Wambach inches closer, US women upend Korea Republic

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Abby Wambach wants to hurry up and break Mia Hamm’s all-time scoring record so that everyone will stop talking about the chase. In the waning moments of the United States women’s national team’s 4-1 win over Korea Republic on Saturday, Wambach capped off the scoring by finishing a penalty kick drawn by Alex Morgan.

That was goal 156. Two to go to tie Hamm.

Enough about that, though. Saturday night was a night of firsts for several U.S. women — a first goal, a first cap and yes, even a first for Wambach. Here are talking points from the win, with highlights:

Mewis gets her first: Kristie Mewis, a midfielder for FC Kansas City, playing left back on the evening (Kelley O’Hara had a “minor injury,” according to U.S. Soccer) scored her first international goal in the 3rd minute of the game. It was a dream scenario for the Hanson, Mass., native to score at Gillette Stadium, just minutes from where she grew up and where she played NCAA soccer at Boston College. Mewis is one of the bright young stars (22 years old) who has the versatility to play anywhere on the flank or pushed higher in the midfield. Here’s her goal:

Another Morgan on the field: University of Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian, still 20 years old and entering her junior year in the fall, earned her first cap with the U.S. when she entered the game in the 77th minute for Lauren Cheney (who scored in the 7th minute).

Wambach adds to the tally: Wambach had never scored against South Korea until Saturday. Of course, she had never participated in a game vs. the visitors, either, having been in recovery from a broken leg the last time the teams met for a three-game series in 2008. The goal means Wambach has now scored against 31 different countries. Here’s Wambach’s goal:

Solo returns: Hope Solo played in a U.S. jersey for the first time since Feb. 13 after recovering from left wrist surgery. She entered the game at the start of the second half, making a big save within minutes but seeing generally little action after that.

Also noteworthy: Carli Lloyd hit brought about some Olympic déjà vu. When on target, her shots are extremely dangerous from long range and she showed it again on Saturday with a low rocket from about 32 yards out. It’s worth a watch:

Next up the U.S. women face South Korea again on Thursday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. and live on NBCSN and online on NBCSports.com’s Live Extra at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Reina faces hearing over links with trio connected to mafia

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ROME (AP) Outgoing Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has been summoned to a hearing at the Italian football federation over his association with people with links to the mafia.

Reina, along with Paolo Cannavaro and Salvatore Aronica, is to face the FIGC’s disciplinary committee after an investigation by Naples’ anti-mafia department.

It is reportedly one of the reasons why Napoli decided not to renew Reina’s contract, with the former Liverpool goalkeeper set to move to AC Milan on a free transfer.

The FIGC says Reina “has had and continues to have inopportune association and friendship with Gabriele Esposito, Francesco Esposito and Giuseppe Esposito.” It adds that that includes holidays and “an exchange of favors.”

Cannavaro, who had two spells with Napoli, retired at Sassuolo last year. Aronica also spent several years at the southern club before joining Palermo in 2013.

Iran names initial squad for World Cup

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Jalal Hosseini and Vouria Ghaffouri have both been left off Iran’s provisional 24-man squad for the World Cup.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz did not say why Hosseini, a Persepolis defender, and Ghaffouri were not included.

There was space for midfielders Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi, however. Both played with Greek club Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in August 2017. Iran does not recognize Israel and its supreme leader has threatened the country in the past. Both Shojaei and Hajsafi missed matches with the national team after the game.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, a 24-year-old forward who plays in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, is also in the squad, which was announced Sunday.

In the midfield, Queiroz chose Saeid Ezatolahi, although the Amkar Perm player will miss the team’s first World Cup match because he was given a red card in a game against South Korea in qualifying.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah was also chosen.

Goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh of Portuguese club Maritimo made the squad. His father, Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, was Iran captain and goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Iran will play in Group B at the World Cup with Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The team will play warm-up matches in Turkey and Greece before heading to Russia.

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiakos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa)

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiakos), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa Sports Club), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (SC Heerenveen)

Six Premier Leaguers named to Argentina, but no Icardi

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Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.

[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]

Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.

Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.

Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.

Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).

Men in Blazers POD: FA Cup recap, UCL final preview and more

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Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.

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