Week 31 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is in the books, and in its wake comes the least star-studded MLS Team of the Week squad we’ve seen all year — just three Designated Players: two of which are center backs; the other a striker, but not one of “those” big names.
Tim Melia stood on his head in Portland (again), which made Krisztian Nemeth’s Goal of the Year candidate (if you haven’t watched it yet, do so now). David Texeira scored twice to lead FCD’s rout of Houston, while Harry Shipp scored one and assisted one as the Fire shocked the world and the Revs.
Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always. I’m not afraid to defend my picks.
As it stands, Watford is on pace to latch onto seventh place in the Premier League thanks to a sensational goal from Gerard Deulofeu, but all four 10 a.m. ET kickoffs are in the balance after 45 minutes.
West Ham United 1-0 Leicester City – CNBC [STREAM]
“As a footballer, I could not have done what my players have done today,” Guardiola said. “The title is still in our hands. I’ve not done anything. I’ve told my players that if they’ve forgotten what happened it’s good but if it still hurts then it’s good. Those 10 seconds of joy and happiness to devastation. That kind of experience has given us emotions we wouldn’t have had. Today our fans were incredible.”
When asked whether the club can manage to win the rest of its matches and the Premier League, he pointed to its 10-match winning run and motioned that it of course can move forward for four more.
“We came back with this sunshine, the effort of the players was incredible,” Guardiola said. “Even if we don’t do it, we’ve been on a remarkable run. Every day with this club and these players. It doesn’t matter what happens next. We’ll fight until the end. We’ll see how far we get.”
Guardiola noted the strength of Tottenham, having played them thrice in two weeks. City beat Spurs 4-3 and 1-0 while losing 1-0 in the Champions League first leg.
And Liverpool will not be expected to drop any more points while City meets Manchester United in a pivotal derby on Wednesday.
“Tottenham is an incredible team and club. They are an incredible organization. We are fighting with the best Liverpool ever, one of the best teams I’ve seen in my whole life.”
You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.
For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.
The schedule for all four games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.
10 a.m. ET: Wolves v. Brighton – NBCSN [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: West Ham v. Leicester – CNBC [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: Bournemouth v. Fulham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: Huddersfield v. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
A flop from either would’ve been understandable given the 7-goal thriller at midweek, but both provided fine accounts of themselves as Phil Foden was the match-winner.
Ederson: 9 – *Man of the Match* here was plenty of luck in his thwarting of Lucas Moura‘s late deflected strike, but the Brazilian will enjoy a clean sheet following Wednesday’s second leg.
Kyle Walker: 6 – Would VAR have him conceding a second half penalty for handball?
John Stones: 6 – Not terrific, though his partial block that led to Ederson’s last big save was bigger than we realize.
Aymeric Laporte: 7 – A notable error between Laporte and Stones late takes this down a point, but he was huge along with Ederson in the early stages.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 7 – Is City in the UEFA Champions League semifinal with a healthy Zinchenko in place of Mendy, Delph, et. al.
Kevin De Bruyne (Off 38′): N/A – His injury will be alarming for City, given recurring knee troubles this season.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6 – An unspectacular display as time ticks down on his career at City.
Phil Foden: 8 – The fifth-minute header could hardly have been a more important first Premier League goal.
Bernardo Silva: 8 – A delightful dribble and cross to the back post set up the opener, as the Portuguese playmaker continues a fine season.
Sergio Aguero (Off 66′): 7 – Perhaps a bit quieter than usual, but his headed assist was what City needed early at the Etihad.
Raheem Sterling: 7 – Absolutely in the discussion for Premier League Player of the Season, and has been switched on from moment one.
Subs Fernandinho (On 38′): 7 – Easy to applaud anyone who comes on for an hour off the bench and doesn’t miss a beat. Broke up some serious Spurs threats. Leroy Sane (On 66′): 7 – Short spell, but effective. Should’ve collected an assist for his set-up of Sterling
Paulo Gazzaniga: 7 – Solid enough and made a great point-blank save in the second half from Sterling.
Juan Foyth: 7 – A little lost at right back early on, but worked hard and made some important tackles against Sterling and improved as the game went on.
Davinson Sanchez: 6 – See above. Solid on his return to the starting lineup. Maybe could have done better on the goal as Aguero peeled off him.
Toby Alderweireld: 7 – As dependable as ever. Good block from Aguero in the second half, which had a hint of handball, but the Belgian knew nothing about it.
Jan Vertonghen: 7 – Dominant display and tried his best to get Spurs moving forward when he could.
Ben Davies: 6 – Struggled to cope with Bernardo Silva, but then again most defenders have this season.
Eric Dier: 5 – Has been out with injury for a while, and looked rusty on his return to central midfield.
Christian Eriksen: 7 – Some lovely balls forward for Son, and he was denied by Ederson in the first half when he should have probably scored.
Dele Alli: 6 – A few majestic flicks in the first half, and appealed for a penalty kick on Kyle Walker. Looked a little jaded, which is understandable.
Lucas Moura: 7 – Hurried and chased all game long, and nearly got in to score in the second half but Ederson denied him.
Heung-Min Son: 6 – Another sharp display, but will be disappointed he didn’t score after having three big chances in the first half. Led Spurs’ charge on the counter attack.
Subs Danny Rose: 6 – Did okay and brought his usual energy to the left back position. Victor Wanyama: 5 – Booked. Did his best to provide a better shield than Dier in front of the Spurs defense. Fernando Llorente: 5 – Hardly touched the ball in his brief cameo on the pitch. No hip/arm touches today…