Two important U.S. World Cup qualifier talking points that may be slipping by everyone as we kick and fuss over Benny Feilhaber, Jose Torres, Jermaine Jones, etc. … you know, and all the other usual suspects in the spin cycle of U.S. Soccer debate:
It’s going to be hot. And humid.
Forecasts for San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Wednesday call for temperatures in the high 80s with a chance of showers. Meanwhile, today finds the nation’s second largest city at 70 percent humidity, which is pretty much Houston- or New Orleans-type icky-ness.
When is the last time Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler and several others who earn a living in Europe found themselves on the business end of a unholy heat-humidity union like that one? They could struggle.
By the way, kickoff for this one is not under the lights, when the evening cool could tame the temps a little. Which brings us to Point No. 2 that may be escaping folks at the moment:
Starting whistle Wednesday is 4 p.m. ET (live on beIN Sports). Yes, an afternoon kick.
So start setting up your Wednesday bug-out now.
Why, is that a cough I hear from you? I do believe you might be coming down with something.
Kelley O’Hara is set for some time on the mend as the United States women’s national team begins its preparation for this summer’s World Cup.
O’Hara, 30, will miss 8-12 weeks after undergoing surgery to remove “loose bodies” in her ankle, according to a U.S. Soccer press release.
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That means the 112-times capped defender will not play in next month’s newly-announced European friendlies against Portugal and Scotland.
“It’s all good. These kinds of things come with the territory,” O’Hara said. “This is just the best time to get the procedure done so I’m one hundred percent heading into 2019 and physically ready to perform at the level I want to and need to. It’s a bummer that I won’t get to Europe, but the most important thing is to be healthy for next year.”
O’Hara scored in the 2015 World Cup semifinal, and has an Olympic gold to go with that tournament title. She’s won two SheBelieves Cups and three Algarve Cups.
Manchester United do not travel well. Even in Manchester. Traffic sucks.
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The Red Devils arrived at Old Trafford just 52 minutes before kick off for their huge UEFA Champions League group stage clash against Juventus on Tuesday.
Juve’s team bus also arrived late and United’s manager Jose Mourinho revealed he arrived at the stadium by jumping off the bus then walking among the fans, while wearing a hoodie so nobody would recognize him.
What is all this about?
United turned up late for their last UCL home game against Valencia and were subsequently fined by UEFA as the kick off was delayed with their bus stuck in traffic in Manchester.
Even though United switched hotels to be even closer to Old Trafford ahead of this massive game against Juve, the players were still stuck in traffic for 45 minutes extra as Mourinho said his walk from the hotel to the stadium took two minutes. Of course, the whole United squad could not have walked through the 75,000 fans heading to the game amid safety fears, so something needs to be done to address this situation. Traffic in Manchester is bad, but it is not that bad.
Plus, it appears someone did spot Mourinho…
The pivotal third round of the UEFA Champions League group stage kicks off on Tuesday, with teams across Europe ready to either push on towards the Round of 16 or kiss goodbye to their dreams of being crowned champions of the continent for at least another season.
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There is no doubting where the big game is, as Manchester United host Juventus at Old Trafford with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to his old club. Jose Mourinho’s United have struggled in the Premier League this season but a win against Italian powerhouse Juve would surely set them back on the right path.
Elsewhere, Manchester City head to Shakhtar Donetsk knowing they need a win after losing their opening UCL group game against Lyon which put them in a spot of bother.
Struggling Real Madrid are in action as the three-time reigning European champions are expected to waltz by Viktoria Plzen, but they did lose to CSKA Moscow last time out.
Click on the link above to follow the action live. Below is the look at the full schedule for Tuesday, with all games kicking off at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Ajax v. Benfica
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City
Hoffenheim v. Lyon
Real Madrid v. Viktoria Plzen
Roma v. CSKA Moscow
Manchester United v. Juventus
The latest Premier League player Power Rankings have arrived. It is time to sort through them after some stunning displays over the past few days.
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The top five are all new entries, while there are also some big drops for big names are subdued displays in Week 9.
Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League and based on them actually playing in the previous Matchweek. If they didn’t play due to injury or suspension, they aren’t going to make this list. Simple.
Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.
- Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) – New entry
- Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
- Riyad Mahrez (Man City) – New entry
- Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
- Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) – New entry
- Jordan Pickford (Everton) – New entry
- Bernardo Silva (Man City) – Up 1
- Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Down 7
- N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) – Down 3
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) New entry
- Ross Barkley (Chelsea) – Down 2
- Jorginho (Chelsea) – Down 5
- Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) – Down 10
- John Stones (Man City) – Down 1
- Etienne Capoue (Watford) – New entry
- David Silva (Man City) – Up 2
- Erik Lamela (Tottenham) – New entry
- Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) – Down 16
- Josh Murphy (Cardiff) – New entry
- Paul Pogba (Man United) – Down 16