Did we just witness the best week in US Soccer history?


Okay, so U.S. Soccer has had quite an incredible seven days or so hasn’t it?

Looking back at the last week for national team’s across the U.S. setup, there have been some stunning wins and plenty of momentum built. The feel-good factor is strong right now.

[ RATINGS: How did U.S. fare v Germany? ]

From the USMNT’s big victories away at Holland and Germany to the USWNT kicking off their World Cup in style, to the U-20’s impressing at the World Cup, we have been spoiled with memorable moments.

Here’s a look back at the key moments as the soccer gods appear to be in favor of the Stars and Stripes ahead of the 2015 Gold Cup on U.S. soil this summer.

Does all of this have anything to do with the last few weeks as the FBI almost single-handedly brought FIFA to its knees and forced Sepp Blatter to resign? Who knows…

USMNT beat Holland 4-3 in a friendly in Amsterdam

It all started last Friday with a crazy game in Amsterdam as the U.S. trailed 3-1 in the second half after Gyasi Zardes’ first USMNT goal was answered by two from Klass-Jan Huntelaar and then another from Memphis Depay. However, with 19 minutes to go John Brooks scored and then two goals in the final moments from Danny Williams and Bobby Wood sealed a remarkable victory against the team ranked No. 6 in the world. Momentum was building.

U.S. U-23’s finish third at the Toulon Tournament after beating England

The U.S. youngsters then capped off a solid effort in the prestigious Toulon Tournament in southern France by beating England 2-1 in the third-place match. A pair of penalties in each half from Alonso Hernandez and Benji Joya did the trick as Andreas Herzog’s side capped off a fine tournament with Julian Green and Jordan Morris impressing. Certainly a bright future beckons for the vast majority of these guys.

USA v Australia: Group D – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015

USWNT beat Australia 3-1 in Winnipeg at Women’s World Cup

Then it was on to the women’s team who overcame a shaky start against Australia, (thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Hope Solo) to win 3-1 in their World Cup opener in front of huge U.S. support in Winnipeg. Megan Rapinoe emerged as the game-winner for the USWNT as she scored twice and Christen Press grabbed the other. A perfect start in Group D for the USA who face Sweden on Friday in a huge match. Can they keep the good times going?

U.S. U-20’s beat Colombia 1-0 to reach quarterfinals of U-20 World Cup

Tab Ramos’ side rode their luck, big time, but held on despite being down to 10-men to reach the last eight of the U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2007. Rubio Rubin drilled home the only goal of the game after a rare U.S. attack and goalkeeper Zack Steffen emerged as the hero late on after saving a penalty kick when Kellyn Acosta was adjudged to have made a foul in the box and was sent off for his troubles. Guts. Determination. Desire. The U.S. had it all in abundance and face Serbia in the quarterfinals on Sunday. Oh yeah, Gedion Zelalem (Watch this), Emerson Hyndman, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Rubin are all bossing it down under.

USMNT beat current World champs Germany 2-1 in a friendly in Cologne

Talk about saving the best until last. Wowza. What a shock as the U.S. recovered well from Mario Gotze’s early goal to beat a slightly under-strength Germany. And yeah, the USMNT had plenty of players missing too. A delightful chip from the excellent Michael Bradley set up Mix Diskerud for the equalizer before half time and then Wood jumped off the bench to score another late winner and send the U.S. players and fans wild. It was no more than they deserved after they put in a dominant second half display with Bradley leading the way. A crowning moment in a magisterial week for all things U.S. Soccer.

Transfer news: Kane to Real Madrid, Alexis Sanchez to West Ham

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The latest transfer news continues across the Premier League and here’s a look at some of the juiciest rumors.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

According to Sport, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has his sights set on signing Tottenham striker Harry Kane this summer.

With Luka Jovic failing to impress at the Santiago Bernabeu, Los Blancos are set to make some moves to consolidate the presence up top. Kane, 26, and Wolves striker Raul Jimenez are some of the few names to have been mentioned thus far.

Kane, who has a running contract with Spurs until 2024, recently mentioned that he wouldn’t rule out a move out of north London, if Tottenham were unable to capitalize on winning silverware.

“I’m an ambitious player, I want to improve, I want to get better, I want to become one of the top, top players,” Kane said earlier this month. “It all depends on what happens as a team and how we progress as a team. So it’s not a definite I’m going to stay there forever – but it’s not a no either.”

As far as transfers go, nothing gets bigger and more “ambitious” than a summer blockbuster move to Real Madrid. Kane has a promising project spearheaded by Jose Mourinho himself at his boyhood club, but the opportunity to represent Real Madrid – at such a prime age, with an astronomical amount of hype – may only come around once.

Alexis Sanchez’s time at Inter Milan is coming to a close, and his next destination may be a Premier League team not named Manchester United, according to FC Inter News.

The 31-year-old Chilean’s agent, Fernando Felicevich, has reportedly been inquired by West Ham, who are considering placing a bid to lure the winger out of Old Trafford.

