Abby Wambach

Veterans still have future roles for U.S. women

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Saturday’s 1-1 draw in Chicago between Germany and the United States took 45 minutes to open up, but the second half finally looked like the world-class match-up it was supposed to be. That second half energy should continue in Tuesday’s rematch in Hartford (live on NBC Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. ET) now that these teams have become reacquainted.

On paper, Saturday’s result was a good one for the world’s two top-ranked teams, but as Richard Farley pointed out on Saturday, the U.S. will walk away from this pair of friendlies with mixed feelings, regardless.

Interim coach Jill Ellis will not be the next permanent U.S. coach. Whoever is the next U.S. coach (there seem to be some front-runners, but the process has been pretty tight-lipped) will have to develop talent that will be relied upon at the 2015 Women’s World Cup – the next time the U.S. women really have to care about a result.

(MORE: Favorites emerging to replace Pia Sundhage as next U.S. coach)

But for all this talk about overhauling the group (runners-up in the 2011 World Cup and gold medalists at the 2012 Olympics, mind you) with new faces, top veteran players don’t seem to be going anywhere. Part of that is because some ‘veterans’ of the team still have plenty in the tank (like 27-year-old Heather O’Reilly and 30-year-old Carli Lloyd).

Whether or not specific players will continue to feature in the team depends so greatly on the coach that at this stage it’s wildly speculative to suggest that any would get pushed out. Here are how things look for the four oldest players from the 2012 Olympic roster:

Christie Rampone (37-year-old defender) – The team’s most senior player. Rampone has 270 caps and has not shown a sign of losing a step. She is the rock of the back line and the team’s most consistent defender. It might seem crazy to think that the U.S. captain could still be a mainstay in the line-up at the 2015 World Cup when she would be 40 years old, but Rampone is known for impressive feats, like when she led Sky Blue FC to a Women’s Professional Soccer championship in 2009 as player-coach…while pregnant. She said she plans to play at least through 2013.

Abby Wambach (32-year-old forward) – Much like Rampone, expect Wambach to play until she absolutely can no longer walk. I’ve heard an unusual amount of cynicism from fans about Wambach, which is ridiculous. Sure, young forwards Sydney Leroux and Christen Press need minutes, but their time will come. Wambach (22 goals) and Alex Morgan (24 goals) have combined for the second-most prolific calendar year of goal scoring in U.S. history. Their 46 combined tallies are nine short of the 1991 duo of Michelle Akers (39 goals) and Carin Jennings (16 goals). Tell me again – Why shouldn’t Wambach be a go-to player?

Shannon Boxx (35-year-old midfielder) – Whether or not Boxx continues to play seems to remain up in the air, but it will add to her already impressive resume as an elite midfielder who has battled lupus, chronic autoimmune disease, since 2007. Keeping her place in the team will be extra challenging for Boxx due to the large crop of young central midfielders waiting in the wings and most U.S. coaching candidates sounding eager to develop new midfield talent. A very long list of central midfielders are anxious for a look and need regular training time.

Heather Mitts (34-year-old defender) – London was going to be the end of the road for Mitts, which she made clear leading into the 2012 Olympics. However, it seems she may have had a change of heart  she recently tweeted that she is unsure of what to do next. The outside back position has been a work in progress for the last two years. It’s a position where a new coach will likely use the next three years to develop young players for 2015.

Bayern confirms pursuit of Man City’s Sane

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Bayern Munich has admitted interest in Manchester City’s Leroy Sane in a move which almost certainly break the Premier League side’s outgoing transfer record.

Sane, 23, was arguably the most important tactical piece of City’s amazing run to the 2017-18 Premier League title, but was relegated to a lesser role this season.

[ MORE: Everton adds Lossl ]

Barring a swap deal, Sane’s sale number would obliterate the approximately $30 million received by City for Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, 2017) and Alvaro Negredo (Valencia, 2015).

Given that Sane cost City around $47 million from Schalke before earning the PFA Young Player of the Season and two Premier League titles…yeah, this one will be costly. Reports say the starting bid will be over $80 million.

Bayern chairman Uli Hoeness confirmed the club’s interest in Sane, while Robert Lewandowski publicly urged the player to join the Bundesliga champions and German national team coach Joachim Loew called it a good fit for both parties.

The year was a tricky one for Sane, who was statistically more productive in fewer minutes. He still managed 16 goals and 18 assists in 47 appearances for City, playing 55 percent of PL minutes. Sane had 14 goals and 19 assists in about 500 more minutes the previous season.

