International Champions Cup: Three things we learned from Chelsea’s loss to New York Red Bulls

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HARRISON, N.J. — Tonight’s International Champions Cup match between Chelsea and New York Red Bulls pitted the defending Premier League champions against a team of kids getting their chance on the big stage.

The kids got the last laugh.

[ RECAP: New York Red Bulls 4-2 Chelsea ]

Trailing 1-0 at the break, the Red Bulls scored four times in the second half to stun Chelsea in the Blues’ first game of their preseason summer tour. It was just a friendly, but considering Chelsea only gave up four or more goals once in the Premier League last season, this was not a good start to their 2015-16 campaign.

So what did we learn at Red Bull Arena?

THE STRIKER POSITION COULD STILL BE AN ISSUE

Diego Costa played the second half for Chelsea, and while he didn’t score, he looked dangerous and had a few really good chances. There’s no debate that Costa is one of the top strikers in the Premier League. The question is, if Costa goes down injured or finds himself suspended, who can fill the void?

Loic Remy started the match and despite scoring a goal, he had a relatively poor 45 minutes. He took too many touches around the box and often got the ball stuck in his feet before having it stolen by a Red Bulls defender. A striker that has plenty of top-flight experience and has played in a World Cup for France, Remy lacked the pace to get in behind a defense made up of no-name youngsters. It may just be the first match of the preseason, but can Blues’ supporters really count on Remy to handle a big work-load should Costa be unavailable?

Radamel Falcao is Chelsea’s other option at striker, but was given a rest tonight after playing for Colombia in the Copa America tournament. Jose Mourinho is hoping Falcao will find his form at Stamford Bridge, but after his disappointing loan-spell at Manchester United last season, Falcao is far from a sure-thing.

International Champions Cup 2015 - Chelsea v New York Red Bulls
Victor Moses has spent the past two seasons away on loan.

VICTOR MOSES WANTS TO BE A BLUE

Victor Moses came to Chelsea from Wigan in 2012, and after making 23 Premier League appearances in his first season at Stamford Bridge, he has yet to play another league game for the Blues.

Moses spent the past two seasons on loan at Liverpool and Stoke City, and his name has been floated around this summer for another possible loan move as well. However, he got the start tonight for Chelsea and was arguably their best player in the first half.

The Nigerian international is very versatile, but played today in his preferred winger role. He used his speed to breeze past the Red Bulls defense and nearly scored on a clever chip, but was rejected by the post. He showed confidence on the ball, and moved well without it. After the match, Mourinho said Moses has “had an evolution over the past couple years,” and I would expect him to stay at Chelsea this season.

DON’T EXPECT TO SEE CHELSEA’S YOUNGSTERS IN THE PL

After Chelsea won the Premier League last season, many thought the 2015-16 season could see an influx of youth players into Mourinho’s squad, as the Blues have been stockpiling top talent over the past few years. While a few of those young stars are in the preseason team and saw minutes tonight, don’t expect to see see them lining up in England.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek saw some minutes towards the end of the Premier League campaign last season, but after the match today, Mourinho said the 19-year-old is far from ready to play with Chelsea full-time. 18-year-old Ola Aina played the second half tonight on the back line, but if Mourinho is going to be playing a young defender, his name will probably be John Stones.

The most impressive youngster today for Chelsea was Bertrand Traore, a 19-year-old from Burkina Faso. Traore started up top and showed great pace both on and off the ball. He spent last season at loan at Dutch-side Vitesse, but still needs a bit of time to develop his raw skill-set.

Man United release latest financial results

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Man United have released their latest financial results and revenue has fallen by 20 percent year-on-year, while net debt has also risen.

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What is clear from the results is that not being in the UEFA Champions League has hit United hard but they continue to make money with commercial revenue on the up seven percent.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward revealed the latest results as Man United’s financial might is clear for all to see even.

“We have continued to make progress on our squad rebuild … the foundation for delivering the long-term success that we are all working towards is in place as we implement our plan and our footballing vision with Ole,” Woodward told investors. “We are pushing for a strong finish in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup as we enter the final third of the season.”

Man United are currently in fifth place in the Premier League table ahead of a pivotal run of games which will decide if they will once again dine at Europe’s top table under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. On the pitch they’ve beaten Chelsea and Watford in the last week without conceding and things are coming together nicely with new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes making a big difference. 

Man United face Everton, Man City, Tottenham and Sheffield United in their next four PL games and that will be crucial in deciding if they’re going to reach the Champions League next season. Given Man City’s European ban and the potential for a UCL spot to move down to fifth-place, Man United are exactly where Solskjaer hoped they would be right now.

Below we have a look at the main takeaways form the financial results, which are always a huge talking point among United fans all over the world.

Main talking points from Man United’s Q2 results:

  • Revenues of $218.3 million, down 20 percent year-on-year
  • Operating profit of $47.3 million
  • Commercial revenue up 7 percent
  • Broadcast revenue down 37 percent due to no UEFA Champions League qualification
  • Matchday revenue down 15 percent due to fewer home games
  • Player wages down 9 percent
  • Net debt is $506.9 million, up $94.6 million, 23 percent

USMNT’s Arriola likely will miss MLS season, six World Cup qualifiers

Paul Arriola
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WASHINGTON (AP) D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola had major knee surgery Monday and likely will miss the entire Major League Soccer season and the United States’ first six qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup

The operation was to reconstruct his right anterior cruciate ligament. The team said there was no additional cartilage damage.