Sanchez arrived at Inter last summer on loan but has failed to impress when healthy, recording a mere goal and three assist in 15 appearances this season. With the possibilities of Sanchez remaining at Manchester United past the summer getting slimmer by the day, the Hammers are hoping to land the South American at a reduced price.

Sanchez, one of United’s highest earners, is reportedly also gathering interest from other unnamed Premier League and Bundesliga sides.

Belarusian Premier League roundup: FC Energetik-BGU edge FC Minsk, moves to top of league

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The Belarusian Premier League – the only active European top-flight league at the moment – continued on Sunday despite the coronavirus pandemic.

FC Energetik-BGU 2-0 FC Minsk 

FC Energetik-BGU are the new leaders of the Belarusian Premier League, following a 2-0 victory over FC Minsk, who were atop of the table prior to Sunday’s bout.

Aleksey Nosko broke the deadlock in the 21st minute, while winger Jasurbek Yakhshiboev sealed the victory for the hosts in stoppage time.

With the victory, Energetik-BGU are the only unbeaten team in the league after three matchweeks, winning all three matches. The positive spell began with a 3-1 against Belarus giants BATE Boristov. Since, Energetik-BGU have scored three goals, while managing to concede none.

Slutsk, who also featured on Sunday, moved up to second on the table following a hard-earned 3-2 victory over Isloch, which saw them play the final minutes of the match with 10 players.

Elsewhere in Belarusian Premier League 

Smolevichi-STI 0-0 Vitebsk

Isloch 2-3 Slutsk

Spanish players criticize league’s call for furloughs

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MADRID (AP) Soccer players in Spain on Sunday criticized the Spanish league’s decision to ask clubs to put the footballers on government furloughs during the coronavirus crisis.

The league on Friday said the furloughs were needed because there was no agreement on the size of the salary cuts players must take to reduce the financial impact of the pandemic.

“It is strange that the Liga supports (the furloughs),” Spain’s players’ association said in a statement.

It said the league should have created a financial cushion for this period considering it always boasted about its “economic control measures” and the “well-balanced economy” of the Spanish clubs. The association said it also should be taken into account that the league has been temporarily suspended and not yet canceled.

The league and the players’ association have been in talks to try to find ways to mitigate losses that could reach nearly 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) if the season cannot be restarted because of the pandemic.

The players said they agree with a salary reduction to help the clubs during the crisis, but not to the extent the league wants, which could amount to nearly half of the total losses if the competition is not resumed.

Players said they want to keep negotiating directly with the clubs instead of being forced into furloughs.

“The clubs and the players have been reaching agreements regarding the salaries,” the players’ association said. “What footballers are not going to do is relinquish labor rights.”

Barcelona and Atlético Madrid are among the Spanish clubs requesting furloughs, but both directly negotiated the amount of the salary reduction with players — 70% in both cases. Both clubs and their players are contributing to guarantee the wages of non-playing employees being furloughed.

The government furloughs help reduce the clubs’ labor costs while also guaranteeing players their jobs once the crisis is over.

Spain has more than 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with nearly 12,500 deaths. The nation is expected to remain in a lockdown until April 26.

There is no timetable for the return of the Spanish league.

Players maintained their position to only resume competing when health authorities deem it safe for everyone’s heath, a view also shared by the Spanish league.

The league has suggested it will recommend teams start mini-camp while the lockdown is still in place, if it’s possible to do so within the restrictions imposed by authorities.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Brighton, Cincinnati prepare to discuss Locadia’s future

Jurgen Locadia
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Jurgen Locadia’s big MLS transfer has not gone as planned, through no fault of his, FC Cincinnati’s, or parent club Brighton and Hove Albion.

Locadia’s loan to Cincinnati was sealed Feb. 3, giving him just under five months to decide whether he had interesting in staying in the U.S. for the next part of his career.

The 26-year-old got all of two matches to feel it out, scoring once before MLS shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The extremely small sample size has been kind to Locadia, who says that his agent had spoken to Brighton and that he’s open to making the move permanent. That’s a loaded statement given the money it might take to acquire a player who was Brighton’s transfer record signing just over a year ago.

“I like it here so far in Cincinnati and the league also,” Locadia told The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati.com: “I talk with my agent also and he said at the end of the day it’s my decision, and I told him I’m happy here, so if we can figure something out with Brighton and Cincinnati, which I understand is going to be difficult, we can try and fix the situation.”

FCC general manager Gerard Nijkamp said he’ll be talking with Brighton in the next few days, but that the situation is a massive challenge. Imagine the questions: What does Brighton want? When can the player move? Has the end of the loan window changed at all? And what reinforcements will Brighton be able to buy given the wildly unusual conclusion to this season (and their possible relegation)?

Locadia was also asked what he likes about MLS.

“I think here in the States, the fans enjoy the game more and in Europe I get the feeling that people are more judge-y about the game,” Locadia said. “Here in the States, they come to enjoy the game and see the players and drink beer. And in Europe it’s more like, we need to win and they’re gonna judge you. They don’t like when you play the ball back to the goalkeeper.”

Well, maybe wait on that one. There might be a bit more patience in Cincinnati given it’s their second year in MLS, but other clubs have plenty of fans amped up for victory.