Americans Abroad Review: Boyd, Brooks score; Guzan’s drop zone trouble

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NBA Jam fans can officially move Terrence Boyd from “He’s heating up” to “He’s on fire.”

Toss a boom-shacka-lacka in there as well.

The American forward bagged a brace for the second time in as many weeks as Rapid Wien beat table-toppers Red Bull Salzburg by a 2-1 score. Boyd headed home a corner kick in the first half before finding a winner in the 84th minute, though the win is more relevant to the race for second than catching Salzburg. Rapid is three points ahead of Austria Wien and six ahead of fourth-place SV Grodig, but 19 back of Salzburg. Boyd has 13 goals in league play and 18 overall, the top scorer for the Green-Whites.

In the Premier League, Tim Howard let two goals by him as Everton’s UEFA Champions League hopes were punched in the gut with a 2-0 loss to Southampton. At least he hit the pitch, although Jozy Altidore will be somewhat okay with being an unused substitute as Sunderland plowed out of the relegation zone with a 4-0 win over mostly-10-man Cardiff City. Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron went 90 minutes again, but the Potters fell to Spurs by 1-0 at the Britannia.

Brad Guzan is having troubles a-plenty as Aston Villa has gone right back into a relegation fight, even if the odds are in its favor. He gave up four goals for the third time since March 23, as Swansea City used home field to its advantage. Villa is just three points ahead of 18th place Norwich, though Guzan and Co. have played one less match. They have one point from their last six matches, with Hull, Manchester City and Spurs on the horizon.

Aron Johannsson again failed to make much of a difference as AZ Alkmaar lost again, this time 2-1 at ADO Den Haag. Juan Agudelo had better Dutch luck on the score sheet, but not in the win column. FC Utrecht lost 4-1 at Heerenveen, with Agudelo picking up an assist on the only goal.

In the Bundesliga, Fabian Johnson went 90 minutes in Hoffenheim’s 0-0 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt, registering a shot. John Anthony Brooks put the team on his back tattoo with the opening goal, and Hertha Berlin took care of Eintracht Braunschweig with a 2-0 win.

Besiktas got smoked by Sivasspor 3-0, and Jermaine Jones did not play. It must be asked: Did his patriotic knee tattoo play a role? We kid.

Jose Torres also picked up an assist as Tigres beat Atlas 2-1 on Sunday. Tigres is safe from the drop zone.

Back in the “lesser” leagues, Mix Diskerud picked up an assist in Rosenborg’s 5-2 win over Brann. Bob Bradley‘s Stabaek got back in the win column at home with a 3-2 win over Bodo/Glimt. Michael Stephens went 90 minutes in the win.

Sacha Kljestan did not play for Anderlecht in a huge 2-1 win over Standard Liege that boosts its quest for UEFA Champions League play. Anderlecht faces Club Brugge with a chance to make even louder noise next week.

Premier League games in March to be rearranged

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The FA Cup results over the week mean that six Premier League games will be moved from Matchweek 31.

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With Brighton, Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Watford and Wolves all confirmed quarterfinalists in the FA Cup and one of Chelsea or Man United also going through, there are plenty of games which cannot be played on the weekend of March 16.

The Manchester derby between Man City and Man United is the most notable game that will have to be switched, while Spurs’ home game against Crystal Palace (which could have been their first game at the new White Hart Lane) now has to be rearranged.

New dates will have to be arranged and that isn’t easy at this time of the season as UEFA regulations state that Premier League games cannot be played on the same night as Champions League or Europa League matches.

Below is a list of the PL games impacted, and their date is TBA.

Expect a few of these games to take place in midweek in late April or May and they could be pivotal in the relegation, top four and title battles.


Premier League fixtures to be rearranged
Brighton v. Cardiff
Brighton v. Chelsea
Man United v. Man City
Tottenham Hotspur v. Crystal Palace
Watford v. Southampton
Wolves v. Arsenal

Nani arrives in MLS, signs for Orlando City

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Nani has arrived in Major League Soccer.

Orlando City SC announced the Portugal national team star has arrived from Sporting Lisbon on a free transfer and has signed a three-year deal as a Designated Player.

