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Mexico 3-2 aet USMNT: Pure El Tri dominance at the Rose Bowl

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The good guys were in white, the bad guys in black, and the Rose Bowl was the scene for an old-fashioned Western between the United States and Mexico.

For 100 minutes, the white might as well’ve stood for surrender. Then, in a twist, the good guys appeared to dodge every unlikely bullet.

But only for a short time, as Paul Aguilar gave Mexico the win it deserved with a 118th minute goal.

[ MORE: Player ratings for an awful loss at the Rose Bowl ]

The 3-2 in extra time score line defied pure Mexican dominance in California, as Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Oribe Peralta also scored in a thrilling CONCACAF Cup final.

Geoff Cameron and substitute Bobby Wood scored for the U.S., and Cameron was one of few players who had a game worthy of any merit.

Jurgen Klinsmann had no answers for a Mexico team playing with a caretaker boss.

There was a frenetic unease to the start, with emotions getting the best of the players in a noisy Rose Bowl.

[ WATCH: Chicharito, Cameron trade first-half goals ]

And then an early mistake from the entire left side of the U.S. defense. Matt Besler dove into the midfield, and Mexico burst through to spring a chance through the 18. Oribe Peralta fed Javier Hernandez, and Chicharito darted past an indecisive Fabian Johnson to make it 1-0.

Then the States won a free kick on the left, and Michael Bradley sent in a gorgeous ball for Cameron to head home. The Stoke man made no doubt about it with his second U.S. goal.

Playing in his advanced role, Bradley dribbled across the 18 and tried to wrong foot Moises Munoz with a left-footed shot that dragged wide of the right post.

Things got nutty in the 34th minute, when an offside Peralta slid into a prone Guzan (who had the ball). Peralta saw yellow, after a baseball-style “all talk” skirmish in the U.S. six.

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 10: Jozy Altidore #17 of the United States moves the ball past Diego Reyes #5 of Mexico during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Qualifier at Rose Bowl on October 10, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

Beasley’s overlapping run found a Bradley through ball, but the Houston Dynamo defender’s cross was too shallow and scooped by Munoz.

Altidore missed a golden chance to put the U.S. up as the clock struck 40, as he booted an in-tight and contested chance wide and high of the bar.

The Toronto FC forward then won a dangerous free kick and a yellow card for Hector Moreno with a spin move outside the 18 in the 44th minute. Bradley whipped in a scything kick on goal, but Munoz dove to rescue it, parrying the ball wide.

A Columbus Crew man wanted a halftime change…

The second half saw Mexico nearly score within two minutes, as Guzan made a huge safe after Mexico danced through the U.S. back line yet again.

El Tri expressed themselves in the first 15 minutes of the frame, really, with Cameron, Besler and Guzan doing yeomen’s work keep the score line level.

The Yanks should’ve been down 2-1 after Chicharito butchered a chance by trying to use his back leg instead of his left. He had left Besler in the dust, but the U.S. escaped.

The U.S. got its first corner in the 67th minute, and Bradley tried to catch Munoz napping only to see the keeper slap the ball to the other side of the pitch.

The second half saw the States looking wounded at worst and winded at best. Altidore labored, as did Jones. Dempsey was a shell of himself excepting an ambitious dribble or two.

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 10: Hector Herrera #16 of Mexico protects the ball against Michael Bradley #4 of the United States during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Qualifier at Rose Bowl on October 10, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

Heart-stopping stuff as the U.S. had a muddled spell of possession with about 15 minutes to play in the first 90 minutes. The Americans avoided calamity when Besler went unwhistled on a handball in the box just into stoppage time.

So we went to extra time. More of the same, and the Yanks looked beat when it came time to counter… except for Yedlin, who earned a free kick that Bradley lofted far post and right to Munoz.

Then, Peralta. The Mexican talisman did it again in the clutch, Johnny-on-the-spot to bury a chance over a beleaguered and sliding Cameron, and past Guzan.

But who the heck is Bobby Wood and what did he do with our narrative? The only-clutch U.S. striker subbed on to tie the game off a silky feed from DeAndre Yedlin, and somehow the Americans were level… and on the front foot?

Nope. Aguilar volleyed a bullet past a too-shallow Guzan, and Mexican had their trip to Russia.

LINEUPS

Mexico: Munoz; Aguilar, Reyes, Moreno, Layun; Marquez (Rivas, 76′), Guardado (Lopez, 80′), Herrera; Peralta, Jimenez, Hernandez (Corona, 97′).

Goals: Hernandez (10′), Peralta (96′), Aguilar (118′)

United States: Guzan; Beasley, Cameron, Besler, Johnson (Evans, 111′); Beckerman, Jones, Bradley, Zardes (Yedlin, 78′); Dempsey, Altidore (Wood, 98′)

Goals: Cameron (15′), Wood (108′)

Smalling considering full-time Roma switch: “Long may it continue”

Chris Smalling
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Manchester United loanee Chris Smalling is talking up life in Rome amidst a possible Serie A Team of the Season campaign.

