Giovanni Trapattoni about to start his last match with Ireland?

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Most figured Giovanni Trapattoni wasn’t long for Ireland after Friday’s 6-1 home loss Germany, but if there was any doubt, news that the 73-year-old Italian will skip tomorrow’s post-break press conference leaves little doubt:

source:

 

At the end of the tweet, Palmeri, an Italy-based soccer journalist, alludes to today’s World Cup Qualifier at the Faroe Islands, a match that’s shaping up to be Trapattoni’s last. Though the former Juventus icon has restored some glory to Irish soccer during his five-year reign (qualifying the team for Euro 2012), he’s also been criticized for his stoic tactics. A conservative style helped stabilize the team in the years after his hire, but with the Irish looking more and more like sitting ducks against Europe’s best, there’s concern the team is no longer moving forward.

After a disappointing showing at Euro 2012, there were calls for Ireland to move on from Trapattoni, calls resisted by the FAI. After Friday’s embarrassment, there’s little support for retaining their boss beyond an expected victory at the Faroes.

That match (kicking off at 2:00 p.m. Eastern) is crucial to Ireland’s hopes of making Brazil 2014. As Friday showed, there’s little hope of besting Germany for the group’s automatic qualifying spot, but Ireland can still beat Sweden for second place, a slot that could send them into UEFA’s playoffs.

Even after losing to Germany, Ireland hasn’t lost much ground on the Sweded. The group’s playoff spot will likely be decided by the team’s two head-to-head meetings, giving the FAI incentive to solve their coaching problems as soon as possible.

Early, two candidates have emerged. As is required with any high profile job in the region, Harry Redknapp has been linked. While that would be a good move for Ireland, it’s unclear it would be a wise one for Redknapp, who still has reasonable expectations of slotting into the next big Premier League opening.

Then there’s the turnback the block candidate, Mick McCarthy, who coached the Irish from 1996 to 2002. More recently, McCarthy had a very successful run at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Though he was dismissed last season after a lopsided derby loss to West Bromwich Albion, Wolves’ subsequent collapse (from their already poor state) provided McCarty with some vindication.

McCarthy’s obviously the more realistic candidate, though if he were to replace Trapattoni, the appointment would re-start a cycle the Irish began five years ago. McCarthy’s presence would be stabilizing, his conservative approach providing some brief assurance after Friday’s demoralizing loss. But five, six years from now, will Irish soccer again lament their program isn’t something more? That’s what happened to McCarthy 10 years ago, and ignited by the Germany loss, that’s what’s happening to Trapattoni now.

If Trapattoni is replaced, Ireland needs to go in a different direction. McCarthy is not it. While it’s unclear the Irish are capable of playing a different way, they need to try. Else, might as well stick with Trapattoni.

USMNT back Lichaj finds new home in Championship

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Eric Lichaj is going to bring his Premier League promotion dreams to a new Championship club.

The 29-year-old USMNT fullback has been a key part of Nottingham Forest to the tune of 188 appearances since moving from Aston Villa in 2013.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

But he’s on the move, joining Nigel Adkins at Hull City on the heels of a three-goal season at Forest. He famously scored a pair of goals in a 4-2 FA Cup win over Arsenal, then naming his new dog Gunner.

“It’s a fresh start for me and I want to repay Hull City for the faith that they have shown in me by bringing me here. I’ll be working my hardest, as I always do, every day in training and on matchdays.”

The versatile American can play left or right back, and has pushed his way back into the national team picture. Lichaj has 15 caps with a goal for the USMNT.

Also, #AStarInStripes? We see you, Hull

Report: Minnesota United chasing Ecuadorian national teamer

Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
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Minnesota United may be hoping another Ibarra can cure what ails its attack.

Romario Ibarra, 23, is on the Loons’ radar according to The Athletic‘s Kristian Dyer and Jeff Rueter, who say Minnesota would like to land the Ecuadorian when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

[ MORE: Modric urges humility ]

Ibarra was limited to eight matches for Universidad Católica this season as he battled through a lingering metatarsal fracture. But he’s scored against Argentina and Chile in each of his appearances for the national team, both World Cup qualifiers.

From The Athletic:

Sources say that Ibarra’s contract is unlikely to make him a designated player, leaving Quintero as the club’s sole DP. (It could depend, in part, on the size of the transfer fee.) Based on league standards, his salary will likely be drawn from Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) contract seems likely.

Ibarra’s older brother Renato plays for Club America, and has 36 caps.

Minnesota is six points outside the West’s final playoff spot, and has scored just 17 goals in 14 matches.

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal field set

Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP
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The 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is down to one non-MLS entrant after LAFC fought past Sacramento Republic’s dogged effort to make it two, twice equalizing en route to a 3-2 win.

[ MORE: TFC extends Bono ]

Louisville City won a battle of USL sides in Wednesday’s final day of fifth round action, knocking off Nashville SC by a 2-1 score.

Now attention turns to the quarterfinals, where USL champions Louisville City will face the Chicago Fire on July 18.

All four quarterfinals will be staged on that day, and the winner of Louisville-Chicago will face the winner of the duel between Philadelphia Union and Orlando City.

The other side of the bracket shows Houston Dynamo against Sporting KC, and LAFC against the Portland Timbers.

Chicago and KC have won the cup an MLS-best four times each, while Philadelphia has finished second twice.

The remaining quarterfinalists have not advanced to a USOC final.

Sprawling translated Emery interview talks PSG, Guardiola, more

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Arsenal manager Unai Emery has given a sprawling interview, translated by France Football News, in which he discusses his history and his philosophies.

The interview was conducted after Emery was dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain but before he was hired by the Gunners.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

It’s a fascinating read, with Emery going deep into his relationship with Neymar, the need for PSG to get an “A-ha” goal for its history books, and much, much more.

The interview is with Marti Perarnau, the author of “Pep Confidential,” and there are plenty of good nuggets regarding the Manchester City boss, as well as Rafa Benitez, Zinedine Zidane, PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.

It’s fairly clear that Emery figured he’d be going to a new league, and he certainly seems like a guy fit for a project like succeeding Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. For one thing, he’s proud of his team’s style.

That’s something valued by the North London set, and Emery pointed out that Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid and Pep Guardiola at Man City had to fail before they succeeded.

Let me say this: PSG played well and won. Many people don’t value that enough and believe that it is easy. But what happened to us? We lacked competitiveness in important moments. Why? Because this team is not confronted with enough moments of adversity in the league. Being competitive also means being faced with adversity. One has to suffer like Simeone’s team to win. One has to suffer like Pep’s team to win in England.

My team had two basic principles: having possession and pressing. That was the basis. Having the ball, and winning it back as fast as possible. I should add a little nuance. I’m talking about having possession and not positioning because there are moments where you can win the ball through positioning, and others where moving out of position can surprise the opponent. And like Guardiola says, if you have to win with a long ball from the goalkeeper towards the striker and that the forward scores with his ass, then so be it! We work like that as well.

And here’s just a quick nugget on the importance of playmaking, and how good players make a coach look better.

During his first match against Toulouse at the Parc des Princes, we get corner. Neymar takes it quickly and Kurzawa scores. We hadn’t worked that at all with him. Afterwards, I told Neymar, “My work is limited to your strokes of genius.”

Love it. Arsenal seems like it’s in good hands. Read the full interview here.