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Nani, 32, will be a huge draw for Orlando as they look to get things back on track after a rough few years in MLS.

Speaking about Nani’s move to MLS with Orlando, EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi was delighted to welcome the experienced attacker.

“This is an exciting day for our organization,” said O. “Nani brings tremendous experience to our roster. He’s a dynamic winger with quality abilities to move and cross the ball, impact games and lead the offensive play.”

The former Manchester United, Fenerbache, Valencia and Lazio winger won the 2016 European Championships with Portugal and appeared at the 2014 World Cup for his national team. USMNT fans will remember his goal against the U.S. in Manaus…

Nani has scored 24 goals in 112 games for Portugal and although his arrival isn’t as big as Kaka leading Orlando in their first three seasons as a franchise, he is a huge get for a team which hasn’t made the playoffs in their four MLS campaigns and finished way off the pace in each of the last two years in the Eastern Conference.

Manager James O’Connor has a mix of youth and experience in this Orlando squad but he must make a fast start in 2019 after winning just two of his 17 games after arriving midway through the 2018 campaign.

Orlando need a total rebuild and Nani’s arrival should shake things up a little, even if a veteran winger may only solve a few of their problems for a few seasons.

New development in David de Gea contract situation

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It seemed like David De Gea‘s future at Manchester United was up in the air, with the Spanish goalkeeper having just over a year left on his current deal and some reports suggesting an impasse had been reached.

But it appears that United are willing to pull out all of the stops to keep DDG around.

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De Gea, 28, has been named United’s Player of the Season in four of the last five campaigns and since Sir Alex Ferguson retired he has bailed United out of sticky situations time and time again.

It has been reported that De Gea would be handed a new five-year deal which would see him pick up the largest basic salary of any current player in the Premier League, and therefore any PL player in history.

Our colleagues from Sky Sports News in the UK have more on the situation regarding De Gea:

United have been surprised at reports they rejected wage demands of £350,000-per-week, as Sky Sports News understands they would be prepared to pay that amount, but agent demands may be driving the price higher still.

In the past few months Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay have all signed new contracts with the Red Devils and Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward told investors in a call last week that he wants to “finish off the final few as rapidly as we possibly can.”

It is expected De Gea’s deal is at the top of that list, with Ander Herrera and Juan Mata (both out of contract this summer) the other top priorities to tie down to new deals.

De Gea’s importance to United is clear and just as star strikers and attacking players are rewarded handsomely, the value of having a star goalkeeper should not be understated. Even if, historically, they haven’t earned quite as much as outfield players.

The Spaniard has played 347 times for United in all competitions since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.

After almost leaving in the summer of 2015 (United’s staff must do a daily salute to Real Madrid’s dodgy fax machine which scuppered the deal at  the eleventh hour) it is clear he is their most important player. Wonderful displays recently against Tottenham Hotspur and at Arsenal have proven De Gea’s worth, if anyone ever doubted it.

Lovren, Firmino huge doubts for Liverpool v. Bayern Munich

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Liverpool could be seriously shorthanded for their massive UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg against Bayern Munich at Anfield on Tuesday.

[ MORE: PL or UCL priority for LFC? ]

Dejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino did not take part in Liverpool’s final training session before their game against Bayern to give Jurgen Klopp more selection worries.

It has been reported that Firmino has a virus, while Lovren has been struggling with a hamstring problem and was always going to be a last-minute decision for the clash against the German giants.

Fabinho now looks certain to start alongside Joel Matip in central defense for Liverpool on Tuesday, as Virgil Van Dijk is suspended and Joe Gomez is injured.

As for up top, the likes of Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge could be placed in Firmino’s spot but it is likely Xherdan Shaqiri (if he is fully fit) will come into the team and Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane will switch to a central position in the front three.

Either way, not ideal for Liverpool as they have a huge week with this game against Bayern followed by a massive Premier League game at bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

In terms of Bayern’s injury news, Kingsley Coman has recovered from a knock in Friday’s win at Augsburg but Jerome Boateng is out through illness. Arjen Robben is recovering from injury and did not travel with the squad, while Franck Ribery will arrive in Liverpool separate from the team after becoming a father late on Sunday.