7-a-side tournament takes place in Cary, North Carolina and the likes of West Ham United, Wolves, Borussia Dortmund, Wrexham and various teams from around the world including former USMNT and USWNT players will compete.

“On June 4th, two teams will face off in our championship game for a million dollars. The second place team will get nothing. We are excited to showcase the drama of that moment and 26 additional high-stakes matches through this partnership with NBC Sports, home of the Premier League in the United States,” said TST founder and CEO Jon Mugar.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA


What is The Soccer Tournament?

Here are more details on what to expect from The Soccer Tournament this summer:

“A first-of-its-kind soccer event, TST will feature 32 teams from eight different countries competing in a World Cup-like group stage. Sixteen teams will advance to the knockout stage, where they will compete in single elimination games for a $1 million grand prize.

“Teams competing in the event include 7-a-side teams from notable European clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, West Ham, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wrexham, Como 1907, Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv, MLS club Charlotte FC, Liga MX’s Club Necaxa, Clint Dempsey’s Team Dempsey, and US Women, a team of former US women’s national team players organized by Heather O’Reilly and coached by Mia Hamm.

“Notable players include legendary Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas (Como 1907), NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (Nati SC), social media influencer and former MLS Academy product Noah Beck (Borussia Dortmund), among others. TST’s field will also include 23 former U.S. senior national team players on both the men’s and women’s side with nearly 1,400 matches of experience combined.”

Below is the full TST game schedule and tickets for all TST games are on sale now at thetournament.com/tst-tickets.


The Soccer Tournament schedule, how to watch live, start times, dates


June 1, 2023

Borussia Dortmund vs. Hoosiers Army (Indiana Alumni) – June 1, 9am ET
West Ham United vs. Far East United – June 1, 10:30am ET
US Women vs. Say Word FC – June 1, 12pm ET
Wrexham Red Dragons vs. Como 1907 – June 1, 1:30pm ET
Wolverhampton vs. Blade & Grass – June 1, 5pm ET
Club Necaxa vs. Hapoel Tel Aviv – June 1, 6:30pm ET
Wrexham Red Dragons vs. US Women – June 1, 8pm ET
Team Dempsey vs. Sneaky Fox – June 1, 9:30pm ET

June 2, 2023

Borussia Dortmund vs. Kingdom FC – June 2, 9am ET
West Ham United vs. Culture by Mo Ali FC – June 2, 10:30am ET
Wrexham Red Dragons vs. Say Word FC – June 2, 12pm ET
Team Dempsey vs. Zala FFF – June 2, 1:30pm ET

Knockout Round (8 games) – June 2, 6pm – 11pm ET
Quarterfinals (4 games) – June 2, 12 pm – 4:45pm ET

June 3, 2023

Semifinals (2 games) – June 3, 7 pm and 9:30pm ET

June 4, 2023

TST $1M Championship Game (Live) – June 4, 3pm ET CNBC – Encore to air on June 10, 2pm ET (NBC)


USWNT release 2023 World Cup jerseys

0 Comments

The USWNT 2023 World Cup jerseys have arrived and the Stars and Stripes will certainly stand out from the crowd at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand this summer.

[ MORE: Schedule, how to watch, bracket for 2023 World Cup ]

Vlatko Andonovski’s side are going for a third-straight World Cup title, something which has never been achieved in the history of the men’s and women’s game.

Led by Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, this USWNT side have so much experience but there are also exciting young talents coming through with Mallory Swanson and Trinity Rodman excelling in recent months.

Below is a closer look at the the new USWNT 2023 World Cup jerseys, with the away kit also to be worn by the USMNT.


USWNT 2023 World Cup jerseys

U.S. Soccer say that the inspiration for the jerseys are “from abstract expressionism, an international art movement that started in the 1940s in New York and shifted the art epicenter from Europe to the U.S., similar to what the USA team has done for women’s soccer.”

They add there is “a custom USA ‘signature'” as the “bespoke mark is hand painted with ink on paper, and is a nod to the abstract expressionism movement, where each artist would sign their painting. Lastly, the USA’s inner pride mark celebrates the USWNT’s four Women’s World Cup championships in 1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019.”

When it comes to the home kit, U.S. Soccer say it is “an unexpected take on the tradition of wearing white at home and features a bespoke drip paint technique pattern. Highlighting the energy of the USWNT and how they are diverse players and personalities, but always united, the action painting method pattern features a distinctive placement, making every single jersey unique.”

USWNT
Courtesy: US Soccer

For the blue away kit, which will be worn by both the USWNT and USMNT, there are “bespoke stars and stripe print on the sleeve cuffs – a diagonal stripe with intersecting stars – and a neckline that also features red blades, formed to look like the tip of stars.”

They add that those shapes are “subtle, patriotic nods to the hidden shapes that are inspired by abstract expressionism art.”

USWNT
Courtesy: US Soccer

Here is a look at both USWNT World Cup jerseys in a little more detail, plus the USMNT showing off their new away kits.