2014 MLS Cup rematch: For the New England Revolution, it’s a new season, different game against LA Galaxy

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At Gillette Stadium on Thursday, there was no talk of last season’s heart wrenching loss in Carson, California—an LA Galaxy triumph to bring home the 2014 MLS Cup—sending American soccer legend Landon Donovan off in style.

The New England Revolution had enjoyed arguably one of their best seasons in franchise history last year, with a player in the MVP discussion (Lee Nguyen) and a team that looked as deep and cohesive as ever.

New England’s squad has not changed a whole lot since then, and when MLS MVP Robbie Keane shattered the Revs’ hopes with his go-ahead goal in stoppage time, the focus immediately switched to 2015.

Jay Heaps and Co. now have another crack at the Galaxy in a regular season bout on Sunday, to be televised on FOX Sports 1, and the Revs’ head coach is far from hyping up this Cup rematch.

[FOLLOW: PST’s MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule]

“We’re focused on this year and this game. We look at what they’ve done the last games….We’re on to this game,” Heaps said prior to training, mirroring the resolute sentiment of his Gillette Stadium-based colleague Bill Belichick.

The Revs have either drawn or lost in their past four competitions, their latest victory being in early May against the New York Red Bulls. Two red cards–given to Nguyen and defender Chris Tierney–marred what resulted in a 1-1 draw vs. D.C. United a week ago, and hectic sequences at Sporting Park three days earlier had the Revolution at their most vulnerable all season.

Sporting KC dominated the Revs on the quick strike and exposed Jermaine Jones playing as center back in the wake of injuries, the final score 4-2 in favor of the Wizards, but it didn’t look like a game that warranted such defeat.

Nguyen’s presence has been quiet, while forwards Juan Agudelo and Charlie Davies, as well as midfielder Kelyn Rowe, have piloted NE’s attack.

Meanwhile, the LA Galaxy were expected by some to number in the top-three of the Western Conference at this point, but Robbie Keane’s seven-game absence with a groin strain had the Galaxy staring into the face of adversity.

Regardless, after a 0-2-3 stretch, Keane returned and two consecutive wins ensued. Bruce Arena’s side has climbed up to fourth place, tied on points (20) with the Revolution.

[RELATED: US Open Cup roundup: MLS teams learn their 4th round opponents]

“I look at what’s on film,” Heaps said of the current Galaxy. “To me the standings are—you know, look—they have the same number of points as us. I think they’re as good as team as there is in this league, always. Probably one of the the best coached teams; they have a veteran group. They’re as difficult as they are every year.”

The entrance of Steven Gerrard in mid-July could change the offensive production of the Galaxy, who haven’t produced wide-margined score lines to put their attack in conversation for the best in the league.

Individuals have stepped up to supply the victories for LA while Keane still recovers to regain form, most recently rookie Ignacio Maganto earning the PK for the lone goal in a win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

Arena admitted after this contest, though, that the season hasn’t been as smooth sailing as anticipated.

“This has been a very difficult start of the season,” he said. “The injuries, the schedule, the untimely suspensions with it as well, it’s been patchwork since game one.”

New England will need to put forth a top-notch performance, no doubt, and the Galaxy will be braced to match it. Get ready for some serious MLS soccer this weekend.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings see plenty of players remaining in the upper echelons.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Matchweek 12 was wild, with players from Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester City continuing to dominate our top 20. The likes of Ciaran Clark, John Lundstram and Dwight McNeil were so close to cracking the top 20…

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.

1.  Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – Up 2
2. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – Up 2
3. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Down 2
4. Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) – Down 2
5. Wilfried Ndidi (Leicester) – New entry
6. Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester) – Up 1
7.  Fabinho (Liverpool) – New entry
8. Andy Robertson (Liverpool) – Down 2
9. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Up 6
10. Willian (Chelsea) – Up 6
11. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) – New entry
12. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Down 7
13. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Even
14. Youri Tielemans (Leicester) – Even
15. James Maddison (Leicester) – New entry
16. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – Down 4
17. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – Up 2
18. Fernandinho (Man City) – New entry
19. Matteo Kovacic (Chelsea) – New entry
20. Richarlison (Everton) – New entry

U.S. teenager Matteo Ritaccio signs pro deal with Liverpool

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Another American making waves at a Premier League giant?


