College soccer begins its season with an offense-loaded PAC_12; Huskies on the rise

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He’s a big strong junior forward with international pedigree, and he’s a tremendous threat to the PAC-12.

Presumably, you’d think you’re reading about Jordan Morris, the much-publicized Stanford man with a USMNT goal under his belt and as many accolades as you can dig up for a kid in college.

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But Morris isn’t the subject of that opening statement. Allow us to introduce you to a 6-foot-2 junior forward from the University of Washington named Mason Robertson. The son of a Scottish defending hero and the author of 13 goals through two years in Seattle, Robertson has all the tools you want from a striker.

The presence of Robertson and Morris in the same conference — let alone Oregon State’s Timmy Mueller, who outscored both last season — shows the depth of a brutal six-team conference.

In fact, talk to any coach in the PAC-12 and they’ll be able to rattle off a bevy of respected in-conference stars. Washington coach Jamie Clark literally reeled off compliments for multiple players from each team across the conference, which includes UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and San Diego State.

“The difference in our conference is that there’s really no bottom,” Clark said when asked what makes the PAC-12 so brutal. “San Diego State still goes into conference play 7-2, and then they have to play our conference. Every kid who’s playing here doesn’t get a single break come October 1.”

[ WATCH: Evansville’s McGrath nets preseason stunner ]

There are over 200 teams in Division I men’s soccer, and PAC-12 has three teams in the Top 10 of the NSCAA preseason poll with UCLA (1), Stanford (8) and Washington (10). Cal also places in the Top 25 at No. 16, while Oregon State receives votes. SDSU beat two ranked teams outside of conference play last season.

Stanford and UCLA will be pegged to finish high this year, but Washington has an opportunity to chase the title thanks in no small part to Robertson and a wide array of talent.

source:
Wingo gohuskies.com

“Arguably we have the best center forward in the country in Mason,” Clark said. “He’s out with injury right now but when he’s healthy he’s a freak. His dad, David Robertson, played for Leeds and Rangers and was a pretty special pro.

“And Henry Wingo, the Sounders product, he’s a name people will become very familiar with. Special talent who just glides with the ball. He’s like a Jordan Allen maybe. Not quite as direct, but smoother.”

[ MORE: SportsWorld on Notre Dame’s Bobby Clark ]

Helping in the attack are U-23 camp invitee James Moberg and crafty winger Josh Heard, while strong senior center back Michael Gallagher will be joined by U.S. U-18 back Quentin Pearson.

All that said, the Huskies will have to track down UCLA and Stanford while holding off Cal, Oregon State and San Diego State. The Bruins have brought in an unreal amount of talent to help replace Leo Stolz, while the Cardinal will boast Brandon Vincent in addition to Morris.

Clark says Cal plays “the most attractive soccer in the conference”, and powerful midfielder Christian Theirjung headlines a unit with Jose Carrera Garcia and Paul Salcedo. The Golden Bears are also playing for fallen teammate Eloi Vasquez, who died tragically this winter.

While we had Clark on the line, we put the veteran coach on the spot for the under-the-radar players from the West Coast, and a list of the top talent he’s faced in college. The former San Jose Earthquakes defender — and son of Notre Dame boss Bobby Clark — was an assistant at New Mexico and Notre Dame before head coaching stints at Harvard and Creighton.

Jamie Clark’s best PAC-12 players of recent years
Ryan Hollingshead
Kelyn Rowe
Steve Birnbaum
Khiry Shelton
Andy Rose
Adam Jahn

Jamie Clark’s best non-PAC-12 West coast players now
Eddie Sanchez – Portland
Ismaila Jome – UC Santa Barbara
Chris Weehan – New Mexico

Jamie Clark’s best overall players in recent years
Ethan Finlay- Powerful and never quits. A terror to have to defend.
Darlington Nagbe – Couldn’t get the ball from him. MLS teams have the same issue today.
Gyasi Zardes – Unreal scary running at you.
Darren Mattocks- Scared defenses as just so athletic.
Leo Stolz- Did everything for UCLA
Harry Shipp- Absolute class in finding pockets and playing through pressure.
Will Bruin- Terrorized our Creighton team a few years back.
Andre Blake – He is a special keeper.
Miguel Gonzales – Peninsula JC then Seattle U. Scored goals everywhere he’s been. Crafty and smart. Never given a chance by many, being from a smaller school and not a big strapping athlete. Now tearing up the USL.

Ighalo nears reported loan extension at Manchester United

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Odion Ighalo may get his wish to continue playing for his favorite club a bit longer.

Shanghai Shenhua is reportedly close to agreeing a loan extension for the Manchester United striker hours before the end of his initial loan to Old Trafford.

[ PREMIER LEAGUE: Remaining schedule | Reaction to return ]

Ighalo turns 31 on June 16 was linked with a Shanghai return earlier this week but has been keen on staying with United. The reported problem is that Shanghai wanted a permanent transfer.

United, understandably, didn’t need that from a striker of his age, especially with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood in the strike corps.

From The Manchester Evening News:

Sources close to the player have said negotiations are continuing between United and Shanghai Shenhua on Sunday but an extended loan deal until January 30 is now “looking most likely”.

That will allow Ighalo to complete the season with United and while the 2020/21 calendar remains up in the air, he will almost certainly spend the first few months of that campaign with the club as well.

