Last week, Jurgen Klinsmann spoke in positive, yet still somewhat cautious terms of Stuart Holden and a possible national team return.
This week there’s a little less caution where Holden is concerned. Klinsmann now says the midfielder will be in camp later this month as the Americans prep for two big friendlies and three huge World Cup qualifiers in June.
In fact, Holden will be with the U.S. team for the Gold Cup, too, which means he will be with the national team through the full, busy summer slate. There could be a couple of others, but for the most part players will be in one or the other, the qualifiers for the “A team” and the Gold Cup for the second side. What Klinsmann said:
We’ve been in touch with Stuart throughout this whole injury period. The last couple of months have given us a lot of positive signals. I spoke to his coach at Bolton, and spoke to his coach at Sheffield Wednesday where he played some very important minutes and games while on loan. He’s on his way back. That being said, we want to have him back in our picture. We are going to bring him for the May-June camp, and also for the Gold Cup.”
Remember that last week Klinsmann noted Holden was quite certain he did not want a break this summer. (Most European-based performers take 3-4 weeks off in the summer.) The U.S. coach noted with a laugh that Holden said he already had a year-and-a-half break, referring to the injury that kept him away from first-team soccer for so long.
(MORE: Checking on Holden, now back at Bolton)
The United States will make camp at the Home Depot Center outside Los Angeles May 21 or 22, then fly to Cleveland on May 27 for the first match of a busy summer. The full U.S. schedule is here.
Borussia Dortmund moved back within one point of Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich with a 4-0 win against Freiburg on Sunday.
[ LA LIGA: Real Madrid win to stay within striking distance of 2nd ]
Dortmund went ahead in the 11th minute when 19-year-old Jadon Sancho scored from the six-yard box after a run by Marco Reus. It was Sancho’s 11th Bundesliga goal this season.
Dortmund added three after the interval with goals from Reus, Mario Gotze and Paco Alcacer with a penalty.
[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]
In the day’s other game, Hertha Berlin was held 0-0 at home by bottom side Hannover, which ended an eight-game losing streak.
On Saturday, Bayern beat Werder Bremen 1-0.
With four rounds left, Bayern leads with 70 points, Dortmund has 69 and Leipzig is third with 61.
A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…
[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]
Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao
Karim Benzema bagged a hat trick (WATCH HERE) — his 19th, 20th and 21st goals of the league season (second-most, 12 behind Lionel Messi) — to send Real Madrid to a comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu. The result also keeps Los Blancos within four points of capital rivals Atletico Madrid in something of a battle for second place behind runaway leaders Barcelona.
Benzema has scored 10 goals in his last seven La Liga appearances, a run in which Madrid have complied a 5W-1D-1L record. Benzema failed to score in Zinedine Zidane’s re-debut as Madrid manager, but has scored eight goals in five games since.
Sunday’s game marked the 300th league appearance for midfielder and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in a Real Madrid shirt.
Getafe 3-0 Sevilla — WATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Sevilla’s hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League following a one-year hiatus took a serious hit on Sunday, as Pablo Machin’s side was hammered by Getafe, the side which now occupies fourth place, two points ahead of them. Getafe continue to enjoy their meteoric rise through the Spanish ranks, as they were competing in the second division this time two years ago.
Two of the three goals the scored on Sunday came from the penalty spot, as Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina converted in the 35th and 45th+4′, respectively. Molina completed the scoring eight minutes into the second half.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Real Betis 1-2 Valencia
Levante 2-2 Espanyol
Villarreal 2-1 Leganes
PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain clinched the French league title without kicking a ball as second-place Lille could only draw 0-0 at Toulouse on Sunday.
Lille had to win to have any chance of catching PSG, but PSG is now 16 points ahead of its only rival with five matches left after this weekend.
After failing to clinch the title in the past three matches, drawing one and losing two, PSG can celebrate the eighth title in its history ahead of its home game against Monaco later Sunday.
It is PSG’s sixth title in the last seven seasons, with only Monaco in 2017 breaking PSG’s dominance.
Although the title was long expected from a side scoring 92 goals in 32 games so far, it took longer than it should have.
PSG could have won it three games ago, but drew 2-2 at home to Strasbourg when a win would have clinched it.
Then PSG needed a draw at Lille last Sunday, only to lose 5-1 in the club’s heaviest defeat since Qatari investors QSI took charge of the club in June 2011.
A win away to Nantes would have sufficed, too, on Wednesday night only for PSG to lose 3-2 .
The 10 goals conceded in those three games made for PSG’s worst defensive record during a three-game spell since 1985.
Also Sunday, striker Kalifa Coulibaly scored twice as 13th-place Nantes beat 17th-place Amiens 3-2.
Later, Saint-Etienne needed a draw at Reims to move above Marseille and into fourth place.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Jurgen Klopp knows that more than a few clubs would’ve slipped up Sunday at Cardiff City, given the hosts’ desperation and the visitors’ midweek triumph, but his Reds stood up to the test.
[ RECAP: Cardiff 0-2 Liverpool ]
Liverpool beat Cardiff City 2-0, scoring a pair of second half goals to go back atop the Premier League before Manchester City plays its final match-in-hand of the season in a midweek Manchester Derby.
“It was prepared to be a proper banana skin and we knew that, the boys were unbelievable,” Klopp said after his team kept a second consecutive clean sheet.
He insists that he’s not feeling pressure as Liverpool may need to win every one of its matches and get help to capture its first Premier League crown.
“I only know about me and I didn’t feel it (the pressure) we have to do it like we do it. We cannot change it. The boys try really with all they have, we only speak about the things we have to do. Their attitude is outstanding and it’s a tough season but a very positive one as well.”
Liverpool has two banana skins left, a visit from Huddersfield and trip to Newcastle, closing out the league slate with Wolves at Anfield.