McInerney baffled by sudden dry spell

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Philadelphia Union’s youthful striker Jack McInerney had taken Major League Soccer by storm.

Having scored three goals in five May matches, he raised his league-leading total to nine and grabbed his second-straight MLS Player of the Month award, all of which would lead to an MLS All-Star game berth (albeit a roundabout one).

A call-up to the USMNT would soon follow, his first senior call-up to the national side.  People – important people – were noticing McInerney’s fabulous form.

Fast forward to Saturday. Stuck on 10 goals, it’s been two months and a day since he scored last, and it’s getting in his head.

“It gets frustrating,” said McInerney following their defeat to Chicago. “For forwards, it’s about getting in streaks and I haven’t scored in a while. I just have to get one of those tap-ins that I was getting in the beginning of the season to get it rolling again.”

McInerney most recently missed two clear opportunities against the Fire, uncharacteristic for Jack Mac. That goose egg makes it six straight MLS matches he hasn’t been on the scoresheet.

As a young player, it’s come so easy for McInerney this season so far, so for him to be facing difficulty of this manner will be a good telltale of how he will handle adversity throughout his career.  Scoring droughts happen to even the best of the best, so it’s important for the youngster to learn at an early age how to handle the spotlight in these circumstances as well as better ones.

The Union need Jack to get on form as Philadelphia is in position for the playoffs at the moment, but will also need to hold off Houston, New England, and Chicago as the season rolls along.

One man isn’t worried though, and that’s Union coach John Hackworth. “There could be lots of reasons but the reality is that goal-scorers go through swings when the chances just aren’t falling,” said Hackworth. “He’s got to keep plugging away and hopefully find the back of the net soon. He’s a confident young man and he knows what he’s good at.”

The Union have important matches coming up that will be a great opportunity for the 20-year-old to rediscover his shooting boots.  Philadelphia host bottom-feeders DC United before heading out for two tough road matches against East leaders New York and the New England Revolution.

Croatia smashes disheveled Argentina

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Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic have Croatia in the knockout rounds and Argentina on the verge of World Cup disaster.

Croatia scored a pair of second half goals, one aided by a Willy Caballero howler, in a 2-0 win in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.

Argentina will enter its final match against Nigeria on the outskirts of the knockout rounds regardless of how Nigeria-Iceland ends on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Ivan Perisic forced a big save out of Wily Caballero for an early Croatia corner kick that came to nothing.

Messi had a chance stopped inside of 10 minutes, then started a play that Dejan Lovren blocked for a corner in the 13th.

Enzo Perez missed an open goal off a poor Croatia giveaway in the 30th minute.

There were a pair of fouls not out of place on a red card lowlight reel, one for each team, but neither resulting in a sending off.

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Croatia took the lead through Caballero’s gaffe and Rebic’s smash in the 54th.

Argentina nearly answered moments later. After a mazy Messi dribble, Argentina regained possession in the 64th minute, spearheaded by a Gonzalo Higuain run that led to a corner.

Croatia came close to making it 2-0, as Mario Mandzukic couldn’t turn a flick on frame and instead saw it glide into the outside of the goal.

Then Modric put the match to bed as the clock hit 80, an absolute beauty. Another huge defensive mistake allowed Mateo Kovacic to cue up Rakitic for the third.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

WATCH: Caballero blunder punished as Rebic rip puts Argentina on ropes

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Willy Caballero has made one of the bigger blunders in recent World Cup history.

His Argentina side needs at least a point from Thursday’s match-up with Croatia, and the match remained scoreless into halftime.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But 10 minutes after the break, Caballero flubbed a clearance in a big way.

The Argentina goalkeeper then could only watch as Ante Rebic kept his composure to blast a side volley into the goal.

It was a fine finish, to be sure, but not possible without such a terrible gaffe.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea in for Pjanic; Lozano to Juventus?

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Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.

[ MORE: Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Luis Suarez ]


Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.

Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo


Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.

Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.

PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.


Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.

Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.


Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.

Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.

Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.

RB Leipzig names Julian Nagelsmann future manager

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Julian Nagelsmann won’t take over at his new club until the 2019/20 season, but Red Bull Leipzig has put a lot of confidence in one of the youngest managers in global football.

[ MORE: Ronaldo’s tally gives Portugal win over Morocco ]

On Thursday, the Bundesliga side announced the appointment of the Hoffenheim coach, who will continue in his current capacity for the upcoming 2018/19 German campaign.

Nagelsmann signs on with Leipzig until the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.

The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.