How important, for better or worse, is the MLS Combine in relation to a player’s draft prospects?
Eighteen of the 21 players who were first round selections at the 2015 MLS SuperDraft participated in the combine, and it took to pick No. 8 for a non-combine player to be selected (Clement Simonin of NC State).
All five of the Generation Adidas players aren’t heading to the combine. Outside of those five, you’ll see most of Jan. 14’s draftees coming from the Combine.
The 2016 Combine will pit four squads of 15 players against each other for matches on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday. Full rosters are here.
A disclaimer: the MLS Combine is far from ideal. Many players won’t be playing in their natural positions, and most have been out of game action for a month or more.
We’ll list the draft order below, and won’t bother you with a mock draft at this point. But here are some names to monitor over the next five days, ones who could make big moves under the bright lights.
Brandon Vincent, D, Stanford — Jordan Morris is a stud, sure, but his college teammate could honestly be the No. 1 overall pick if Chicago sees it close and personal this week.
Callum Irving, GK, Kentucky — The Canadian backstop played with the Whitecaps Academy before starring for the Wildcats.
Neco Brett, F, Robert Morris — A bit mercurial and undersized, you cannot ignore that Brett scored 15, 14 and 13 goals in his last three seasons in Moon. The Jamaican born striker has speed to burn and a classy touch.
Patrick Hodan, M, Notre Dame — Has a legitimate chance to be a 10-year vet in the league. A solid leader who was invited to Andreas Herzog’s U-23 College ID camp in the summer.
Kyle Fisher, D, Clemson — After a College Cup season with the Tigers, Fisher is poised to be a first year contributed in Major League Soccer.
James Moberg, M, Washington — Big and coming off a season-ending knee injury, the 6-foot-2 senior has a chance to show off the promise of elite playmaking he showed in his first three seasons (6, 9 and 6 assists).
Thomas Sanner, F, Princeton — 6-foot-4 forwards with noses for goal don’t grow on trees, and Sanner is the Tigers’ third-all-time leading scorer with 32 in 64 games.
West Ham vs Wolves: Two sides straddling either side of the relegation zone will be desperate for a victory (or even just a goal) when they meet at London Stadium on Saturday (watch live, 12:30 pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).
It’s been a mostly miserable start to the 2022-23 Premier League season for both the Hammers and Wolves. West Ham have just one win on the season (1W-1D-5L) as David Moyes and Co., sit 18th heading into matchweek 8. Wolves also have just one win (1W-3D-3L) while scoring the same number of goals as West Ham (3) in seven games. Misery loves company.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of West Ham vs Wolves.
For both sides, the goal-scoring woes are a result of not only a failure to convert scoring chances, but also their inability to create them. West Ham and Wolves both rank in the bottom five of the Premier League in expected goals with identical paltry 0.9 xG averages (per 90 minutes). No other side in the Premier League is anywhere close to underperforming their expected numbers by more than 50 percent.
Goals have come much more easily for West Ham in the Europa Conference League, where they have scored three goals in all four games thus far — six in two games against Danish side Viborg, and three apiece against Romanian runners-up FCSB and another Danish side in Silkeborg.
Wolves made the effort to be a better attacking side this season, as they spent $18 million on Sasa Kalajdzic, but the Austrian international striker tore his ACL on his debut for the club. Raul Jimenez, meanwhile, has played just 211 minutes in three Premier League appearances (none since Aug. 31) and has just one goal, in the League Cup. The Mexican international is now in a race against time to be healthy and fit for the 2022 World Cup eight weeks from now.
West Ham team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Nayef Aguerd (ankle), Benjamin Johnson (hamstring)
Fulham and Newcastle United look set to entertain when Aleksandar Mitrovic entertains his old mates for a Saturday morning tilt at Craven Cottage on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET online via Peacock Premium).
