Sunderland 0-1 Everton: Are the Black Cats sunk? (video)

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Everton are into the top four, although they needed a gift from Sunderland to get there. Meanwhile, the Black Cats’ season looks to be sunk, as they still sit seven points from safety.

It sure seemed that this match should have been an easy win for Everton, but the Toffees just couldn’t get behind Sunderland in the first half. In fact, their best effort came before fifteen minutes were out. Steven Naismith had a clear cut chance but put way too much power behind his effort, sending his shot over the bar when a simple tap in would’ve done it.

Early in the match, it looked as though Sunderland just might get something from their efforts. After a little twist and a shimmy, Fabio Borini managed to get a shot in, but it went over the bar. Just after, Adam Johnson got in behind Leighton Baines, forcing Sylvain Distin to cut out his cross.

Everton were nearly outdone by Borini once more in the 33rd minute. The Italian got the better of Tim Howard, beating the keeper to the ball to send in a shot. John Stones was there to save Howard’s blushes, hover, clearing the ball off the line and keeping the match scoreless.

The visitors started the second half brightly, with Gerard Deulofeu getting down the right to send in a low cross. Vito Mannone was quick to smother it, however. Sunderland responded with a header from Phil Bardsley, but no one was able to send in the rebound.

Everton began to apply real pressure, with Deulofeu going just wide, and Ross Barkley, on for Leon Osman, forcing a save from Mannone. Naismith, too, had another good chance, with Mannone caught out, but the shot was from a difficult angle and Naismith could only put it into the side netting.

After holding off Everton for much of the match – and getting in a few chances of their own – Sunderland’s eventual capitulation came in a heartbreaking manner. Deulofeu’s run once again found him in a bit of space, enough to get in a low cross. Wes Brown’s attempt to clear resulted in the Sunderland defender chesting the ball into the back of his own net.

Sunderland used the final fifteen minutes to try to force their way back into the match, knowing that this could be the end of their Premier League future. Ki Sung-Yueng had two goes in quick succession, but his first was straight at Howard, his second right over the bar. Borini put a shot just inches wide. Johnson had his shot saved in added time.

The hosts just could not break through, and Everton left with all three points.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Alonso, O’Shea, Brown, Cattermole, Ki, Colback (Larsson 70), Johnson, Wickham, Borini

Subs: Larsson, Gardner, Cuellar, Vergini, Giaccherini, Scocco, Ustari

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Baines, Stones, Distin, McCarthy, Barry, Deulofeu (McGeady 78), Naismith, Osman (Barkley 58), Lukaku

Subs: Joel, Hibbert, McGeady, Mirallas, Barkley, Garbutt, Alcaraz

Goals: Brown o.g. 75′

Premier League clubs vote VAR into use for 2019-20 season

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It’s been inevitable for quite some time, but now it’s official: video review will be used in the Premier League when the 2019-20 season kicks off next August.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

20 of 20 current PL clubs voted on Thursday to confirm the use of the modern technology beginning next season.

The Bundesliga and Serie A began using the video assistant referee (VAR) at the start of the 2017-18 season, and have continued (successful) operation of the system in 2018-19. Major League Soccer introduced the protocol two-thirds of the way through its 2017 season, to far greater degrees of varying success. La Liga is set to begin use of VAR next season as well.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

VAR was first used in the English game last season, when select FA Cup fixtures were used as test runs, while the same is being done in the EFL Cup this season.

Chelsea expected to let Cahill leave on loan in January

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Gary Cahill is no longer first-choice at Chelsea — anything but, in fact, as he’s played just 21 minutes in the Premier League this season — and the club is prepared to allow its captain to leave on loan in January as a reward for six years of excellent service, according to a report from the Guardian.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

New Blues boss Maurizio Sarri has used Cahill sparingly thus far — even leaving him out of the 18-man team for Sunday’s draw with Everton — but has praised the 32-year-old for his professionalism and influence as a valued member inside the locker room. For those reasons, Sarri is prepared to do right by one of the club’s most senior members as Cahill seeks regular first-team minutes.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

Cahill’s current contract is set to expire in the summer of 2020, thus a loan in January and an ensuing permanent transfer this coming summer represents the club’s final opportunity to recoup a small fee for a player who will surely garner plenty of interest from within the PL. Having paid under $9 million to sign him from Bolton in January 2012, Chelsea have gotten pretty good value for their initial investment, including two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, and one Champions League and Europa League title each during Cahill’s spell at the club.

U.S. U-20 men one win from World Cup

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One win.

That’s all the United States’ U-20 men’s national team will need to advance to this summer’s World Cup in Poland and the Pan-American Games in Peru.

[ MORE: Surgery for Mendy ]

The Yanks cruised through group play with a nearly perfect nine days of soccer, the closest of five wins a 6-1 defeat of Trinidad and Tobago.

Competition is a bit tougher in the knockout stage, but Costa Rica and Honduras did the U.S. a massive solid by drawing 1-1 in their opener.

Now Tab Ramos’ kids can qualify for the World Cup with a defeat of Costa Rica on Friday or Honduras on Monday.

The top two teams in each group qualify for Poland, while the Group A winner advances to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship to face the winner of Group B (Mexico, El Salvador, or Panama).

The U.S. has spread the scoring around, lead by 17-year-old Ulysses Lainez of LA Galaxy II (six goals). His former Galaxy Academy buddy, Alexis Mendez of Freiburg has five goals, as does Toronto FC 18-year-old Ayo Akinola.

Atlanta United sits atop Forbes’ list of most valuable MLS franchises

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Atlanta United came up just short of the Supporters’ Shield, but it’s off-the-field success is No. 1 with a bullet.

Giving high marks to attendance and merchandise sales, Forbes places the Five Stripes atop its list of the most valuable franchises in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: Surgery for Mendy ]

United sits first, with a valuation of $330 million. Both Atlanta and the second place Galaxy have valuations ahead of the two-least valuable teams combined (Columbus and Colorado). And the Five Stripes are worth twice the individual values of those teams and Vancouver. Full list here, from Forbes.com:

“Last season, average home-game attendance was 48,200, and this year the team is drawing over 50,000 fans per game. In just two seasons Atlanta has already laid claim to the league’s eight best-attended games ever, and nine of the top eleven.”

The margins are fine, relatively speaking, with Atlanta’s advantage over second place LA Galaxy by $10 million. Seattle is third at $310m, with newcomers LAFC at $305m, and Toronto FC at $290m.