Matteo Ritaccio, who just turned 18 years old, has signed his first professional contract with Liverpool.

The Long Island native has been playing with their U18 academy side since the summer of 2018, as he holds an Italian passport and was therefore able to make the move to Europe from the USA.

Liverpool detailed how they have worked hard to scout and then secure the signature of Ritaccio, a midfielder.

“He had first been spotted by the Reds as a 13-year-old at a training camp for the US national team, though he also holds an Italian passport. A tough-tackling and exciting player, Ritaccio started the season in fine form for the U18s but his momentum was brought to a halt by a leg injury.”

Ritaccio is a product of the famed youth side BW Gottschee and he impressed Liverpool’s coaches with a fast start to the 2019-20 season before injury struck.

He will be back fit early in January and it will be intriguing to see how he develops.

Jurgen Klopp isn’t afraid to throw plenty of youngsters into the side, as he proved during the recent victory over Arsenal in the League Cup.

Remember the name: Matteo Ritaccio.

Everton’s Moise Kean dropped due to discipline issues

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Everton striker Moise Kean was dropped for the 2-1 win at Southampton on Saturday after being late for a team meeting.

Kean, 19, was not in the Toffees squad for their first Premier League away victory since March and Sky Sports in the UK say that was because the Italian international has been having issues with his timekeeping.

Here’s some more information from our partners at Sky Sports News in the UK:

“The former Juventus forward was late for a team meeting and as a result was left out of the squad for the 2-1 Premier League victory at St Mary’s. Sky Sports News understands it is the second time Kean has been late for a team meeting.”

It is believed the player has apologized to Silva and his teammates for being late, but he does have previous, and not just with Everton. Italy boss Roberto Mancini left Kean out of the Azzurri squad in September after he and Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo were late for a team meeting at the U21 European Championships in the summer.

Somebody get Kean a new watch, or at least set a few more reminders on his phone!

Kean arrived at Goodison Park for $33 million this summer but has yet to score for the Toffees as Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun have all been preferred to him in the central strikers role.

This is a tough one. Kean is young and adapting to life in a new country, so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, but rules are rules and Silva obviously runs a tight ship.

Southgate on Sterling punishment: ‘We are like a family’

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Gareth Southgate called an impromptu press conference at England’s St. George’s Park training base on Tuesday to discuss one thing.

Raheem Sterling v. Joe Gomez.

[ MORE: Sterling issues public apology ]

According to multiple reports, on Monday the Man City winger was sat in the players’ canteen at England’s training base when Gomez, the first of several Liverpool players to arrive, walked in and was laughing. Sterling then reportedly said “you’re the big man now are you?” and confronted Gomez, trying to grab him around the neck as the two were separated.

This all came after Sterling clashed with Gomez in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over City at Anfield on Sunday, as the England winger was booed heavily by the home fans and also clashed with England teammates Jordan Henderson and Trent-Alexander Arnold during the game.

After a tumultuous 24 hours, Southgate kept calm as he discussed why he had decided to punish Sterling by making him unavailable for the EURO 2020 qualifier against Montenegro on Thursday.

“I love all of my players. We are like a family. The important thing is for a family to communicate and work through problems,” Southgate said. “I don’t expect as a manager to not have to deal with issues. In the end I have to find the right solution for the group. That’s a difficult line, you try to be fair when dealing with all players. I won’t always get that right but I am the manager. Raheem is very important for us but I felt it was the right thing.”

Southgate has been criticized by the likes of Rio Ferdinand and other ex-England players for making the spat public, but others believe he has handled it well and sent a clear message out to the rest of his squad.

Sterling is England’s best player, on current form, so leaving him out is a big call for Southgate. England’s manager is a big fan of Sterling and has praised his ability on the pitch and his maturity off it in recent months.

But Sterling was wrong to go at Gomez and he has since admitted it on social media.

Southgate wanted to nip this in the bud and he is in full control of the situation. What damage this incident, and the way he reacted, does in the long-term remains to be seen. But Southgate is a man who sticks to his principles and he doesn’t want England’s players going at each other due to club matters.

If he sent out a weak message following Sterling’s actions it would have told the rest of the squad it was fine for them to act in a similar manner.