Ighalo has fit the bill as a fill-in striker for the Red Devils, who had lost Rashford to injury. He has four goals in eight appearances for United after 46 goals in three seasons abroad.

Shanghai lost more than a bit of its power once United made it clear that it wouldn’t be held hostage over a veteran striker. United has at least one FA Cup match and three more Europa League legs to contend with on top of its PL slate, so any additional veteran savvy will be useful.

LIVE, Bundesliga: Gladbach, Dortmund face desperate Union, Paderborn

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Top four contenders Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund meet relegation-threatened Union Berlin and Paderborn, respectively, as Weeek 29 in the Bundesliga hits Sunday.

Dortmund needs a win to keep pace with presumed champions Bayern Munich, which has a 10-point lead entering Sunday, while Gladbach can climb into third with a win.

[ Bundesliga: Live scores | Saturday roundup | Bayern blowout  ] 

Union opens the day just four points clear of the drop zone, while bottom-dwelling Paderborn has been playing much better but remains nine points back of safety.

Matchweek 29 in the Bundesliga will again see games played in empty stadiums, which is the plan for the rest of the season and beyond. If you’re new to Germany’s top-flight, here’s a guide to help you pick a club to support.

Schedule

  • Gladbach v. Union Berlin — 9:30 a.m. ET
  • Paderborn v. Borussia Dortmund — Noon ET

How to Watch the Bundesliga

  • When: Friday, May 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FS2
  • Stream LiveVia Fox Soccer
  • USMNT or eligible players in action: Giovanni Reyna (Dortmund), Julian Ryerson (Union)

You can check out the full schedulestandings and find out how to watch the action, while we will have you covered right here on ProSoccerTalk with analysis, reaction and more.

[ MORE: Takeaways from Week 28 of the Bundesliga ]

Transfer news: Werner to Chelsea; Sanchez to Inter

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In the latest transfer news Timo Werner is reportedly being chased by Chelsea, while Alexis Sanchez could be staying at Inter Milan instead of returning to Man United.

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First up, a juicy report from Bild says that Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is trying to convince his Germany teammate and close friend Timo Werner to join hm at Stamford Bridge.

Werner, 24, has dazzled at RB Leipzig this season (31 goals in 40 games in all competitions) and is widely expected to leave with Liverpool, Man United and many others clubs across Europe chasing his signature. Per the report, Chelsea have Rudiger working hard to convince his friend and former Stuttgart teammate that west London is the place for him.

The release clause on Werner’s current contract is said to be $60 million and Chelsea are one of the few clubs who have a healthy transfer budget as they had a transfer ban for a whole year and Frank Lampard has just spent $44 million on one new signing so far, bringing in Hakim Ziyech who will not arrive until later this summer.

Werner is exactly what Chelsea need. They have created so many golden goalscoring opportunities and although Tammy Abraham was putting them away at the start of the season, his form and fitness was a concern in the last few months before the suspension.

Olivier Giroud is their only other forward option and Werner would be perfect to finish off the chances this attack-minded Chelsea team create. Even better for him, he would actually play at Chelsea which may not be the case at Liverpool and Man United given their stacked attacking lineups.

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Heading to Manchester, it appears Alexis Sanchez may not be going back to his parent club next season.

Sanchez, 31, is on loan at Inter Milan for the 2019-20 season and the Daily Express claim that he could stay at Inter rather than heading back to Old Trafford despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer previously saying he was open to the idea. Per the report, Man United are keen to loan Sanchez out to Inter once again on a similar arrangement and the Serie A side are willing to see how Sanchez does when the season restarts in a few weeks. With Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and others around at Man United, he may struggle for minutes at Man United.

Would another loan be a good move for Inter?

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have been their main strikers this season under Antonio Conte, with Sanchez out injured for large chunks of the campaign and then doing okay when he did play. However, with Martinez chased by Barcelona, if they do sell the Argentine forward for over $115 million, having Sanchez around on loan would soften the blow.

The main problem with Sanchez is that over the last three years he has picked up consistent injury problems. If he can shake those issues off, we all know he is capable of scoring goals and creating havoc. Given this recent track record though, that’s a big if, as he’s scored just one goal and added three assists in 15 outings for Inter this season.

Premier League confirm zero positive COVID-19 test results

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Following the latest batch of tests on players and club staff the Premier League have revealed that zero out of 1130 COVID-19 tests taken on Thursday and Friday have come back positive.

Zero.

The fourth round of testing is the first time that no positive tests have come back, as a total of 3,882 COVID-19 tests have now been carried out with 12 positive results.

All players and staff at Premier League clubs will be tested twice a week during the strict return to training protocols put in place, as full contact training is now up and running and a restart date of June 17 has been set.

Here is the statement from the Premier League in full:


The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive.

The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing.

Previous test results

Round 1: 17-18 May – 748 tested, with six testing positive from three clubs.
Round 2: 19-22 May – 996 tested, with two testing positive from two clubs.
Round 3: 25-26 May – 1,008 tested, with four testing positive from two clubs.


This is more good news for the Premier League as the UK government gave the green light for elite sport in the UK to return from June 1 in empty stadiums, as the top-flight of English soccer continues to clear each hurdle in its way to finishing the final 92 games of the 2019-20 season.

With just over two weeks to go until the action returns, Premier League clubs will have to keep these test results low for the restart to take place.