Three Questions With Becky Sauerbrunn

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The USWNT are officially Brazil bound. Jill Ellis’ side claimed the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship Sunday in Houston, defeating Canada 2 – 0 in the final. Not only did the USWNT win all five qualifying games, they outscored their opponents 23 – 0. And, as always, GFOP and new USWNT co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn was unflappable, repelling all comers in the defensive third, and dropping a Rajon Rondo-esque assist to Lindsey Horan for the winning goal in the final. In this issue’s Three Questions, we ask the FC Kansas City star about earning her 100th USWNT cap, preparing for the Olympics, and what she’s reading.

MiB: Sunday’s final against Canada marked your 100th cap. Does a milestone like that cause you to stop and reflect on all that you’ve achieved, or is it just a number to you? Did you allow yourself to celebrate in any way post-game?

BS: 100 caps is a huge milestone with the women’s team. And it’s celebrated as such. On the day the team celebrates a player’s 100th cap there are highlight videos, speeches from coaches and players, gifts, and the honor of wearing the armband during the match. Although my 100th cap aligned with the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying championship, I’ll be celebrating my 100th cap during the SheBelieves Cup. I’m a little worried my highlight tape is going to be a montage of tackles and 15 yard passes, but tradition is tradition. That didn’t stop the girls from buying me mystery shots in our celebrations after beating Canada.

MiB: Jill Ellis made you and Carli Lloyd captains of the USWNT in January. You are only the 13th and 14th players to ever captain this team. It’s still early days, but how have you experienced your new role and how has it changed the way you approach your time with the team?

BS: It’s a big honor and a big responsibility to be a captain of this team. We are a group of strong, brilliant, empowered, opinionated, and often infuriating women. As a captain with Carli, it’s our responsibility to make sure every voice is heard and respected, and that all decisions and actions lead in a direction that benefits the team. In many respects I haven’t had to change how I approach my time with the team. I still embody the same qualities and values that got me on the team and probably got me named a captain. I’ve always put the team before my own personal success, now I have the added responsibility of making sure everyone does that.

MiB: The U.S. are defending Olympic Gold Medalists. You are World Cup Champions. How do you guard against overconfidence and complacency setting in as you approach the 2016 Olympics in Rio?

BS: No Women’s World Cup champion has won a Olympic gold medal the following year. I’ve always thought something was wrong with me that after experiencing success I could so easily start looking towards the next thing. Why can’t I stay in that happy place and bask in our accomplishment? In that respect, my team is very like-minded. We want to make history. We don’t just want to win the World Cup, we want to win everything. And it was very difficult to win this past World Cup, we know it’ll be even more difficult to follow 2015 with a gold medal. We have levels to reach as a team that we’ve only just begun to explore and seen happen on the field. It’s tough to be over-confident when you still feel like you have places to go.

MiB: You were not named in the FiFPro World XI. A lot was made of your omission. Did you click open the team when it was announced? Do you feel disappointed? Do you care?

BS: I did click open the FiFPro World XI. Honestly, it was about time the global player’s union listened to our requests to have female players recognized like our male counterparts. I was very happy to see four Americans on the team. Of course it would’ve been an honor to be recognized as a top player. Luckily, I have teammates, coaches, loved ones, and really wonderful supporters who remind me every day that I’m valued. I’ll take that over anything else.

MiB: You’re a proud, card carrying member of the USWNT’s “Nerd Squad,” a group of players who appreciate culture as much a beautiful Cruyff turn. You’re a voracious reader. What is Becky Sauerbrunn reading right now?

BS: Right now I am re-reading ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman. It’s fantasy with a whole lot of mythology thrown in there. The premise is basically that all things that are worshipped exist in a human form. So there are old gods, like Anubis, and newer gods like technology, and what would happen if the newer gods fought the older gods? It’s like ‘Game of Thrones’ … but with gods.

Wolves vs Liverpool: How to watch, stream link, team news

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Liverpool hopes it can boost its top-four hopes by hurting Wolves’ plans for Premier League safety when the duo meet Saturday at the Molineux (watch live, 10am ET Saturday online via Peacock Premium).

It’s the third meeting since early January between the sides following a 2-2 draw in the FA Cup and a 1-0 Liverpool win in the replay.

STREAM LIVE WOLVES vs LIVERPOOL

Wolves sit 17th with 17 points, only outside of the bottom three due to Bournemouth’s poor goal differential. Last place is just two points away, as there are seven teams within three points between 14th and 20th.

Liverpool, meanwhile, is 10 points off the top four but has played at least one fewer match than all but two of the eight teams ahead of them (Sixth-place Brighton and leaders Arsenal).

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Wolves vs Liverpool.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Wolves vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
Online: Premier League on Peacock


Key storylines & star players

Winning games is about scoring goals and only two Wolves players have more than one. Daniel Podence has collected five, while Ruben Neves has four. Even more surprising, Wolves are still waiting on a goal from Raul Jimenez, Diego Costa, or injured Pedro Neto. Perhaps Matheus Cunha or Pablo Sarabia will chip in soon.

Liverpool has one win from its last three Premier League outings, but there’s a heaping helping of bad luck to their struggles. The Reds have 24 goals from open play and 20 allowed in that same situation. Their expected goals in those spots is 34.6 – 24. Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez have been especially unlucky despite combining for 12 goals and six assists on the season.


Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Boubacar Traore (undisclosed), Chiquinho (knee)

Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Virgil van Dijk (thigh), Roberto Firmino (calf), Ibrahima Konate (hamstring), Luis Diaz (knee), Diogo Jota (thigh), Arthur Melo (thigh) | QUESTIONABLE: Fabio Carvalho (undisclosed), Nathaniel Phillips (illness)

Newcastle vs West Ham: How to watch, stream link, team news

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Newcastle United can become the third Premier League team this season to cross the 40-point marker when it meets West Ham on Saturday at St. James’ Park (watch live, 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The Magpies have been terrific at home in all competitions, including at midweek where they finished off Southampton to claim a spot in the League Cup Final.

STREAM LIVE NEWCASTLE vs WEST HAM

And while the 40-point marker used to just mean safety, Newcastle would stay within sight of second-place Man City and first-place Arsenal.

Meanwhile, West Ham’s mix of bad luck and substandard performances have them just a point above the drop zone, in 16th. A win here would be huge,

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle vs West Ham.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Newcastle vs West Ham live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 12:30pm ET, Saturday
TV Channel: NBC
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

The Magpies won’t have their best all-around player in influential Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, and center forward Alexander Isak will miss out following a head injury suffered against Saints. Sean Longstaff will need to shine again after scoring twice against Saints.

As for West Ham, they have three attackers out but can look to Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen to continue upturns in form.


Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Bruno Guimaraes (suspension), Alexander Isak (concussion), Javier Manquillo (undisclosed), Matt Targett (foot), Emil Krafth (knee)

West Ham team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Gianluca Scamacca (knee), Maxwel Cornet (calf), Kurt Zouma (thigh), Danny Ings (knee)

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace: How to watch, stream link, team news

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Manchester United looks to keep climbing up the Premier League table when its hosts improving Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET online via Premier League on Peacock).

United has won all three of its cup matches since a Jan. 22 setback at Premier League leaders Arsenal, and now face Palace before two matches with Leeds

STREAM LIVE MANCHESTER UNITED vs CRYSTAL PALACE

Palace hasn’t won in 2023, though the Eagles managed back-to-back draws with Manchester United and Newcastle in their past two matches. Both of those were at Selhurst Park.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester United vs Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Manchester United vs Crystal Palace live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
Online: Premier League on Peacock


Key storylines & star players

Man United’s lost Christian Eriksen through April but acted quick and in impressive fashion with the loan addition of Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich. Desperate for playing time and a more attacking role than what was asked of him by Bayern, the Austrian star may be just what the doctor ordered even before Eriksen went down. This is a hard-edged player with plenty of attcking firepower to boot.

Palace, of course, is still all about their creative players, as Wilfried Zaha, Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, and Odsonne Edouard can deliver the goods with just a half-chance, but look out for Deadline Day adds Albert Sambi Lokonga, on loan from Patrick Vieira’s former team Arsenal, and Naouirou Ahamada, who they hope will add a needed ball progressor in the heart of the pitch.


Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Christian Eriksen (ankle), Donny van de Beek (knee), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Jadon Sancho (undisclosed), Anthony Martial (undisclosed), Diogo Dalot (thigh), Luke Shaw (illness), Scott McTominay (undisclosed)

Crystal Palace team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Wilfried Zaha (hamstring), Joachim Andersen (calf), Nathan Ferguson (undisclosed), James McArthur (groin)

Everton vs Arsenal, live! How to watch, stream link, team news

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The first match of the Sean Dyche era at Everton is a visit from the leaders, as Arsenal visits Goodison Park on Saturday (watch live, 7:30am ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).

Dyche has been out of work since his time ended at Burnley last April, but he’ll have instant familiarity with Dwight McNeil, James Tarkowski, and Michael Keane.

So how’s it been around the club as he prepares to take hold of a team that isn’t Burnley for the first time since, thumbs through calendars… still thumbing…2011!

STREAM LIVE EVERTON vs ARSENAL

“A new voice, training ways, going about your business, building a bit of rapport,” Dyche said. “I had a good chat with a few players, not in an office kind of chat but speaking to them generally. Their careers, life, how they’re feeling, I always thought if you affect their lives you’ll affect their performance. It’s hard to do visa-versa, I’ve been honest with them. I’ve been down that, we did a Q+A session, I just wanted their feedback. What was the feedback? After that I shared it back with them, this is what we fed back ,what do you think? Gives us a chance to open it up a bit. We need to get to the truth of them, what we can offer, best thing to do is ask them – simple as that. Giving our feel, a different feel to understanding, that’s all. Hopefully they’ll respond and flourish. We’ve got to work, it can’t all be fluff, plenty of hard work this week.”

Former Everton star Mikel Arteta leads Arsenal into the affair with a five-point lead on Man City and a match-in-hand, but it’s also the first match since Arsenal fell 1-0 to City in an FA Cup match considered by many to be a first test for the leaders’ title hopes.

Everton sit 19th in the Premier League table, ahead of last-place Southampton by five goals in the goal difference column.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Everton vs Arsenal.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Everton vs Arsenal live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

Is this what Dwight McNeil has been waiting for after stop-start usage from Frank Lampard? He’s one of the key pieces to monitor when team news arrives Saturday.  Everton hasn’t played since Jan. 21, when it rolled out a 5-4-1 in a 2-0 loss to West Ham. Dyche hasn’t used five at the back since 2019, but this Arsenal team, man…

Arsenal enters having navigated the absence of Gabriel Jesus pretty darn nicely, thank you very much. Will Eddie Nketiah keep feasting off the playmaking of Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka?

Let’s just say Everton’s new manager bounce is going to have to include Flubber.


Everton team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Michael Keane (knee), Nathan Patterson (knee), Andros Townsend (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Ben Godfrey (knee), James Garner (back)

Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Gabriel Jesus (knee), Reiss Nelson (thigh), Mohamed Elneny (knock) | QUESTIONABLE: Thomas Partey (chest), Emile Smith Rowe (thigh)