The Magpies are injury-hit but Eddie Howe has enjoyed pushing for offense and has largely found chances regardless of who’s been on the field, while Marco Silva’s Cottagers are healthy and have been on the front foot as often as possible during their Premier League return.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Fulham vs Newcastle.
Somewhere in the multiverse, Mitrovic’s tied for the Golden Boot lead because Erling Haaland is an actual superhero. The Fulham man has six goals to tie Harry Kane five behind Man City’s prolific Norwegian hitman. Kenny Tete’s assisted three of those goals, and Tete’s also top six in tackles. Teammate Joao Palhinha is first.
Newcastle, meanwhile, is dealing with a ridiculous amount of injuries to key players, as Bruno Guimares, Chris Wood, and Alexander Isak were both hurt on international break to join Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin as walking wounded attackers.
Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Palhinha (suspended), Manor Soloman (knee), Harry Wilson (knee), Antonee Robinson (ankle)
Liverpool plays its first Premier League match in 25 days when high-flying Brighton and Hove Albion debut a new manager as visitors at Anfield on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET online via Peacock Premium).
Roberto De Zerbi takes the wheel for the Seagulls following Graham Potter’s move to Chelsea, and Brighton will be staging its first match since a 5-2 demolition of Leicester City on Sept. 4.
Is Liverpool ready to turn chances into goals at a more familiar rate? The Reds’ expected goal total for this season is close to leaders Manchester City and Arsenal but its actual goal production is fifth and somewhat-inflated by their nine-goal beatdown of Bournemouth previously this season.
Brighton, meanwhile, has to show that it’s getting a handle on life after Graham Potter, as De Zerbi’s credentials say things might not look too different. The former Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk boss craves possession in his teams and delivers chances as a boss in the manner you’d expect from a former attacking midfielder.
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Calvin Ramsay (lower back), Curtis Jones (tibia), Ibrahima Konate (knee), Naby Keita (thigh), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (thigh), Andrew Robertson (knee), Caoimhin Kelleher (groin), Ibrahima Konate (knee),
Partey, Zinchenko underline importance: After missing the last few games through injury, this display summed up how important Partey and Zinchenko are to Arsenal. Partey broke up play masterfully and never allowed Spurs to dictate the tempo of the game. Zinchenko’s runs into midfield from left back bamboozled Spurs and his tactical flexibility and calmness on the ball is a joy to watch. Their leadership flows through every part of this team and when everyone is fit, this is a very balanced, young, exciting squad.
Statement win sums up steady progress: There is something special brewing at Arsenal. This run of wins to start the season should surprise nobody. After spending wisely on quality players this summer, this finally feels like Mikel Arteta’s side and it has felt that way since day one of preseason. Even after the disappointment of just missing out on Champions League qualification to Tottenham at the end of last season, Arsenal were heading in the right direction. They have been for some time and this start to the season will give them the confidence and belief they can fight for trophies and maybe, just maybe, have an outside chance of challenging for the title.
Clunky, unbalanced Spurs still yet to hit their stride: Even though Spurs went into this game as one of only two unbeaten teams in the Premier League so far this season, they haven’t played that well. They are clunky in possession, lack creativity in the final third and have relied on Kane, Son and Richarlison to finish off chances on the counter. That tactics clicked in a few times but with that trio starting together from the off, the balance just wasn’t right and Conte’s side couldn’t keep the ball well enough or link together in the final third. The good news is Spurs have still had a decent start to the season without hitting their stride at all. Emerson Royal’s sending off was a little harsh but Spurs deserved nothing from this game as Conte is still trying to get the balance right.
Granit Xhaka reaction: “From the first second we were the better team”
“We didn’t have a lot of weeks to prepare because of the international break, but we saw yesterday in training that we were ready,” Xhaka told BT Sport. “From the first second I think we were the better team. After we conceded we were struggling a little bit, but in the second half we were much better and I am so happy to score and help the team to win. My first derby goal in England. I’m more than happy to help the team. The team is the most important thing.”