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The 25-year-old midfielder injured his knee Feb. 15 during D.C. United’s preseason match against Orlando in Tampa, Florida.

Arriola has been a regular starter for the U.S. national team under coach Gregg Berhalter. Arriola has five goals in 33 international appearances.

After failing to reach the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. starts qualifying for the 2022 tournament this year. The Americans have two matches each in September, October and November, then complete qualifying with two games apiece in March and September 2021.

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

State of play in CONCACAF Champions League

CONCACAF Champions League
AP Photo/Carlos Gonzalez
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Four of five Major League Soccer clubs alive in the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 are in fine shape to reach the quarterfinals after one leg.

The fifth has a tall hill to climb.

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LAFC trails Club Leon by two and did not collect an away goal in Mexico during first leg play last week.

“It’s 2-0, but we’re going to work hard,” said LAFC attacker Latif Blessing. “We’re going to prepare ourselves to win the next game. … We did good, but we want to win. It couldn’t happen that way but we’re going to prepare next game to win this game. We need to win.”

The second leg in L.A. is one of the last two matches of the round, kicking off at 10 p.m. ET Thursday just as Seattle Sounders square off with Olimpia.

The Honduran side managed a controversial comeback in the 2-2 draw with Jordan Morris-fueled Seattle last week, but the Sounders will be happy to have those two away goals and home field.

Montreal Impact has the same situation for Deportivo Saprissa’s visit at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, while Atlanta United scored an away goal in a draw with Motagua and hosts the visitors from Honduras’ capital at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday.

That leaves us with NYCFC, who got a Heber hat trick amongst five away goals at Costa Rican side San Carlos in a 5-3 win. The second leg begins at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday at Red Bull Arena (yes, you read that correctly).

Elsewhere, Liga MX sides don’t have it much better. Cruz Azul leads Portmore 2-1 heading back to Mexico, while Club America scored an away goal in a draw with Comunicaciones.

Finally, Tigres UANL trails 2-1 after one leg with Alianza in El Salvador.

CCL second leg schedule
all times ET

Atlanta United v. Motagua (1-1) — 8 p.m. Tuesday
Cruz Azul v. Portmore United (2-1) — 10 p.m. Tuesday
NYCFC v. San Carlos (5-3) — 6 p.m. Wednesday
Montreal Impact v. Deportivo Saprissa (2-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Tigres UANL v. Alianza (1-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Club America v. Comunicaciones (1-1) — 10 p.m. Wednesday
Seattle Sounders v. Olimpia (2-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday
LAFC v Leon (0-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday

Eleven to go: Ranking obstacles on Liverpool’s unbeaten path

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Liverpool has won all five of its matches since the last time we evaluated its path to an unbeaten Premier League season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Those matches were ranked 14th, 12th, 11th, 10th, and 4th on our first rankings of obstacles to immortality, so very little of the heavy lifting has been conducted.

Let’s get something out of the way: If Liverpool is unable to overturn their first leg deficit against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, you can probably etch that zero in the league loss column into stone.

That said, many expect the Reds to overcome that 1-0 disadvantage from Madrid, so here’s where we slot the difficulties moving forward.

Unranked — Crystal Palace at home (March 21) and Brighton away (April 18) — Both of these dates are very easy on the eyes, but will be moved if Liverpool is alive in the FA Cup.

9. Newcastle away, time TBD May 17 — We’re now calling this the easiest date left. Klopp’s men aren’t going to lose an unbeaten season at the altar just because Steve Bruce bunkers down. St. James’ Park is a hassle, but

8. Watford away, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday Klopp probably feels like he’s already playing with house money in the FA Cup, so there’s no reason to think he’ll hand any priority at all to the following FA Cup meeting with Chelsea.

7. Bournemouth home, 7:30 a.m. ET March 7 Situated between Chelsea in the FA Cup and the home UCL second leg versus Atleti, it’s not easy…  but the Cherries have given us less reason to believe they’ll threaten the Reds than any other team besides Newcastle.

6. Aston Villa home, 11:30 a.m. ET April 12Dean Smith‘s desperate Villans will have Villa Park rocking before Liverpool’s possible UCL quarterfinals 2nd leg days later.

5. Burnley home, 7:30 a.m. ET April 25 — Taking place just before a possible UCL quarterfinal first leg, Burnley will try to trouble the Reds in a similar manner to West Ham.

4. Chelsea home, time TBD May 9 — Both the Blues and Reds could be coming off UCL semifinal second legs. Don’t forget that Chelsea took the Reds to the wire in the UEFA Super Cup despite it being very early in Frank Lampard‘s tenure.

3. Arsenal away, time TBD May 2 — Both sides may be days away from needing a result to qualify for the UCL or UEL final.

2. Everton away, 4 p.m. ET March 16 — This may as well be the only match left on the Toffees’ docket that matters more than another, as Carlo Ancelotti and his men know the message they could send regarding the building up of Everton.

Not only that, but Everton has nothing else left to circle, no other competitions, nothing.

1. Man City away, 11:30 a.m. ET April 5 — Taking place 3-4 days before the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals and on the heels of an international break, it’s the lone date on the calendar that Liverpool won’t be heavy favorites to win.