Sane also got grief from Loew and his national teammates for body language amongst other things.

A sale of Sane would give City’s finances a different look. Liverpool’s sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona helped offset the Reds’ big buys in terms of Financial Fair Play.

What to expect as U.S. kicks off U-20 World Cup

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Tab Ramos’ United States men’s national team may have a navigable U-20 World Cup group, but it doesn’t set-up nicely.

Not that supporters are ready to make excuses; The U.S. is expected to make a decent run over the next month in Poland.

[ WATCH: The U-20 World Cup on Telemundo ]

Timothy Weah, Paxton Pomykal, and the Baby Yanks meet Ukraine at 2:30 p.m. ET in their Group D debut, hopeful of a run past the quarterfinals. The Americans haven’t played three post-group stage matches since a fourth place finish in 1999.

A group win is imperative with loaded favorites France expected to win Group E and set for a spot on the other side of the knockout bracket.

Aside from Josh Sargent’s call-up to the full USMNT, the Yanks have every reason to be optimistic about their potential. The 21-man player squad breaks down to six players on German sides, 10 American-based players, two from the Netherlands, and one each from Portugal, Spain, and France.

Weah is probably the most exciting one of the bunch, having success at Celtic on loan from PSG and earning high praise from Neymar amongst others, but Pomykal is one of the best MLS products in some time as a center midfielder.

Both Pomykal and Chris Durkin are getting significant minutes at the Major League Soccer level, while Mark McKenzie has nearly 20 with the Philadelphia Union as a senior player.

Beyond that are exciting strikers Sebastian Soto, who debuted for Hannover 96 this season, and Wolfsburg prospect Ulysses Llanez.

But the Yanks will look to Weah for that extra special something, the 19-year-old scoring six goals between PSG and Celtic this season.

Friday’s debut will be followed by a Monday match against Nigeria before Thursday’s tango witj Qatar.

Winning Group D means the third-place team from B, E, or F, while finishing second is a Round of 16 match-up with France, who boasts a number of high-end players already playing regularly at the highest levels of European soccer.

Everton adds keeper depth with Lossl

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Everton has added goalkeeping depth beyond Jordan Pickford.

Danish keeper Jonas Lossl will sign a three-year contract with the Toffees on July 1, staying in the Premier League after his release from Huddersfield Town.

[ MORE: U-20 World Cup rewind ]

Lossl, 30, was initially on loan to the Terriers from Bundesliga outfit Mainz, but the deal was made permanent before last season.

The Dane had an outstanding loan campaign but wasn’t as strong this season as the Terriers were mowed down by Premier League competition and relegated to the Championship.

He was one of five players released by Huddersfield earlier this month.

Pickford also had a rough season between the sticks for Everton, but played all 38 Premier League matches for the club. Maarten Stekelenburg was his backup.

River Plate to sponsor car in Indy 500

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There will be a soccer presence at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500.

On Thursday, Club Atletico River Plate announced, along with car owner Juncos Racing that Kyle Kaiser’s No. 32 car will feature a River Plate logo on the front of the vehicle. Juncos Racing is named after founder Ricardo Juncos, an Argentine native and clearly a big River fan.

Per a press release from River Plate, it’s the first time a soccer team is sponsoring a car in the Indy 500, which takes place this Sunday, May 26.

[READ: Pochettino hopeful Kane will be ready to make an impact in UCL final]

“As a River fan, I always wanted to have the logo of the Club in the car,” Juncos said in a press release.
“This race is very important for me. I am very happy and I believe that in the goal of River to expand into the Indy 500. From here to there will come positive things for both.”

Kaiser, just 23, is one of the new guys on the main IndyCar scene, especially after winning the IndyCar Lights title in 2017. It’s the racing equivalent of winning the Europa League. Unlike River’s reputation as one of the biggest clubs in South America, Kaiser just barely made it into the field all together, bumping former Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso out of the field by about one hundredth of a second.

While it’s cool to see a soccer team get involved in the Indy 500, a worldwide viewing event that’s also akin to a religious holiday throughout the state of Indiana, it’s another Buenos Aires club that really should have been the first to sponsor a car.

Racing Club, defending Argentine league champs, would have been terrific, Racing in Uruguay, or Racing de Santander in Spain. Perhaps one day in the future the three clubs can combine forces to sponsor an IndyCar event or a car competing in a race.