Mikel Arteta reaction
The smile was wide on Arteta’s face as he lauded the togetherness of his players, coaching staff and fans. He isn’t getting carried away or looking at the table, yet. But he did say being top of the table will do wonders for the confidence of this young team.
Mikel Arteta on Arsenal's focus: "I could sense it straight away. We were ready and focused for it. It is so meaningful. We know what it at stake for this game. It is more than 3 points." #AFC#THFC#NorthLondonDerby
Conte would not be drawn on Emerson Royal’s red card (probably to save himself a few thousand dollars in fines) and was very disappointment with the final pass from his side.
Antonio Conte: "In my opinion if I have to complain it is the first half. We felt the possibility to win the game. We had a lot of chances. We had a lot of spaces and many times we made a mistake in the last passes." #THFC
This game perfectly summed up the playing style of both of these teams. Arteta’s Arsenal kept the ball well, rotated through midfield and Zinchenko slotted inside to give them a one-man advantage in the engine room and they dominated most of this game. Spurs were dangerous on the counter, as always, but starting Son, Kane and Richarlison together impacted the balance of Conte’s side and they were overrun in midfield by Xhaka and Partey.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: Fired up from the very start and he’s so good on the ball and his movements into midfield helped Arsenal stay on top for large periods.
Bukayo Saka: Brilliant run and shot to set up the second goal and went close on a few other occasions. He gave Clement Lenglet a tough time.
Granit Xhaka: Scored the third goal and alongside Partey, they won the ball back so many times. What a resurgence he’s having.
Arsenal host Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League on Thursday before welcoming Liverpool to the Emirates for a huge clash next Sunday, Oct. 9. Tottenham are away at Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and then travel to Brighton on Saturday, Oct. 8.
How to watch Arsenal vs Tottenham live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday TV Channel: USA Network Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Arsenal vs Tottenham live analysis! – By Joe Prince-Wright at the Emirates Stadium
FULL TIME: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham. Dominant win for Mikel Arteta’s side.
🔥🔴🕺The vibes, they are very good here at the Emirates Stadium!
It’s all Arsenal now. Spurs are in damage limitation mode.
GOALLL! Granit Xhaka slots home. ‘We are top of the league!’ sing the Arsenal fans. The Emirates has gone absolutely bonkers. What an atmosphere here!
RED CARD! Emerson Royal catches Gabriel Martinelli high on the ankle and gets a straight red card. Cue a melee between the players as Arsenal’s fans are delighted. That was a late challenge and it was high. But that probably falls into the orange card category.
Spurs looking a threat on the counter again now as Kane, Son and Richarlison are getting on the ball.
MISS! Gabriel Jesus nods wide. That is a big chance for Arsenal to extend their lead. Tottenham being pinned back just like the start to the first half.
GOALLLL! That pressure told. Bukayo Saka cuts inside and his low shot is parried by Hugo Lloris and Cristian Romero can’t clear as Gabriel Jesus bundles home. Cue pandemonium at the Emirates. Arsenal retake the lead! What a start to the second half.
Gabriel Jesus pounces on the rebound and fires Arsenal back into the lead! #AFC
HALF TIME: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham – Very good game, this. Tactically intriguing and Spurs have battled back into this well after Arsenal dominated most of the first half.
This first half sums up Arsenal and Tottenham so far this season. #AFC full of creativity, confidence and swagger but still have the odd mistake in them.#THFC robust and clunky but lethal on the counter.
Arsenal are very nervous at the back now. Buoyed by that equalizer, Spurs look very sharp on the counter.
GOALLL! After one long ball finds Son who finds Richarlison after hesitation from Gabriel, Arsenal get themselves into a heck of a mess as Gabriel brings down Richarlison for a clear penalty kick. Harry Kane (Mr. North London Derby) slams home the penalty to score his 14th goal in 18 appearances against Arsenal to extend his own record as the leading scorer in the history of this magnificent fixture. Just like that, Spurs are level. They don’t deserve it but Conte won’t care and neither do the Spurs fans in the away end. Absolute limbs.