Smalling had a disappointing 2018/19 season at Old Trafford, so it’s not a surprise that Solskjaer thought he could do better than the 30-year-old.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Instead, Smalling’s numbers are close to that of record-signing Harry Maguire in a Serie A league with slightly more scoring. Smalling ranks in Italy’s top ten for interceptions (2.2), clearances (4.5) and blocks (1.2).

Roma boss Paulo Fonseca wants the player to stay, as i Lupi are fifth in Serie A and Smalling when has played nearly every minute when healthy. Smalling told our friends Sky Sports that he has “an interesting decision to make.”

“Some of the other players said if you really hit the ground running, the love that you can have in this city is unbelievable. That’s really what I’ve felt and so have my family. Long may it continue.”

His age makes it tricky, but the advanced stats show that Smalling has been a very effective Premier League center back for four of his last six seasons.

Smalling may want to leave if Solskjaer isn’t prepared to hand him regular football, which would be a given in Rome. Now what’s the price tag?

According to WhoScored’s player comparison tool:

Chris Smalling
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Watch Live: Liverpool v. West Ham

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Liverpool v West Ham takes center stage at Anfield on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Reds aim to reclaim their 22-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Jurgen Klopp‘s side remain unbeaten this season and with five more wins needed to guarantee the Premier League title, the finishing line is in sight. They are aiming for an 18th consecutive Premier League win which would equal Man City’s record for the most victories on the trot in top-flight history.

As for David Moyes and the Hammers, they are scrapping for their lives at the other end of the table and their daunting run of fixtures makes them one of the favorites for relegation.

Last season the Hammers did draw at home against Liverpool in the PL which was a key factor in the Reds not winning the title last time out but West Ham look extremely far from the team they were last season.

Liverpool v West Ham is first against 18th and all signs point to a big win for the home side as their unbeaten season continues with 25 victories from 26 games so far.

In team news Liverpool are without captain Jordan Henderson who has suffered a hamstring injury and will be out for the next three weeks.

Naby Keita comes in for Henderson in midfield as the rest of the Liverpool team is what you expect.

West Ham are without the injured Ryan Fredericks who suffered a shoulder injury in the 2-0 defeat at Man City on Wednesday.

Teenager Jeremy Ngakia comes in to replace Fredericks, while Felipe Anderson also comes into the lineup.

LINEUPS

 

Kids under 12 banned from heading in UK

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LONDON (AP) Children up to the age of 12 will be banned from heading a soccer ball in practice sessions in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland as authorities look to address the potential long-term impact on health of head injuries.

[ MORE: US Soccer bans heading ]

The governing bodies of the three regions announced the new heading guidelines on Monday, months after a Scottish study found former professional players there were less likely to die of common causes such as heart disease and cancer compared with the general population but more likely to die with dementia.

The guidelines say there will be a “graduated approach” to heading in practice for kids from 12-15, while the heading will be restricted to one practice session per week for kids 16 and 17.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

There will be no change in terms of heading in matches, taking into consideration the extremely limited number of headers which actually occur in youth matches.

The Scottish study did not state that heading a ball was the cause of the increased prevalence of neurodegenerative conditions among soccer players, but the decision to update the guidelines was taken to “mitigate against any potential risks”, the English Football Association said in a statement.

“This guidance is a responsible development to our grassroots coaching,” FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said, “without impacting the enjoyment that children of all ages take from playing the game.”

The associations said the guidance had been produced in parallel with the UEFA medical committee, which is seeking to produce Europe-wide guidance later this year.

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

Champions League score predictions: Round of 16

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and two of the four Premier League clubs are in action.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Man City and Chelsea face Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively and both know they face tough tasks to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals as they do battle with two European heavyweights.

Glory in the Champions League is now the main focus for Pep Guardiola and Man City following their two-season European ban from UEFA which they are appealing. Frank Lampard‘s young Chelsea side host the Bundesliga leaders and hugely experienced Bayern, with the German giants the favorites to advance.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

The Premier League sides are up against it but both teams are extremely capable of scoring goals for fun but it is at the other end of the pitch where they struggle as both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will be hoping their star attackers shine on the big stage once again.

In the other two last 16 clashes this week Napoli host Barcelona as Lionel Messi warmed up very nicely with four goals against Eibar, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus head to Lyon for the first leg as the Italian giants are expected to advance with ease.

Both Messi and Ronaldo badly want another Champions League title to their name but Lyon and Napoli are more than capable of picking up big first leg wins at home.

Below we predict the scores for the UCL round of 16 games taking place over the next two days. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below, too.


Tuesday
Napoli 1-1 Barcelona
Chelsea 1-2 Bayern Munich

Wednesday
Lyon 1-3 Juventus
Real Madrid 2-3 Man City