Harry Kane scores from the spot against Arsenal yet again!
Wave after wave of Arsenal attack on the Tottenham goal now. Spurs cannot hold the Gunners back.
GOALLLL! Wow. Thomas Partey curls home a stunner from outside the box. What a goal. The Emirates goes wild. How did he have that much space there!? “1-0 to the Arsenalllll!” is the chant from the home fans. And it should be more. They totally deserve this lead.
SAVE! Aaron Ramsdale denies Richarlison from close range when he looked certain to score. Was Ben White playing everyone onside? Lovely clipped free kick from Son towards Dier but Richarlison couldn’t get proper contact on it.
CHANCE! What a clearance from Lenglet as a long throw is flicked on and drops inside the six-yard box with Jesus lurking. What a start that nearly was for Arsenal. Moments later Martinelli clips the outside of the post.
KICK OFF: We are underway. It is LOUDDDDDD in here.
My thoughts on this massive clash. I can hardly hear myself here!
The team news is out and here are the lineups hot (I’d probably go with lukewarm) off the press. Partey and Zinchenko are back in central midfield and left back respectively, which is a huge boost for Arsenal. Kulusevski is out for Spurs so Son comes back into the lineup as he starts in attack with Kane and Richarlison in a very attacking lineup from Antonio Conte. Intriguing.
Team sheet from here at the Emirates.
Huge news for Arsenal as Partey and Zinchenko are back for #AFC.
Hello and welcome to a beautiful morning here in north London! There is a huge buzz of anticipation and excitement in the early autumn air. The Premier League is back and what better way to restart things with a bitter rivalry clash between Arsenal and Tottenham?
Arteta’s Arsenal have been absolutely superb so far this season and they could easily be perfect as they lost at Manchester United but dominated the majority of the only game where they’ve dropped points. There is a great balance to the Gunners with young attacking players flying all over the place — led by the incredible Jesus who has slotted in seamlessly — and a solid defense with Partey and Xhaka very important in the holding midfield roles. Arteta knows that a big win against Spurs will give his young side further confidence as they aim for a top four finish, and maybe more, this season.
Conte’s Spurs have been workmanlike so far and Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Richarlison are all among the goals and are popping up at key moments when they’re needed. Defensively Spurs look solid in their 3-4-3 formation and you always fancy them to grab at least a few goals. Tottenham are seen as many as title contenders this season and a win at their bitter rivals will see that feeling grow.
In-form players to keep an eye on
Gabriel Jesus continues to lead the line superbly for Arsenal and he is bringing their entire attacking unit to life. Granit Xhaka has also been incredibly important and was excellent away at Brentford before the international break as he wore the captain’s armband once again and Arsenal’s fans were full of praise for the Swiss international midfielder.
Son has finally found his scoring boots and bagged a hat trick off the bench in Spurs’ demolition of Leicester City and he looked very good for South Korea over the international break. Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg have barely put a foot wrong and are a big reason why Spurs remain unbeaten this season and look so robust. Harry Kane loves a north London derby and he always seems to take his game to a new level when this game rolls around.
Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options
Emile Smith Rowe is out until December after undergoing surgery on a groin injury, while Reiss Nelson and Mohamed Elneny remain out. Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey, Cedric Soares and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all battling to be fit to feature. If Partey is out, Albert Sambi Lokonga is likely to come in and partner Granit Xhaka in central midfield or perhaps Odegaard could slot back into a deeper role and Fabio Vieira may play in the No. 10 role after his fine goal at Brentford?
Tottenham team news, injuries, lineup options
The main injury concern for Spurs is Dejan Kulusevski after he suffered an injury while on international duty with Sweden. Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies have had thigh and knee injuries respectively and will be battling to be fit, while Lucas Moura is definitely out as he continues to work his way back from a calf injury.